The ISI/Liberty Fund colloquium for graduate students on federalism and constitutionalism held at the Russell Kirk Center in Mecosta was a great time. We had two fine discussion leaders in Profs. Carey Roberts and Jim Bond and an interesting mix of law, history and political philosophy students to work through some choice readings from The Federalist, Anti-Federalist writings, the Hayne-Webster debate, Calhoun and more modern texts (sections of the European Constitution and several Court rulings of the past decade or so). I had the privilege and honour of meeting Mrs. Kirk at the Center, and she was good enough to have us into her home on a couple of occasions. She is a charming and engaging lady, and a great hostess. The Center certainly keeps her busy–she was in Indianapolis last week, where Rod Dreher, Max Goss and others spoke, and as I understood it she will be at another ISI event next week as well.
As a Byzantinist, I was something of the amateur among those who did their work on political theory and American history, but I enjoyed being part of the discussions both during and after the sessions. I also made a trip over to the used bookstore there in town, finding a few nice volumes, including the reminiscences of Anna Dostoevsky and a Defoe title I had never heard of before. The weekend was very pleasant, and I look forward to a chance to do something like that again, though I will be glad to be through with the conference season in a few weeks. All of the events I have gone to this year have been excellent, but I will be glad to be traveling a little less after next month.