CPAC controversies over Christie, gays come from a misreading of group’s purpose.
(Page 2 of 6)
This meeting resolved that an annual event was needed to rally conservatives, share strategies and promulgate and crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America. It was thus the birth of the Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC. But since it will be the policy of this conference to reject the hypodermic approach to world affairs, we may as well start out at once, and admit that the joy is not unconfined.
Let’s face it: Unlike Vienna, it seems altogether possible that did CPAC not exist, no one would have invented it. The launching of a national conservative conference brought forth from many conservative organizations in a country still widely assumed to be a bastion of conservatism at first glance looks like a work of supererogation, rather like calling for a conference of royals who support royals within the walls of Buckingham Palace. It is not that, of course; if CPAC is superfluous, it is so for very different reasons: It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.
CPAC is out of place, in the sense that Obamacare and the National Abortion Rights League (NARAL) and the New York Times and Chris Matthews and MSNBC are in place. It is out of place because, in its maturity, literate America rejected conservatism in favor of radical social experimentation. Instead of covetously consolidating its premises, the United States seems tormented by its tradition of fixed postulates having to do with the meaning of existence, with the relationship of the state to the individual, of the individual to his neighbor, so clearly enunciated in the enabling documents of our Republic.
“I happen to prefer champagne to ditchwater,” said the benign old wrecker of the ordered society, Oliver Wendell Holmes, “but there is no reason to suppose that the cosmos does.” We have come around to Mr. Holmes’ view, so much so that we feel gentlemanly doubts when asserting the superiority of capitalism to socialism, of republicanism to centralism, of champagne to ditchwater — of anything to anything. (How curious that one of the doubts one is not permitted is whether, at the margin, Mr. Holmes was a useful citizen!) The inroads that relativism has made on the American soul are not so easily evident. One must recently have lived on or close to a college campus to have a vivid intimation of what has happened. It is there that we see how a number of energetic social innovators, plugging their grand designs, succeeded over the years in capturing the liberal intellectual imagination. And since ideas rule the world, the ideologues, having won over the intellectual class, simply walked in and started to run things.
Run just about everything. There never was an age of conformity quite like this one, or a camaraderie quite like the Liberals’. Drop a little itching powder in Barack Obama’s bath and before he has scratched himself for the third time, Chris Matthews will have denounced you in a dozen television shows and tweets, Media Matters will have written ten heroic cantos about our age of terror, MSNBC will have aired them, and everyone in sight will have been nominated for a Freedom Award. Conservatives in this country — at least those who have not made their peace with the Great Society, Obamacare and the rest, and there is serious question whether there are others — are non-licensed nonconformists; and this is dangerous business in a Liberal world, as Rush Limbaugh and every talk radio host, the stars and executives of Fox News, the founder of the American Spectator and others can readily show by pointing to their scars. Radical conservatives in this country have an interesting time of it, for when they are not being suppressed or mutilated by the Liberals, they are being ignored or humiliated by a great many of those of the well-fed Right, whose ignorance and amorality have never been exaggerated for the same reason that one cannot exaggerate infinity
There are, thank Heaven, the exceptions. There are those of generous impulse and a sincere desire to encourage a responsible dissent from the Liberal orthodoxy. And there are those who recognize that when all is said and done, the market place depends for a license to operate freely on the men who issue licenses — on the politicians. They recognize, therefore, that efficient getting and spending is itself impossible except in an atmosphere that encourages efficient getting and spending. And back of all political institutions there are moral and philosophical concepts, implicit or defined. Our political economy and our high-energy industry run on large, general principles, on ideas — not by day-to-day guesswork, expedients and improvisations. Ideas have to go into exchange to become or remain operative; and the medium of such exchange is the printed, spoken, broadcast, Internet, or tweeted word. A vigorous and incorruptible annual gathering of conservative opinion is — dare we say it? — as necessary to better living as Chemistry.
We begin our annual gathering, then, with a considerable stock of experience with the irresponsible Right, and a despair of the intransigence of the Liberals, who run this country; and all this in a world dominated by the jubilant single-mindedness of the once- practicing Kremlin Communist, with his inside track to History. All this would not appear to augur well for CPAC. Yet we start with a considerable — and considered — optimism.
After all, we crashed through. Many made this organization possible, and many more than that invested both time and money in it. All with overwhelming personal and public commitments, worked round the clock to make CPAC possible. Scores of professional organizers, communications experts and activists pledged their devoted attention to its needs, and hundreds of thoughtful men and women gave evidence that the appearance of such an event as we have in mind would profoundly affect their lives.
Our own views, as expressed in a memorandum drafted a year ago, and directed to our investors, are set forth on our web site. We have nothing to offer but the best that is in us. That, a thousand Liberals who read this sentiment will say with relief, is clearly not enough! It isn’t enough. But it is at this point that we steal the march. For we offer, besides ourselves, a position that has not grown old under the weight of a gigantic, parasitic bureaucracy, a position untempered by the doctoral dissertations of a generation of Ph.D.’s in social architecture, unattenuated by a thousand vulgar promises to a thousand different pressure groups, uncorroded by a cynical contempt for human freedom. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaves us just about the hottest thing in town.
The CPAC Credenda
Among our convictions:
A. It is the job of centralized government (in peacetime) to protect its citizens’ lives, liberty and property. All other activities of government tend to diminish freedom and hamper progress. The growth of government(the dominant social feature of both this century and its predecessor ) must be fought relentlessly. In this great social conflict of the era, we are, without reservations, on the libertarian side.
B. The profound crisis of our era is, in essence, the conflict between the Social Engineers, who seek to adjust mankind to conform with scientific utopias, and the disciples of Truth, who defend the organic moral order. We believe that truth is neither arrived at nor illuminated by monitoring election results, binding though these are for other purposes, but by other means, including a study of human experience. On this point we are, without reservations, on the conservative side.
C. The last century’s most blatant force of satanic utopianism was communism. We considered “coexistence” with communism neither desirable nor possible, nor honorable; we found ourselves irrevocably at war with communism and opposed any substitute for victory. Those principles, as Lady Thatcher has noted, were carried by our man Reagan, and he — and they — won the Cold War without firing a shot.
D. The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so. In this cultural issue, we are, without reservations, on the side of excellence (rather than “newness”) and of honest intellectual combat (rather than conformity).
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online