Alexander's Column

The First Statement of Conservative Principles

By Mark Alexander · Feb. 25, 2010
“The Constitution, which at any time exists ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” –George Washington
The Resurrection of First Principles

The election of a “community organizer” and ideological Socialist, Barack Hussein Obama, came with some unintended consequence for Obama and his Leftist cadres. Chief among those is the resurgence of grassroots conservative concern for the Rule of Law and a battle to restore the First Principles upon which our nation was founded.

And not a moment too soon.

In the two years since Obama’s election, the ranks of politically active Patriots have swelled through conservative recruiting channels such as the Tea Party movement, whose growth has been entirely grassroots, despite the best (or worst?) efforts of Beltway Republican establishment types to co-opt and brand the movement. Fortunately, Patriots have shown remarkable resilience against those golden-tongued powers of persuasion.

I, for one, welcome every American to the front lines in defense of our Constitution, but I also know that there will be many efforts to assign these Patriots into one political camp or the other.

One of the strengths of the Tea Party movement, its lack of central organization, can also be one of its greatest weaknesses. If the movement fails to unite ideologically behind the restoration of constitutional integrity and the Rule of Law, it risks devolving into a plethora of special interest constituencies which will be easily defeated or have no more power than the para-political organizations that vie for their sentiments.

As Benjamin Franklin said famously when signing the Declaration of Independence, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.”

And we derive great strength and unity in forming this front to defend our Constitution as the primary objective of the growing Patriot movement. I know from our nation’s history, and from personal experience, that the only guiding authority that Patriots need is the plain language of the Constitution itself.

Back in 1996, a small group of Patriots deeply devoted to our Constitution, which we had pledged “to support and defend,” endeavored to challenge the Leftmedia’s stranglehold on public opinion, particularly as it pertained to the role of government and promotion of Leftist policies.

To provide sustenance for those endeavoring to restore our Constitution’s rightful standing as the Supreme Rule of Law of the United States, we established The Federalist, an online grassroots journal providing constitutionally conservative analysis of news, policy and opinion, with the express mission of “advocating Essential Liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values.”

Our objective was, and remains, “to provide Patriots across our nation with a touchstone of First Principles.”

Demand for The Federalist grew rapidly, to put it mildly. A few years later, we adopted the name The Patriot Post in keeping with the growing constituency we serve.

Now, I certainly do not suggest that we were the only folks back in '96 advocating for the restoration of constitutional Rule of Law. We took our inspiration from, and owe our success to, President Ronald Reagan and his Patriot team, many of whom were our earliest promoters and supporters. They sparked the flame to revitalize our Constitution’s legal standing some two decades earlier, at the juncture of our nation’s bicentennial.

We also owe a great debt to conservative protagonists such as National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., and the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin J. Feulner, both of whom provided meaningful guidance and assistance to get us under way.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I failed also to credit Albert Arnold Gore, who “took the initiative in creating the Internet” for us, and then galvanized those of us interested in national sovereignty in opposition to his utopian scheme to socialize the world economy, ostensibly to thwart “global warming.”

I believe the most important factor in our success has been our steadfast commitment to the Rule of Law, the supremacy of our national Constitution in all matters pertaining to the role and authority of our central government, and our analysis of the same.

We have endeavored to keep our eye on the prize, and we’ve thus avoided being co-opted by any political party or organization.

That will be the challenge for the independent Tea Party Patriots and other conservative movements – to keep their eyes firmly affixed on the task of restoring our Constitution and its prescription for Rule of Law, and to avoid the risk of being swallowed up by large, centralized poli-wonks.

Last week, my friend Ed Feulner, and many other colleagues, released “The Mount Vernon Statement,” a document similar in substance to the “Sharon Statement” released in 1960 by a group of conservative intellectuals including Bill Buckley, M. Stanton Evans and Annette Kirk (widow of influential American conservative Russell Kirk).

Feulner and his staff at the Heritage Foundation have been uniformly resolute in their support for constitutional Rule of Law.

Ten years ago, I met with key staff members of the Heritage Foundation and encouraged them to adopt the practice of posting, in the introductory abstract of their papers, the specific constitutional authority for every policy position they advocate. Two years ago, Heritage launched their massive First Principles initiative, with the objective of asserting constitutional authority as the centerpiece of their mission.

While I applaud the entire Heritage team for their First Principles endeavor, I note that some of the principal signatories of the Mount Vernon Statement, though “conservative” by label, do not meet The Patriot standard of reliance upon the plain language of our Constitution, nor are many of those signatories representative of the “grassroots” movement they seek to unify around this statement.

With that in mind, I reiterate that any real movement to restore the integrity of our Constitution must be bottom-up, not top-down. Patriots need only subscribe to one mission statement, the first statement of conservative principles, our Constitution.

The GOP establishment squandered its opportunity to reassert First Principles when it held majorities under George W. Bush, and the party will have to demonstrate an authentic commitment to those principles if it is to gain the trust of a single American Patriot.

Real constitutional reform will come about only when Patriots across the nation demand the restoration of Essential Liberty as “endowed by their Creator,” and they widely articulate the difference between Rule of Law and rule of men.

If you have taken an oath to support and defend our Constitution, I invite you to revisit that venerable document and ask you to reaffirm your oath.

If you have not affirmed that commitment, I invite you to gain a full understanding of our Constitution and then take your oath – and abide by it to your last breath, just as our Founding Fathers mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

In the words of George Washington, “Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths…?”


View all comments


Friend in CA said:

GOD bless you Mark Alexander, for always getting to the fine point... and your courage to stand and do so.I am a Patriot, and do take the Oath in my volunteer position with Emergency Operations. As I again signed the Oath to "re-up", after 5 years of service, I was proud to reaffirm that position of Preserving, Protecting and Defending the Constitutions of Country and State that my training and Certification have allowed as a worker and, just as importantly, as a citizen of these great States united. I pray for the LORD's protection upon you in leadership and for GOD's continued blessings upon these United States of America.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 3:53 PM

popham in Boston, Ma. said:

After reading your post today,I must share with youone fact. On my five cross-country trips in my car2007-08, 43 states, 35,000 miles, I had the honor tomeet some of the most wonderful Americans one couldever encounter. Hard-working, God-fearing and aboveall, patriotic; they urged me in my campaigning as athird party candidate for President, that if I gotanywhere near the White House to please revisit theConstitution and restore our country's honor andsovereignty as a great nation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 4:05 PM

PatriotUSA said:

Fritz Detwiler:While the Bush/Cheney years were far from 'perfect' as far as what goes for 'perfect in our political world, I shudder to think what might have happened had we NOT had Bush and Cheney in office. The focus on the prior administration is a tired and wearisome argument. The 'terrible things" the Bush administration did were nothing compared to what was done during WWII as far as curtailing our liberties and freedom. Times of war call for many actions that some may not apporove of. That does not change the facts that these were necessary actions for the time. Our world changed after 9/11and no matter how the current administration wants to pretty it up, we are war with global terroists that want to tear this country and West down.Myself and many others are much more concerned with what the PRESENT administration is doing to circumvent our Constitution to put into place a Nanny state of government that will forever change our great country into what is, at the present state, the failing continent of Europe after years of socialist/progressive government.I have been a reader and follower of the Patriot Post for quite a few years and I can never recall where they were not right there to criticize anyadministration when they strayed from the Constitution and how should be governing our country. The Patriot Post is one of the few sites that has not been contaminated by the labels of democrat, republican, progressive, libertarian, or any of the other political groups that are around.The dedication to our Constitution, Bill of Rights and the foundations upon which our country is built on,is what makes this place a cornerstone of freedom of expression and thought.Thank you Mark,and all at the Post who work so hard to bring us all that you do. Truly a bright light in a very dark time in our country's history.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Barb Miller said:

Such a timely article, Mark. I love The Patriot and staff and have tried to be faithful in supporting you. I will never stop. I watched on C-Span as Ryan Sorba was shouted down for objecting to GOProud being at the CPAC last week. Unless our Conservative principles are based on biblical teaching against homosexuality, our quest is in vain, and there is no such thing as a Conservative return to our Constitution. We either have a moral government or we don't and there can be no compromise on that. Love the sinner, but hate the sin. We can't legitimize it by inclusion, right, even if it costs our democracy. God bless y'all, Barb Miller

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Michael J Donnelly said:

MARRIAGE IS NOT A RIGHT AND NEVER HAS BEEN - IT IS A STATE OF LIFE, JUST AS ARE SINGLE, DIVORCED, BLACK, IRISH, WHITE, GERMAN AND ON AND ON. IT IS UNIVERSAL AND CANNOT LEGITIMATELY BE TOSSED AROUND IN MEANING - IT APPLIES FOR ALL MEN AND WOMEN FOR ALL TIME. Some [not all] of the rights which are ascribed to those who are "married" come only from God such as the right to sexual intercourse. Some come from the state such as tax preferences. God given rights in the various states of life are pre-defined by God and it is the height of pride when men presume that they can set aside any foundation of life [regardless of how convenient it is for man to do so] I might find it "convenient" to change my ID card and legalize myself as "Hispanic" [to perhaps satisfy a large percentage of the electorate in my district] but most of us would laugh at the silliness of attempting to redefine my very being as something it cannot ever be. Recently the state has seen fit to attempt to redefine the meaning of marraige - analygous to an act declaring that all Hispanics are now Caucasian.Thus governments might decide they have all-power to do anything they find "convenient" such as declaring a whole class of people as having no inherent "right to life." [Much of the world has done so in the last couple generations.] This too is a pathetic act of arrogant pride but it cannot change the reality of all creation. If it were just silly [but not silly to God], we might all laugh it off, but this silliness has brutally murdered more innocent lives than all other means since creation began. We might laugh off the pretense of making "love" with mechanical aids or sodomy, but the truth is that man-man and girl-girl "sex" is a violation of all nature and "nature's God." We can no more play God with the abuse of our sexual capability than the abuse of self-destruction. Sadly, the abuse of our nature ends up in self-destruction in both cases ultimately. It destroys both body and spirit.Unfortunately, clerics, teachers, and parents have abrogated their responsibility under a false kind of "love" which takes the easy path of avoiding these truths to appease those who rely upon them for "the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Jay in Texas said:

'Tis such a shame that after 8 years of oppressive legislation, Ex-Os, PDDs, rape and plunder of the 4th Amendment , and others, did the conservatives finally awaken from a deep neocon slumber, and rediscover the Bill of Rights.Where was the righteous indignation over the onerous "Patriot Act" ? or the TARP Bailouts, Or the missing TRILLIONS in the Pentagon, or The John Warner Defense Appropriatiosn Act? ad nauseumAfter a TOTAL FAILURE of stewardship, is it any wonder why Americans elect a foreign-born Marxist? The RINOs ran an open border warmonger who has been a closet democrat for decades."We do not have two political parties in this country, America. We have one party; called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democratic wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms."Judge Andrew Napolitano - November 16, 2009

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:23 PM

ohkymom3 said:

Excellent commentary on our First Principles! Indeed, united we stand -- divided we fall! Pray and stay informed, keep a copy of the Constitution in your pocket or purse and read it regularly. May God bless and protect our troops and patriots!

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:29 PM

B. Doggett said:

B R A V O AND RIGHT ON !!!!!!!Thank you for the good fight and keeping we Patriots weel informed.B. Doggett

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Lynn Costello said:

Thank you so much for all your work. You offer much inspiration for those of us who are attempting to awaken our friends and neighbors to the truth.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Hillard Welch said:

Excellent article but some misplaced "loyalty" when you cite Buckley as a "conservative". Mr. Buckley had quite a different history than what the public has been receiving and throughout much of his more recent years, he has been a regular member of the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), an orgaqnization dedicated to subverting the US to UN control! Hardly supportive of Our Constitution or the position you state so eloquently.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Danny & Sharon Bosser said:

Outstanding information which proves you guys do a lot of research and professional work. Thank all your staff and continue to do the service you are doing for the majority of the people !! Thank you

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Colleen said:

I am curious why there is NEVER any credit given to the John Birch Society for awakening America to the dangers of Communism, Socialism, the Fed, the huge costs of an out of control government and other warnings which were way before the others like Buckley caught on? Why have they been so ignored and all but written off of our conservative history? We used to hear of them all the time, and they did seem to play a huge part in Conservatism. Anyone with an answer?

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Michael Landree said:

Mark, thanks for this excellent post. It caused me to investigate the Federalist Papers and, in doing so, the Anti-Federalists. While I think the Federalists wrote about how our government should work, we should note that the Anti-Federalists' worries have pretty much come true.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM

MajorStu in Peru, IN said:

Must respond to Jay. We were there, but you must have been watching the Establishment media, because they never saw fit to cover anyone that doesn't fit with their agenda. The Federalist Patriot was outspoken, Rush was outspoken, James Taranto at WSJ was outspoken on TARP, Dubai ports, Harriet Miers, Medicare pharmacy entitlement, Patriot Act, etc. Maybe now that the precedent has been set by the Holder Justice Department, we can look forward to the next Administration's AG calling hearings and hauling in Sen. Dodd and Rep. Frank for their complicity in the housing bubble, the trillions lost in home values, and the absolute sinkhole that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become- now with no debt ceiling. I'm sure you'll agree.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:13 AM

Sandra Lee Smith said:

I took that oath in 1969, when it wasn't very popular to do so; I didn't see an expiration date on it, so I hold it still in effect.@ Earl, I did make that suggestion to my Representative, Senator, and to the White House alike, in so many words, among other suggestions that would cut costs of insurance for most of us without cutting care.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:49 AM