Why does liberty matter to you?
That was the question California radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked young people across the United States Oct. 8, as he broadcast his show, “Libertyfest,” live from Hillsdale College. Many Hillsdale students appeared on the nationally syndicated show, each with a quote they thought best illustrated the definition of liberty. Other high school and college students called from around the country with quotes as well.
At the beginning of the show, Hewitt said that he and his guest co-hosts Dr. John Templeton and College President Larry Arnn would award the student with the best entry a prize of $6,000 for a trip to Washington, D.C.
Research Assistant to the President Kyle Murnen, who helped arrange the show, said he was not aware of the prize while organizing students to go on air. However, he said the winner would spend three days touring the grand D.C. monuments, and report back to the Hewitt show to reveal what he learned, and answer the question, “Is liberty still evident in our nation’s capital?”
The winner has not yet been announced.
Along with choosing a variety of Hillsdale students to represent the college on the show, Murnen also approved their quotes.
“They were all really good and profound,” he said, “with more variety than I expected.”
Sophomore Caroline Green chose a quote by C.S. Lewis from his essay “The Poison of Subjectivism.”
“‘The very definition of freedom is impossible without objective morality,’” she said. “I tried to link absolute morality with freedom.”
Green said she was honored to represent Hillsdale on the show, but wished she would have had more time on air.
“I felt like I couldn’t do the quote justice because it has so many ideas behind it,” she said. “I wanted to take it a bunch of different directions, but I only had one other sentence besides my quote.”
Junior Josiah Kollmeyer also chose to quote a European. He quoted Edmund Burke saying, “the only liberty I support is a liberty connected with order that not only exists with order and virtue, but cannot exist at all without them.”
“He, at the time, was observing the French revolution across the channel and seeing how their idea of liberty was very false and very dangerous,” Kollmeyer said. “He called it ‘the just reign given to vice and confusion,’ whereas the English liberty that he was trying to preserve was ordered and virtuous and not libertarianism, but rather the freedom to do what is right.”
Junior Matthew Duquette also chose a quote demonstrating order in liberty, but by Abraham Lincoln.
“It was from his address to the Young Men’s Lyceum in Illinois talking about the rule of law because at that time there were some lynch mobs going on,” Duquette said. “And even
Lincoln said in that address that there was an awful guy who deserved what he got, but he defended the law. Because once you introduce lawlessness as an acceptable means of handling issues, then that will just begin to erode the laws as they exist to uphold liberty.”
Murnen said Hewitt also came to Hillsdale last year for a segment he called “Meet Hillsdale College Students.” Murnen said Hewitt and Arnn are longtime friends, “going back to their California years.”
“Hewitt holds [the college] in high esteem,” Murnen said. “He really likes the place and does a good job selling it.”
Green said the Hewitt show would most likely attract more students to Hillsdale.
“I know a lot of people who came here after hearing about the college on Rush Limbaugh,” she said. “It’s probably good for admissions that Hugh Hewitt talks it up too.” (152)