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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Virtuous Government

“[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” — Benjamin Rush, On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic — 1806.

Super Bowl advertisers paid as much as $4 million for 30 seconds of time in hopes of making a lasting impression. And they tried every gimmick in the book to do it. But one of the ads everyone is still talking about is the Dodge Ram Trucks ad, featuring images of American farmers set to a speech written and delivered by a giant of radio, Paul Harvey. It was called “God Made A Farmer.” Viewers so young that they might not even remember Paul Harvey were moved to tears by the commercial. Because amid all the CGI effects, vulgar jokes and sexual innuendo, what proved the most memorable was the power of Paul Harvey’s words and his unique, heartfelt delivery. By the way, if you’d like to hear the full speech, you can find it by clicking here. Paul Harvey made it in 1978 — 35 years ago.

This was a rare time where you would see God 11 times in 2 minute and 36 second TV Commercial. While watch the Super Bowl with a group of rowdy friends who mocked most of the commercials when the Dodge Ram Truck commercial began and the voice of Paul Harvey boomed out of the TV set the rowdy bunch of football fans fell silent. This was the few times in 15 years of our traditional Super Bowl party this has ever occurred. The other times usually were during the Budweiser commercials portraying their famous Clydesdale horses.

Another event over the weekend was the murder of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle by a deranged veteran who was suffering from PTSD at a gun range. Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine and Iraq veteran said: “He "traded his soul for a new truck." Why Kyle was working with Routh at a gun range may be questionable, but evidently the psychiatrist who was treating Routh cleared him for such activities. What made this event more horrific was a Tweet attributed to former Congressman Ron Paul. Dr. Paul tweeted: “Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword." Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense.”

Yesterday, according to a report in the Blaze, on his nationally syndicated radio show Glen Beck took Dr. Paul to task for his ill-advised tweet. The Blaze report states:

“Rather than coming from the lips (or keyboard, in this case) of a seasoned elder statesman, Beck said that Paul’s tweet sounded like something that would come from radical groups like Code Pink or Westboro Baptist Church, calling the social media statement “beneath” the former representative. The host said that one of the main problems that abounds in today’s society is a failure for individuals to treat one another decently and he even wondered if Paul regrets his “serious, serious error in judgment.

Acknowledging that some would potentially point the finger at him as someone who has fallen prey to uttering unfavorable statements in the past, Beck admitted that “we’ve all said things that we shouldn’t have said,” but that people should learn and grow from these experiences. And while he stands fervently against Paul’s statements, the host affirmed that he is a big believer in the First Amendment.

“I find Ron Paul’s speech ugly and offensive, but I defend his right to say it and I would not violate it or ask anyone else to violate it by having him silent,” Beck proclaimed “More speech — not less speech — but it requires all of us in responsible ways to respond because that is the right that so many like Chris Kyle fought for.”

The host also noted that for those wondering why he has never — and could never — support Paul, this example provides both explanation and corroboration.

“This should finally answer your question,” Beck said.”

On one hand we have a car company willing to use the words of a conservative radio host to promote it’s truck and the American Farmer and on the other hand we have a former Libertarian congressman using social media to make a comment beneath his dignity and doing harm to his reputation.

Yes we have free speech, but we also have responsibilities in exercising that right. Why post a disparaging comment about a recently murdered decorated SEAL while his family and friends are grieving his death. To me this is not only in poor taste it is a cruel exercise of the First Amendment. Dr. Paul may think this and discuss it with his followers, but why put such a comment on public social media for millions of people to read. Why cause more pain to his family. As a medical doctor Ron Paul should have known better. On the political side of the issue Dr. Paul’s comment will no doubt haunt his son, Rand Paul, in a future run for the presidency.

This is the problem with today’s social media. Politicians, celebrities, and just everyday folks are able to post ill-advised, nasty, vicious, and false statements on Facebook and Twitter without giving thought to what they are saying. These comments do harm to others and themselves. Where has virtue and honor gone?

A nation without virtue and honor is a nation without a future. Today the United States finds itself in a quagmire of ever-increasing self-doubt and foreboding. Chief among the factors that have brought America to this point has been the abandonment of a sense of what is right, just and true as it relates to the duty imposed by conscience. Virtue and honor is being abandoned and replaced by duplicity, avarice, self-aggrandizement, cowardice, and an unbridled lust for power and notoriety.

These characteristics are symptomatic of the bulk of the American governing class that has increasingly adopted, as their sacrosanct tenet, the concept that the end justifies the means. In their position atop the societal pyramid they have been devastatingly influential in undermining the morality and integrity of the citizenry. As Herbert Hoover once observed: "When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned."

As the greatest fear of the founding fathers comes to pass — an overwhelmingly powerful central government — the base nature of the human race comes increasingly to the fore. This evolutionary process, while underway for some time, has thoroughly permeated society as the nation is now reaching the tipping point.

Whether in the various state capitols or the once hallowed halls of Congress or the now tarnished grandeur of the White House, the acquisition and retention of political power by any means necessary, and the attendant access to ever larger sums of money, either borrowed, created out of whole cloth or coerced from the taxpayers, has become firmly entrenched in the nation's political psyche. Party identity notwithstanding, in order to achieve this end, nothing is beyond the pale — be it fraud, corruption, outright lies, or immorality.

No one person on the American landscape today more epitomizes this descent into dishonor than Barack Obama. His earliest days in politics were marked with unethical and oftentimes dishonest tactics in eliminating his opposition. He has revealed an untroubled willingness to prevaricate and make up so-called facts to suit his personal agenda. He has proven himself to be untrustworthy and a man whose word is meaningless. His narcissism knows no bounds as he oversees the premeditated decline of the United States concurrent with seeking to transform the nation into his vision of a socialist state. All the while exploiting his skin color as he calculatingly divides Americans into groups which he coldly and with forethought pits against each other.

The recent re-election campaign of Barack Obama encapsulated all these traits into the strategy employed as he set out to not only personally destroy his opposition by innuendo and falsehoods but to hoodwink the American voter. Unfortunately, the voters have become receptive to these tactics as they have been conditioned over the past forty years by an education establishment — dominated by greed, self-absorption and fealty to statist ideology — to believe that government, as controlled by the American left, is the source of wealth and salvation. Adding to this indoctrination, the entertainment industry, whose primary concern is an unfettered lifestyle, has slowly but surely convinced a near majority of the people that there are no moral absolutes. Honor and virtue are not words in their vocabulary.

The mainstream media, also concerned with an unfettered lifestyle but more importantly with access to the politically powerful, have chosen sides and become an extension of the state propaganda machinery as well as pawns in the hands of Barack Obama and the Democrats. Many in the media, also greatly influenced by the education and entertainment establishment, have left any semblance of honor at the doorway of cronyism as they safeguard their standard of living.

Far too many in the corporate and financial sphere have cast their principles aside as they too are increasingly operating their enterprises with the end justifies the means mindset. Further, as much of the free market is effectively under the thumb of government bureaucrats and politicians, many are convinced that in order to survive and prosper they must "play the game" with Washington D.C. and financially support those who have amassed the power to destroy them. Others have willing prostituted themselves and openly become crony capitalists eerily reminiscent of the relationship between industry and the government in fascist Italy and Germany.

This debasement of honor has extended its tentacles into many religious institutions who are now preaching the gospel of big government, abortion, euthanasia, and the toleration of any lifestyle. They are doing so in order to maintain some semblance of a congregation and the income derived from the same as well as groveling before the almighty monolith on the shores of the Potomac River.

The ultimate bulwark of honor and independence is supposed to be the Judiciary. Yet it has become what Thomas Jefferson feared: "an irresponsible body". Far too many judges have increasingly allowed their personal biases and ideological beliefs to dominate their decision making process as they usurp legislative power. They have allowed themselves to be swallowed into the vortex of self-aggrandizement and faux omnipotence rather than adhere to the Constitution and act as men and women imbued with humility, virture, and honor.

After the defeat in the 2012 presidential election, the primary and only topic of conversation among the conservatives and the Republican Party establishment is how to regain the White House and the Senate in future elections. These discussions invariably center on tactics and campaign strategy to counter the tactics and campaign strategy of the Democrats. To many principles are not part of the conversation. They want to win!

But all the grand plans to win elections cannot reverse the course the United States is presently on; only by being brutally honest with the American people and offering viable political/economic alternatives as well as emphasizing the overarching importance of honor can the nation be potentially rescued. That, first and foremost, requires honorable men and women to step forward and suffer the slings and arrows certain to come their way. Unless and until that happens all else is meaningless and America will continue to careen down it's self-destructive path.

As George Washington stated in his 1796 Farewell Address:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.”

I leave you with the words of William Henry Harrison, words he spoke during his inaugural address in 1841:

“Limited as are the powers which have been granted, still enough have been granted to constitute a despotism if concentrated in the Executive branch. The tendency of power to increase itself, particularly when exercised by a single individual would terminate in virtual monarchy. The tendencies of governments in their decline is to monarchy. The spirit of faction in times of great excitement imposes itself upon the people as the genuine spirit of freedom, and, like the false Christs whose coming was foretold by the Savior impose upon the true and most faithful disciples of liberty. It is in periods like this that it behooves the people to be most watchful of those to whom they have entrusted power."

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