On October the eleventh, United States Attorney General William P. Barr, a Catholic, delivered a speech at the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic school. What he said has become a matter of much debate and ridicule.
I think it was the finest oration in recent memory of the Founding Fathers intent in framing the Constitution and how the current cultural climate in America reflects forsaking that intent to our detriment.
I graduated from the University of North Florida where I majored in Criminal Justice. We were taught that crime is mitigated by external and internal controls.
External controls are things like society’s rules of behavior; we call them laws, and the criminal justice system that seeks to control criminal behavior. Internal controls are a person’s conscience, a sense of morality of what is right and wrong when properly socialized by the institutions of family, church and school.
Sociologists recognize that external controls, with its sanctions, may serve as a deterrent, but they are ineffective at preventing crime; the Criminal Justice System can only address crime once it is committed. A person’s conscience that has been instilled with a proper sense of what is right and wrong; is more effective at preventing crime. This is an observable truth.
Barr’s speech agreed with the view of our Founding Fathers that only moral and religious “citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”
Barr is merely echoing one of our Founding Fathers, John Adams, who said, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”
Our founders were informed by statesmen and political philosophers like Irishman Edmund Burke, who wrote, “Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put chains upon their appetites … Society cannot exist unless a controlling power be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
If every single person on the planet would internalize the last six of the Ten Commandments: honor your parents, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t covet to the point that you would break one of the previous five commandments, we would not need a criminal justice system because there would be no crime; we would not need armies and navies because the people of one country would not attempt to attack the people of another country.
If everyone exercised these six “internal controls,” which happen to be a part of the Judeo-Christian religion, there would be no need for the external controls mentioned here.
And I do not believe Barr would be denied communion in South Carolina.