"The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. "
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
John Adams, letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776
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Reader comments about this quote:
The more we change our rulers, the more things stay the same, or get worse.
 -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
  • 1
    Virtue being the substance of what natural law defines. Freedom's beacon on the hill has lost its virtue. Patrons of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land no longer decry to the world Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!". Now, the virtueless moan to their socialist gods please protect me / us from such. America's natural law virtues have been exchanged for Amerika's lawless / legal positivism demigods.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 3
    It's because the responsibility of Liberty rests with the individual. The freeman must be careful not to get ensnared by 'promises' of a better future at the expense of Liberty. A free man is bound to keep his promises -- honesty and integrity are necessary supports for men and women in association with each other in order to produce, to trade, to marry, to prosper, etc.. The virtuous will keep their word and respect the rights and property of others. The freeman must be careful not to encumber more debt than he can repay, and the compassionate will abide by "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Yes, the free man will err, and will have to make amends -- the degree to which he must depends on the virtues of his fellows.

    When the Law is defined as the process by which disputes are resolved, then there is Liberty -- when the Law becomes a tool for taking that which is unearned to give to another, or to shut a man up for merely telling the truth, or to essentially play god, there is oppression. Whenever you find a happy community of people living in mutual helpfulness and respect for one another, there is little need for 'laws' to keep it that way -- that is the fruit of a virtuous people.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    Archer, thank you, well said.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- jim k, Austin      
    How True, if there be any virtue at all. 
     -- Ronw13, Idaho     
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