Former congressman Dave Brat (R-Va.) said Friday that voting for “big state” policies amounts to exchanging liberties for fleeting protections and it will ultimately lead to tyranny.
Brat told The Epoch Times at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)—the largest annual conservative conference—that Americans who value limited government need to act and oppose what he described as a resurgent left.
“The left has overtaken us on the cultural front, they own every institution, not only culturally,” Brat said, pointing to liberal dominance in higher education, the mass media, and Wall Street.
He argued that, in the face of this cultural capture—which he said has its roots in Marxist ideology—”the state of our character is weakness right now, everyone’s scared.”
He said Marxism seeks to maximize power rather than the good of the people, and pointed to phenomena like the shadow cast by Big Tech on the freedom of public conversation, the growing threat of “cancel culture” more broadly, and the left’s expanding influence in major components of state power, like the intelligence community.
“What comes after democracy? The tyrant,” Brat said. “So you’ve got to ask yourself—Republicans who want a small state, can we be responsible?”
“If you like the big state, keep voting the way you are, and you’ll be under their thumb in a few years,” he said.
Brat also lamented what he described as a Marxist-driven assault on values, leaving people weak and despondent.
“There’s no ethics taught right now in K-12 education,” Brat said, “no right or wrong.”
“And there’s no system of thought, there’s no philosophy, there’s no ethics, there’s no religion taught,” he said. “And then we’re shocked that we end up in the abyss.”
Brat then expounded on the Marxist objective of toppling religious and moral structures after claiming they are nothing more than systems of social control.
“Moses and Jesus and Confucius and Buddha—there’s your cultures,” he said. “Marx and the left are trying to crush those foundations of culture.”
“And if you’ll notice, when the Marxists tear down a statue, they don’t have anyone to replace [it with],” he said. “There’s no one good enough, right? So they just say, ‘just trust us. We’re going to seize power, and then we’ll see how you do.'”
“I don’t like that bet,” he added.
The theme of this year’s CPAC is “America Uncanceled,” with many of the speeches focusing on exposing “cancel culture” attacks American freedoms.
Joshua Philipp contributed to this report.