Journalist Betsy Hart was 13 years old when Ronald Reagan lost the Republican presidential nomination.
“I actually laid on the living room sofa and cried,” Hart said.
Hart, senior development writer for The Heritage Foundation and former syndicated columnist and Reagan White House press aid, delivered her speech “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World: How to stay sane in a time of atheism, feminism, and cultural rot.” She discussed the continuous moral and ethical decline of American culture as the result of increased indifference toward God, and a growing idea of feminism that is very different from what it used to be.
Using her personal experience, Hart touched on the importance of marriage, virtue, and how “the true, the good, and the beautiful” combat these mad ideas and change the world for the better.
According to Hart, growing up with conservative parents who instilled certain moral and political values in her had a lasting effect on her. She said these values carried her into college, where she was politically active and passionate about changing the world on a large scale.
Hart said her goal is to show how to impact the world, even when it seems to be in chaos.
Although atheism has been present throughout history, Hart said, it has changed from a stark rejection of God to an indifference. This is having detrimental effects on American culture.
“Even if you’re angry at God, at least you have this shared understanding that God is important,” Hart said. “When you have indifference toward Him, that question is just off the table.”
Hart said feminism also changed significantly, becoming increasingly hypocritical and problematic. She thinks this is negatively impacting American culture. She noted that women in particular are being hurt by this new wave of feminism that, instead of focusing on equality, focuses on tearing down men.
“Mainstream feminists only care about pushing the limits on what they can do instead of what they should do,” said sophomore Kate Ford, after attending Hart’s speech. “I really agree with Hart in that sense.”
After getting the chance to work for her childhood idol, Reagan, Hart went on to work for The Heritage Foundation. But, once she had a husband and four kids, her mindset began to shift.
“You get a little more of a sense of the permanent things and what really matters,” Hart said. “And politics is very important, we need to be involved in that process.”
Sophomore Emma Cummins said she was impressed by Hart’s openness and honesty.
“It was refreshing to see someone be so honest about what’s really important, even if it may not be as glamorous,” Cummins said.
Hart pointed to women who are respected less for their natural yearning to be mothers as an example of another this cultural shift. All of these formerly natural desires are no longer commonly accepted, she said. However, in her experience, they are essential to understanding the world and living a virtuous life.
“Trying to live the way I’m created to live, brings peace to me,” she said, “and I hope it blesses others in this mad, mad, mad, mad world that we are living in.”