The Culture War: Raising the Bar

Donald Trump’s managed to make a habit out of jumping one shark after another with no negative consequences at all, at least not with his devoted supporters. Hillary Clinton has also had her moments of inglorious infamy, yet her supporters remain as devoted as ever. So in less than a week, we’re finally going to see which of these terrible human beings is going to be president, and the other will go back to whatever gilded plutocrat lifestyle they had before.

What kind of country tolerates two such contemptuous, pathological liars, both with long pedigrees of being insufferable human beings as their leaders? And not with any shame or mild reluctance. The people supporting Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do so with the blazing conviction of a missionary subjugating “primitives” of a conquered land. This is much more true of Donald’s supporters, who hurl the ugliest and most vile of insults they can imagine if someone so much as criticizes Donald.

I became devotedly #NeverTrump largely due to how Donald’s supporters have behaved during the Republican Primaries and into the general election. Their naked aggression, vitriol, bigotry, and viciousness made it clear that Donald Trump could never be allowed to attain the highest office in the land. If simply his candidacy could inspire such ignoble behavior in the Republican electorate after just a few months of campaigning, imagine what his toxic personality would do to our country given four years.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
-John Adams-

Clearly, if we are to deserve a better government, we have to become better people. So what does becoming “better people” entail? I submit that we must work to reclaim the culture of the Founding. No, I don’t mean we go back to wearing wigs and tricorn hats. Nor do I suggest that any election to any office can achieve this goal. Only a daily effort to seek to leave our country better than it was the day before, moving inch by precious inch back to the basic governing philosophical tenets that inspired and informed the decisions of the Founding Fathers in the first place.

(1) During the colonial era, it was widely understood that the public virtue was a reflection of private virtue. It followed that if you had a society of virtuous people, you did not need many laws, because virtuous people tend to act in accord with their virtue. It follows also that a society of unvirtuous people has little need for many laws, because they would disregard most of the laws anyway. This comes with a general lack of virtue. So our first order of business must be instituting a culture of virtue, because without private virtue, rule of law is impossible.

(2) Even before the Constitution or Declaration of Independence, it was understood that government was evil, even if it were necessary. The Founding Fathers were men who knew history proved government has ever been used by some to impose their will on others. To this end, wealthy cabals would form to support one tyrant or another, collaborating in order to protect their political and economic security. This “Establishment”, by its own deeds, has always been the enemy of the people. To defeat them, we must throw back the curtain behind which they hide, and reveal them to the public via political transparency.

(3) The only possible just society is one of virtuous people who do not need government with a government that does not interfere with them. It is not the duty of government to be generous or benevolent, because a government can be neither, being inanimate and artificial objects that have no more moral agency than a spoon or a shovel. Government is made up of people who have no more right or authority than any one else. Since the people themselves are morally obligated to intercede on their own behalf, people in government are only empowered to intercede against the government, not the necessarily the people. While exceptions for criminality should and do exist, this was the guiding philosophical basis for the Constitution: a law written to constrain the government.

“Therefore, when the Way is lost there is virtue.
When virtue is lost there is benevolence.
When benevolence is lost there is righteousness.
When righteousness is lost there are rituals.
Rituals are the end of fidelity and honesty,
And the beginning of confusion.”
-Lao Tzu-

This is the culture that must be restored in America, and why we desperately need a cultural political movement that reflects these values within our civic life. To borrow from Hillary Clinton, proving the old adage that even a broken clock is right at least twice a day, “America is great because America is good.” She is right in this. A virtuous and moral society results from a virtuous and moral people. Where she is wrong is how far from virtuous we are as a people and how we have deviated.

She believes, after all, that government is the solution to our virtue problem, and nothing could be further from the truth. It is upon conservatives to reignite the guiding fires of virtue, not through force, conflict, or shaming but by example. Though it may seem counter intuitive, it is possible to have a society that is morally virtuous without being puritanical. People and the arts, after all, have a fundamental right to express ideas and thoughts that may not be in line with moral norms, so long as they do so without harming others.

That is not to say we adopt the failed ideology of multi-culturalism. I am not talking about condoning multiple cultures. There is one culture of fundamental Americanism, as was described, in part, above. While other elements, such as a shared language, are also necessary, it is the underlying duty to self sufficiency that is paramount. When the large majority of Americans once again understand that we are all moral equals, no more or less entitled to the same rights and no more or less encumbered by the same duties, then we will achieve the society that we seek.

Liberty is For The Win!


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