Towards the end of summer, interns in Washington have made friends, career connections, and hopefully implanted a mark upon the organizations that they worked for.
By August, they have two things to look forward to: preparing for the fall semester and the battle of the Cato and Heritage interns.
Hosted annually, the event is centered around a common discussion in the movement of those on the right which is whether libertarianism or conservatism is the superior political philosophy. Interns from the Cato Institute represent the libertarian perspective while interns from the Heritage Foundation represent the conservative perspective.
The debate was moderated by Charles W. Cooke, a graduate of the University of Oxford and author of The Conservatarian Manifesto.
On the libertarian side, Jack Brown, second- year law student at George Mason University, and John Carnegie, rising junior at Vanderbilt University represented the ideas commonly shared among libertarians.
On the conservative side, Meridan Pulton, rising senior at Patrick Henry College, and El Rogers, rising junior at The King’s College, represented ideas commonly shared among conservatives.
The libertarian perspective argued that conservatives’ view of limited government is more often than not simply too focused. “Conservatives fail to see that a government powerful enough today to suppress gay marriage today will be powerful enough to force Christian bakers to make cakes for gay weddings,” said Jack Brown in his opening statements.
On the contrary, the conservative interns argued that libertarians were not focused enough on preserving traditional institutions, such as the family. Meridan Pulton articulated this by arguing that “at the core of every society is the family and whether you get rid of government or not, civilization will naturally order itself around the family.”
During the debate, interns touched on subjects of surveillance, privacy laws, immigration, and the legalization of recreational drugs. Both sides quoted meticulous research on both sides of nearly every issue including government reports, policy papers, and articles from major newspapers.
In conclusion, both sides delivered strong and compelling arguments. Attendees from various organizations and universities voted via Twitter and declared that the Cato Institute delivered the most impressive performance.