I love this John Adams quote for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is because it reminds me that the most important thing I can spend my time doing is making disciples. Freedom and liberty are not independent of the choices that we make.
Living with virtue makes us free from the consequences of bad choices that lead to our enslavement. When we are not enslaved we are free to help and serve those around us. This is how we live as a benefit to our community.
The second reason I like this quote is that virtue reminds us that there is an outside authority that defines right and wrong. We are not the ones who define good and bad, rather we look to God for His wisdom to guide us in the type of life we should live.
A loss of liberty in the United States can be traced back to the reality that as a country we have lost the notion of virtue. Instead of virtue we have turned to politics to determine what is right and wrong.
This is why every election turns into “the most important election of our lives.”
Instead of electing people to lead us, we fight a battle to determine who has the authority to determine what is right and wrong. It is a fight that will always be nasty and brutal as dividing lines between people and groups are created.
It is impossible to have unity when there is no common understanding of what virtue is. There is no hope for unity in the United States apart from a common understanding of virtue.
Instead of using political power to try to conform people to our understanding of right and wrong, we need to focus on discipleship and teaching people the true source of virtue: the wisdom of God.