The notion that moral conduct is primarily a matter of “obeying” rules or principles alleged to be universal in scope has figured prominently throughout the modern era. The moral point of view, according to this line of thought, requires the strictest impartiality. This idea has been expressed in a variety of idioms, the most dominant of which is the doctrine of “natural” or “human rights.” Morality, from this perspective, chiefly consists in “respecting” or “protecting” peoples’ “rights.”
There have been many frauds of historic proportions — for example, the financial pyramid scheme for which Charles Ponzi was sent to prison in the 1920s, and for which Franklin D. Roosevelt was praised in the 1930s, when he called it Social Security. In our own times, Bernie Madoff's hoax has made headlines.
By all accounts, America at this time should be enjoying its greatest economic expansion and its greatest creation of wealth in its history. The spectacular advances in computer technology and invention and the discovery of enormous reserves of natural gas and shale oil should have led us by now into an unprecedented era of prosperity — with jobs begging to be filled. But we have in Washington a cabal of politicians, living in a 19th century socialist cocoon, determined to cripple this great nation and turn our potential happiness into a nightmare.
This year is the 35th anniversary of the ground-breaking television miniseries, Roots. Based on Alex Haley’s wildly successful novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the epic miniseries starred an ensemble cast — several members of which recently visited with Oprah Winfrey on her new network (OWN) to commemorate this occasion.