By Alden L. Benton
At the end of the year most writers take a look back at the previous year. This year, to celebrate the passing of 2015 and to usher in 2016, I am going to look back in order to look forward.
This week I have been looking back at all my blog posts since I began this blog. In reviewing what I have written, I found two posts from 2012 that are just as relevant today, perhaps more so, than they were four years ago. An Unreasonable Man from February 1, 2012, and from August 23, 2012, Promises.
An Unreasonable Man
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ~George Bernard Shaw
By Alden L. Benton
To many, I am an unreasonable man. I believe in God, morality, and the Constitution. Being of Scots-Irish ancestry, I will not bend or bow before any earthly power and will fight to the death those who would try to force me to do otherwise.
I believe that life, for a moral and ethical person, is really quite simple: things are either right, or they are wrong. There are no gray areas, no nuances; right or wrong, no more, no less. This mindset enables and supports my everyday decision-making process.
I ask every moral and ethical person to consider this paradigm when deciding who will be our next president.
We will hear all manner of falsifications, misinformation, vitriol, charges, counter charges, and other useless information throughout the campaign. Ignore it! Look instead to the candidates’ records and to their public character and use your moral conscience to decide who is, or is not worthy of your support.
It is moral men and women who vote their conscience who will ultimately save America. Moreover, one’s moral compass must be the ultimate guide in selecting a president who will lead with strength and determination rooted in the Constitution, and in his own moral and ethical rectitude.
Thomas Paine once wrote,
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
~Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776
Now, 239 years later, our nation is again in crisis. The policies of the previous century have failed and threaten to enslave not only this generation, but generations to come.
If you believe in America, its exceptionalism, in an individual’s God-given right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they see fit, then you must exercise your conscience and your moral fortitude to stand against the forces that are amassed at our gates bent on destroying us.
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
By Alden L. Benton
Promises are important in every society. Anytime two or more people need to accomplish a task or engage in commerce, promises are integral to the arrangement.
Promises take many forms and range from God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament to His promise to us all in John 3:16 in the New Testament. On another level, there are promises we make to our children, our spouses, and our elderly. In the broader society, promises are represented by contracts, laws, and, ultimately, the Constitution.
Without these rules, these agreements, society would soon cease to function. From deciding which side of the highway we will drive upon, who will have the right-of-way, to the guarantees of a contract and the prohibitions, the minimum moral code, embodied by the body of statutory law, society would soon revert to chaos.
This is the essence of ordered liberty and of a moral society. Ordered liberty imposes a minimum order on the free will of mankind. It ensures a free society based on fundamental rights such as due process, property rights, contract rights and obligations, as well as a minimum acceptable moral and ethical standard.
When promises are broken and agreements abrogated, that minimum moral code has not been honored. Today, these obligations and promises are seen in relative terms. Put simply, this is chaos and it is breaking down the fabric of our society.
Signed for a mortgage you could never repay? Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter, we’ll make someone else pay. Don’t have a home because you didn’t pay your mortgage? It doesn’t matter, go take over an empty house the bank owns.
Promise your children something special if they behave? Stand by your words or they will never trust you again. Told your grandmother you’d visit her and begged off with some lame excuse? You hurt her more than you could ever know.
The issue for us all, individually or as a society, is integrity. Integrity is the unification of word and deed; of intent and action. As an old adage says, “I can’t hear your words because your actions are so loud.”
Integrity is a standard to which we must hold ourselves accountable and judge others by. It is a simple binary (one or zero) decision: they have it or not. Do they keep their promises, honor their contracts, obey the law (moral and legal), and, in the United States, respect the supreme law of the land – the Constitution?
No one is perfect, but we, both as individuals and as a society, must strive to attain and maintain personal integrity. Without it, we are nothing but charlatans and thieves.
Remember this every time you make, or accept, a promise.
Remember this when you cast your ballot next November.
© 2012 and 2015 by Alden L. Benton / Independence Creek Enterprises