Just because disorder is so spectacular in public life, it is easy to confuse causes with symptoms.  I am all for political reform, but our decline cannot be cured just by better policies, strategies, candidates, inventions, or techniques, for its ultimate causes are moral and spiritual.

On the whole, these causes are no better understood by the various factions of reformers than by those whom they are trying to reform, and they affect them just as strongly.  This is why our choices become less and less attractive, and why more and more of the things that pass under the name of making things better actually make them worse.

“All right, wise guy.  If our disorder can’t be cured by politics, what’s your big idea?”  I haven’t one.  But I can suggest a place to start.

Let each of us resolve, once and for all, I will not do evil so that good will result.

Think it over carefully.  Consider all the things that a person must stop believing, start believing, or remember, just for the resolution to make sense.

Reminder:  On Tuesday, March 2nd, at 1:30pm Central Time, I’ll be speaking about “The Flavors of the Common Good.”  This will be the second in a series of Conversations offered by the Common Good Project, a new initiative of the Law School, University of Oxford, England.  Anyone who would like to hear it streamed can sign up here.