The Western Conservative Summit, organized by the Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University, convened this weekend, with luminaries speaking including prospective GOP nominee Donald Trump, Senators Ben Sasse and Tom Cotton, former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, TV star Phil Robertson, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, radio hosts Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, and Erick Erickson, and Daily Wire Editor-in Chief Ben Shapiro. The video of Shapiro's previous appearance at the summit two years ago is the most widely-viewed video of any speech ever given at the summit, and this time was no different; of all the speeches given, Shapiro's speech was hailed by Jeff Hunt, the leader and director of the Centennial Institute, as the best speech of the event, as he called him "The speech champion of the summit."
Despite the fact that the Jewish Sabbath restrictions prevented Shapiro from speaking until 9:30 p.m., Shapiro’s audience dwarfed Trump’s:
As per usual, Shapiro offered blunt truths for the crowd to digest, warning conservatives of the threat to their values-driven movement posed by a full embrace of Donald Trump. Most importantly, he told them that because their nominee is anything but conservative, conservatives have already lost this election, and the time has come to revivify the conservative movement with a vengeance.
Staring at roughly 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, Shapiro began by joking about the fact that he had to wait until the Jewish Sabbath was over before he began his speech, then outlined why the two prospective presidential candidates were such horrible candidates for the presidency:
Thank you, thank you so much for waiting until after Sabbath for me. That's why it's so late. I really appreciate it. What you didn’t know is that by you doing that, by waiting until 9:30 at night, you’re all Jewish now. So congratulations; everyone hates you and a win for the Hebrews.
Tonight, I want to talk a little bit about the divisions splitting conservatives from one another.
We are four months from a presidential election pitting the most corrupt, manipulative, self-obsessed Democrat in America against Hillary Clinton.
But not really.
This election pits two of the most unpopular people in the country against each other: Hillary Clinton, who's a lifelong corrupt criminal, a pathetically self-serving ambitious vile rapist defender; a congenital liar, a felon who despises founding principles and traditional notions of decency, against Donald Trump, who's an arrogant, a-religious, anti-Constitutional, ignorant big government ad hoc panderer… who gave Hillary money.
Now, there are some conservatives who say that we should vote for Trump to stop Hillary. By the way, I have total sympathy for this position. I really do. I have lots of sympathy for this position. I absolutely respect and understand the position of those conservatives who say they have to stop Hillary – although personally, I think it's going to take Dorothy with a bucket of water to do that.
Hillary will certainly stack the Supreme Court with hard-core leftists who are going to gut First Amendment protections for speech and religion and Second Amendment protections of gun rights, and Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and Fifth Amendment protections of due process rights, and Tenth Amendment states’ rights. She's going to continue President Obama’s foreign policy of setting the world on fire, putting the fire out with battery acid, and then setting the world on fire again.
She’s going to tear down our churches, she'll use the educational system to destroy basic concepts like the traditional family, she'll raise taxes, she'll craft new and ugly regulations, she'll open the borders and she'll try to make sure that everyone who comes in illegally becomes a citizen. Overall, she’ll be the second worst president of all time, after the current jackass who runs the place.
Then Shapiro turned to Trump, starting with a quote that immediately drew media attention:
There are other conservatives, including me, by the way, who've said that conservatism is in danger of slaughtering its principles on the altar of Trump.
He outlined why:
Trump is personally gross, he's a man who brags about having sex with other men’s wives and never wanting to repent. He’s got totalitarian instincts – he says protesters ought to be punched or carried out on stretchers; he wants to personally target people like Jeff Bezos, because he owns the Washington Post and also owns Amazon.com. He plays footsie with bigotry: he’s goes easy on denouncing the KKK on national TV; he doesn't denounce his online anti-Semitic alt-right racists; he yells about Mexican judges and disabled journalists and POWs and women bleeding from their wherevers, and says that his political opponents' wives are ugly and that his political opponents' fathers tried to assassinate JFK. He stands against a strong foreign policy, he says he’d order our soldiers to target the families of jihadis in violation of both decency and law; he says that the chief functions of the federal government include, and he said this, housing and healthcare, he flip-flops on abortion and guns and religious freedom amd everything else, he says he’ll refuse to take moral sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he embraces nonsense economics like protectionism and tariffs.
He doesn’t care about the Constitution. At all. Because he's never read it, because he's written more books than he's read.
He’s ignorant; he revels in the ignorance. He was a Democrat until almost literally five minutes ago. He’s a scam artist and a bully and a coward.
Shapiro then targeted Sarah Palin, who spoke at the summit on Friday and condemned Republicans who opposed Trump, calling them "RATS," an acronym for Republicans Against Trump. Shapiro fired back with an acronym of his own:
Here’s the problem: Some conservatives are justifying all this garbage in order to boost him to victory. You can hold your nose and vote Trump; I get it. I might do the same thing. But do not justify perversions of your ideology, perversions of your principles; don’t justify the perversion of your principles in order to justify your support for him. You want to hold your nose and vote Trump, go ahead and do it. You want to destroy conservatism in order to do it, please don’t.
Now there are some people, there are some people who are celebrating the garbage heap that is Donald Trump in order to boost him to victory. They’re calling anybody with questions a “thumbsucker,” they’re telling conservatives to shut up and sing along with the Orange-God-King Worship Choir; they’re calling any conservative who worries about corruption of conservatism a “Republican Against Trump,” an “R-A-T,” a “rat.”
People like this, the people who celebrate Trump, not people who are just voting holding their noses, the people who celebrate Trump and pretend he’s a conservative and try to pervert conservatism to fit Donald Trump, those people are Sell Outs For Trump. They’re “S-O-F-T,” “soft.”
Those people, by the way, are the reason that this Never Trump movement even existed in the first place because there’s an idea that the people willing to sell out conservatism for victory are going to destroy both victory and conservatism.
Then Shapiro got even more serious, as he began his argument that conservatism had already lost and it was time for a revivification of the conservative movement:
But here's a serious question for conservatives, because this is the question that I always get asked whenever I say this stuff. So I've just laid out a bunch of horrible decisions in a row, and it really is, there really isn't a fantastic decision here. It's hard not to be enthusiastic about an election going in; I know, I've lived though enough of them, not as many as some folks; but you want to be enthusiastic going in to an election, so what do you do?
I think the first thing that we need to do as conservatives is recognize a basic truth: conservatives have already lost this election. We now have a couple of bad choices in front of us; some really bad choices in front of us. One may be much worse than the other, by the way. But conservatism already lost. So here's the real question: How do we start over and build this thing up from the beginning, because we hear from a lot of the speakers, and I think that of course they're right, same thing, we lost and we need to fight.
So my goal tonight, is to talk about how to actually rebuild a movement that's going to be able to combat all the evils that the left wants to pursue ... For me, building the movement, building the conservative movement, is a four-step process.
Shapiro listed the four steps: first, knowing your values, which he encapsulated in one sentence defining what has made America great: individual liberty guaranteed by a limited government that draws its legitimacy from a moral and religious people.
The second step: knowing your enemy. Shapiro postulated that Democrats always aver that conservatives are the enemy, while conservatives have not redefined the enemy since the fall of the Soviet Union. He stated:
Of course ISIS is our enemy; but here's the truth: the left is more dangerous than ISIS. The reason the left is more dangerous than ISIS is because ISIS can't succeed without their appeasement and help ... They can’t destroy us without the left helping them along, without the left pretending radical Islam doesn’t exist or releasing transcripts of jihadist phone calls with the religion and Allah omitted; they can’t destroy us without Obama removing troops from Iraq and slashing the military or Hillary Clinton declaring war in Libya and then leaving Americans to die in Benghazi because she’s a vicious pile of nastiness piled 5’7” high ...
The left wants to destroy our families – Marx said it openly. The family is the basis of a free civilization, because I care more about my child than I care about your child, and presumably you feel the same way; you don't know my kid's name. The left wants to get rid of the family by telling mothers they don’t need fathers, by telling mothers it’s virtuous to kill their own babies, by telling everybody the government can raise their children better than they can. The left wants to destroy our churches because they want to play god, and God keeps getting in the way of their agenda. The left wants to divide us from each other based on race so they can destroy our unity in the name of diversity, and pit us against each other, and then tell us as Obama did in 2012 that government is the only thing we have in common.
Step three, Shapiro asserted, was knowing how to fight, knowing the tactics of the enemy. He cited Saul Alinsky, whose Rules for Radicals has been the guiding tome used by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Shapiro quickly went through Alinsky's 12 rules, and showed how to combat each one in turn. Some of the advice he offered included attacking the left's power bases by going into black and Hispanic communities to win over their voters, doing things that conservatives enjoy, e.g. ridiculing them or being mischievous, as he suggested:
When the Democrats sat down on the floor of Congress, there should have immediately been a movement to send them cushions. We should have sent thousands and thousands of cushions to the Capitol building and said to them, "Look, sit there. FOREVER. NEVER LEAVE. You're not doing anything right now and it's great. I want you to sit there and I want you to be like the supremely obese guy from The Daily Mail who grows into his couch. Just sit there and grow into the floor of Congress."
He also advised switching tactics to keep the left off-balance, suggesting it was all well and good to sometimes send letters to our representatives in Congress, but adding, "Sometimes we should just send Botox coupons to Nancy Pelosi's office."
Then Shapiro listed Step Four: Don’t Get Fat and Happy.
Our army has to stay lean.
This means we can’t sacrifice the nature of the army itself for temporary victory, or we’ll hollow out the movement. We’ve been doing this for years. Compromise is fine so long as you remember where you left your principles. But if you left them somewhere and you don't remember where you left them, you’re never going to find them again and you’ll end up with no victory and no principles.
Shapiro referred to the GOP candidates dating from George W. Bush’s second term:
No conservative movement can put up a series of candidates who blew up the budget, created campaign finance reform, originated Obamacare, and gave money to Hillary Clinton, all in a row and not hollow out the movement. You can't do that. Trump may feel like victory the same way napalm does: it’s got the scent, but the actual substance might burn a little bit.
Shapiro concluded with an incredibly powerful call to action for the conservative movement:
For the love of all that’s holy, let’s think about building a movement beyond this election cycle. Think about building something once we're past November.
I’m 32 years old ... I have a two-year-old and a two-month old. Those generations are only going to be protected if we revivify our movement – if we come together around those values, and if we learn who our enemies are, and if we fight them every single step of the way, never giving an inch and if we never stop fighting. We can’t get tired. If we do, they win. We can’t let them have a few victories – they exploit every single victory, and then push on to the next victory. The left is a ceaseless, heedless monstrosity, it’s our job to hold that wall.
Here’s the thing, though: I think true true conservatives know that. Ronald Reagan always said this. He always said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” and that's exactly right.
But to avoid extinction, we have to grow; we have to evolve. We have to get stronger; we have to get tougher. We have to rededicate ourselves to the principle; we have to rededicate ourselves to the fight, and that's hard work.
That’s our mission. We're an empire of liberty;, we're a nation conceived in freedom. Our mission is to carry that freedom forward, in the face of all odds, and that mission doesn't change, that mission is eternal.
That mission calls to us from the end of history – it's God’s mission, it's the founders’ mission, it's a mission that has to be fulfilled at all costs. The mission calls us forward, it urges us forward; the heroes of days past – Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Reagan, our fathers, our mothers, our ancestors who fought to bring us to these shores and then make these shores free and give their kids a chance -- they're cheering us on; they are.
I believe in an afterlife, and they're cheering us on, begging us to stumble forward, because nobody else is going to carry the torch.
The left is going to try to rip that torch away, they are going to try to drown it in the mud of political correctness, of collectivism, of government tyranny.
It’s up to us.
So let's take up the torch, passed down to us over 2,000 generations, let's take it up with with joy in our hearts, and strength in our grip, and a warning in our eyes: do not, for the love of God, cross us.
We're the guardians of limited government and individual liberty, we're the guardians of Judeo-Christian Western civilization. There is no one else left.
We're the last line of defense.
We stand together.
And we must never, ever, we will not, ever, ever, stop fighting.
Video below, starting at 4:12:20: