TwitterFacebook

Former CPAC Chairman Denounces CPAC and the Right Wing

Politics • Views: 958

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.

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

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

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Aye Pod
Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm
Great piece by George Monbiot. To vote no is to choose to live under a political system that sustains one of the rich world's highest levels of inequality and deprivation. This is a system in which all major parties are ...

40 minutes ago
Views: 21 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Randall Gross
Merrill Shapiro Joins Lawsuit Against Rick Scott
A Flagler County resident who heads the local branch of the State Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida and the board of trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State has joined a lawsuit against Governor Rick Scott ...

1 hour, 26 minutes ago
Views: 54 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 0
Dr. Matt
Angry Ram Takes Down a Drone…and its Owner
From the youtube page of Buddhanz1: I was looking for the angry ram with my fpv quadcopter, I got a bit close & he managed to hit it knocking it into a bush, luckily no harm done. When I went ...

4 hours, 4 minutes ago
Views: 146 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
Hyped Up On Ganja
Lindsay Lohan reveals she’s voting for Mitt Romney because ‘employment is really important’
Asked to expound on her comment, Miss Lohan giggled, and replied "Wingnut Mormons are so $$#@#$ hawt and junk" / But this was not the first time the fledgling political pundit has jumped into the presidential twitter fray. In early ...

1 day, 7 hours ago
Views: 249 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Souliren
Natalie MacMaster
2 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 149 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
The War TARDIS
Doctor Who “Into the Dalek” Open Thread
This episode will echo old Dalek episodes, both with a bit of a twist. Also, Clara will be finding someone, as she seems to be moving from her feelings of the 11th. But, this for talking.

3 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 314 • Comments: 42
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 5
FemNaziBitch
Roger Goodell: ‘I Didn’t Get It Right.’ -NFL TAKES A NEW STANCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits he was wrong on the Ray Rice decision, and Goodell took an important step Thursday towards showing the league is serious about cracking down on domestic violence as well as sexual assault. In a ...

4 days, 12 hours ago
Views: 277 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
sagehen
Doctor Who Spoiler Thread
For those who want to post immediately... live... without having to hide spoilers behind the button.

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 715 • Comments: 99
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 6
EiMitch
Escapist: Maniac Cop
escapistmagazine.com Link broken? The gist is that this is an impressively sarcastic review of an old slasher flick based on the "unrealistic" premise of a cop abusing his power to murder people.

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 536 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Rightwingconspirator
A Lizard’s Regenerating Tail
Don't ya hate it when that happens? You feel so short for a month. Anoles are curious little lizards capable of ditching their tails when they feel threatened. This self-amputation, called autotomy, takes about 25 days for the tail to ...

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 543 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 5
 Frank says:

It has never mattered to me that thirty million people might think I'm wrong. The number of people who thought Hitler was right did not make him right... Why do you necessarily have to be wrong jus because a few million people think you are? -- Why they don't play my stuff on the radio
From the Real Frank Zappa Book (1989 Poseidon Press)