When analyzing the fetid morass we call the economy I found it useful, as I did for the health care system, to try to look for root causes. Fix them, and you have a chance at healing the system; ignore them, and you endlessly kick the can down the road until the road ends. And it always ends. But overly large government, derivatives, Wall Street corruption, Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t true root causes. The foundation underlying all these travesties is more basic and can be summed up in one word: morality.

Our Founding Fathers recognized that without basically good people seeking to do good things, no system could survive. For them, religion was the underpinning of a just society and in the Declaration of Independence declared that we are endowed by our “Creator” with inalienable rights. They held a higher power above government. Still, they had the wisdom to recognize the importance of keeping the machinery of government secular so that freedom of worship was preserved. While there are moral people that are not religious, I believe that the religion and the belief in a higher power are the greatest force for keeping in check the baser instincts of a large number of people in this world. Atheists will cite the atrocities committed throughout human history in the name of God and religion as evidence of the fallacy of my assertion. Their argument, to me, has always been inherently flawed. Giving a Satanic cult the cloak of religion and calling a Satanic entity God had always been a way of confusing otherwise sensible people. In the Middle Ages it was a bastardization of Catholicism; today it is Islamic fundamentalism masquerading as the Muslim faith. The existence of these corruptions does not diminish the value of a God-based faith that truly lives by the standard of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

So why am I venturing into the charged and hazy realm of the metaphysical? No system, even one as good as a republic, can survive the weight of rampant immorality without being crushed. It’s also clear that you can’t legislate morality. We can make it more difficult for bad people to do bad things, assuming those miscreants haven’t corrupted the very guardians whose job it is to stop them, but bad has a disconcerting way of resurfacing in innovative ways if there aren’t enough good folks around to rise up and stop it.

The bottom line is we need a resurgence of the values that made us great in the first place—values instilled by family, community, and, in most cases, religion. If a non-bible-thumping, secular guy like me can see this, hopefully others can too.

Next: What’s coming


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