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Last week President Obama gave a speech, in the same Kansas town, that Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech in, about new nationalism. (link)

In it he talked about the promise of America, the transition that we had to make, and a curious line about the morality of Capitalism.

In his speech he made the claim that Teddy Roosevelt

… also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you want from whoever you can.

I think that is called stealing. Something the bible, the ten commandments, and most modern religions consider to be a sin…something we should not do…maybe even illegal.

Stealing is immoral. It is wrong. It is currently illegal in this country and many others. If you take ‘whatever you want from wherever you want’ you will get thrown in jail for it. So if someone is stealing, in Washington, or Wall Street, or anywhere else, charge them with a crime and have them be judged in a court of law by a jury of their peers.

Stealing is not a reflection of the Capitalist system which requires the rule of law to even work.

But more than that it requires the rule of morality. If we want to be a capitalist country and continue to enjoy our freedoms to trade, buy, or sell, with whoever we wish (within reason and other laws) then we have to be a moral people. Otherwise it will be taken away from us.

You see much of Obama’s speech might have been ignorant and even a little dangerous in its tenor and implications he was right about one small thing. I am not sure he even realizes it himself.

We let the people in Washington, and our businesses, get away with a lot in our current day and age.

From borderline theft, yes the same problem that we are talking about here, to coveting, cheating, lying, or using their positions of power to have an advantage over the rest of us. How many more things do I need to list?

If we are going to restore ourselves we need to get back to basic principles.

Be they the Torah, the law of God.

Or the bible.

Or just a clear sense of knowing right from wrong.

And then a clear sense of doing right and striving to do right and correct our mistakes even when we should fall and make mistakes or be corrupted.

After all Mahatma Gandhi said that there would be 7 things that would destroy us:

Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience.
Knowledge without Character.
Business without Ethics.
Science without Humanity.
Religion without Sacrifice.
Politics without Principle.

Isn’t this what is happening? To us? Right now as a people we seem to be falling into this trap, from where I sit.

Wealth without work. Too many people today are feeling like they can just get money now now rather than constantly work for it and continue to improve themselves. Or that they have worked most of their lives and have been educated but expect a free hand out as some kind of award for all their troubles.

And is it not the people who have just been ‘given’ wealth to them by virtue of their birth something that continues to plague and worry society? Is that not part of some of the one percent, the income gap?

Pleasure without Conscience. OK. Pleasing yourself without really being couscous or thinking about it…got that one covered I think without saying.

Business without ethics. Simple. Not engaging in business without a sense of right and wrong and doing anything you can to make a profit. Again…stealing?

Religion without sacrifice. Having a belief in God or the universe but not willing to do anything when the pedal meets the metal.

Politics without Principle. I think we can all understand these dangers of politicians without any moral character or any principles to keep them in check and to keep themselves honest.

Faith without good works is dead. But so is good works without faith. And a connection to morality and a strong moral code.

Otherwise we risk falling into greed or corruption.

That is what has happened to our society. All of it, every single bit are major problems and not some isolated incident here or there.

But the answer does not lie with Washington, it lies with you and me. We can be the change we wish to see in the world if we actually start and begin the process.

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