Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and rising GOP star U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Houston were the keynote speakers Friday night at thae Fort Bend County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, held at Safari Texas Ranch.
Their speeches at the $100-a-plate fundraiser served to rally the Republican faithful in a culture war with the far-left and a progressive push toward socialism.
“The reason we come together under the names of President Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln is to remind ourselves of the American character, the American ethos, the driving force behind the great American spirit that has created more prosperity and freedom than any other endeavor in American history,” Crenshaw said.
The former Navy SEAL and newly elected member of Congress gave a fiery speech outlining five cultural foundations that need defending from left-wing and progressive politics. In contrast, the soft-spoken Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate, cautioned the audience of over 700 about the internal threat posed by extremists who want to push the country toward socialism.
“It’s not about Republicans and Democrats, it’s about people who love our nation and our system and people who want to fundamentally change us into something else,” Carson said. “We have a fight on our hands. What we have is really worth saving.”
Carson spoke about his own rags-to-riches story growing up the son of a single mother whose formal education ended in the third grade.
“I came to the conclusion that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you. It’s not somebody else,” he said, adding that he got where he was through hard work and perseverance.
Without mentioning him by name, he said President Donald Trump has become a lightning rod for hate.
“You can see the wheels of hatred and division so active in our society creating wedges based on race and gender, and income, and religion, and particularly in terms of political ideology,” he said.
He said it doesn’t matter what Trump does, there is a left-wing element that will always oppose him.
“We find ourselves in a very difficult situation in this country right now. There are a lot of people who refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election. And they have just decided they are going to resist and resist no matter what happens,” he said. “And when you think about it, how silly is it to be resisting at a time when the unemployment amongst blacks, Hispanics, and women is at a record low level? It’s a time when manufacturing is coming back and people are starting new businesses, when people around the world are starting to have respect for what’s going on in this country. Let’s put it this way, if the previous president was in office when this was going on they’d be thinking he was the greatest person who ever lived in the history of the world.”
Carson said that there is a movement to undermine the country that is happening so subtly that most people don’t recognize it.
“In order for them to fundamentally change this country there’s a few things they have to control. They have to control the schools so they can indoctrinate the young people. They have to control the media so they can indoctrinate the masses and spread political correctness everywhere. And they have to control the courts,” he said. “The first two, they have. The last one they would have had if Hillary (Clinton) had been elected, which they totally expected and he (Trump) snatched it out from underneath them.”
He said the state-by-state legalization of marijuana is another subtle move by progressives toward socialism.
“If I were trying to destroy a great country like this one, I would know I couldn’t do it militarily, but I would recognize that I could do it from the inside,” he said. “If I got the people to hate each other, if I got the people to get addicted to all kinds of drugs; if I started saying ‘marijuana, that’s pretty good stuff, you know. It’s just a nice recreational drug. We just use it for medicinal purposes.’ Never mind the fact that people have flashbacks. Never mind the fact that there’s strong medical evidence that it affects people’s IQ, particularly in the undeveloped brain and the brain continues to develop right into your late 20s. Do you know anybody in their late 20s who acts kind of strange in Congress?”
He said another tactic used by the far left is to scrutinize and demean good people to the point that they give up and keep quiet.
“What is going to happen to our country when good people no longer want to serve, when they say I’m not going to do that to my reputation and to my family? I’m not so sure that that isn’t the reason for some of the stuff that’s going on,” he said. “If they can get all of the good people to shut up and stand down then they can easily proceed with changing this country.
“That is what political correctness is all about. It makes good people shut up and not say anything while the country continues to move further and further toward another system. That’s where all of us come in. We have to stop being silent, we have to stop being sheep. We have to teach our children to stand up for what they believe in. If we don’t do that we are going to lose our country. There is no question about that,” he said.
Carson said he believes there is hope to prevent the political changes stirring in the country.
“It doesn’t have to continue this way we can turn this around. This is America, this is a place where we have faced some awful challenges. This is perhaps the worst one because it’s more subtle and it’s changing the fabric of our country without a lot of people even recognizing what’s going on. That kind of insidious damage is very difficult to control,” he said.
Carson spoke about shifting attitudes about abortion and the push by the hard left to allow the killing of unborn babies up to the moment of birth. He spoke about the barbaric methods used to kill unborn babies.
“What happened to our morality? What happened to our sense of decency?” he asked. “No one will ever convince me that what is in a woman’s womb is a meaningless bunch of cells, it never will happen.”
He concluded by talking about the importance of faith in God.
“We need to make it perfectly clear that it’s OK to live by godly principles of loving your fellow man and caring about your neighbor, and developing your God-given talents to the utmost so that you can become valuable to the people around you; of having values and principles that govern your life. If we do that we will not only make America great again but we will truly have one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” he said.
In his speech prior to Carson, Crenshaw pointed out the difference between liberals and progressives.
“You’ve got to distinguish between progressives and liberals. They’re different. Liberals we can disagree with. Progressives are something different; something worse,” he said. “We’re under attack from the increasingly radical progressive ideology. Progressivism is radical change for the sake of change itself – the belief that human nature can be transformed and controlled by government, that the sovereignty of the individual can and should be subsumed by the collective will.”
His five cultural foundations that he spoke about are: Personal responsibility, mental toughness, a sense of duty, virtue and morality; and liberty.
“You can’t have freedom without all the other values I just listed,” he said.
“If you’re not personally responsible then you’re not empowered and if you’re not empowered then you cannot possibly be mentally tough and if you’re not mentally tough then you cannot survive in a competitive, free society,” he said. “If you’re not personally responsible, then by definition you believe others should be responsible for you, thus infringing on their freedoms, so say goodbye to liberty.
“If you can’t take personal responsibility then it is highly unlikely that you would take responsibility for the country or feel a sense of duty for that country, so say goodbye to another foundational bedrock, patriotism. Finally, if we’re not moral people with concrete, unchangeable virtues, then how on earth can we be trusted with freedom? All of these elements build on one another; they are required.
“Sustainability of our society should be our strongest argument for why the conservative cultural perspective is the right one. We conservatives must remind Americans that the counter-cultural values of the left can only exist as a weight on the back of traditional values. Taking responsibility for others as socialists want can only occur on the backs of those who first take responsibility for themselves. These cultural foundations are also the foundations on which our Constitution is built.
“The purpose of government is to protect those rights, not change them… America is the greatest idea that humankind has ever had and we aren’t about to let it be squandered,” he said.