“A Standard of Righteousness”: The Worldview of Calvin Coolidge
Here is an excellent essay from David Pietrusza delivered three years ago that deserves renewed consideration. Few take the time it really deserves to discover, let alone test, the substance of a worldview. It is not staying abreast of the news. It is not picking a hodge-podge of “facts” and fitting them to one’s preferences. It is foremost an intellectual and moral exercise. Colleges used to teach it. The family used to instill it. It is understanding what are causes from effects, what are timeless truths from temporal specifics, and what makes sense of all the complex parts comprising the world. The denial of truth and being able to confidently know it prevents understanding the world with any consistency or coherence. Without this rational framework, it is no wonder that technology and culture have made people the servant rather than deferred to them as the master. Overwhelmed by the imbalance, people deny what was blatantly obvious to generations not that long ago.
The specialization of knowledge and the denial of absolutes have deprived millions from a real and internally consistent understanding of the world. It need not be this way. Each individual has the choice to accept the enforced confusion fed to him or her by modern education or to return to a “standard of righteousness” that brings sense, virtue and balance back to the world. God is the source of that balance. It is not man’s perfection on earth nor puritanical theocracy, it is restoring order around a personal God and His “law of service.” Man’s resort to force assumes control when there is no objective right and wrong honored by society. When this happens, self-government loses to tyranny. Coolidge’s worldview, no different from the views of the Founders, stands tall against the chaotic and empty vision America is now living. The choice, as it has always been, is between life and death, wholeness and sickness, liberty and slavery, hope and suicide.