TwitterFacebook

Former CPAC Chairman Denounces CPAC and the Right Wing

Politics • Views: 925

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!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
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.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
What Are the Kinds of Legal Problems Online Publishers Run Into Today? Here’s an Analysis
The great bulk of the casework has been corporate law advice such as formation, etc. and intellectual property advice. Actual litigation is only about 26 percent of the load, with defense against defamation and tort claims leading the litigation category. What are the biggest legal issues affecting online news organizations, large and small? One group that has a unique perspective on that question is ...

41 minutes ago
Views: 52 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
FemNaziBitch
A 12-Year-Old’s Trek of Despair Ends in a Noose at the Border
Noemi Álvarez Quillay took the first steps of the 6,500-mile journey to New York City from the southern highlands of Ecuador on Tuesday, Feb. 4, after darkness fell. A bashful, studious girl, Noemi walked 10 minutes across dirt roads that cut through corn and potato fields, reaching the highway to Quito. She carried a small suitcase. Her grandfather Cipriano Quillay flagged down a ...

1 hour, 55 minutes ago
Views: 94 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
palmerskiss
Debate Discrimination - Houston Chronicle
We're glad to see Mayor Annise Parker finally stand up and propose a human rights commission that will provide local due process for victims of public discrimination. Parker told the Chronicle editorial board that she plans to release a formal version of her proposal within the next few weeks, but sometimes the process is just as important as the result. As the energy ...

19 hours, 35 minutes ago
Views: 102 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
cycroft
Russ Campbell’s Blog: Bill C-23, Fair Elections Act Seems Now on Solid Ground
Now that a Sen­ate com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended nine changes to Bill C-23, Fair Elec­tions Act, the leg­is­la­tion seems pretty solid. And, since Pierre Poilievre has, ap­par­ently, in­di­cated pri­vately that he's open to changes, an amended ver­sion of the bill will likely be­come law by this sum­mer. We would prob­a­bly have got­ten to this point ear­lier had not the min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the bill ...

22 hours, 5 minutes ago
Views: 81 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
MichaelJ
Live now - 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach - ASP World Tour
More: 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach - ASP Iconic Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia once again hosts the world's best surfers for the 41st running of the Bells Beach Contest. New feature in this broadcast: drone cam!

1 day, 18 hours ago
Views: 185 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 3 • Rating: 0
Skip Intro
Why the Temperature of the Yellow Sea Is a Big Deal, and Other Questions About the South Korean Ferry Disaster
The boat ran into trouble several dozen miles from Jindo, an island that sticks out of South Korea's southwestern corner like a little toe. Jindo is surrounded by a group of even smaller islands that are slightly farther afield from the mainland. The ferry was curving around those small islands at the time it issued a distress call. What caused the disaster? We ...

1 day, 23 hours ago
Views: 356 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 25 • Rating: 1
Idle Drifter
Calgary stabbings: How knife crime in Canada can cause ‘moral panic’
What Calgary police chief Rick Hanson called the "worst mass murder" in the city's history didn't end at the barrel of a gun. Instead, the 22-year-old suspect identified on Tuesday as Matthew de Grood is accused of entering the kitchen at a house party, taking "a large knife" and using it to fatally stab four men and one woman, all of whom were students ...

3 days, 9 hours ago
Views: 242 • Comments: 5
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
aagcobb
New York Electoral College: State Joins National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate: New York Electoral College: State Joins National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Instead of pushing for a Constitutional amendment, which would have to be ratified in 38 states, advocates ask individual state legislatures to pass an agreement: that they'll pledge all their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote as soon as enough other states pass the law to ...

3 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 254 • Comments: 7
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Political Atheist
The Insane History of Rockets at Jet Propulsion Laboratories
The Rocket Boys In the late 1930s, a group of Caltech graduate students were booted off campus after blowing up (part of!) their building during a rocket test gone awry. Unwilling to give up on the joy of semi-controlled explosions, the students and a few of their friends headed into the San Gabriel Mountains. They picked a deserted gully -- Arroyo Seco -- ...

4 days, 12 hours ago
Views: 285 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
iossarian
Drug Companies Want Your Money
Two thematically-related stories on the BBC at the moment: UK drug company Glaxo 'paid bribes to Polish doctors' UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors, BBC Panorama has discovered. Tamiflu: Millions wasted on flu drug, claims major report Hundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better ...

4 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 279 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 8 • Rating: 0
 Frank says:

I never set out to be weird. It was always the other people who called me weird. -- To the Baltimore Sun, October 12, 1986