('76 Contributor) Last Saturday, May 22, I went to a conference at the University of Denver where Governor Sarah Palin, along with radio hosts Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt, defended limited constitutional government against the excesses of President Obama. While I found all three speeches inspiring and entertaining, Dennis Prager’s speech stood out as the most concise and substantive.
Hugh Hewitt gave a “Ten Commandments for 2010,” in which he exhorted the American people to support powerful republican candidates in the election and to discuss current issues with their Democratic friends.
Sarah Palin gave a rousing speech against Obamacare and its inherent rationing, Obama’s apology-driven foreign policy, the irresponsibility in government that gave rise to Greece’s economic debacle, and the condemnation of Arizona for enforcing national immigration laws. She ended on a positive note, mentioning Ronald Reagan’s history as a lifeguard, his personality grounded in conviction, and his optimistic common sense.
While these speeches strongly encouraged the audience, their focus on current issues constrains their power to the present. Dennis Prager’s speech, by contrast, voiced America’s foundational principles and the current disagreement about them. He proclaimed that the current political struggle is not about personalities, but ideas, that the American and Left-wing worldviews are waging a civil war over the heart of America.
He illustrated the Left-wing’s confusion in three points. The Left attacks the motives of TEA Partiers, declaring them racist and prejudiced, while defending those of terrorists, explaining that they might have had a bad day or faced a difficult foreclosure. The Left considers Arizona to be an enemy, and tries to negotiate with Iran. Finally, they do not understand the American system.
After listing these confusions, Prager explained the spirit of America as a trinity of three values proclaimed on any coin in your pocket -- E Pluribus Unum, "Liberty," and "In God We Trust."
**He praised America as the least racist country in the world, noting how any immigrant becomes an American the very day he arrives, while immigrants to Europe do not assimilate, even after many generations. In contrast to the American spirit of E Pluribus Unum, the Left divides Americans into interest groups, and cannot understand when a black man stands up at a TEA Party with his “fellow Americans.”
** Secondly, Prager commented on the American love of liberty, in contrast to the Left’s desire for equality of result, even when it leads to poverty.
** Finally, he acknowledged America’s motto, “In God We Trust,” arguing that America was not founded to be a secular nation. Declaring the United States a Bible-based country, he explained that there is no liberty without God, and that God is the author of Human Rights.
After praising the term “Radical Islam” as a defense of normal Islam, Prager concluded his speech with another emphasis on liberty. He declared that “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen,” and that as the freedom of citizens grows, the size government must shrink.
When asked about the biggest threat to the future of our country, Dennis Prager answered that it is not Obama, but rather our failure to understand what it means to be an American. He declared that there is a moral dimension to smaller government, and that when the government grows the citizens lose their virtue. We are our own problem, and we need to fix it.
Finally, in his closing remarks, Prager stood up against Obama’s attack on American exceptionalism. He quoted Lincoln, who said that America is the last best hope for mankind. Such a statement, Prager noted, has never been voiced for Norway, Sweden or Denmark. Obama states that he believes in American exceptionalism just as a Brit believes in British exceptionalism or a Norwegian believes in Norwegian exceptionalism. This relativistic statement holds that American exceptionalism is not exceptional. Dennis Prager believes that it is, explaining that it was our military who liberated Auschvitz and repeating the age-old wisdom that we mark a great experiment in Republican Government.
America stands at a cross-roads, and struggles in what many have called a “culture war.” The battlefield stands all around us, and American values face daily attacks. The very character of our great nation seems to be at stake, and it depends upon the people to stand up for what is good, true, and beautiful. I do not know whether the “Left” is the enemy, but someone is, and we must stand up for what we know to be good and true. Each citizen has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and therefore he has a duty to stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As Governor Palin said at the end of her speech, our nation’s hope does not lie in Washington D.C., amid the columns of Congress or the power of the President. Our nation’s hope lies in the hearts and minds of its people, and you, and you alone, can defend her.
Tyler O'Neil is a Coloradan currently majoring in history at Hillsdale College.
A regional summit of conservative leaders from 15 Western states, California to Kansas, headlines the Centennial Institute's crowded calendar of policy events for spring and summer 2010. "We'll take a July weekend and energize the Right for challenges ahead," said Centennial director John Andrews.
The calendar in brief is outlined below. Details will be announced soon for the Western Conservative Summit, Friday July 9 through Sunday July 11, at the Marriott South in Lone Tree, Colorado, between Denver and Colorado Springs.
A registration fee will be charged for that event. Otherwise, the Centennial programs listed here are free and open to the public. Reservations are required, however -- email your name and the number in your party to Centennial@ccu.edu.
Coming Events – Spring-Summer 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 12 noon
CCU Dining Commons Annex
Luncheon Briefing: "From Muslim Terrorist to Christian Pastor"
Kamal Saleem, Author of "The Blood of Lambs"
Thursday, April 8, 130pm
CCU Beckman Center 210
Classroom Talk: “Faith and Politics in Washington Today”
Tim Goeglein, Former Bush Assistant / Now VP, Focus on the Family
Friday, April 16, 9am-4pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Conference: “Best Practices in Teaching Western Civilization”
Dr. Michael Poliakoff, Keynoter
Monday, April 19, 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: "Taxpayer Protection in Colorado, 1985-2010"
Douglas Bruce, Author of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights
Monday, May 24 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: “Legislative Report”
Sen. Josh Penry & Rep. Mike May
Tuesday, June 15
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Forum: "Times Square, Detroit, Fort Hood: The New Face of Jihad"
John Guandolo, Counter-terrorism Expert
Friday, July 9 – Sunday, July 11
Marriott South, Lone Tree
Western Conservative Summit
For Key Influencers from 15 States
Monday, August 16 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: “Energy Insanity”
Jim Felton & John Harpole
Monday, September 20, 7pm
CCU Beckman Center 202
Issue Monday: “Preview of Campaign 2010”
Mark Hillman, Jon Caldara, Rob Witwer (Invited)
For producing both material goods and personal fulfillment, economic freedom makes all the difference in the world. One country that proved that convincingly is New Zealand.
Situated in the South Pacific midway between the equator and the South Pole, New Zealand is just two-thirds the size of California and 86 percent as big as Poland. Its 4.3 million inhabitants live on two main islands and a scattering of tiny ones. New Zealanders—known as “Kiwis”—are proud of a long heritage as a British outpost that ended with full autonomy in 1931.
In 1950, New Zealand ranked as one of the ten wealthiest countries on the planet, with a relatively free economy and strong protections for enterprise and property. Then, under the growing influence of welfare state ideas that were blossoming in Britain, the United States and most of the Western world as well, the country took a hard turn toward statism—the notion that government should be at the center of economic and social life.
The next twenty years produced “Kiwi socialism”—a harvest of big government and economic malaise. Increasingly, New Zealanders found themselves victims of exorbitant tariffs, massive farm subsidies, a huge public debt, chronic budget deficits, rising inflation, a top marginal income tax rate of 66 percent, and a gold-plated welfare system.
The central government in those years became involved in virtually every aspect of economic life. It established its own monopolies in the rail, telecommunications, and electric power businesses. About the only things that grew during the period from 1975 to 1983 were unemployment, taxes, and government spending.
With an endless roster of failed state programs and economic ruin staring them in the face, New Zealand’s leaders in 1984 embarked upon what the Organization for Economic Cooperation termed “the most comprehensive economic liberalization program ever undertaken in a developed country.”
All farm subsidies were ended in less than two years. Tariffs were cut by two-thirds almost immediately and have continued to decline; today, the weighted average New Zealand tariff rate is a mere 2.0 percent—virtually unilateral free trade. In fact, most imports now enter the country completely free of any quota, duty, or other restriction.
Taxes were slashed. The top rate was slashed to 33 percent, half of what it was when the big government crowd was in charge.
From the mid-1980s into the 1990s, the New Zealand government conducted a massive privatization effort, selling off numerous state enterprises. Its most dramatic success was the sale of Telecom NZ. Pre-privatization, this state-run communications firm boasted 26,500 employees, many of them in unproductive or do-nothing jobs. Lean, modernized and in private hands, its bloated workforce was subsequently reduced to 9,300 workers and it faced the fresh breeze of competition from other providers for the first time. The country went from antiquated technology to a 97 percent digital system rated second on the planet within a decade by the World Competitiveness Report. Telecom NZ is no longer an annual drain on the public treasury. It actually pays taxes to the government and dividends to shareholders.
New Zealand’s public sector work force in 1984 stood at 88,000. In 1996, after the most radical downsizing of any government anywhere in recent memory, its public sector work force stood at less than 36,000—a reduction of 59 percent.
The country’s banking system is thoroughly deregulated. Other Westerners who have grown accustomed to the thought that government should guarantee their bank deposits might be shocked to learn that in New Zealand, the central government imposes no deposit insurance on financial institutions. Instead, banks provide full public disclosure of their financial conditions and secure whatever insurance they need in the open market.
Establishing a new business in New Zealand was made easy, largely because the few regulations imposed were finally applied evenly and consistently.
What the Kiwis did to change labor policy was especially remarkable. Economist William Eggers termed it “the most aggressive and far-reaching labor market deregulation in the world.” Compulsory union membership was abolished, as were union monopolies over various labor markets. Stripped of special privilege that once allowed them to hold the economy hostage, unions were granted a legal status no different from that of any other private, voluntary association. See this short piece by economist Charles Baird in “The Freeman” about the end of forced unionism in New Zealand in 1991.
The dramatic changes paid handsome economic dividends. The national budget was balanced, inflation plummeted to negligible rates, and economic growth surged ahead at between 4 percent and 6 percent annually for years.
The Left staged a political comeback in the late 1990s and raised tax rates a few points. Economic growth slowed as a result but the basic framework of a liberated economy wasn’t hugely changed.
The Fraser Institute in Canada publishes an annual “Economic Freedom of the World” survey which measures, country by country, the size of government (its taxes, expenditures and enterprises), property rights and legal structure, access to sound money, freedom to trade and regulations of finance, business and labor. The Institute’s latest survey ranks Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland, in that order, as the top four countries in economic freedom. The U.S. is 6th and Poland is 74th. Myanmar and Zimbabwe are dead last and, not coincidentally, they are not places to which investors are flocking.
In the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010,” New Zealand placed 10th. The world’s most economically competitive country was judged to be Switzerland (the U.S. was second, Poland was 46th).
The World Bank’s “Doing Business 2008” survey rated New Zealand as the second-most business-friendly country in the world and 13th out of 178 nations in the business-friendliness of its hiring laws. The south Pacific nation was also the lowest ranked (meaning the least corrupt) on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2009.
The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom (compiled by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal) states that in New Zealand, “Starting a business is very easy and straightforward, taking only one day in comparison to the world average of 35 days. Obtaining a business license requires much less than the world average of 18 procedures and 218 days. New Zealand’s labor regulations are flexible. The non-salary cost of employing a worker is low, and dismissing an employee is costless. Regulations on work hours are flexible.”
Moreover, these impressive rankings might soon get even better. After ten years of Left–dominated governments, the generally pro-enterprise National Party, led by Prime Minister John Key, came to power in November 2008. Tax rates are headed down again.
There’s a powerful lesson here: Big Government sucks the life out of an economy. Free markets can undo the damage. Statists of every persuasion, whether they are in Auckland, Washington or Warsaw, would do well to take a close look at the New Zealand model.
"We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress," wrote Bob Herbert in his New York Times column the other day. A Democrat friend of mine from Rochester, NY forwarded me the Herbert piece, entitled "An Absence of Class," about the alleged ugly incidents in the aftermath of the US House's healthcare vote. She accompanied the link with this single sentence: "You would never ever defend this." The following is how I responded.
If you think I would defend it, then you completely missed the point I was trying to make before. I don't defend the things Bob Herbert describes--if they really happened (I am completely open to the possibility that they didn't actually happen as described, or that they were grossly exaggerated, or that Democratic members of Congress and their lackeys would make up or even stage such incidents in order to achieve exactly what the incidents have achieved: a smear against thousands of people).
But let's assume that it all did happen exactly as reported. I say, So what?
Any time you gather thousands of people together, no matter what the cause they're gathering to demonstrate for, you can take it as virtually guaranteed that some of them aren't going to be nice or well-behaved people. The vast majority of humans, of any political stripe, aren't exactly saints. Obviously, in any gathering of large size, you'll have a bell-curve distribution on the civility spectrum, and at one end of the curve you'll have bad apples.
This method of gathering an unruly mob to make a political point in the streets, by chanting and waving signs (as opposed to making the points on the pages of a newspaper or at the debate lectern or in some other measured and intellectual manner) has been a favored practice of the Left for decades; seeing the same tactic on the other side is a fairly novel thing.
You wouldn't seriously assert that nothing vile ever took place at any of the demonstrations in support of causes dear to the Left, over all the decades? I've seen a little bit of it myself. For example, sometimes I'd walk out of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California by its Franklin St. gate, during the height of the Iraq War, to find an anti-war mob with signs at the bottom of the hill, and some of them would jeer at me and call me things like "Nazi"--people who didn't know anything about me except that I sported a military-looking haircut. But you know...so what?
It wasn't unusual for acts of mob violence--looting, arson, etc.--to happen where MLK made a public appearance, even though King explicitly decried any such activity. Things got pretty ugly right there in your town, if I'm not mistaken. Should we paint all members of the civil rights movement with the brush of a few thuggish individuals who made the event a pretext to behave in a vile manner? Everyone who favors desegragation is is a thieving incendiary...if YOU favor desegregation then YOU're on the side of looting and arson...yeah, okay...strong argument, huh?
Herbert says, "We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here." Oh really? We can't allow it? How short his memory is, because he and his ilk were perfectly happy to keep quiet and allow it just a few years ago, when protesters were saying and doing things at least as vile against the previous administration. I doubt if any president has received the amount of abuse that Bush did. And I don't care about that. He's a big boy and he wasn't drafted into the job of president, and having a thick skin is part of the job. So what?
Why is this Herbert article even worth serious consideration? His chosen method of decrying a lone idiot who spat on some politician is to spit on tens of thousands of people with vile statements like these: "For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness...." "This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry."
What is this? Fight fire with fire? This is Herbert's own commitment to hatred and bigotry on display.
The whole article is nothing but an ad hominem. He's not critiquing the Tea Party's central message--he's trying to turn people off to that message with guilt-by-association. "If you are tempted to favor shockingly radical, fringy ideas like...oh, let's say, a limited government that is accountable to the people and stays within the bounds of the Constitution...then you're in the company of bigots, and therefore a bigot yourself." That's what he's saying. This is just the latest flavor of McCarthyism.
I've been called a racist and a Nazi for criticizing Obama about issues that have nothing to do with race--those names were hurled at me based on nothing other than the ethnicity of the target of my criticism, as though the only thing that keeps me from cheering him for his policies is that he's not pure Anglo-Saxon. Apparently nobody is allowed to criticize a public official on any grounds, if the official happens to be a minority. That's about the level of Herbert's argument here.
I don't care. They can call me whatever they like. All they're doing is revealing the Orwellian inversion of language that infects their thought: If I am color-blind, applying the same standards of criticism to a black man that I would to a white man, then I'm a racist It's no longer prejudice and racial double standard, but the absence of prejudice and racial double standard, that makes you a racist. If I'm for limited government and against the kind of centralization of economic decision-making that Nazis and other varieties of socialists espouse, that makes me a Nazi. Opposing socialism makes you a National Socialist. Up is down, black is white.
(CCU Faculty) Mike Lux, blogging in the Huffington Post, announces he has found the “Ultimate Contradiction-in-Terms: Right-Wing Christians.” Lux shakes his head and condemns those of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ and still vote for an occasional Republican. Here's the oracle in full.
Lux begins this attack on people like myself by relating a debate between Glenn Beck and leftist-evangelical Jim Wallis. Wallis won the debate of course because he “actually knows something about the Bible.” Beck and his hero, Ayn Rand, enthrone “selfishness as the ultimate virtue.” (Lots of “ultimates” in Mike’s Luxicon.)
But it gets worse. Conservative Christians manage to “ignore the literally many hundreds of Biblical quotes about social justice.” And still worse, we turn Christianity into “a religion solely focused on one very selfish goal: whether they get into heaven or not. That's it, that is the entire goal and purpose and meaning of their faith.”
Where to begin? For starters, Mike, citing Glenn Beck and Ayn Rand as holding the flag for conservative Christians is like using Rosie O’Donnell to shill your diet plan. Beck is a recent convert to Mormonism and before that a lapsed Catholic. Rand is a militant atheist. Try taking on real conservative Christians instead of your men and women of straw.
Next, since I “actually know something about the Bible” I have read the verses on social justice. And the Left is the greatest enemy of social justice in the history of the world. Left-wing governments have murdered more of their own citizens as a matter of state policy then all other governments in the history of the world combined. (You would claim no connection to the genocidal Stalin or Mao but I can connect you to them a lot easier than you can connect me to Ayn Rand.)
As for hypocrisy I claim no ability whatsoever to be able to compete with the Left. You sit comfortably in the richest nation in the history of the world and hold in contempt the economic conservatives who created it. You freely write your ad hominem screeds and hold in contempt the political conservatives who created that freedom. And you condescend to us religious conservatives who proclaim the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ who made Christian culture possible.
Since I am one of those cretins who “refuse to help the oppressed” let me tell you what my house is like. It is a place where the third-world poor and the oppressed in America, eat my food, sleep in my beds, drive my cars, and weep on my shoulder, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE. Multiply my story by thirty million and you get some idea what the “religious right” is all about. I would appreciate not being trashed by people whose idea of compassion is to vote to take my money away and give it to politicians they like. When it comes to giving one’s own money to help the “poor and oppressed” we troglodyte conservative Christians outgive you “compassionate” Leftists by more than three to one. (That's from Who Really Cares by AEI scholar Arthur Brooks, featured speaker at a Centennial Institute forum in Denver just this morning, as it happens.)
“Getting to heaven” is not the only goal of my life. But Jesus said, (I know this because I actually read my Bible) “What does it profit a man if gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:25) So apparently He is quite concerned about whether or not we go to heaven and you should be, too.
And I would like to ask one final question. You talk about people who really read the Bible and who “take the Bible seriously.” Why is it that more than 75% of the people who do so vote like I do? We read the Bible differently from you, Mike. Is it possible we read it better? (Or actually read it at all?)
So I will continue to live in the “ultimate contradiction” of being a Christian conservative until you can come up with something more than left-wing sloganeering. And in the meantime, if you want to know more about me you will have to go to someone besides Glenn Beck or Ayn Rand.
Twenty-seven years ago this week, speaking before a meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, on March 8, 1983, President Ronald Reagan spoke about the moral crisis that faced America. His topic ranged from a loss of morality in schools to the high rates of teen pregnancies and abortions.
In his speech, Reagan argued that the United States had been devoted to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the belief that our rights and liberties come from God the Creator. He went on to say that, while these truths had been adhered to throughout most of our nation’s history, in recent decades (largely through activist court decisions) a denial of these truths and a ban on invoking the Creator in the public square had become common.
Reagan knew full well that the devotion to God and His laws was essential in order for civil society to function well, saying: “There is sin and evil in the world, and we're enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past.” In essence, confronting evil with Biblical truth was and is the only way in which sin can be confronted.
Reagan next pointed to the longstanding conflict with the Soviet Union, and the pressure many were exerting onto his administration for the U.S. to lessen its opposition to the expansionist Soviet policies and to seek a reduction in nuclear arsenals as an overture for peace. Reagan responded that this proposal would weaken America’s moral authority. “So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”
The Soviet Union was a society based on the destruction of Biblical truths and replacing them with man as the central figure in society.
“Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness –pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.”
Reagan’s condemnation of the “Evil Empire” brought handringing from many in the media and the left. Yet Reagan’s clarity of the situation: that both sides were not “equally wrong,” and that the fight was worth fighting, were both based on his clear understanding of the situation. The Soviet Empire was indeed evil, and thus needed to be confronted and ultimately defeated.
('76 Editor) Two important articles published recently, along with a classic from the early Reagan years, remind us how deep and grave are the pathologies threatening American self-government -- and map out the fundamental change of thinking we must achieve as conservatives if our country is not to go the way of Rome or Britain. Contemporary writers Jeff Bergner and Matthew Spalding in recent weeks have echoed the insights of Stan Evans, Bill Buckley's compatriot in the 1980s, warning that the fateful options we face are to understand the soul of America either as unlimited government seeking a coercive utopia (the liberal or progressive vision), or as limited government wherein freely choosing individuals can order their own lives (the Founders' vision). It goes so much deeper than just arguing over who's up and who's down in the polls, how to keep entitlements and the deficit in hand, and whether Democrats or Republicans should win the next election. Underlying those superficial matters is the question of what self-government really means -- and whether Americans are still capable of it.
If you love our country and want to be part of saving and renewing it, I urge you to study these three profound diagnoses:
Can Republicans Govern? Not Unless They Change 'The Narrative'By Jeff Bergner, The Weekly Standard, Feb. 8, 2010
A Republic, If You Want It: The Left's Overreach Invites the Founders' ReturnBy Matthew Spalding, National Review, Feb. 8, 2010
Unlearning the Liberal History LessonBy M. Stanton Evans, Imprimis (Hillsdale College), March 1980
(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:
** Sign the petition
** 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.
('76 Editor) This is Lincoln's birthday. It used to be a holiday in this country; no more. Yet some of us still revere Abraham Lincoln as the greatest American who ever lived. He is a hero to me because of the moral penetration of his mind, his greatness of soul, his political subtlety and discernment, his determined rise from obscurity to eminence, and the genius of his statesmanship in not only freeing the slaves while saving the Union, but helping the nation to a second birth of “more perfect Union” by so doing.
Here is what Lincoln said at Independence Hall on George Washington's birthday, February 22, 1861, as he journeyed toward the nation's capital to be inaugurated as President with secession already sundering the Union and civil war impending. If our country is less free and less confident of our destiny today, it is because the truths of the Declaration of Independence have less of a grip on us than they did on Americans in Washington's time and Lincoln's time. You and I should ask ourselves every day what we can do to turn that situation around - or we will lose our country.
I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army, who achieved that Independence.
I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land; but something in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence.
Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. But, if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than to surrender it.