Amid the myriad of CPAC 2012 posts currently filling the blogosphere, I would like to offer my own reflections on the event, and the powerful lesson of which I was reminded. It is rare for me to speak personally in my political writings. I am much more comfortable with the objective distance of facts and principles and analysis than I am with sharing feelings. However, this lesson is so profoundly important to me, and to the cause of freedom, that I am compelled to speak on the subject despite my reservations.
Last weekend was a whirlwind of improbable events. In a 61-hour period I spent nearly a full day on the road and slept less than four hours. It was a trial of endurance, and I hope I met that trial well (though I imagine I probably didn’t!). Fortunately I didn’t undertake it alone; I had a wonderful companion. While at CPAC, I received word that my sister’s husband, whom I love like a brother, was badly injured, and then later found out that I received the message in error, and that he was perfectly fine. Events also tested the strength of the bond between myself and my closest and dearest friend. I am happy to report that bond is stronger than ever.
I also met some of my good friends and comrades-in-arms, many of them for the first time. It’s strange that people can mean so much to us, before we’ve even seen them in person. It is my lingering regret that I didn’t have sufficient time to spend with all of them, or to effectively communicate my admiration of them. I am profoundly lucky to stand in the company of giants, some of whom were present and some who were not and were missed.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my family, without whom I would never have become the staunch advocate of individual liberty that I am. My principles are part of my pedigree. Their unwavering support has buffered me through difficult times.
I only saw one speech on Saturday- Daniel Hannan’s speech (VIDEO). Among the many things I took away from it, was the profound isolation he and other British patriots experience. Conservative principles, patriotism, and love of country are frequently scorned by the liberal majority there. Mr. Hannan expressed his happiness that we are not so unfortunate in the United States.
He’s right. We are much more fortunate- we have each other. Our greatest strength, and the thing which our opposition works so tirelessly to destroy, are our bonds of comradeship, friendship, and love. The greatest evil of our enemy is his desire to tear us apart and render us alone and helpless, leaving a selfish and all-powerful government as our only recourse.
Milton Friedman once told a young liberal college student, who suggested a 100% inheritance tax rather than an income tax, that we aren’t an individual society, we are a family society, and taxing inheritance would eliminate any reason to accumulate wealth. He was correct. We libertarians champion individual rights and dignity, and the individual’s freedom to associate and pursue prosperity and happiness. But these liberties are little comfort if we have no one with whom to share them.
It’s difficult for me to admit, but I have, at times in my life, felt alone and disconnected from my friends and family. I have felt hopelessly outnumbered and powerless. Fortunately, I had good people to remind me that I was neither alone nor unloved.
The bonds of loyalty and trust and love motivate us. They give our lives, and our cause, purpose. They define who we are and why we work so tirelessly. We have nothing but each other. That is the root of the ‘small-government and big-citizen’ cause: Together, we are vastly superior to any Leviathan; Divided, we are fragile and subservient. Either we can care for, provide for, and protect one another, or we can have nobody but government to do these things for us, and do them capriciously and badly.
Our relationships are our power and our conscience. Together we live, alone we die.