Self Governance and a moral standard
The latter is the foundation of the former
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. John Adams
What did John Adams mean by this statement? To me it is obviuos. For a people to be capable of self governance as described in the Constitution they must first have their foundation set firmly in a moral code accepted by those to be governed. Many question how this can square with the idea that there be a “wall of separation between the Church and the Government”(paraphrased Thomas Jefferson). Again to me the answer is obvious. Indeed it is not the place of the Government to set or enforce a specific moral code but rather the responsibility of those who wish to employ self governance, to adhere and promote a moral life despite the government.
Now in years past the moral code was easier to promote and pass on from generation to generation. It was easier because the family and greater community had direct control over how and what was taught to the next generation of Americans. This, unfortunately, changed with the creation of state runs schools and intitutions of higher learning. Gone are the days of the Bible being used to teach the beauty and function of the English language. Gone are the days of black and white moral positions. These have been replaced. Now we are given situational ethics and “See Dick Run”. Surely we underestimate our own ability to aquire knowledge and display wisdom.
We have gone from Theocracy under the reign of King George, to self governance under the direction of the Constitution and the Founders who brought that document to the people, to derision of religion in the guise of “objectivity” resulting in Democracy without the benefit of the structure of the Republic. Each peice of freedom that we cede to the control of the central planners in the beauracracy erodes the next freedom. Each time we decline to follow the moral code we also decline our Divine right to self governance.
The moral code, of which I speak, is not Christianity for all, rather I speak of accepted truths that go beyond any one religion. These are best summed up, in my mind, in the last six of the Ten Comandments.
Honor your father and your mother (snip) so that your days may be long and that it may go well
You shall not murder(don’t start on the death penalty or war…murder has a wholly different meaning than kill..if you comment on this you will be ingnored).
Neither shall you commit adultery.
Neither shall you steal.
Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbour.
Neither shall you covet your neighbour’s wife.
Neither shall you desire your neighbour’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.
(I know there are seven here…the last two combine to make the final Commandment)
Now obviously we don’t have a lot of donkey coveting in our modern age but the premise, I believe, is still sound. Nothing in this list is exclusively Christian. There is nothing in these words that should frighten the Liberatarians. Please do not respond to this if you are looking for a fight on Church and State or Religion in general, I am not asking you to believe in God, I am only asking that you recognize the importance of morality to the function of self governance.
In any experiment there must be a constant if you expect to see a measurable result of success. This is also true in the greatest experiment of all time, a self governing nation called the United States of America. Our constant was, and still should be, the moral code by which we live our lives and therefore self govern. The Constitution becomes nothing more than advice on a peice of parchment when we lose that constant. The success of our experiment is in, and has always been, in flux. It is our responsibility to our Country and all the patriots who came before us to re-instate the constant of morality to ensure the continued success of this grand experiment.
I hope and pray that this election will be the catylyst that will bring forth the re-emergence of the accepted moral code and the idea of self governance, lest we be left with only direct democracy and a goverment which gets to choose our path for us.
As John Adams warned above, he had also another warning:
Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.