Liberty on the Rise?

by Bob Barr

Over this past weekend, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Washington, D.C.  The event is a gathering of 10,000 activists, organizers and leaders from around the nation.

Since 2004, I’ve witnessed CPAC attendees go from a neo-conservative, pro-interventionist, mindset that was closely aligned to the Republican Party, to a gathering of folks who are waking up to liberty and increasingly finding themselves politically homeless.

This year, that shift was obvious to just about everyone.

As an example, Mike Huckabee, had this to say, “CPAC has become increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year.”

Huckabee’s statement is not only representative of the rise of our shared values; it’s also a telling example of how Republicans work.

For many years, I have chosen to attend and speak at CPAC and many other events – “conservative” and “liberal” –  knowing good and well that I may very well be booed for delivering a pro-liberty message.  I also know countless others who do the same.  Does the fear of facing an opposing argument keep us out of attendance?

Heck no!

Unlike Huckabee and his colleagues who feel entitled to respect and a cheering crowd, we embrace the opportunity to deliver a pro-liberty message to those who may not want to hear it.

That’s one clear difference between them and us.  We’re willing to fight to get our nation onto a path of liberty, while they walk off of the field when times get tough.

This year, I had the opportunity with former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore to debate Congressman Dan Lungren and former Bush Department of Justice Official Viet Dinh on the topic, “Does Security Trump Freedom?”

The lively debate was a prime opportunity to deliver a clear, pro-liberty message.  Yes, I was booed by some and cheered by others but, in the end, I was able to voice an opinion on individual liberty to those in the room and many others watching on CSPAN.

Here’s a brief clip of the debate on YouTube (take note of the headline).

While this year’s CPAC was telling, our work is just beginning.

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