About The Society
The Philadelphia Society is a membership organization of educators, journalists, business and professional leaders, clergy--thoughtful analysts of current trends and public policy--all dedicated to the goal of deepening the intellectual foundations of a free and ordered society and to broadening the general understanding of its basic principles among the public at large.
Founded in 1964, The Philadelphia Society holds regular meetings that explore pressing economic, political, cultural and other issues; provides a forum for some of the most original thinkers of our day; and generates incisive analysis that has influenced the ongoing debate on our national future.
Many of the key issues which have stirred controversy and prompted legislative initiative over the last three decades received their first serious consideration in the programs of The Philadelphia Society. The men and women of the conservative movement who are influential in shaping the direction of events have had their thinking formed in the crucible of The Philadelphia Society.
The Philadelphia Society operates on the premise that progress is made by achieving insight and understanding, not by enforcing intellectual conformity. Effort is made to attract speakers and program participants from diverse intellectual backgrounds who can offer fresh--often conflicting--points of view. A listing of past speakers includes such distinguished figures as:
Presentations from programs held by The Philadelphia Society have been published in such important journals as
Encounter, National Review, Modern Age, The Intercollegiate
Review, and many others. They regularly gain wide exposure, find their way into chambers of business, educational and political leadership, and exercise influence that has far reaching consequences.
Perhaps the most important function of The Philadelphia Society has been to bring together specialists in different fields who share a commitment to freedom. This ongoing exchange of thought and insight multiplies the power of ideas. It provides support and encouragement, promoting an intellectual "cross pollination" which has been crucial to developing the conservative ideas now having their impact on the national political scene.
Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, a founding member of the Society, has observed that turning the intellectual tide is the "essential element in strengthening and preserving a free society. Such a turn must be fostered from many different areas. We need to bring into [the effort] not only economists but also sociologists, historians, novelists, playwrights, etc."
Author Midge Decter insists that "more important than its lively and searching seminars," The Philadelphia Society forges crucial links between "thinkers and doers [in different fields] who need one another for encouragement, stimulation and fellowship."
A list of past and present members of The Philadelphia Society includes some of the most influential thinkers of the past half century. Three Nobel Prize winning economists are among them: Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, (who has also served on the Board of Trustees), and Ronald Coase. Outstanding conservative thinkers like Russell Kirk, Mel Bradford, and Forrest McDonald have been active in the organization; all three of them have served as President.
With such a powerhouse of talent and intellect in its membership and following, The Philadelphia Society is frequently cited as the single most important forum for the exchange of ideas and a key center of leadership from which so many of today's most critical public policy initiatives have sprung.
Robert H. Bork
Warren T. Brooks
William F. Buckley
T. Kenneth Cribb
M. Stanton Evans
Edwin J. Feulner
Victor Davis Hanson
S. I. Hayakawa
Friedrich von Hayek
Erik von Kuehneldt-
William A. Rusher
George J. Stigler
Edward H. Teller
Stephen A. Tonsor