Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that Americans must stand up against violations of privacy by the federal government, stirring attendees at the annual conservative CPAC gathering with slams at the National Security Agency and the Obama administration.
“Will we stand idly by and let our rights be trampled upon?” he asked. “Will we be like lemmings, rushing to the comfort of Big Brother’s crushing embrace? Or will we stand like men and women of character and say ‘we are free and no man, no matter how well-intentioned, will take our freedom from us’?”
Saying that “it’s not good enough to elect the lesser of two evils,” Paul also said that conservatives should choose – not just Republicans – but “friends of liberty.”
In a well-received speech that included quotes from John Adams and Pink Floyd, the possible 2016 presidential candidate only tangentially mentioned foreign policy but spoke extensively about the foundations of privacy rights.
The biggest applause line of his remarks came as Paul derided the NSA for its bulk data collection program.
“Yet, as our voices rise in protest, the NSA monitors your every phone call. If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business,” he said to cheers and applause.