The Story Behind ACI

The American Cornerstone Institute (ACI) was founded by world-renowned neurosurgeon and 17th Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson. After serving our nation and the American people faithfully for four years, Dr. Carson is ensuring there is an organization fighting for the principles that have guided him through life, and that make this country great: Faith, Liberty, Community, and Life. Dr. Carson has proven through his example and policy making that solutions guided by the principles of faith, liberty, community, and life are effective, and will point our nation toward the common good. Throughout his life, Dr. Carson has broken through barriers and has paved major roads in our political arena, both in Washington, D.C. and in communities across the country, and he’s not stopping now. A champion for logic and common sense solutions, Dr. Carson will always stay true to his principles and his faith, which guide ACI through this volatile time in our nation. While conservative ideas will echo through our hallways, ACI will remain a non-partisan, not-for-profit institute. ACI is committed to working with anyone on anything that advances faith, liberty, community, or life. It’s time to heal our nation.

The Cornerstones

Guided by our cornerstones of faith, liberty, community, and life, the American Cornerstone Institute (ACI) will strengthen the bonds that hold our country together by promoting conservative, commonsense solutions to the issues facing our society. These four cornerstones laid the foundation for the greatest nation the world has ever seen. Their promotion and preservation can secure the United States of America as a beacon of hope and freedom for generations to come.
When our Founding Fathers set out to create a new nation, they were all too familiar with the past centuries of sectarian religious wars suffered by the people of Europe. The Founders knew this young America would not survive if her own people were divided by their government into favored and disfavored religious groups. But they also knew that faith was vital to the well being of any society. Without faith and trust in God, we are lost. With Americans’ membership in houses of worship dropping below 50% for the first time, government is replacing religion. We must ensure the Judeo-Christian values our nation was founded upon are not lost for future generations.
Just a couple of decades ago, the famous rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” described in the Declaration of Independence were almost universally understood to be good things, the bedrock principles upon which our entire country was founded. In recent years; however, many people in politics, academia, and the media have questioned the values of the American founding. They have focused on the faults of certain Founding Fathers— along with the undeniable fact that the rights they championed were not originally enjoyed by all Americans—and cast doubt upon whether any of their fancy words are important today. Liberty, as the Founders understood it, is not a license to do anything and everything you feel like. You can have liberty and still be bound by both just laws and moral principles. Instead, liberty is a state of self-determination, where one can work towards a good life, speak one’s mind, worship freely, and make choices without hindrance from either your neighbor or ruler. In the millennia past, untold generations didn’t have such liberty. But liberty is not merely about economic opportunity. It also entails the freedom to think and speak according to one’s conscience, without fear of persecution. Today, some of the biggest threats to our liberty don’t come from the government, but from massive corporations which control platforms for public discourse and the economic activity of millions. We must be vigilant against any threats to our precious liberty, wherever they arise, so that all Americans may freely pursue happiness.
America’s sense of community has suffered greatly in recent years, both on a national and local level. Mediating institutions that used to be the backbone of our communities—churches, civic groups, fraternal organizations, charitable institutions—are withering, or straying from their core missions. Social media and popular culture further divide, atomize, and distance people from each other. All of this erodes the sense of place and belonging for millions of Americans. Sad to say, political leaders from both sides of the aisle share the blame for these unfortunate developments, despite their best intentions. On the Right, a deference to big business, military ventures, and extreme individualism has often overshadowed the need to protect and foster our communities. On the Left, a reluctance to serve Americans first, an obsession with globalism, the insistence on viewing people as members of demographic groups rather than individuals, and a disdain for faith-based values has alienated our countrymen within their own home. As the famous sermon goes, “no man is an island.” Human beings need fellowship, friendship, and purpose to thrive. We must be a part of something that is greater than ourselves, but also immediate to us, from which we can draw strength and give strength in equal measure. Most Americans already know this as a fact of life, and thankfully, the understanding is spreading. More and more politicians, academics, and activists are recognizing the central role of community to the wellbeing of the human soul and the soul of our nation.
Thousands of years before humanity thought of the double helix or social sciences, we recognized that the creation of new life was miraculous and marvelous. We saw that each child was unique and precious. And we knew that they needed a loving environment to reach their full potential. These truths were written on our hearts long before they were confirmed by science. But in recent generations the world has forgotten—or ignored—these lessons. Our society has been infected by an anti-life ideology, treating its most vulnerable members as disposable objects. Somehow, we have rejected both ancient wisdom and modern science. This bleak and barren view of life does not have to be our future. We can recommit ourselves to the idea that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that every life is worth living. Building a true culture of life will take more than simply ending abortion, as vital as that step is. We must start caring for our fellow citizens at every stage in their journey on this Earth, from womb to tomb. We must design public policy with their needs in mind—not only monetary and medical, but educational, communal, and spiritual. Whether sick, or disabled, or imprisoned, whether in need or in sadness, whether at life’s beginning or its end, we must proclaim: no person is disposable, and every life is precious.