Editor’s note: Below is David Horowitz’s speech at CPAC 2011:
Our country finds itself at a troubling crossroads. We confront challenges from forces that are opposed to its very existence as the nation our founders created. These forces are secular and religious and are poised to attack the foundations of our nation both at home and abroad. In facing them conservatives have a special responsibility as a patriotic vanguard dedicated to the principles that have made America what it is, and who are willing to confront the enemies that seek to destroy her.
At home the adversary calls itself a progressive movement but its goal is to transform America into a socialist state, which would mean the destruction of our liberties. For as the founders warned, there is an ineluctable conflict between liberty and equality. You cannot make men equal without taking away their freedom. The founders devised a Constitution designed to thwart what they called “wicked schemes” to take wealth from one segment of the population and distribute it to another.
Our political parties are now divided between those on the left who want to use the state to redistribute wealth and those on the right who want to protect individual liberty, between those who want to expand government and those who want to limit it.
Here is my advice. You cannot defeat the forces who want to expand government merely by arguing that government is wasteful and inefficient and that the private sector accomplishes tasks better. We have already enlisted those who understand the benefits of the private sector. The only argument that will persuade others is the argument that government is destructive and hurts the people it is intended to serve.
I will give you one example. One of the largest government programs that virtually everyone supports is public education. But public education administered by government is destroying the lives of millions of poor and mainly black and Hispanic children every year. Half the children in our urban public schools drop out before they graduate and half of those who do graduate are functionally illiterate. Stop the government from destroying the lives of millions of poor black and Hispanic children by giving full tuition education vouchers to every child. Take government out of the school business. Vouchers are the civil rights movement of the 21st Century. That is an argument that can persuade the unpersuaded.
We are also faced both at home and abroad with an existential enemy in political Islam. Political Islam is a totalitarian movement that seeks to impose Islamic law on the entire world through the seizure of states by stealth and electoral means insofar as possible, and by terror where necessary, and sometimes by a combination of the two. There are hundreds of millions of believers in political Islam, and it is growing force within the Islamic world itself.
In Egypt, 85% of the population is on record approving of the death penalty for apostates who leave Islam. The same people also believe that the death penalty for defectors from the faith is a form of democracy and religious freedom. There is nothing new in this apparent contradiction. Communist totalitarians also worked through the electoral process wherever possible and through violence when necessary. They called the police states and gulags they created “people’s democracies.” The Soviet Constitution was described by its creators and by the progressive movements that defended it as “the most democratic in the world.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, which is the fountainhead of political Islam and has spawned 12 terrorist armies including al-Qaeda and Hamas is a political force in Egypt that is also willing to participate in elections and in the civil institutions of society. The Holy Land Foundation, a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood was the largest Islamic charity in America until it was raided by the FBI and put on trial in Texas for funding Hamas. One of the documents seized in a concealed basement at the Foundation headquarters and put into evidence by the FBI was the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for America. The stated goal of this plan was to “destroy the American civilization.”
The plan called for building a secret leadership in America and for the creation of a series of Brotherhood front groups that would appear to be participants in America’s democracy until the time came when and where force would be necessary to accomplish the Brotherhood’s goals.
When I read the document, it reminded me of the Communists in America who were on trial for conspiring to overthrow the government, which they surely were, but who described themselves as Jeffersonian democrats. I knew several of them personally, including one who went underground to prosecute the violent revolution. Thanks to the imprudent tolerance of our courts, their convictions were all overturned.