In PART 1 of this two-part post, we considered the characteristics of a government that would make it sustainable. Here we consider the characteristics that citizens must have if they wish to maintain a sustainable government.
When contemplating what we want from a society, we usually consider what Utopian characteristics we want to see in that society. That is, we generate a list for our perfect, Utopian society that looks something like the stuff we find in these articles:
- What are the characteristics of ideal society? (first-law-comic.com).
- What makes for a good society? (crcresearch.org)
- The Good Society (compact.org)
- What is a mind map on the characteristics of good society? (quora.com)
- Elements of a Good Society (vernalproject.org)
The writer of the first article points out something important. In order to have some sort of Utopia we must have Utopian citizens.
What are some characteristics of an ideal American?
There are several traits of an ideal American, one of them is honesty. Honesty is very important because it shows other people what type of person you are. If you are not honest then nobody will be able to trust you. Without honesty the world would be a very evil place.https://first-law-comic.com/what-are-the-characteristics-of-ideal-society/
That leads us to ask this question. What are the characteristics of a good citizen? Of course, that also depends upon who we ask.
- Good Citizen: How to be a Good Citizen and Characteristics (crgsoft.com)
- How to Be a Good Citizen – 10 Ways to Show Good Citizenship (daringtolivefully.com): Note that article describes the traditional American ideal of good citizenship.
- Becoming a Good Citizen: What Should You Accomplish? (reefguardian.org)
- Qualities of a Good Citizen / the best attributes of a good_citizen. (flydove.online)
- I CAN BE A GOOD CITIZEN (www.texaslre.org): This is a teaching guide.
The above list is relatively tame. Totalitarian states have very scary ideas about good citizenship. The Nazis insisted upon loyalty to Adolf Hitler. Communists insist upon loyalty to the state, which effectively amounts to loyalty to whoever happens to be the current maximum leader. Totalitarian states do not tolerate individuals who put the dictates of their conscience ahead the dictates of the state.
Hence, if we want to do a little Internet search, we will find both Nazis and the Communists declaring the importance of educating children and indoctrinating them in their ideology and teaching them to be obedient to the dictates of the state.
What we teach our children is critical to the type of government that they will accept and choose to live under. What people believe makes a difference. That is why we have a constant tug-of-war between parents who want to pass their own beliefs onto their children and statists who wish to see all children uniformly indoctrinated in the same belief systems.
Because our religious beliefs tend to drive our political beliefs, the church and state cannot be completely separated. Almost every law represents a moral decision. That makes it highly ironic when Democrats insist upon a government totally cleansed of religious belief and then vote for innumerable welfare programs.
Because our religious beliefs tend to drive our political beliefs, Christians, Atheists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and so forth all tend to live under different types of governments. Only in the last century has representative democracy become relative popular. At the same time we are having increasing difficulties making representative democracy work. Why is that? It is a moral problem. Check out FROM WHERE DOES MORAL GOVERNMENT FLOW? That old post includes this quote from The Spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
After what has been said, one would imagine that human nature should perpetually rise up against despotism. But notwithstanding the love of liberty, so natural to mankind, notwithstanding their innate detestation of force and violence, most nations are subject to this very government. This is easily accounted for. To form a moderate government, it is necessary to combine the several powers; to regulate, temper, and set them in motion; to give, as it were, ballast to one, in order to enable it to counterpoise the other. This is a masterpiece of legislation; rarely produced by hazard, and seldom attained by prudence. On the contrary, a despotic government offers itself, as it were, at first sight; it is uniform throughout; and as passions only are requisite to establish it, this is what every capacity may reach. (from here)
What is required to produce a representative democracy, especially a republic with a government that respects individual rights? The record of history suggests that Christianity provided the belief system that led the citizens of the thirteen colonies to form a republic, abolish slavery, and battle against racism, sexism, and religious bigotry.
Consider again a post I wrote only a few days ago, A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS THING. Consider again this thought.
The founders of this nation actually accepted the notion that God is our neighbor’s master, that we don’t have the right to run our neighbor’s lives.
That belief is a uniquely Christian concept. The idea that government exists to protect our God-given rights is a Christian concept.
We may innately know that it is wrong to enslave others to our desires, but in our quest for Utopia we will be tempted to do it anyway. But the Bible tells us to love our neighbors as we love our self, and we know we don’t want someone else trying to enslave us. That is not to say we won’t find way to rationalize and justify doing what we want to do anyway, but each generation of Christians has found slavery more difficult to justify. Unfortunately, we have stopped teaching our children what the Bible says as rigorously as early Americans did. Therefore, we have more Americans promoting Utopian visions that deny individual rights.
If we want to save our republic, we must devote ourselves to a more important task, spreading the Gospel.