I sometimes wonder if the increasing frequency and quality of these Ricochet get-togethers will prompt my doctor to announce that they are bad for my health. Anything this enjoyable, this edifying, and this stimulating is bound to run afoul of a law or six at some point, for it seems that every time I think it can't get any better than the most recent meet-up, I'm proven wrong by the next one. When RushBabe49 announced that she was planning a get together in Seattle, I began dropping subtle hints to my dispatcher -- subtle herein defined as me saying, "Please, please, please, oh pretty please, ya gotta get me to Seattle!"
As it turned out, Hillsdale College was conducting a seminar at the Seattle Sheraton on the subject: "Looking Ahead: U.S. National Security," and several Ricochet members were on hand to hear the collected thoughts and wisdom of speakers ranging from Hillsdale President Dr. Larry Arnn, to Andrew McCarthy, Bill Gertz, National Review's John O'Sullivan, and Garry Kasparov. To my eternal regret, I wasn't able to be there for the seminar, but I did manage to deliver a load of potato chips in Portland and then make a beeline to Seattle in time for the Ricochet contingent's festivities, scheduled for 6PM.
The standard having been set by previous gatherings, I wasn't in the least surprised to find myself in the company of the sort of people whom Rush Limbaugh accurately termed as the smartest in the room. And speaking of rooms, Providence smiled on us because we were provided with a separate room, away from the noise and commotion of the restaurant, in which to enjoy a good meal and conversation. The effect of this simple arrangement can't be over-emphasized. Freed from the competition of a hundred other voices, the conversation broadened from the usual clusters of disparate discussions to a single conversation in which everyone in the room could, and did, participate and address everyone else.
The topic of the main discussion, in which everyone participated, was whether or not attendees counted themselves as encouraged or discouraged about the country's future. Without exception, each person had a unique and compelling point to make, each from a unique angle. That people were "fired up," to use the President's jargon, was obvious. That they were fired up in the cause of liberty and limited government must be terribly disconcerting to the statist, though it surely excites the autocratic impulses of the IRS, DHS, TSA, EPA, NEA, NLRB, ATF, DOJ, FBI, FCC, FDA, USDA, EIEIO, all the King's horses and all the King's jackasses. Fine. Americans have stood up to omnipotent governments on other continents, and we can handle one on our shores as well.
I can't remember all of the names, but as always, it was a pleasure meeting everyone. Professor Morrissey from Hillsdale College was a pure delight, his wisdom bursting like so many sunbeams into the conversation. My undying admiration goes to Ricochet Member Foxfier, whose dedication knows no bounds, bringing as she did three wonderful children, one of them only a month old and already better behaved than many adults I know.
Photos and a brief video of the festivities were handled by RushBabe49 (her post on the evening's happenings is here), who did a positively masterful job of orchestrating the entire event, right down to the name tags. If this gathering is any indication, and I tend to think it is, a national gathering of Ricochet members will be something you won't want to miss.