Freedom is under serious assault today. Government takes and spends nearly half of America’s income. Regulation further extends the power of the state in virtually every area of people’s lives. Increasing numbers of important, personal decisions are made by some public functionary, more often than not based in Washington, D.C.
Virtue, too, seems to be losing ground daily. Moral decline is evident throughout American society. The legal and political systems are increasingly based on irresponsibility and de facto theft. Families and communities are extraordinarily fragile, if they form at all. Popular culture celebrates many of humanity’s worst attributes.
Alas, at this critical time, some family advocates who emphasize virtue seem ready to toss liberty overboard. Indeed, some have become advocates of government expansion, especially of the national government, in the name of saving the family.
Virtue cannot exist without freedom, without the right to make moral choices. Coerced acts of conformity with some moral norm, however good, do not represent virtue; compliance with that moral norm must be voluntary.
Still, one could imagine that Uncle Sam could help save the family. Not that such an issue, obviously, is a priority in Washington, D.C. Political leaders like Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Ted Kennedy,...