E Pluribus Unum
Out of Many, One
Chapter 1 What Is The Role Of Government?
The role of government is to strike a balance between individual rights versus the greater good of the community
Over the centuries, the human race has experimented with many forms of government.
Imperialist monarchies and despotism once ruled the world, giving way to such political and economic extremes as fascism and democracy, capitalism and Marxism.
The twentieth century has been a particularly turbulent one. After two world wars and the rise – and unexpected fall – of communism, we now have the luxury of hindsight to assess and learn from these various systems.
In each case, mankind continues to be plagued by the same basic conflict: individual rights versus the greater good of the community.
The role of government is to strike a balance between the two.
The Problems with both Totalitarianism and Democracy
Human beings are naturally diverse in their beliefs and ambitions.
Such differences often produce conflict between individuals and throughout society.
Suppressing this diversity would infringe on individual liberties, and is therefore unacceptable, and yet allowing every person unbridled freedom is also unacceptable, for what would prevent one person’s interests from harming another person or society?
Most governments have reacted to this paradox by opting for one extreme or the other.
Totalitarianism may argue for the good of the whole at the expense of the individual; it maintains that the selfish needs of the individual will ultimately fragment a nation and undermine the common good.
Ironically, it is under such regimes that individuals – that is, dictators – assumed unprecedented powers.
We need no reminder of the untold misery that this form of government, in most cases, has caused the human race.
Democracy, on the hand, nurtures the very individualism that totalitarianism squelches; it declares that all men were created equal and possess the rights to pursue their beliefs without hindrance.
Democracy contends that it is better to have motivated free people and risk excessive self-interest than to destroy their drive by suppressing individualism for the common good.
Democracy would appear to be a far better form of government that totalitarianism.
But democracy contains an inherent flaw, in that its essential motivating factor is self-interest.
Over time, the core values of a community begin to crumble under the accumulated weight of millions of individual desires and needs.
Ultimately, these conflicting interests can erode a society’s unified drive for meaningful achievement.
Several democracies have struggled mightily with this dilemma, perhaps none more that the United States, the largest democracy in the history of the world.
Consider the battle in dozens of American cities where individual’s
freedom of expression has come in conflict with community standards of morality.
Individuals or movements cannot balance societal versus personal good, due to prejudice and subjectivity, only G-d’s governmental status which is not subject to prejudice nor subjectivity can
Since people are bound to have vastly different beliefs, who should define the standards of morality and justice that must rule all the people?
At what point does a government intervene to keep an individual from harming himself or others?
How do we avoid the abuse of power by governmental leaders themselves?
The only government that can successfully balance individual and societal needs is a righteous government built on faith in G-d.
The underlying flaw of all governments, whether fascistic or democratic, is that they are based on human rules.
Any government built solely on human judgment is bound to be subject to the prejudice, subjectivity, and arbitrariness of individual humans or groups.
But G-d, who created all people equal, also gave them a system of absolute morality and justice.
A society that yearns to be righteous must be built on such ethical values.
The very foundation of civilization rests upon the basic principles known as the Seven Noahide Laws given at Sinai:
1. Belief in G-d
2. Respect for and Praise of G-d
3. Respect for human life
4. Respect for family sanctity
5. Respect for others rights and property
6. Creation of a judicial system
7. Respect for all animals
Without these laws as a bedrock of government, a society will either have despotism, where individual lives are compromised and possibly G-d forbid abused, or anarchy, where every person pursues his or her own needs without regard for the law.
So how is it possible to balance individual freedom with the good of society?
By looking beyond self-interest and recognizing that we are all part of the same family and community; by recognizing that we are all bound by the same Divine laws and entrusted with the same mission in life – to civilize the world in a meaningful and G-dly way.
Chapter 2 Which comes first the individual or society?
Balancing individual freedom and the needs of society
We are seeing more and more examples of conflict between individual freedom and the needs of society – the question of whether one person should be allowed to help another take his life, for example, or whether the government should alert a community as to the whereabouts of a released prisoner.
Such issues are complicated, and must be resolved case by case.
Under any circumstance, we must respect the individual’s rights, for the sanctity of the community is built on the sanctity of each individual; abridging ones person’s rights, therefore, is an attack on the entire community.
On the other hand, there are times when one person’s self-interest, though it may fall within the boundaries of the law, threatens the entire community.
The resolution of such conflict depends on an objective view built on Divine moral principles.
The key lies in recognizing that individuality is not an enemy of community and that community is not an enemy of individuality.
Consider the human body, “A world in microcosm.” Every organ, while it participates in any number of shared duties, also has its specific individual function.
What would happen if a particular organ abruptly surrendered its individual function and applied itself solely toward the communal good of the body?
Ultimately, this would be disastrous for both the organ and the organism, for the body is able to function only by integrating separate components that perform individual tasks.
The same could be said for an individual within a society, a minority group within a nation, or one nation within the community of nations.
Freedom of expression, for example, is vital for a healthy and vibrant society, motivating individuals to invest and contribute in a manner that will ultimately benefit the entire community.
A civilized nation needs to be built on a foundation of morality and ethics that is timeless and unconditional.
At the same time, a nation’s survival is dependent on its constant progress and growth.
Just as an individual must balance his or her needs with the good of the community, any one nation must balance its needs with the community of nations.
Since all nations today are part of the same “global village,” they are all responsible for one another, and the neglect of one nation ultimately affects all the others.
Every nation must be helped, and every nation must be ready to help.
It is irresponsible to look the other way when a nation is need.
Chapter 3 What Steps Should Government Take To Ensure The Welfare Of Its Citizens?
The key, therefore to balancing individual and communal needs is education.
For a government to be truly dedicated to the welfare of its citizens - their physical, emotional, and above all spiritual welfare - it must make education its primary objective without which all other points are moot.
A government and its leaders not only must teach citizens how to pursue rational solutions to complex problems but must teach them how to live.
It must educate them that human conduct must follow the Divine laws given to us all, by G-d.
This is the only guarantee that individual rights will be preserved without compromising the common good.
The United States stands for Divine Morality
The United States epitomizes these principles.
This is a country, after all, whose founders declared it “one nation under G-d.”
Sessions of Congress are opened with a religious invocation; the Bible is used to swear in elected officials, and Chaplains are appointed in the armed forces.
Even this nation’s currency - the very icon of materialism - declares “In G-d We Trust.”
The majority of this country’s early settlers were religious refugees who firmly believed in G-d and the Bible, and were determined to protect their right to do so.
This was not an abstract belief to a supreme being who dwelt somewhere in heaven; it was a belief that permeated every aspect of their lives; particularly the education of their children.
They understood and appreciated this newfound religious freedom.
These core beliefs are the secret of the nation’s endurance.
Having built itself on a firm and permanent foundation, the United States has become the most powerful of nations, in a unique position to positively influence every inhabitant on the face of the earth.
We are currently witnessing a sad phenomena.
The spirit of the Constitution has been misinterpreted, with some parties taking “religious freedom” to mean freedom from religion.
Even a nondenominational “moment of silence” in schools has been opposed.
When the founding fathers included “freedom of religion” in the Bill of Rights, they were ensuring the freedom of every person to worship G-d according to his or her own conscience; there can be no doubt that the Constitution was meant to preserve freedom, not to wean the nation away from G-d.
The principles of separation of church and state should not be misconstrued as a denial of G-d and religion.
This separation is necessary so that the government cannot impose any one religion on all its citizens, but such vigilance must not be carried out at the expense of belief in G-d, which is shared by all denominations.
The United States is now faced with countless social disorders, many of which stem from the lack of belief in and responsibility to G-d and a corresponding lapse in respect for the Divine laws of morality.
Shouldn’t the Constitution be interpreted in a way that addresses this national crises instead of avoiding it?
Prevention of delinquency through adherence to G-d
The only way to ensure that people adhere to a moral order is to instill in them a permanent sense of values.
Punishing a person after he has committed a crime, for instance, is attacking, not the cause of the problem but the symptom.
Clearly, a child who is brought up without fear and respect for G-d in his heart will have no fear or respect for any authority - his parents, his teachers, law enforcement officers.
He must learn to accept the concept of a Divine moral code that we all must obey.
He must realize that the laws of man are rooted in something far more eternal: The Ten Commandments.
We must use every opportunity to cultivate this awareness.
Practice and Theory
The moment of silence at the beginning of each school day is a good example.
By no means is this a violation of the separation of church and state, for the child can use the moment however he or she wishes.
But by encouraging the moment, we are telling the child that believing in a higher being is fundamental to all education, that knowledge per se is worthless without knowing how to use it for the good of society at large.
There is another motto on the U.S. Currency besides “In G-d We Trust”; it is E Pluribus Unum or Out-Of-The Multitude-One.
We must never allow our government to forget that every community is inherently made up of many individuals, and each individual should be encouraged to participate and contribute his individual strength toward the greater good of the united community.
Chapter 4 Where Is Our Government Headed?
Maximizing Freedom’s Potential
We are now at a point in history where individual rights are largely recognized across the globe, the same globe that until a few centuries ago was ruled exclusively by tyrants and kings.
Such individual freedom poses its own dilemmas.
Without the proper guidance, we become slaves to our own selfish desires.
So the challenge is to harness this freedom, to channel it for good and righteous purposes.
More than ever before, the civilized world looks up to the United States as a true superpower whose strength is derived from a commitment to a moral code that invites the many to become one, that cherishes and supports the poor and weak as much as the rich and strong.
The United States must continue to use its influence to inspire other nations in the areas of education and human rights; if there is one world conscience, America must be the country that voices it.
Now is not the time to underestimate that sacred duty.
The Untied States and all nations must recognize the unprecedented times we are living in.
Thanks to technology, the world is more united than ever before.
And yet, because this nation and many others have deviated from the Divine laws that brought us to this point, we are experiencing terrible conflict.
The leaders of the world must encourage their constituents to live by G-d’s Divine laws, which will enable them to use their personal freedom to usher in a true unity between man and man, community and community, nation and nation.
Practice and Theory
Leaders of all communities, cities, states, and countries must come out with a call to all their citizens to follow the universal moral code of the Seven Noahide Laws.
By demonstrating responsible and virtuous behavior, by showing themselves to be selfless and genuine, and above all, by accepting the higher authority of G-d in their lives, our leaders can set an example that will help foster love and care between all citizens.
The time has truly come when all nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
The government of every nation must now be prepared to do everything possible to finally bring peace to the entire world.