The single-largest annual meeting of conservatives and small-government fellow travelers, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), kicked off in Washington, D.C. today on Thursday, February 10, 2011.

The big story leading up to the conference was a high-profile boycott by outfits such as The Heritage Foundation and figures such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) due to the participation of GOProud, a gay conservative group that lobbies for lower taxes and equality under the law. As a spokesman for Heritage put it, "We want to promote economic freedom, a strong national defense and social conservativism. We think these policies are indivisible…It's not a boutique. You can't pick one and not the other."

Reason's Michael C. Moynihan was on hand to gauge the mood of CPAC. While some anti-gay conservatives stayed away, libertarians and small government types proliferated, agitating for less spending, an end to the drug war, and greater social freedom.

And, in the case of the John Birch Society, a smiting from on high.

Approximately 5 minutes long. Shot and edited by Jim Epstein.

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