"This statement is for the American people, who have shown throughout our history they will defend their constitutional rights. Today, we stand with them in affirming those rights."—ALG President Bill Wilson
February 17th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today, along with more than 80 free market and limited government leaders, signed the Mt. Vernon Statement that Wilson described as a "reaffirmation of constitutional, limited government as the only means of preserving liberty, promoting prosperity, and opposing tyranny in America, and throughout the world."
The Mt. Vernon statement—intended in its timing to influence the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference—comes almost fifty years after the 1960 Sharon Statement by William F. Buckley, Jr. that many consider to be one of the founding documents of the modern conservative movement.
Wilson said that today's statement is relevant to the current political climate: "The rise of the tea party movement and increasing citizen opposition to government-run health care, runaway spending and debt creation, are all evidence that Americans still believe in constitutional principles of limited government and the rule of law."
Wilson said, "This statement is for the American people, who have shown throughout our history they will defend their constitutional rights. Today, we stand with them in affirming those rights."
According to the Mount Vernon Statement, "The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant."
The statement continues, "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."
Wilson praised former Attorney General Edwin Meese for putting together the coalition of national, grassroots leaders to pen the document. "We owe Attorney General Meese a debt of gratitude for bringing us together and crafting a broad, united message that joins the ongoing discussion of the proper, limited role of government."
Wilson said the "need for that discussion is urgent," pointing to what he termed "the perversion of the Constitution through the unbridled, unlimited, and dangerous expansion of the powers of the federal government throughout the 20th Century."
Wilson concluded by saying, "The Mount Vernon Statement seeks to chart a new course for the 21st century by . History has shown that out of control growth in the federal government has established entitlements that threaten to bankrupt the nation, increasingly taken on new powers to tax and regulate practically every human activity imaginable, and weakened the nation's economic standing in the world by debasing our currency, bailing out politically-favored institutions, revoking property rights, and placing primacy into the hands of government over the people."
Wilson urged citizens to sign the statement themselves at www.themountvernonstatement.com.
The 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
- 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
Edwin Meese, former U.S. Attorney General under President Reagan
Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America
Edwin Feulner, Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation
Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the Heritage Foundation, was present at the Sharon Statement signing.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council
Becky Norton Dunlop, president of the Council for National Policy
Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center
Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator
David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union
David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society
T. Kenneth Cribb, former domestic policy adviser to President Reagan
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform
William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government
Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Kenneth Blackwell, Coalition for a Conservative Majority
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review