According to an op-ed by Jeremy Dys at Fox News, Bill Barr flipped the conversation on freedom of religion and destroyed conventional wisdom about the subject at a recent speech at the University of Notre Dame.
The truth about religion’s place in society has been suppressed for far too long, and Barr wasn’t afraid to come out and say it.
Founding Fathers’ Vision
The ideal society is not one free from religion, but rather one that is guided by religion.
The Founding Fathers knew that a self-governing people needed a strong, common moral code. Without it, society’s moral compass is destined to fall apart.
“No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity,” Barr said.
He went on: “But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.”
Without a common moral code, not only is there huge division, there is pure societal disfunction. Unethical behavior is the norm, not the exception. Violence is rampant and horrible crimes occur with unacceptable regularity.
Barr went on to say that “in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.”
As Dys’ piece points out, not everyone is buying what Barr is selling. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman went so far as to accuse Barr of “unhinged religious zealotry.”
Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post called it “a tacit endorsement of theocracy,” and Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker declared Barr’s statement to be “the worst speech by an Attorney General of the United States in modern history.”
What these liberal secularists refuse to acknowledge is that the effects of having no unifying moral code are quite apparent to anyone paying attention. Our modern society faces so many seemingly intractable problems, many of which stem from the personal behavior and decisions of individuals.
Perhaps a return to the thinking of the Founding Fathers such as that advocated by Barr would do a lot of good. As of yet, Barr’s critics have presented no alternative to solve the issues we face as a society.