It’s CPAC week in Washington, and I was honored to stand up for freedom with the next generation by speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
CPAC has been introducing young people to conservative principles and reinforcing those beliefs in all generations for four decades. It is the movement’s biggest event of the year, and this year it’s a huge event for PJ Media and Next Generation TV. Michelle Fields and I will be producing exclusive coverage for Next Generation members, so tune in this weekend and invite your friends to subscribe.
Here’s an excerpt from my speech yesterday to whet your appetite for the interviews and special event coverage to come:
Two men on a corner, two worldviews
There’s an old story of a young Winston Churchill, an up-and-comer in politics, growing a mustache to look more mature. A woman approached him and said “Mr. Churchill, I approve of neither your politics nor your mustache ” Churchill replies “Ma’am, you are unlikely to come in contact with either.”
Sir Winston didn’t know it, but he was channeling every black American conservative. Folks, I’m speaking from experience when I tell you there’s nothing on this green earth a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government.
The republic I fell in love with, the republic I risked my life to defend, the values I hold dear, the integrity that we all share – these do not know prejudice and they do not accept partiality.
John Marshall spoke of a Constitution that was colorblind, that neither knows nor tolerates classes amongst citizens. How can you not romanticize America? How can you not idealize this land of dreams?
Two men stand together on a corner, one with a thousand dollars worth of Burberry clothing on his back, the other with nothing but a little paper in his wallet and a hope for a better life. Conservatives look at both and see the magnificence of freedom and potential – one dream realized, another taking its baby steps.
Liberals cannot look at those two men without thinking that the rich man prospered only by dipping his hand into the pocket of the poor man. Like the pretenders in Isaiah 29, the American dream is something they “honor with their lips, but their hearts are far from it.”
Don’t let freebies trump freedom
Conservatives understand that the power that binds our republic together is fierce independence held high on the shoulders of compassion. We believe in humility and integrity, the spirit of one people, bound together under God. We understand that the Constitution was written to control and regulate the government, not the people.
I’m sick and tired of hearing that it is our moral duty to serve the state. Conservatives believe that it is our moral duty to serve our fellow man, regardless of race, sex, affiliation or creed. And when we serve, we believe that it is the state’s duty to get out of the way.
Some Americans are lost in the woods – no compass, no map, and the GPS satellites are all inoperable. When more Americans prefer freebies to freedom, these United States will become a fertile ground for tyranny. When did “ask not what your country can do for you” become “ask only what your country will give you?”
Look at California. It’s hard to describe that state as being in anything other than a depression. Californians asked what government could do for them, and they got their answer. Every year thousands of Californians flee that populist paradise for the tax-eased, small government oases of America’s red states.
California is falling victim to the same snake oil President Obama sold America during the election. We were told compassion comes not from the spirit but from the federal government.
We’re told compassion comes not from generosity but from compliance. We’re told kindness means raiding a man’s hard-earned wages and sending them off to Washington so they – not you – may dole them out in courtesies and indulgences.
I’m tired of these insufferable lectures of progressivism.
Conservatism in the real world
You know what this conservative says? Compassion comes from a choice – and not the liberal definition of choice. The choice to say, “I can do with a little less so my brother can have a little more.” The choice to volunteer with wounded warriors, to adopt an orphaned child, to pass on that new iPad so you can give it to your church or to a hospital.
But how can those choices exist if we don’t even have the freedom to make them? Where’s the kindness when a faceless bureaucrat thumps a red stamp on a monthly food ration? Where is love exchanged, where is love felt, when a state administrator stuffs a welfare check into the outgoing mail?
I’m tired of liberals dividing this country up into little groups, setting them upon each other, breeding spite and envy, and then having the nerve to accuse conservatives of hatred.
It’s said that Washington, D.C., is 60 square miles surrounded by reality. Out in the real world, I see conservatives giving more to charity than liberals, even though their paychecks are smaller. In the real world I see conservatives volunteering at adoption agencies, at churches, at bake sales and the local American Legion post, while the only charity a progressive sends is a smug sermon on fair share and fairness.
I’m a conservative because I believe we’re here on this earth to do a little more than crawl through life, comfortable in the cradle of government excess and oblivious to the duties required to keep this republic standing.
When putting an inky quill to sheepskin 200 years ago, our founders declared independence so that we could unlock our potential, not lock us into mediocrity. If the point of this bold American experiment was a controlled existence under a patriarchal government, we could have done a fine job of it under the crown.
I’m a conservative because I believe in peace – real peace, not just the peace of mind. I’m a conservative because we understand that real peace comes from the Marine Corps, not the Peace Corps.
America is more than a government. It is more than a republic. It is an idea. We either keep believing it, or we stop living it.
Watch the full speech to see how the next generation can believe and live the idea past generations envisioned for all of us.
Steadfast and Loyal,
Allen B. West