How can self-government work if the people’s “self” is depraved? As James Madison so rightly observed, “What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” (Federalist No. 51, 1788)
Both the Left as well as Libertarians like to think that America’s Founding Fathers pursued individual liberty merely and solely for itself, without regard to matters of morality and faith.
Our Founders believed that the new American Republic was possible and viable only if it rested on the proper foundation or infrastructure — a virtuous people. (A good book on this is The Moral Foundations of the American Republic.)
In a letter to George Logan in 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The man who is dishonest as a statesman would be a dishonest man in any station. It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings collected together are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.”
John Adams, in his letter to Mercy Warren in 1776, similarly noted: “Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty….”
But it was George Washington, the Father of the new American Republic, who put it best when he sounded this warning in his first inaugural address in 1789: “There exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness … we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
Popular culture is the expression of a people’s moral orientation. Look at the state of America’s pop culture today.
Who speaks of “virtue” today? What an old-fashioned archaic word!
A half-naked Britney “The Crotch” Spears, 29, bumps, grinds, and gyrates before a rapt crowd of 6,000 in San Francisco; while the media slavishly report on the latest antics of bad “boys” like middle-aged Charlie Sheen, 45, and bad “girls” like mature adult Lindsay Lohan, 24.
Less than 20 minutes after the tickets for Sheen’s two “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option” concerts went on sale, they were all sold out. So he expanded his concert tour to 20 cities. A ticket for his “concert” in San Francisco costs $97 to $136. After Lohan wore a tightly-fitted white Kimberly Ovitz dress to court to face grand theft charges of a necklace she claims she had merely “borrowed” from a jewelry store, the $575 dress quickly sold out.
So much for our supposed economic recession-depression!
Did you know that John Adams was 41, Thomas Jefferson only 30, and Alexander Hamilton a mere 21 years old, in 1776 when the American Revolution began? [Source]
At the root of our political-economic-social problems is plain moral rot.