“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare,” wrote Mark Twain more than a century ago.
If moral courage means knowing what’s right and defending it without hesitation, would you say we’ve improved over the years? My heart wants to say yes, but my head tells me no. Every day seems to bring distressing news of moral courage in decline.
Crime is soaring in places like Minneapolis, New York, St. Louis and Portland while “progressive” elites make excuses for it. They even go after law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and their property from the mob. This is neither moral nor courageous.
In government schools and universities, a far-Left socialist bias produces droves of students who hate America, even as they know less about it than any generation in our history. Toxic “political correctness” from academia stifles speech and thought, but millions of American are afraid to speak out against this lest they be vilified as enemies of “education.” But if American history should teach us anything, it ought to be that speaking truth to power is moral courage at its finest.
So when we see acts of moral courage, we should encourage those who show it and feel emboldened ourselves to practice more of it.
Here’s an example, from Kansas City. A struggling, single, black mother named Shetara Sims, who lost her job this summer and her daughter to street violence a few years ago, just did an incredibly courageous and moral thing. She had only $7 to her name but when she found a dollar bill on the ground, she bought a lottery ticket and won $100. She donated her entire winnings to help a police officer who had been shot in the head on July 2. Read about it here: https://tinyurl.com/y3xtln7t .
I recently read a 2015 book that expresses moral courage on every page. Titled Whatever the Cost, its authors are twin brothers David and Jason Benham. They gained national fame a few years ago for their real estate successes and for having their reality TV show canceled by HGTV because of their religious beliefs. They were victims of the cancel culture of “progressivism” (I always put that in quotes because it’s really a regressive throwback to 14th-century state worship).
The Benham Brothers grabbed my attention right from the start of Chapter One, which cites 1 Corinthians 16:13. The NIV translation of that passage reads, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Good advice doesn’t get much “gooder” than that.
The lessons the Benhams learned are abundant throughout. Self-discipline. Hard work. Honesty. Giving more in value than you take in pay. Persistence in the face of challenges, including personal injury. Hire for character and everything else will usually fall in place. Bravery in the face of the stupid cancel culture that’s flushing the country down the toilet.
No welfare state handouts and no power-hungry politician will ever shut the Benhams up or buy their obedience. They have too much smarts and integrity for that, and they hope readers will be so inspired, too.
It is good souls like Shetara Sims and the Benham Brothers we should all be learning from, not thugs in the streets. They have what we all need — moral courage.
Lawrence W. Reed, a resident of Newnan, is president emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education. His most recent book is “Was Jesus a Socialist?” He can be reached at email@example.com .