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Good People Make Good Nations
Written by: Mark Eaton< Back to Articles
Our recent 4th of July celebrations caused me to ponder our nation. This is my summary.
Good ideas, taken to an extreme and governed by the exceptions, die of their own kindness.
This is why government can never be the essence of a good and lasting nation. Governments take what seem to be ‘good ideas’ and legislate them. The problem is kindness and compassion cannot be mandated. Good people already do those things because they are good people.
Good people need very few laws to guide them. Societies need a few. In my mind, not that you asked, the ‘good people’ to ‘good society’ cycle needs to start somewhere. To me it starts with the individual. One person at a time. You. Me. This is ancient wisdom. Before Plato, who mentions this idea, humans have known this.
Good people are good. They do good things. Good people find good people. They do good things together. They cooperate and get things done. They give and take and share their ideas in a safe and healthy way. They have core values of honesty, courage, loyalty, fierceness and kindness. They protect what they have built from those who seek to steal it. They are self-sacrificing for a good cause and want the best for others.
As a result, they attract good spouses and together they build a strong and safe world for each other. They support each other in the life journeys of easy and hard. They love hard, bond and speak kindly and honestly to each other. Of course, as goes with humans, that proves itself physically. They have children.
Their children grow up in principled, emotionally, and physically safe and structured homes. They are imprinted early with the values of good humans. Not taught as much as caught. The values are lived in front of the children in such a way that they are planted deep in the child’s mind and heart. They become the normal and expected way life should be lived. Respect. Honor. Integrity. Mercy. Strength. Contribution. Humility and Initiative are practiced daily in tangible ways. Forgiveness and grace are the standard. They know these things, not because of a speaker on a campus, but because that is how life is lived in good homes. They become good people because they were saturated and matured by good people.
So, they attract good people. The cycle continues and they raise good children. They create good homes that make for good neighborhoods. Good neighborhoods make good communities. Good people band together and build hospitals, schools, libraries, roads, parks, benevolent funds, scholarships and civil laws. Again, good people need very few laws. They can, in good faith and love, figure their own stuff out.
Good cities, make good counties which make good states in the case of the US. Good states make a good nation. Good nations make good laws that serve its good citizens and care for the exceptions. Out of a good citizenship, this nation is strong and kind. It defends what it has worked hard to form. It does not let the exceptions become the rule. It sees needs in areas around the world and serves them out of its strength and abundance. Out of its goodness.
There will always be those who rebel and behave like deconstructionistic narcissists who insist they are special and need accommodation. They will see it as their right, all others be damned. They care for nothing that has been built because they have built nothing. They seek, not to contribute to the strength and unity, but rather seek to tear down to serve their own specialness and be accommodated. They will force their distinctiveness on the masses and demand accommodation. These do not make good neighbors. In fact, they make contentious neighbors generally and probably don’t contribute to the benevolence fund or the parks they want benefit of.
Two illustrations: Susie and I saw an emergency roadside assistance vehicle on the side of the road. It had a flat tire and was out of commission. Roadside assistance vehicles can assist no one when they don’t have the reserves to help. My decades of Mountain and River Rescue work have a code. Stay alive. A dead rescuer helps no one and in fact, becomes another liability. Good nations must do the things needed to stay strong.
Nations must be built by good people making good homes and neighborhoods. In turn they make good cities and states. In turn, it follows, that they band together and unify, make a good nation. Bottom-up works. Top-down never does for long.
Good people make good nations. Not the other way around.