Friday, January 15, 2010

The Necessity of Morals

America was originally designed to operate a very limited government. Such a limited government cannot care for the survival needs of the populace, but depends on the goodness of its people to support each other in times of need. Without a strong moral fibre or tight social bonds, we inevitably turn to the government to meet our collective needs, and our politicians oblige us, enabling our addiction to easy public services.

The sword of moral fibre cuts both ways. As the people's moral code grows ever weaker, so do the morals of our leaders. This code that once encouraged self sufficiency and dominion over your own life has given way to a code that encourages dependence, allowed by the weak fibre of our so-called "leaders." The ability to take care of yourself and your family was once highly prized. Today, many pass that responsibility to their elected officials, who are only too happy to promise more services in exchange for votes.

Our leaders are in the process of creating a society of incompetence, a society of dependence, a society that would utterly collapse without the constant support and nurturing of a paternalistic government. Most institutions eventually outlive their usefulness, and continue to exist only to prolong their existence. Our government should be no different.

It is only with the highest resolve and integrity that we could maintain a government that stays a blessing, instead of becoming a burden. We have lost that resolve, as our leaders offer us more and more services for "free." We have come to expect the government to care for us, and are losing the ability to care for ourselves. We have forsaken the morals of our ancestors by taking the "easy way."

In many cases, morality amounts to self denial. You may have the urge to steal some trinket, but morality dictates you must not. You may have the urge to sleep with your friend's wife, but morality dictates you must not. You may have the urge to pass the responsibility of caring for yourself and your community to the government, but morality dictates you must not. It is this denial of the easy route that creates a strong culture, one that can face difficult challenges and succeed.

Our tremendous wealth has made us soft. We no longer NEED to deny our urges, we have money to burn, and when the money runs out, credit cards. We are constantly bombarded with commercial messages telling us to buy, buy, buy. Before long, this consumer pattern leaves us broke and owing thousands to credit card companies. And we turn to the government for help, our hands out, begging for relief from the problems we created with our need to have things now, now, now.

And the government, as a reflection of the people, is just as bad. Our desire to have an unstoppable armed force, and a social safety net, along with the host of other spending, which now includes a corporate safety net. These enabling institutions insulate us from the consequences of poor decisions, and are paid for on credit. And as the consequences pile up, more institutions are needed to "correct the wrongs," and more debt to pay for them. It is a seemingly endless spiral, one that we can pull out of only with severe self-denial for the things we want, but don't need, or can't afford.

It is not too late. We are still a great nation, but our priorities have been corrupted by money and power. The decadent lifestyle we cling to is quickly eroding, as our government dances faster and faster to maintain the status quo. But we can all see where this is going.

The change cannot come from the top. Our president can talk about change until he is blue in the face, but real change comes from the bottom. From each of us, making the prudent decision, forgoing the easy route, even when we don't have to, because moral people do what is right, even when it hurts.

No comments:

Post a Comment