A version of this statement is often passed down within families. It comes from a variety of sources. One is Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”: “The Truth will Out.” In Ephesians 5:9 of The Bible, a modern translation fits the statement: “The light within you produces what is good, right, and true.” Essentially, it is the little voice in our heart that tells us right from wrong. The world is on fire when enough people do not listen to that little voice. Yet, time after time, even when the world is on fire, enough people have listened, combined, and acted for the collective good. Another quote: “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an un-pitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Give Edmund Burke, an Irish political philosopher, credit for saying something that we all know to be true.
Tests of our Character
It tends to happen in small groups. Someone does something out of line. What do the others in the small group do? Usually, they tolerate the act. Then, the antagonist believes that his/her activity has borne fruit. It happens again. Most likely, the group will take note, but will not get involved. A psychologist among them would have an opportunity to conduct a case study on what has become a group dynamic. For everyone else in the group, this could be the opening volley of misery. This is the tyrant in the office, the bully on the school ground,the rule breaker and mischief- maker. What happens if someone in the office realizes, after repeated disruptions, that he/she must stand up to the tyrant? What indeed? If one good person takes a stand, the rest of the group still must do something. Usually, they do nothing. “Let Human Resources handle it.” “Discipline is the teacher’s job.” These moments are a test of character for everyone in the small group. If someone stands up for right, and stands alone, the stronger personality will win. Quite often, the stronger personality belongs to the tyrant. An emboldened tyrant will dominate, much as a sheep-herding dog dominates sheep that outnumber the dog, perhaps 200:1.
People predominately live their lives as members of a human society. In some parts of the world, those societies are still called tribes. In industrialized countries, citizens often form around villages, towns, cities. Folks identify themselves to be part of a district, a state, a region and a country. Besides geography, people form around their familial ties, their religion, their sport team, their school, their earned educational designation (society of engineers, local labor union). In all of these examples of shared human bonds, the rule of law is necessary. Someone must lead. He/’she is expected to promote the welfare of the society through governance. Tests of our character are found here too. The same people who will not listen to their inner voice, will not stand up for righteousness, will not support the one who does, also will not …