A major theme of our textbook is that self-interest does not explain everything in politics. In remarks at the dedication of his presidential library, former President George W. Bush touched on this theme:
In democracy, the purpose of public office is not to fulfill personal ambition. Elected officials must serve a cause greater themselves. The political winds blow left and right, polls rise and fall, supporters come and go. But in the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they hold. And my deepest conviction, the guiding principle of the administration, is that the United States of America must strive to expand the reach of freedom.
I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart. Freedom inspired our founders and preserved our union through civil war and secured the promise of civil rights. Freedom sustains dissonance bound by chains. Believers huddled in underground churches. And voters who risked their lives to cast their ballots. Freedom unleashed creativity, rewards innovation and replaces poverty with prosperity. And ultimately freedom lights the path to peace. Freedom brings responsibility.
Independence from the State does not mean isolation from each other. A free society thrives when neighbors help neighbors. And the strong protect the weak. And public policies promote private compassion. As President, I tried to act on these principles everyday. It wasn't always easy and it certainly wasn't always popular.