‘Mt. Vernon Statement’ of Conservative Principles Released to Public
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer
(CNSNews.com) – America must return to “constitutional conservatism” and her founding principles, which have been “under sustained attack,” reads a statement to be signed on Wednesday by 80 leaders of the conservative movement.
“We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding,” reads the document, entitled The Mt. Vernon Statement. “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.”
The full text of the document, to be signed at the Collingwood Library and Museum in Alexandria, Va., was released Wednesday morning. The public is invited to sign on as well. Collingwood was originally part of George Washington’s (1732-1799) Mt. Vernon estate.
“These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people,” says the statement. “They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world. They are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.”
Signatories on the document will include former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese; Concerned Women for American President Wendy Wright; Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, Jr.; Family Research Council President Tony Perkins; Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell III (the MRC is the parent organization of CNSNews.com); American Spectator Publisher Alfred Regnery; American Conservative Union President David Keene; Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist; and ConservativeHQ.com Chairman Richard Viguerie.
“The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God,” the statement reads. “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.”
The statement also seeks to unite the goals of social conservatives, economic conservatives and national security conservatives.
“A Constitutional conservatism unites all conservatives through the natural fusion provided by American principles,” the statement says. “It reminds economic conservatives that morality is essential to limited government, social conservatives that unlimited government is a threat to moral self-government, and national security conservatives that energetic but responsible government is the key to America’s safety and leadership role in the world.”
The statement further says that constitutional conservatism is based on key first principles for a “consistent and meaningful policy agenda.” These principles as presented in the statement are as follows:
“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 end. 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,” the statement concludes. “We must begin by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.”
Conservative leaders in America wrote and signed a similar statement of beliefs and principles in September 1960 called The Sharon Statement. They gathered and signed the document at the Sharon, Conn., home of William F. Buckley Jr. (1925 – 2008), arguably one of the most important conservative writers and leaders of the 20th century.
The Sharon Statement helped bind conservatives and libertarians in America to pursue broad common goals and was vital in the rise of the conservative movement and the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980 and 1984.