A few weeks ago I spent my time at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference is well known as the premier conservative gathering, and it is not uncommon to run into famous political thinkers, politicians, and media members. All week long we heard speeches about conservatism, attended breakout sessions on political action, and connected with men and women from around America that are working hard to bring the conservative message to new ears.
If one were to listen to the leftstream media, it would have appeared that CPAC 2017 was a gathering of small-minded, bigoted, racist, Islamaphobic, sexist, backwards no-nothings. Numerous outlets tried repeatedly to frame the meeting as nothing more than corrupt politicians, pandering to the masses who put them in power. I can tell you from first-hand experience, this is not what it was like. Let me tell you what CPAC offered to the attendees, and what we can expect going forward.
For starters, there was a huge amount of diversity to be found, both in appearance and ideology. I saw Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists, blacks, whites, latinos, homosexuals, straights, transgenders, men, women, children, rich, poor, libertarians, conservatives, moderates, and many other forms of diversity that our friends on the liberal side of the aisle do not recognize. It was clear from the moment I arrived that this was not a gathering of drones, ready to pat each other on the back for an election won and job well done. Rather, the turnout was representative of not only physical diversity, but an assortment of thinking, all united under the umbrella of conservatism. This is something the left cannot understand. To them, diversity means the pigmentation of your skin color. To us on the right, we understand true diversity to be found in the brain and uttered through speech.
Conservatism is not simply a red elephant holding a Bible and toting a gun. It’s much deeper than that. We promote the values of ‘conservation’; in other words, we recognize that our Constitution provides us with the guidelines for a successful society, and we seek to conserve those values. We embrace limited government and fight against ever increasing federal power. We applaud the right of the individual to live as they see fit, whether that means choosing not to believe in God on one hand, or applying belief in God to everything one does (such as who and what to do business with). Economic liberty, freedom of ideas, freedom of association, religion and speech are tenants of conservatism.
We completely reject the idea of ‘safe spaces’, choosing rather to use our words in a way that instigates conversations. We don’t run from ideas that challenge us, but we stand strong and let the facts guide us. I watched two people hold up signs in the ballroom at CPAC that said, “We are conservative. We are American. We are trangender. We are proud to be here.” These people weren’t expelled from CPAC for not conforming; instead, conversations were held to hear positions and thoughts, and while there are areas of disagreement, it is clear that CPAC is a place that allowed diversity of thought. I can’t say the same about the left. Before the President spoke, I went outside and asked questions of some protesters who were rallying against Trump. When I calmly and politely asked why they were protesting, many couldn’t give an answer, and some flat-out refused to do so. The difference between the two sides could not be more clear.
As we go forward, I expect to hear more from the far-left media about how ridiculous and intolerant the right is, but at this point it seems to be falling on deaf ears. The facts are this: the right is open to hearing your position, has a strong set of core beliefs, and is willing to talk about them in a peaceful way. When you hear a media member try and paint the picture otherwise, you know you are hearing what many today are calling ‘fake news’, and you don’t have to settle for their portrayal.
Conservatism is worth investigating.