In previous years, the Conservative Political Action Conference allowed a few non-Conservatism Inc. events to occur around the edges, like the hugely popular 2009 appearance of Geert Wilders, a Dutch critic of hostile Islam and its threat to western liberties.
This year, certain people were prevented from having such meetings, which were considered by the big brains of CPAC to be outside the bounds of proper conservatism.
The Uninvited speakers included Rosemary Jenks of Numbers USA, Dan Gouré of the Lexington Institute, The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea, Frank Gaffney of Center for Security Policy, Jihad Watch blogger Robert Spencer, and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs.
Below is a video of Robert Spencer speaking from the Uninvited panel. For a little more background, see his article Why I Am Not a CPAC Conservative.
Breitbart itself had a follow-up discussing the importance of free speech in these difficult times:
Robert Spencer, Director of Jihad Watch, participated Saturday n Breitbart News’ wide-ranging “Uninvited” panel on the final day of the annual CPAC. Covering issues from crony capitalism, global jihad and the global persecution of Christians, the “Uninvited” panel was the only opportunity CPAC attendees had to discuss several issues critical to our national security.
Spencer’s remarks were framed around the provocative title, “Why I’m Not a Conservative.” The title was toungue-in-cheek, of course, as Spencer has a long history in conservative activism, devoting much of his career to defending the constitution. Because his focus is on the threat to the constitution from the imposition of Islamic Sharia Law, however, his work has been unwelcome at recent CPAC gatherings.
Spencer noted that, in recent years, discussing the threat Sharia Law poses to our basic freedoms, “is suddenly that’s so toxic, that’s so controversial, that’s so evil that they only way I can get here, even to the Conservative Political Action Conference is on a panel called the ‘uninvited.’”
Spencer wondered aloud where the opposition was to the rising global jihad movement. He noted that in the 3rd Presidential debate, Mitt Romney simply agreed with Obama whenever the President discussed his plans to arm or assist jihadis in Syria, Libya or elsewhere.
“Where is the opposition?” Spencer asked. “If we do not fashion on opposition to [jihadis], at this point, then the consequences to this are going to be staggering and beyond anybody’s calculation at this point.”
The remarks by Spencer and other “Uninvited” panelists were in the spirit of Andrew’s desire to bring more voices, not fewer, to the policy debate. Beyond that, however, Andrew also felt we had to be willing to discuss important issues, even at the expense of making some allies uncomfortable.
Ignoring a threat doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Pretending a threat doesn’t exist isn’t a strategy, it is a willful surrender.