Choosing Virtue

As mentioned in previous entries, government is something created by the people as a method of protecting their lives, liberty, and property. Because of this, when our constitution was first created, the people chose men to lead who, as Algernon Sidney says, “excelled in the virtues that are most beneficial to civil societies.” Those who were chosen to lead were men who deserved to do so because of their love of liberty, and their virtue. They were also men who stayed within the bounds set by the constitution because their only desire was to protect the people and their freedoms. On the other hand, “so soon as the supreme lord begins to prefer his own interest or profit, over the good of his subjects”, that is when government begins to become dangerous. It is not meant to profit one person, but to benefit a whole nation, because of the sacrifice of a group of leaders. 

Unfortunately, today many people are convinced that whether power is freely given, or forcefully taken, the person in possession of that power deserves it. I will respond to that by saying those who take power by force do not deserve that power nor do they have any authority to utilize it. Once a leader begins to take more power than that which was originally entrusted to him, for his own benefit, he will neither protect nor care about the people he is supposed to lead. I warn you, to do everything within your power to ensure that those who are given power do not take more than they deserve. Algernon Sidney also teaches, “he is only fit to conduct a ship who understands the art of a pilot: When we are sick, we seek the assistance of such as are best skill’d in physick… in like manner, he only can, according to the rules of nature, be advanced to the dignities of the world, who excels in the virtues required for the performance of the duties annexed to them.” Only those who surpass the expectations of virtue are suitable to govern a body of people, so only those who demonstrate such attributes should be chosen to do so. I will close by once again expressing the importance of personal virtue so as to one day obtain public liberty. I know it is difficult as even Thomas Jefferson counseled, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, but I will remind you once more that the blessings of liberty are incomprehensible and worth the sacrifices it may take to obtain it. 

Yours truly,

Publius

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