Continued from page 1

They are part of a generation that for the first time in American history, according to the polls, actually fears their government and are wondering how one copes with a dangerous world without making them and their country its sole policeman.

The politicians who addressed this year’s CPAC had different answers. Florida’s Marco Rubio, like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, favor a far more aggressive foreign policy, while Rand Paul and others aren’t sure that’s a good idea.

Some who spoke at the conference are so focused on attacking a failed president that they spend little time presenting conservative alternatives. But others, like Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, argue that while rejecting bad ideas is necessary, advancing good ones is just as important.

What one sensed at this year’s CPAC is that basic conservative commonalities are still widely shared by a new crop of conservative activists who were babies or less when Reagan rode off in to the sunset.

They are doing today what Buckley and Meyer did in the ‘60s — applying their basic values and principles to our fast-changing world.

It remains hard work, and the media have seldom been an ally in spreading the conservative message. With a hundred different ways to reach voters directly and thousands of CPAC attendees in our army, conservatives are seeing possibilities in 2014 and 2016.

Still, they know, as Meyer and Buckley knew, that if they can make the ideas that changed the world into which they were born as attractive to Americans today as they were then, they may build that city upon a hill that was at the center of Reagan’s dream.

David A. Keene is opinion editor of The Washington Times.