Thursday, January 8, 2015

On taunting believers rev.

This is a response to some of the ideas in “Our Views: Murders in Paris,” The Advocate, January 7, 2015, online at It starts, "Voltaire said that he might not like what you say, but he would defend to the death your right to say it." It goes on to posit threats to "France’s cultural identity — not to mention its tradition of a secular state."

          There is so much to say about this brief editorial. First, we are heartsick with terrorism in Paris, among the other terrorist incidents.

          While a selectable quote for the occasion, the idea expressed by Voltaire is lame, as history has shown. Indebted to France as America should feel, American ideas improve on a “secular state.” Voltaire died in 1778, too soon to witness the 1781 French victory over England at Yorktown, Virginia. There were three times as many French fighters as American fighters; the strategy to entrap Cornwallis was cultivated for over a year by the Frenchmen, Comte de Rochambeau and Comte de Grasse, who placated General George Washington’s desire for an encounter on Manhattan. As far as I know, Washington did not thank France for its contributions to American independence.

          Eleven years after Voltaire died--in 1787--America’s elite patriots and political historians/philosophers, perhaps unintentionally, wrote and 70% of them signed the most powerful, neglected sentence ever written. I paraphrase the preamble to the US Constitution as follows: A civic people of the United States, voluntarily use nine civic goals—integrity, justice, civic morality, defense, prosperity, liberty, continuity, civility, and amendable written laws and institutions—to govern self and  collaborate for no-harm liberty and domestic goodwill in communities, states, and the nation. The choice of the phrase “A civic” instead of the article “The” denotes the fact that not everyone agrees with the preamble: some inhabitants want alienation.

          While only 70% of delegates to Philadelphia in 1787 signed the preamble and the rest of the constitution for the USA, the actual statement claims an unattainable 100% cooperation--in the subject phrase, “We the People of the United States.” Almost 228 years later, we know there will always be factions comprised of each the uninformed, some of the oppressed, the indoctrinated, the dissidents, the criminals, the evils, and others, among the historical 30% who exclude themselves from the 70%. Unfortunately, by neglecting the literal preamble, Americans are divided: 50% v 50%, with 20% blinded from the overarching culture--a civic people--by their factional cultures, such as sectarian Christianity, other religion, or atheism.

          With this viewpoint, returning to the Voltaire reference, “he might not like what you say, but he would defend to the death your right to say it,” there needs to be a modern consideration—one that appreciates each child’s civic right to her/his quest for cooperative autonomy. Today, there is a justifiable attention to appreciation of persons as they are and where they are in their quest (aware or not) for psychological maturity despite an immature world. Cooperative autonomy leading to psychological maturity requires that the person remain alive for six or more decades, depending on the individual and his/her path. The path is a function of fate, personal intent, and ability, substantially because almost no one is coached unto the purpose: emerge psychologically mature. Have you ever heard of such coaching? It is in H. A. Overstreet's book, The Mature Mind, 1949.

          A child or older person who has been trained to be a civic martyr is repressed and should be encouraged to speak and discuss heartfelt opinion, so as to internally, personally encounter the unfairness of the indoctrination he/she has been subjected to! I encountered my indoctrination in a Sunday school event three decades ago: My heartfelt opinion was called “heresy.” My opinion was and is that Christians should treat civil neighbors as civic equals. After struggles with personal autonomy, I dropped out of the sect; then the religion; then religion. I was about forty-five years old: The human body does not complete the parts of the brain needed for wisdom-building until age 25 (male) or 23 (female), so a young person indoctrinated to be a civic martyr should not be taunted: they are too young to have discovered themselves. From my perspective, artists who taunt martyrs are on their own: I will not hold their coat while they fight for the right to taunt. I will not buy taunters’ products.

          While public discussion of the evil of indoctrinating people, including indoctrination to be civic martyrs, seems defensible according to all nine of the preamble’s tacit goals, taunting potential martyrs is not defensible. The mere taunt could lead to their death and the attendant consequences. The idea that artists who cross the line--from civic discussion respecting appreciation of each civil person--to taunting of those who by uncivil training would harm society is not defensible according to physics-based ethics. Artists cannot taunt an ideology without taunting its believers.

          Regarding France a “secular state,” I take “secular” to mean “non-religious.” If I’m wrong, somebody please correct me. America, as expressed in the preamble, is neither a secular state nor a religious state, but is a civic state. The preamble is neutral to non-religion and its antithesis. Although almost no one is psychologically—including religiously--free enough to be candid, persons are expected to candidly express their civic needs and negotiate with their neighbors to reach mutual accommodation according to physics-based ethics, leaving personal desires such as religion and other arts to private pursuits. In other words, civic persons pursue the spiritual liberty they perceive in privacy. Thereby, it can be clear to everyone that mutual civic accommodation is a duty beginning with each person, and religious beliefs have no standing in civic disputes. Therefore, religious institutions in America must conform cannon law to civic accommodation and civil law. Religious doctrine cannot conflict civil order.

          These views about the preamble are narrowly held, because America’s greatest accomplishments have not heretofore been expressed respecting the candid person, the literal preamble, and physics-based ethics. However, America changed from (in 1790) 99% protestant Christians (some holding slaves) with 6% able to vote, to (in 2015) 49% protestant and 100% of non-criminal adults able to vote and no owned slaves, by constantly, fortuitously working to benefit from physics-based ethics. Imagine what would happen with 70% of inhabitants using the preamble and physics-based ethics to candidly negotiate civic liberty, keeping spiritual liberty private!

          The people who indoctrinate persons into religious ideologies are civically immoral, and those who indoctrinate physical martyrs must be found and destroyed.
Copyright©2015 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 August 11, 2015