Everybody thinks of the 1960’s as a time of unrest in America. There were kids demonstrating on college campuses all across the country against the Viet Nam War, racial tensions had hit their peak with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a bit of hope died when Robert Kennedy met the same fate as his older brother and feminism was starting to question the traditional role of women in American society. Leftist organizations like the Students for a Democratic Society, The Black Panthers and various other splinter groups, perhaps inspired by The Port Huron Statement, caught the attention of the FBI and other authority figures. You’d think that liberalism, as it is defined today, was born out of the 60’s and those of us who think of ourselves as liberals are just relics from a time gone by.
And maybe that’s true.
But, the 1960’s weren’t all about flower children and peace, love and dope. Not every kid on a college campus was out there shredding their draft card or burning the flag or looting some store. Nope, as it turns out, the 1960’s also gave us the basis for the modern day conservative movement. With the Cold War still raging, a group students calling themselves the Young Americans for Freedom was formed. They had a conference in September of 1960 at the home of William F. Buckley, Jr. and came up with a statement of principles that later came to be known and the “The Sharon Statement”. The ideas expressed in the statement are still considered by most conservatives to be the basis for their political goals and ideals and are considered must reading for any fledgling conservative. The following is the text of those ideals:
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 of America 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?
To bastardize a line from Fox News, I just report it, you decide.