Happy Birthday, Modern American Conservatism

Today is the 59h anniversary of the Sharon Statement – a 400 word essay that set out the founding principles of Young Americans for Freedom. It was hatched at William F. Buckley’s home in Sharon, Connecticut – hence the name – and it establishes principles that conservatives need to keep in front of them now more than ever.

Read it. Frame it. Give it to a muddle-headed young ‘un. History will thank yoiu.


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;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?

Pass it along.

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Modern American Conservatism

  1. This is a bit esoteric, and I’ve never heard of it.  I have heard of the Port Huron Statement, which is also esoteric.  That obviously speaks to cultural forces in media.

  2. It is outdated. Do you think that the capitalists in silicon valley are promoting freedom?

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