Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner is one of this year’s winners of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation’s prestigious Bradley Prize for outstanding achievement, the conservative think tank announced today.

“Ed Feulner has elevated the influence of conservative research institutions,” Michael W. Grebe, the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation’s president and chief executive officer, said in the announcement. “Under his guidance, The Heritage Foundation has become a bastion of ideas that are an integral part of the national conversation and have shaped public policy.”

In 1973, Feulner co-founded Heritage as a rapid-response policy research institute, hoping to fill a need on Capitol Hill for reliable information and analysis to advance conservative ideas – a shortcoming he’d identified as a congressional aide. He has nurtured the think tank’s growth in expertise, influence and rapidity of response since 1977, when he became Heritage’s president. …

The Bradley Prizes formally recognize individuals of “extraordinary talent and dedication who have made contributions of excellence” consistent with the mission of the Bradley Foundation. Up to four prizes are awarded annually to “innovative thinkers and practitioners whose achievements strengthen the legacy of the Bradley brothers and the ideas to which they were committed.”

A nine-member selection committee considered nominations from more than 200 prominent Americans before choosing Feulner and three other winners. Among those on the panel: previous prize recipients Robert P. George, Alan Charles Kors, Charles Krauthammer, Shelby Steele and George F. Will.

As a Heritage alumna who owes more than I can possibly say to my time there, I found this news impossible not to share. Incidentally, the announcement comes as I am just four essays shy of finishing Dr. Feulner’s book The March of Freedom, an incredible anthology of essays from some of the most brilliant founders of the modern conservative movement. One by one, the essayists have moved and motivated me, resonating with me not because they tell me what I want to hear (often, they don’t) but because they accurately describe human nature and propose that we order society in a way that takes that human nature into account. I whole-heartedly recommend it — especially to my fellow millennials. Because we didn’t live when communism was ascendant around the globe, we also didn’t have the opportunity to witness firsthand its attendant horrors. Unfortunately, the twentieth century didn’t really lay the specters of communism and socialism to rest once and for all — but the turn of the millennium did in effect bury much of the best evidence against them. We who have grappled only with a seemingly impotent form of democratic socialism and with an at-times unappealingly acquisitive democratic capitalism are not always alive to the consequences of the ideas we consider. March of Freedom brings those ideas — both the cherished ideals of the left and the right — alive. May the occasion of Dr. Feulner’s recognition as an individual of “extraordinary talent and dedication” also be an invitation to my peers to discover his many important contributions to conservative thought, starting with his meticulous and magnificent curation of the thoughts of other conservatives in March of Freedom.