As Republicans reflect upon our first county convention and the formation of our party, I'm reprinting this column from Peter J. Wirs, who is the Chairman & Co-Trustee of the Republican Leadership Trust as well as the incoming President of the National Conference of Public Officials.
Many of our elected Republicans should read it and then compare the principles to their votes.
Today is Republican Party’s 154th anniversary, its first county convention convening March 20, 1854, in Ripon, WI. The first state GOP convention occurred later that year on July 6th in Jackson, MI. The first national Republican committee convened in Pittsburgh February 22- 23, 1856; the first national convention the following June 17th in Philadelphia. The question remains, why are we Republicans? On this anniversary, we distill GOP platforms of years past, harmonize with our Constitutional principles and Judea-Christian ethos to illuminate as touchstone
The 10 Tenets of the Republican Party
First — We are Republicans because we believe in Limited Government always subservient to the electorate. To guard against the transgressions of the high powers delegated to public officials, we hold inviolate that such powers government are not general, but forever circumscribed. We do not denounce government, but are of the Blackstonian belief government is but a civil entity limited to exercise police powers solely to protect one from another. We believe in the separation of powers not only among any branch, but between Federal and state government, only the enumerated authority of limited national matters is the domain of the Federal government, remaining authority reserved to the States, dispersed among their municipalities as designed, or to the people respectively. We fear always the powers of government are expanded only by those seeking to wield such.
Second — We are Republicans because we believe in Civil Rights affirming not only the human dignity of, but earnestly protecting the individual against the ugly repression of majoritarian rule. We embrace our Founding Fathers chastising Local Spirts who vulgarly manipulate the political process in aiding, abetting, and perpetuating customs and usages ingrained historically and psychologically in the mores and attitudes upon which such factions require to sustain themselves. We declare our sympathy with all the oppressed people through out the world who struggle for their rights.
Third — We are Republicans because we believe in Justice as Jus Fidus Libertatum (Law Is a Safeguard of Freedom); that the courts shall always be open and every man for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law, and justice administered without sale, denial or delay. Judges exist solely to interpret the law for the purpose of protecting the individual against majoritarian rule, as the rule of law is always an obstacle to the elite; and by virtue of human nature infesting any adjudication, neither the writ of habeas corpus or coram norbis be suspended.
Fourth — We are Republicans because we believe in Religious Freedom as all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Divine Providence according to the dictates of their own consciences free of control or interference. We eschew the hypocrisy of imposing personal doctrines or dogma as bounden for political convictions; and although we insist upon the separation of church and state, such applies only what may divide us, not to the historical truth for why our ancestors defied all to cross the Atlantic to these shores; such being necessary to cherish to protect us against moral entropy, for civic virtue is an absolute, it being impossible to devise a process that excuses morality.
Fifth — We are Republicans because we believe in Political Integrity, the right to criticize; to hold beliefs; to protest; to undertake independent thought. We do not rendezvous for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice of individual reputations and national unity, for to embrace a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty is as equally disastrous to America as false hopes promulgated as panacea by advocacy of a welfare state. We remain prohibited from obtaining electoral victory on the backs of the Four Horsemen of Calumny: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear, for America’s greatest ill today as in the past, the animus held against one and other. We likewise demand the Printing Press be free to all who undertake to examine any aspect of governance without restraint of law or monopoly, least we suffer the loss of the vigilance on behalf of us all. Free communication of thoughts and opinions is our invaluable right, as the only test of truth is the power of thought to gain acceptance in the competition of the marketplace of ideas.
Sixth — We are Republicans because we believe in Public Ethics in only from the Creator is there authority, and He endowed civil government as also the church to fulfil His will. Hence, public officials have the indisputable moral obligation to obey the most exemplary standard of conduct, for character is much easier kept than recovered. Since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, the highest ethical mooring is indispensable to resist power’s enticement. We believe all voters have the inalienable right to require public officers observe without reservation procedural and substantive due process and render adjudications on basis of merit, as absolute and uncontrolled discretion invites abuse. It is always shocking to the conscience when any public official exercise public authority for personal motives.
Seventh — We are Republicans because we believe Public Officials are Fiduciaries of the public treasury, duty-bound to exercise the greatest skill and prudence in the most diligent means possible, as government should be administered with the strictest economy and rigid accountability; the plundering of the public treasuries by "pork" or "earmarks" which so shamefully corrupt the halls of power impugns the Constitutional demand government serves only the General Welfare. Appropriations are justified solely on the premise of universal benefit for the commonweal, accrual whatsoever to any special interest at the expense of the general public is proscribed.
Eight — We are Republicans because we believe in Competence, for if Government is granted a power to exercise, it is presumed such power is exercised successfully. We require Public Officials at all times avoid arbitrary and capricious decision-making based on random or convenient selection or choice rather than on reason, and never fail to doubt their own infallibility by entrusting themselves with people vastly more knowledgeable, taking due pain to be rightly informed, and be guided by the priorities deem best fulfil the Public’s interest without self aggrandizement or being solicitous to public whimsicality. We believe of governance by reflection and choice, not by accident and force.
Ninth — We are Republicans because we believe we are stewards of God’s Bounty of clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of our inherited environment from sea to shining sea, being the common property of all, and accordingly, we shall conserve and maintain our environment not for the exploitation to satisfy greed of the elite but for the universal benefit all people, including generations yet to come.
Tenth — We are Republicans because we believe in Balance between guns and butter, knowing economic consequences of failing to sustain one or another but never both. Without our national defense we have no domestic tranquility, yet since we lead by example, not by force, our military are defenders of our cherished liberties, not worldly provocateurs. We believe taxation should never be an impediment, as every person has the right to govern himself, to fix his own goals, and to make his own way with a minimum of governmental interference, for government is to foster and maintain equal opportunity for the pursuit liberty and happiness; undertake only to provide needful things, rightly of public concern, which the citizen cannot himself accomplish.
By virtue of great principles given birth in Declaration of Independence, fulfilled by the Constitution and enshrined in the Bill of Rights as the true foundation of our Democracy by a Republican form of government, we labor with every breath all effort toward making these principles a living reality on every inch of American soil.