TwitterFacebook

Former CPAC Chairman Denounces CPAC and the Right Wing

Politics • Views: 1,007

Wow. Mickey Edwards, who chaired CPAC for five years and served in Congress for 16 years, has a powerful piece at The Atlantic explaining Why I’m Not at CPAC.

The short version: because the modern right wing has been taken over by kooks.

No, I’m not going to CPAC. And, truth be told, most of the folks there wouldn’t want me there. They wouldn’t think I’m a conservative; many wouldn’t think Barry Goldwater was a conservative; many, had this been three decades ago, might have been seeking a “true” conservative to run against Ronald Reagan. I don’t begrudge these activists their views and they are entitled to use the term “conservative” to describe themselves if they so choose. But the views many of them profess have little in common with the distinctly American kind of conservatism that gave birth to CPAC and the modern American conservative movement. Instead, what many of today’s self-proclaimed “conservatives” proclaim is an ideology borrowed from what Donald Rumsfeld famously dismissed as “old Europe.” Winston Churchill, one of Europe’s better-known conservatives, was half-American and his incredible strength of character helped Great Britain survive World War II, but when asked to define conservatism, Churchill responded that conservatism was about reverence for king and church. But America has no king and has no national church. That distinction is crucial and one in which today’s so-called conservatives have switched sides; crossed the ocean, if you will.

What distinguished modern American conservatism was that it had its roots not in the British kings, but in John Locke and Adam Smith and other champions of individual liberties and individual empowerment. European conservatism—the kind that has now become the rage for the American Right—was top-down and centered on state power. The rise of modern American conservatism, on the other hand, had a distinctly Madisonian flair, embracing the fundamentals of American constitutional limits on central authority. European conservatism found its voice in magisterial decree, religious edict, and acts of parliaments in which members may or may not have ever visited the communities they were presumed to “represent.” American conservatism found its voice in a Constitution that placed every major power in the hands of the people, through their representatives, and ensured that those representatives would actually be residents of the communities that elected them. American conservatism embraced a Constitution that separated and constrained powers, that specified —highlighted—a few of the protected liberties of the people coupled with clear assertions that all undelegated powers—all other unsurrendered liberties—remained with the people rather than the government. A Constitution that placed unambiguous limitations, including direct prohibitions, on the attempted exercise of governmental authority.

Today there are few things that set a “conservative’s” teeth on edge more than a defense of “civil liberties;” yet that is what American conservatism was all about—protecting the liberties of the people. It was a system designed to protect the people from an over-reaching government, not to protect the government from the people. American constitutionalism was a historical high-point in recognizing individual worth. Stop at CPAC today and you will find rooms full of ardent, zealous, fervent young men and women who believe the government should be allowed to torture (we condemned people at Nuremberg for doing that), who believe the government should be able to lock people up without charges and hold them indefinitely (something Henry VIII agreed was a proper exercise of government authority). Who believe the government should be able to read a citizen’s mail and listen in on a citizen’s phone calls, all without a warrant (the Constitution of course prohibits searches without a warrant, but nobody cares less about the Constitution than some of today’s ersatz conservatives).

I’m not at CPAC because I believe in America. I believe in liberty. I believe that governments should be held in check. I believe people matter. I believe in the flag not because of its shape or color but because of the principles it stands for—the principles in the Constitution, the principles repeated and underlined and highlighted and boldfaced and italicized in the Bill of Rights. The George W. whose presidency and precedents I admire was the first president, not the 43d. It is James Madison I admire, not John Yoo. Thomas Paine, not Glenn Beck. Jefferson, not Limbaugh.

Ronald Reagan would not have been welcome at today’s CPAC or a tea party rally, but he would not have wanted to be there, either. Neither do I.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
Take advantage of our yearly subscription, and save 50% off the normal subscription price! One-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95. Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing now and save!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2015-02-13 1:58 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
The Mother Of All Pies
Israel Holds an Election in 3 Weeks. Here’s What You Need to Know.
More: Israel Holds an Election in 3 Weeks. Here's What You Need to Know. In slightly under three weeks, Israel will be holding its 20th parliamentary election, which was declared after a long period of internal power struggles within the ...

3 hours, 47 minutes ago
Views: 128 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 3 • Rating: 1
Thanos
Compliance & Security: A Race to the Bottom?
Kevin talks about a pervasive industry problem - being compliant according to your auditor and their checklist, but still being highly vulnerable. One of the common faults in compliance is senior level managers who don't really know enough end up ...

11 hours, 14 minutes ago
Views: 112 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Doofus
Troller gets Trolled
Curt Schilling showed a young punk you don't mess with his daughter on twitter. Schilling's fond paternal congratulations were met with "tweets with the word rape, bloody underwear and pretty much every other vulgar and defiling word you could likely ...

1 day, 8 hours ago
Views: 369 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Lumberhead
Pittsburgh’s Police Chief—the #EndWhiteSilence Twitpic Cop—Isn’t What He’s Cracked Up to Be
In this era of raw nerves, protests and increased tensions, Americans really want leadership. It's natural for the public and the media to desperately seek out examples that appear to affirm that our nation is changing for the better. ...

1 day, 9 hours ago
Views: 309 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
FemNaziBitch
The ‘War on Women’ Is the Latest War That Republicans at CPAC Want to Win
By this process, you can arrive at a conclusion like this: To win the War on Women, you better put a ring on it. At CPAC, conservatives dedicated an entire panel to "The Future of Marriage." One could be ...

1 day, 21 hours ago
Views: 326 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
ಠ_ಠ
Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras doing a Reddit AMA
Earlier today interested Redditors posed questions to Poitras and Greenwald in Los Angeles, while Snowden posted from Moscow. A rare opportunity for average people to directly communicate with the (in)famous leaker.See the entire discussion HERE Redditor masondog13 asks: What's the ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 728 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Rocky-in-Connecticut
Muslims Join Hands At Oslo’s Largest Synagogue
Wait a minute... watching Fox News and the Republican talking heads I learned that all Muslims are bad bad bad and in no way can Islam be interpreted as any sort of peaceful religion. news.yahoo.com OSLO (Reuters) - More than ...

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 946 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 8 • Rating: 5
BadExampleMan
Help Tel Aviv Roller Derby move forward!
For the last three years it's been my privilege to help coach a dedicated group of young women who have founded the first Women's Flat-Track Roller Derby league in Israel. They've learned, trained, fought, and worked unbelievably hard to bring ...

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 760 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Great White Snark
Federal Judge Rules Ban on Interstate Handgun Sales Unconstitutional
Added bold is all mine. this was an awkward way to go about gun control anyway. It clearly impacts the law abiding far more than felons, and is by that definition inefficient and intrusive at best. Gonna have to do ...

2 weeks, 6 days ago
Views: 1,504 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
 Frank says:

We'll get back to the wimp, and his low-budget conception of personal freedom, in just a moment -- Thing-Fish.