Our early American leaders who formed and framed the
Constitution all read Montesquieu, a brilliant philosopher during the
enlightenment period. He differentiated despotism from monarchy and monarchy
from democracy. He found one governing
principle for each. Despotism was fear, monarchy was honor, and democracy was
virtue. Freedom was practically synonymous with virtue. Today, we don't provide
leaders like those of the past because, as Plato said: "What is honored in a
country will be cultivated there." Today, we have wonderful athletes (mostly
under-educated), but inferior politicians, because we have so cruelly separated
freedom from virtue, because we have defined freedom in a morally inferior way.
We have long had what Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, called the dark
ages of democracy.
We must be people that practice our constitutional heritage of substance over form, virtue over prestige, achievement over money, character over charisma, the enduring over the ephemeral, and God over mammon.
We must practice reciprocal altruism; whatever is good for another is good for me. It is essentially classic utilitarianism that states, whatever is good for all, the greatest happiness or good for the greatest number versus limited utilitarianism that says whatever is good for my group.
We need to be part of the transformative power, the soft power of moral suasion, rather than the hard power of coercive authority.
After all, peace is our civil right.