Mount Vernon Conservative Statement Of Principles

The Mount Vernon Conservative Statement Of Principles

Leading conservatives gathered this past Wednesday, the day before the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Washington, DC, at the estate of George Washington in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Their purpose was to sign and announce a new set of principles to unite conservatives on economics, social issues, and foreign policy, for the upcoming battle to regain control of the national government in 2010 and 2012.

The statement signed by 18 representatives of various conservative organizations emphasizes the principles of the Founding Fathers, including checks and balances, limited government, the rule of law, individual liberty, free enterprise, advancing freedom, opposing tyranny, and defense of famly, neighborhood, community and faith. Emphasis on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is part of the basic principles of this group statement.

This all sounds great on paper and in theory, but there are some major misconceptions in the document. The Founding Fathers did not all agree on the interpretation of what the national government should have the power to do. Thus, they put into the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, the “Elastic Clause”, which states that Congress and the national government shall make all laws which are “necessary and proper” and for the “common defense and general welfare”.

Also, the debate about what level of government should have which powers erupted between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, and that debate, a legitimate one, remains alive and well today in political party differences, and in the Supreme Court and lower Federal court interpretations of the Constitution.

Additionally, the Founding Fathers did not want international involvement and intervention anywhere near the scale of what the United States is engaged in today, and even conservatives are bitterly divided about overseas engagements, including Ron Paul (who just won the CPAC presidential straw poll) and Pat Buchanan. Is it the job of our nation to spread democracy everywhere by force? Many Republicans historically have been isolationist, and some still are even today!

Also, while the Founding Fathers were believers in freedom of religion, the vast majority wanted to promote separation of church and state, and yet many conservatives and Republicans today want to advocate religion being intimately involved in decision making by government. And when many conservatives want government involved in promoting morality, that is often interfering with individual liberty!

The point is that this Mount Vernon statement contradicts the reality of what the Founding Fathers believed in, and fails to address the reality that it is now 234 years since the independence of the nation, and we are no longer living in the 18th century!

Is it not necessary to promote basic principles, but also recognize that we are in the 21st century, and the nation and the world are vastly different than it was in 1776 and 1787?

Is it not true that conservatives have often violated their own stated series of principles? Is there not hypocrisy and a self serving nature to this document, to perpetuate the advantages of certain privileged classes over the rest of the American population?

In reality, this Mount Vernon Conservative Statement of Principles is simply a clarion call to avoid change and reform, which are essential to promote a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”!