What, no Phyllis Schlafly?

I have argued in the past that there is a place for genuine, intelligent conservative principles in American governance. Unapologetic liberal that I am, I have no illusions that small-L liberalism has cornered the market on all that is of value in our civil discourse. Despite the GOP's wholesale abdication of all responsibility to actually be the voice of intelligent conservatism, the United States is strengthened when there is a clear voice for American conservatism.

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.


  1. "Admittedly, I am a bit biased against the document, as I would rather be trapped in an elevator with a irritable, flea-infested orangutan than spend five minutes with most of the signatories" is why I love you.

    And don't blame me. I voted for Kodos.

  2. The Mount Vernon Statement, as a title, sounds like pretentious flapdoodle. And having read it, I've removed all doubt. It is pretentious flapdoodle.

    Unfortunately our political elites on both sides would be intellectually overmatched by the elevator riding ouangutan of Dr. Dan. Alas.

  3. The average age of the signatories is like 62, not exactly looking for any youth outreach anytime soon I guess.

    The sad thing is there are a lot of Conservative ideas out there, like vouchers for schooling and for health care, adequately funded I truly don't have an issue with either, provided there is also regulations to accompany them so that the vouchers are universally accepted.

    Raising the retirement age is another. NAFTA and CAFTA and other free trade agreements are Conservative in nature.

    Undoing a lot of the security apparatus excesses of the Bush years, like warrantless wiretapping, torture, etc. should be Conservative issues as well (which was why the Patriot act had sunset provisions attached by Republican Congressmen, now that Obama is Pres. though, they are now sacrosanct)

    And might I add an aggressive foreign policy based on security has its validity, if implemented correctly (unlike the Bush philosophy of hope for the best, plan for the best then pretend that is what happens when the worst happens)

    Oh, I long for the days of a real Republican party