I hope your holidays have been filled with the joy of family and friends. I want to thank you for subscribing to Precepts this year, and to tell you how you can be part of the Claremont Institute's work in 2004.
As a Precepts reader, you know that the mission of the Claremont Institute is to fight for the principles of the American Founding. We do so because these principles are good and true and the only sure guide to free government. Once they are explained to everyday Americans, there is nothing controversial about them. The idea that government should be limited in its powers, and that we should be a moral, self-governing people, was common sense wisdom for America's Founders, as it remains so for Americans who love freedom and limited government.
The problem today is that many people simply do not understand those principles. Indeed, the wisdom that used to be common sense has been under attack for some time. From our liberal political elites, to most of the media, to those government "experts" who exert increasing control over our lives, the most influential people and institutions are trying to turn America into something other than the free country it has always been.
In conservative politics these days there is much talk of "Neo-Conservatives" and "Paleo-Conservatives" and "Libertarians." Because of our 24 years of hard work, and with your support, there is talk now of what it means to be a "Claremont Conservative." A Claremont Conservative is someone who believes in the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and that government exists to defend our natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A Claremont Conservative believes that government should do a few things—such as defend America—very well. But government ought not to reach beyond its constitutional bounds.
We at the Claremont Institute believe that shaping healthy political opinions in the American mind today is more important than ever, as many of the victories of the earlier conservative movement look to be slipping away. It seems that no matter which party holds office, our government appears unable, or perhaps unwilling, to return to its constitutional origins. There is virtually no effort to reduce wasteful and intrusive bureaucracies, nor is there any kind of grand strategy for maintaining American national security.
These things will not happen until conservatives have decisively won the battle of ideas. And conservatives will not win that battle until they recover the philosophical basis of the American regime and illustrate the principles of the American Founding in ways that are understandable to all Americans. This is the task of Claremont Conservatives.
Towards this end we publish the Claremont Review of Books, edited by Dr. Charles Kesler, which in a short time has already become one of the premier conservative quarterlies. This year we selected eight new Publius Fellows from among the nations finest colleges and graduate schools, and we brought them to Claremont for three weeks to learn the art of journalism and the science of political philosophy, as our nation's Founders understood it. We continued our work on national security, traveling to states including Florida and Texas, explaining the threat from ballistic missile attack, and how we should defend America. Dr. John Eastman led the work of our Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, fighting for religious freedom, property rights, and a colorblind society. Dr. Ken Masugi and our Center for Local Government produced two books applying our work to the state and local levels. Ms. Eloise Anderson spoke throughout the country as part of our Program for the American Family. Of course, we were also on TV and radio, we published articles, papers, and newspaper opinion pieces, and we held academic conferences and lectures for the general public.
But all this activity has as its purpose bringing America back to those common sense principles that make possible a free and moral society. Claremont Conservatives understand policy very well. But what sets us apart from other think tanks is that we understand that good policies have to be based on the principles of equality and liberty.
What we did in 2003, we want to do even more of in 2004. This requires the support of people like you. I hope you will consider a year end contribution to the Claremont Institute. You can become a member or make a gift via our website at https://www.claremont.org/membership. Or, you can write to us at The Claremont Institute, 937 W. Foothill Blvd., Suite E, Claremont, CA 91711 or call 909-621-6825.
Thank you for your friendship, and for standing with us in the battle of ideas. I wish you the best of holidays.
Brian T. Kennedy,