A new debate is animating the conservative movement. Two sides have squared-off over a single issue: how should the state be used to promote social conservatism and religious life in America? One side believes the state should actively promote religiosity and social conservative mores, while another side argues classical liberal values provide the greatest defense for religious belief and practice in the United States.
To learn more, Cockburn attended an event on Thursday night that promised a live exposition of these ideas. The event — ‘Dipping All Around the World’ — was hosted at the suitable Catholic University of America in Washington DC. Upon arriving to this battlefield of conservative thought, Cockburn was immediately struck by the aroma. Laid out in the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center Food Court was a spread of simmering queso, baskets of sliced bread and multi-colored tortilla chips, diced tomatoes, chopped jalapenos, green onions, cilantro, minced garlic, and hummus.
Staffing the event were several young adults in matching red shirts which featured the phrase ‘Work Hard, Play Harder’—a fitting slogan, Cockburn thought, for this exciting meeting of the minds. The staffers decorated the event space with a pennant string of world flags, featuring American allies like Australia, India, and Israel, along with rivaling geopolitical power, China. The message was clear: this conservative event — far from being niche and singularly of interest to a specific subset of journalists, Washington lawyers, and Congressional Republican staffers — was of global importance.
While the event was well-attended by students, eager to learn about the latest ideological clash in the world of conservatism, a verbal discussion of conservative issues was largely absent. Looking around the university food court, Cockburn realized the ideological tension rested in the two dips, queso and hummus. Queso, applied liberally to the accompanying spread, provided attendees with a salty and cholesterol-raising experience which affirmed their sense of autonomy. Hummus, on the other hand, offered tradition and a substantive flavor, but seemed ill-equipped to mix with the rest of the ingredients.
Between these two dips, Cockburn experienced an enriching and gratifying struggle over his taste buds. While the winner is still unclear in his mind, he hears a similar event is being held at the University of Notre Dame next week. To the residents of South Bend, Cockburn has a single message: go to ‘Dipping All Around the World’ and witness conservative history.