Fellow Kossack darthstar put me onto this idiocy: a group of very familiar conservative shills have put together a very nice-looking bunch of words in ye olde style phonte and thinks they are somehow placing themselves in the same league as America's Founding Fathers.
Here is the particular idiocy to which I refer. I originally intended to write a vicious deconstruction of the document, which in reality says almost NOTHING of substance. I planned to do it line by line but it was a tiresome exercise. So instead I wrote a rebuttal by way of basically rewriting their silly little parchment of tripe. Read the original first, then over the fold if you would like to see what I think of it.
First off, let's look at the clowns as they emerge from their car, freshly-inked parchment on display, grinning and congratulating one another for being so fucking clever. These are apparently the authors of this piece of sniveling tripe:
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 and noted ass-clown
Becky Norton Dunlop, president of the Council for National Policy
Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center and frequently self-pwned right-wing propagandist
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 and personally responsible for our gigantic Republican deficit problem, plus the deliberate drowning of New Orleans
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 through rigging elections
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review and frequently-lampooned ass-clown of continual self-pwnage
I gained quite a bit of understanding of what these guys were driving at when I rewrote it for my convenience. Conservatives are famous for cherry-picking whatever is convenient out of the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, or the Bible, or really wherever they can find it. Reading the original Mount Vernon Statement, I noticed a few overwhelming themes:
- Limited government, which appears NOWHERE in the Constitution as a phrase or even an idea. The Founders sought to preserve civil liberty by preventing government from intruding on matters private and personal to individuals. But they did not seek to "limit" government as some sort of general principle. That was why the legislature is created in Article III and Congress is in session most of the year -- obviously the Government had a role to play that required it exist as a contiguous institution. And that it could respond to the needs of the present as they arose.
- Morality and Faith which appear NOWHERE in the Constitution, are now assigned Constitutional roles. Of course, the Founders weren't Bible-thumping whackjobs like modern conservatives are, so that's very inconvenient. I'm sure we could find Grover Norquist and Brent Bozell scribbling fundamentalist nonsense into the margins of the Constitution's original copy in the Library of Congress archive, if they were allowed inside to wreak their disgusting vandalism.
- Liberty and Free Enterprise are given tremendous importance, several times.
- Fear of Change is the primary underlying theme of the Mount Vernon Statement. Look at this graf:
Ech 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.
This statement starts with an assertion that "someone" is attacking America's principles, which are liberty and free enterprise. That someone is identified as a cultural agent, possibly arising from the dreaded universities, and certainly from those filthy politicians. The Constitution is believed to be ignored by most people, and the federal government is accused of ignoring the limits of the Constitution.
For this particular group of neocons to assert that "someone" has ignored the limits of the Constitution is breathtaking dishonesty. That "someone" could easily be fingered as George W. Bush, who routinely ignored all 10 of the Bill of Rights amendments except for #2.
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?
This is pretty much the nut in the middle of the gourd of stupid and crazy. Change is SCARY. For example, it's SCARY to have a black man in the Oval Office. We're scared, say the Mount Vernon authors. We're just used to that guy always being white, like us.
Also, we're scared that all our business models that have made us fabulously wealthy may be under scrutiny as being ridiculously unfair and predatory. We're TERRIFIED that the American public may have finally figured out that their Aristocratic elite are horse-fucking them royally.
Other than that, the Mount Vernon Statement says pretty much nothing. Don't Change! they cry. We Might Not Be Comfortable.
Never mind that no society that mindlessly resisted change and progress has ever done anything of note. Flying a man to the Moon was change. I'm sure the Constitution didn't provide for the creation of a National Aeronautics and Space Agency. Nonetheless, we did it. And it has benefitted us enormously in ways we are still only now realizing.
So, without further ado, I present the Mount Vernon Rebuttal, a rewrite of the absurd and silly Mount Vernon statement with just as much documentary attribution behind its bold assertions, and spoken with exactly as much authority as a bunch of preening aristocrats with a godaddy account can muster.
The Mount Vernon Statement: A Rebuttal
We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of responsive government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty, maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government, and provide for the common good.
These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a diverse, forward-looking nation unlike any other in the world. They have guided us to our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as inspiration to countless others throughout history.
Each one of these founding ideas is presently under sustained attack. In recent decades, America’s principles have been undermined and redefined by corrupt institutions and opportunists bent on self-aggrandizement and little else. The self-evident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that we can create our own reality without any significant consequence. The elite class of America today ignores the promise of the Constitution, selectively dismissing our rights and civil liberties for the convenience of scoring political points or gaining a superior advantage within our social order, drumming our nation into countless overseas conflicts of dubious benefit, and ceaselessly operating to peel back long-established economic protections as an inconvenience to their reckless financial shenanigans.
We therefore insist that America must change, cast off the husk of our failed institutions and ideologies and face our problems squarely. We need not fear where this would lead: armed with our history as one of the first Democracies of the modern era and the leader of the Free World for most of the Twentieth Century, we know that our principles of fairness, inclusiveness, an adherence to the rule of law, and above all that our government must serve the needs of the nation as a whole, and not any one special group, are what have made us great.
The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is to peer perceptively into our own future and guide our nation’s evolution to meet the challenges of that tomorrow. At this important time, we need a liberal vision of leadership based on solving the problems of ordinary Americans and ensuring that our legacy may endure.
The liberalism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths. It defends life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the public good. It traces authority to the consent of the governed.
The liberalism of the Constitution limits what governments may do, and reserves rights and powers for the People to choose as their needs evolve. It refines popular will and defends the minority against the whim of the majority through the filter of representation. It provides checks and balances through the three branches of government.
A Constitutional liberalism unites all liberals through the natural fusion provided by American principles. It reminds liberals that the needs of the many are of greater importance than the needs of a moribund aristocracy, and that decisions which affect all Americans should have the imprint of collective approval. It also informs us that government is a conversation and above all in importance to the robust conversation of government is the ideal of free expression, free thought, and free association.
A Constitutional liberalism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.
* It applies the principle of 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, but also recognizes that with our rights come unavoidable responsibilities that all mature, adult individuals should recognize.
* It recognizes that America’s success as a nation has always come from an eager embrace of the challenges and possibilities of today, rather than from a stubborn and infantile adherence to some half-imagined mythology of a past that never was. Our Founding Fathers risked life and limb to birth, and defend against internal strife, our nation. Our primary enemy in our struggles to define ourselves as a nation has always been a blind adherence to custom, tradition, and inertia that has stood athwart history, desperately yelling stop even as the march of progress, change, and time inched ahead oblivious to how uncomfortable it may have made the elite and entrenched interests of the time.
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; rule of law, right to petition for redress, freedom of association and expression.
February 19, 2010