Growing Courageous Communities to Renew America

Let's think together about virtue.

Here are some bold basic concepts that can provide perspective.

1. Nature of the Problem: The problem in America is not that the system isn’t working.  It’s that it is.  Our culture is morally bankrupt. Washington, D.C. reflects the same moral bankruptcy that can be seen at all other levels.  The axe must be laid to the root of the trees.  The true answer is not to change the machinery but to change what goes into the machinery.

2. Nature of Liberty: All people have the right to liberty, but not everyone is free, because all people do not have the capacity (or the power) for liberty.  Liberty is only possible when a people’s dependence on internal factors (that is, God and each other) outweighs their dependence on external factors (that is, governments and economic “masters”).  This is because liberty is the ability to say “No.”  To say No, we need moral courage; that is, virtue.  The renewal of personal virtue trickles down from the individual to the family to the church to the city, state, and ultimately Federal levels to renew each area of jurisdiction or leadership.

3. Quest for Renewal: If virtue is not restored, liberty will not survive.  Because of a lack of the exercise of virtue, America is on a collision course either with economic collapse, widespread civil unrest, tyranny, or perhaps all three at once.  The only answer is to renew We the People so that our society which is top-heavy for example with debt, Federal power, mass entertainment, and centralized healthcare is brought back into balance through local and personal responsibility.  Other supposed solutions fall short because they fail to contemplate the depth of the problem.  In fact, usually these ideas amount to a desire for a quick fix, the very desire that has prevented renewal from occurring.

4. Source of Renewal: Liberty rests on virtue, and virtue rests on faith.  Further, our rights come from our Creator, without the public recognition of whom those rights are meaningless.  Thus the source of renewal is spiritual awakening among the people.

5. Means for Renewal: Virtue is more caught than taught.  It comes through an intentional effort to get outside one’s comfort zone and do hard things.  In its truest sense, virtue also requires that these actions be taken for others, not for self.  Thus, intrinsic to the cultivation of virtue is the reigniting of community.  Local neighborhoods must again be places where care is shown to others and needs are met. 

Virtue shown by a few will spark virtue in others.  Through mentorship and training, practiced in Christ-like love and catalyzed by a common purpose such as emergency preparedness, a virtuous community will emerge.  As virtue increases, the ability of the community to meet further needs will be accentuated, allowing that community to become a lighthouse to an even greater area.

6. Policy Tools: There are numerous tools to correct America’s course that have not been used, precisely because of a lack of the virtue or moral courage to use them. 

For example, the Bill of Rights itself includes a variety of means by which liberty must be defended.  Religious expression, speech and publications to hold officials accountable, petitions, public assemblies, neighborhood defensive associations, personal firearms training and resourcing, home gatherings, grand juries, trial juries, limitation of judicial jurisdiction, and state sovereignty are all examples of places where We the People can say “No” to incursions on liberty. 

At the same time, a virtuous citizenry will provide the right pool to elect virtuous officials who will protect our rights by frustrating and standing in the way of tyrannical actions.  This courage will be made possible because these officials themselves will be inculcated with a solid allegiance to the good law of the Creator, and because their voters will provide them a strong support network. 

But the use of each of these tools requires our enforcement capacity to be bold, our communities to be resilient, and our people to be responsible.  Otherwise fear will reign and moral courage will not be shown.

7. End Goal: The more we have virtue organically and voluntarily, resulting in practical love for our neighbors, the less we need to depend on government, and the more liberty will be possible.  The result will be a stronger, more lawful, more vibrant nation, because America as a whole is simply the reflection of its people.