Rob McCoy: ‘The necessity of virtue in the Constitution’

By Michael Hernandez

(Editor’s Note:  The American Legacy Series continues with a lecture every Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. at Godspeak Calvary Chapel, 2697 Lavery Court, Suite 14, Newbury Park.  All are welcomed to explore “the origins of our American Government, how it is relevant, and how it is shaping our future.”) 

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.  But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2).

John Adams said that the “Constitution was for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate for any other people.”  The Webster dictionary defines moral goodness as ‘the practice of moral duties. We must have virtue.  We are called to virtue.”

In Aristotle’s book of Ethics he wrote about two virtues:  doing virtues (courage and moderation) and thinking virtues.

How do citizens respond with virtuous behavior?

McCoy states the answer is found in 2 Peter 1:5-7:  “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness, brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful.”

According to McCoy, “We are barren, no money is left in the cupboard.  We must be wise on how to respond: have courage, have discernment, do things in a very wise way.  McCoy gave examples of the gas tax that went into effect on Nov. 1st as well as the State taking money from the coffers of the City of Thousand Oaks.

“Washington was a warrior, a conqueror.  He fought a war against the greatest power in the world and won. (The English) thought that George Washington would become the king. 

King George III believed that George Washington wouldn’t know how to be king and the people would want him back.   His assumption was that “you conquered you get to become king.”  But when he was told that George Washington did not want to be king he said:  “He is the greatest man in the world.”  The King of England could not understand how someone could give up power—surrender power.  

If it wasn’t for James Madison and Shay’s rebellion, George Washington would not have shown up to the Constitutional Convention.  “He was a farmer before becoming a general and he went back to farming” after the Revolutionary War.

McCoy spoke of his admiration for William Wilberforce who “ended slavery 30 years before the Civil War without a shot fired” after he “labored 50 years for the cause” vs. William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist that would “stop at nothing” to end slavery which resulted in the Civil War in which “650,000 would be lost in the battle field.”

McCoy’s favored approach to changing or reforming society is “thoughtful incrementalism” where “wise convictions” win out over “courageous passion.”  He gave as an example the folly of Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana where he, his two brothers and 268 of his men were annihilated on June 25-26, 1876 in the Crow Indian Reservation by the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians who outnumbered them over 10:1.

“We must operate having courage—the doing virtue, but we must also have the thinking virtue.”

“How do you find virtue?  If you don’t tell people, how do they know?  We need to dialogue.   This is civics—civility.   This is what our Constitution established for a people to participate.” 

­(Editor’s Note:  For complete video link to week 8 of the Legacy Series go to:


Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in West Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 23 years as a middle school teacher.  Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email: [email protected]

 Mr. Hernandez is dedicating himself to advance the 13 spheres –as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships.

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