Saturday, January 30, 2016

Opinion-based ethics seems dysfunctional 4/20/17

Note: revisions are in brackets [ ], at least on first entry.
               Closing the essay, “A Civic People,” (ACP) posted on 11/14/2015, we promised an essay on how a  people determine civic morality for the rule of [statutory] law. Civic morality is so well informed by people’s experiences and reason that most people naturally work for the benefits. For example, people don’t lie about their civic needs so that their statements can be understood and the response will not be lie-based. However, there will always be people who, for reasons that seem beneficial to them, are aliens to civic morality or a culture of civic people. To limit or control aliens or dissidents to civic morality, ACP employs [the-objective-truth]
               ["Civic" as used here is examined thoroughly below, but the essence is this:  traditional "civic" refers to citizens conforming to social morality or civilization or the conventions of the city, whereas "civic" in civic morality refers to mutually appreciated connections/transactions between two persons living in this place. Since there are dissidents to civic morality, the city's responsibility is to provide and enforce statutory law that intends security for a civic culture.]
So far, opinion has been employed to impose the rule of law. The imposition is propagandized as "society" led by people who are qualified. In the West, primarily social elitism with Bible interpretation is imposed on civic governance. It started at least 800 years ago, when political Barons and Protestant ministers argued that they each had status, convincing the king to sign the Magna Carta (MC). Scholars expanded the principle to represent due process for each human. Yet an accused person’s fate still rests with the court of opinion based on lawyers’ work and either a jury’s vote or a judge’s opinion. The priest-politician-partnership influences the decision. And 800 years after MC, the priest-politician-partnership or Chapter XI Machiavellianism, from "The Prince," after 500 years dominates the citizens. But opinion-based law is proving dysfunctional: 2017’s Western world is unexpectedly, randomly life-threatening. [It was not supposed to be that way on Reagan's "shining city on the hill" (Matthew 5:14).]
We assert that physics always has been the object of humankind’s discovery and determination of benefits. By accurately collaborating to understand how to benefit from physics, in each civic debate, humankind can develop an interrelated system of practices that may be called physics-based ethics. This is a new statement of an old concept, perhaps first expressed by Lou-Tzu; in paraphrase, things are not confused, we’re confused.[i] Recently, physics-based ethics was suggested by Albert Einstein,[ii] but his vision never surpassed science, a study, versus religion, an opinion-based theory. [Entrapped by the word "science," Einstein did not articulate that humankind discovers the facts of reality through physics.] For reform, humankind may gradually replace opinion-based law with physics-based ethics, in other words, reality-based morality, [in other words, the-objective-truth.]
   
The American Bar Association sprang from English common law
               To consider existing “rule of law” we may look to the American Bar Association’s (ABA’s) public education site,[iii] I think with dubious promise, because it is an opinion-based system:
1)      Due process: “everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial hearing to determine their legal rights.” (1215) Consider, for example, the Nicole Simpson case.
2)      “The separation of powers, ensures that no one person is able to gain absolute power and stand above the law.” (1788) Consider the Administrative States of each G. W. Bush and Barack Obama.
3)      The laws must inspire the people to cooperate. (1860)
4)      The judiciary must be independent. (1947)
5)      Representation must be provided for the indigent. (1963)
6)      Breaking law perceived unjust in order to gain public attention by suffering imprisonment is justified. (1963)
7)      Both establishing and executing laws must be transparent and justified. (2003)
8)      American law promotes freedom, justice, and equality. (2007)
With these principles, and ABA elaborations on them in the reference, the ABA asks the public to draw their own conclusions respecting the meaning of the rule of law. I assert that the entire idea is a house of cards built on opinion, often personal opinion. [Statutory law may emerge from the-objective-truth.]

Let me address each of the ABA points:

1)      Why should there be opinion respecting inalienable rights? Inalienable rights are independent.
2)      Both Presidents G. W. Bush and Barack Obama made fun of lawful administration. For example, Bush read the religion clauses in the First Amendment as limiting Congress, but not him, and created a “faith-based” budget. Obama rebuked the entire constitution for the USA.
[Consider Windsor vs US.]
3)      Lawlessness is rampant, for example, with 30% of the people involved in abuse[iv].
4)      It is well known that political persons cast presidential votes in order to influence Supreme Court nominations.
5)      Often, representation for the indigent is not funded.
6)      Persons who attract attention by imprisonment encourage persons who tout worse lawlessness, such as martyrdom, murder, marching in the streets with arson and burglary.
7)      Who provides transparent and justified laws?
8)      In America, law favors the elite.

I think many American constitutional law professors and many jurists pick Americans’ pockets and a civic people should reform the entire system: Opinion-based law is unreliable.

More definitions to help consider civic morality (using Merriam-Webster online)
             The chief point is that for civic purposes, use of "society" or "social" implies subjugation to opinion or convention rather than physics from which humankind learns the [indisputable] facts of reality. “Public” means “of, relating to, or affecting all or most of the people of a country, state, etc.” or “of, relating to, paid for by, or working for a government.” Two examples follow. “Public outrage over the scandal eventually forced him to resign. The ads are intended to increase public awareness of the risks of smoking.” “Public” seems to refer to most of the people’s relationship with the governments (local, state and federal) and lots of phrases are commonly used, like “public debate” and “public morality.”[v] A member of the public differs from “inhabitant,” “one that occupies a particular place regularly, routinely, or for a period of time,” not necessarily connected to the government. And “public” differs in that a civic person seeks real-no-harm (RNH) private liberty with civic morality and its corollary, private morality with civic liberty . “Civic well-being” requires personal autonomy yet willing connection with inhabitants [rather than] imposition [of opinion].
              “Citizen” means “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it.” Taxation derives from a citizen’s obligations to governments. “Government” means: the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, locale; a particular system used for controlling a locale; the process or manner of controlling a locale. “Democracy” means: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting; a country ruled by democracy; an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights. “Republic” means a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader (such as a president) rather than by a king or queen; a body of persons freely engaged in a specified activity. America is a representative-republic, and it features direct voting for some representatives and in that sense is a democratic-republic. For example, federal judges are appointed. Each state has two senators and a person in a state with large populations has relatively low representation in the senate.
                When asked by a passerby what sort of government the constitutional convention had formulated for the new nation, Benjamin Franklin memorably replied, A republic, if you can keep it.” Listed synonyms, I think erroneously, include democracy, self-government, self-rule. Whereas the constitution for the USA specifies a republican form of government, most people today speak of democracy as the government in the USA. It seems to me they assert equality of opinion, which is untenable, because majority opinion changes as understanding advances or regresses. Humankind inexorably conforms to physics, that is, the indisputable facts of reality or the-objective-truth, and woe is invited when opinion rebukes the facts. For example, some Bible opinion, both Old Testament and New Testament, takes slavery for granted. However, the physics of slavery--chains, whips, guns, brutality, and burdens--informs humankind that slavery is immoral--evil. Slavery cannot hold up before the facts of reality.
             Here are a few more alternatives that differ from “civic” as in ACP, that portion of “We the People of the United States,” who collaborate for personal-liberty-with-civic-morality using the preamble and physics-based ethics to determine civic justice.
1)      “Civil” refers to citizens who are both law abiding and civic. Civil as “polite” is opinionative.
2)      “Private” denotes personal, group, class, corporate divisions of the public, some real-harm-motivated
3)      “Civilized” is opinionative unless the bedrock is physics in a civic culture
4)      “Civic-minded” means tending to do things that help local government and the inhabitants. Collaboration is required to conform to ACP.

Public morality
                Public morality is a topic in Wikipedia.[vi]Public morality refers to moral and ethical standards enforced in a society, by law or police work or social pressure, and applied to public life, to the content of the media, and to conduct in public places.” Suggested related topics include “family values, Islamic religious police, moral panic, public-order crime, social conservatism, [and] Victorian morality.” Change with time is expected. However, civic morality conforms to discovered physics.
Civic education
                Searching with “civic morality” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy[vii] directed me to “civic education.” One impression is that participation in the community provides civic education over a lifetime, which entails many variables, such as age, ideologies, and prosperity. But the normal usage holds civic education a school function. The philosophy has not been formally studied, but is expressed in political and educational literature. Topics include the good citizen, the good democrat, the good person, modern civic education and cosmopolitan education. Not only are the topics matters of opinion, the term “good” is subjective unless the standard is physics. Readers are encouraged to read the extensive essay that is there.
   
Refuting a myth
                As a means of establishing elitism, scholars have long since claimed that people—the common man—the masses—cannot govern the people. This point is made by James Madison in Federalist 10. Despite the preamble’s claim that “We the People of the United States” create a nation, the constitution that follows originated the scholarly evolution to the Administrative State that now governs the USA. It has been predicated on a falsely totalitarian “we, the people,” adaptation of English common law, and imposition of Bible interpretation into civic morality. It is an opinion-based mythology.
            No personal gods are involved in civic morality except insofar as the god inspires appreciation for other NRH personal gods. The object of the preamble to the constitution for the USA is to establish a republic with statutory law in civic justice--by the people of the United States who want  personal-liberty-with-civic-morality--wherein the over-arching culture does not coerce opinion yet collaborates for each person to have safety and security in the broadest sense, so that he or she can earn opinion if and only if the-objective-truth has not been discovered by humankind.  
A civic people can govern a civic people by collaborating for civic morality using the preamble to the constitution for the USA and physics-based ethics, which leads to reality-based morality, to determine statutory law. A civic people can restore a balanced, three-branched, limited republic to serve the people in their fifty independent states.

Invitation
Let’s get started; collaborate for a better future during our next meeting, “Third Annual Ratification Day Celebration,” June 21, 2017, 7:00 PM, Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70810.

Copyright©2016 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this essay as long as this complete copyright notice is included. (Revised March 20, 2017)


[i] Lau-Tzu’s Tao, online at http://naturyl.humanists.net/taotext.html .
[ii] Albert Einstein, “The Laws of Science and the Laws of Ethics,” (1941), Out of My Later Years, 1956, online at http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/my-friend-einstein .
[iii] ABA Division for Public Education. “Part I What is the rule of law.” Online www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/publiced/features/Part1DialogueROL.authcheckdam.pdf .
[iv] Marci A. Hamilton’s books, especially Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect its Children, and lectures, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lc17Mrc7LU&list=PL5-nDWCbjpMvCrB3Xq_VwLvBWHNGlvV0T. Also, to imagine the scope of abuse originating from just one religion, see http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ .
[v] Irving Kristol, “On Corporate Capitalism in America,” The Public Interest, Fall, 1975, wrote, “ . . . the Founding Fathers . . . believed most firmly in the propriety of governmental intervention and regulation in the areas of public taste and public morality.”