Translated into 21st Century English the Charter of the The University of Georgia reads as follows:
Because free governments benefit when civil order is maintained by choice and not force, and because the wishes of the people can become the laws of the land, the prosperity and even existence of a free society depends on the healthy formation of the minds and morals of citizens. When people are inclined toward vicious, unprincipled and disorderly conduct a free government will experience confusion and evil greater than the state of primitive wilderness. A free society can only be happy where public principles and opinions are properly directed and manners taught. This is beyond the scope of laws and punishments and can only be instilled by religion and education. Those who want to see a free society prosper should make their first priority the encouragement of the principles of religion and morality and place children in schools that mold them to love virtue and order.
To read the original go here: http://www.uga.edu/oir/fb96/01gen11.htm
America’s first State University prominently included a chapel. The UGA website says this:
“BUILT IN 1832 to replace a temporary wooden structure, the Chapel is one of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings at Georgia. At the time of its construction, at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars, it was the finest building on campus. In the early days, when Protestant orthodoxy dominated the campus, the Chapel was a center of campus activities. A daily religious service, which students were required to attend, was held there, as were assemblies and commencements.”
Times have changed, but the truth expressed in the The University of Georgia’s Charter is as relevant today as ever. The government of the United States or the State of Georgia still benefit from the voluntary good behavior of citizens. Bad behavior leads to tremendous government expense. It also leads to bad legislation. With each crisis we get worse legislation to solve problems caused, in large part, by lack of principle.
The current financial crisis was the result of unprincipled loans being packaged and sold as unprincipled securities. The real estate bubble was was built on unprincipled decisions made by home buyers, lenders, brokers, rating agencies and investors.
Courts, prisons and welfare rolls are stuffed with people who have chosen not to live by the most basic of biblical moral values. The price for declining private morality is freedom. The impact of the federal government on the daily lives of the citizens of Georgia in 1832 was almost unnoticeable. That cannot be said today. Federal taxes, regulation and entitlements are pervasive.
The danger is that the cost of trying to deal with declining personal morality has led to the terrifying public immorality known as national debt. If you think the housing bubble was a problem, the national debt bubble is worse. If we could go back in time and fix the mistakes made in the housing bubble we would be better off today.
Now is the time to fix the debt bubble. Once it has popped we may need to come up with a word stronger than “depression.”
There may not be time to fix the problem, but the place to start is to apply the wisdom shown in the Charter of the University of Georgia. Only a nation of moral and responsible citizens can survive as a “free” society.