MORALITY AND UNALIENABLE RIGHTS
By Jeff Head
What is morality?
How is it defined?
Is immorality wrong?
Is immorality damaging to the individual?
Is immorality damaging to a society?
Questions like these are the root of much of the debate regarding the successful and appropriate exercise of unalienable rights by a free society.
How did the founders of this great nation hit upon a formula for the exercise of unalienable rights that has been so successful and produced, for the longest time, the most equitable state, or government, created by mankind, which has been very much the envy of most of the world?
Let me share a few of the reasons that I believe our founders were successful, as well as a few of the reasons why I believe it is in the process of failing.
Formula for Success :1) Our founders recognized that our unalienable rights came from the Creator, God in Heaven. Not from the King, not from the President, not from the attorney general, not from the police officer, not from the Czar, not from the chairman, and not from any man or manmade institution or creation ... including not from any "Rule of Law".
2) Our founders recognized (regardless of their particular brands of religion) that morality within society in general was indispensable to the exercising of unalienable rights we derive from God. They simply recognized that the basic foundation for exercising their unalienable rights was this morality. This allowed folks to understand where the end of their arm was in relation to the nose on someone else's face ... and not just physically, but morally as well.
3) The system of governmental, institutional powers which were put in place around these understandings was weak centrally, and stronger the closer you got to the individual, and it was a Constitutional Republic based on all of this with clearly defined limitations and separations. It was not a democracy.
> 4) The majority of society in those day was much more humble and naturally tended to look to God and His moral standards (or Gospel) for strength and faith in exercising their daily routine and exercising their rights.
5) Most people in those days, based on the society and morality of the day, knew what was right and what was wrong, even if they chose to "partake" of the wrong.
6) In the context of all of the above, the free people of the day were pretty much their own masters and were not weighed down by too many regulations or rules, or institutional powers of government. Also, they had an entire "wilderness" to run to, if they did not fit in, or chose not to.
Now, here are several of the pertinent reasons I believe that our Republic is having the tremendous difficulties it is having today, wherein agendas contrary to the intent of our Founders have found fertile soil, have taken root and germinated.
Recipe for Failure:1) In my opinion, the largest root cause for our dilemma today is a loss of our moral foundation. What was "known" by society to be wrong in earlier days is embraced and paraded today in an environment of amorality and moral relativism which has weakened our character as a people. We are literally having a terrible time understanding where our arms end and other's noses begin, both physically and morally. Equitable exercise of unalienable rights, as recognized by the founders, can not last long in such an environment in my opinion. It will either give way to anarchy, which leads to totalitarianism; or, it will lead to a progressively brutal "state" which will be built up to "protect" us from ourselves ... which ends up in the same place as the former ... totalitarianism.
2) Many today have forgotten God in Heaven and the fact that He has granted us our unalienable rights, and defines for each of us the moral compass ... and that He does it through free choice, letting us reap what are the just results of those choices. With certain types of behavior (and I believe homosexuality and abortion are two of them) the consequences ultimately play out at the societal level, irrespective of where the choice is made. In times gone by, very few people ever even consider openly engaging in, or professing such practices. It would have had immediate social consequences, and in most localities, would have had legal consequences as well. This is not because the people of that day were not "enlightened", or did not understand the basis for exercising unalienable rights. On the contrary, they understood the basis for exercising their rights very well and also understood morality and the lessons of history. This number (2) that I have described is really an extension of number (1).
3) Today's governmental institutional powers are fast becoming the opposite of that laid out by our founders. Strong centrally and getting progressively weaker the closer they get to the individual. Much of this, in my opinion, is due to the negative consequences of (1) and (2). This has in turn caused most of the separations and limitations of our government to be blurred or erased as it strives to "protect" us from ourselves ... to the point where we have been transformed into a virtual democracy, instead of the Constitutional Republic designed by the founders.
4) We are not very humble as a people today. There are notable exceptions, but generally, as a society, we are affluent and most do not feel a need for God or His guidance or moral standards.
5) There is literally, very little place to run for those who want to "be different".
I personally believe that these are the root ills. I do not believe that it will be fixed without what used to be called a "revival", both morally and politically ... and probably economically as well, and which impacts the vast majority of the people. In this context, the moral revival is the most important, for without it, the others are meaningless in the end.
How will this come about? I believe we must take seriously the charge and effort to educate ourselves and those around us in what made our Constitutional Republic successful.
Clearly, understanding unalienable rights, what they are, where they come from and how
they relate to society and societal institutions is critical. Equally critical is how we
can exercise unalienable rights amongst our fellowman equitably. This is impossible to do,
in my opinion, and according to the founders, without understanding morality, what it is,
where it comes from and a basic definition of its basis. I believe that the best
foundation for morality rests in two great codes of conduct found in the basic religious
underpinning of most of our society. They are
In this way, our founders, with all of their imperfections, created a government of man which recognized and respected God's hand. In my opinion, we need to find a way to get back there. It is a very delicate thing to do, particularly the issue between compulsion and free choice. Compulsion leads to tyranny, but that does not obviate the fact that unbridled and reckless free choice taken by larger and larger segments of society will lead to the same. Strong morals keep both from happening.
Therefore, I believe we as a people have to freely chose to align ourselves with as firm a moral compass as can be found, like the two standards mentioned above. This "free choice", or "free agency" is a critical and indispensable term which must be understood if morality is to influence the equitable exercise of unalienable rights. When large numbers of Americans choose a firm moral foundation freely, we will receive Providence's help. As it used to be said, Providence will "smile" on us as He has done throughout much of our history.
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