NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., March 8, 2014 — CPAC 21014 ends today. A constellation of political stars — conservative personalities and politicians — have walked across the Potomac Ballroom stage of National Harbor’s Gaylord Convention Center. The first Conservative Political Action Conference keynote speaker, Ronald Reagan, would have been proud of today’s conservatives.
New personalities have risen to fill the gap left by their predecessors. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and more delivered passionate, thoughtful, and thought-provoking speeches. Derided by the left as fractious and divided, the conservative movement showed itself to be an intellectually vibrant marketplace of ideas, not an echo chamber. The movement continues as the intellectually vigorous engine of the Republic. CPAC still fosters an environment conducive to serious debate.
Personality is no substitute for principle. Our culture is steeped in the veneration of personality; it is the antithesis of the republican model. A republic is built on the notion that there are no rigid classes, that individuals are free to move up and down on the economic and social spectrum.
However, a cult of celebrity has insinuated itself into the popular culture and has poisoned our thinking with regard to our representatives. We are prone to corruption, politically, morally, and culturally, so it’s essential that we be reminded of the pernicious nature of hero worship. “And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not.”
Our founding fathers, far from seeking notoriety, risked their lives, reputations, and possessions in the pursuit of liberty. It is our task, as their posterity to pursue those principles that most tend to the continuance of those liberties, for which they sacrificed so much. Personality and the pursuit of celebrity do not support or enhance the cause of liberty. We must subsume our personal desires for recognition to the cause of truth.
As conservatives, we would be well served to heed Dr. Ben Carson’s advice, to put “what God says before what man says.” To be truly successful as conservatives, we must put the cause of truth before ourselves and so become deserving of the liberty bequeathed to us.