The Mount Vernon Statement 7

In the following report the names of conservative leaders who will be signing The Mount Vernon Statement today may be found. We have omitted them only to shorten our quotation.

What we also omit are these few words: ‘God, they say, is proudly mentioned – by name – in the Mount Vernon statement.’

We’ve cut them out because God is superfluous

The Framers of the Constitution saw no reason to put God into it, and they did not.

We believe wholeheartedly in the principles which The Mount Vernon Statement declares to be those of American conservatives, while not believing in God.

So plainly, though believers may not like this fact that we boldly and simply demonstrate, belief in a supernatural maker and law-giver is inessential to conservatism.

(In the document itself, God is referred to as ‘nature’s God’;  ie the ‘God’ which Spinoza and Einstein believed in, little more than a euphemism for ‘nature’s laws‘ – also mentioned – with which we have no quarrel.)

From Fox News:

More than 80 of the most influential and respected conservative grassroots leaders in the country plan to recommit themselves Wednesday to constitutional conservatism in an attempt to reunite and reground the movement, following a period when many thought conservatism was adrift.

They have named the document they will sign “The Mount Vernon Statement.” The signing ceremony is taking place at a library that was part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

The event comes on the eve of annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which brings thousand of conservatives from around the country to Washington D.C. every year.

The long term goal at CPAC and of the Mount Vernon statement is reestablish First Principles of Constitutional Conservatism.

The more immediate goal is to galvanize — for maximum strength — the various factions of the movement in advance of the 2010 midterm elections.

The statement draws heavily on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

It will speak directly to the three pillars of the modern movement: economic conservatives, social conservatives, and national security conservatives.

It will underscore the founding principle that constitutional self-government should be moral, responsible, and limited.

While some republicans have suggested in recent years that the GOP moderate it’s social views, or be more tolerant of government growth, or even accept bellicose tyranny overseas, conservatives argue now is the time for more backbone, not less.

Conservatives, republicans, right leaning independents, libertarians and teapartiers are searching for direction and leadership…listen up… today the leadership of some of the biggest grass roots conservative groups are speaking out. …

Organizers say no elected politicians are invited to this.

The signing ceremony harkens back to a similar event nearly 50 years ago at the home of the late William F Buckley in Sharon, Connecticut.

The Sharon Statement was penned at a meeting of 90 young conservatives as they created a group known as “Young Americans For Freedom.”

Their statement amounted to a guideline for young conservatives in the turbulent 60’s that individual liberty, limited government, a free-market, a strong economy, and strong defense are fundamental American ideals conservatives must defend.

There is no doubt today that conservatives again feel compelled to protect constitutional liberty anew.

This document seeks to be a conservative line in the sand against left-wing political advances during democratic control of Congress and the White House.

The Tea Party movement has shown full well that large swaths of previously disengaged Americans fear for the future of the republic.

Organizers say modern constitutional conservatism requires application of the rule of law to all proposals, advancing freedom, and opposing tyranny….

Conservatives now plan to directly challenge the notion that positive change in America means abandoning old ideas for new.

They assert instead that positive change means reaching back and re-embracing founding principles rather than rushing for new alternatives.

By late summer republican politicians in congress hope to lay out their 2010 election agenda.

Today conservatives grass roots leaders hope their Mount Vernon statement shows Republican politicians what should motivate them.

You can sign the document here.

  • Bill


    By the “subjective” part of Christian morality, to keep it short, I mean everything outside the “golden rule.” The “golden rule” is basically commen sense and I dare say it's pre-Biblic. It's the same as presuming everyone is innocent before declaring guilt. Like being kind to open the door for a stranger, even though the stranger may be an honest person or a serial killer.

    By “outside the golden rule” I mean issues such as sex outside of marriage. And that is a long story in itself. There is nowhere in the U.S. Constitution that says government must be involved in consensual adult relationships where sex may be involved. But the Bible is against that concept. That is one example of “subjective.”

  • Bill

    Social conservatism is NOT the backbone of Conservatism, particularly because it includes the morality from the Bible, which is SUBJECTIVE, not OBJECTIVE. I liked it best on one of your other columns about atheist conservatives being the true skeptics.

    Our personal lifestyles – how we practice our personal liberties (outside the economic realm) DO NOT necessarily match the lifestyles preached in any conservative religious institution or holy book, although they may intersect. I would color that statement in red to make it stand out if I could. But this is the distinction that sometimes makes me want to call myself a Frederik Bastiat Liberal than a conservative.

    Also note that “conservative,” implies to conserve (italics misssing). What's to conserve today? Principles of the 1930s? That's status quo – big government. I submit that economic liberalism is capitalism and economic conservative – fiscal conservative – should really mean mixed economics (Hayek's “Road to Serfdom) that has darkened America for the last 70 years or so. The biggest criminals in the last 70 years were the Democrats for stealing “liberal,” which meant personal freedom and economic freedom, and they changed the meaning to the opposite in the economic realm. That's Orwell's doublespeak for you.

    I'm old enough to remember before the late 1970s, maybe 1977, there was no Moral Majority. The Republican Party was the party of either personal freedoms Goldwater or personal freedoms Nelson Rockefeller/Gerald Ford. Go back to 1964 and you have Goldwater. Very much the Republican.

    So what do we want to conserve? I'd like to conserve the U.S. Constitution (minus the 16th amendment). The true Republican(Goldwater style or) would be a stickler for the separation of church and state.

    I suppose the only reason I would label myself conservative is that I'm pro-defense. But for personal freedoms, which include lifestyle freedoms.

    • Jillian Becker

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Bill.

      But yes, it is precisely the Constitution and strong defense that need to be conserved. Obama is against both.

      Hayek maintained that any government interference in the market distorted the signals. So yes, a mixed economy, or 'public-private partnership' does harm. And yes there has not been a real free market in America (or anywhere else except perhaps a few small places such as Hong Kong) for a very long time. Yes, liberal originally meant laissez-faire economics, and yes, the word has been distorted in America to mean leftism – the opposite, in fact, of liberal in its true political implications. Adam Smith called capitalism 'the natural order of liberty', which I much prefer.

      Some bible morality is okay derived from much older sources, such as prohibition of murder, theft, false witness. Also, Old Testament morality,if one sets aside some of the wilder ravings in Leviticus, stands out as being essentially a doctrine concerned with how you behave towards others, which, it seems to me, is what a morality should be about. Christian morality also purports to be about the way a person behaves towards others, but (like Buddhism for instance) not for the other person's sake but for the good of one's own soul. Is that what you meant by 'subjective'?

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  • norris hall

    Tea Party is a joke
    Supporting fiscal responsibility and strong defense is like an alcoholic promising to cut out the hard liquor but keep drinking beer.
    If you want a balanced budget you take a meat ax first to the biggest spending items…then takle the smaller ones.
    Cutting , say, food stamps isn't going to make much of a dent unless you are willing to cut pentagon waste.
    And once you are done cutting pentagon waste you have to start cutting pentagon spending in general.

    Keep this in mind. Every single penny you spend on defense is a penny we are borrowing from the Chinese…who , by the way . spent 9 times LESS than we do on defense despite having 3 times the number of people to defend.

    When you are knee deep in debt you take a meat ax to the biggest expenses first.
    Cutting $30 internet service isn't going to make much of a debt if you are paying $1200 per month in payments for 3 cars.

  • Svend

    More backbone? We (America) spend around a trillion USD on wars/empire. Kill the defense establishment and arm the citizens. That's conservative.

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