"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." – Benjamin Franklin

Self-government requires self-government. We must control ourselves, or be controlled by others. We can be virtuous and free or immoral and enslaved.

Unless we as a people are committed to enacting just laws and abiding not only by the letter but by the spirit of them, we are undeserving of freedom and face being ruled by tyrants.

Liberty will not long be ours if we become accustomed to putting our own self-interest above the common good -- looking for loopholes and ways to game the system, or winking at those who do.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Ike, we have seen what we and our fellow citizens are made of. Texans came to the aid of the afflicted. A few came looking to make a quick buck.

The State of Texas set up the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) to be the insurer of last resort for Gulf Coast homeowners whose properties suffer wind and hail damage. Unfortunately, it has devolved into a slush fund.

According to a recent report by Texans for Lawsuit Reform, all Ike-related settlements and fees were paid at the discretion of the general manager of TWIA without any oversight or guidance.

The general manager acknowledges that payouts were "unprecedented and not justifiable based on the facts, the science, the insurance policies, or the law."

The report concludes that a "small group of lawyers is becoming extraordinarily wealthy at the expense of Texas insurance buyers and Texas taxpayers."

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry announced that he would order a special session of the legislature if lawmakers failed to revamp the fund during the regular session. Perry wants to make sure that some trial lawyers can no longer use the fund as a personal ATM machine.

Now it's up to us to let our representatives know that we will no longer tolerate this abuse.

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