Essay Contest: Terrific Question

by George Leef

From Bradley C.S. Watson, co-director at the Center for Political and Economic Thought at Saint Vincent College: 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I write to announce the second annual Douglas B. Rogers Conditions of a Free Society Essay Competition and encourage you to disseminate this announcement to anyone you know who might be eligible and interested.

Honoring the memory of Doug Rogers, a young scholar of great promise who died tragically in 2011, the competition is meant to encourage undergraduate students to join the Center in discussing themes of Western Civilization, such as individual freedom, limited constitutional government, free market economics, and the philosophical and moral foundations of America and the West.

This year students are asked to address those themes in connection with the following quotation from Isaiah Berlin: “But to manipulate men, to propel them towards goals which you — the social reformer — see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence, to treat them as objects without wills of their own, and therefore to degrade them.”

The competition is open to all full-time undergraduate students currently registered in any field of study at a college or university in the United States or Canada. The Center will appoint a committee of judges to select the winning essays. Prizes will not be awarded if, in the exclusive opinion of the judges, submitted essays are of insufficient quality. Essays that are, in the exclusive opinion of the judges, of publishable quality will, with the consent of the author, be eligible for publication in the Center’s journal, Citizens and Statesmen: An Annual Review of Political Theory and Public Life. The first- place winner will receive $2,000 and an invitation to attend a March 19, 2014, awards dinner and lecture by New York Times best-selling author Peter Schweizer of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution to be held at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Second and third-place winners will receive invitations to said awards dinner and $1,000 and $500 respectively. Winners choosing to attend the awards dinner will be responsible for their own travel. Prior to the awarding of cash prizes, winners will be required to verify their eligibility, and to attest to the fact that the winning essay is wholly their own. Any amount of plagiarism will result in disqualification.

Essays should be a minimum of 2,500 words. There is no maximum length. Submissions should be sent in Microsoft Word format to [email protected] by January 10, 2014. Winners will be notified in February.

For more information, please visit us online.

Last year’s winning essays can be found here.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Bradley C.S. Watson
Center for Political and Economic Thought
Saint Vincent College


Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.