Monday, March 4, 2013

In Defense of Virtue

Matt Lewis picks up an important---but often ignored---component of the American founding: the importance the Founders placed not on relentless private acquisitiveness but on self-restraint and sacrifice in the name of the public good.  As Lewis puts it:
Our founders believed self-imposed responsibility was essential to the preservation of freedom. An immoral majority will eventually discover that they can vote "themselves largess from the public treasury." But a nation's elite must also be moral — which is to say, not greedy. As Ed Morrissey noted, "Any society with a large class of exploited poor will have no end of social difficulties and instability, the costs of which in a properly ordered system would far exceed the assistance extended." That's the invisible hand at work.
Without private and public responsibility, the enterprise of this republic could founder.  There's a reason why Jefferson spoke of a natural aristocracy of virtue and talent.

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