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NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: The Limited-Government Big Tent

By Michael G. Franc

In February an impressive cross-section of national conservative leaders, including one Kathryn Lopez of NRO fame, released the Mount Vernon Statement. This succinct document eloquently sets forth the tenets of constitutional conservatism. To me, its most significant passage is the one that summarizes how the “natural fusion” provided by America’s founding principles unites the various traditions of modern American conservatism:

[Constitutional conservatism] 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.

The Contract From America sets forth a similar case for limited government, arguing: “When our government ventures beyond [those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people] and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.”

Its policy platform calls on lawmakers to first, do no harm: repeal Obamacare, jettison the regulatory nightmare of cap-and-trade, and reject tax increases of any kind. On the proactive side, the Contract calls on Congress to approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a “simple and fair single-rate tax system,” an “all of the above” energy policy that would revive domestic energy production, an end to earmarks, and a hard cap on overall federal spending.

Continue reading at National Review Online

  • Dennis Gadbois

    I’ve never attended a Tea Party (usually working) but I passionately support what you are doing. Big gov must be stopped. Thank you for all you do.

  • peterverkooijen

    As long as you promote yourself as “conservative”, the Obamacrats are still going to win. Breakdown of the American electorate:

    30% socialists, progressives, fake “liberals”
    30% classic liberals, moderates, libertarians
    40% conservatives, including libertarians

    50-60% wants nothing to do with conservatism and will still vote for the “liberal” if the choice is conservative vs liberal.

    Please make this about liberty vs socialism! Stop let yourself get pushed into the corner as a “conservative movement”.

  • Jim Steichen

    “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient,
    for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I
    propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is
    not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the
    Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an
    unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation
    is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally
    permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents
    ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is
    liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

    These are not my words, they belong to Scott Rasmussen (as far as I know).

    First, we demand that the following amendment be added
    to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law abridging the
    freedom of Production and Trade.”

  • George

    Correcting Jim’s attribution to Scott Rasmussen:
    “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution … or have failed their purpose… or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and in that cause I am doing the very best I can.” – Barry Goldwater

    If I and others had been smarter in 1964 we would have voted for Barry Goldwater and we might not be in our present socialist pickle.