by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
The recent spate of sexual assault and harassment stories, detailing decades of transgressions by previously well-respected men, may be a sign of a return to morality. Society has rediscovered some limits to acceptable behavior.
There are limits to acceptable corporate and government behavior as well. Charles Horn, a former state senator in Ohio famously absolved business for its role in crony capitalism, “We know companies are manipulative, but it’s in the nature of business to go after every dollar that’s legally available. Don’t place the blame on the company, place the blame on government. This is government’s folly.” He has been out of government since 2000, but his statement lives on in ignominy.
Daniel Henninger wonders “if the long period of freedom from organized conscience formation simply isn’t working.” Removing legal barriers against actions only works if we have internal or social restraints. We each have a responsibility to live within limits and hold our friends accountable when they do not. We cannot exchange truth for short-term advantage.
Peggy Noonan writes on how we should respond to the actions of some in power: “Don’t let your fears—even wholly legitimate ones—drive you. Hold on, have faith, retain standards.” [emphasis in original]
Or as another writer put it, “do not be frightened. But…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”