The Mount Vernon Statement: Resonate with We the People? We the Teaparty People? Read the Statement and judge for yourself. Close to 24,000 “signers” as of 2/19.
In part that’s because the document is light on policy specifics and heavy on freedom-loving boilerplate. Defining themselves as supporters of Founding Fathers is hardly risky; had the authors attempted to codify principles more controversial than “honor[ing] the central place of individual liberty in American politics and life” or “support[ing] America’s national interest in advancing freedom,” their interests could have clashed. For a movement whose social conservatives, fiscal warriors and national-security hawks have been roiled by infighting in the past, affirming common bonds may well have been the paramount concern.
But the document also afforded the authors a chance to define their mission as the Tea Party movement mushrooms into a potent force in American politics. With the Mount Vernon statement, conservatism’s éminences grises are opening their doors to a group without a founder, an underlying framework or even, seemingly, an organizing principle beyond opposition to the Obama Administration’s policies. “If you go out to these gatherings, you find a lot of [people] were never involved at all until they got scared by the direction of the country. Our obligation is not necessarily to lead them but to provide them a sense of what a logical conservative position will be,” says David Keene, head of the American Conservative Union, which is hosting the CPAC conference. “It’s vital that when people come into a movement, they’re attracted to the core beliefs.”…… Click here for the full article.
We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.
Each one of these founding ideas is presently under sustained attack. In recent decades, America’s principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics. The selfevident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist. The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant.
Some insist that America must change, cast off the old and put on the new. But where would this lead — forward or backward, up or down? Isn’t this idea of change an empty promise or even a dangerous deception?
The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is not movement away from but toward our founding principles. At this important time, we need a restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God. It defends life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It traces authority to the consent of the governed. It recognizes man’s self-interest but also his capacity for virtue.
The conservatism of the Constitution limits government’s powers but ensures that government performs its proper job effectively. It refines popular will through the filter of representation. It provides checks and balances through the several branches of government and a federal republic.
- It applies the principle of limited government based on the
rule of law to every proposal.
- It honors the central place of individual liberty in American
politics and life.
- It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and
economic reforms grounded in market solutions.
- It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom
and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that
- It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood,
community, and faith.
If we are to succeed in the critical political and policy battles ahead, we must be certain of our purpose.
We must begin by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.
February 17, 2010
Edwin Feulner, Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation
Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the Heritage Foundation, was present at the Sharon Statement signing.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council
Becky Norton Dunlop, president of the Council for National Policy
Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center
Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator
David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union
David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society
T. Kenneth Cribb, former domestic policy adviser to President Reagan
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform
William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government
Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Kenneth Blackwell, Coalition for a Conservative Majority
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review
We the undersigned join in our support of the guiding principles of The Mount Vernon Statement.
Current count: more than 23,500 signers.