Locke CEO joins more than 80 signers of statement supporting Freedom Conservatism

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  • John Locke Foundation CEO Donald Bryson is one of the initial signers of the Freedom Conservatism Statement of Principles, a new document unveiled Thursday.
  • More than 80 national, state, and local leaders in the liberty movement have signed on to the document. It is designed to respond to growing support for authoritarianism around the globe.
  • “Conserving individual freedoms is essential for preserving American greatness and virtue in the years ahead,” Bryson wrote in a column for Carolina Journal.

John Locke Foundation CEO Donald Bryson has added his name to the list of more than 80 leaders in the liberty movement endorsing a new Freedom Conservatism Statement of Principles.

“My decision arises from a growing concern over the escalating wave of authoritarianism from the left and right, which threatens the United States and extends its ominous reach around the globe,” Bryson wrote Thursday at CarolinaJournal.com.

“We are witnessing a disheartening trend of self-described conservatives saying that the conservatism of the American Founders and Friedman-esque capitalism are no longer relevant in the 21st century,” Bryson added. “Their answer is to redefine conservatism in such a way that government power should be embraced to alter society. And this redefining of conservatism, sometimes called national conservatism, forsakes America’s distinctive creed. This creed upholds the intrinsic value of individual liberty as indispensable to the nation’s moral and physical strength.” 

“Conserving individual freedoms is essential for preserving American greatness and virtue in the years ahead,” Bryson wrote.

The Freedom Conservatism Statement of Principles “is not an initiative of any specific institution,” organizers explain at the freedomconservatism.org website. “It is, rather, the product of a group of individuals who work at a variety of institutions.”

Read the 10-point statement here.

The idea for the Freedom Conservatism project started as a conversation among a small group of conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals “about the rise of authoritarianism around the world, its manifestations in contemporary American politics, and related debates about the past, present, and future of the American conservative movement.”

Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, and John Hood, president of the John W. Pope Foundation, led a working group that drafted the statement of principles. After five months, the group released the statement Thursday.

While the list of signers includes some nationally known conservative figures, many signers work primarily at the state or local level. “That is no accident,” according to freedomconservatism.org. “One of our shared values is decentralization. As we write in the Statement, ‘The best way to unify a large and diverse nation like the United States is to transfer as many public policy choices as possible to families and communities. Much of the discord in America today comes from the fact that too many decisions are made for us by centralized authorities.’”

People signing the statement have made “three specific commitments” focusing on “reducing the cost of living, restoring America’s fiscal sustainability, and addressing the downstream effects of slavery and segregation.”

  • We commit to reducing the cost of living through competitive markets, greater individual choice, and free trade with free people, while upholding the rule of law, freedom of contract, and freedom of association.
  • We commit to building a constructive reform agenda that can restore America’s fiscal sustainability, ensuring that future generations inherit a more prosperous and secure nation than the one we now inhabit.
  • Many who descend from victims of [slavery and segregation] now face economic and personal hurdles that are the direct result of this legacy. We commit to expanding opportunity for those who face challenges due to past government restrictions on individual and economic freedom. We adamantly oppose racial discrimination in all its forms, either against or for any person or group of people.

Freedom conservatives focus on more than just freedom. “We call ourselves Freedom Conservatives not because freedom is our sole interest but because without individual and economic liberty, our other fundamental values and aspirations will prove impossible to sustain,” the group explains. “We are Freedom Conservatives because we seek to conserve that which has made America great — and always will.”

People can learn more about the organization at freedomconservatism.org.