Editor: Peg Brady of Centennial CO has attended every Western Conservative Summit since the series started in 2010, and each year she keeps the most thorough and comprehensive journal of the proceedings, of anyone we know.
Here is her 2014 edition. WCS14 organizers salute Peg Brady as our one-of-a-kind scribe, but also as representative of the 150 Summit volunteers whose tireless work and unfailing good cheer made the conference possible.
Friday, 18 July * Convening: John Andrews and Bill Armstrong
To stirring cheers, Centennial Institute founder John Andrews welcomed us and proclaimed this year’s Summit theme, “America at its Best.” Former state senate president Andrews declared, “The long night of liberalism is over. That era is ending.” He called on us to “link arms and together change the world, renewing the values of faith, family and freedom so that we restore America at its best.”
As Colorado Christian University president, Bill Armstrong affirmed our shared dedication to our beloved nation’s great future. To that end, Summit 2014 is dedicated to “high purpose and principles turned into practice.”
Following a rousing Pledge of Allegiance by our many voices, CCU’s Legacy Quartet stirred our souls with their sincere and moving voices as they sang our national anthem. 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.
“Now Is the Time,” Bobby Jindal, Mike Lee and Ben Carson
Bobby Jindal, wise and hugely successful Governor of Louisiana, turned around that state’s damaged economy through conservative principles, especially reducing burdensome regulations. In contrast, he cited many examples of the left’s wrongful abuses that steal our freedom and quash prosperity. The leftist elite is “managing the slow decline of this great country.”
“The most dangerous consequence of Obama’s presidency is eroding the American Dream.” That must end. To preserve the American Dream of personal freedom and individual responsibility we must daily celebrate and uphold our great nation’s principles. We must insist that the president adhere to the Constitution, performing the duties assigned to his office and ceasing all non-constitutional actions. In particular, the government should not treat with terrorists nor override parents’ choice for their children’s education.
The American Dream ensures equal opportunity. His parents immigrated — legally – from India to pursue that dream, accepting the necessary hardships and endeavor that made it possible for their children to prosper. “The American Dream that I learned was not about envy.” The left’s false promise of equality without effort weakens America’s prosperity and erodes our freedom, including the recipients’. The elitist left preen themselves with the presumption that they are smarter than we are, hence we should obey their decisions. For example, Eric Holder sued Los Angeles to defeat school choice. While they pose as champions of diversity, they punish anyone with the temerity to disagree with their rule. The left strives to transform America into the sort of unconstitutional, centralized despotism that “American patriots rejected nearly 240 years ago.” And then, as the crowd cheered he added, “Continue to fight the good fight.”
Mike Lee, US Senator for Utah, declared that “we must assert our rights every day.” He compared our current constitutional crisis with that facing the American patriots who resolved to reclaim liberty. When asked why he fought for independence, Revolutionary War soldier Captain Levi Proctor answered, “We had always been free. We had always governed ourselves. But England would no longer let us do so.” Now our own government tries to thwart our freedoms.
Conservatives must proclaim that we stand for freedom, that we are the party of ideas, that we will reform government to its proper role. Rather than merely criticizing Big Government, we must pledge to “fix broken government.” Our precious Constitution clearly defines those services that the federal government should provide; beyond that, it must not go. To exceed its explicit role violates the states’ responsibilities and tramples our freedom. Moreover, for all the left’s avowed do-good goals, their policies have only harmed those whom they presumed to help. He concluded with the stirring admonition, “Don’t settle for mediocrity. Expect the best. Expect freedom”
Dr. Ben Carson, renowned neurosurgeon, professor and champion of liberty, called on “all people of common sense” to join in restoring constitutional balance. He warned that “our nation is in crisis.” We can no longer squabble among ourselves over policy points; rather, we must work together to proclaim common sense. That outreach does not imply relinquishing our principles, of course, but a focus on repairing our nation. “I don’t like the word ‘compromise’ when it is applied to principles.” To succeed in re-establishing common sense, we must jointly override the left’s agenda. “We need the sort of leader who can herd ‘RINOs’.”
The left has corrupted people with “goodies” and muddied free-market principles with crony capitalism, distributing privileges among select voter groups and campaign donors. They have tread heavily on our constitutional rights. The vast and numerous flaws in their health-care scheme could have been predicted with the example of the VA’s ineffective medical delivery and expensive Medicare’s widespread fraud. “That’s what happens when health care is in the hands of bureaucrats.” As a physician, he knows.
Certainly it is a worthy goal to pursue genuine health care for all, but the government should not intrude between the person and the physician. Dr. Carson prefers establishing a health-care savings account into which an individual can deposit funds and from which he can withdraw money for those medical treatments he chooses, as can his family if so authorized. This free-market solution (Save Our Healthcare website) puts choice back in the hands of the patient and his physician.
That he espouses excellent education is demonstrated by his Carson Scholars program. He believes that knowledge of history underlies understanding of today’s troubles and the future’s possibilities. All Americans need a firm grasp of our Founders’ principles, especially of our constitutional rights. The Bill of Rights is our shield. For example, tyranny requires disarming citizens. “I believe that the Second Amendment is vitally important” to enable us to defend ourselves from harm, with the caveat that weapons must not be wielded by persons with mental illness.
Another contemporary challenge is illegal immigration. By tolerating, perhaps even encouraging, illegal immigration, our government directly weakens the Rule of Law and may suppress economic growth. Worse, not guarding our borders may facilitate entry for jihadists. “We have the ability to secure our borders. But this government doesn’t have the will to do so.”
This administration’s enormous debt imposes lasting harm. Dr. Carson decried the impossible national debt as “a crime and absurd.” Promoting common-sense solutions, he recommends not replacing bureaucrats as they retire or otherwise leave government employment, whittling down the size of government agencies so that they “do what they are supposed to do.” Helping the able-bodied poor requires only that government cease stifling industry and thus undermining the economy. The poor need jobs, not largesse that causes dependency. Furthermore, we should develop our resources, wisely and judiciously; in particular, abundant energy will significantly reduce costs for individuals and businesses. “The only special-interest group to whom the president should listen is the American people.” Instead of justice for all, the left strives to divide us.
This government’s lack of common sense is clearly manifest in the outbreak of violence worldwide. “The world is like a third-grade class with no teacher.” People need us to lead, with principled common-sense plans.
Above all, addressing each issue, “people of common sense must work together. We must become a nation of responsible voters, using our joined strength to take back America. We cannot allow ourselves to become divided.” Dr. Carson’s practical, common-sense solutions to our nation’s woes inspired all 3300 attendees to stand, calling “Run, Ben, Run.”
Saturday, 19 July
Enthusiastic, energized Conservatives cheered John Andrews’ announcement that last night the Summit garnered 6.6 million tweets. America and the world heard our good news of caring, principled policies to renew our great nation.
“Washington Report,” Tim Scott
Tim Scott, US Senator for South Carolina, described his life story as “Amazing Grace that conservative principles made possible.” America’s poor need not become enslaved by dependency on government largesse. “You can think your way out of poverty.”
He encouraged people to shake off dependence on government and instead to strive for individual achievement. Government interference, excessive taxation and centralized control defeat prosperity and erode personal control. In contrast, free-market exchanges among people making free choices lift everyone. “When the government steps back and entrepreneurs step in, great opportunities happen.”
So, given that our message of freedom, opportunity and prosperity is unequivocally true, why do so few Conservatives win elections? Senator Scott believes that we need to speak in terms of compassion and to demonstrate that we care. For people to hear our truth, first our message must be likeable. Rather than criticize the left’s faulty policies, we must show that our policies meet people’s needs, the good of their families. For example, school choice promotes economic opportunity — jobs. Centralized control of education precludes parents’ choice, increases taxpayers’ cost, and delivers poor results. To ensure the best outcomes for kids, education funds should remain in the state and control over education decision-making should remain at the local level. That’s the sort of realistic yet caring message that will resonate with the American people. “All people love the concept of choice.”
When the left proposes yet more regulations, more bureaucratic meddling, we should declare confidently, “We can fix that problem” and describe practical, compassionate solutions.
“How Culture Drives Politics,” Ralph Reed
Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, asked the difference between principled Conservatives and those who seek salvation through government. “We know better.”
Beyond the acknowledged $17 trillion debt lie unfunded promises totaling at least $75 trillion more. Our government spends more taxpayers’ dollars – our dollars — on debt interest than on education and military strength combined. The administration “watches a world in flames” with no response. “All we get is talk.” And their words signify more dependency, more instability, and more oppression.
“What makes America great is the moral fiber of our people,” Mr. Reed averred. He reminded us that America has turned around in earlier crises and we can thrive again. Our nation needs a moral re-awakening, and it begins with each of us. He detailed a timetable for reforming the civic system: 915 days until this administration ends, 107 days until we retake Congress. To restore our nation’s traditional values, we must work to get out the grassroots vote. We need to invigorate despondent voters; everyone’s vote matters. We should proclaim our message of true hope and opportunity. Each of us must stand up and speak out.
Winston Churchill, great champion of freedom, declared, “Liberty on this planet rises or falls with the American people.” Mr. Reed added, “Let’s get to work.”
“Who’s Winning the Fight on the Right?” Guy Benson, James Golden, Mary Katharine Ham, Katie Pavlich
Radio and online commentator Guy Benson anticipated a mix of victories in this fall’s election among Conservatives and “establishment” Republicans. The left benefits when we expend money and effort with internecine fights, especially primaries. The GOP spends seven times more money on primaries than do the Democrats. Of course we need to hold establishment politicians accountable, but infighting should be avoided or kept low-key. Our strength and resources should be focused on defeating left-leaning politicians by exposing their Big Government agenda and proclaiming our compassionate but common-sense program of freedom and opportunity.
Katie Pavich, also a broadcast and online journalist, emphasized the issues on which both the Conservatives and establishment Republicans agree – notably the need to end Obamacare. She reminded us that the mainstream media exaggerate and even stimulate inter-GOP conflict because it benefits the left. We need to let Americans know that we represent their values. Especially, we need to respect some disagreement, because diversity stimulates new ideas.
James Golden (aka Bo Snerdley, the Official Obama Criticizer) averred that the leftist media know how to game the American people, stimulating envious fights. He advised us not to succumb to their game; rather than being tempted to split, we should aim at changing those establishment Republicans who no longer adhere to American values. For that we need principled leadership.
Mary Katharine Ham, a widely publicized Conservative proponent, agreed. She advised that, when the media try to set us up, we should refuse to be drawn into their game. Instead, we should focus on speaking to the people, proclaiming American values. We need to guide people to ask “not what the government does for us but rather what the government does to us.” She described the left as “fund-suckers” who compel Americans to accept a government that over-regulates and over-spends. We should demonstrate that Conservatives believe in the American people as smart, sane and capable of self-government.
“A World of Storms,” KT McFarland
A widely respected expert on foreign policy and national security, KT McFarland warned that we have sunk into “a dark time with no leadership.” By pretending to “lead from behind” this administration has created not peace but a dangerous void into which have stepped those who employ unspeakable violence to gain their ends – and their goal is tyranny. In defiance of civilized values, they dominate or kill whole communities who dare to oppose them because they know that America will do nothing.
Moreover, they export terrorism to Western nations. One great danger is the indoctrination of residents who are trained to become “domestic terrorists” eager to kill Americans and Europeans at home. In addressing the question of border security, it is essential to recognize the influx of jihadists; there lies a grave threat for they intend direct violence. By comparison, illegal Latinos’ possible impact on our economy is far less a peril.
Too often Western media and governments are complicit in the rise of violence. Our leaders and media blame the victims, not the terrorists, when an attack occurs. Our president apologized for a video that he claimed – falsely – inspired the attack on our Benghazi consulate. The media criticize Israel for effectively defending itself, as though Israel had initiated the current violence. Thus we demonstrate an inverted view of reality and raise gave concern among our stalwart allies. We can hardly blame Israel for taking action when we neglect to do so. We can hardly blame European allies for doubting our reliability when we allow Putin to overrun the Crimea and promulgate insurrection in eastern Ukraine. A few perfunctory “tsk tsk” photo ops don’t work.
The good news? We can still resume our leadership role, and the world needs us to do so quickly. But to regain the world’s respect we must uphold those values for which they have long admired America: free-market entrepreneurship, liberty, and honor. “America’s future is very bright, but it is not a given.” The best way to start rebuilding our place among nations is once again to meet the world’s need for our innovation, the splendid result of the economic and personal freedom that gave America greatness. The world needs our energy and our energy-producing technology that will yield economic growth and jobs worldwide. They need our other innovations, like 3D printing. For more than a century, our nation has given the world immeasurable benefits: better health and hygiene, new technologies, transportation and communication. Even more precious, we have stood as a promise of hope. We must again become that beacon.
“Ideas Have Consequences,” Hugh Hewitt
Law professor, author and radio commentator Hugh Hewitt urged us to emphasize our positive message of opportunity and freedom. And we must make better use of social media to persuade Americans that we Conservatives promote American values – those policies that the left opposes. We seek to protect America through military strength and readiness. We uphold families because that historically proven institution works best. Americans know that real leadership matters.
“Tea at the Boil,” Jenny Beth Martin
Just now America faces the biggest invasion since 1812. The media try to inculcate the notion that illegal immigration is a humanitarian issue. No, it’s a crime. And it brings a concomitant rise in crime. Current policies draw illegal immigrants. Most are not hapless children; rather they are teen-aged boys, the future members of disruptive, even criminal gangs – or are criminals already. Illegal immigration endangers Americans living near the border, but the media and the government ignore their humanitarian crisis.
Citing the analogy of an airline passenger’s oxygen mask, we must first save ourselves before we attempt to aid others. While we respect legal-entry immigration, we need to secure our borders. Then we need to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) practice enacted by Homeland Security in 2012. It is immoral to reward those who break into line. Moreover, not enforcing our laws defeats the central, crucial principle of fairness, the Rule of Law.
“Seize the Day,” Sarah Palin
Alaska’s former governor went on the attack. This administration has promulgated one scandal after another. The cover-up team devises “so much spin, they get vertigo.” The proper response, if we did not face a left-controlled government, would be impeachment. “If this administration is not impeachable, no one is.”
The left has established a “permanent political class” that excludes us. “We are forgotten.” Americans want equal standing at law, consistent application of laws, less interference and lower taxes. These traditional American values would especially help the poor rise above poverty into independence. “Don’t let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up. You know what is right.”
Illegal immigration poses an enormous threat to our economy and hence to our strength. Even Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration, because it endangers the livelihood of all workers.
Apathy feeds their power. Each of us must clamor for the American values – liberty, opportunity, choice — that the left seeks to deny us. We can, and must, use “our pen and our phone” to demand freedom. “What’s right is standing for freedom, respecting the military, letting free markets create jobs, securing the borders and defending the Constitution and the Rule of Law.”
“Beyond Obamacare,” Betsy McCaughey
That Obamacare “shreds our constitutional rights” is undeniable. It rewards hospitals for reducing treatment costs – that is, for providing less care – especially for seniors. It “eviscerates Medicare” – once the left’s flagship welfare program – in order to subsidize exchange-enrolled policies and expand Medicaid. The underfunding of Medicare is so severe that many physicians will no longer accept Medicare patients – the elderly who often are most needful of health-care. It even empowers the government to dictate your treatment although you have private insurance.
That Obamacare is critically flawed is evidenced by the many changes that the administration has promulgated by fiat. But such action erodes the Rule of Law. “The Rule of Law is king, not Obama,” she rightly proclaimed.
Worse, it is emblematic of this administration’s entire program. Rather than endure the left’s destructive agenda, America must rein in spending and uphold our precious Constitution. “Our Constitution is the finest document ever created in the history of mankind.”
Realistically, the Senate majority precludes any chance of impeachment. But we must hold this administration accountable. We must demand a return to constitutional checks and balances. “Nothing justifies this government consuming 42% of the GDP, 42% of our labor.” This bureaucracy is putting us “on the road to serfdom.”
“Can America Be Post-Racial?,” Tammy Bruce. Linda Chavez, Buster Soaries, Bob Woodson
DeForest (“Buster”) Soaries, pastor and former New Jersey Secretary of State, posited that Conservatives empower people and thus truly help the poor rise from poverty. He enjoined us not to be discouraged by the monolithic enormity of the leftist bloc. “David did kill Goliath!” The way to circumvent the left’s strangle-hold on poor people’s vote is to build relationships, partnerships in rebuilding America. Despite the left’s propaganda, Americans of all ethnicities and economic levels understand and share conservative principles. They know that rights carry responsibilities. The left’s policies induce dependency and exacerbate inter-group divides. “Economic problems need economic solutions, not welfare.”
Political advisor and media commentator Linda Chavez urged us to learn how to speak to all Americans. One aspect of government that angers the recipients as much as it does fiscal conservatives is the left’s insulting premise that ethnic groups require special treatment. Moreover, illegal immigration worsens inter-group tension. We need to enact genuine reforms that promote market-based immigration, easing legal entry for specific skills as needed.
Columnist and radio host Tammy Bruce echoed Pastor Soaries in stating that we need to address all Americans without regard for gender, race, religion or economic status. It’s a leftist ploy to incite divisive inter-group envy. We all have in common the love of our great nation. We share ethical values. Ms. Bruce advised us to ignore the labels — “racist” and such – that leftists use to distract us or demean us. “Just pretend they said ‘cocker spaniel’ or whatever!” Their game is to keep us all silenced.
Commentator and philanthropist Bob Woodson explained that the left has indoctrinated poor Americans to believe that Conservatives don’t care. In the 1960s when much social legislation was enacted, government help was needed to mend the deep-seated divides in the American social fabric. “But now the government just interferes.” Conservatives need to join with families to build success stories, to demonstrate that poverty is not insurmountable. Political correctness quashes open discourse and induces inter-group anxiety, thus intensifying false barriers. “America will be post-racial when we can say aloud that Obama is incompetent.”
“How the Democratic Party Left Me,” Elbert Guillory
In 2013 Louisiana state senator Elbert Guillory switched his party affiliation to Republican because his former party had shifted so far to the left that he, as a responsible citizen and legislator, could no long espouse their policies. Particularly noisome is the left’s out-of-control tax-and-spend agenda. “Fourteen months ago I was a Democrat. I once was lost but I am found.”
Traditionally, Americans are peaceful and godly people. To maintain peace in the world requires a militarily strong, smart America. To be strong, we must tax fairly and spend responsibly. He recommends abolishing the IRS and enacting a flat tax. The government’s best role in job-creation is not to interfere; free-market economic activity will promote access to jobs. “For those who want to exercise their right not to work, that’s fine. They can also exercise their right not to eat.”
There are functions that are appropriate for government. But only those should be funded. Funding only constitutionally valid programs would reduce the national debt as quickly as can be. Public education, an enormous expenditure each year for decades, has utterly failed. Parents should be free to choose schools, and the government’s role should be ensuring the children’s safety. “Obama thinks that his family is so much more important than yours.”
Excessive regulation quashes prosperity and institutionalizes poverty. Particularly misguided is over-regulation of the oil/gas industry, causing oil dependency on nations that seek our ruin. And that dependency weakens our courage to stand by our ally Israel, whom we should defend by setting up a demilitarized zone overseen by US or UN troops and weaponry. “This is a war! Nearly 240 years ago, Americans met to find solutions to excessive taxation and oppressive policies. Today you are the Minutemen.”
“Let’s Be America at its Best,” Dennis Prager, Jim DeMint and Ted Cruz
Before introducing the panel, John Andrews announced that the count of tweets about the Summit had reached 18 million. We all cheered, especially glad that young people were learning our good news about responsible, responsive government.
Renowned author and radio host Dennis Prager declared that America is at its best when we live by our traditional values: equal opportunity, liberty and faith. All three are needed. People, especially politicians, must feel accountable; genuine faith ensures that sense of accountability. Indeed, anyone who pretends to faith but does not act accountably reveals the falsity of his supposed faith. Parents need to act as parents, and they need the freedom to do so. Schools need to teach, not indoctrinate. Young people need to learn self-control, not just self-esteem.
America at its best protects Americans but does not coddle them. We must feel safe to believe as we individually do without reprisals. We must feel safe to earn, save and invest money, to acquire property or launch a business without risk of confiscation. We must feel safe to speak out without being demonized. When government is small, individuals can be productive, enthusiastic, innovative and generous. Conversely, big government induces fear and hence selfishness. Our government should strive to strengthen, not undermine, our freedom.
On the global level, people around the world need America to be strong and actively defend human values. Merely proclaiming concern at a press conference or photo-op is not leadership. Nor is it effective to initiate action without persevering.
“America does not need fundamental change. Americans need equal opportunity, liberty and faith.”
Jim DeMint, former legislator and now president of the Heritage Foundation, avowed that we are richly blessed to be Americans. Our principles made our nation great, and honoring those principles will sustain our greatness. Conservatives cherish freedom through limited, decentralized government. Conservatives promote self-reliance, not dependence. Conservative principles engender voluntary, not compulsory, generosity. Conservatism yields prosperity, not handouts or bailouts. Conservative leaders listen to the people, not to special interests. In short, Conservatives work for a better life for everyone.
Even if well-meaning, as many on the left are, the outcome nonetheless is centralization of power, promulgating corruption and delivering little genuine help.
After an interlude of exquisite music, offered by famous Irish tenor Anthony Kearns who charmed us all, Ted Cruz, US Senator from Texas, raised a call for liberty. He averred that Americans are waking and beginning to reject the threat of big government. “We can renew the American Dream,” he declared. To do so, we must pursue four vital policies: restore opportunity, defend the Constitution, ensure border security, and reaffirm American leadership.
Restoring opportunity would directly increase jobs. “Instead of the Great Stagnation, we want again to thrive in a great nation.” Big government hampers, even hurts, poor and middle-class Americans. Opportunity requires flourishing small businesses. We need less taxes and less regulation. Congress should enact a flat tax or fair tax and abolish the IRS.
Despite their oaths to uphold it, this administration persistently violates our Constitution – especially the Bill of Rights. Gun control, religious persecution, IRS intimidation, Common Core and hundreds of other pen-and-phone directives steal our freedom. “We need to repeal every word of Common Core. We already have a common core. It’s the Constitution!”
We need to strengthen border security. While making empty speeches about security, this administration essentially announced that illegal immigrants would be welcomed and nurtured. Now we are cudgeled with media stories about the wretched children arriving in the thousands and told that we must take “humanitarian action” to alleviate their misfortunate, a misery directly attributable to this administration’s policies. The truly humanitarian response would be to return them safely to their families.
The international debacle of illegal immigration, abysmally mismanaged by this administration, parallels their utter lack of wisdom and courage in all global arenas. “People’s safety worldwide requires American leadership. Bullies do not respect weakness.” Effective action should start with directly assisting Israel. When asked about his global strategy for defeating Communism, President Reagan answered, “It’s simple. We win, they lose.”
Senator Cruz declared his total optimism that America at its best lies ahead, because we are passionate for freedom. “A grassroots army is coming!”
Sunday, 20 July
“Summit Chapel,” Robert Woodson
Founder and president of Center for Neighborhood Enterprises, Robert Woodson understands that freedom and endeavor raise low-income families out of poverty. “God does bless America,” he assured us. But the current administration’s consistently unprincipled path has led to moral decline. Our challenge is to restore values. Even more than today’s economic and military threats, moral decline induces greater and more lasting harm. We need to become infused with virtue through God’s spirit.
Restoring America’s greatness will be the work of individuals, not the government. We must remain faithful to our principles in good times and bad, manifesting integrity and witnessing to others. “We shall become islands of excellence.”
Building bridges to others is not done with words but with actions. We need to find ways to help. One of the most uplifting forms of help is assisting entrepreneurs to build businesses and thus to create jobs. “There are no problems that lack solutions.”
“The Anglosphere Century,” Daniel Hannan
Daniel Hannan, representing southeast England in the European Parliament, recounted why he honors our Constitution. As the English Civil War ended in 1647, English leaders recognized that the traditional liberties of English citizens were in jeopardy. To restore those liberties they turned to the Great Charter of 1215, Magna Carta, their “greatest treasure” establishing constitutional government. “Magna Carta is the shared patrimony of all who seek freedom.”
The patriots who struggled to win American independence were not revolutionaries but conservatives, fighting to regain their traditional freedoms. Their victory restored the Rule of Law, the assurance that the Law rules and applies equally to all, including the government. Magna Carta confirmed that ancient principle for the first time in writing, signed by the king. “All the rest follows from that.”
In 1776 only we English-speaking people had that crucial tradition of freedom. The rest of the world had lived in despotism for millennia. With our cherished Constitution, the direct descendent of Magna Carta, Americans devised a form of government that explicitly defined freedom through law, and then America gave it to the whole world. “That gift produced the greatest period of happiness and prosperity the world has ever known. Until now”
Today, “unpleasant regimes” see that the US is not in a position to intervene and again despotism thrives. “We in the Anglosphere are our own masters. If we fail, constitutional law and liberty fail.”
Restoring our shared tradition of freedom is essential. “Think of the sovereignty you have inherited. That inheritance carries with it a duty to preserve freedom and the American system of constitutional government.” To do so, we must remain true to our ideals.
America’s looming debt poses a threat to freedom here and throughout the world. This administration has multiplied debt beyond America’s productivity. “You can’t go on like this.” Especially crucial is instituting true capitalism. “Crony capitalism is not the free-market exchange that truly helps people.” He warned us to distinguish between “pro-market” politicians and those who described themselves as “pro-business,” by which they might mean cronyism. “All those who seek to increase government control, for whatever agenda, erode our freedom.”
“Which Way Millennials: Left or Right?” Nick Adams, Charlie Kirk, Ashley Pratte, Warren Smith
Australian political commentator Nick Adams believes that most young people would choose freedom over collectivism. They crave freedom and would, if they understood the threat, abhor the censorship and enforced uniformity of the left’s utopia. And that is true throughout the world. Young people worldwide need to see America strong and flourishing and free. “The world is better when painted red, white and blue. America must remain the rainbow in our clouds.”
Charles Kirk leads Turning Point USA, a national conservative student movement. Sadly, he disagreed. He believes that the left’s lies and false promises do sway many young people. On the other hand, he sees hope that they are turning, perhaps moved by the rewards that only a free-market economy can offer. To gain their attention, style is important, as is much more extensive use of social media. The left so persistently portrays us as evil, unsophisticated and heartless, we need to eradicate that stigma with a true image of conservatism’s wisdom and compassion. With a better perception of Conservatives, young people can recognize that “voting for the left is like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.”
Representing the Young America’s Foundation, Ashley Pratte too sees an “instinctual” slide to the left. She believes that we need to educate young people about conservatism, to counteract the persistent indoctrination to which they have been subjected in the leftist school system. Logically, young people should reject intrusive, patronizing government. Thus, Conservatives should rephrase their message, focusing on freedom rather than on capitalism. Because the left dominates mainstream media, we need to spread our message through other means – social media and alternative TV (e.g., “Duck Dynasty”). No one, including young people, wants to believe himself a hapless victim; we need to show that conservatism promotes self-esteem through achievement. “To reach young people, we need to empower, educate and engage.”
Author and publisher Warren Smith asserted that data, history and logic are on our side. But he thinks that we need better “story telling” to make our message personal, moving and memorable. He especially recommends songs. When we present our message, we need also to listen, not lecture. Like a mentor, we should personally manifest the principles that we profess. With the right style, our message of freedom and achievement will move them.
“Principles of Liberty: Rich Bratten
Every week while Colorado’s General Assembly is in session, the Principles of Liberty team evaluates new bills in the context of promoting or quashing nine crucial principles: individual liberty, personal responsibility, property rights, free markets, limited government, state/federal balance of power, fiscal responsibility, Rule of Law and equal protection, and constitutionality. The team then sends to each state legislator their assessment of the bills and the reasoning by which they reached that assessment. Legislators and the public can also view the information on the team’s website (principlesofliberty.org). Finally, the team ranks legislators according to their voting record on bills that enhance or reduce liberty.
Today, Principles of Liberty founder Rich Bratten presented awards to those Colorado legislators who proved themselves to be champions of freedom, who uphold the proper role of government.
“Why Freedom Succeeds and Collectivism Fails,” Ben Shapiro
Political analyst Ben Shapiro passionately believes the central premise of capitalism, that individual choices yield better economic outcomes than central planners ever can. We must limit government because “every law is backed with a gun” and ever-expanding government eventually becomes tyrannical. Americans remain too complacent, supposing that totalitarian terror cannot happen here; the German people thought so too. One reason for people’s silence while the government steals our earnings and our freedom is the government’s pretense of protecting us from danger – one crisis after another, one pathos-filled need after another. But no one’s rights should be trampled.
“Collectivism is truly evil,” violating all Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17).
You shall have no other gods before Me. We must not seek salvation from the government, nor an individual politician, no one.
You shall not make idols. Celebrities, political figures, even some putative religious leaders masquerade as gods. We must not mistake their failed promises and proclamations for God’s word.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. Only to God do we owe veneration.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. The sabbath belongs to God alone. Not the government nor any other entity should claim our devotion.
Honor your father and your mother. Honoring the government destroys the family. If we stayed true to our family and they to us, we would not need false promises of assistance or caring from the government.
You shall not murder. Many government policies, especially leftist causes (e.g., abortion, marijuana), lead to great harm, even death. Yet hypocritically they demand gun control.
You shall not commit adultery. Too many politicians and public figures discard their vows, to their families and to us, and seek their own gratification. Worse, the left actively works to discredit or destroy family bonds.
You shall not steal. All taxation is legalized theft. The government relies on force to take our property. Pretending to solve problems, often false issues anyway, never justifies stealing our freedom.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. We cherish truth and respect the rights of all individuals. The government repeatedly lies, whitewashes misdeeds, and wrongfully accuses those who do not submit.
You shall not covet. Politicians endlessly seek to control every aspect of our lives, eradicate our liberty and steal our property.
“Jealousy is the root of everything the collectivists believe.” The left wants there always to be poor; they use victims to justify their actions, their existence. The leftist elites think that we belong to them, like serfs or slaves.
“Answer the Call, Conservatives,” Allen West
Allen West, former US Representative for Florida, urged Conservatives to strive, disregarding the left’s false demonizing and divisiveness. “Conservatism transcends divisions like age and color. We don’t care about the color of your skin. We care about the colors of our flag.” He believes that we can tell all people about America at its best. In America, everyone can rise; it’s a matter of character, not of category.
Economic prosperity would return if the government would repeal the graduated income tax, replacing it with a flat tax that has no exceptions. “Why should we increase taxes on people for being successful?” Peace would flourish in a world with a strong America. Just as children in the schoolyard must stand up to bullies, so too must we as a nation. Especially, we must vigorously support Israel. Terrorists do not honor treaties nor respect humanitarian treatment; instead they pounce like ravening wolves. Government revenue should be spent to guarantee our security by strengthening the military and enforcing laws, rather than on increasing welfare dependency. Once again, our allies and our enemies must believe that we will keep our word.
The government does not create anything. It can only take – steal — and redistribute. Government theft extends beyond our property, stealing also our freedom and our self-esteem. Conservatism embodies “economic empowerment, not the left’s economic enslavement.” We need to achieve the best, pursuing the opportunities that freedom, the Rule of Law and personal endeavor offer us.
“We must paint with bold colors,” he enjoined. Citing anthropologist Margaret Mead, he quoted, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” He asked us to answer the call by proclaiming and manifesting America’s values. “Make the difference known to all, welcome those who come legally and uphold the Rule of Law, actively support candidates who cherish freedom. Be active in ensuring that America at its best endures.”
Adjourning: John Andrews
Concluding this year’s splendid Summit, Mr. Andrews announced the results of the “straw poll” documenting attendees’ 2016 presidential preferences. Summit attendees resoundingly chose Dr. Ben Carson. The results can be viewed on the Centennial Institute website (ccu.edu/centennial). Video and audio recordings of the entire Summit can be purchased, as well. Then the Legacy Quartet’s stirring “Battle Hymn of the Republic” sealed our commitment to liberty. “Be swift, my soul, to answer Him!”
Western Conservative Summit, the Rally on the Right, convenes again on 26-28 June 2015. I can hardly wait.