Sometimes my best ideas for one chapter in my dissertation come when I’m working on another. And so it is with blogging. When I wrote about the Mt. Vernon Statement, I closed by saying that it lacked the Gipper’s poetry and ignored one of his primary arguments–that “government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.”
As I reviewed the document again Friday night, I noted while the authors mentioned the word, “government” thirteen times, modifying it more often than not with “self” and “limited,” the authors ignored the real problem facing the right, particularly the political party most associated with the right, the GOP. In the past decade, Republicans haven’t adhered to the principles of Ronald Reagan.
They haven’t always stood for limited government, indeed, have often sought to expand to the state even to address domestic issues.
So, as I was about to set off for a day of research unrelated to politics, it hit me how, I believe, they should have begun a document articulating conservative ideas in the post-George W. Bush Era:
Too often in the past twenty years, politicians of both parties have sought to solve our problems and improve our lives through the expansion of government. Some have even dressed up their big government proposals as some new-fangled form of conservatism.
We reject that approach.
And go from there to what we conservatives advocate. There was much talk of liberty (mentioned four times) and “limited government,” but not even talk of the abuses and usurpations of government.
And it was the delineation of such abuses (and usurpations) that a certain Mr. T. Jefferson spelled out in a document explaining just why it was necessary for our people to dissolve those bonds which have connected them with another. The authors of the Mt. Vernon needed to similarly spell out the reasons which impelled them to craft this document.
It is the complicity of both parties in the burgeoning power of the state which provided that impetus. And the authors of the Mt. Vernon Statement were not clear enough in saying as much.