National Harbor, MD—Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow moderated the CPAC “A Strong America: Protecting Opportunity for All” panel that focused on the aspects that will ensure the United States remains the leading superpower into the 21st century. The panel specifically focused on American virtue, economic opportunity, and foreign policy strength.
Marlow explained in his opening statement that America needs strong ideas to put the country on the right course. The panelists focused on how good ideas will make the United States not just a strong country, but a just one as well.
Former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint of the Heritage Foundation lead off and spoke about the need for Americans to be virtuous. He said that the United States was built on the idea of “opportunity for all, favoritism to none,” and explained that how cronyism in government between big business and big government was undermining that idea.
“The enemy is up here behind closed doors handing out favorites,” DeMint said, noting that those who are locked out of this system and truly believe in free enterprise, “deserve a party in Washington.”
DeMint also spoke about how “everything begins with the character of the people in the country,” and that traditional social institutions such as marriage are vital to creating a strong, stable society. On top of this, DeMint says America’s young people need a better education than the government-run system that “has had its chances in the last 40 years or more.”
The way the government-run system is fixed is through school choice programs like charter schools and vouchers to attend private schools, according to DeMint.
“We see what’s working. The data are in. Education choice does not hurt the poor,” DeMint said.
Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute spoke about the fundamental strengths of the free enterprise system and how it leads to national economic strength. However, more importantly, it is moral and the greatest system for lifting people out of poverty.
Brooks said that he grew up in a “lower middle-class neighborhood in Seattle,” but that he never truly experienced poverty. What he experienced growing up in America was nothing compared to the “real poverty” that he saw looking at pictures of people living in poor parts of Africa. He then explained how since the 1970s, the number of truly destitute people in the world has dropped dramatically and that two billion people have been pulled out of “starvation-level poverty.”
The things that lifted those people out of poverty, according to Brooks, were: globalization, free trade, property rights, the rule of law and the export of American-style entrepreneurialism.
Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland then spoke about how America needs to get back to the “peace through strength” principles that guided President Ronald Reagan.
She spoke about how American foreign policy has historically been different from other countries. “When we have had a strong defense we have used it differently… We have done something that no other country in history has done.”
America has “stayed its hand” in foreign policy and mostly focused on deterrence. However, she said this deterrence “doesn’t work in the age of radical jihad,” and that the Islamists “don’t even want to conquerer western civilization, they want to destroy it.”
McFarland then talked about the ways to combat global jihad. The United States, according to McFarland, needs to wage economic warfare on purveyors of Islamic terrorism by bankrupting them. This will come primarily through the cheap fuel revolution brought on by the American fracking industry.
Fighting the battle over ideology is also a major component of defeating radical jihad, according to McFarland, and President Obama has been unable to rise to this task.
“We have to start standing proud and tall for who we are. Forget the apology tour,” McFarland said.
The last major component in the war on radical jihad is through combat, not necessarily through massive numbers of boots on the ground, but by militarily and economically supporting allies who are fighting in the Middle East.
“The Middle East is starting to wake up. We have to encourage them,” McFarland said.
Marlow stressed during the panel that Americans need to do more than just listen to ideas and engage in activism. He said that everyone with a camera phone can become a citizen journalist and make an impact on the future of the country.