Unified Patriots by Vassar Bushmills
William F Buckley, Jr. was the founding figure of modern conservatism in America. He wrote God and Man at Yale when he was 25, and wrote many books afterward until he died in 2008.
But he had an extra dimension which seems to have been lost on the newer generations of conservatives, which I’ll discuss here.
In 1960, at age 35, in his home, WFB and several other “founders”, penned the Sharon Statement, which became the founding statement of the Young Americans for Freedom, (the YAF) which went on to become the central conservative campus organization for over 50 years.
I never joined, as I was not a conservative in my college days.
It was not until 1964, and the Goldwater campaign, that I became aware of Mr Buckley, who was then still not yet 40, 4 years younger than my dad, who subscribed to National Review that year and sent back- issues to me every few weeks or so.
By the time Ronald Reagan was elected, and I was 35, I had been a conservative for only four years, but never disagreed with National Review in all those earlier years about conservatism, just still holding onto my own brand of “Civil Rights liberalism”.
Like many liberals of my generation, my error was in believing government could do good things, which, later reading and real-life experience proved to me was wrong-headed and that the Founders knew exactly what they were doing when they designed government small, and left the people in charge.
In 1976 I had my Road to Damascus moment while in the Army, during the Ford-Carter campaign. I read a Mary McGrory column in the Arizona Republic where she stated (and I paraphrase) that “Modern Liberalism stands for the proposition that all human conduct should be subject to the political process.”
At that instant I ceased being a liberal, and never looked back.
The Sharon Statement, which I link here, while aimed at defining the YAF, is essentially the Canons of Conservatism. Virtually every conservative, including #NeverTrumpers, would agree with it, if they’d bother to read it.
So I recommend every millennial and Gen X’er to do just that.
But in 1960 it was written for college students who already possessed a core set of principles that inclined them to see threats to democracy, internal and external, and the freedom found in free markets and the uniqueness of America in the first place[…]