“Progressives always try to rename everything and redefine everything,” said former head of Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgery Dr. Ben Carson today in the opening speech at the Conservative Political Action Comittee (CPAC) conference. “For instance, if you’re prolife, you’re anti-woman. If you're pro-traditional family, then you're a homophobe. If you’re white and you oppose a progressive black person then you’re racist. If you're black and you oppose the progressive agenda, you're crazy.”
Carson paused, “And if you're black and you oppose a progressive agenda, and you're pro-life, and you're pro-family, they don't even know what to call you.”
“You end up on some sort of watch list for extremists,” he said smiling. Carson had been added to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s "extremist watch list" (a list that maps the locations of mostly neo-Nazis and white supremacists) before removing him after a backlash.
Carson said he didn’t want to focus on that negative event, however, and “what we do have to pay attention to is how to use the incredible brains that God gave us, and recognize when things don’t work and how to fix them.”
Carson lambasted the solutions of the Great Society, saying that “everything these programs were supposed to fix has gotten worse” from the numbers of people on food stamps to broken families and levels of incarceration.
“Intelligent people would look at all that and say we need to change course,” said Carson.
“Real compassion is using our intellect to find ways to allow people to climb out of dependency and realize the American dream,” he said to audience cheers.
“It is our responsibility to take care of the indigent; it is not the government’s responsibility,” he said.
Carson: “I want everyone to have good healthcare; we spend twice as much per capita as the next closest nation and we still have terrible access problems, inefficiency [and] expense. We can do so much better and that’s why I’ve advocated a system.”
“I hope Congress will listen very carefully to what I’m about to say: they need to grasp a healthcare alternative before they try to remove Obamacare if they really want to get some traction,” he said. Carson then recommended Health Savings Accounts, cutting waste from Medicaid, and boutique medical practices that are more efficient at distributing healthcare.
“Our debt” will “destroy us as a nation,” Carson said. “The size of government needs to be going down,” he said to cheers:
“One of the things that are going to destroy us as a nation: our debt - $18.1 trillion and rising. We need to get out of the mindset that says, ‘Because the debt didn’t go up as fast in this quarter, it’s a victory.’ The debt needs to be going down. The size of government needs to be going down.”
“The other thing that threatens to destroy us is radical Islamist terrorists,” he said as cheers interrupted him. “…all over the world. And we need to realize it’s not just ISIS. The Shia in Iran are every bit as dangerous if not more dangerous…”
“Let’s not turn our back on Israel – let’s listen to Netanyahu and what he has to say,” said Carson, interrupted again by cheers.
Carson went on: “What am I ready for? I’m ready for a country that puts our Constitution on the top shelf – every part of it. For those who have any doubt, that includes the second Amendment. I’m for a country where we take the restraints off the most dynamic economy the world has ever known. Let that economic engine work for us. I’m for a country where we develop our natural resources. We have been blessed with them, let’s not make that a curse, iti’s a wonderful thing. It doesn’t mean we can’t also look for alternatives and take care of the environment. It’s not one or the other. That’s why God gave us these fancy brains – so we can do more than one thing at one time!”
The audience clapped.
“I’m ready for leadership on the world stage – not just sitting around and waiting to see what other people do,” Carson said, to cries of “hear, hear!”
“I’m ready for school choice; we need to recognize education is the great liberator in our country,” he continued. “I’m for putting our healthcare in our hands and not in the hands of some bureaucrat…. And for a taxation system that allows us to get rid of the IRS.” At these words the crowd went wild cheering and clapping.
“In the pre-Revolutionary days, our ancestors got together and talked about what they were willing to fight for,” said Carson, suggesting that we do that now. “We have to be willing to fight for it; the baton is now in our hands.” He encouraged people to talk to relatives that haven’t voted in years and encourage them to vote.
He concluded his speech with, “You cannot be free if you’re not brave” a line that received a lot of applause.