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Tag Archives: Morality

I am stuck in the position that I often find myself in of having so many blogs and ideas I want to discuss that I am not exactly sure where to begin. But this is something that is the most recent, and maybe the most heart-felt, so maybe I should start here eh?

To a lot of people (statists of varying degrees) it is impossible to separate the idea of morality from ideas on law and Government. The two ideas are indistinguishable from one another, as are culture and society and what a people ‘want’, this is all reflected and even intimately linked with Government. And while I do agree with that to a certain, very small extent compared to a lot of others, I have been forced to wonder how one can promote two, in this case seemingly contradictory ideas, at the same time. After all if something is the right thing to do, the definition of a word, or even the moral ideal then should we not put it into law that things should be this way?

If it works for me why shouldn’t it work for everyone? After all the Government has successfully given me benefits and insurance and has kept a roof over my head or kept my kid from eating dog meat or has helped the sick and the elderly. Without these benefits we would not have a thing.

This is the argument that helps justify the mantra: Bottom line Government does have a role and a large and important role to boot in making sure people are safe and fed and cared for.

Then the counter argument becomes, since society, culture, morality, and law are so closely entwined in this scenario, the argument becomes if you do not support these programs, if you do not think the Government should be enforcing a standard of living in this regard then you must want kids to starve, or are in favor of the things we want the Government to be involved in (Gay Marriage).

Whatever I feel on these issues specifically on a case by case basis it is possible for me to not like something, but not want the Government to touch it. To be moral on our own without having to wait for the Governments permission or sing songy approval.

It is possible for me to be, for argument’s sake, against Gay Marriage but not want the Government to interfere.

The reason? Well as obvious as this is I am not God. Nor am an especially great and upstanding individual. I don’t think this needs to be said one of my forms of entertainment is to blabber on a WordPress blog at obscene hours of the night instead of doing more normal things.

So I am not God, I am not a fantastic person, good maybe, but I am still trying to figure out many of life’s mysteries.

And so is the vast majority of humanity.

And yet we feel comfortable in enforcing our morality on others? Even if it says so in a book we hold dear? We feel the need to go out and be busy bodies and try to enforce our morality on others when we have issues, problems, when we can be corrupt or make bad decisions because of our desires?

No, I generally am very uncomfortable with doing this. And I am also uncomfortable when people do this on my behalf. When politicians start doing things I support and consider a good idea I generally reconsider the idea.

I think this idea goes back to the heart of the foundation of our Republic. One of the best principles that is found in our Constitution, in our principles, in the book of Deuteronomy and is just plain common sense. That the best morality, often comes from the local, the small group, or even the individual.

The town, or the family, or the church. Some local organization that you can go to that has its own laws and customs.

You see the Government can force things on you. The Federal Government, or the local Governments and States even. Higher taxes for any number of things like roads, or schools. Or wide and sweeping laws that restrict your behavior when and where you cannot drink, what times you can be out, what roads you can travel on and when.

And the larger these things are, the harder they are to escape. And the more easily they can be corrupted.

You cannot always escape your Government, especially if you like living in the area that you are living in. If the Federal Government passes a law or regulation that you consider to be unfair, or unjust, then you still have the right to move, but you are no longer an American. You no longer enjoy any of the benefits of being an American and you have to be something else.

And in this case you have to give up everything you knew, just to escape a law, a policy, or a custom you do not like. Or you could always suck it up.

But the more local things are, the easier they are to escape and to avoid and not participate in.

For example many areas and businesses do not allow firearms on their premises. You see the sign ‘fire arms are prohibited.’ Now this might be a violation of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, but yet they still can. There is no court cases that I know of challenging this practice.

They are under local control and can allow or disallow anything they want.

Same for any number of things. If you do not like a stores policies towards gays, guns, religion, or their prices, you can always leave. There are loads of other stores.

If you do not like a groups rules and bi laws to be in the group you do not have to sign up.

If you do not like a Church’s views on God or a political issue you can find another church, or just leave and worship in peace.

Local Morality is so important because you can escape. Because you can have the dialogue or chose not to have the dialogue at all and it’s not forced on you by some intrusive overbearing Government.

You have more options with businesses and local Governments then you do if a central power passes a rule restricting your behavior.

Instead of moving down the street to another place of business that allows you to carry firearms you have to move hundreds and thousands of miles.

This is why things need to be bottom up.

Starting with the individual moving up through our families, our communities, and our church’s, and then going to state and national.

We cannot do very good unless we can be our own moral shepherds.

Which is why Local Morality, remains supreme.

Next year is 2011, it is the year between 2010, and 2012…an off-year if you will.

Well it is and it isn’t. It is still a year that, we…all of us, have a lot to do in the new year and other the course of 2011.

But just because it is an off year from the main scene of politics does not mean that we should not be any less vigilant. We should be very vigilant when it comes to our politicians and what they are doing. But it is not a year just for politics, that can again come in 2012.

It is a year that I think we are going to have to prepare. It is going to be a very busy year I think for all of us.

It’s a year, that I think we should take a break from politics and start setting off on fundamental principles.

To make ourselves stronger and more secure in our work, our lives, our finances, our money, out morality, and our communities and families, before 2012 hits.

Yes we need to pay very close attention to politics and keep the politicians honest, and keep score so we know who to vote out when their time comes, but it is not all about that.

There will be plenty of time for 2012 to go back down into politics and pure issues of policy and how that affects our morality and the fabric of our society.

But we need to be ready for that wild roller coaster of a ride I believe 2012 is going to be.

We need to lick our wounds and heal and rest, when we can, from what happened in 2010.

After all this country has suffered greatly, from Health Care to everything the Congress did in their ‘lame duck’ session of congress.

We need to take some political breather and take a step back from it all.

And look at what is going on around the world. Just look at it all.

We need to be ready for all of this that is going to happen in 2012, and now is the only time we can take for it.

2011 may very well be the year that we save the Republic and begin to make ourselves strong. That we build on our strengths, reflect on our weaknesses, and that ultimately we learn and get ready.

Things are transitioning, things are building, and we have to be ready for them and start building our own destiny.

Because our good friend Frances Fox Piven is doing likewise, in her own merry way…or at least advocating it.

I was going to write about this in the lead up to 8.28, forgot about it, put it to other blogs, and now remembered it.

My Dad has a saying that he got from some book that he read once, “A society can only have the morals that it can afford.”

I disagree with this vehemently. In many cases, I can see some parcel of truth in it but I radically disagree with it because a society must have a moral foundation or it’s not a society, that there are some lines you must not cross, as a people, or you risk losing your identity and changing.

But yet…well I can see the pearls of wisdom in it, I can see where it might be necessary.

How to reconcile the two? I have always thought about this…and I hope I have come up with at least a partial answer.

The answer lies in Universal Morality…though everyone has their own unique perspective.

But there is a Universal Morality.

That there is a difference between good and evil and they are two ends of an extreme. They are absolutes, you violate them at your peril, and you are usually striving for one end of the spectrum or the other.

Like it is immoral to steal, to kill, or to torture. These are three of the more accepted bits of morality out there, and where most people do not feel like violating them and most of us can agree.

But yet we do kill, we do torture, and I have even heard it is ok to steal. Why, and how?

The answer is the morality is not fluid, but the situations usually are.

Tough moral choices are only tough moral choices because they are a choice between two goods, or two evils.

For example, I hate torture, I am not sure we should be torturing the terrorists, and some of the torture methods of the Inquisition truly boggle the mind.

But yet…we have to chose what is the greatest immorality.

What is the greatest immorality?

You have a situation, you have captured some Terrorists, and you have pretty good intel that…a nuke is about to go off in a major metropolitan area.

What to do? Do you let people…millions of people die…or do you torture the bad guy and go all Jack Bauer on them in the hope you can get some information to stop them?

No one likes to kill, but if someone invades your house, who do you choose, your family or that random person when you cannot be sure of their intentions?

This does not make killing and torturing any less immoral, it does not mean that those things suddenly become ok, but the alternative is a lot more ghastly to imagine, and thus worth the consequences.

On the individual.

Or stealing, one of my favorite examples because I have never done it.

Your family is starving, dyeing, do you steal? My knee jerk reaction is no, to rely on charity, and help, and starve in order to not commit that vile crime.

But I have to wonder….

What is the greatest immorality?

I want to make quite an…ambitious statement for me, an ambitious statement for our times, and an ambitious statement given the state of affairs in current American Politics.

In one of my last blogs I pointed out there is a big difference between the two main types of Libertarians. Those that, basically, believe in a moral code… and those that believe that Morality is a purely human construct.

And that Governments shall not enforce moral standards.

While that is a debate for another time I do want to say that there is such a thing as morality. Of universal truth.

There is such a thing as God.

Now it is kind of hard for a Libertarian to say it, isn’t it? We all have our own rights and perspectives to believe everything you want to, right?

Well yeah, sure.

But that is the thing.

There is such a thing as Universal truth, as God, as the mind of God, or the great continuum, or the Force, or what have you, whether it is the universe itself.

It is our perceptions and understanding that is flawed.

Because how can someone who has a confined perception of the universe ever understand an infinite?

How can something whose nature is not perfect, or not perfectible, ever see the whole picture.

We are trying to understand an infinite and complex universe and the mind of universe in all of its complexity.

Whether you are a truth seeker, a blogger, a political commentator, a Scientist, a holy man, or just a priest.

We are all trying to, with our own perceptions and our own individuality, trying to find our own way in the universe and tap into this universal truth. We are all looking at the Divine and the Universe through our own limited glasses and magnifying glasses.

And with all of these we have, in our own belief systems, these guide stones and these guide markers that we feel are trying to understand the universe and is the best guide-book for getting there.

The Bible, the Torah, Einstein’s theory of Relativity, I suppose, and the Koran.

Keys of trying to lead your life that will let you tap into the infinite. That is what we are trying to do. We are constantly trying to understand what is a scary universe, and at times mystical and gorgeous.

And that is what is flawed, that is what is weak, that is what is imperfect, and that is why our Government must be small.

Because even though there is universal truth, do not commit murder, do not have sex before marriage, any other moral goals, the more we try to restrict it, the more we try to outlaw this, or force that behavior on group X, the more we deny our own search.

The more we people from trying to take away their own ability to search for their own version of the truth.

They could be wrong, they could be right. But they will come down to the truth in the end if we trust them.

If we be there for them.

If we do our best to share our own perceptions and morality and be willing to say we are wrong when we are.

And then, after all,

Faith Manages.

A while ago, a long while ago, I was on my favorite fan site for my favorite actress looking at pictures. Yes I do that.

But in the background was an ad for one of her favorite charities. And it said basically, if I remember correctly, petition your Government to spend money to give food to X.

Now this put a bur under my saddle a little bit. But I did not know how to express it at first so I decided to wait for it. And in thinking about this blog I realized that it would be the perfect time, to make the point.

Now I have had yet another conversation recently with someone who thinks that only Government can do things for you, can be moral for you, and provide for your health care, your education, and to be a good and descent force.

Our founders, (Washington) Believed that Government was a Necessary Evil.

But yet an evil.

Government is meant to be small, to be limited, and to provide you the things that you cannot provide for yourselves or to protect your life.

The most basic and simple mandate for Government is to protect people. From the evils and vagaries and insanity of people, or of the natural disasters and fire department.

That is the only moral function of Government.

Because every time they take another morality from us and say, well you cannot make it unless we provide this moral purpose for you, well that is one less thing that we are obligated to do for yourself.

And this is a Government that often cannot give you and do for you the things it is supposed to. The Post Office, and protecting you…how good is the Government at protecting us? Or the Police?

Good at times but often not perfect.

Can Government paid bureaucrats educate you properly?

I do not think so.

You cannot go through the Government for Morality.

I mean look at it like this, does it not feel better, is it not better when you can do something on your own initiative?

That if you give charity on your own volition is a lot better than if it mandated by your school to graduate? Is that not even charity in the first place?

When is it ever better for you to be forced into doing something?

And that is what we must restore. That we do not need Government. Sure Government can occasionally be there but it is not the end all and be all.

It cannot be there for you, it cannot give you anything, it cannot legislate prosperity or morality.

We MUST restore personal responsibility. We must restore that we can do it through our own volition, and if we see someone suffering then we can help them.

Because that is the right thing to do, that is the best thing to do for each other.

And the more that we do to for ourselves and our neighbors, the less our Government feels it has to do.

It is the right thing to do and it is the honorable thing to do.