September 11th, 1960

On September 11, 1960 at a conference in Sharon, Connecticut a bunch of young conservatives, led by William F. Buckley adopted The Sharon Statement:

“In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution–the division of powers–is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies……….”

Although nearly fifty years have passed since this statement was adopted on September 11, 1960, ten of them following the assault on America on September 11, 2001, I believe America still holds these truths to be self-evident.    God Bless America.

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11 Responses

  1. “that freedom is indivisible from health both mental and physical, and that a people subjugated by disease and fear of impoverishment because of disease are in fact enslaved.”

  2. From that point of view we’re all enslaved—from birth to the inevitability of death. That’s why as individuals we’ve evolved so many different belief systems as to why we’re here and what is the point of life on earth.

  3. Fate is not the same as enslavement. We are all (so far) fated to die. But we have some control over how life will be lived. To the degree a person is free of fears related to health care, he or she is more free than someone who must live with those fears.

  4. And you believe that a government in control of our individual health care should ease our fears? Our Constitution empowers the government to “fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power.” Our biggest fear should be the attack on those restraints that has led to a concentrated abuse of power by the “elites” in Washington. I trust the government to do what they were ordained to do, not one iota more.

  5. bknister,

    Concerns related to health care? Those would include many many things, not just monetary concerns–diet and exercise choices, smoking, drinking, stress, sex, your own genetics (fortunate or not), etc. Shall we put governmental controls on those, too, or are we taxpayers expected to subsidize the consequences of everyone’s risk?

    I don’t think the Consitutition has in it anywhere that taxes should be spent alleviating anyone’s fears. There are certain broad categories of common interest that we all share in paying for: roads and miltary, for example. Health care–even “health” is not mentioned. It is not the government’s job (i.e. my taxes and hours of my work day) to alleviate your fears or pay for your risks, both those you choose and those you’re born with.

    Your argument about someone without the fear related to health care being freer is well-couched: if you mean “health care” then you go down the slippery slope of requiring government to alleviate all kinds of fears–how many people live in fear from the costs of anything? If we want everyone to be equally free, we will be subsidizing every facet of life. If you mean “health concerns”, then as I mentioned above, health is dependent on so many things that have little to do with money, so that freedom becomes more a state of mind than of pocketbook.

  6. I certainly agree that by failing “to fulfill its proper role” in providinig oversight of the banking industry, our leaders–both Democrat and Republican–brought us to the brink of ruin by not overseeing the practices of greedy lenders and greedy borrowers. I agree that to this day Republican members of Congress are resisting every effort to prevent the same abuses from happening again. I believe Senator Jon Kyl speaks for many Republicans when he says it’s good to block continuation of unemployment benefits, because what’s really important is “freeing” the one quarter of one percent of the population with estates over seven million dollars who still pay estate tax.

    “Our biggest fear should be the attack on those restraints that has led to a concentrated abuse of power by the ‘elites’ in Washington.” Very good. Now I charge you to answer the following question: in the three branches of government, where do you find the greatest “concentration of power”? Where else but in the Supreme Court could five conservatives succeed in turning an electoral process already awash in special-interest money into a strictly retail transaction? If you want to talk about abuse of power, about Washington “elites,” you need look no further.

    As for there being “certain categories of common interest” that government needs to be responsible for, we can debate about what those categories are. As an American, I think it should be considered part of the social contract to see to it, in one way or another, that all have health-care insurance. Millions more Americans live with fears related not having it than fear terrorism. If we protect ourselves militarily, why is it inappropriate to do so in relation to this other universal concern?

    It is so tiresome and boring to hear right-wingers rattle on about initiative, self-reliance, independence and so forth, insisting that
    “creeping socialism” will erode the national will, etc. What bunk. Actual research as distinct from talking points demonstrates that in all the Western democracies with national health-care systems and lots of other government-run programs, there is no loss of initiative, creativity, or entrepreneurial energy. But since such facts fail to suit the template of ideologically “pure” market capitalism, they are ignored or scorned.
    You can hold any opinions you want, but you can’t have your very own facts.

  7. You made some good points. Both political parties, Republicans and Democrats, are to blame for our current economic and social problems. My own belief is that a return to the basic statements of our goals as a country, our Constitution, is in order, and my worst fear is that enemies within are attempting to destroy all that America stands for.

    Sure, we have not yet lived up to all those ideals espoused by our founders, but we’ve made a lot of progress – America began as a fight for liberty and a dream of equality, and has been sturggling to become one with those ideals. There are always termites in the woodwork trying to bring the house down – when, if ever, has that not been the case? I think when we hired Obama we thought we were bringing in the Orkin man, but no such luck.

    But then, maybe the problem is too big for him. The problem was he made promises he couldn’t keep, and I’m not talking about health care. He has lost his credibility with the majority of the people (my opinion, I don’t do polls). Unfortunately, I don’t believe McCain would’ve done any better. Palin, now, might’ve made a difference, but we know what the press did to her.

    Seems like all the hopes and wishes in the Obama group is focused on health care, as if a “success” there is going to bail him out of the consequences of his audacity. Of course we want our people (and all those who have invaded our borders) to have access to doctors and medicine, but who is willing to put into law a 1000 page plus document that none of the promoters have admitted to reading and most of us probably couldn’t understand? (We, the people, have often been warned not to sign anything without reading it first, but it’s okay for senators and congressmen to do so because they’re omnipotent).

    The crux of the problem is we’ve lost faith in our leaders in Washington, and for good cause.

  8. “Palin, now, might’ve made a difference, but we know what the press did to her.” This statement reveals you to be one of two things: either you are being comical, and setting up your readers for the punchline to come, or for some personal reason you feel persecuted and identify with candidate Palin. Either way, I’m sure you’ll enjoy her contributions to Fox. If in the next world William F. Buckley is aware that an admirer of his feels the way you do about SP, he must be spinning in his grave.

  9. Well, I can see that you’e done the impossible – you now have your very own facts.

  10. It seems to me that this person desperately wants free health care, and there is nothing anyone can say to make him/her understand the facts. When people have a personal stake in an outcome, they will ignore all reason and put forth their agenda, no matter what. Hey – sort of like our president and congress!

  11. Amen!

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