In the brave new meme world, amongst the dizzying array of attention grabbing images, jokes, and historical quotes- one simple paragraph recently caused me to stop and ponder:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams
This is not a quote or commentary about the new Country’s founding document. It is, rather, an analysis of the human condition:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
What is the Constitution? It is a framework for the rights of citizens and the role and limits of government. It is all that because we agree that is what it is; we voluntarily consent to live within the framework as written.
At the end of the day, it is a piece of paper, with words written long ago. It does not speak. It does not hand out money, appear on TV, or knock on your door when you have been bad. It is a contract, adhered to by a moral people, who understand the benefits and privileges guaranteed by the voluntary participation in the system it provides.
I think everyone who is a law-abiding citizen understands this. It is the second part of John Adams quote that I think doesn’t get as much thought, and the part I think is becoming more and more relevant each day:
It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
There are those who argue that the Constitution is out-dated, that much of it is no longer relevant in the modern world, centuries after it was written. It did not foresee many issues that have arisen since it’s creation.
That it has become wholly inadequate.
Have the enumerated inalienable rights and limits on government in the Constitution lost relevance?
Or are we no longer a moral and religious people?
If we have lost the moral elements of our society, we have become “any other.” Our Constitution IS inadequate if that is the case. We can see the signs of this more and more.
What would then be an adequate system if we can no longer live under the Constitution?
An immoral people do not seek justice, they seek power. They do not seek law, they seek an advantage. They do not care about the rights of others, but ignore them. They are governed by tyrants, dictators, and anarchy.
Who are “we the people” now?