While reading Algernon Sydney’s Discourses Concerning Government on October seventeenth and twenty-second, there were multiple parts in Chapter 2, Section 12 that brought up class discussions and stood out to me. Once Algernon Sydney established there were virtuous people in Rome under kings, he noted:
“During that time they who would not be made instruments of those villianies were obliged for their own safety to conceal their virtues; but he being removed, they shined in their glory.”
Whenever there is a tyrant in power, people who want to expand their education, knowledge, and virtue are required to do so in secret. A tyrant isn’t going to allow a people to read a book that will take his power away. He will do anything to find and stop people from learning how to regain liberty. Some tyrants do it better than others. One may go to the extreme and burn all the books that criticize the government and encourage virtue. While another may quietly and slowly put more and more regulations on education. That is why it is always important to examine every act of your government. If people allow tyrants to choose the limit of their power, liberty and virtue will diminish.
Although one generation may have chosen tyrants and vices, the next generation can turn everything around, choose virtue, and regain liberty. Sydney, referring to the fall of Rome, wrote:
“In two hundred and sixty years that they remained under the government of kings… their dominion hardly extended so far as from London to Hownslow…”
The mighty Rome, because of their abandonment of virtue, thereafter became a weak and pitiful province. Many countries and governments have likewise fallen and failed because of not just one generation, but numerous generations deciding to give up their liberty for a little protection under a king. Surprisingly, All it takes is a few virtuous people to, as Wolverton would say, “follow the founders’ recipe.”
For, people like the founding fathers were not brought together on accident. Sydney says:
“It were ridiculous to impute this to chance, or to think that fortune, which of all things is the most variable, could for so many ages continue the same course, unless supported by virtue…”
The most virtuous and good governments are not created by chance. They are created by the few that decide to choose the path of virtue and teach their children to do the same. To start going towards virtue, it will require to be educated on the principles the founding fathers learned. Once this is done, the people can regain their liberty and hopefully greater than ever before.
~ John Martinez