Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones – a far left opinion magazine – thinks so, or so the title of his piece claims,
Hillary Is Fundamentally Honest and Trustworth
But, do you see the problem with this (and other such) claims? For a virtue to be fundamental it must be an essential, intrinsic, foundational element of human character. If you’re a Christian or a Jew and believe in the doctrines of your tradition, then you know that the human person is not fundamentally virtuous. The over-arching moral theme of both the Old and New Testaments is that the human person is fundamentally a creature of nature. As such the human is forever in conflict with what nature compels and God demands. Being kind and compassionate; able to elevate the needs of others above oneself are unnatural and NOT fundamental to human character. The human must be trained to be honest, trustworthy, kind, compassionate, self-sacrifcing, humble, etc.
Check out your 3 year old. Does he tell the truth naturally? Does she intrinsically seek to share her toys. Is he humble? The notion that children are fundamentally virtuous is absurd. Children, as they grow older, do not naturally adopt virtuous behaviors. They must be trained and tested over a long period of time. In the absence of moral and ethical training, children grow to be self-absorbed to live lives largely ordered around the principle of “what’s in it for me”.
So, no. Hillary is not fundamentally honest and trustworthy – but neither are any of us. Each of us is to blame for our moral failings and each of us is to be credited for strength of our virtues. Thus, Hillary’s failings are because she has not fully accepted the idea that “what’s in it for me” is not supposed to be a governing ethic. It’s very difficult to be righteous. It’s highly unnatural. On the other hand, it is easy to be selfish and adopt deceit as a means to get what one’s selfish needs demand.
Hillary and her fellow travelers more often than not, take the easy road of life.