Corruption Begins and Ends with Thyself

Corruption Begins and Ends with Thyself

In 1830’s Alexis de Tocqueville traveled to America with a mission to find the reasons for its incredible success. Here are his conclusions:

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in fertile fields and boundless forests; it was not there. I sought for it in her free schools and her institutions of learning; it was not there. I sought for it in her matchless constitution and democratic congress; it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and found them aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and genius of America. America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

― Tocqueville

It looks like people have ceased to be good, and with that America along with western countries has ceased to be great. However, what then does it mean to be good?

In my view a good man thinks for himself, takes care of himself, and helps those who are in need. For a good man the life isn’t an endless and meaningless feast, but rather a journey. During that journey we have to make decisions and take action, and those are guided with certain principles we hold. To be a good person we have to find those principles and then incorporate them into our life.

Do people today thrive to be better than yesterday? Do they have and uphold certain principles? Are they self-reliant, independent, and do they help others in need? No, those men are in few. Instead I see easily corruptible men who prefer the easy choice, who believe what they want to believe, and who have replaced ethics and principles with moral relativity. Those men today seek their wisdom from the crowd, believe in nothingness, and blame others for their own problems.

What I’m saying is, that people are not thriving to be good. Does that then mean that they are evil? I would rather say they are lost, and even worse: they have given up. Rather than trying to find a glimpse of light they now embrace ignorance, stupidity, violence, control, and so on. Most are not happy, and they don’t feel like they could even change the course of their life. As a result of that they get involved in various destructive activities (such as drinking) and escape the reality with entertainment and fantasy worlds. The decisions they take are driven by short term gain and enjoyment rather than a long term plan.

What is then the fundamental thing that has led America and the whole western world in decline? Many believe to have found that answer from politics, regulated economy, capitalism, government, the politicians not upholding the constitution, and so on. What we see at the first glance are the symptoms and not the cause itself. The cause is usually harder to see.

For some time I have believed that the root cause has been the centralized authority and its war against freedom. However, I now think we could go a layer deeper and say that the fault is in us on the individual level. Nothing will change until people become good again. That is, until we change ourselves, until we thrive to be a better man. From that freedom will be sprung into the world.

If Tocqueville were right, then we must simply seek to become a better man. I say simply, because we can all begin the change from ourselves – today.

By Audo Kryptowitz –