Course Correction

compass-300pI recently discovered a pamphlet in a pile of materials on my desk that was waiting to be sorted. The pamphlet contained the text of a speech given by former Nixon administration official, Constitution Party founder, and champion of the conservative cause, Howard Phillips. The speech, titled, “Under What Authority?,” was given as the keynote address at the 1996 National Affairs Briefing, attended by over 50 conservative leaders and 3,000 activists in Memphis, Tennessee. The speech is the kind of thing that I cut my political teeth on, and it’s an example of the rhetoric that was fanning the flames of the Christian-Conservative-Right of just 21 years ago.

After reading Howard’s words in that pamphlet, and rehearsing the issues that were part of the conservative agenda back then, I find myself questioning whether the movement has been checking to see that it is still on course, or if it even remembers its original destination. Continue reading “Course Correction”

Endorsements and the Effect of Compromise

Thumbs-Up.jpgWhen we give our endorsement to someone or something, we intrinsically connect ourselves to the object of that endorsement and to the values which it embodies, thus lifting – or lowering – ourselves to the level of the entity we have endorsed.

When we give our endorsement to something moral and virtuous, we elevate ourselves. Our names and our reputations partake of the honor inherent in the object of virtue with which we become associated, and which we acknowledge as representing the righteous standard. Even if our own conduct does not currently embody all of the virtues of the object of our endorsement, our decision to embrace that higher standard will ultimately draw us upward into increasing conformity to it.

Conversely, when we give our endorsement to something of lower morals, or which lacks virtue, we diminish ourselves. Our names and our reputations partake of the dishonor inherent in the object with which we become associated, and which we condone as representing an acceptable standard. Even if our own conduct currently embodies greater virtues than those of the object of our endorsement, our decision to embrace that lower standard will ultimately draw us downward into increasing conformity to it.

You cannot remain on a higher level of virtue than that which you choose to endorse. When you give your endorsement, you make the object of your endorsement the measure of your virtue.

Continue reading “Endorsements and the Effect of Compromise”