Why I Am Not a CPAC Conservative

Defenders of free speech and equality before the law find themselves without a place under the right-wing tent.

Many years ago, when I interviewed the great avant-garde saxophonist Charles Gayle, I asked him about bitter criticism he had received for his tendency to preach a pro-life message in the middle of his concerts. “Yeah,” he said with some amusement, “they always call me ‘right-wing.’ Man, I ain’t got no wings!” Neither do I. And as the events of the past week have shown, I am not “right-wing,” either; nor, by the standards of some of the organizers and chief figures of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), am I a conservative.

Throughout my public career, of course, the mainstream media has insisted that my colleagues and I are indeed “right-wing,” and often even “far right.” Since the “far right” is the label generally given to advocates of authoritarian government and racist discrimination, this label, as common as it is, is a sheer calumny, since we are not only advocates of neither one, but opponents of a system that advances both. If working to defend the principles of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law is “far right,” then we should all be “far rightists”; but in reality this label is just a tool of the foes of those principles, used to discredit those who defend them.

But I am nonetheless generally considered to be a conservative. It is a label I have used myself, as a way of distinguishing my position from that of the liberals and Leftists who have generally sold out to the jihad, so blind in their hatred of Western civilization and the United States of America that they eagerly cast their lot with the foremost enemies of both. And on a practical level, that identification has been easy: Regnery Publishing, a foremost conservative publishing house, has published six of my books. Many of my books have been endorsed by the late, lamented Conservative Book Club.

Nonetheless, for all that, I am not a CPAC conservative. You want a CPAC conservative? Mitt Romney is a conservative. He is still a key leader of the Republican Party, the party of conservatives, and he is addressing CPAC this weekend. But during his presidential campaign, he called for the creation of a Palestinian state, which I oppose on the grounds that it will be used as a new base for jihad attacks against an Israel weakened by its creation. During his third debate with Barack Obama, he kept agreeing with Obama that the Syrian “rebels” and other forces of “democracy” in the Middle East had to be aided with our tax dollars – despite the fact that jihadis dominate the Syrian rebellion and that an Islamic state even more hostile to the U.S. than the Assad regime is likely to be the result of their victory. He has said that “jihadism” has nothing to do with Islam, which is just an absurd statement.

So if Mitt Romney is a conservative, which he undoubtedly is by the lights of CPAC, then I must not be one. And then there is Grover Norquist, who is even more of a conservative, as far as CPAC is concerned, than Mitt Romney. Norquist’s conservative bona fides are impeccable: as the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, he has a huge base of supporters among fiscal conservatives and the politicians who want their votes. But he also has extensive ties to Islamic supremacists. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) called Norquist out for this on the House floor in October 2011, saying of the anti-tax hero: “Documentation shows that he has deep ties to supporters of Hamas and other terrorist organizations that are sworn enemies of the United States and our ally Israel.” He pointed out that “around the years 2000 and 2001, Mr. Norquist’s firm represented Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was convicted two years later for his role in a terrorist plot and who is presently serving a 23-year sentence in federal prison.”

Despite this, however, Norquist remains such a powerful force among conservatives that he is a feared eminence gris at CPAC. Last year, his protege (and another conservative with extensive ties to Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood groups) Suhail Khan boasted to me that I had been barred from speaking at CPAC because I dared to question the Muslim Brotherhood ties of some of its foremost figures.

And just last week, after my website www.jihadwatch.org overwhelmingly won a vote for CPAC’s “People’s Choice Blog Award,” John Hawkins of Right Wing News (whether on his own initiative, as he now claims, or as the errand boy of shadowy and unnamed higher-ups, as he initially told me over the phone) told me that I was not to speak about the Muslim Brotherhood ties of Norquist and Khan when I received the award. Needless to say, I could not accept this gag order, and will not be receiving the award: the truth is more important than a trophy.

But that was the end of my identification as a conservative, by CPAC’s lights. Grover Norquist is a CPAC conservative. Suhail Khan is a CPAC conservative. John Hawkins is a CPAC conservative. I, on the other hand, am not acceptable either as a speaker or an award recipient at the nation’s foremost conservative gathering. I must not be a conservative.

Yet some are fighting back. The Breitbart group has invited me to be on a panel they’re holding – at CPAC! -- called “The Uninvited.” Also featured there will be my colleague Pamela Geller, another human rights and freedom advocate whom mainstream, timid, clueless and compromised conservatives have shunned.

So what ultimately is conservativism? I can only answer that for myself: I am an advocate of freedom: of the freedom of speech, of the equal treatment of all people under the law. Consequently, I am a foe of the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, which are enemies of both those principles. I know that there are many others like me, but neither party seems interested in us right now, and neither does the conservative movement as it is represented at CPAC.

It is time for a new conservative movement, a genuine movement of freedom, one that is not compromised, not beholden, and not corrupted. Are there enough free Americans left to mount such a movement? That I do not know. But I do know that if there aren’t, all is lost, and the denouement will come quickly – more quickly than most people expect.

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