Last month at Turning Point USA's (TPUSA) Student Action Summit, student journalist Anthony Leonardi sat down with Turning Point USA's founder Charlie Kirk to discuss a variety of issues that are important to the future of the conservative movement. High on the list of important topics were the justification for sending American troops into harms way, the steps that must follow the First Step Act, the impact of Donald Trump on the conservative movement, and the growing acceptance of Socialism among young people and progressives.
During the interview, Kirk expressed his opinion that the rise of Socialism in America is directly linked to the fact that a growing number of Americans are religiously unaffiliated. "I want a big God, small government," Kirk said, explaining that, without belief in God, the activity of government often steps in to fill a void of religious meaning. Kirk mentioned that the causality goes the other way, as well. As government gets bigger it begins to crowd out the traditional functions of the church. "The church was the original place of social welfare," he points out. "As government starts to [implement social welfare policies], it becomes God."
As government becomes God (i.e. when the roles of church and state are jumbled together), the conscience of the individual citizen gets tied up with their political beliefs. Approval of one's own conscience comes not when doing good as an individual or as part of a religious community. Instead, holding the correct political opinions—or the mere act of voting—becomes an act of moral rectitude. This is how the conscience of the individual is absorbed into the collective consciousness. As Kirk put it, "the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen."
Later in the interview, Kirk listed three important ways that Donald Trump has positively affected the conservative movement. "Conservatives have never been allowed to challenge orthodox foreign policy, it's almost as if 'the more wars, the better,'" Kirk said, referring to how much the political conversation has changed since the Bush years. "We can't be the party of endless war."
On immigration, Kirk is also thankful for how Trump has shifted the political discussion. "It's almost as if the Republican Party used to be for 'not as open borders,'" Kirk explained. "Now we're for strong borders, big wall, and bigger door." Thirdly, Kirk appreciates how Trump is leading the fight against political correctness, which he says is "a cancer destroying our country from within." By attacking political correctness, which is"a tool used to silence those that speak the truth," Trump liberates individuals to freely discuss important ideas and issues.
To watch the full interview, click here.