ConservativeHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie is the latest recipient of the Freedom Leadership Award, presented by Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, on Sunday, February 5, 2023 in Hillsdale, Michigan.
The award is the highest honor in Hillsdale’s Four Pillars Campaign commending leaders who advance the principles of learning, character, faith, and freedom.
In a letter to Viguerie preceding the award, Arnn wrote, “Your career is a testimony to the fact that leading citizens can still labor and fight in defense of these principles with good hopes of success.”
Viguerie, during his acceptance speech, sounded a sober alarm to those in attendance. “Today, it’s important to recognize we’re in a spiritual civil war that the Left has launched against Western Civilization, America, our Constitution, traditional Judeo-Christian moral values, and much else we value and hold dear. Unfortunately, the enemy – Socialists – are winning.”
With that warning, Viguerie also offered encouragement, saying, “All of us can be leaders” in the conservative movement battling this spiritual civil war.
He implored everyday American patriots to get personally involved in the fight, and that “each of us owes it to our children, grandchildren, and generations unborn to get out of our comfort zone each day and become the leaders we’ve been waiting for.”
In receiving the Freedom Leadership Award, Viguerie joins a select group of prior recipients, including Margaret Thatcher, William F. Buckley, Jr., Clarence Thomas, Henry Salvatori, Jean Kirkpatrick, Malcom Forbes, Jr., Charlton Heston, Vaclav Klaus, Joe and Jeffrey Coors, Edwin Meese, Rush Limbaugh, and Ronald Reagan.
Richard A. Viguerie’s Remarks at Hillsdale College after receiving the Freedom Leadership Award February 5, 2023, Hillsdale, Michigan
I can’t think of the words to adequately express my gratitude, Dr. Arnn, for this great honor. I am very humbled.
To receive the Freedom Leadership Award and have my name appear alongside Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Vaclav Havel, Bill Buckley Jr., Jeane Kirkpatrick, Charlton Heston, Justice Clarence Thomas is something of dreams.
And when I wake up from this dream, Dr. Arnn, I’m not giving it back.
In addition to Dr. Arnn, I want to thank my dear friends John Cervini, Doug Jeffrey, Bill Gray, and others at Hillsdale whose fingerprints I know are all over this award. Thank you, thank you dear friends.
I also wish to acknowledge another dear, departed friend, Bill Wildern, who came to my office in Manassas, Virginia 20 years ago – to ask for a donation to Hillsdale because he saw that my son, Ryan, was a Hillsdale graduate. But after I explained what my marketing company did to help grow conservative organizations and institutions, Bill never got around to asking for that donation.
Instead, Bill got Dr. Arnn on the phone to discuss national marketing for Hillsdale – and 20 years later I’m receiving this fabulous award.
Thank you, Bill Wildern. By the way, Bill’s widow Linda is here tonight. Linda – in your prayers tonight be sure to thank Bill for me, as I will.
In the few minutes I’ve been given this evening, I want to impart one big idea that’s necessary to save the America we know and love.
The leadership of every major institution in America is arrayed against our views and values and they are all involved in censoring news and information, including Big Media, Big Tech, Hollywood, entertainment, national radio and TV, the nonprofit community, the legal community, higher and lower education, Big Business, Wall Street, unions, organized religion, etc. The list even includes our own government – FBI, CIA, IRS, DOJ.
In the 1960s through the 1990s, there was a cultural war raging, but most conservatives were not aware of it, and we lost the cultural war. You’re not likely to win a war you don’t even know you’re in.
Today, it’s important to recognize we’re in a spiritual civil war that the Left has launched against Western Civilization, America, our Constitution, traditional Judeo-Christian moral values and much else we value and hold dear. Unfortunately, the enemy -- Socialists are winning.
What’s to be done?
As a young Catholic altar boy in the 1940s, I clearly remember at the end of Mass, prayers were said for the conversion of Russia in every Catholic Church in America and that was true in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Ronald Reagan told us we weren’t going to defeat communism we were going to transcend it. And one day that’s exactly what happened. No more Soviet Union. Armies didn’t march, planes didn’t fly, guns didn’t fire, the Soviet Union just went away.
2nd get engaged and help lead. On April 19, 1775 in Lexington and Concord shots were fired that were heard around the world and the fight for our freedom from Great Britain was on.
There was something important about that day you may not be aware of.
Do you remember who was the military leader in charge of the Patriots that day?
No, you don’t remember. Because there was no general, no commanding officer that day.
Every patriot was a leader that day.
They each rushed to the sound of the guns.
Don’t wait for instructions from Dr. Arnn, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Tucker Carlson, or your favorite congressman. Rush to the sound of the guns you hear in your community, town, county, state, or nationally.
Pick yourself to lead. In 2004, Barack Obama self-described himself as a Community Organizer. Five years later the Community Organizer is president of the United States. People didn’t beat down his door urging him to run for president. He picked himself. In 2015, a businessman with no prior government experience, Donald Trump, picked himself to run for president – 20 months later, he was also president of the United States.
In the early 1960s, I was Executive Secretary of Young Americans for Freedom, a conservatives youth organization, founded on Bill Buckley Jr.s family estate in Sharon, Connecticut. I’m a young energetic conservative with lots of ideas and I thought solutions to all kinds of problems. But no one asked for my opinion or invited me to meetings.
So, one day I called a meeting, and people came. Shortly thereafter I called another meeting. More people came, important people. Then they started inviting me to their meetings. No one picked me to be a leader. I picked myself. And I learned something that Dr. Arnn knows well – you’d be surprised how many important people will come to your meetings—if you serve good food.
Today, our tools are not the muskets of the April 19, 1775 Patriots, but rather our voices, phones, email, talk radio, blogs, podcasts, cable TV, websites, videos, social media, even townhalls, school board meetings, city council meetings, and nonprofit organizations and institutions, such as Hillsdale.
Because the leadership of all major forms of communication/news are censoring conservative news and information, each of us needs to rise to the occasion and become modern-day Paul Reveres.
Look at what Dr. Arnn and others have done at Hillsdale with 1,500 students in a small rural community, in a location not easy to get to.
Their influence through their students, professors, Imprimis, online courses, videos, tele-townhalls, their K-12 curriculum, postal and email, the internet, radio, TV, CCAs, etc., equals or surpasses Harvard, Yale, and Princeton in impact in the public square.
Hillsdale punches far above their weight. They operate in the heavyweight division.
And so can you, using the new and alternative media.
The conservative movement exists, and conservatives are electorally competitive because of the new and alternative media that allows conservatives to go around the censorship of the Establishment, including mainstream media.
Without the new and alternative media, conservatives would be the tree that fell in the forest that went unheard.
Professor Harry Jaffa, a friend and mentor of Dr. Arnn’s said in 2014.
“Western Civilization survives because of America.
America survives because of the conservative movement.”
I’ve added “The conservative movement survives because of a few hundred conservative leaders, activists, donors.”
And many are in this room tonight.
Luke Chapter 12:48, “Much will be required from everyone to whom much has been given. But even more will be demanded from the one to whom much has been entrusted.”
Each of us owes it to our children, grandchildren, and generations unborn to get out of our comfort zone each day and become the leaders we’ve been waiting for.
On several occasions in recent weeks, I’ve heard Congressman Scott Perry, the leader of the Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, say that the 20 members of the Freedom Caucus that forced Kevin McCarthy to agree to run the Republican Majority in the House, according to conservative principles, happened because before there were 20 – first there were 5 congressmen who stood up and said under no circumstances would they vote for Kevin McCarthy without changing the way Washington works. These 5 provided confidence for another 15 to also stand with them. Courage is contagious. Courage is infectious. Courage begets courage.
So, when you show courage and step out and provide leadership, it will encourage family members, friends, neighbors, and others to follow and also lead.
Some can financially help existing effective conservative organizations and institutions.
Others can start new nonprofits.
Some can become political candidates.
Some can support new nonprofits or political candidates.
And others can mentor those who lead nonprofits or become candidates.
Lawyers, accountants, businessmen and women can volunteer their expertise to organizations or political candidates.
Some can mentor young people who are leaders or activists.
Others can start a blog. Start with sending copies of your blog to family, friends, and neighbors, then you’ll see it grow into the hundreds or thousands.
Maybe you can Tweet.
Some can forward articles, videos, etc. to 25-50-100 family, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc.
All of us can be leaders.
All of us can do some of these.
All can and must play the role of being a modern-day Paul Revere to our family, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, co-workers, others in our community, town, county, state, and nationally.
If we conservatives don’t get the censored news to others, they will not know what we know, and we will lose America.
Of course, your message is not that the Red Coats are coming, but that we’re in a spiritual civil war with the progressives/socialists.
And the progressives/socialists are coming for:
Our 5-6-7-year-old children
Our college students
Our religious liberties
Our law enforcement officers
Our money with sky high taxes and government caused inflation
Our Constitution including the 1st, 2nd, and 10th Amendments
The Establishment – deep state media – even our own government is censoring news and information Americans need to know to make informed decisions.
To quote Ronald Reagan “If not us, who? If not now, when.”
People – we’ve got a country to save, and it starts with each of us.
Thank you again Dr. Arnn, thank you, Hillsdale – for the Freedom Leadership Award. I’m humbled and greatly appreciative.
Goodnight ladies and gentlemen. See you on the battlefield. And don’t be late.
Freedom Leadership Award
Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College
Four Pillars Campaign
learning, character, faith, and freedom