Mount Vernon, Port Huron and Sharon Statements in Comparison
Apparently conservatives have a new statement named for Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. The new Mount Vernon Statement is modeled on the 1960s conservative Sharon Statement (named for William F. Buckley’s home), though it’s slightly ironic considering the Sharon Statement was quite firm on state’s rights and Washington was a Federalist. From comparing the statements, it appears that the conservatives have made their peace with the Federal government:
Mount Vernon Statement:
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.
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;
And of course we need to compare that to the liberal Port Huron Statement (named for the SDS conference where it was written):
How shall the “public sector” be made public, and not the arena of a ruling bureaucracy of “public servants”? By steadfast opposition to bureaucratic coagulation, and to definitions of human needs according to problems easiest for computers to solve. Second, the bureaucratic pileups must be at least minimized by local, regional, and national economic planning – responding to the interconnection of public problems by comprehensive programs of solution. Third, and most important, by experiments in decentralization, based on the vision of man as master of his machines and his society.
In both style and content, the Mount Vernon Statement is much closer to the lefty Port Huron Statement than the Sharon Statement. Today’s conservatives are about “recommitment” and “natural fusion”; they ask rhetorical questions (“Isn’t this idea of change an empty promise or even a dangerous deception?”); and feel the need to buttress arguments by appealing to the authority of our founders: “The self-evident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist.”
Those kids in the 60s were a kick-to-the-face. Today, not so much.
…Ok, one more:
Mount Vernon Statement:
A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda. … It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and economic reforms grounded in market solutions.
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;
In comparison, a verb like “encourages” sounds pretty weak.