Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Politics of Virtue

Yesterday we looked at a quote from Ronald Reagan that established the idea that, in order for democracy to succeed in its purest intent, morality based on Biblical precepts is an essential ingredient. While I submit that democracy is a man-made system of government, it is based largely on the Biblical ideology that all men are created equal by a loving God. This means that all men have a fair and equal right to be governed and represented by people selected (or elected) from among them. This was how God instructed Moses to conduct the proceedings that determined who would represent each tribe of Israel among the council of elders. Today's quote comes from John Adams, the second president of the Republic, and vice president to George Washington (first president). Considered one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, Adams was one of the men who drafted and championed the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
– John Adams

While we may debate the application of his intent in today's world, one thing that we cannot debate is the clarity of his intent. Clearly, Adams believed implicitly that, for the USA to gain and maintain her freedom, it was essential that her constitution be based on the virtue of religion (specifically the Christian religion in which he was raised). In the absence of this, he opined, they may change leaders and forms of government, but lasting liberty would remain an elusive goal. What are your thoughts and ideas about this?