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C. S. Lewis defined the Tao (Law of Nature, objective virtue), in simple terms, as how we expect others to treat us. No one wants to be lied to; therefore, we know lying is wrong. We do not wish to be treated unfairly; therefore, we should not treat others unfairly. No human society has yet encouraged theft or cowardice—you may steal or abandon your post in battle, but you know it would be wrong for someone else to do the same. If you were drowning, you know it would be right for someone to save you. This is what Lewis called Moral Law.

It is not a perfect morality. But it covers the basics. It covers what all mankind, generally speaking, innately knows to be right and wrong. The problem is that, as Lewis observed, while we all know we ought to behave a certain way, we routinely “do not in fact behave that way.” Naturally, we have no defense for ourselves then, for by virtue of our knowing that it would be wrong for so-and-so to do to us what we did to so-and-so, we expose that we knew that what we did to so-and-so was wrong. That is to say: Jim would not want to be cheated on. Therefore, when he cheats, he knows it is wrong.

Based on this crude definition alone, we can surmise two truths about fidelity. First: spousal infidelity is wrong. And second: even the cheater knows this.

SEE ALSO: Fidelity to God

Jim would be rightly enraged if his wife cheated on him. Yet he cheats on her and (probably) tries to justify his behavior. This means that he is so much worse than just a cheater; he is an egomaniac. He has forfeit any right to get worked up over anything or call anything “unfair.” He lost that right when he deemed how-we-expect-others-to-treat-us morality inapplicable to himself.

Religious or not, we all know (with the exception of “open marriage” freaks) that this sort of behavior is awful. When Pete Davidson texted Kanye West “In bed with your wife,” we all intuitively were disgusted. Even broad-minded liberals who pretend to be above being shocked at sexual matters cannot help but be shocked at this. And it did not take a dissertation on ethics to tell us why. Simply imagine receiving the text “In bed with your wife,” and it becomes obvious why Pete Davidson’s behavior was repulsive.

But there is another side to fidelity that we do not often think about—fidelity to family.

While spousal fidelity is infinitely important whether kids are involved or not, it also has a trickle-down effect on the family, as a whole. In particular, paternal infidelity toward kids is shockingly high and terribly damaging. 

In the 1960s, 24 percent of black infants were born to single mothers. That number climbed to 64 percent by 1990. In 2010, it hit an astonishing 72 percent. In cities such as Chicago and Decatur, that number can climb to as high as 82 or even 90 percent.

SEE ALSO: Prof. declares June ‘Fidelity Month’ as alternative to ‘Pride’

Most people can see that it would be wrong for a father to abandon his 12-year-old. And why would we know that? Because we do not or did not want to be abandoned by our parents. Strangely, however, we think it is permissible for millions of fathers to abandon their preborn children.

Evidently, we are not very good at practicing what we preach. Just because we know the Natural Law (and our consciences attest to its worth), does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that we follow it. “They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them,” (Romans 2:15) said Paul of those who adhere inconsistently to Natural Law.

This is why Prof. Robert George’s Fidelity Month is so crucial. It is never enough for us to merely stop one bad thing and replace it with another. That will never work if we are not convinced that the virtue is actually better than the vice. We need a vision; we need to see that fidelity is preferable to infidelity. And not just for others but for ourselves as well.

We need, in other words, to celebrate fidelity—which is exactly what Fidelity Month is all about.

Our culture is saturated with disloyalty, both spousal and familial. It’s time to reverse that trend. And as I previously wrote, if a minuscule subsect of the population can pressure all of society into celebrating a vice, surely we can popularize the virtue again.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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