The avalanche of sexual harassment claims, with new ones pouring forth daily, leads me to the wisdom of George Washington’s observation in his farewell address in 1796:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be managed without religion.”
You may say, “There you go again, Star. Waving your Bible.”
But is there a better answer for dealing with this problem?
Society, all human life, is guided by rules. The only question before us is: What are the rules that we choose to live by?
Washington’s point is crucial. In a free society, one in which we want to minimize government and political control, we must maximize self-governance.
Religion, and the morality that emerges from it, provides the rules by which free men and women govern their own behavior.
I will say further that the rules that we learn from Scripture provide the framework for a society based on love, respect and creativity, as opposed to power and control.
And indeed, as we read accounts of the behavior of these men of wealth and influence, who have achieved what many Americans see as the pinnacle of American success, we read descriptions of the behavior of beasts, not men.
Sexuality, outside the framework of mutual love, commitment and respect between husband and wife, is transformed from a physical expression of intimacy and beauty to the gross and crass behavior of brutes.
That this appears to be so widespread in our society should trouble us all.
So what do we do?
I am a Christian, but I do not believe that our government was designed to mend men’s souls. It was designed to allow citizens to live free.
We cannot force citizens to do what Washington advises — learn and be guided by Scripture.
What’s the alternative?
One is to forget it and let people do what they want. Let women fend for themselves when beastly predators with money and power threaten them.
Few will accept this option.
Alternatively, we can have politicians design our rules. But can this work? Without guidelines of Scripture, how do we discern right and wrong, acceptable and forbidden?
This is the trend that has been going on for years. The less we self-govern through eternal Biblical truths, learned at home and at school, the more we grow government to control our lives.
In response to sexual harassment violations perpetrated by some members of congress, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has introduced a congressional resolution requiring “all House Members, Officers, employees, including interns, detailees, and fellows, of the House of Representatives shall complete an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training program during each session of Congress.”
Surely, similar programs will be popping up across industry. So instead of our workforce developing new and better products, more of their time will be spent sitting in anti-harassment training sessions, learning rules designed by bureaucrats.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University published a report last year on the costs to our economy of the vast growth in the regulatory state from 1977 to 2012. The study concludes that accumulated regulatory growth reduced the size of the American economy in 2012 by 25 percent — $4 trillion of what it might have been.
Aside from economic costs, what are the human costs of our lives increasingly being controlled by bureaucrats?
According to research from Stanford University, 10 percent of married couples meet at work.
So much for this, as men will fear giving a woman a second glance at work, let alone saying or doing anything that might hint he’s attracted to her.
I see only one viable path to a healthy, free nation. Choose to heed the wisdom of our first president.
(Parker is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.)