Tuesday, November 25, 2014
A Season of Holidays for A Civic People ed
One theory is that America needs governance of by and for a civic people (an idea borrowed from 1863) who take advantage of physics-based ethics (perhaps a new idea) instead of opinion-based law. We see it as collaboration by a civic people for personal liberty with domestic goodwill.
The pattern in many essays is to 1) state the premise, 2) explain or support the premise, and 3) conclude in support of the premise. The November 24 “Our Views” seems written to surprise or distract or just keep the same old lie operating.
In The Advocate’s, “Our Views: What hath man wrought?” November 24, 2014 (http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/10891994-123/our-views-what-hath-man), “Holidays” invoked civic goodwill among humankind and “beheadings” invoked ISIS. The explanations expanded to “lunatics” in America and rogue members of the United Nations. The conclusion attributes responsibility for “evil” to a god yet looks to one man’s prayers for relief; any god probably acts independently. I perceive that The Advocate promotes a same, old lie: we have governance under a god.
The pope is a newcomer in the competition to invoke a god to tyrannize people, and the popes always opposed their elders. The first pope was St. Peter, 32-67 CE and this is 2015 CE--less than 2000 years difference. Karen Armstrong, in the book A History of God, 1994, admits not being able to trace the beginning, so starts 4000 years ago respecting the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. She exludes religions older by at least 3000 years, like Hinduism, Buddhism, Egyptian religions, and philosophies such as Confucianism, Tao, ethics, and potential energy. Potential energy seems perhaps the origin of physics (mass, energy, and space-time) from which everything emerged (yielding the emergences--not emergencies), whether a god is involved or not.
So what is involved in this easily examined but common ruse against reality? I speculate that it is fear of the people. If governments lose their ability to distract the people with an appeal to their gods, the system of governors and clergy feel they will lose their power over the people. Noel Hammatt often says “follow the money,” and I’m thinking, follow the power.
My purpose is to point to physics-based ethics as a people’s relief from this millennia-old tyranny and the people's opportunity to take the power and govern, not by revolution, but by scheduling personal time to collaborate for civic morality. It is perhaps the most unpopular idea being expressed today, but that is not a new problem: The people's negligence of civic morality is the reason the nation is dysfunctional.
Nicolo Machiavelli wrote about governance under a god in Chapter XI of The Prince, 1513. Click “Chapter XI,” at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232-h.htm . My paraphrase for 2015 America is this: “Under the people’s god,” the politician-pastor partnership can do whatever it decides--live in wealth and other civic immorality--and the people neither object nor move to another country, because they think their god will eventually overcome the tyranny.
Edmund Burke perhaps influenced James Madison to protect the English Machiavellian arrangement by specifying the nation for governance by the elite in the Constitution of 1787. Massachusetts and other states assured governance under a god when they required a Bill of Rights in order to agree to be among the nine of thirteen states required to ratify the 1787 document. The complete Constitution was ratified, with the Bill of Rights, on December 15, 1791 by eleven of fourteen states. However, Congress had already established legislative prayer, on May 1, 1789. See Greece v Galloway, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/12-696 . Legislative prayer cares nothing about the people in America, especially the 23% non-theists, who are simply rebuked. Rebuking non-theist citizens is an American tradition. Thomas Paine, whether strengthened by Machiavelli or not, adamantly opposed Burke’s influence, as related wonderfully by Yuval Levin in the book, The Great Debate, 2014.
What Paine and Jefferson suggested, but not as directly, was physics-based ethics, which they variously referred to as “nature,” which phrase does not carry the ethical implication. So what is physics-based ethics as I am using it? An example follows. Most every child at some time privately spits outside. When he/she spits into the wind it flies back into their face and they learn not to do it again. Intuitively, a five step psychological process often takes place: 1) understanding, 2) practice, 3) public witness, 4) continued curiosity, and 5) change if necessary. The child understands not to spit into the wind, never spits into the wind, would not influence another person to pit into the wind, remains open minded, then spits into the wind if benefits are expected. For example, if the Center for Disease Control published evidence that an Ebola patient’s spit, upon instantaneous exposure to the wind, may autogenously vaccinate the patient, there would be known benefit for spitting into the wind. I have yet to find a civic issue for which I cannot develop favorable argument for the ethics of physics. Readers are invited to help me discover a negative case.
For 225 years, the people have left it to posterity to end the misery of governance under a god and establish Abraham Lincoln’s vision, which I modify: governance of by and for a civic people. I modify “the people” to “a civic people” to recognize that there will always be dissidents and criminals. The theory that America can have governance by consent of the governed (Thomas Jefferson’s vision in the Declaration of Independence and carried forward to the preamble to the US Constitution) is supported most in the world, right here in Baton Rouge, and the next discussion, with animated, Microsoft-PowerPoint focus, entitled “A People,” is planned for Ratification Day, 2016. See the folder "Discussion" at promotethepreamble.blogspot.com.
This generation has the privilege of establishing collaboration of and by a civic people, using the preamble to the constitution for the USA, the constitution, and physics-based ethics to negotiated civic morality. The need for collaboration by a civic people has never been more evident.
Copyright©2014 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Revised November 13, 2015