Sunday, May 3, 2009

Moral Development in the History of American Government and Society

Anyone who knows me either personally or from reading entries on this blog site, know that I have been thinking of faith, values, and government. Faith has many "colors", and even, shades and tones, within those "colors". This is why there must be a way to live together, a "one Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all". This is where our government's ideals of individual conscience, and religious freedom are values that are to be upheld in today's world. But, how did these understandings of government come about?

Norms in a particular society are the "ways" in which people are "supposed to bahave", there is an assumption that is based on "conditioning" through one's upbringing and the concurrance within the society itself. through relgious teaching or values Some traditional cultures that have not been "born into" the "modern" era, are still living within these particularized paradigms.

Social order is affirmed through various means of upholding the traditions' values and norms. Religion is a big influence in maintaining the social order and affirming behavioral standards.

In America, and the birth of the "modern era", tradition no longer held as much power over societal norms and values. Where society had lived within communal contexts, industrialization dissolved extended family ties and based societal norms on "social contract", "career advacement", and individualized reason. Society itself underwent a "moral shift and change that gave room for man's development, but also undermined man's need of social connection.

In Kohlbug's moral development, the traditional, societal, or "social order" stage of morality, was a "lower level" (conventional stage) than the higher developed 'social contract", or reasoned stage. The assumption is that the individual "self" and his reason was more highly developed, as it was based on our American "ideals" of social contract, the Constitution, which underwrote justice.

Instead of God, or an "elect" or a sacred priesthood that maintained a "social order", the individual and his use of reason was the basis of moral reasoning and maturity. Submission was to be voluntary and not demanded or imposed from the outside, as in authoritarian regimes (political or religious). Our form of government valued a liberal government that upheld individual conscience, where it concerned religious conviction.

Freedom of individual conscience was the "watchword" for the social order and structuring of the Constitution. Religion was given a" seat in the bus", but was not to head the bus's direction, as the Constitution separated Church and State for good reason. All men, no matter the religious affiliation, or none, were created equal with certian inalienable rights. These "rights" were not to be provided by government, but protected by government. Man was assured the freedom to pursue his own life's goals and purposes. America was a free society based on reason and conscience.

I find that American government has left its Founder's rationale of individual liberty, by socializing that liberty. American government cannot garuantee equality of outcomes, but it attempts to do so with social programs that inhibit personal initiative. A limited government has grown to become a ravenous beast that preys upon the people's taxes to sustain the government's purposes of provision, instead of providing protection of rights.

American people of the past had a duty to "god and country" because of their gratitude for the liberty that the government protected. Now, the ones provided for have little incentive and intiative, while those who are taxed beyond their voluntary choice feel resentful of government's intrusion on private property. Private property was a pivotal issue of individual liberty, as man worked and earned his due wage, as slavery and servitude was outlawed.

Our country was founded on the principle of religious freedom and individual rights. The two underwrites the indivduality that our society values and promotes the best environment for human flourishing.

The problem of late in American government is that whenever the law is interpreted by the judicial branch to protect the interests of the government (executive branch), when the executive branch appoints the judges on the Supreme Court, we have a conflict of interests within the government's structure. Balance of power and acccountability was what the Founder's sought to maintain, not to benefit the government, but to protect individual liberties.

We are a people, who are committed to "freedom and justice for all", but if justice is not done at home, we cannot with moral integrity grant it outside of home.

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