(Thoughts on the place of ArchCon at UGA as well as a Sentimental Half-Farewell from a Departing Editor-in-Chief)
In the waning weeks of my stint as your Editor-in-Chief, I must admit that I grow weary of my responsibilities. Responsibilities, as one learns, however, offer the chance for fulfillment, for growth, and for friendships. All three have ensued following my efforts with this budding publication of ours. John Henry and Davis Parker, two co-founders of The Arch Conservative, put it well in their farewell editorial: “Rather than offering tepid involvement in a host of organizations, invest yourself fully in the things you care about […] Fulfilling efforts are those for which you don’t mind working hard.” They’re spot on.
In fact, the efforts and relationships about which they speak are shared by everyone whose name has graced the page to your left. My duties as Editor-in-Chief, while numerous and time-consuming, have been fulfilling because of a distinct and unwavering goal: the longevity of a publication that not only facilitates these worthwhile efforts, these lasting memories and relationships, but also serves as a thoughtful voice for articulating the rich tradition of conservatism to the University of Georgia. Both are consequential endeavors. Glimmers on the resume can be a mere semblance of one’s true achievement and growth, but changing someone’s mind on a subject, receiving an email from a joyful reader or podcast listener, or getting into an hours-long conversation about idea x with a fellow member? That is fulfilling. That’s worth the effort. It’s a feeling not completely captured by the word happiness. The Greeks have a word for it: eudaimonia; and the Germans do as well: Gemütlichkeit. The closest translation we have in English is contentment. It will have to do.
Indeed, my time as Editor-in-Chief has given me such a sense of contentment that I cringe to think the opportunity so easily could not have existed. For this, I am grateful to Connor Kitchings, who presented me with the opportunity to write as an unsuspecting freshman. I’ve since learned more than I could ever imagine, and I can attribute most of that to this magnificent publication and the folks I’ve met through it.
What adds to the degree of fulfillment is this: well-articulated and principled American conservatism; a conservatism which is neither the strain you see addressed by many on the Left nor the strain espoused by much of the rabble-rousing right. There is a reason for this. In my mind, it is to articulate conservative beliefs in the morality of liberty and individualism, in the argument for limited government based on a “fallen” human nature, in the benefits of a free market, and so on, takes principled thought and careful consideration. Conservatism is a broad, strong ideology that engages with differing opinions on similar subjects (See, for example, What is Conservatism?), but simultaneously demands adherence to a core set of proven principles. It has a rich, complex history that necessitates careful learning. It’s not as easy as Hey Government, Do Something (the answer to any Leftist’s concern). And it is for this reason that ArchCon is so important. Not only does it allow those with the aforementioned principles to learn how to best articulate them, but it also allows others from across the ideological spectrum to witness that very honest process. Through researching an idea for a podcast, and then discussing it in person, we gain a greater understanding and appreciation of that idea. Through organizing our research and thoughts into a compelling article, we come to a more complete understanding of the world. ArchCon facilitates these goals.
So, in the interest of the longevity of the publication and the pursuit of these goals, the board and members have decided that Ross Dubberly should become our beloved publication’s next Editor-in-Chief. For Ross, I am excited. For the publication, I am relieved that it will be in good hands. For those who fear my absence (love you, Mom), you will be content to know that I have bribed Ross into allowing me next semester’s Book Editor position. While it pains me to leave, I believe it is time to pass the honor onward and return a degree of freedom to my waking hours. With the same eagerness that I brought to my duties as Editor-in-Chief, I anticipate my return to writing, podcasting, and spending time on my hobbies.
I know that Ross will succeed for the same reasons that every member that has preceded him has succeeded and every member to follow him will succeed. Those reasons, enumerated above, are manifest in the many articles that follow in this, the Winter Edition of The Arch Conservative in print. I’ve evidenced in this editorial my unending affection for the publication as well as my penchant for wordiness. Hopefully, I haven’t sounded vain. At any rate, as I approach the limit of the space available for me to express my sentimentality, I realize I have run out of room to preview any of the insightful articles for this issue. A few words will have to suffice in the preview’s stead: Get reading. There’s a war on the principles of conservatism, and The Arch Conservative yearns to continue its part.
This is the editorial from the Winter 2017 magazine. Copies will soon be available on campus at our Tate and Main Library distribution boxes.