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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer emotional connection that lends meaning to individual lives otherwise isolated in our alienating modern world. The yearning is distorted by their leaders, including political demagogues, who flatter them into thinking they can achieve politically the certitude they have embraced theologically. They are told you can have heaven on earth, that our democracy can agree to a moral majority that makes religious doctrine the test of political opinion. This ambition leads to savage controversies about matters of final resolution where there is no good evidence either way. The vision stops short of recognizing the whole. It breeds conformity, intolerance, and censorship. Resist it we must. But the yearning to connect, to belong, to share is the beginning of a usable public philosophy. We have it in common with those people, no matter how vigorously we oppose making any faith the official view of reality. Genuine civic friendship grows from the conviction that “there is no refuge outside of a political community that cares for one as it cares for all.” This is political virtue that transcends self-interest. Politicians like Mario Cuomo and Ronald Reagan have tapped this idea with fruitful results. Cuomo talks about the nation as a family, and Reagan the idea of America as a city on a hill. Think of the implications: if you belong to a family, you are saved from the toxic absorption of selflove. If your city is set on a hill, you can never wholly lose sight of that higher good which stretches far into the future and assures a certain immortality of the political community of which you are temporarily a member. Each idea begins with the individual and moves out toward a higher affection. The social contract becomes a moral transaction, the currency of our behavior toward one another now and toward generations past and future. Society becomes more than a vast market, and individuals more than producers, consumers, entrepreneurs, lenders and debtors. We become a community of citizens, bound by mutual commitment and not by chance, caprice, or circumstance. This sense of a common good “a well-being of society that cannot be measured by summing up the achievements and faults of all the individuals in it” is crucial to the moral health of the Republic. Its bond is trust. This makes it wrong for government to feed false information to the press intending to mislead the public; for government secretly to carry out policies that could not survive public debate; for a clandestine executive agency to engage in covert military activity that thwarts the official will of Congress; for government through subterfuge ; bribes and mercenaries to encourage what if done by others we brand terrorism; for government to accuse dissidents of unpatriotic behavior; for government to fear and prevent the entry of journalists, playwrights, and artists bearing unorthodox ideas. Such deeds violate the fundamental creed of America, that no one is an outsider here and no idea is alien to the marketplace of opinion. This creed makes for a rough journey. It creates a cauldron of opinions, values and beliefs, of transactions and transgressions. When DeTocqueville stepped off the boat, he was greeted by what he called “a tumult.” He should see it now. America was up for grabs then. It is up for grabs now. It is always up for grabs. That is our destiny. America is on the block for sale, but never wholly owned; vulnerable, but never finished; sinking, but always afloat. Everybody on board believes themselves captain of the ship a Puritan looking for the new England, or a pirate plotting to scuttle the ship and make off with the booty. Like Alcibiades of Greece, “the true lover of his country is not he who consents to lose it unjustly rather than attack it, but he who longs for it so much that he will go to all lengths to recover it.” This makes of the First Amendment an arbiter against anyone’s having the last word. It enshrines Sam Johnson’s conviction that “every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every man has a right to knock him down for it.” So when it comes to the First Amendment I am myself a fundamentalist: freedom of press even for those who do not own the paper; freedom of speech even for those with no microphone; freedom of religion even for those whose God is not mine; and freedom of assembly even for the party of one. We are a far cry from this America. Our parties seem often two megaphones for one note. The range of opinion in our public debates runs from A to B. Officials want the people to be heard only if they endorse what the leaders already know to be the right course. And the bounds of thinkable thought are unworthily close for a great Republic whose foundations were radical ideas about human nature and society. So fight on, all of you. The First Amendment means what it says. And Learned Hand was right: “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no court can save it.” And American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTNE OFFICES! P.O. BOX 208, WACO. TEXAS 76703. S17.7724060 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17