Those of us who advocate less government hold to certain social and religious principles which we believe to be in accord with the freedom our Constitution was designed to protect.
Because We are individualists and accept the concept of personal responsibility for ourselves and for our dependents, therefore, we view the family as the basic unit of society, secondary only to the individual, himself. All totalitarian regimes, whether of ancient Sparta or modern Peking, all of them strive to destroy the close-knit family in order to remove any loyalties that might be higher than to the state, itself. They don't like competition. Totalitarians would prefer no family units at all if they could force that on the people. The communes of Red China or Haight-Asbury are ideal for their purposes. But almost the same results can be achieved even within the institution of matrimony, if only the people involved can be induced to abandon their parental responsibilities, because the real objective is to remove the family as a possible alternate source of guidance and support. If the family is weak, then, in their time of need, people have no choice but to turn to the state for help. And if the home can be turned into nothing more than an eat-and-sleep club, then the children will be at the mercy of government nurseries and schools to be carefully molded and indoctrinated by the state, acting as the ultimate parent and provider.
And so, we are committed to the preservation and strengthening of the family, for practical as well as moral reasons.
We believe that all men are equal in the eyes of their Creator, and that all men should be treated equally by the law. But we also believe in freedom of association, that man should be free to select those with whom he chooses to work, to play, or to live. We believe that this is essential to any truly free society. And, besides, it's entirely natural. In general, people prefer to associate with those who share something in common. They prefer to be with those who are approximately the same age, the same educational level, the same interests and hobbies, the same economic strata, the same religion, the same race, the same tastes in entertainment, the same political views. And everyone does this to one degree or another. You do it. I do it.
There's a name for this process. Its called "discrimination." In order to select those with whom you wish to associate, you must, by definition, be discriminate. You must be free to reject those with whom you do not wish to associate. Otherwise, you can't choose.
The problem arises in the fact that, today, because of increasing racial tensions, the word "discrimination" has become confused with the word "hatred." But they're not at all the same. Just because you prefer to be with those of your own age group doesn't mean that you have to hate those who are older or younger than you. And this is equally true in the case of race, or religion, or any other category.
Furthermore, we believe that government has absolutely no business attempting to dictate the social relationships between individuals and groups. We find no constitutional basis for this, no moral basis, and, certainly, no logical basis. For every time government steps in and uses the force of law to rearrange social relationships in accordance with some omnipotent formula, it always makes matters worse. It's like trying to stop a dog from barking by throwing stones at him.
Please understand this means we are just as opposed to a State government forcing segregation as we are opposed to the Federal government forcing integration. Both are wrong. Government should stay out of this matter entirely and leave it up to the individuals involved. We make no effort to force a prescribed formula on anyone. And, frankly, we think the world would be a lot better place in which to live if others would follow these same social principles.
Let's turn, now, to the religious principles we hold in common. We believe that integrity in government, honesty in the market place, and social harmony, all of these must be based on morality. They can't be legislated into existence. No matter how many laws you write down on the books, if these conditions don't exist in the hearts Of our citizens, then they'll never exist in our public life.
Furthermore, we believe that true morality is impossible without a firm religious base. When I say true morality, I mean doing what is right just because it's right, and for no other reason; doing what is right, even though it may be to our disadvantage, even though it may cost us our very lives to do so. But, unless our concept of what is right stems from religious convictions, unless it comes from a Divine source outside of and bigger than ourselves, who would he willing to make such a sacrifice'?.
We hear a lot of talk today about the new morality, sometimes called humanism or situation ethics. The concept is that there's no such thing as right or wrong outside the individual, himself. What's right for one, may be wrong for another. What's right today, may be wrong for the same person tomorrow. It all depends on his attitude at the time. What makes us happy or gives us pleasure, supposedly, is right. If it gives pain, it's wrong, and we must decide on that basis only. In other words, do whatever we want to do, and call it morality.
That's nonsense, of course. The so-called new morality is merely the old hedonism with a respectable name. While there will always be hedonists, as long as this world endures, we strongly reject hedonism as the controlling philosophy of public life.
summarized this concept rather well, I think,
when he said:
And so we do not side-step the issue of religion. Rather we proclaim the importance of religion as the indispensable foundation, not only for national morality, but also for liberty.
If I were asked to summarize the principles in which we believe, I would explain it as a dual concept of individualism and morality. Individualism and morality. But we also have a slogan which, although slightly longer, says it all very well. Perhaps you've heard it. It is:
Less government, more responsibility, and, with God's help, a better world.
The next time you hear that slogan, I sincerely hope that my efforts here will have enabled you to hold a better appreciation of the deeper meaning behind those words.
Copyright 1972 by G.