EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 16, 2012

Column: We are suffering a national crisis of character

Here’s an excerpt from a letter I received the other day from a college professor:

“Throughout this election I discussed with students the differences between ideologies. The majority of them are on federal financial aid. They are fine with more taxes as long as they will be taken care of. It is disturbing to hear that they are willing to spend their own money on tattoos and cellphones but cannot buy the book for class until the financial aid comes in.”

For those who see social conservatism as an annoyance and argue that Republicans must purge this agenda from their party to survive, I say: “Think again.”

If Republicans want revival, we need an honest focus on what’s really wrong in America and what must be done to assure that a great nation will be standing for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

This kind of thinking is different from polls and focus groups and clever schemes to manage media and voter turnout.

Leadership is about identifying the truth, believing it and telling it in a way that people can grasp. Then they will respond and follow.

The professor’s letter provides a snapshot, a hint, of what America’s most basic problem is today. It’s a problem of character and values.

Having lectured on more than 180 college campuses over the last 20 years, I have seen exactly what the professor is talking about.

Of course, government is too big. But how did it get this way? Americans vote every two years. They voted every two years during the whole period over which government grew to its current unwieldy size.

With the majority of the country now on one kind of government program or another, does anybody really think we can change this without talking about the human attitudes and values that produced it?

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