On the subject of morality in government Ron Paul wrote in 2012, “The U.S. government has been operating without a moral compass for decades, and without a moral compass, the rule of law is meaningless” (Liberty Defined pg. 209) Of the many honest and accurate things Dr. Paul has said over the years, this is one of the most accurate. How can government, even a limited one hope to govern without out a basic sense of morality? The American government lost its moral compass when it began to reject the liberal ideas of rule of law and individual liberty, and accepted authoritarianism, which is an inherently immoral philosophy. Authoritarianism knows no political party. From government regulation of personal behavior to social welfarism. Despite campaign promises about returning to the Constitution and liberty, dangerous ideas prevail.
“Conservatives” support needless intervention over seas, and “liberals” support the welfare state. Both of theses thrive where morality doesn’t. One of the many things that make me nervous about our country is the fact that so many of us, my generation specifically, expect the government to take care of them and provide for them, but they don’t seem to worry about where the state gets the resources to do so. There is little morality in the welfare state. It is a system based on a moral principle, but when the state has to steal under the threat of violence is it really all that moral? This thought seems to go right over more people’s heads.
If the absence of morality has led to the evaporation of rule of law and individual liberty, how do we get back on track? First we reexamine federalism. The articles of confederation are a good place to look, making states more sovereign and using Congress as a last resort. The founding fathers also brilliantly included article 1 section 8 in the Constitution which lays out exactly what the government can and cannot do. Perhaps the most important thing we can do to restore morality to governance is follow basic Judeo-Christian values that even agnostics and atheists can agree to. Things like don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie. This isn’t about enforcing any religious doctrine on anyone, as many secular societies had laws based on these ideas. If we as people hold our government to the constitution, to article 1 section 8, and encourage potential candidates to run for office to restore morality we just might regain a moral and vitreous society.