Christopher Malagisi gave a presentation on the 65 years of the modern conservative movement in America on Monday night. Malagisi has been a correspondent on C-Span, Fox News, and MSNBC among other networks.
The conservative movement, he said, is made of three factions with slightly different ideologies. The fiscally conservative Libertarians, the socially conservative Traditionalists, and the national defense focused Anti-Communists.
He described the Republican Party as a vehicle to carry out polices, but not as the most important part of the movement. Philosophers, popularizers, and philanthropists are more valuable to any movement, according to Malagisi.
Malagisi, a professor at American University, showed his skills with keeping students involved. The audience was actively engaged throughout the presentation. Malagisi put in pictures as jokes (Obama as a fiscal conservative), asked people to contribute to the discussion, and connected everything back to the basic theories he explained at the beginning. He even poked fun at Christine O’Donnell.
“So, do you think conservatism is sexy yet?” he asked. The audience laughed. Of the 35 people in the room, 33 were students and many of them were conservatives themselves. Realizing that few people found political ideology to be ‘sexy’, he tried something a little more reasonable. “Well I hope I can at least make it fun for you” Based on the audience’s reaction, he succeeded.
Shawn Hyms, a Democrat, found the presentation to be “very informative”. “It’s cool to hear about conservatism from a real conservative” he said.
Kevin Sebella, founder of the Stony Brook Tea Party, also enjoyed the presentation. “I like a lot of what he was saying,” he told me, “especially the economic and national defense parts.”
Throughout the presentation, both Hyms and Sebella answered many of Malagisi’s questions correctly.
The only point that drew a lot of objection from the crowd was Buckley’s theory that political science classes need to contain morals. Malagisi explained that Buckley was referring to how democracy and communism were treated equally in theory, but students still seemed to want to make those choices for themselves.
Many members of the audience stayed back to ask Malagisi specific questions about the lecture or the further readings he suggested. He also offered information on paid internships in conservative organizations.