Crumbling character

Losing our morals could very well lose us our country

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“A great and noble nation will not sever its political from its moral life.”

– Sam Tilden

Time was, when a scandalized politician and his paramour would both slink mercifully away.

Not so today.

Cybersleaze Anthony Weiner and his cyberslut Sydney Leathers aren’t just staying in the public eye, they’re doing it proudly – he as a New York mayoral candidate, she as an adult entertainer who finds conservative women revolting and inhibited.

“Conservative girls are really uptight. It makes me think of all those, like you know, Fox News fembots who obviously are self-loathing or they wouldn’t be Republican and female, in my opinion,” she says.

If life were about nothing more than a good time, she might be right. But that’s not what life is about. In fact, as if to prove the point, life has a way of seeing inveterate pleasure-seekers crash and burn.

We noted the death of shame in an editorial July 28. But in reality, it’s worse than that: In America today, you can openly promote loose morals and express contempt for morality – and be celebrated.

This isn’t just a matter of “uptight” tsk-tsking of immorality. It’s a matter of survival for a self-governed nation.

“No people who lost their character kept their liberties,” says Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education. “Bad character leads to bad policy and bad economics, which is bad for liberty. Without character, a free society is not just unlikely, it’s impossible.”

It was, ironically enough, a historian in ancient Rome, Livy, who noted ominously:

“There is an exceptionally beneficial and fruitful advantage to be derived from the study of the past. There you see, set in the clear light of historical truth, examples of every possible type. From these you can select for yourself and your country what to imitate, and also what, as being mischievous in its inception and disastrous in its consequences, you should avoid.”

It turned out to be an epitaph for the Roman empire – and perhaps an omen for America.

Ancient Rome, like America, was a republic born of the throwing off of tyranny. It initially feared a repeat of tyranny so much that it established a system of diffuse power that included dual consuls who were term-limited.

But Romans eventually learned they could, as Reed notes, “not just work for a living, but vote for one.” In other words, they began to elect leaders who would take from others and give to them. It changed the relationship between government and citizen, and how people looked at income and work.

Pretty soon it was free wheat for the masses, and a third of Rome was receiving some sort of subsidy. There was easy and even free credit, a debased currency, bailed-out cities, free wheat now baked into bread – and a withering of means testing for benefits. Freedoms were lost to dependency, and politicians became increasingly drunk on power, politics progressively vitriolic.

Any of this sound vaguely familiar?

For Reed, a Newnan resident, the lessons of Rome’s collapse and similar historical misadventures are threefold:

1) you can’t have freedom for long without responsibility

2) restrained and diffuse power is preferable to unrestrained and concentrated power

3) “The here-and-now is rarely as important as tomorrow. Plan accordingly.”

“Romans once lived for the future,” Reed adds.

So did Americans. Today, we not only tend to eat our own seed corn, but to also have the government provide us with somebody else’s.

Sometimes literally: A news report this past week told of economically depressed mountain folks in North Carolina who repeatedly turned down federal government offers of free food, but finally relented when offered free seed. The social worker who found a way to break down the residents’ dedication to self-reliance got an award for doing so.

Like those good folks’ resolve, character, it seems, is crumbling in America.

Reed believes there is no easy answer, that young people must be taught the virtues of character early and often.

“America,” says Reed, “needs more people who can’t be bought.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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soldout
1280
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soldout 08/18/13 - 03:59 am
8
5
excellent

Excellent and loaded with truth. Good to see there are some folks who understand truth. This also tells us how easy it would be to fix this country and His name is Jesus. When a leader is responsible to Jesus he will be responsive to you and this country.

Fundamental_Arminian
1833
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Fundamental_Arminian 08/18/13 - 04:56 am
10
5
Excellent ACES Editorial

    “There is an exceptionally beneficial and fruitful advantage to be derived from the study of the past. There you see, set in the clear light of historical truth, examples of every possible type. From these you can select for yourself and your country what to imitate, and also what, as being mischievous in its inception and disastrous in its consequences, you should avoid” (Livy).

Excellent article from the ACES, and fine comment by soldout! It's highly profitable to study history and apply what it teaches us. Interestingly, much of the Bible is history--inspired, infallible history. God knew how important and valuable history is and therefore has used it to teach everyone willing to listen and learn.

I wish more leaders realized that they will have to give account to the Lord Jesus on Judgment Day. If they would trust Him to save and guide them, we'd all be better off.

Bodhisattva
6129
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Bodhisattva 08/18/13 - 05:44 am
6
12
Someone in the editorial

Someone in the editorial department has just a little too much infatuation with Anthony Weiner. Why go all the way to New York and worry about a 4th place mayoral candidate when you have the great example of the comeback kid, Mark "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" Sanford" (R) right next door? This is at least 2 editorials about Weiner and his morals with no mention of Sanford. Weiner got into sexting. Sanford skipped out on his office without telling any of his staff where he was going, lied about hiking the Appalachian Trail ( unless that's what the kids are calling it these days), got into the usual right wing christian hypocrisy thing since it was cool for him to serve but Clinton should have been removed from office, dumped his wife and family for his "soulmate", did a little breaking and entering with the cool flashlight app on his cellphone (we'd be under the jail on that one), and the ultra right wing super duper moral Christian Republican elect him to return to Congress. Harking back to the old saying, Mark's girl was alive. It makes you wonder if they'd caught him with a dead boy. If you want to go out of town, heck use Senator David Vitter (R) or are using prostitutes ok? Heck, he just flat out didn't step down because he knew a Democrat would be appointed and dodged conviction thanks to the statute of limitations. Lucky dude. Lucky john. Lucky criminal who has committed sex crimes and is a sitting Republican Senator. You see, there's the answer. Both are in higher profile positions. Both did much more when it comes to sexual activity, they just happen to have that magic (R) after their names. That and the creepy fixation the editors have over Weiner. Ewwww!

corgimom
32126
Points
corgimom 08/18/13 - 05:58 am
5
11
AC, YOU are perpetuating this

AC, YOU are perpetuating this problem!

Calling a woman a "cyberslut" on your editorial page?

Why would you think that any decent person would want to read about that?

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/18/13 - 06:36 am
8
3
Although it kinda makes me sick to my stomach, I agree with Bod

SOMEWHAT!! If you're going to write about politicians like Weiner, It would be "Fair&Balanced" to mention Mark Sanford in this very article!! I don't often like to agree with America haters, but that's FAIR!! I argued on these very pages with my republican friends!! I did NOT like Mark Sanford getting back into office, period!! My biggest problem with him wasn't his affair (none of my business) but Sanford spend thousands of taxpayer dollars (I believe around 75k) on his trips to Argentina. THIS, he should be in jail for!!!!! Not holding another public office!!

I believe if one party is going to hold the MORAL high ground; we MUST do so with our own party!! You can't pick and choose to enforce certain morals with the democrats, but not your own party!! Now, I realize republicans will say "Any republican is better than a democrat who is destroying the Country fiscally." But I'm mainly talking about the PRIMARY; where they are running against another conservative!!

Everything else in this article is very true!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/18/13 - 06:34 am
8
3
["]“Bad character leads to

["]“Bad character leads to bad policy and bad economics, which is bad for liberty. Without character, a free society is not just unlikely, it’s impossible.”

I agree 100%, but this applies to ALL parties!!

"But Romans eventually learned they could, as Reed notes, “not just work for a living, but vote for one.”

Ben Franklin: "When citizens find they can vote themselves money, it will herald the end of the republic."

This was a wise man!! The founding fathers had learned from the past and I believe some could actually see the future!! Their words tell us this!!

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/18/13 - 07:55 am
6
2
I'm starting to like this
Unpublished

I'm starting to like this Myfather guy.

deestafford
27373
Points
deestafford 08/18/13 - 08:14 am
6
4
The sad thing is I don't see any change in the future.

If anything I see it as getting worse.

Just look at recent decisions on acceptance of what once was sexual deviance is now accepted as mainstream and "committed same sex couples" in the military are now given the same privileges and benefits of what was once known as traditional marriage. Not only that, homosexuals are allowed to take leave so they can go to a state that allows homosexual marriage, get marriage and then return back to the post and live as a married couple. Now if one does not believe how low the morals of the country have sunk, wait until you read the negative comments about this paragraph I just wrote.

Any attempt at instilling morality is ridiculed and made fun of not only by the "heathens" but many of our supposedly leaders. One makes any such attempts are called bigots, wackos, religious nuts, people trying to push their morals on others, and many other derogatory names.

I don't think anyone can show any statistic on how any aspect of morality has not declined since 1960. Just a couple of examples: out of wedlock births are accepted as normal and not something shameful, increased poverty despite trillions spent, ridicule of traditional marriage, reduction in church attendance, no teaching or morality and what's right and wrong in schools, and the list could go on.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/18/13 - 08:32 am
5
9
history?

The usual hand-wringing from Michael, this time in collaboration with right-wing hack Lawrence Reed. I've read "Are we Rome." It's both a laughable misrepresentation of history and an ideologically transparent effort to draw parallels between Rome and the U.S. Reed is wrong from the start. To suggest that Rome was "a republic born of the throwing off of tyranny" is pure fantasy, and the rest of the analogy is equally ridiculous. If there is any parallel, it is that like Rome, America is spending itself into deep debt trying to maintain a far-flung "world" military empire. "Free wheat" was the least of Rome's problems.
If Mike had read history rather than right-wing blogs, he might have a clue.

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 08/18/13 - 08:38 am
0
0
The answer is in each individual heart. Choose God or Satan.
Unpublished

The answer is in each individual heart. Choose God or Satan.

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 08/18/13 - 08:40 am
0
0
Change will not come from government, but one heart at a time.
Unpublished

Change will not come from government, but one heart at a time.

Bizkit
31230
Points
Bizkit 08/18/13 - 08:55 am
2
3
What fantasy the Roman

What fantasy the Roman Republic formed from ending a monarchy, then the Republic ended with an autocratic empire. Much of the problems of the Republic are similar to today such as wealth disparity-most was in the hands of a few. A series of civil wars were the ultimate death knell of the Republic. I haven't read the book but some of it sounds spot on.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 09:15 am
5
3
Bodhisattva @ 5:44

"Someone in the editorial department has just a little too much infatuation with Anthony Weiner. Why go all the way to New York and worry about a 4th place mayoral candidate when you have the great example of the comeback kid, Mark "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" Sanford" (R) right next door?"

THIS STATEMENT could not be any more true ! If you're going to kick the Democrats THEN kick the Republicans as well !

Jon Lester
2297
Points
Jon Lester 08/18/13 - 09:18 am
3
6
Has there ever been a time when America was truly

a moral society? In times past, the fact that you didn't hear about domestic abuse and worse is because most people just wouldn't talk about it, yet segregation was very public policy. We're still not quite where we need to be with regard to protecting everyone's liberty, and there are people on all sides who seem determined to deny one freedom or another to the people in favor of an all-knowing state, itself quite plainly guilty of unspeakable atrocity at home and abroad.

Bizkit
31230
Points
Bizkit 08/18/13 - 09:22 am
6
2
Weiner was just a handy

Weiner was just a handy example because of him being most recently in the lime light. The same standard should apply to conservative or progressive, Dem or Rep. I don't understand how someone could do time in prison and then get re-elected for office either-but it happens.

carcraft
25738
Points
carcraft 08/18/13 - 09:32 am
5
2
There is much truth in the

There is much truth in the editorial . EEL disparaged the editorial but doesn't present specifics . The old "bread and circus " stories are true! T
Our ever mounting debt and government regulations are crushing the middle class. I repeatedly have to remind people that Home Depot created over a thousand millionaires

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 09:33 am
1
3
Kennedy assassination article

Does anyone know if there is a way to comment on the Kennedy artical from the front page ??

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 08/18/13 - 09:34 am
0
0
If you're into morally bankrupt
Unpublished

politicians, bodhisttva, try teddy kennedy, sick willie, marion berry, rod blagoyevich, tommy thompson, kwame kilpatrick, charlie "white cracker" rangel, adam clayton powell, bill campbell, charles walker, Augusta's only black mayor, jesse jackson jr. and his wife, tralfant, obama, holder, blumenthal, hitlary, bert lance God rest his soul, al gore. Just a few to keep you busy.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 09:41 am
1
2
Quote from editorial

"If life were about nothing more than a good time, she might be right. But that’s not what life is about."

I fear that TOO, TOO many men and women, ESPECIALLY in Washington, DC, live their lives like this probably 16 hours a day if not more !!

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 09:45 am
5
0
Quote from editorial

"“America,” says Reed, “needs more people who can’t be bought.”

We couldn’t agree more."

I truly believe this is exactly what happened with The Aiken County School Board in their resent vote of 7 to 2 to back Project Jackson !! MAYBE THE AC will do an ivestigative report about this !!

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/18/13 - 09:46 am
5
4
" I don't understand how
Unpublished

" I don't understand how someone could do time in prison and then get re-elected for office either-but it happens."
Bizkit, I agree and it is almost always a democrat. Just a few years the dems in SC ran a sex offender for the senate seat against DeMint. You gota love those dems.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/18/13 - 09:46 am
3
5
bread and circuses

cc: In Juvenile's satire, the "bread and circuses" comment was not so much directed at the Roman government, as it was at the Roman people.
Juvenile believed the Roman people no longer had the same belief in the military ethos of earlier, more "heroic" times. If there is a parallel to the U.S. today, it is the abandonment of our former commitment to an "amateur" military (the draft), our reliance on a "professional" one, and the deepening schism between our military and civilian cultures.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 09:51 am
3
0
Palmetto1008 @ 7:55

"I'm starting to like this Myfather guy."

YOU GO myfather15 !! Getting a fan base going !!

localguy55
5477
Points
localguy55 08/18/13 - 09:58 am
5
2
Good Article

This article is very telling. Anyone who has taken a world history course in college can attest to the editor's accuracy in his writings. But reading many of these comments, some of the usual suspect commenters spew out a diatribe of deflective retort and less with affirming or refuting the piece. The meat and potatoes of the article is correct. It would be nice to hear a true rebuttal using facts if any of you can. For me, I agree with it and can only offer additional FACTS. But many of you scamps are just impossible and will never leave the dark side of the force.

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 09:57 am
1
3
chascushman @ 9:46

"Bizkit, I agree and it is almost always a democrat."

Let me get this one straight, "Is it like cowboys and Native Americans, Republicans wear the halos and wear navy blue suits, and the Democrats have pitchforks and don't wear navy blue suits ! Do I have it straight, NOW !!"

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 10:06 am
5
1
Quot from editorial

"Reed believes there is no easy answer, that young people must be taught the virtues of character early and often."

EVEN being a liberal, I blame much of this on the public school system. I mean, teachers and princpals HAVE ABSOLUTELY no way of disiplining out-of-control students AND a little religion would go a long way, also !

t3bledsoe
14290
Points
t3bledsoe 08/18/13 - 10:16 am
2
0
Quote from editorial

"We noted the death of shame in an editorial July 28. But in reality, it’s worse than that: In America today, you can openly promote loose morals and express contempt for morality – and be celebrated."

If you are talking about abortion, THEN I whole-heartedly agree !

If you are talking about same-sex marrage, I think that is between them and what ever higher power that they believe in !

maryhamm
73
Points
maryhamm 08/18/13 - 10:18 am
3
3
Morality Lacking on Both Sides of the Fence

We have only to look across the river at fine Mark Sanford and his South American paramour to find a lack of morality. And he was voted into office depite his moral failing. Let's also remember David Vitter, Pete Dominici, Chris Lee and Mark Souder. If it slithers like a reptile, it is in fact, a reptile. Doesn't matter if it's Democrat or Republican.

carcraft
25738
Points
carcraft 08/18/13 - 10:19 am
5
2
Democrats work over time to

Democrats work over time to push people into government dependence ! Then the issue isn't policy or what makes good economic sense but fear of losing "benefits " from the government. Witness the ad of Ryan wheeling granny over a clif! EEL theilitary culture has not changed as much as the civilian. Hence we have the divide! The military culture in some ways is 15 to 20 years behind the civilian. Our leaders do not understand the military and have trouble dealing with it. Obama stuck his foot in his mouth again when he gave a speech on sexual harraent. We now have people who committed rape etc getting off due to Obama's speech being used by defense as undue command influence in judicial proceedings! Defense secretary had to issue a memo to try to cover up Obama's foot in mouth disease . So yes you are correct.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/18/13 - 10:23 am
4
4
" EVEN being a liberal, I
Unpublished

" EVEN being a liberal, I blame much of this on the public school system."
Bledsoe, the fact that 'EVEN being a liberal' you do not realize that is the parents place to teach "virtues of character early and often" is not surprising.

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