By Selwyn Duke
Sixty years before Christ's birth, great orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero watched plaintively as his republic faded before his eyes and Julius Caesar became the first Roman emperor. As today, some felt betrayed by their leaders, but Cicero knew that the people themselves were ultimately responsible for Rome's slide into empire, saying, "Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have ... rejoiced in their loss of freedom ... who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of ... "more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.' Julius was always an ambitious villain, but he is only one man."
One man can accomplish much, but only when aided by others. A leader is no more an island than is any citizen, and if he works ill, it's only because of millions of enablers. Perhaps no one said this better than British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, who instructed, "Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." (Emphasis added.) That is, if men assume that freedom is license, if they assume that they can do whatever they want and abandon a freely accepted moral code in favor of the law of the jungle, the resulting moral anarchy will inevitably lead to the loss of freedom. Thus, if a people loses its virtue, it is doomed. It is beyond salvation by party, politician, or prophet. It is obvious to many why this is so, yet others don't see the relationship between freedom and morality; they compartmentalize man's existence. It is as if one can be a saint on Election Day and a sinner the other 364 days. So let's examine Burke's statement. "The less of it [control] there is within, the more there must be without."
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