All for the Constitution, As Long As It Doesn't Obstruct Their Moral Crusades

The Mount Vernon Statement, which swears fealty to a "constitutional conservatism" that "applies the principle of limited government based on the rule of law to every proposal" and "honors the central place of individual liberty in American politics and life," already has attracted support from GoFuckYourselfNutjobs in Lafayette, Louisiana, so I guess it should be taken seriously. Glenn Reynolds says it "supports the notion of a libertarian shift on the right." If I thought the signatories really meant it, I would agree. But many of them plainly do not. The first one is Ed Meese, who as attorney general during the Reagan administration happily prosecuted national wars on dirty pictures and politically incorrect intoxicants. Where in the Constitution, pray tell, do we find the authority for such crusades? Or for the national restrictions on abortion supported by the fifth signatory, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council? Or for the national regulation of broadcast speech pushed by the seventh guy on the list, Brent Bozell of the Parents Television Council? I do not expect conservative constitutionalists to be libertarians, but is it asking too much to expect them to be constitutionalists?

Addendum: Jesse Walker beat me by a minute.

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  • Joe M||

    I do not expect conservative constitutionalists to be libertarians, but is it asking too much to expect them to be constitutionalists?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... yes.

  • ||

    Ed Meese, Brent Bozell and Tony Perkins - strict constitutionalists.

    Hmmm. If they're constitutionalists I'm the rightful heir to the Russian throne.

  • Glenn Reynolds||

    As I commented below on Jesse's post about this, the real story isn't what they believe, it's what they feel they have to say to be popular. What's significant is that this is the line they've chosen . . . not that they believe it. They'll say what it takes to get power, of course, but it's telling that this is what they think it takes to get power, even within the right.

  • ||

    Well Glenn that sentiment certainly did not come across on your gnomic comments on your site. The problem is that in your eagerness to push Climategate and the anti-Obama agenda, you seem to ignore your "fellow travelers" C'mon Ed Meese? Brent Bozell? Joe Farah at the Nashville Tea Party? Get back some balance man. And BTW check to see how many times you have linked to Althouse recently.Broaden your view.

  • ||

    BTW, Brent Bozell has a face that cries out to be punched, hard and often.

  • ||

    The Germans have a word for that:

    Backpfeiffengesicht

  • Tacos mmm...||

    This is awesome because it's true.

  • ||

    Do you mean backpfeifengesicht?

    If not cracked.com, who can you trust for your spelling needs?

  • ||

    And they got it wrong too. Backpfeife is a very archaic word for not a fist, but a slap in the face. Like that action a gentleman takes just before the slapee's glove lands at his feet.
    Then of course this idiom takes over: "Wie man in den Wald 'reinruft. so schallt's 'raus." Meaning, be aware of the echo your action will produce or "If you cant stand the heat get out of the kitchen."

  • cls||

    The Constitution is a road block to their desire to impose Godly values on the rest of us, at the point of a gun. If they stuck to the Constitution where would they get authority for abstinence programs, censorship laws, government monitoring of "suspects," the war on drugs, and all the other enhanced powers that they want to give government?

  • Mad Elf||

    Or for the national restrictions on abortion supported by the fifth signatory, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council?

    Sullum wants that top spot this week. He should get a couple hundred comments from this line.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    I'll contribute to the cause. Of all the signatories mentioned, Perkins isn't the worst offender for his opposition to abortion. He has some legal ground to stand on. Right to Life vs Property Rights (or privacy) is an arguable matter. Where does one begin and the others end?

    As for Bozell and Meese and the other clowns with whom I'm certain Perkins has agreement, kiss my *ss.

  • ||

    The problem with many right to lifers, is they claim life is a God given right which man shall not take away. Then they turn around and talk about how government should usurp the God given right in the name of the death penalty.

    So you as an individual can't have a reason to usurp God, but the government can.

  • stupid republican||

    exactly, seperation of church and state.
    the government protects our ideals, because it is ours. The government's judicial branch is also here to protect law abiding citizens, not as a representative of god but of our common interest.

  • MJ||

    Oddly enough, the Founders had a similar problem. Talking about a right to life in the Declaration, and writing a Constitution which explicitly contemplates the death penalty as a legitimate punishment.

  • ||

    (insert Deity here)help us,now I have to go read the fucking thing,Cause I'm a "Conservative".Where do these signatories get their authority? Not from me,clowns,
    Bob

  • ||

    When I first heard about the Mount Vernon Statement on Fox, I automatically went to my computer to see who was behind it. Yep! All the regular characters who want to jam their view of God and country down our throats. I am a religious person- but I am not part of the "smite the enemy" squad. Nor am I fond of the good old days of big Repub. govt. spending that we had under Bush. I just want to live my life (and my faith) in peace without the Statists on both sides trying to tell me what I should do/believe. My God believes in free will and I plan on using it! Live and Let Live!

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    Ah Meese. I remember when my local newsstand was raided and all the men's magazines taken away (even Playboy) for inspection .... Ha ha what crazy times the 80s were!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Moral crusades should be done at the state level.

  • ||

    Moral crusades should be done at the church level.

  • ||

    Pornography has been illegal through most of the nation's history. It wasn't until the 1960s that the dam began to break on indecency laws.

    You could certainly make the argument that the Feds have no business enforcing these laws. And for that Reason Messe, as federal AG was on the wrong side of the Constitution.

    But Sullum being the insufferable little shit that he is, means much more than that. He thinks the First Amendment means that there can't be any indecency laws anywhere and anyone who thinks there can be is some kind of a radical religious theocrat. The fact is that the idea that the 1st Amendment applies to pornography is a radical idea and a product of the the last 40 or so years. You can certainly argue and quite correctly point out that the founders never had any intention for the federal government to be involved in the regulation of such things. They clearly didn't. And there is no Constitutional authority for the feds to do so. But there sure as hell is authority at the state level. So unless his objection is rooted purely in federalism, Sullum needs to shut the fuck up.

  • ||

    Does the bill of rights apply to the states? Because if it does, you have no argument. And if it doesn't, can Chicago keep its draconian gun laws?

  • ||

    well said, Epi.

    John is no different than these Mt. Vernon morons. They want to pretend like they honor the constitution, yet always want to have exceptions to it for things they personally find objectionable.

  • ||

    That is where you are a dumb ass Tom. I don't support indecency laws. I just don't think they are "unconstitutional". Unlike you, I don't rape the meaning of the Constitution to undo every law I think is bad.

  • ||

    John, the guy trying to pretend that there are secret exceptions to the Constitution because they authors didn't really mean what they wrote is the dumb ass.

  • ||

    All 13 states had indecency laws at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Not one person ever said the 1st Amendment rendered those laws un-Constitutional. Indeed, no one thought that until the 1960s.

    To say that the drafters meant for it to apply to decency laws is just dumb ass and you know. Just at least be honest and say that the Constitution means whatever you want it to mean in order to invalidate any law you don't like because that is what you are saying.

  • Fluffy||

    The plain text of the Constitution's 1st and 14th Amendments invalidates the obscenity laws, John.

    The only reason the state laws were allowed to continue to exist is because we have always - ALWAYS - been governed by cunts who refused to live up to the Constitution's plain text. And that includes the guys who wrote that text.

    Those state indecency laws were allowed to continue to exist for the same reason that the Kelo decision found that handing your property over to another private individual is secretly a "public" use - because we are governed by cunts, and because most judges are cunts. It's not really that hard to understand, John.

  • ||

    It is really not hard to understand Fluffy. The words meant something at the time they were written. And what they meant was that the government couldn't regulate political speech. IT was free to regulate obscenity and perjury and things like that. And fashion and belief changed and people like you think that fashion and belief can change the meaning of the words. And that is great unless and until fashion changes for the worse. You say it means that because that is what you want it to mean. No more no less. It is just rule by libertine twats as opposed to rule by puritan twats.

  • ||

    ""The words meant something at the time they were written. And what they meant was that the government couldn't regulate political speech.""

    Where in the first amdendment is the word political?

    Isn't Congress shall make no law clear enough?

  • ||

    How does that political speech work?

    Having a picture of Brad fucking Jen could be ruled unconstitutional but a picture of Cheney fucking Obama would be constitutional?

  • robc||

    All speech is political speech. Including indecency. No, especially indecency.

  • Zeb||

    Fluffy, as usual, gets right to the crux of the biscuit. Just because people running the country have been wrong about this since day one does not make them any less wrong.

  • ||

    Just because the people that wrote it may have meant something we don't like, clearly it is okay to ignore it and just make the thing say whatever fits our desires. Yeah, that is a hell of a way to protect liberty.

  • Zeb||

    If our desires are for more liberty, then it is a way to protect liberty. How is interpreting the constitution in a way that protects fewer liberties a good way to protect liberty?
    I might say you had a point if you were talking about penumbras and emanations or other convoluted constitutional reasoning, but the 1st is plain, clear language that is easy to understand. Interpreting it to include exceptions for obscenity, corporate communications or sedition only encourages the sorts of people who want the constitution to mean other than what it plainly says.

  • Ther Gobbler||

    All 13 Several states had indecency laws Legal Slavery at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Not one person ever said the 1st Amendment rendered those laws Legal Slavery un-Constitutional. Indeed, no one thought that until the 1960s 1860's.

    FIFY

  • ||

    Indeed, we had to pass the 13th Amendment to get rid of it. Slavery was damn straight allowed by the Constitution as originally written.

  • EJ||

    to be fare... that required a constituional amendment to change that fact

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Before the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights didn't apply to the states at all, so your First Amendment argument doesn't actually start until the 1860s or so.

  • dhex||

    john, the difference is when libertine twats run shit (like in the magical forest of neverhappened) they don't throw people in jail for importing or excerpting ulysses.

    obscenity laws are retarded.

  • ||

    Interesting how you completely ignore Epi's 3:48 post, which basically rips your argument apart, and try desperately to create distracting drama by name-calling Tom. Keep it classy, John.

  • mt vernon moron||

    If I value liberty, must I also be a libertine?

  • ||

    No, but if you're worth your salt, you must also be a Saltine.

  • ||

    Even if it does, it never meant freedom to see naked pictures at the time it was written. You just think it means that now because you like it that way. I prefer to have a more stable reading of the Constitution and one in line with how it was intended. That way we can't change it because we like it one way or another. You think it prevents indecency laws. Good for you. Liberals think it allows campaign finance laws. Why are you right and they are wrong? Neither application was considered at the time of the Amendment's drafting.

  • Joe M||

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

  • ||

    So what? There was hundreds of years of government practice before and after the Constitution. If you look at what they actually did, they were not talking about indecency laws when they wrote the 1st Amendment. They were talking about political speech. And that is what it applies to, at least at the state level.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    There was hundreds of years of government practice before and after the Constitution.


    Are we then supposed to take the Sedition Act as an example of how to interpret the first amendment?

  • ||

    The Sedition Act was post Constitution. And was indeed objected to at the time and pretty much repudiated by all future governments. So it has no relevance in the interpretation of the 1st Amendment.

    But suppose the Sedition Act had existed at the time of the drafting. And no one mentioned the 1st Amendment applying to it at the time. And the law remained in effect until 1963. In those circumstances, it would be pretty damned hard to argue that the 1st Amendment was intended to proscribe acts like the Sedition Act.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    I think there's more here than that. No sooner was in the ink dry on "We the people..." than the founders were pissing on it. From day one, the meaning of the bill of rights has been open to interpretation, and in fact, the meaning of the words was disagreed on by the people writing it at the time it was being written. So yes, I think the Sedition Act highlights one of the cracks in a pure originalist interpretation.

  • ||

    First of all, I'm right because, well, I'm always right. Because I'm me.

    But seriously, it did mean freedom to see naked pictures when it was written. You think the founders said "shall make no law" and didn't mean it seriously? You think they were so limited in thought that they didn't consider it expression of all types, even if they weren't specifically thinking "nudie drawings!"

  • Abdul||

    I think your interpretation of the first amendment is preferable, and correct, but the Founders almost assuredly did not mean that nudie drawings were protected speech. All thirteen states ratifying the ammendment had anti-obscenity laws at the time.

  • ||

    It sure could have at a Federal level. And now the 14th applies it against the states. Just because they saw it as a limit on the Federal government only doesn't mean they weren't considering expression of all types.

  • ||

    There is no evidence that they were. No one ever thought it applied to such things until the 20th Century. And further, as Pro pointed out, Congress shall make NO Law, doesn't mean that in its totality, since Congress certainly does make laws on perjury, libel and such. It was never intended to apply to obscenity. And to say it does sets the dangerous precedent that Courts can change the meaning of the document based on current fashion. If courts can do that, then we have no Constitution. We just have a document that is ruled and interpreted by the mob. No thank you.

  • Fluffy||

    They wrote the words "Congress shall make no law..." John.

    I personally could not give a shit if, because they were hypocritical, weak cunts, they failed to live up to that.

    It doesn't require mob rule for me to know that the words "Congress shall make no law" mean that Congress shall make no law. If it doesn't mean that, then ALL of the text of every amendment and every article is utterly irrelevant and it can mean whatever the fuck I want it to mean. It's a heads I win, tails you lose kind of argument, John.

  • ||

    So Congress shall make no law. That means you object to perjury and libel laws? Congress makes laws all the time. No one argues that the Amendment protects all speech. And don't give the horseshit line that some speech hurts other people. The Amendment as literally read doesn't make accommodations for that. Yet, you have no problem with libel and perjury laws because you like those laws. Good for you. But don't sit here and pretend that you are doing anything but wiping your ass with the Amendment and making it mean whatever pleases you.

  • Fluffy||

    I actually object to libel laws. Get rid of them. Fine by me.

    I could pretty easily rewrite perjury laws to include them in contempt of court - where it would not be the content of your speech that was at issue, but the fact that you took the oath in court and then failed to fulfill it. You're free to say that your neighbor is a murderer in public all you want, as far as I am concerned. But if you take the oath and then fail to perform, you've breached your promise to the court and it's the breach that we punish, and not your speech per se.

    The same thing applies to fraud laws. The illegality is the breach of the contract, and not the false statement. You're allowed to claim to have a cure for cancer all you want, as far as I am concerned, and no one can punish you for that speech. They can punish you if you accept money for that cure and then fail to deliver it. It's the failure to deliver that is the fraud, and not the speech.

    Many of the examples people give of "speech" being punished are just misinterpretations of the underlying acts involved. Bad faith misinterpretations, I might add. People who want to restrict speech have every incentive to view the fraud laws as speech restrictions, in order to overwhelm opposition to their liberty-destroying ideas for additional laws.

  • ||

    That is a good way to look at free speech. I actually don't really disagree with you. If you want to come up with a Constitutional Amendment that says as much, you have my support.

    But, I am sorry, the 1st Amendment as currently constituted doesn't mean that.

  • Fluffy||

    Sure it does.

    We're just currently misgoverned.

  • ||

    Just an FYI: perjury laws are already concerned with the violation of the oath and/or obstruction of justice rather than speech per se. So there wouldn't be any need to rewrite them.

    Similarly, with defamation laws, the illegality is the deliberately- or recklessly-caused injury to another's reputation, not the statement itself.

  • ||

    Libel and perjury laws punish false statments with the intent to harm and, this is significnat, are not prior restraint.

    Indecency laws are simple prior restraint and are nothing like libel and perjury.

  • ||

    I have heard this same argument for years coming from the left concerning gun laws: "The framers could not possibly have envisioned semi-auto (fun) rifles being owned by private citizens, ergo the plain language of the text is null."

    The goddamn words mean what they mean, John. No hypotheticizing of intended motives will change that. The thing was written to be understood explicitly, no pun intended.

    They could of just put a provision in that said "...make no law except pictures of nekkid people, cause that makes some freaks uncomfortable..." but, they didn't. Did they?

  • ||

    It is not the same argument at all. The framers knew indecent speech. They had it back then. The fact that it is done by internet rather than drawing or book now makes no difference. Just like the fact that they only had muzzle loading weapons back then makes no difference to the 2nd. It just doesn't cover it.

  • ||

    So then, what did the framers consider indecent speech? And in your answer, please no psychic interpolation of motives, instead maybe cite a quote,in context, or something.

  • robc||

    Founders almost assuredly did not mean that nudie drawings were protected speech

    Im pretty sure Ben Franklin thinks you are wrong.

    All thirteen states ratifying the ammendment had anti-obscenity laws at the time.

    As the 1st only applied to the Feds at the time, I think they all thought it was none of the Federal governments business. The fact that the Feds didnt have that law at the time proves I am right. After the 14th passed, the states were under the federal rules wrt the 1st.

  • Comrade Zero||

    robc, Mr. Franklin would not have minded a nekkid woodcut at all

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....a_Mistress

    Quite apart from anything else, the God Squad has shown little respect for the constitution when it conflicts with the bible.

  • ||

    You think it prevents indecency laws. Good for you. Liberals think it allows campaign finance laws. Why are you right and they are wrong? Neither application was considered at the time of the Amendment's drafting.

    Let me make a stab at it. "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . ." So, you can't make a law restricting my freedom to view pornography, nor restricting my freedom to campaign against (or for) a politician. That's what the text says; whether or not Jefferson or Madison or whoever thought it applied to pornography, it doesn't. The way the writers of the Constitution and amendments to it intended their words to be interpreted is a good place to start; it's not necessarily the place to end.

  • Michael Ejercito||


    Does the bill of rights apply to the states? Because if it does, you have no argument. And if it doesn't, can Chicago keep its draconian gun laws?


    Of course it does.

    That written, the Bill of Rights only protects rights as they were understood at the time of their ratification. Would applying the First Amendment to protect pornography be consistent with the original understanding of the First Amendment?

  • ||

    Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ...

    The fact that it was ignored by puritanical judges and legislators for almost two centuries doesn't have a goddam thing to do with Ed Meese and Brent Bozell being puritanical asswipes who would trample the 1st (How did Eddie feel about flag burning?) masquerading as constitutionalists.

  • ||

    And the fact that the people who wrote the damned thing never meant it to mean that means nothing either. Go ahead J sub D, scrub your ass hard with that Amendment. It means whatever you want it to mean and whatever gets rid of what you don't like.

  • Fluffy||

    Congress shall make no law.

    We know what the word Congress means.

    We know what the word no means.

    We know what the word law means.

    There really isn't anything else to discuss.

    You are the one relying on inference, John. You want us to ignore the pretty straightforward plain meaning of the text, and infer that it couldn't possibly mean what it obviously means, based on other laws that the founders passed. But the Constitution is the highest law, and pre-empts every other action the founders could possibly have taken.

    I have the plain meaning of the text. You have a second-hand deduction of intent from non-Constitutional texts, laws, and records. Forgive me if I'm not impressed.

  • ||

    Plain meaning my ass. By the plain meaning as you put it, Congress couldn't prevent perjury. But clearly Congress can. So it doesn't mean all speech. It means some speech. The question is which speech. You think that speech includes pornography. Bless your little heart. And I am sure it also gives you a pony to and makes everything right with the world.

  • Fluffy||

    I addressed both perjury and fraud above, baby doll.

    By the way, I piss on the grave of your stupid religion's hatred of dirty pictures. One of the few saving graces of the modern world is that I'm sure the ubiquity of smut drives you Christofucks totally insane. And that's great. I can't wait for gay marriage to triumph everywhere, so I can dance on the grave of that hope of you losers, too.

  • Zeb||

    In all fairness, John did say he was against indecency laws.

  • Joe M||

    +1

  • Zeb||

    Bullshit, John. The plain text of the constitution is against you. If indecency or obscenity laws are OK, why not laws limiting corporate spending on political advertisements close to elections? I don't see an exception for either of those things anywhere.

  • ||

    And, of course, indecency laws means that other people shouldn't have the right to view material that you find offensive. You are talking about morality and, of course, when you talk about applying morality to the law the obvious question becomes who's morality should the law be based on. I happen to think it should be based on a fundamentalist Islamic sense of morality where any visible body part is considered offensive.

  • ||

    But Sullum being the insufferable little shit that he is, means much more than that. He thinks the First Amendment means that there can't be any indecency laws anywhere and anyone who thinks there can be is some kind of a radical religious theocrat.

    Pot calling the kettle black.

    Pray tell John, where in the constitution is the decency/pronography exemption to the first amendment?

  • ||

    The practice at the time it was written. Whatever they meant, they clearly didn't mean it covered everything because that was not the way it was ever applied at the time of the founders. If it didn't mean that at the time, it doesn't mean that now. We can't just change the meaning of the constitution because we like it better one way.

    I don't agree with indecency laws. But not every bad law is unconstitutional.

  • ||

    Words have meaning John. And the 1st is pretty explicit. There are no exception for indecency. It's only activist jurists who decided that indecent material isn't subject to the protections of the 1st amendment. The fact that it took so long to get those laws overturned doesn't magically make wrong decisions correct.

    Whatever they meant, they clearly didn't mean it covered everything because that was not the way it was ever applied at the time of the founders. If it didn't mean that at the time, it doesn't mean that now. We can't just change the meaning of the constitution because we like it better one way.

    You have it backwards John. If the founders wanted an exception they could have put it in there.

    It doesn't matter how things were "applied" back then. What matters is what the document actually says. Otherwise the document itself is worthless.

    I don't agree with indecency laws. But not every bad law is unconstitutional.

    No, not every bad law is. But indecency laws are.

  • ||

    Words have what meaning? You are just arguing by tautology. The first amendment means all speech (including I suppose libel and threats of violence) because you say it does. Big fucking deal. You are just raping the meaning to get rid of a law you don't like. That is great. But I worry about you raping it to justify other actions that are not so benign.

  • ||

    John, those other examples are where your speech violates the rights of others.

    (And Libel isn't really a very good example since it isn't a crime but instead a civil violation)

  • ||

    Where does the 1st Amendment say "Congress shall make no law except when it effects the rights of others"? It doesn't. You are just accepting the practice of there being perjury and libel laws because you like those laws and objecting to obscenity laws because you don't like those. It is again just rule by Tom.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    The practice at the time it was written. Whatever they meant, they clearly didn't mean it covered everything because that was not the way it was ever applied at the time of the founders.

    The Sedition Act was contemporary with the advent of the constitution. Would you hold that it therefore represents a valid restriction on the freedoms implied in the first amendment?

  • ||

    See above. The Sedition Act was under Adams, after the Constitution and was repudiated by future governments.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    It was certainly contentious at the time, but never repealed. It was simply allowed to expire, and never faced judicial review.

  • ||

    """Whatever they meant, they clearly didn't mean it covered everything because that was not the way it was ever applied at the time of the founders."""

    Assuming I give you that. Do you think they meant to prevent you from having drawings or statues of naked people in your private property?

  • ||

    Libertarians will gladly work with socialist hard left liberals on civil liberties issues. But they have fainting fits at the thought of working with social conservatives on economic freedom issues.

    If this document were about torture or indefinite detention no one on here would give a shit if it was authored by people who held big government leftist economic policies. Libertarians have no problem laying in bed with liberals. And really if the liberals are right about something, they shouldn't. Make your alliances where you can. But everyone has a case of the vapors is something is signed by a social conservative. This whole thread and post is just Cosmotarian bullshit.

  • micro2000||

    Can you point out the "economic freedom issues" that this document addresses?

  • ||

    # 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.

  • micro2000||

    And this has been the same rhetoric that these clowns have spewed for decades, all while enabling and applauding the growing State.

    Sorry I don't get a warm and fuzzy over such trivial language.

  • ||

    This is a nice hopey bowl of fucking platitudes. Where are the entitlement cutting proposals? How about defense? Its easy to string together a bunch of words "Liberty...blah blah...small government...constitution...more blah...here's some free enterprise for your ass ...blah"

  • Fluffy||

    We tried that for three decades and the social conservatives lied, John.

    They FUCKING LIED.

    Every word the social conservatives utter about economic freedom, including "and", "but", and "the", is a fucking lie.

    How do you know when a social conservative is lying about economic freedom? Because their lips are moving.

    When the social conservatives tear down their Bush shrine and shit on Dear Leader's memory to my satisfaction, I will believe them and try to work with them again. Until then they can go fuck themselves.

  • ||

    Fluffy, I said this before, you were truly damaged by the Bush Administration. You remind me of some bitter old hippy still bitching about Johnson. You think that anyone who agreed with anything Bush did, must have agreed with everything he did. It is just sad.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    I'm trying to think of something he did I agreed with. Medicare D? Midnight Schiavo Bill signing? Afghanistan/Iraq? No Child Left Behind? The Department of Homeland Security? I can't find anything.
    Seriously. Maybe you can come up with something.

  • Fluffy||

    It's 13 months ago.

    I said before the election that these fuckwads would start spouting libertarian rhetoric again, and that we should all try to remember that they lied before, so we would not be tricked again.

    But your estimate of our intelligence is SO LOW that we think we have already forgotten - and it's been THIRTEEN MONTHS.

    If they didn't agree with Bush, they had ample opportunity to say so. And they did not. Not to a degree commensurate with Bush's many, many outrages.

    And they still aren't. I said I would never let it go, but Obama has been so bad that I might be willing to let it go - but EVEN NOW they refuse to say, "Bush sucked. Our bad on that one. He sucked, and we should have said something, but we were playing politics so we didn't say anything. But this time we really mean what we're signing our names to." But they haven't even said that. They expect me to just forget. And that's not reasonable, so fuck them.

  • ||

    Amen.

  • ||

    This needs said more often, Thank You Fluffy.

  • Rick H.||

    Yes. Then they have the utter gall to piss out terms like "freedom" and "fiscal responsibility" until the words' meanings are an infinite dilution that would be worthy of a homepathic remedy. Fuck 'em twice.

  • ||

    Fluffy is my hero. The sanest voice on the board.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    SO...MUCH...WIN!

  • ||

    ""You think that anyone who agreed with anything Bush did, must have agreed with everything he did. ""

    They agreed enough of what he did in the first term to give him a second.

  • micro2000||

    Republicans and their followers have actually been more damaging to economic freedom than Democrats and the Left.

    The Left admits they despise free markets, and wish to use the State for central economic planning.

    Republicans, on the other hand, have constantly paid lip-service to free markets and capitalism, all while rejecting smaller government, supporting crony capitalism and expanding the State. With this most recent economic crisis, under the administration of Republicans, they gave the Left the best weapon to attack "free markets" with: the superficial association of "Republicans = Free Markets".

    Educating the populace that Republicans were NOT "free market" proponents and that "unregulated, free markets" didn't exist under Bush is a daunting task. Made harder considering the silence from the supposed "free market" Right that existed during Republican administrations.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Libertarians will gladly work with socialist hard left liberals on civil liberties issues. But they have fainting fits at the thought of working with social conservatives on economic freedom issues.

    The hard socialist left has a good history of fighting for civil liberties. The Communist Party USA did liberty an enormous service in fighting segregation. By contrast, the social conservatives have never actually done anything to control the size of government, despite actually holding government power.

    A libertarian who is building a coalition for civil liberties should include communists and socialists. A libertarian who is building a coalition for smaller government should not include social conservatives.

    Suck it, John.

  • ||

    It's true enough that we have a long history of viewing some speech as unprotected or, at least, less protected. Perjury, defamation, obscenity, commercial speech, time, place, and manner restrictions, speech inciting violence, speech revealing national security secrets, speech infringing intellectual property rights, speech involving fraud, and so on.

    Which is why we shouldn't end our arguments with "Congress [Government] shall make no law. . . .", because government most certainly does make such laws.

    As a matter of policy, I think the line should be drawn way below things like indecency, because the whole marketplace of ideas concept is far more important than not offending anyone, but that's just crazy libertarian me speaking.

  • ||

    ProL--We should indeed end our arguments with that. The existence of a law does not make it right by default. Anything that involves prior restraint should be struck down on the basis of the 1st.

    As to punishments for certain kinds of speech, nowhere is it written that having a right makes you immune to damages against you as a result of exercise of that right. 2nd Amendment rights doesn't give the unfettered right to use a gun in any manner decided by the shooter. You certainly can't shoot people with it except in self-defense.

    These are important distinctions are being lost on John and all the others who want to ram their agenda down the throat of the 1st and ours as well.

    Speech is speech is speech. If someone can show just cause that you damaged them with your speech, then let them prove that you did and allow the courts to exact punishment. But censorship, which is all indecency laws are, is right out.

  • Abdul||

    Hey, Meese has apparently spent his retirment in ashes and sackcloth.

    Balko told us about his changes of heart in November. http://reason.com/blog/2009/11.....-meese-and

  • ||

    Messe is actually a fairly complex and bright guy. But, once you are on the Cosmotarian purge list, there is no coming back.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    I hear Karl Rove is a riot at parties.

  • Fluffy||

    And John Yoo plays a mean game of squash.

  • ||

    Addendum: Jesse Walker beat me by a minute.

    I hate it when that happens.

  • ||

    They have a thing at the bottom where you can be a signatory if you like. I guess the question I have is:

    If you agree with the statement, or at least the vast majority of the statement, should you sign it even if you believe that the people who crafted it aren't necessarily committed to its principles?

    Does it make you a stooge to sign something you honestly believe even if it furthers the interests of people you don't trust to defend those beliefs?

    I suppose that's a philosophical argument, but I find it an interesting one.

  • ||

    Unless you have been given a special tool to look into people's souls, I think you ought to give people the benefit of the doubt and sign the document provided you agree with it. Don't sign something you don't believe. But if you believe, your signature is a statement of your own commitment, not anyone else's which you can't judge anyway.

  • ||

    So you believe that those who signed the Constitution believed that Congress shall make no law with respects to speech?

  • ||

    Change believed to agreed.

  • Handsome Dan||

    Unless you have been given a special tool to look into people's souls, I think you ought to give people the benefit of the doubt and sign the document provided you agree with it.

    So you're saying he ought to go by the words of the document as written, and not infer what the authors and signatories REALLY mean via some mix of biographical inference and psychic powers?

    Good idea.

  • Joe M||

    Snap!

  • ||

    Yeah, I have. It's called Google. It's crazy! I can find websites and organizations run by these jackasses which espouse wildly different beliefs from those they claim to hold here!

  • highnumber||

    If the Illinois Nazi Party asked you to sign their petition condemning rape and murder, would you sign?

  • ||

    That's a little different for two reasons:

    1) Condemnation of rape and murder is uncontroversial and embraced by everyone. The beliefs expressed above are not and are arguably in contradiction with the current ruling party.

    2) Ed Meese may be a lot of things, a latter day Adolf Eichmann ain't one of them. Anyway certainly there's room to be concerned about the company you're keeping, but nevertheless the ACLU did the right thing in Skokie.

    If there's value in signing the thing otherwise (as there wouldn't be in signing an anti-murder petition), should the identities of the drafters of the petition affect your decision to sign, and if so how much?

  • highnumber||

    Yes, it's different. I chose one of the most despicable groups and an innocuous position to make the point. While I might sign the same petition as they might, I wouldn't sign THEIR petition regardless.

  • ||

    Fair enough.

  • ||

    I hates Meeses to pieces...

  • ||

    On libel and slander:

    Civil laws imposing damages for libel and slander are not a restriction on speech. They merely require you to bear the consequences of your speech.

    Such laws are perfectly consistent with the notion that you can say what you want as long as you are willing to pay for the damage you might cause. Because truth is a defense, libel and slander is, really, a subspecies of fraud, which you can and should most definitely be held to account for.

  • ||

    R C -- Well said. ANd I would say that this logic applies to the idea of perjury as well.

    But there is still the issue of criminal defamation. 17 US states have criminal defamation laws. That would seem to be at odds with the 1st.

    Personally I would argue that criminal defamation laws are unconstitutional.

  • ||

    John is right, in a practical sense. While most of us will defend the Constitution as is, those who write laws do not, and they have prevailed in many ways. But the same arugment John is using now will be used against the second amendment and how we define the word infringed.

    Of course John's arugement will be used by the gun-control lobby when they claim the word infringed shouldn't be taken at face value.

  • ||

    Nice tantrum, John.

  • ||

    should you sign it even if you believe that the people who crafted it aren't necessarily committed to its principles?

    That depends; do you believe you can beat that guy on the corner at three card monte?

  • ||

    But this guy came up and started playing, and he was winning real easily. If that guy could do it, why can't I?

  • highnumber||

    So these schmucks signed a loyalty oath to a couple pieces of paper, eh? That right there tells me I don't want to be associated with them. I don't need to know the rest of their beliefs.

  • Hacha Cha||

    there already is a tea party, its the libertarian party. this whole tea party movement is being hijacked by neocons and I don't really think anything that great is going to come of it unless these tea partiers get behind real constitutional conservatives/libertarian candidates.

  • Fluffy||

    Libertarians will gladly work with socialist hard left liberals on civil liberties issues. But they have fainting fits at the thought of working with social conservatives on economic freedom issues.

    This thread has gotten sidetracked on the 1st Amendment issue, and I just noticed that this allowed this assertion of John's to go unchallenged.

    Because we're arguing about the 1st Amendment, John has accomplished his goal: he has perpetuated the myth that there is the people he is defending agree with libertarians on economic issues, and that we should just work on that, and overlook the fact that we disagree on social issues.

    The problem is that this is not true.

    The signatories of this document that we find objectionable don't actually believe in economic freedom. That's the whole problem. They periodically pretend to believe in economic freedom, and it's critical that we not fall for it.

    I would actually be willing to work with conservatives on economic freedom issues, if I could find any I thought weren't lying whores.

    And the way to know if someone is a lying whore or not is simple: examine the record of their support for Bush. It's really very easy and cut and dried. If they really believed in economic freedom and small government, they would have gotten together and put up a primary challenger against Bush in 2004. Since they did not do that, we have to assume that they are full of shit.

    Conservatives and libertarians can work again in the future, after there is total personnel turnover in the conservative movement and everyone on the "cosmotarian purge list" is gone.

  • ||

    The signatories of this document that we find objectionable don't actually believe in economic freedom. That's the whole problem. They periodically pretend to believe in economic freedom, and it's critical that we not fall for it.

    Exactly. We should have learned by now that the only time conservatives get their panties in a wad over the size and scope of government with respect to anything, including its role in the economy, is when they don't control it.

  • ||

    They are brainwashed to forget that everytime they hear the word Reagan.

  • KingTaco||

    I just read Michael Moynihan's story on the 'New Left', and had a chuckle at the posturing, self-important 'screed' that accompanied the flyer. Then I read this comment thread, and honestly, I don't see much of a difference. Someone actually posted about Libertarians being better fit to work with Communists than Conservatives; I guess the juice-boxers were aiming low with the whole 'Liberaltarian' thing.

    Nothing like angrily playing 'Heretics vs. the Libertarian Pure' while holding reality to the standard of a magical fantasy world that has never existed. A thread like this is a mirror-reverse of a Marxist message board, spittle flying as it's bemoaned that no one is 'pure' enough to be allowed near.

    1. Philosophy
    2. Ideology
    3. Politics

    Please note: these are three distinct things. 1 and 2 fill books, 3 is how the world actually works. Politics is ugly. Real ugly. The best you hope for is that your preferred government/economic/etc. choice of 1 and 2 is the one gaining traction in politicians lip-service. I would think these current times would find Libertarians riding high with a lot of good chances for exposure. Instead, round' these parts it seems more bitter than ever, as if it was more important to posture as aloof truth-speakers than actually get involved with politics. If that's the case I wish we could see a return to the more whimsical, fatalistic humor of Libertarian yore. This whole shaking with impotent rage, right-wing version of Democratic Underground act isn't half as fun.

  • ||

    Your Royal Folded Foodness, it's real easy to be whimsical when everyone thinks you're all dopers looking for free junk. But, then all of of a sudden there is some dipshit in a tri-cornered hat on nat. t.v., who probably voted for G.W.(twice!) espousing the ideals you've held to through all the scummy r's and d's. Its fucking absurd, anger is a way to deal with that which makes no sense.

    Personally, I don't mind being on the fringe, politically that is, so much. I am realistic about the chances for libertarian ideals being implemented, so this little niche of political thought is a cozy home. I have no interest in being a Repuplican part II. That Libertarianism is fringe and that I embrace it says something about me but it also strongly implies something about the populace at large.

    Why compromise? We ain't got nothin to lose.

  • KingTaco||

    Ah, but what you're professing goes back to what I said about Philosophy, Ideology, and Politics.

    What you're talking about is essentially dwelling in the realm of Philosophy and Ideology, but somehow that gets conflated with Politics.

    "Personally, I don't mind being on the fringe, politically that is, so much."

    "Why compromise? We ain't got nothin to lose."

    Said not with sharpness, there's no 'Fringe' or 'Compromise' for Libertarianism *politically*, because Libertarianism isn't even in the game, *politically*. This is the odd part about folks in this thread saying that Libertarians won't work together with Conservatives, or so and so won't get their support. *Politically*, that's a long-winded way of stating 'empty threat'. Unless the Libertarian Party has somehow shown up on the American political map, fussin' and cussin' about who won't get Libertarian support is a non-entity. It's also doubly curious when folks are openly saying they've already retreated to the grounds of Philosophy/Ideology.

    That's not to say I don't think Libertarian's can't have an impact (IMO very positive) on American politics. I believe that Libertarian ideals are well-suited for shaping and winning cultural hearts and minds, rather than at the ballot box (realistically at this time). That's absolutely no small thing either. But politics is an ugly, sausage-factory game, and if your reaction is like the Reason gang getting up on their orbital high-horse to sneer at Tea-Partiers, or expressed in statements like....

    "But, then all of of a sudden there is some dipshit in a tri-cornered hat on nat. t.v., who probably voted for G.W.(twice!) espousing the ideals you've held to through all the scummy r's and d's. "

    ...then you're mostly signaling you're not interested in politics. Cause' what you wrote above, that's not only politics, for Libertarians that's winning. And as I said, I'm surprised to see so much opinion at a negative place, as opposed to looking for opportunities to gain a strong foothold in the culture (and in the Republican party).

    If folks want to tread only upon the saintly ground of Philosophy/Ideology, fine. But if you retreat from the political game, then it kind of makes hollow political threats/complaints.

  • ||

    My post was an implicit endorsement of the ideas you first posted. When I said I was realistic about libertarian political prospects you didn't need to reiterate that thought in a different context.

    I think that the best thing that classical liberalism and libertarianism have going for them is their ideas. That's okay with me though, today's philosophy is tomorrow's policy. My take on the libertarian political reality is that we can win on issues, not candidates.
    I've said many times that instead of bragging about how many county commissioners we have in Georgia, that we should be teaming up with specific groups to support or oppose, mostly oppose, legislation and candidates.

    Get money, ideas, and enough muckraking out there to effect the process, not waste resources running crazies for president(or vice president, I'm lookin at you Wayne Allen Root).

  • Comrade Zero||

    A movement without thought(philosophy) and purpose(ideology) is either useless or a deadly danger - the tea party and the dems come to mind. Action has to come too, but I think you're dismissing the idea of having solid and rational beliefs in place before acting.

  • ||

    I think you just hit the nail on the head. It seems as if both parties have a vague notion of what statism they prefer,welfare or police, and then spend all of their time thinking of how to win, not about what is best for the country or its populace.

    Then when one side wins the other co-opts their message partially, seeking any advantage. Democrats caving to republican crime/war demands as not to appear "soft", and republicans screeching that democrats want to cut medicare, are but just two examples.

  • Fluffy||

    Here's why your post is wrong:

    A bunch of liars have put out a manifesto pretending to subscribe to views that they don't actually subscribe to, fishing for the support of people who actually hold those views.

    On this thread many of us are shouting, "They're liars! Remember how they lied before! They're lying again!"

    And then we have your post.

    Your post could be paraphrased as, "Of course they're lying to you. That's how politics works. Politics is ugly, so you're going to have people lie to your face to get your support and then abandon you as soon as it's necessary for them to accomplish their goals."

    And the thing is that you don't seem to realize that your post isn't actually a refutation of my posts. It's an endorsement of them and an affirmation of them.

    When I post, "These people are lying to you," it is not a rebuttal for you to post, "Of course they're lying to you, that's how politics works." But for some reason you seem to think that it is.

    You aren't going to convince me that I should like being lied to.

  • Edwin||

    John is totally right

    the founding fathers DID support indecency laws and DID want them in force when they wrote the constitution - BUT ONLY AT THE STATE LEVEL

    ARE YOU LISTENING YOU FUCKTARD!? HOW FUCKING DUMB ARE YOU!!!???

    The first amendment says what it says, and they MEANT it to say what it says because they WANTED TO LIMIT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S POWER.

    AT THE TIME IT WAS WRITTEN, IT DID NOT OUTLAW INDECENCY LAWS. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT. IT ONLY OUTLAWED FEDERAL INDECENCY LAWS.

    But now that there is the 14th amendment, IT APPLIES TO THE STATES!

    Do you understand? DO YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND!?

    Jesus christ you're dumb.

    IF YOU'RE AGAINST THE 14th AMENDMENT, JUST SAY IT. IF YOU THINK THE 14th AMENDMENT WAS INTERPRETED INCORRECTLY, JUST SAY IT.

    But for god's sake don't sit there and try to pretend that the words of the first amendment don't mean what they say.

    The founders were weary of FEDERAL government power.

    Got it?

    tardo

  • robc||

    BTW, 1st amendment is wrong argument anyway. Article 1, Section 8 does not grant the congress power to pass indecency laws so the 1st Amendment matters none at all.

  • ||

    Larry Flynt's "best friend" Ed Meese leaning libertarian? Next thing you know, they'll tell us that the health care bill will be inspired by Milton and Rose Friedman's book "Free to Choose."

  • ||

    Dear friends,

    I think that with the Mount Vernon statement out and on-line as of 17 February, now is the time to open a real discussion regarding the principles of the Founders, among conservatives, and among Americans in general. I was very interested in reading the text of the document, and in seeing who the principle signers of the statement were. You can read the statement below, and then I follow each section with a few comments, because I agreed with some of their statements of the founding principles of the United States, but while you are reading, if you are familiar with the lives of the founders, the debates in the Federalist Papers and in the early Congress, and with regards to the writing of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,reflect carefully on everything that the statement says.

    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.

    Up to here we have some wishful thinking. The Founders created excellent founding documents, the best in history I would say. Whether they have been enduring or not is answered by the facts of our present situation. We now have a system with nearly unlimited government, the system of checks and balances were debilitated throughout the 20th century. Both parties contributed to this, with some of the most spectacular and flagrant attempts to destroy the 'framework of limited government' occurring with the presidency of FDR, when he attempted to pack the Supreme Court, and during the 'Imperial Presidency' of Richard M. Nixon. No President has truly handed back many of the powers that were won by the power-grabs of his predecessors. George W. Bush and Obama are simply the culmination of more than a hundred years of government expansion. The Founders did indeed seek to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government. Since then, the edifice has come crashing down, as Edmund Burke might say.


    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.

    Here again we cross the line from defining ideals, to becoming idealistic. We all know that the journey down van Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom' is well underway, and conservatives especially should be aware of this fact. In the second sentence the statement slides into nationalism. We are prosperous, there is no doubt about that, some would even say decadent. However, profligate spending at every level has put our prosperity in serious danger, and has established an unsustainable, structurally unsound economy. Our judicial system is rife with flaws, the basic individual liberties defined in the Bill of Rights are scarcely holding on. In the name of the war against terrorism, many so-called 'conservatives' have justified all sorts of reductions in the right to due process, the right to a trial by jury, the right against unreasonable search and seizure. Yes, who is to interpret what is reasonable those on the other side will say? Fewer and fewer, as the government finds it in its interest to systematically expand its justification for every act it commits. And insofar as being warnings for tyrants and despots, how much more power will we concentrate in the Executive branch before it becomes nothing more than a 4-year license to decree by divine will? Rather, our current system, in my point of view, is a model for tyrants and despots who want to justify their rule by terms in office. Who wants to be ruler for life anyway nowadays?

    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.

    The fact that the Founder's ideas are under attack is irrefutable. The problem I see is that the statement refuses to recognize that there are those within the conservative ranks who are doing exactly this. Whether the justification be war against foreign powers and sustained occupation on foreign soils, the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the tripartite war party in the conservative wing has expanded government in equal proportion as has the 'social welfare state' on the socialist side of the aisle. On the other hand, so-called social conservatives have justified limiting the individual rights of gays, have tried to expand the role of religion (going beyond the Founder's call for religious liberty) in public schools and have joined ranks in empowering the police state due to the fear stoked among them regarding the dangers of drugs, gangs and other supposed 'external' threats to society. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have hooked on to and adored big government over the past several decades. It has given them the power to turn to their constituents and ask them, 'what would you do without us?'.

    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?

    America changed long, long ago, with respect to its views on the Founding principles. To recover the Founder's ideal requires a refounding of the Republic, casting out years of precedents, and reforging the expectation of the people regarding what government should and should not do.

    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.

    We need a refounding.

    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.

    I found it interesting the use of the term, 'nature's God'. Jefferson and many of the founders were dualists. They did not believe in the Christian God, but did believe in religious freedom. They were also witness to the great dangers inherent in religious persecution. In all truth, the Founders were not conservatives, they were liberals, classical liberals. They believed in the ideals of the Enlightenment. They made common cause frequently with such atheists as the eloquent Thomas Paine. There can be no doubt that the hedonistic and brilliant Benjamin Franklin was anything but conservative, either in his personal or public life. These leaders put ideas ahead of all, they were, simply put, revolutionaries. Edmund Burke, although he is a classical conservative in every sense of the word, admired the American Revolutionaries and defended their cause. He saw the Constitution as a sound and prudent document. While all this is true, we have to recognize that the Founder's ideals are not and were not conservative per se. A realization of the Founder's ideals today would be just as, if not more, revolutionary than in the past. With the expansion of government over the past hundred plus years, who can really argue that a new Declaration of Independence would even be possible by a new republic that wanted to break away from a despot in a distant land? How could groups of scraggly militiamen possibly defeat the massive, well-paid and sophisticated armies of modernity? Where is there even an insurgent group with any power left in the world? Let us hope that such a Revolution will be possible without force of arms, but it is a fact that the Founders had to take up arms to secure their rights. Aside from being revolutionaries, they were warriors for a just cause.

    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.

    What is government's job? Perhaps this is where the statement needs to be clearer... is it government's job to continue to construct a nuclear arsenal which can already destroy the world several times over? Is it government's job to defend Israel, Taiwan and South Korea? Is it government's job to provide social security and medicare? Is it government's job to police the individual use of illegal drugs such as marihuana or cocaine? or legal drugs such as methadone or valium? Is it government's job to create an FCC and divvy up the airwaves, and then prosecute people for saying fuck on-air? Is it government's job to rescue banks? I pick these topics since conservatives typically fall on the 'big government' side of the answers. However, if you are going to restate the Founder's principles, the answers are clearly no..no..no..no..no and ..no. Thomas Hobbes gave a basic answer as to what government should do, basically provide police protection, of ourselves from other members of society (ie., not police our actions as they pertain to our own actions). The issue is, society would appear to accept and invite big government to provide 'protection', from others, but also from themselves, even casting their longing eyes towards government to protect it from....OBESITY!

    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.

    Ok, first of all I would need to have explained to me what the 'natural fusion' is that is provided by American principles. I am utterly lost on this idea. If it means that naturally all conservatives, big and small government alike, suddenly fuse together in favor of the Founding principles, I would venture to say that that fusion would suddenly dissolve the first vote there is held to cut the US military budget, with the so-called 'national security conservatives', or when there is a vote to not teach creationism in the schools, since it has no basis in science, despite the Mount Vernon statement's observation, which I agree with, that 'unlimited' government is a threat to moral self-government. What I think is interesting about the mention of 'moral self-government' is that it implies that we should make our own decisions, I wonder if some of the people at Family Research Council and Christian Coalition who signed understand what self-government implies in terms of their legislation? I imagine that they thought when they used the word 'moral', it implied that everyone was going to use the morals embraced by their religions and organizations to self-govern though. If they weren't, I would imagine that that would be ample justification to expand government to remove this capacity from the immoral.

    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.

    I think it would be interesting, were some of the signers to agree to it (although not all would I am certain), to have candidates sign an oath to vote no on any proposal to expand government from its current state, or to extend the 'unconstitutional state of things'. Even more clearly, you could also propose that all candidates refuse to raise the debt ceiling, or vote for an unbalanced budget. These are practical measures. Leaving a lot of unclear mumbo-jumbo about opposing tyranny everywhere (did the Founders go off on some war against the Russian tsar that I was not told about back in 1790?) or informing a 'firm defense of family, neighborhood, etc' whatever that means (should Ben Franklin have been prohibited from hiring the services of prostitutes?), leaves me with no actionable precepts to apply to legislation. Everything is still left open to interpretation, with no clear commitments on the table.

    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.

    Or, rather, the supposed high ground which has yet to be staked out, but which the Mount Vernon statement makes an unconvincing argument that it has claimed.

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