Virtuous citizens are essential for a republic

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Virtuous citizens are essential for a republic

October 12, 2017 - 09:42
 Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. Dr. Maglio has a new book, available on Amazon and other sites, entitled, IN CHARGE PARENTING. You can visit Dr. Maglio at

A free and just government cannot make and enforce enough laws to insure a high functioning and safe environment for its citizens. A viciously intimidating dictatorship or a sophisticated psychological “thought control regime” can create stability at the expense of freedom and innovation. These repressive societies gradually degenerate into police states using more physically and psychologically abusive methods of control.

When people do the right thing without needing to have someone standing over their shoulder, the need for police is greatly reduced. These people police themselves and usually will stand up to prevent others from infringing upon an innocent person’s rights and property. In many respects they are a volunteer army of peacekeepers maintaining law and order. They are the backbone of stability in their community and the nation.

The old west cowboys in the 1800s were the enforcers of the sheriff when he was somewhere else. Without the local people standing behind the sheriff, the breakers of the law would take over towns and spread their crime over larger territory. The moral character of these men was a major deterrent to criminal behavior that maintained law and order with little government involvement. When overrun by criminals it is necessary to regain control of lawless areas. They could call on legally sanctioned law enforcement from surrounding areas to over-power criminal gangs. 

The most important people in an individual’s life, who usually establish moral values, are the parents. They are supposed to inculcate their child’s mind with the difference between good and bad values and behaviors. Parents should always be training their child through observation, explanation and assigning appropriate consequences and most powerfully by role modeling. Parents set the example of positive, mature behavior by living it in all their actions all the time.

Of course other relatives, teachers or other authority figures can substitute and be the most significant role models in the young person’s life. Nevertheless, parents have the access, duty and self-interest to invest the necessary time and energy to raise a wholesome child. Parents usually are the most powerful authority figures, especially when they possess a strong moral value system. It takes concentrated effort and focus to recognize the teachable moments that make the most powerful long-term impact on their youngster’s mind.
Imbedding virtuous behaviors in the soul of the individual will make everyone’s life better and less stressful. Installing a moral compass will especially benefit the child by guiding him through a minefield of difficult decisions throughout his life. The temptations towards evil behaviors will be shielded by the armor of moral values. These moral values will light the straight and narrow path to a healthy and gratifying life.

Divorce is the death of the family. The breakdown of the family not only has severe devastating impact on the child and his parent’s future but is unraveling the social fabric of this nation. When children are wounded by self-centered or angry parents who do not give them sufficient love and attention, everyone in the local community has to absorb the pain and anger of these victims of parental dysfunction.

When there is a moral breakdown in the family, the government usually rushes in to plug the carnage by establishing an avalanche of laws that smother personal freedom. The government becomes everyone’s nanny-state parent, which leads to more resentment and rebellion towards the unearned handouts that keep them on the bottom rung. The increased number of edicts proclaimed by the government officials, the less respect the people have for the law. This eventually results in repression, unrest and finally reigning chaos.

 The statement that the “government that governs least governs best “ is true but only when adults are responsible and honorable citizens. This is not true in a modern typical family since the parents are extremely weak. They have to instill in their children many skills, moral values, behaviors and thinking strategies in a short, finite period of time. Depending on the disposition of the child most parents have to be directive in their child-rearing obligation. Only by being a strong parent does a child’s chance of becoming a successful adult increase. However, too many parents are not.

Parents need to be in charge of their children to teach them all the necessary skills and abilities to function in this world. This is an arduous task that takes many years to bear fruit. Once most of this process is completed, a mature adult is ready to maintain and defend the nation’s liberty. Virtuous people are the backbone of any republic, not the elite class who employ clever “slight of mouth” to gain and maintain power not for the best interest of the country but for their own self-aggrandizement at the expense of others.

The family strength in a republic is an indicator of the health of the nation. Moral parents usually produce children who know right from wrong. They demand appropriate and moral behavior, which results in higher-level decision-making abilities. The overall discipline that is established becomes a strong foundation needed to develop critical thinking abilities. These virtuous and thoughtful youngsters grow into citizens who are essential to fuel and maintain liberty in a constitutional republic.