Family First at ARC conference – Top 10 presentations to watch

Family First CEO Bob McCoskrie joined 1,500 delegates from 72 countries in London last week for perhaps the largest gathering of social conservatives & centre-right leaders in recent times – the ARC (Alliance for Responsible Citizenship) inaugural conference. As ex-Deputy PM of Australia, the speaker at our Gala Dinner recently, and member of the advisory board for ARC John Anderson wrote,

“The West’s confidence is at an all-time low. Faith in our institutions, our values and even democracy itself is shaken. Indeed, it’s even worse than that, for we don’t even seem to be sure of what our values are anymore… As the West loses faith in itself, we must offer values and hope.”

Since arriving back in New Zealand, Bob has picked his top ten presentations that he would recommend for you to watch:

#1 Konstantin Kisin is a Sunday Times bestselling author, satirist, social commentator, and creator and co-host of the free speech podcast TRIGGERnometry. In 2022, he published An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West. Kisin started with this haunting quote from Solzhenitsyn “The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization.” The spirit of our societies is at stake. He continued, “There are some people whose brains have been broken. To them our past is abominable and our future is one of managed decline. My message is simple. How Dare You!? You will not steal my son’s future with empty words.

#2 “There is no social fabric without healthy families.” Erica Komisar LCSW is a clinical social worker, author, psychoanalyst, psychological consultant, and parent guidance expert who has been in private practice in New York City for over 30 years. Erica delves into the science behind a baby’s first 1000 days and the crucial role of mothers within it. “Children need a childhood where technology use is regulated… institutional care is not and never will be a good option for children under the age of three... We need to turn around the narrative that work outside the home is more important than motherhood.” 

#3 In the final session of the ARC Conference, Jordan Peterson reminded us that “we have so many people in the world that are lost in ways that are nearly unimaginable” and urged all those in the room to lay aside all of our “hedonic whims”, to take up, cling to, and insist upon the divine responsibility given to us to work for the betterment of our societies. It’s in that struggle that the meaning of life is found. The burden of responsibility is the greatest opportunity you will have. It’s the sacrificial attitude that makes the hierarchy of identity possible. The payback for sacrifice is disproportionately rewarding. We don’t let young people know this anymore. There is no technical difference between thinking about yourself and being miserable. We’ve forgotten the responsibility in life we need to bear to make our lives bearable. We can remember who we are. That’s what this conference is for – to remember who you are. You are men and women made in the image of God stumbling uphill to that new Jerusalem. If we were wise and strategic we can spread that prosperity to everyone on the plant. Tilt the world towards heaven and away from hell. As responsible citizens we can obliviate the necessity for the tyrant and the slave.”

#4 Miriam Cates MP is a Conservative Member of the UK Parliament who campaigns on issues around safeguarding, age-appropriate sex education, and gender ideology in schools. She spoke on the first day of the ARC Conference painting a picture of the fraying social fabric in Western Civilisation, but pointed us to a possible way forwards to reverse this change. “Freedom, prosperity, and happiness are not values, they’re not a map, not even principles. They may be the fruits of a successful society but not its rootsHow, in our pursuit of freedom, prosperity and happiness are we in danger of losing all three?.. If bringing a child into the world is a sign of hope for the future, then in the West that hope is in short supply.”

#5 Michael Shellenberger is an energy expert, author, and leading intellectual in the pro-human environmental movement. He is a co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute and the California Peace Coalition, and founder of Environmental Progress. “By now, almost everyone knows the conventional wisdom: climate change is an existential threat to human civilization; fires, floods, and hurricanes are worsening; the coral on the Great Barrier Reef is dying; we’re in a Sixth Mass Extinction; the only way to really turn things around is with inexpensive renewables, and no longer eating meat; and we don’t need nuclear energy, which is too dangerous. It’s a powerful story, one that has motivated millions of people to march in the streets and governments to spend $1 trillion annually on green energy. There’s only one problem with it: practically everything about the story is wrong.” 

#6 PANEL: SEXUAL REVOLUTION – Dr Jordan B Peterson is a clinical psychologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. Louise Perry is a journalist, author, and director of The Other Half, a non-partisan feminist think tank based in London, UK. Her bestselling book The Case Against the Sexual Revolution was published in 2022. Mary Harrington is a British columnist, author, and contributing editor at UnHerd. Her first book, titled Feminism Against Progress, argues that the modern understanding of “progress” is turning against all but a tiny elite of women. Dr Stephen Blackwood is the founding President of Ralston College, a new university in Savannah, Georgia, dedicated to the revival of humanistic inquiry. He has co-founded and helped to direct several non-profit organisations, from inner-city education to cancer research. “Traditions are experiments that worked. What we have found, having rejected the sexual norms of the past, is that they were there for a reason… The winners of the sexual revolution have not been women…and the great losers of the sexual revolution are children” – Louise Perry

#7 Dr Bjorn Lomborg is the founder and President of the Copenhagen Consensus think tank, which researches the best ways to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Bjorn believes that huge sums of money we want to spend on the climate could be spent more effectively to improve human wellbeing. For example, maternal and new-born health, education, and treating malaria, to name just a few areas. “Yes, climate has costs. But so do climate policies…we have to be honest about that.” “We should fix climate change, yes, but we should fix it smartly.” We shouldn’t impoverish people in the process of trying to fix it.

#8 Warren Farrell – The Boy Crisis: “We need more men to love and be loved” – Dr Warren Farrell is a political scientist, speaker, and bestselling author of seven books including ‘The Boy Crisis’, ‘The Myth of Male Power’, and ‘Why Men are the Way they Are’.

#9 Katharine Birbalsingh – All Countries should listen to what I am suggesting! Katharine Birbalsingh CBE is a British teacher and education reform advocate who is the founder and Headmistress of Michaela Community School in London. She is author of multiple books including Michaela: The Power of Culture. This talk was given on Day 3 of the ARC Conference 2023 as we were discussing what it would take to rebuild the social fabric.

#10 Prof. Jonathan Haidt, Social Psychologist – “No Smartphones before High School” |  Professor Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist and author. He is a Professor of Ethical Leadership at the New York University Stern School of Business. He authored The Happiness Hypothesis, The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind.


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