does public virtue barely exist, there arernfew incentives for it ever to flourishrnagain! In fact, it could be reasonablyrnargued that public virtue existed inrnAmerica only for brief moments, at ourrnnation’s inception and perhaps at a fewotherrntimes, and that ever since each newrnday has brought its further diminishment.rnIn our failure to maintain the republicrnenvisioned by our Founding Fathers, wernhave established a politics of self-justificationrnand ha’e elevated it beyond cult statusrnto a point where it has become a signrnof American patriotism—to suggest thatrnany other wa’ of governing ourselves existsrnis out of touch with reality and distincth’rnun-American.rnThe essential ingredients of this statusrnare (1) the absence of truth or any realrnaccountability or responsibility combinedrnwith (2) an ever-present reassurancernthat, though mortal, we are basicallyrna good and decent people.rnOne practical illustration of the politicsrnof self-justification is the modernrnwelfare state. Our American system ofrngovernment-provided welfare is foundedrnupon the “moral” imperative to assistrnthose in need regardless of their circumstances.rnIn fact, to assess a person’s circumstances,rnsuch as the reason he endedrnup needing assistance or alternatives torngovernment help, is considered highlyrnoffensive, insensitive, and a disregard forrnhumanity. Displays of compassion are tornbe unconditional, our compliant assistancernmandatory, in such a system. Wernentered this extreme realm, as we alwaysrndo, in our desire to cover our sins. Wernmake mistakes and, not wanting to admitrnwe are wrong and repent, we establishrna social infrastructure to relieve usrnfrom their natural consequences. Wernhave moved beyond the exercise andrninnate benefits of pure and undefiledrnreligion to actually removing public incentivesrnto be responsible, industrious,rncautious, patient, and, above all, moral.rnWe spend countless billions of dollars everyrnyear on idolatry in our quixotic questrnto repeal the Fall absent the Atonement.rnAnother illustration of the self-justificationrnpracticed by our decayed societyrnis sex education in the public schools.rnThe underlying premise at work here isrnthat all children will have sex regardlessrnof what any of us adults do or say, so wernmight as well fortify them with instructionsrnon how to avoid the pitfalls of illicitrnsexual relations. Of course, not all childrenrnfit this model. But a larger point isrnthat many children have sexual relationsrnout of wedlock precisely because of whatrnwe adults do and sayl Liberal parents creaternradical children—or more precisely,rnunrepentant parents create unrepentantrnchildren—and what better way to insulaternparental guilt than by establishingrnsexual promiscuity as some inherentrnhuman quality? We certainly see thisrnpattern in other aspects of our culture.rnAlcoholism, drug addiction, violent behavior,rnhomosexuality, male promiscuity,rnand female emotional imbalancesrnare just a few maladies wc try to excuse asrnthe result of genetics or hormones.rnMaybe the best example is thernCongress of the United States where, inrngreat and spacious buildings, the politicsrnof self-justification have been refined intorna multitrillion-dollar industry. As semperrnfi is to Marines, “tax, spend, andrnelect” is to Congress. When politicalrnchadatans threw off the confining shacklesrnof limited government once and forrnall during the New Deal, they soon deducedrnjust how easy the task of buyingrnvotes became. Congressmen were morernthan happy to console dysfunctionalrnfamilies and anesthetize them from therndevastations of parental inattention andrnfolly, as well as the toll from governmentrnintervention in the economy, to getrnthemselves reelected to a cushy job withrnno heavy lifting. One glance at C-SPANrnprovides more than ample evidence thatrnflimflammery is still in session and flourishing.rnNote how they posture, whatrnthey debate, and how they are all so gladrnto be part of such a distinguished body.rnYou might soon forget that they producernnothing in society except managedrnchaos, empty pocketbooks, and hot air.rnBut they, like everyone else who pretendsrnto an earthly throne, know what is bestrnfor us—while we are more than happy tornlet them govern our lives. What is thernprice of slavery compared to the joy wernfind in self-justification for wrongdoing?rnPublic virtue, collectively speaking, isrngone, yet it remains the key to a successfulrnrepublic. Without it there is no hopernof success. Without it there is no morernAmerica as it was once envisioned. Wernmight as well call it something else. Inrnfact, finding a new identity for ourselvesrnseems to be a national pastime. Becausernthere is no public virtue without personalrnvirtue, the real answer to our nationalrnwoes, fears, and identity crisis is foundrnwithin each of us. It is man’s search forrnhappiness. It begins with the acceptancernof what we used to call self-evidentrntruths. It leads each of us to examine ourrnlives honestly and then to make changesrnwhere necessary. It requires us to movernoff of comfortable plateaus, to sacrificernprocess for substance, and to do courageouslyrnanything necessary to remainrnfree and “disinterested.”rnCongressman Robert K. Dornan (R-CAjrnis currently running for President of thernUnited States.rnHave a Good Dayrnby Philip JenkinsrnAfter the initial horror of the OklahomarnCity bombing, official reactionsrnwere certain to be heavy-handed,rnand a great many reasonable people werernlikely to be swept along with the draconianrncountermeasures proposed. Wernshould not be surprised about the sweepingrnnature of the so-called “counterterrorist”rnlaws suggested this spring, whichrnincluded the inevitable package of restrictionsrnon the rights of immigrantsrnand aliens, increased federal surveillancernpowers, and greater powers to infiltraternsubversive groups. Measures of this sortrnhave been on the collective wish-list ofrnthe federal justice agencies for years, andrnnaturally enough they have taken thisrnunparalleled opportunity to expand theirrnpowers. The time is perfect precisely becausernso few legislators have the temerityrnright now to vote against anything labeledrnan “Anti-Terrorism Law.”rnThough the FBI and its ilk have oftenrnbeen accused of cynical empire-building,rnthe agencies themselves do not emergernas the villains in recent debates. Refreshingly,rnmany federal bureaucrats havernbeen honest enough to admit that evenrnif the various proposed powers had beenrnavailable a year or two ago, they wouldrnnot have prevented the terrorist attackrnwhich ignited the current fervor. Whenrnpressed, some will even state the obviousrntruth, that the authorities have alwaysrnpossessed a staggering range of powersrnthat can be mobilized given the slightestrnplausible suspicion of a terrorist act or arnpotential assassination, and that claimsrnthat the post-Hoover FBI was “hamstrung”rnagainst dissident groups werernlargely bogus. All you ever needed was arnclaim that group X was planning anrnAUGUST 1995/41rnrnrn