Monday, February 22, 2010
Thoughts on CPAC
Overall, I would say CPAC was a success for those of us in the liberty movement. Liberty activists made a good showing, provided Dr. Ron Paul with his straw poll victory, and let the establishment know that the love of liberty is far from dead with a great slate of speakers and supporters.
That being said, CPAC still suffers from its same establishment problems. Though it is a slightly smaller tent than the GOP at large, it is still unable to sustain a consistent, conservative message. Yes, many true conservatives were in attendance, but so were many who merely label themselves as such--the whole time betraying the very principles of the Old Right conservative movement. Does this mean that our battel cry should ring, "off with their heads?" Not at all, but we should call for consistency in our positions and fidelity to our labels. The liberty movement is a prime candidate to bring this about, but it will take time and sustained influence like that of this past weekend.
What those in the liberty movement should not do is write off things like CPAC completely without attempting to bring change from within. Yes, there are people involved with CPAC that I despise...I mean despise, but there is still value in bringing our voice to the table and presenting our ideas as part of the public discourse.
Some people at CPAC may not have all that we are looking for and some may represent the very ideas we oppose, but that doesn't mean that we should abandon CPAC and things like it all together. Who knows? Maybe one day the neocons will be upset that CPAC is so libertarian. Mike Huckabee already is.
It should be noted that even the liberty movement contains factions I am ardently opposed to and continuosly frustrated by. Though I have friends who are so-called "911 Truthers" that are involved with the liberty movement, I believe they are trodding down the wrong path. Yes, they frustrate me, but I will not abandon liberty movement functions just because of their presence. We should extend the same grace to other "conservative" events
Let's not compromise our beliefs, but let's also not think that we are above fraternization with people who at times share our concerns.
PS: I'm fully aware of the absurdity in some of CPAC's going-ons. When I learned that obviously-unqualified John Ashcroft won the Defender of the Constitution Award (after vomiting a gallon of blood) I quipped, "With prime candidates like Ashcroft, Cheney, and Bush I am never going to win the Defender of the Constitution Award! Darn it!"