According to Webster:
Prin’ci-ple (n) 1- basic truth, rule, action, etc. 2- rule of conduct 3- integrity
According to Wikipedia:
1. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
2. A rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.
As happy as I am that our children will have many more years after we are gone, it saddens me beyond words that they may never know a world where a man’s word is his bond and deals are sealed with a handshake! And that my friends, is because the only place one is likely to find principle these days…is in the dictionary!
A society firmly moored to principle will survive the strongest storm. And we certainly have! Think of the monstrous storms we have endured as a nation…thanks largely to the adherence to our founding principles. But here we are as a nation facing the mother of all storms…and principle is nowhere to be found! Why…what happened to her? Where oh where did our principle go?
There is a major clue for us hidden in the definitions above. Where Webster’s version seems more like a solid oak, incorporating the words basic, rule, conduct and integrity; Wikipedia is more willow-like, incorporating words like fundamental, belief, proposition and reasoning! According to Webster, principle seems more indispensible…does she not? Why, if I was a social architect or engineer looking to build or preserve a society I would make sure my shelves were well stocked with plenty of principle after reading Mr. Webster! On the other hand, if I were a social architect or engineer looking to tear down a society so I could transform it, I would replace Mr. Webster with Mr. Wikipedia, who seems to be saying that the importance of principle depends upon how one views it! All I would need then, of course, would be access to the public school system. And then I might, oh…I don’t know…maybe seek to create a summary of all human knowledge, or something. Gee, imagine the fun I could have with that!! But that would be pretty Wikid huh?
So the fate of principle is much like a doomed marriage…and it mirrors the three phases of our rise and decline as a nation, exactly! At the birth of our nation, we were most happily married to principle. We were the perfect couple, our honeymoon was as long as our passionate romance was deep…so happy together. We built an enduring home on a solid foundation, and we raised strong, beautiful and happy children who in turn passed the torch to theirs, and theirs, and theirs…until the light began to flicker.
The cause of the flicker was a mistress who slipped into the home. The husband was ever dutiful to his wife, but his interest and passions slowly seeped away from his bed and into the court and influence of the youthful mistress. We still did great and wondrous things and built the shining city on the hill from the strength of our dreams and will, because we still came home to principle every night! But the darker influences of the mistress slowly ebbed their way into the remote and secluded rendezvous and secret meetings in places like Jekyll Island where the warnings of Founders, Patriots and Statesmen succumbed to ambition, greed and treason…setting the stage for our present day horror!
And a final stage it is my friends, where the softest flicker of light is barely held aloft by the sons and daughters of liberty…who never had to witness what they knew in their hearts to be true. That their own fathers had finally murdered her…they chopped and cut their beloved principle into bits and pieces and buried her in the yard! And if you doubt me, then I challenge you to go this very day to any institution of our society and call out to her with all of your might…and you will hear only your own echo!
Lets’ start with one of our oldest and most important first…Public Education! Was she in Atlanta, Attleboro or New York where self-interest raped the educational needs of our children? Was she in Madison where the union thugs used our children as human shields, destroying public property and making death threats…just days after the hypocritical voice of entitlement demanded civility from Tucson?
Or perhaps we can find her in Government? Surely she would insist on being someplace so essential to the well-being of her children? Was she in the halls of Congress last year when they cobbled their transformational albatross and hung it on the throat of her children, through bribery and political favors…against the will of the people? Was she anywhere near Capitol Hill, the Treasury or the Fed as they drove us into a crippling debt burden of $14 TRILLION…spending $60 BILLION more than we make…EVERY SINGLE MONTH!!! How about the Corporate Board Room of Goldman Sachs…or Countrywide?
No, you will not find her in any of these places…sadly. You will certainly not find her in a Presidency where narcissism, blame and incompetency have replaced courage, honor and accountability.
You will however find her spirit in the safest of hands, with us…exactly as the Founders envisioned. Even the evil mistress cannot get at her here. It’s making her quite crazy actually! Smile my friends, patience and courage will bring her back!