Ken Connor

Therefore, if you feel unhappy about your life, or are merely bored and decide you don’t want to work but would prefer to riot in the streets, assault peace officers and violate private property, who’s to tell you that it’s wrong? Who’s to tell you that you ought to respect the rule of law regardless of how you feel about it at the time, or whether there is anyone to stop you from breaking it?

Our culture is paying a price for such nonsense. As we lose our cultural consensus on basic questions of right and wrong, the fabric of society is unraveling. There was a time, not too long ago, when shared cultural conceptions forged the basis for our interactions with others and the way we ordered ourselves. It was understood that there is a God to whom every man is ultimately accountable; that human beings are created in God’s image and of infinite worth, value and dignity and that we should treat each other as such; that because of our special nature, we have been endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator; that government exists to secure those rights and is to operate with the consent of the governed.

Because this consensus was widely shared, ordered liberty flourished and the role of government was limited. Thanks to notions of moral relativism however, the social consensus is unwinding. As Mr. Cameron has pointed out, notions of radical individualism are prevailing and we are losing any sense of larger social obligations. If it feels good do it; if the baby is inconvenient, kill it; if you want it take it; if you want to marry it, be my guest! As the social consensus erodes, chaos ensues until ultimately, the people look to government to restore order and Hobbes’ Leviathan is born.

It’s not too late to turn things around, but it will take a monumental effort on the part of every person to live lives of responsibility, dignity, and virtue and to teach their children to do the same. Failing this, we’re slowly but surely weaving the web of our own destruction.


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.