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'A Gold Mine in Your Home'

September 30, 1988

Exception must be taken to one statement in Pillsbury's column: "The Founding Fathers believed that a republic could survive only as long as its people were virtuous." Since up to now our republic has survived, the clear implication of this contention is that our people have been "virtuous." Or else what the Founding Fathers believed would have been proven demonstrably false.

But did the Founding Fathers believe that the form of government they were establishing would hinge for survival upon the virtues of its citizens? If true, one wonders why they went to such lengths to create a system of checks and balances, a system in which each branch of government would be kept from exercising unlimited authority over either of the other branches. There is indeed ample evidence that while our Founding Fathers were people of diverse religious beliefs, they nonetheless subscribed to the Christian doctrine of the duplicity and depravity of the human heart. And they were determined to insure the survival of the republic despite the absence of virtue in its citizenry.

The conclusion is inescapable that our political forebearers established our form of government not because they believed our citizens were virtuous enough to govern themselves, but because they believed that no individual or group of individuals could be trusted to govern the rest.

EDWIN ROBERTS

San Marino

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