(CCU Faculty) In 1960 at Sharon, Connecticut, home of the modern conservative movement’s leader William F. Buckley, the Young Americans for Freedom issued the Sharon Statement declaring the following core beliefs of young conservatives:
THAT foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;
THAT liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;
THAT the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;
THAT when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;
THAT the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;
THAT the genius of the Constitution – the division of powers – is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;
THAT the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;
THAT when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation, that when it takes from one to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;
THAT we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies…
THAT the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;
THAT the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with this menace; and
THAT American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States.
Now half a century later, and on the heels of the recent Manhattan Declaration, a new manifesto of conservative thought has just been released by some leading thinkers. The Mount Vernon Statement is an attempt to restore to their rightful place, the original ideas of constitutionalism, as intended by our founding fathers. The Mount Vernon Statement envisions a constitutional conservatism that lives up to such distinctives as these:
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.
As we move forward in the 2010 election year, conservatives would do well to stand firm on these principles. Conservatives who share these positions should do two things:
** Hold candidates who seek the conservative and Republican Party vote accountable. Make sure that these candidates subscribe to these principles and will govern in a manner consistent with them.