“No law can give me the right to do what is wrong.”
A Moral Nation and a Crossroad
In Post #1 , the “Introduction” to RIGHT and WRONG, Not Left and Right, America’s Third Option — a manuscript — opens with these words from Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1831 Democracy in America:
“America is great because she is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
America is at the critical crossroads of continued greatness or in descent to average at best, where not “left or right” decisions must be determined, but those which are either right or wrong.
Such is the matter proposed in this series and such is the nature of the conversation among conservatives today.
Our Present Leadership Crisis
Much attention in film and books has been recently given “Honest Abe” who — though loved and hated by a country divided during his one term as President — today is revered with Washington as America’s preeminent protector and moral leader of all forty-four American presidents.
Politicians have always loved to wrap themselves in a Lincoln disguise, for they know if enough Lincoln veneer of honesty can rub off, then they may popularize their positions as if Abe himself sanctions them. This is no more true than with our current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Both those who believe in Lincoln, and the wolves who betray him, believe his words:
“The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.”
I explore more on our call to greatness through moral governance in this Post #2, RIGHT AND WRONG, Not Left and Right, America’s Third Option.
Sunset in the Garden of Good and Evil
“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night we make no comparisons of right and wrong stars.”
-Alan Watts, British Author
Choice and Responsibility
Choices are followed by consequences and choice is the parent to decision, whether choosing between good or evil, or truth or lies.
I don’t know about you, but I am not easily herded into some corral where I can be labeled right or left by those who use and abuse words to mean whatever they want them to mean.
As for me, having left all party affiliation and preferring conscience over party loyalty, I also prefer articulating to candidates my position, rather than being beat up by their bumper-sticker slogans, and the all too-often meaningless and vacuous promises epitomized by the 2008 Obama campaign promises of, “Hope and Change.”
Any such grandiose promise should be a red flag to a reasonable person endowed with a thimble of common sense, since the promise means whatever the promoter wants it to mean and can open a Pandora’s Box of unintended (or intended) consequences.
It is agreed by all in America today; pundit, candidate, voter, “Washington is broke…” even as both political party’s leadership recommend that their solution is the only way to “fix it.”
But what if their onerous party policies and practices not only perpetuate the problems which left and right have built for over a century, but also exacerbate them?
Your Representatives at Work?
It is with some chagrin that we may encourage a President to get out and play more golf, or for a congressman to stay on vacation rather than try to actually “fix” anything in Washington D.C.
Each time they do get busy we seem to have an increased national debt and economic strangulation by more legislation or unconstitutional regulation.
The federal debt, under a 2008 electioneer promise of “line by line” budget oversight, and the “greatest transparency Washington has ever known,” has experienced a doubling in a mere four years by an administration that not only does not do accounting “line by line” but does not even produce the line—having yet to produce a constitutionally required budget in four years of governance.
Pretty lies continue to beguile both a compliant press and a willing citizenry. After all, truth seems so boring, so bland and unexciting. For the truth in fiscal responsibility requires proclaiming the lunacy of spending forty-five cents on interest to borrow $1 from the Chinese.
In 2012 the party flat-lining on truth-telling were re-elected to “finish the job,” just as Barack Obama promised.
What is apparently “wise and prudent,” words commonly used at will by a Presidential administration in constant campaign mode, must only apply to the voters in their own financial housekeeping, for the facts of the past four years belie any serious consideration to an honest attempt on a federal level for wise and prudent fiscal management.
Eternal Blame Games
As we witness a national debt and spending crisis exacerbated by a “left wing” redistribution scheme sans accounting responsibility, we are reminded by the managers of the spending spree that the prior Republican President caused it.
As blame continues unabated in the fifth year of a childish executive branch seeking to make what is wrong legal, we are equally reminded that in October of 2008 the Republican Party leader said he regretted abandoning, “…free market principles to save the free-market system.”
With muddy water for a crystal ball we gaze into the truth of politicians controlling an economy. Clarity via wizards from Washington and clarity in local governance are at polar opposites.
We cannot overspend and create money on printing presses outside of OZ. Where the rubber meets the fiscal road in Red State America the bottom line must show it in the black to survive.
So what if “left and right” – supposed poles in the political spectrum – are mere labels and really don’t matter anymore?
Right and Wrong
Ronald Reagan offered this Jeffersonian warning in his famous “A Time for Choosing Speech” — 1964:
“I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this. It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, “We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government.”
“This idea — that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power — is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election:
“Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism…”
Power of the People
So what are the people to do?
They cannot relinquish their power found in the ballot box. Yet even there the federal government is rigorous in battling states who seek to enact the simplest voter ID laws, even as we learn in the 2012 case of a Hamilton County, Ohio poll worker (under investigation) that voting six times may be a crime, but it still works.
All must exercise that individual plenary power or lose the voice within us of both; protest against that which we cannot believe in, and support for that which we must believe in.
Even while the vote is sacred, recent evidence proves that little seems to change after our vote until we take to the streets and town halls to add voice to the ballot decisions.
This, such as the evolving “Tea Party” movement begun in 2009, is the best thing the author has witnessed in forty years of citizen involvement in politics.
And yet, with all our combined energy—notwithstanding directly and overwhelmingly affecting changes during the first round of Tea Party influence in the November 2010 elections—the big government elephant in the room is crushing in size and the political jack ass brays for more of the present cliff hanging fiscal bankruptcy and moral insolvency they created in the first place.
After all, if there is no crisis there is no need for the party which brays blame, and squeals fairness, and popularizes lies.
Foundations for American Greatness
Early in the days of our American Republic a constitutional scholar close to the original intents of the Founding Fathers said of plotting politicos in his day:
“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” –Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1779-1845
It would be well if all citizens understood the founding document upon which rests all political decision making at their feet. Sadly few have ever read the 4543 word US Constitution. Of the federal government guided by the US Constitution, the second US President declared:
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion,” wrote John Adams. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
George Washington knew that good private conduct was essential to America’s survival. He left Americans with this in his farewell address:
“The foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens, and command the respect of the world.”
If Adams and Washington are to still be believed then responsibility rests in the moral character of the people, who then choose their political leadership, right, left, center…it does not matter.
As we witness sunset in the American garden of good and evil, what matters, if we wish to see the dawning of a new day for our nation, is simply made up of–right or wrong.
POST # 3 HERE: http://www.redstate.com/jamesmpratt/2013/02/27/the-goat-and-the-cow-post-3-from-right-and-wrong-not-left-and-right-a-series/
James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter, editor at www.jerusalemreports.com and Op Ed contributor. More about his work may be found at www.jmpratt.com, Facebook and Twitter.