The Truly Valuable Part of Mankind

I commented on the attitude of the U.N. in yesterday’s posting, particularly how America has been a target of the majority of nations that comprise that body. Today, this political cartoon appeared, making the same point.

The real issue here is why we want those nations to like us in the first place. Most of them are dictatorial thuggeries (is that a word?) rather than legitimate governments. For instance . . .

I was reminded of a statement George Washington made in a letter to a friend in 1797, shortly after leaving the presidency. Washington commented:

Without virtue and without integrity the finest talents or the most brilliant accomplishments can never gain the respect or conciliate the esteem of the truly valuable part of mankind.

There’s a lot in that short statement. First, he points to virtue and integrity as the hallmarks of a man’s character. It doesn’t matter what natural talents a person may possess or what external accomplishments he might have attained if he doesn’t first have virtue and integrity.

Talents and accomplishments by themselves mean little without the character necessary to undergird them. And without that type of character, he says no one will gain the esteem of what he calls “the truly valuable part of mankind.”

We want to gain the respect of those who are respectable themselves, who have exhibited God’s character in their lives and whose accomplishments are based on virtue and integrity. Why would we want to ingratiate ourselves with those who are unworthy of our esteem? Yet that seems to be what we are doing. Right now, the United States appears to have closer ties with the Fidel Castros, Hugo Chavezes, and Ahmadinejads of the world than with those who are genuine allies.

This is due to the man at the top. The type of leadership he exhibits reflects what Washington warned of: someone who has innate talents and certain outward successes, yet is devoid of real virtue and integrity. Keep praying for our country.