Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees. And both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people. (Henry Clay)
The core tenet of the Modern Whig philosophy is a simple one: government exists solely to serve the interests of the People -- to do the greatest good for the greatest number while honoring, protecting and preserving the rights of all. In our view, government is but an instrument, designed and created by our Founding Fathers to unite the nation in common endeavor, promote the general welfare, defend our liberty and secure our natural rights. It is not an end in itself.
Unfortunately, it has become painfully clear our political system, especially at the federal level, is not currently acting first and foremost for the benefit of broad mass of our citizenry, but rather in the interests of a self-serving political, cultural and economic elite. Corruption, ineffective leadership, legislative paralysis and ideological divides have all certainly played their part. But we believe the real root cause of our problems to be the failure of our elected representatives to engage in authentic public service. Political pandering has replaced prudent public policy as the focus of the efforts of too many elected officials.
Our approach emphasizes method over dogma, and we believe our country is best served when our elected leaders are pledged to simply do the right thing rather than please whatever special interests can exert the most financial and political influence. For us, the starting point is a rational assessment of the challenges and opportunities at hand, leading to the creation of practical policies to both overcome whatever challenges we face and to maximize our economic, cultural, social and political development. As our motto says, we believe in courage, common sense and country.
While the traditional Whig movement arose in England and Scotland in the late 1600s, and the American Whig movement which built on it ultimately faded in the mid-1800s, our approach is thoroughly modern. We are informed by the past, not wedded to it. We believe the philosophy which energized the efforts of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt -- the belief in a vigorous, forward-looking, fair and honest government -- not only can be updated and applied to our 21st Century, but should be. Our purpose is to once again take up the great gifts our forefathers handed us and use them to build a better country, and a better world.
To that end, The Modern Whig Institute strives to provide a platform for our fellow citizens to take back the power in our relationship with our government. Our goal is to partner with you, our friends and neighbors, in authentic service to our great nation. Ultimately your voice, your strength, and your will to action are the driving force we rely upon in all we do. We firmly believe by working together and combining our talents, our initiative and our patriotism we can achieve great things -- for all of us.
Modern Whigs make no outlandish claims, promises or demands. We are simply fellow citizens committed to listening to you, and who hope you are willing to act and participate in our governance. While we trust in research, analysis, debate and collaboration more than ideology in crafting public policy, those things are only of use when the viewpoints of individual Americans breathe life into them.
Given all the disappointments each of us has experienced in our civic lives, we wish to inspire you to be a genuine political voice and an authentic public servant in your towns, your counties and your states. Public service is far more than a matter of taking office; we also believe by volunteering in your local communities and actively presenting your views to your state and local governments you can help to make this country a better place, one day at a time.
And finally, if there is one thing distinguishing Modern Whigs, it’s our relentless emphasis on sincerity, authenticity and humility as key ingredients in effective representative government. To us, the public trust is inviolable, and the use of government for self-serving ends rather than as an instrument of the public good is intolerable. We believe all of us should pledge to hold ourselves accountable to each other.
The strength of our nation is not to be found in any political party, nor even in our military, economic and social institutions, as important as they are. The real strength of America is you. We Modern Whigs desire only to cherish and support the nation and people we love, and we pledge our sacred honor to serve our nation to the best of our ability, in the deepest humility. We hope you will join us.
-- The Citizens of The Modern Whig Institute