Have We Stopped Trying to Make Good People?

It is, of course, good to be environmentally aware, to fight AIDS and breast cancer, and to oppose bigotry. But before training young people to be social activists, they must first learn character traits — truth telling, financial honesty, humility, honoring parents and, above all, self-control. Before learning to fight society, people need to fight their own nature. The world is filled with activists of all varieties who are loathsome individuals.

“The most important question any society must answer is: How will we make good people? That is the question Judeo-Christian values have grappled with. There are many and profound theological and practical differences between Judaism and Christianity. But in the American incarnation of Judeo-Christian values — and America is really the one civilization that developed an amalgamation of Jewish and Christian values — the emphasis has been on individual character. One cannot make a good society if one does not begin with the arduous task of making good individuals. Both Judaism and Christianity begin with the premise that man is not basically good and therefore regard man’s nature as the root of cause of evil. … When society blames evil on forces outside the individual rather than on the individuals who perpetrate evil, society will work to change those forces rather than work to improve the character of individuals. That is a key to understanding why the left constantly attempts to radically change society — how else make a better world? … There is no federal budget, no Senate or House bill, no social policy, no health care fix that can do as much good as a society that is filled with decent people.” –columnist Dennis Prager

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