Freedom: Sharon and Port Hurom Statement Essay

How did the young conservatives who wrote the Sharon Statement understand freedom? The Young Americans for Freedom was from a conservative point of view. It affirmed they considered to an affirmation of God’s’ will, affirming their beliefs in individual free will and liberty; the inextricable bond between economic freedom; the purpose of the government protecting freedom through preservation of internal order, national defense, and the administration of justice; the genius of the Constitution (especially the clause reserving power of the states); and the market economy as the single system compatible with freedom . . Communism is named as the named as the greatest threat to democracy.

(1) Despite the libertarians eventually being forced out from the YAF, the “Sharon Statement” shows how the core of the libertarians influences the Statement. The Statement appealed to the various Conservative factions by staying with narrow boundaries. (2) The YAF supported the war in Vietnam, seeing it was a fight against communism. The YAF would also be against negotiations of any kind with any communist country. That the forces of international communism are, at present, the greatest threat to these liberties; that the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with this menace. ”(3) It would appear from a simple reading of the statement that the conservative YAF would oppose the Civil Rights Movement since following their reasoning, it would have been an issue to be left to individual states since the federal government should not interfere with the business of individual states.

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William Buckley, one of the authors of the Statement was very open being an opponent to the Civil Rights Movement. It seemed to want to secure the freedom of white people, but not blacks. (4) “The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.

It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. ”(4) “National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct… It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority. ” “The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class… Let the South never permit itself to do this.

So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to affect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function. ” (5) What do the authors of the Port Huron Statement appear to mean by participatory democracy? The SDS wanted to participate in their own destinies, and to get away from what they saw as serve limitations in an undemocratic society.

They wanted “simplicity in registration and voting, unfettered dominance of wealthy, property requirements, literacy tests and poll taxes. ” (6)) Individual people were no dependent solely on themselves, but as part of community, and being part of their community was a civic duty. The idea of participatory democracy would include women and children (as opposed to the white male superiority that the conservatives were espousing). The SDS wanted to broaden the economic sphere to include workplace democracy and watchdog groups. They also wanted citizens to have greater say on the issues of war and peace.

They also wanted to bring people back into decision making in general for the country, and especially for individuals. (6) The SDS wanted more incentives than money or survival, but ones that were “educative, not stultifying; creative, not mechanical; self-directed, not manipulated; encouraging independence, a respect for others, a sense of dignity, and a willingness to accept social responsibility. ”(6) Although not implemented until 1971, the SDS was instrumental in passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What are the main differences, and are there any similarities, between the outlooks of the young conservatives and the young radicals?

The SDS felt that citizens had been too passive about decisions made about the country, and wanted them to participate more in making those decisions. Rather than being an ideology or theory, the SDS wanted people to get out and do something – to act. One of the courses of action brought about through this belief was the burning of draft cards. The SDS was also actively involved working for civil rights. (7) They condemned racism. They believed liberalism was not enough. The SDS further believed on a war on poverty when the country was in midst of plenty.

They opposed the Cold War, believing instead in participatory government. Further, they sought to take away power from politicians, the military and corporations and to give the power back to the people. (8) The YAF was in favor of doing whatever was necessary to stamp out communism seeing it as the single most threat to democracy. The YAF was in favor of a volunteer army and a gradual shift away from the draft (9) The SDS was more worried about bombs and was in favor of “universal controlled disarmament” as the means to “replace deterrence and arms control as the national defense goal.

One of the main dividing issues with the YAF and the SDL was their positions on the draft, which at the time the Statement was written, was a huge dividing issue in America. (10) On page 30 of the Port Huron Statement, the SDS states its support for civil rights and urban needs. “When possible, the peace movement should challenge the ‘peace credentials of the otherwise liberals by threatening or actually running candidates against them. ”(11) Conservatives (YAF) present themselves to be anti-racist, but there was disagreement between factions of the YAF regarding the Civil Rights Movement.

The “Sharon Statement” appears to be an attempt to fuse the factions together by providing a link the libertarian economic principles to white supremacy principles to hawkish foreign policy. (12) The YAF endorsed the Cold War as a way to control communism. They believed in limited government which was the opposite of the New Deal liberalism. “In this time of moral and political crisis it is the responsibility of the Youth of American to affirm certain eternal truths . . . F]oremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of is God-given free will. (13)


1Foner,, Eric. Voices of Freedom, from Americans for Freedom,” The Sharon Statement” (September (1960) p. 1058. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc; New York (2011) at p. 1058 2www. The Voice Immitator (September, 2009) 3Klatch, Rebecca. University of California Press; 1 edition (October 20, 1999) 4The Voice Immitator (September, 2009) 5Buckley, William. “ Why the South Must Prevail” National Review (8/24/1957) 6 Hayden, Tom and Others. The Port Huron Statement” (June 1962) (excerpted). (June 1962)(excerpted) 7www. letstalkbooksandpolitics. blogspot. com/2012/06/liberals-vs-conservatives-sixty-pages. html 8www. bullfax. com 9www. letstalkbooksandpolitics. blogspot. com/2012/06/liberals-vs-conservatives-sixty-pages. html 10(9) ibid 11“Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society” (1962), p. 30 12“The Sharon Statement” adopted in conference at Sharon, Connecticut on 11 September 1960 13“The Sharon Statement, ibid

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