Mount Vernon Statement

Constitutional Conservatism: A Statement for the 21st Century

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding.  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.

These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. 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.

Each one of these founding ideas is presently under sustained attack. In recent decades, America’s principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics. The selfevident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist. The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant.

Some insist that America must change, cast off the old and put on the new. But where would this lead — forward or backward, up or down? Isn’t this idea of change an empty promise or even a dangerous deception?

The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is not movement away from but toward our founding principles. At this important time, we need a restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God. 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.

A Constitutional conservatism unites all conservatives through the natural fusion provided by American principles. 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.

A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.

  • 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. We must begin by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.

February 17, 2010

2-13-10 Repub Breakfast

Speakers (click to enlarge)

Tom PetersonScott WillsPJ TrostelHope Goetz

 Rick StoneJerry BishopMike Holler


YouTube videos:

Scott Wills reporting on candidates for county offices in 2010

Hope Goetz on the state of the county

 PJ Trostel breakfast sponsor and candidate

Rick Stone on Republican strategy

Jerry Bishop on getting back to the Constitution

Mike Holler:

The constitutional crisis caused by progressive Democrats and progressive Republicans

De Toqueville and the Code of Federal Regulations

Tyrants never rest

A more perfect union

The general welfare


rights of terrorists

Beth Shelly reports today,

“Early this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” there was a discussion about our freedoms and who they are set aside for, particularly the 14th Amendment, which defines citizenship and keeps our civil and political rights from being abridged or denied.

The Nation’s Chris Hayes . was speaking on the rights of suspected terrorists, particularly the issues of indefinite detention and whether should they be “Mirandized” or not. He stressed the point that the U.S. Constitution’s protection of legal rights not only applies to legal citizens, but, unpopular as that is today, it also applies to terrorist suspects, much as it does to illegal immigrants who are arrested on American soils.

But in the Bush administration, in the name of public safety, those legal rights were curtailed for certain terrorist suspects. A Feb. 9 editorial in the Wall Street Journal titled “Cheney’s Revenge” asserts that despite efforts little has been done by the Obama administration to move away ` from that stance. The editorial cites the President’s desired closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities and his administration’s backing down of trying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other enemy combatants in civilian court.

In response, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said, “I know Bush did it, but that doesn’t make it right,” adding it is something we are still “muddling through.” Meanwhile,  Mort Zukerman of U.S. New & World Report counters, saying the Supreme Court allows for different rules to apply than what exist for U.S. citizens.
Forty years ago it was civil rights. Today it is the rights of terrorist suspects.

An ongoing  process, to be sure, on how to apply our legal protections. But it began more than 230 years ago with our first president and changed significantly with , the election of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

Understanding the “muddling” and shifting public opinion that occurs over time, it is the basic concept of democracy and freedom that we celebrate with Presidents’ Day. Hope you all get a chance to sit back and reflect on it this weekend.”

Well , it won’t take a weekend to reflect on this. First, the 14th Amendment, “Citizenship Rights.”

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Was the Christmas day bomber born or naturalized in the U.S.?  Was KSM?  No.  They’re not citizens of the U.S.  Where do the Nation’s Chris Hayes and reporter Beth Shelly come up with the notion that 14th Am. protections were intended to apply to non-citizens?  Certainly not in the text of the Constitution so amended.

The government’s legal authority to deal with non-citizen terrorists comes in the body of the Constitution under Article 1, Section 8, “Powers of Congress.”

“The Congress shall have Power ….
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War … and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To …. repel Invasions;
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Article 1, Section 9, “Limits on Congress” also applies.

“The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

Fruit of Kaboom and KSM are invading members of a multi-state Islamic religious sect who have declared war on the United States.  The 14th Amendment body of law protects individual citizen rights against the government.  It doesn’t protect members of invading armies who are in a fight to destroy the government.  Yet the left would have us buy into this absurdity in order to create a public political forum for attacking conservative politicians.  They would subvert the Constitution–that protects them too–to score political points in the modern media-charged democratic process.    

Enjoy your weekend.

The Roots Of American Order

Origin of the Bill of Rights and the Common LawOrigin of the Bill of Rights and the Common LawOrigin of the Bill of Rights and the Common Law

Russell Kirk, “The Roots Of American Order,” pp. 187-189.

No question that the “enumeration of civil liberties in the Constitution” has “endangered” many civil rights belonging to many un-anticipated parties not specified in the Constitution.  Hence the ever-accelerating expansion of civil rights litigation.

And no question that “political power decree of positive laws without reference to general consent has led to the evasion, defiance, and diminished respect” for statutory law resulting in the “substitution of force for justice,” –another trend in law and enforcement that continues to accelerate.

These trends do not lead to more or better justice, equity or fairness.  They substitute the rule of men for the rule of law by shrinking the domain of liberty in human action, and eliminating opportunities for moral choices.  While it’s all done in the name of the “public good,” ironically, people who act without making a moral choice cannot be good.  Coercion and force nullify morality.  Morality requires free choice.  Without a moral choice, people cannot choose the good over the bad or evil.  The best they can do is obey–the moral stature of a “good doggy.”
Good Dog
Perhaps the left tolerates Islamic submission so well because they’re both systems of obedience.

Each day the news is full of reports of what people liberated from their moral responsibility have done to other people, to the world and to themselves.  People who do not experience morality are disconnected from justice or concern for mankind.  All the totalitarian systems – Marxism, Islam, Fascism, Socialism, Communism, Progressivism, Gaia, and their numerous combinations and derivatives – take us toward amorality in the name of their concepts of the public good.  All of them are self-defeating as they collaterally damage innocents and non-believers.  All of them institutionalize corruption.

Freedom, voluntary choice, limited government, judicial equity, all of these traditions preserve moral choice and enforce moral responsibility.  There will always be bad men and women.  Inflexible totalitarian systems do not contain self-correction mechanisms.  They insulate bad people and bad policies from their negative consequences.

Liberty is messy, but it’s still better than everything else because it allows us to evolve.  The left only want evolution they can control.  The right recognizes the fact that individuals know best how to direct their own evolution.

A 5th Am. problem

“[T]he failure to answer “no” to any question on this declaration shall serve as a disclosure that material assistance to an organization identified on the U.S. Department of State Terrorist Exclusion List has been provided by myself or my organization.” [Read more…]