Editor’s Note: Peg Brady of Centennial CO, a Western Conservative Summit delegate since our first year in 2010, annually contributes her exhaustive program notes for the benefit of fellow summiteers as well as those who couldn’t attend. I liken her to James Madison, stenographer of the Founding, whose personal record
Day One: Friday, 26 July
Citizen Action Workshops
Of great value during WCS 2013, fourteen Citizen Action Workshops empowered and informed us. These breakout sessions were scheduled on Friday afternoon before the Summit convened, on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday afternoon following adjournment. Choosing among them was most difficult.
-After Liberalism: Envisioning America 3.0
-Building a Fundraising Machine
-Counteracting Sharia and Jihad
-Crafting Your Public Image
-Environmentalism the Reagan Way
-Exercise Your Civic Authority
-High-Impact Social Media Strategies
-How to Beat Liberals at Their Own Game
-Reversing Obamacare and Reaching Minority Voters
-Substance and Meaning of the Constitution
-Talking Back to Hollywood
-Trump the Race Card
-Understanding Your Most Fundamental Rights
-Young Conservatives Speak Out
Workshop: “Reversing Obamacare and Reaching Minority Voters,” Dr. C. L. Gray
Using Obamacare both as an example of his method and as a prime reason to do so, Dr. Gray, founder of Physicians for Reform and author of Battle for America’s Soul, explained how to communicate Conservatism effectively. He related Barbara Wagner’s wrangle with the Oregon health-care plan that declined to pay for her oncology treatment but offered to pay her for assisted suicide; their budget only accommodated procedures that they deemed would ensure benefits for the greatest number of patients. Similarly, leftist author Peter Singer recommends infanticide for defective newborns.
Therein lies the fundamental difference between Liberals and Conservatives: leftist Liberals value only the collective while Conservatives believe individuals have intrinsic worth.
Hypocrites followed the Pythagorean concept that life is a divine gift and hence precious, the philosophy promulgated throughout the West by Christianity. Conversely, Nietzche based his teaching on Plato’s collectivist orientation. He averred that the State should support only those who could add to society. But who decides? By what standard?
Liberals deny any standard. Post-modernism demands that we recognize no standard, no moral code, no Truth. That absence of order, though, does not promote freedom but rather induces mindless chaos. Then, with no concern for consistency, through the so-called Affordable Care Act, they establish a bureaucracy to regulate physicians’ treatment choices through government-dictated standards and penalties for non-compliance. Outraged and frustrated, many doctors have discontinued treating Medicare/Medicaid patients or have even withdrawn from practice.
Dr. Gray provides details and data online (www.physiciansforreform.org). The ironically-named Affordable Care Act will drive up health-care costs and insurance premiums, interfere with physicians’ treatments choices, increase unemployment and drive medical services providers out of practice. Even more essential, Obamacare explicitly illustrates the lie behind the Liberals’ claim of compassion. Their goal is power.
Workshop: “Exercise Your Civic Authority,” Mark Herr
Co-founder of the Tennessee Center for Self-Governance (www.tncsg.org), Mr. Herr began his workshop by reminding of Dr. Franklin’s famous reply when asked what sort of government the Founders had chosen: “A republic if you can keep it.” Our precious Constitution states that “we the people” have establish our government; it is our duty to sustain it.
To help us do so, the Tennessee Center for Self-Governance developed a training course that enables citizens to select and support constitutionally valid candidates and causes; to build communication channels with elected officials; to hold elected officials accountable; and to influence the course of government through editorial letters, social media and lobbying, even policy writing.
Before we can exercise our civic authority, Mr. Herr averred, we need to clarify two loosely-understood terms. Power is the ability to influence decision-making, whereas governance is the control of its use. Power always belongs to the people, and we choose to delegate a portion of our power to governments with the goal of securing order and fulfilling citizen-mandated functions (“establish justice” and so forth in the Constitution’s Preamble). All other power remains with us. We need to learn how to wield our power.
Convening: John Andrews and Bill Armstrong
To stirring cheers, Centennial Institute founder John Andrews welcomed us and proclaimed this year’s Summit theme, “Freedom’s New Day.” As Colorado Christian University president, Bill Armstrong affirmed our shared dedication to our beloved nation’s great future. The eighteen hundred gathered in Denver were joined via simulcast by hundreds in Scottsdale, sponsored by Arizona Christian University.
Following a rousing Pledge of Allegiance by our many voices, Kiowa/Mohawk tribe chief Huron Claus sang a deeply moving prayer of Invocation. Several times during the Summit, the Legacy Quartet raised their rich harmonies in prayerful song. Also throughout the Summit, CCU’s 1776 Scholars introduced program speakers and other honored guests.
“Freedom’s New Day is Now,” Governor Scott Walker and Mayor Mia Love
Cheered for his courageous stance in Wisconsin and his subsequent successful victory over the Left’s recall attempt, Governor Walker graciously acknowledged a hero’s welcome.
To open, Governor Walker reminded us of President Reagan’s first inaugural address in which he affirmed that the federal government’s power derives from the people through the states. Thus, any genuine reform must also arise from us. Reclaiming our power is already evident; Conservatives hold the majority in most state legislatures and among state governors. Further gains will be ours when we demonstrate our optimism, relevance and courage.
Affirming that the people are in charge, Conservatives need to convey a clear, positive platform – limited government through responsible budgeting, genuine service, school choice, prosperity and jobs. Unlike the Left, we care about the outcome, not about control. We understand that people are busy with their jobs and their families, wanting little government interference, yet reasonably expecting quality and timeliness in the services for which they pay taxes. Recognizing that individual dignity rests on achievement, we seek to free people from government dependence. True compassion links assistance with achievement, promoting freedom and self-reliance — not by handouts but through opportunities. Our principles and practical vision truly foster the greatest good for the greatest number. And unlike the Left, “we fulfill our promises because we believe what we say.”
Mia Love, mayor of Sarasota Springs, Utah, inspired the 2012 RNC with her message of dedication to public service. Her father taught her the lessons of endeavor, independence and service. The short-term benefits of government handouts crumble in comparison with the long-term good, for generations, of freedom, self-esteem and prosperity. Mayor Love cited General Patton’s precept that “it’s not important how low adversity makes you fall but how high you bounce.” Attacked in the media, Conservatives’ light may be dimmed but it remains always a shining beacon.
We know that people can regulate their own lives far better than bureaucratic elitists in Washington or state capitols. People crave empowerment, not demeaning, debilitating handouts. We need to proclaim the proven fact that “Hard work, education and thrift will take you farther than government ever can.”
Nightcap: Shawn Welcome
Poet and public speaker Shawn Welcome quoted Galileo, “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” Conservatives, patriots and all those who stand against the government’s over-reaching interference call trouble down on themselves. The IRS scandalous abuse of power, NSA’s intrusive data gathering and other violations of civil liberty demonstrate the Left’s philosophical bankruptcy and willingness to attack law-abiding citizens. But, Mr. Welcome observed, “Trouble gives life flavor. Like a storm stirs music from a wind-chime,” Conservatives can become the catalysts for change that achieves a truly better America.
Day Two: Saturday, 27 July
Re-Convening: John Andrews and Representative Mike Coffman
Eager for this day’s presentations and workshops, energized Conservatives packed the Denver and Scottsdale halls. John Andrews introduced Colorado’s honored Representative Mike Coffman. As a veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Coffman might be expected to cite military or terrorist actions as our nation’s greatest threat. Rather, he averred that debt and over-spending most threaten our national security.
“Restoring America’s World Leadership,” K. T. McFarland
As an honored expert on foreign policy and national security (www.ktmcfarland.com), Mrs. McFarland predicted that today’s world-wide decline will not last. “Truth and right will prevail,” she assured us, introducing “a new Renaissance.”
Countering media’s enthusiasm for China, Mrs. McFarland noted their dire environmental deterioration, particularly air and soil pollution. They face a “demographic time-bomb” caused by their population-limiting policies; young people are too few to support the elder generation, and young men will be unable to find wives. While China has made economic progress, hundreds of millions remain in deep poverty.
Russia too falters. Although its energy boom seems strong, Russia lacks industry. Worse, its government and its elite disregard the Rule of Law, fostering economic and social chaos. Debt undermines hope for economic and political progress in Europe, where entitlement-holders fight the need for austerity.
In the Middle East, intra-Muslim power-struggles interrupt peoples’ lives and promulgate bloodshed with no regard for human worth. Israel recognizes that Obama’s administration does not “have their back” and has become more self-reliant and self-determining. Adding to their confidence, Israel has identified an offshore natural gas reservoir, reducing their energy dependence. Israel believes that Iran’s nuclear-weapon capability is imminent but that Iran intends to employ it as a threat, rather than attack.
In comparison, bad though our present circumstances seem, we retain the strong foundation that our Founders built: Rule of Law, civilian military, an educated population, our precious Bill of Rights. Though daily under attack from leftists, our Constitution prevails. We flourish in a resource-rich land, our resource-independence making possible jobs powered by industry and investment. To regain the “rendezvous with destiny” foretold by President Reagan, we must forge genuine leadership strengthened by our values and principles.
“Who Owns the Future,” Guy Benson, Mary Katherine Ham, Michael Barone
Guy Benson, respected young political analyst, offered insights on upcoming contests. He forecasted that Governor Christie will be re-elected in New Jersey and that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Conservative, has a strong chance in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. Conservatives should gain seats in the House and possibly enough Senate seats to oust Harry Reid from leadership. For non-Coloradans in the audience, he explained that two Colorado state legislators who promoted unpopular gun-control bills in 2013 are subject to recall elections this fall.
Columnist and commentator Mary Katherine Ham addressed the Summit via Skype. She urged our leaders not to abandon Conservative principles in the hope of appealing to young voters and other demographic groups. Rather we should reach out to include them in our dialogue through virtual or face-to-face townhalls, that we must recognize the importance of using communication technology effectively. She explained that gay marriage is popular with young people but abortion is not. Furthermore, we should emphasize that Obamacare attacks America’s youth and that out-of-control bureaucratic over-reach produces cumbersome, unresponsive government that “simply doesn’t work.”
Michael Barone, Conservative author and journalist, countered that no one “owns” the future; instead we have “the opportunity to influence outcomes.” Moreover, the voting behavior of demographic groups is far more uncertain than pundits pretend. Rather than voters shifting left, Mr. Barone forecasted movement to Conservatism among blacks, Hispanics and especially youth, while 44% of the electorate is solidly Conservative. To strengthen that shift, we need to remind young voters (whose education, sadly, does not include factual history) that the Left’s message is neither new nor innovative.
Together, these analysts averred that voters oppose gun-control legislation, intrusive and costly government regulation, and other behavior-modification programs. Yet the media, with “no pretense of reality,” proclaim that Conservatives are out of touch, not the elitist Left. Both the media and our education system teach that Statism equates with being a good person, compelling the public to adopt their leftist views. Stretching credibility, journalists no longer report events but strive to change public opinion. Though requiring backbone, “Conservative leaders must not cave to media pressure.”
“The Moral Bankruptcy of Liberalism,” Dr. Victor Davis Hanson
Independence Institute’s Krista Kafer interviewed Dr. Hanson, military historian and Hoover Institute senior fellow, on the importance of a historical perspective. Dr. Hanson quoted George Washington, “The farther back we look, the farther ahead we can see.” He explained that the elitist Left’s fixation on “fair share” rests on the fallacy of a static volume of resources. Further, the Founders crafted our Constitution to avoid that antique notion, hence the Left’s persistent efforts to undermine it. The Left’s central method, promoting entitlement dependence, erodes moral strength. While ironically they claim to value diversity, their “fair share” drumbeat engenders class envy and disunity.
Similarly, the Left seeks to bypass the Rule of Law, insisting that judgment be relative, with no standard of right and wrong. Then hypocritically they impose their own judgment through regulations and indoctrination.
Another concept much hated by the Lerft is that of American exceptionalism. Seeking to erode our confidence, they maintain that America is not different, that all nations falsely consider themselves special. Again, Dr. Hanson averred, history disproves their claim. Our Founders’ wisdom and our peoples’ moral strength make us the beacon of freedom throughout the world. Only under corrupt leadership, modeled on (and lauding) Old World tyranny, can our great nation be reduced from within.
Citing historic evidence, Dr. Hanson advised legislators to stand firm for legal immigration with assimilation. Uncontrolled illegal immigration and non-assimilation heighten unemployment and violence. Likewise, our leaders must uphold the sanctity of law, without which we may “descend into despotism.”
Liberalism does not reflect human nature, because elite, hypocritical Liberals do not genuinely care about people, only about power. Rather, we Conservatives are the “true populists.”
“The Conscience of a Constitutional Conservative,” Senator Ted Cruz
Son of a Cuban refugee and an Irish-Italian mother, Senator Cruz fully understands the plight of impoverished immigrants. Yet, adversity strengthened his family’s dedication to the principles of capitalism and Constitutional government – “the only true sources of opportunity.” We can ensure Constitutional leadership through grassroots action, electing good leaders and holding all government officials totally accountable for their decisions.
Calling on us all to uphold our precious Constitution, “our shield,” Senator Cruz averred that only Constitutional governance can restore freedom. To do so, we must:
–Stand strong for principles. He cited Senator Rand Paul’s recent filibuster, which triggered an avalanche of social media messages, compelling 20 more legislators to join him and ultimately forcing the Administration to back down. When Mr. Obama tried to use the Aurora theater shooting to promote unpopular gun-control bills, again social media exposed the fallacy of pursuing gun-control instead of strengthening law enforcement. Only fully-funded military strength and law enforcement can ensure our continued security. The Left’s weak notion of “leading from behind” has failed.
–Champion economic growth. Out-of-control spending engendering massive debt is “fundamentally immoral” and must be stopped. One means is tax reform. As the current scandals demonstrate, the IRS has far too much power. “There are more words in the tax code than in the Bible.” Moreover, nearly all government agencies represent enormous cost with little value. The government “has no business” reading our email, ascertaining our library selections and similar privacy invasions.
–Reform regulatory intrusion. Excessive regulation quashes the economy. Bureaucrat-administered Obamacare is especially calamitous. That the Administration has been forced to delay implementing Obamacare reveals its failure. Even more so does Mr. Obama’s spending multi-millions of taxpayers’ money to try selling us Obamacare. Senator Cruz urged Congress to defund Obamacare with the budget vote, and he asked all Conservatives to contact their legislators with that demand (petition at www.dontfundit.com).
Again, grassroots action is needed. “The people, not lobbyists and elitist bureaucrats, should determine legislation.” Senator Cruz advocated raising Americans’ understanding of “Opportunity Conservativism.” “The free market is the greatest engine for prosperity and freedom in history.” Cherishing the opportunity and liberty he had risked everything to find here, Senator Cruz’s father taught him, “If we lose our freedom here, where could we go?”
“Political Delusions and the American Character,” Dr. Charles Murray
American Enterprise Institute scholar and author of The Bell Curve and Coming Apart, Dr. Murray maintained that America’s greatness arises from our self-determination, the foundation of our self-governing freedom. Now, though, Americans of all classes are no longer united by their degree of allegiance to America’s moral principles. Too many no longer seek productive jobs and financial independence. Too many children are born to unwed mothers and are raised in single-parent families; however hard a single parent tries, a child needs both parents. Conversely, a child does not need “a village” but “a stable family that values education, endeavor and ethics.”
Isolated from working Americans’ reality, Liberals formulate agendas in their “elitist cocoon.” They attended and send their children to private schools, deepening their disconnect with the public. They live in separate communities of mega-houses, select exotic foods and beverages, hypocritically drive luxurious oversized vehicles, promote European-style Statism. They certainly do not respect us, and their condescension engenders their nanny-state dicta.
Still, Dr. Murray reminded us, historically America has demonstrated the ability to change itself. We must act, not merely hope for a moral and cultural renewal. American exceptionalism “is not something we made up; America is unique among the nations of the world.”
“2012 Lessons and 2014 Opportunities,” Dick Morris
Author and columnist Dick Morris, who served as political consultant to leading Democrats, including President Clinton, opined that Conservatives won’t win when we don’t counter the Left’s untrue, misleading attacks. We must answer those negative ads and false interview-show assertions, so that the public will receive our message. We cannot let the Left own the broadcast, print and social media.
Primary elections are another problem that weakens us. Primary elections require too much spending and raise doubts about our candidates.
To reach Hispanic voters we need to speak on topics that resonate with them. They left their homelands because those governments are corrupt, the economies are failing. Social issues and national debt are less important to them than jobs and freedom. Those who are here legally want the borders sealed, just as others do, in order to improve their chance for jobs and to reduce out-of-control spending. Conservatives should demand that America seal its borders, then help to establish a more humane path to legal status, and finally make certain that Hispanic know our accomplishments.
Optimistic that Obamacare will collapse of its own non-feasibility, Mr. Morris recommended that, instead of trying to defund or repeal it, we let it fail. Then the Left cannot blame us, claiming that it would have succeeded if only we had not interfered. By 2014 or 2016 the public will have experienced its oppressive, costly impact and will then vote for its repeal.
All the Left’s assertions of economic recovery are false; the improvement that they claim is based on deceptive accounting, and the little progress that has occurred required massive federal debt that will in time crush economic growth. But talking about debt reaches far too few people, Mr. Morris believes, for “government’s beneficiaries cling to their entitlements.”
A topic that does unite the Left and Right is privacy invasion. The media were stunned to learn that the Administration intercepted their messages, though they too quickly succumbed to whatever blandishments were used to regain their Obama adulation. The public, on the other hand, remains outraged by the NSA’s data collecting, even though the media have struggled to quiet this issue (a “false scandal” according to the president). The proper uses of intelligence-gathering are to ensure national security and to interdict crime. But intelligence alone doesn’t prevent terrorism; vigilance and action are required. As a poignant example, Mr. Morris stated that the Boston marathon bombers regularly attended a jihadist mosque that was under surveillance for four years.
Workshop: “Trump the Race Card,” K. Carl Smith
Leader of the Frederick Douglass Republicans, K. Carl Smith fervently proclaimed that Conservatives can defeat the racism lie and then build productive communication with minorities, women and young people. The Left plays the race card whenever they need to silence us. “Our winning answer is to demonstrate that it’s a lie.”
Mr. Smith played a brief video in which State Senator Guillory of Louisiana explained his switch from the Democrat Party because it has shifted too far left from American values. Those values, he continued, are respect for life, adherence to the Constitution, limited government and personal responsibility. Through extended conversations with Mr. Smith, Senator Guillory found deep-seated and trustworthy commitment to the values among the Frederick Douglass Republicans.
Furthermore, those values are shared by most Americans. Therefore, to engage most Americans in constructive discussion, Conservatives need to focus on those values, clearly and vigorously demonstrating that our values align with theirs. By honoring Frederick Douglass as our exemplar, our message will have far greater credibility.
Because the term Republican has been widely discredited by the Left and the left-leaning media, introducing ourselves as Republicans incurs disdain and even rouses resentment. Many blacks associate the Republican party with George Wallace. Instead, by invoking Frederick Douglass’ courage and reverence for Conservative values, we can gain listeners and even re-energize our fellow, often disheartened Conservatives.
Though not taught in school, historically the Democrats were the party that tried to quash blacks and the Republicans who strove for emancipation. Indeed, the Republican party was formed on that platform. Now the Left, through their dependency-inducing welfare programs, still seeks to keep minorities “effectively enslaved.”
Moreover, with its lies and power-politics, “the Left is morally corrupt.” Blacks, Hispanics and young people care deeply about morality. We need to emphasize the difference between leftist demagoguery and our timeless values. Frederick Douglass’s life exemplifies those values, God’s values.
Workshop: “Counteracting Sharia and Jihad,” Frank J. Gaffney
President of the Center for Security Policy (www.securefreedom.org), Mr. Gaffney comprehends the threat that Sharia poses for overriding our Constitutional rights. Sharia promotes overthrow, by violence or by stealth, of all governments founded on personal freedom. One tactic is demanding that Western governments recognize Sharia law and thus by encroachment erode the nation’s political and justice systems.
Not all Muslims practice Sharia, but Islamist leaders do – perhaps because it induces totalitarian domination through its “brutally repressive” disregard for human life. Sharia, Mr. Gaffney explained, “is about power, not about faith.” But, he continued, that is its weakness. “As a seditious violation of law, not a religion, we can defeat it” because Sharia truly does not qualify for Constitutional protection.
Dedicated to implementing Sharia worldwide is the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood. Its self-proclaimed goal is “eliminating and destroying Western Civilization” by any means. An effective tool of Muslim Brotherhood leaders is inducing citizens to adopt “tolerance” and then to enact Sharia-based legislation. Similarly, the Brotherhood demands that nations recognize Sharia courts; in U.S. courts, 27 or 54 applications for Sharia-based proceedings have been approved.
The Muslim Brotherhood is active throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. Captured documents state its determination to impose Sharia worldwide and to establish an Islamist caliphate to rule all the world’s people. First, though, they must destroy Western Civilization. Their subversive jihad against our values and institutions progresses apace. Brotherhood members have gained influential positions in Western governments, for example Huma Abedin (Mrs. Anthony Weiner) who served as Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff in the State Department.
Muslim Brothers have mastered the disguise of seeming innocuous and likeable, even patriotic. Clearly the media and Hollywood have succumbed. After the Benghazi disaster, Mr. Obama proclaimed, “The future must not belong to those who slander Islam.” Even the Conservative movement has been infiltrated by Brotherhood dupes.
Another tactic is outcries of “offensive” and “intolerant” whenever a Brother is exposed as a jihadist. Collecting intelligence data on their activities has been curtailed as “offensive.” Those, like Michele Bachmann, who have exposed Brotherhood members have been forcefully vilified in order to intimidate and silence others.
Muslim Brothers also employ another technique, demanding a voice in any debate affecting the Islamic community, although they do not in fact represent most Muslims, especially not in Western nations. Mr. Gaffney cited the example of Suhail Khan who promised funding to a Patriots group if it would be “more inclusive” and became verbally belligerent when refused. Khan now serves on the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union, the organization that hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). We must not “legitimate” the Brotherhood; to do so may induce American Muslims to fall prey to their extremist messages.
To counter this creeping invasion, we must first become knowledgeable about its aims and methods. Then we must courageously act. Arizona, for example, enacted legislation declaring “American Law in American Courts.” On a wider scale, Mr. Gaffney recommended the same counter-attack that ultimately defeated Communism’s assault on the West.
“Progressivism Has No Clothes,” Governor Mike Huckabee and Jonah Goldberg
Like the emperor of fable whose nakedness everyone ignored because no one dared to speak out, our left-leaning media strive to ensure that the public won’t recognize Liberalism’s wholesale failure. Thus it is essential that Conservatives courageously and persistently expose the Statist fallacy. “I love this country because you can achieve whatever you dream. But, unless this country gets back on track, people will be stopped where they started.”
Conservatives need to communicate our values and highlight our appreciation for American workers. Rather than talking about debt and tax law, we should convey our respect for all Americans. True, we utterly oppose the Left’s tax-and-spend mentality, but effectively presenting that concept requires stating it in terms that resonate with people. Governor Huckabee suggested, “This government believes that its use of our money is more important than ours.”
We should affirm parents’ right to choose their children’s schools because, unlike the Statists, we honor their judgment. Likewise, health care and all the lifestyle choices that the Left wants to dictate. Disguised as health-care reform, Obamacare will cause many doctors to stop practice, thus leaving us with less choice, more cost and dependence on some un-elected bureaucrats’ whims. “In our view no one is expendable.” Liberals pretend concern for people but demonstrate a smug, paternalistic, demeaning disdain; their actual goal is control.
Privacy too is a Conservative value, shared by the American people. We value genuine security and safety, whereas the Left uses those goals as a smokescreen for yet more intrusive over-reach.
Especially puzzling is the Liberals’ recent abandonment of Israel, seeming to give credence to Muslim leaders’ deceptive assertions of peaceful intent. Mr. Huckabee questioned why the government fails to demand that Iran not develop nuclear weapons, allows Syria to annihilate thousands of people, and honors the untrustworthy promises of anti-Western leaders. Instead, we should steadfastly sustain our sole Middle Eastern ally Israel.
Finally, Conservatives understand that a strong military is the most effective deterrent to conflict. Rather than treating our military as a “social experiment,” we appreciate the dedication and courage of our armed forces. Unlike the Lefts’ persistent demand for reduced military funding, so that they can spend those funds on their Statist agenda of dependence and control, Conservatives believe that our military personnel deserve generous compensation and fully functional equipment.
As long as the Left controls it – undermining our economy through excessive taxation and debt, eroding our personal dignity through welfare dependence, destroying our freedom through intrusive over-reach – “we cannot respect our government.”
National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg detailed the Left’s control of information media. Slogans have replaced thought, innuendo and bald falsehood have supplanted factual reporting, verbal sleight-of-hand disguises empty speechifying, focus on celebrities and superficial situations distracts attention from genuine issues, repetition trumps reality.
The left-leaning media and schools insinuate that Conservatives are bad people, that Conservatism is misguided and foolish. People are told, “guns never solved anything,” but, Mr. Goldberg averred, all military and law-enforcement personnel know guns deter violence. The Left’s assertion that “all problems are everyone’s problem” defeats personal responsibility. Mr. Goldberg quipped, “Their statement ‘Government is the one thing we all belong to’ made me want to switch off the safety on my rifle.”
Young people yearn for something and, succumbing to their indoctrination, get “adopted” by the government. When that doesn’t fulfill them, as government dependence cannot, they know no alternative and just seek yet more addiction — to substances, to entertainment and to government. Woodrow Wilson wanted “every individual to marry himself to the State.”
To counter the Left’s dominance, Conservatives must strive to convey our genuine humanity. Conservatives truly respect individuals. We believe that the government’s functions are detailed in the Constitution. It is not the government’s role to dictate how individuals should live, only to provide the opportunity for them to strive and thrive. As Locke proclaimed, “The fruits of our labors belong to us.” Moreover, Mr. Goldberg declared, “Authoritarianism has kept people poor for millennia.” The motivations for achievement are self-esteem and reasonable compensation. “Capitalism is the greatest mechanism for human prosperity and peace in human history.”
Lastly, Mr. Goldberg encouraged Conservatives to persevere. “We’re on the right side of the best fight there is – liberty and prosperity, the true greatest good for the greatest number.”
Day Three: Sunday, 28 July
Re-Convening: John Andrews
Invigorated by all that we had learned yesterday, again we hurried to begin this day’s Summit. John Andrews noted the relevance of Colorado’s state motto, Nil Sine Numine – Nothing without Providence. For this Sunday morning, Mr. Andrews urged us to step back from politics and to focus on our faith. “It is up to every citizen to ensure that faith prevails.”
“Faith and Citizenship,” Lee Sobel
A lawyer and former atheist, Mr. Sobel set out to investigate Christianity, expecting to disprove its validity. Instead he was transformed and now has authored The Case for Christ and The Case for a Creator. “I was trained in law to recognize truth, and that is why I am a Christian.”
He asked us to manifest God’s blessing, to be “the light of the world.” We should live so that our works honor God. If we each put God’s love into action, few people would be dependent on the government for sustenance. We must look around us, discover people’s needs and help them. Flowing through us, God’s love can truly help; the government only attempts (or, worse, pretends) to help. “Good neighbors trump government programs.”
Even people of faith have questions and doubts in hard times. The Left’s seeming constant growth stuns and baffles us. By sensing God’s love all around us and in ourselves, we will be comforted and strengthened. Mr. Sobel assured us that it is natural to have questions but not to become mired in doubt; it our responsibility to seek answers.
Although spiritual conversations can be extraordinarily difficult, we can model our exchanges on Jesus’ respectful, honest dialogue. “We have Truth on our side.” Moreover, living as exemplars of God’s love will in time help others find the warmth and beauty of God’s light, which is the gift of true freedom. Mr. Sobel closed by citing 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
“A Center Right Nation?” Kellyanne Conway, James Golden, Jenny Beth Martin
Mrs. Conway founded The Polling Company, an opinion-research firm. Her data indicate that Americans are indeed still center-right. As evidence she noted that the Left had to change its label to “Progressive” in an attempt to disguise their true orientation. Because “Independents don’t trust government,” she believes that Conservatives can prevail if we nominate candidates with the spunk to lead.
However, we must deliver our message firmly and courageously, and especially to use modern messaging technology. Our message must emphasize Constitutional respect for individuals. Most Americans want reduced government spending for genuine, appropriate services. Also, her data reveal a strong upwelling of religious fervor, indicating approval for faith-based programs and for a ban on mid- to late-term abortions.
James Golden styles himself “the official Obama criticizer, black enough to criticize.” He opined that many Americans’ political orientation swings somewhat depending on the issue. Moreover, because some demographic groups are unfamiliar with America’s traditions, contributions and values, we need to speak with them in their terms. Hampering our message is the dependence that 2000 entitlement programs induce. For all, our message must show that Conservatism – small Constitutional government, reduced spending and thus lower taxes, Rule of Law, faith-based respect for individuals – ensures “an alternate way to flourish.” We need to demonstrate that Conservatism is “not just about cutting taxes but about freedom to succeed.” It is essential that we contradict “racist” accusations. “Racists are those who call other people racists, those who pretend to Civil Rights leadership.”
Tea Party Patriots helped sponsor this year’s Summit. Co-founder Jenny Beth Martin strongly believes that Americans prefer center-right limited government. Dismayed by Obama’s far-left policies, voters elected Conservative state legislators and governors. Eighty-one percent of Americans affirm the Constitution’s importance. Thus empowered, we need to declare our values confidently. Countering the elite Left who always relate the woeful tale of some victim, she recommended that we cite success stories, such as the achievements of historic and modern immigrant families.
Our panelists encouraged Conservatives to apply the Left’s techniques, pursuing journalism careers, writing frequent blogs and letters, becoming “community activists” and bringing our message to the public. We need to nominate candidates at all levels who are electable and principled. Most especially, we should avoid conflict with one another; if we split the votes in an election, we lose. “If we don’t win, we can’t govern.”
Bonus: Steve Green
Steve Green’s family founded and leads Hobby Lobby, a free enterprise success story. One of the world’s largest privately-owned arts and crafts retailers, employing hundreds and enriching the economy, Hobby Lobby filed suit seeking release from Obamacare’s mandate to provide insurance coverage for morning-after and week-after birth control. The FDA’s birth-control guide states that these pills may act by stopping implantation of a fertilized egg, which Mr. Green believes constitutes abortion. If Hobby Lobby fails to comply with this mandate, it would face fines up to $1.3 million per day. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
Over the years, the Green family has acquired many articles associated with the Bible. Now the Greens are building a Biblical museum in Washington, D. C., near the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, to house their collection. The museum will be completed and open to the public in 2017. Meanwhile, the collection is briefly on display in Colorado Springs, as The Passage Exhibit (www.explorepassages.com).
“The Bible addresses all aspects of life so that we can follow its principles in our daily lives. We have free choice always. Jesus chose love and so can we. What God looks at is our hearts.” By choosing love, even in hard times, we demonstrate faithfulness.
John Andrews reminded us that Colorado Christian University was the first educational institution to file suit against Obamacare, as a violation of the First Amendment.
“Taking Back the Moral High Ground,” Bill Whittle
As “Virtual President” and through videos and widely published writings, Bill Whittle strives to alert American about the Left’s pretense, posturing and false promises. “Collectivists pretend moral superiority, but they are not good people. They don’t fight fair because they would lose.”
Mr. Whittle declared that logic, data and history demonstrate the truth of Conservatism. Unable to counter our truth, the Left mud-slings, calling us “racists” and other slurs. On the contrary, Affirmative Action and similar leftist schemes are truly racist, based on the Left’s belief that minorities are not equal and require handouts and special favors. “When someone slaps the ‘racist’ label on you, trying to make you shut up, don’t!”
The election of Mr. Obama “is the symptom of the collectivism with which everyone has been indoctrinated.” Many people vote for leftist candidates and causes “in order to feel superior, cool, attractive.” They have been brainwashed to view Conservatives as bigoted fools. The media and their teachers have repeated daily the Left’s litany:
-Wealth is “unearned,” and therefore it is not theft to re-distribute it.
-Everyone, except the ones who worked to produce it, should be given a “fair share.”
-No one and no nation is special, so everyone’s outcome should be identical.
-Only the collective, not the individual, achieves and creates.
-Wealth is a limited resource that should be divided according to need, not merit.
-Safety and comfort are the government’s gift, more important than personal freedom.
-Government programs are free, and anyway the “rich” should pay more taxes to provide ever more privileges.
Conservatives need to raise awareness of our message: personal freedom, private property and virtue. We should remind voters that the government wants the power to enforce its dicta and to pry into their private lives. With young people, we should ask, “Do you want to be told what to do?” With anyone, we should ask, “What ability or property will you give away?” With anyone, we should ask, “Is it indeed all right to steal?”
We must remind minorities of Dr. King’s full statement, the conclusion of which the Left omits. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but only by the content of their character.”
“A Time for Choosing, Once Again,” Allen West
Having served for 22 years in the Army, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Mr. West also represented Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. Introducing Mr. West, his colleague Representative Doug Lamborn defined a hero as one who overcomes adversity and steadfastly chooses to uphold moral values, even at the risk of life. Mr. West is just such a hero.
“Faith, freedom, family and future” must be our focus, Mr. West urged. Conservatives cherish a free-market economy and limited Constitutional government. We place our faith in God, not in government bureaucrats. We recognize that a clear understanding of right and wrong is essential. Steadfast and loyal, loving our great nation, we believe in strong national defense.
“Socialism has failed all over the world,” Mr. West confirmed. Struggling for power, the Left tries to split our nation along false divisions. “But the only color that matters is our flag.” We should not reward those who break our laws but, as people of God, thus people of outreach and love, we welcome those who honor Law. We could, for instance, help newcomers learn English so that they can become productive citizens.
Obamacare is a crucial watershed for our nation’s future. Our legislators must not fund it. True, blocking Obamacare will be unpopular with some people, but “It is less important that we be loved than that we be respected for not upholding our principles.” The Left seeks to impose dependency; we seek to uplift into freedom through economic and social opportunity. “Obama should approve that pipeline – yesterday!” He seems to value everything except freedom – dismantling the military, eroding privacy, crushing the economy. “That’s not leadership!” Quoting President Reagan, Mr. West declared, “It’s time to choose.”
Adjourning: John Andrews
Concluding this year’s splendid Summit, Mr. Andrews announced the results of the “straw poll” documenting attendees’ 2016 presidential preferences. Those results can be viewed on the Centennial Institute website (s10627.p20.sites.pressdns.com/centennial). Video and audio recordings of the entire Summit can be purchased, as well.
Western Conservative Summit convenes again on 18 July 2014. I can hardly wait.
LET FREEDOM RING!