Liberty Without Virtue

I’m presently reading a very good article by Os Guinness on Religious Liberty and the Rebuilding of the Public Philosophy, entitled, A World Safe for Diversity. I’m sorry I can’t give the link at this time; I downloaded it, printed it out and forgot what website I got it from. Anyway, here are some good quotes from the article:

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” (Benjamin Franklin)

“We have no government armed with powers capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale through a net” (John Adams)

“Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks – no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.” (James Madison)

Whatever may be the merits of shifting to a parliamentary form of government I hope we Filipinos don’t forget that no matter how good a governmental system is it won’t be a panacea for society’s ills. In the final analysis we have to reckon with ourselves – whether or not we are a virtuous, disciplined and godly people. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

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