Two weeks ago Conservative Political Action Conference, which is better known by the acronym ‘CPAC,’ took place from February 26th to the 29th. The American Conservative Union, the organization which organized the inaugural CPAC in 1973, and which still hosts the event to this day, describes it as “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.” Without a doubt, one can’t question this: the event is massive, with thousands upon thousands of conservatives having attended this year.
This year, I attended the prolific conference for the first time in my life, and while I wish I had gone in previous years, the event didn’t disappoint. CPAC is an event including the entirety of the American Conservative Movement. Therefore, the gamut of speakers, breakout sessions, and vendors ran the gamut from libertarians to those espousing ideas nearing Christian distributism and integralism (and everything in between.) There were those who were extreme climate skeptics, as well as groups like Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends, and RepublicEn, which uphold a vision more in line with Catholic teaching on stewardship of creation.
Thankfully, though, on the balance the event was strongly supportive of traditional values: the importance of pro-family policy was upheld at the event, freedom of conscience for people and organizations of faith was upheld and celebrated, and perhaps most importantly, the rights of the unborn were championed. In his speech, President Trump blasted the Democrats for their support of late-term abortion and upheld the dignity of life “Democrats have declared their unlimited support for extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb right up until the very moment of birth.”
And he continued, touting his administration’s success in fighting the evil of abortion in America:“And that is why I’ve asked Congress to prohibit late-term abortion of babies, because every child is a sacred gift from God.”
However, on the grand scale, The President’s speech, and the general tenor of the event was particularly impressive in its recognition of the importance of God’s gift and reign over the universe to our rights. In his speech, the President stated that the Conservative Movement“is united by a towering spirit of patriotism, a profound and abiding love for our fellow Americans, and a deep reverence for the rights and liberties given to each of us by the hand of Almighty God.”
Ultimately, this statement encapsulated what the event and the Conservative Movement hold dear: our dignities as children of God, a love of country, and the recognition that the almighty is the wellspring of our rights.
This was reflected in the remainder of the event, and in many of the breakout sessions. The rights and institutions established by the divine order were discussed intently in many breakout sessions, chief of which was one on the state of the American family, where Terry Schilling of The American Principles Project and The National Review’s David Harsanyi debated whether the family is in better shape in America now than it was 30 years ago. Ultimately, the event demonstrated serious challenges for the American family. But again, this was one of many examples of the family and human rights taking a position of importance at CPAC.
I am proud that my Movement prioritizes the right to life, the importance of the family, and the upholding of tradition. I’m pleased, consequently, that the speakers and sessions at CPAC took these issues seriously.