The Need for Virtue


When our great nation was still in its infancy, the leaders who arose did not do so out of greed or ambition. In fact, those kind of thoughts were discouraged by making their salaries low and their duties high. There was a standard of virtue that required public servants to follow if they were to be trusted with affairs of state. I’m not talking about Puritanical elitism, but basic common decency and respect for our fellow man. State representatives were gleaned from the people, and not expressly from the ranks of lawyers and career politicians. Our Congressmen were farmers, merchants, land owners, laborers, artisans, craftsmen, sailors AND attorneys. But the important thing to note here is that Representatives, regardless of their station in life, were well read and qualified to tackle the most difficult issues of the time. They were, almost without exception, honest, trustworthy, God-fearing, respectful, sober-minded and morally upright. More often than not a person elected to public office did so at risk of losing their business, their land and their fortunes, but they did so out of a deep indwelling desire to serve their country and their fellow man.

Jump forward a couple of hundred years. Our nation is being run by charlatans, criminals, liars, adulterers and otherwise morally bankrupt individuals who seek only to gain power, privilege and wealth. I don’t even have to give you examples of this because that would be like showing you a few trees while standing in a forest. Somewhere along the way we have lowered our expectations, and now is in imminent danger of being buried alive by avarice and materialism. We once were a nation of values; now we are a nation of decadence. We once were a nation under God and indivisible; now we serve political correctness and stand hopelessly divided on practically every issue of importance. Our leaders once listened to the will of their constituents; now they listen to the greasy hands of special interest groups. Our leaders once served out of duty and honor; now our leaders serve out of the love of money and power.

Listen to what some of our Founding Fathers said about this issue:

Benjamin Franklin wrote “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

Thomas Jefferson penned “ It is in the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. . . . degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats into the heart of its laws and constitution.”

Patrick Henry said “Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”

John Adams declared “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.”

Virtue, freedom, happiness and patriotism must be renewed with every generation or the Republic will dissolve into anarchy, fascism and complete tyranny. We as citizens must insist – no, we must demand that our public servants on every level of government be held up to the most stringent and scrupulous of moral standards. Even more basic should be our desire to revive the strength, love, respect and virtue of our own families, for from this wellspring will future leaders be born.

There is no better time than Now to begin to repair the tattered vestiges of our nation. If not now, it will certainly and eventually be too late to save the Union.


by Jay T Harding

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