The gigantic pile of stupid called "The Mount Vernon Statement" ain't it. Despite the support of a number of prominent American conservatives (who all have remarkably similar handwriting, it appears), there is nothing clear or intelligent about it. Admittedly, I am a bit biased against the document, as I would rather be trapped in an elevator with an irritable, flea-infested orangutan than spend five minutes with most of the signatories. But click on the link and check it out for yourself. No matter what its press release may say, I will give a shiny nickel to anyone who can show me where the statement actually "defines the principles, values and beliefs of the conservative movement."
I'm not going to go through the entire thing paragraph by paragraph. Most of it is too mealy-mouthed to be worth deconstructing. But there are a couple of bits that are too inane to pass up.
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.
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.
I defy anyone to name a single federal government official (of either party) who is on record as dismissing the Constitution as obsolete or irrelevant. [Important note -- disagreeing with how said government official interprets the Constitution does not count.] You could feed a herd of cattle with the straw used in the manufacture of this statement's supposed opponents.
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?
I don't know. Is it? Asking rhetoric questions is not the same thing as building an affirmative case. These people would have placed dead last in any halfway decent high school debate tournament. And I love the "forward or backward, up or down?" questions. (Obsessive Simpsons fans will join me in wondering if they considered including a line about "twirling, twirling toward freedom.")
A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.
And that consistent, meaningful policy agenda is...? Because from here, it looks distressingly like risible pablum.