July 31, 2011

John Adams: Advocate of a moral people

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”


*John Adams*

The Western Conservative Summit came with the subtitle “Fulfilling America’s Promise.” That’s a fairly innocuous title and could be interpreted as anything that makes you feel good about your particular cause. For Progressives, to “fulfill America’s promise” is to take care of your every need, cradle to grave, impose whatever restrictions on your freedom are necessary to mitigate the effects of failure and error, and make sure that every ineffective, feel good cause gets a handout.

For Conservatives, “fulfilling America’s promise” means to restore the Constitution to its original form and intent, bring the heart of the nation back to God, and break the chains of big government restriction to unleash the human spirit of entrepreneurship in the free market of ideas.  But, if there has been one word that could define an overriding theme of this summit, chock-full of great leaders and thinkers, it is “morality.”

It makes sense that Rick Santorum to chosen to kick off the summit with his impassioned advocacy for the moral foundations of our republic: marriage, family, and the sanctity of life. Rick Perry, perhaps the most political of all the speakers, used the word “immoral” when he described the encroachment of the Federal government on state’s rights, and individual liberties. Tucker Carlson, the pit-bull blogger for The Daily Caller, described the Washington political establishment as immoral; career politicians corrupted through compliance with the rules of party politics, and the brokering of power and self-interests. Frank Gaffney described the horrific intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood which has already set roots into the dirt of American culture.  He outlined the evil designs and conspiracies that are in process by this Sharia-obsessed cabal.  Their tactics, he said, are immoral and based upon their ability to deceive complacent Americans. John Bolton pulled no punches in his characterization of America as the last moral Super Power.  The decline in America’s defensive capabilities will lead to the further creep of totalitarian regimes, and the ouster of God from the governments of the world. Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, was unequivocal in his assertion that the fiscal crises seizing Washington are due to the immoral acts of spending money that we don’t have.  All problems of government are moral, Brooks asserted, from the central themes of marriage and family, to the outlying issues of sending foreign aid to despots. Dennis Prager gave us the “10 most destructive effects” of big government on the culture of a free people.  The effects of big government are destructive to the moral character. They weaken, said Prager, the ability of one think for and support himself. These are moral problems that have devastating and long-term consequences. Juan Williams told of the immoral act of NPR censoring his common-sense observations about Muslims.  More surprisingly and profoundly, Mr. Williams, when asked what, to him, is the number one threat facing America today, he unhesitatingly said, “The breakdown of the American family and the dissolution of the marriage.”  That, he emphasized, are the moral illnesses that will destroy America more rapidly than any outside enemies. Pat Cadell told of his disaffection with the Democrat party, of how the left has become the advocate of everything wrong and destructive to America. Cadell is a moral, honest man, who can no longer support what he characterizes as “immoral, unsupportable,” stances of the Democrat party. Mark Steyn, in his typical painful and sardonic discourse, railed against the immoral fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration,  and others, that has lead America to the brink of economic ruin.  He admonished his favorite, adopted country, for “spending money yet to be earned, that will be paid by generations yet to be born,” on ourselves for entitlements and silly exercises in economic  and social engineering. In the boldest terms he denounced this path as “immoral!” Conservatives have been given permission, even commanded, to bring the word “moral” back into the political lexicon.  Morality is the core value, encompassing truth, godly conduct, and the realities that require a good citizen to subsume selfish wants to do that which is just and fair and productive according to the precepts of Natural Law.

Morality is the high ground of discourse and behavior, whether or not one is religious.  Morality is dictated internally by the conscience and externally by the dispensed laws of God the agree- upon rules of civilization, most notably, the Constitution.  But morality must find its genesis within the individual.  The final law of morality is that it cannot be imposed from without.  It must be the central drive and instinct, the principled impulse, that requires the Patriot heart to act in defense of liberty.  We will never have a good nation, if we first, are not good and moral ourselves.

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