We often ask people what they would do to solve dysfunction in American living, then listen carefully to the answer. If the person shares experience and observations, we state the mission of our work: to establish actual no-harm private liberty with civic morality. Notice that "civic" implies willing good behavior, whereas "civil" implies coercion if not force.*****
The civic task and each newborn’s private duty
The civic questions are: what teachers should teach, how to teach, and how to motivate the child to comprehend and understand beyond the knowledge that is taught. To put this opinion another way, a person should not trust inculcation and should take responsibility for his or her learning.
Different civilizations have evolved into their cultures of coercion. The aboriginal people of Australia have protected their proprietary culture for perhaps 30,000 years or even 80,000 years through rhythm, song and serenity, while worldly Australians participated in global trade and prosperity. The male life expectancy in 2012 were 69.1 years and 79.7 years, respectively.* Existing civilizations influence people to socially conform rather than personally cultivate private-liberty-with-civic-morality. Only when a civic culture emerges can society conform to the shared human-need for broadly-defined-civic-safety-and-security, and that society must still constrain dissenters---those who cause actual harm.
Consequently, every person lives in a confused, conflicted world, and many persons do not comprehend the facts. To have private liberty, the newborn might, within about eighty years lifetime, establish actual no-harm personal autonomy, embrace collaborative association, and appreciatively participate in civic transactions and connections. For best chances, comprehension and basic understanding may be acquired in the first three decades of his or her life. Only a few persons survive early death (before age 65) and only a few develop psychological maturity---achieve freedom from both external constraints and internal limitations, or harm.
Systematic, iterative collaboration for private liberty with civic morality could decrease misery and loss and increase psychological maturity for a civic people, regardless of the sub-culture an individual may prefer. For example, preferences for either black Christianity, white Christianity or colorless Christianity can each flourish in a civic culture (recall the actual no-harm constraint). The key is coaching the infant and adolescent person in integrity at least through age 25, when the body has completed construction of the wisdom-cultivating parts of the brain.
What is liberty?
Turning to the study, what might humankind know about liberty? It seems useful to consider various schools of thought, and we review libertarianism, conservatism, paternalism, and the founding American story according to Foner, hoping for collaboration by readers to further reduce our ignorance respecting how to establish a civic people. We paraphrase and quote the articles leaving it to readers to go to the references for more information if they wish. We do not cover a useful modern essay, Carl Eric Scott's five American liberties: natural rights, communitarianism, economic-autonomy, national progressivism, and personal-autonomy.** Scott did not seem to consider public integrity. Our objective is to discern past thought that might correspond to private liberty with civic morality, whether use of the-indisputable-facts-of-reality or actual reality is recommended by the writer or not. We boldly paraphrase and sometimes quote the articles reviewed below. When ideas inspire our collaboration, we express our idea in brackets. Not all scholars think that “liberty” means free to act while “freedom” means free from imposition or oppression. For example, “religious freedom,” as statutory law, imposes religion. In the literature, there seems to be word equivocation, but we do not attempt to evaluate usages or discern their "liberty" from their "freedom."
Our work makes the assumption that, given a well-grounded practice, most United States citizens are, by nature, willing to iteratively collaborate for private liberty with civic morality. In other words, we assert that humans tend and prefer to be good unless they learn to be bad. There remains the problem of dissidents within and without, so statutory law and enforcement seems necessary into the foreseeable future.
Socialist, R. H. Tawney would extend positive liberty to require preferences of the rich to be made available for the poor, for example, requiring membership in a Country Club. In other words, because the rich want something, the poor should have it, whether they want it or not. Economist F. A. Hayek asserted, “freedom and wealth are both good things…they still remain different.” There’s lots of confusion about equality as liberty. I do not support the equivocation of liberty and equality.
Mill thought freedom empowers individuality and the human capacity for perfection. [No one should limit a human’s intent to perfect his or her person, in other words, develop integrity.] Perfectionists include also, T.H. Green, L.T. Hobhouse, Bernard Bosanquet, John Dewey, John Rawls, Gaus, and William Galston. [Add Ralph Waldo Emerson in "Divinity School Address" and discover his reference: Jesus.] On 2/19/17 I realized the importance of this paragraph and the number of thinkers it lists.
Challenging Mill are two moral contracturalisms. To Kant (and Sandel), mutually respectful persons live without either suffering or imposing “the good.” [Our work is in agreement with this principle. We employ personal choice within the-objective-truth rather than competitive opinion to define “the good.” The good is Security.] Reiman and Scanlon propose morality is a social rather than state responsibility. [We strive for neither social morality nor the imposition of a civilization but for the civic morality to provide Security.] “Suitably idealized individuals are motivated not by the pursuit of gain, but by a commitment or desire to publicly justify the claims they make on others.” [Modify from "to publicly justify the claims they make" to "to publicly appreciate the Security they enjoy."] Hobbesian contracturalism assumes self-interest with standards for rewarding social cooperation. Autonomy is required. However, immoral behavior remains an option, as noted by Hobbes’ “Foole.” [The reward for living according to the-objective-truth is discovering you lived the life you hoped to live before you could articulate personal preferences---or what you hoped for. It cannot be achieved through “social cooperation,” or subjugation. The human being is naturally opposed to subjugation and favors self-perfection rather than inculcation by society to subjugate. The culture founded on private liberty with civic morality---or civic integrity---has never been tried on Earth, to my knowledge.]
Beyond liberal rightness, there seem to be three theories of value: perfectionism (objectivism), pluralism and subjectivism. These are mutually exclusive ends and matters of personal preference--determined by personal desire. John Locke wrote about appetites as particular to the person. People “rationally follow different ways of living,” and liberals exclude themselves from perfectionism. That is, liberals, by choice, may be pluralists or subjectivists but not perfectionists. [Our work seems objectivist but not conservative in the traditional sense. The difference is that rather than rational, scholarly opinion we propose to use the-objective-truth to discover civic-morality rather than dominant opinion to establish civil morality. Also, we like Emerson's idea that once a human discovers he or she may perfect his or her unique person---fulfill both fidelity and integrity---he or she will undertake that noble work: self-perfection.]
Colin Bird resists individual liberty and yields to imaginary social liberty: collectivists, communitarians, and organicists. “Human beings . . . are the only real choosers and decision-makers, and their preferences determine both public and private actions.” [I heard this concept as "public opinion determines public policy," at LSU School of Mass Communications on October 4, 2016. When I opposed the notion I was instructed to go to college!] Herbert Spencer perhaps agreed: “the properties of the mass are dependent upon the attributes of its component parts.” [However, we contend that each individual wants Security so as to possess the liberty to live according to individual preferences.] Amy Gutmann revived “collectivist” as communitarianism, faulting individualism. Michael Sandel flawed Rawls’s assumption of “the pure autonomous chooser," who “might reject any or all of their attachments and values and yet retain their identity.” Kymlicka argued the possibilities. “We can be social creatures, members of cultures and raised in various traditions, while also being autonomous choosers who employ our liberty to construct lives of our own.” [Thus, the human with private liberty is capable of either perfecting or ruining his or her person. He or she needs to employ the-objective-truth. But in no case does social liberty serve the person; rather it serves the society. To civilize oneself to civilization beyond Security denies the possibility of self-perfection or developing integrity.]
Mill argued that individual liberty does not work where there is no [iterative-collaboration]. Thus, barbarians must suffer despotism until they improve their attention to civic morality. Several thinkers consider such Mill thoughts an embarrassment. Inder Marawah defends Mills. Rawls argues some persons may be cooperative though not equal for more than basic human rights. Martha Nussbaum advocates moral universalism. [There remains the need for standards on basic rights, and we suggest the-objective-truth. Ultimately, everyone has the opportunity to exercise fidelity and integrity . . . or not.]
Beyond individual liberty within society, moral universalism debates the state versus all humankind. “Immanuel Kant . . . argued that all states should respect the dignity of their citizens as free and equal persons, yet denied that humanity forms one political community.” Thus, there should be separate countries “in a confederation to assure peace.” Therein, borders do not affect morality, except when there is redistributive justice. [Given the diversity that evolution has wrought, just as each person must take charge of private liberty with civic morality, each country must cultivate its culture with actual no-harm toward other countries. It seems Kant may be the source of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s apparent obsession that he is lord of dignity and equality.]
Respecting religion, in a liberal state some believers may need 1) exemption from state requirements and 2) exclusion from civil decision making. Liberalism accommodated Quakers, Mennonites and Sikhs, especially regarding education. Mill said not educating children is a moral crime. In Wisconsin vs Yoder (1972), Amish are allowed to remove their children at age 14 from public school to avoid secular influences. “According to Rawls's . . . ‘public reason liberalism’ . . . coercion cannot be justified on the basis of comprehensive moral or religious systems of belief.” [Note that the-objective-truth does not react to “public reason liberalism.” In other words, facts prevail.] On behalf of believers, Christopher Eberle argues that Rawls bars voting on deepest convictions. [Believers need to realize that just as the public should not brook votes on the basis of beliefs rather than the facts, believers should not brook public vote on beliefs.] Stephen Macedo asks believers to grow up, but Rawls only asks them to have public reasons for their votes, for example, against slavery and for civil rights. Gaus would allow a publicly justified law to be negated on reasonable religious conviction. [The-objective-truth does do not respond to “reasonable religious conviction.” In other words, facts prevail. I intend this repetition.]
“According to Gray, conservatism’s fundamental insight is that persons’ identities cannot be matters of choice, but are conferred on them by their un-chosen histories, so that what is most essential about them is…what is most accidental.” [This seems the standard will vs destiny debate. Since I claim to be non-Christian, am I to think I am a non-Christian by destiny or that I am in fact a Christian despite my choice and awareness? I don't think so.] Conservatism rejects reform for freedom or equality unless there is evidence of benefit. Justice, freedom, and truth must be validated. [This argument seems dissolved by liberty constrained by the-objective-truth. Or am I doomed to eternity in hell? I don’t think so but don’t know. All the same, I cannot deny what I don’t know. I cannot admit to what I don't know.]
The British freedom manipulated a principle of consent: common law was purportedly not imposed. Also, Britons saw no hypocrisy in the Atlantic slave trade and placement of the slaves in the colonies. Britons themselves took classism for granted [and even in 2018 the idea that their society has no classism is disputed]. Only five percent of adult males could vote. Joseph Priestly wrote that civil liberty did not extend to political liberty. [In other words, a citizen was not free to be a politician---was not regarded as sovereign.] The British navy was manned by vagrants made slaves. Such practices stemmed from medieval liberty, denied the lower classes; it was copied in New York City with work rules favoring the “freeman.”
Unfortunately, compromise was reached to negotiate a bill of rights, another British practice mimicked in some early state constitutions. Consequently, most Americans focus on the Bill of Rights more than the rest of the constitution, including the preamble. “Rights are simultaneously . . . democratic in that they can be claimed by everyone [and] undemocratic in that they need to be protected against abuses of power, including the power of the people themselves.”[The media boast that "public opinion determines public policy" begs woe. Ultimately, the constitution determines public policy in the USA.]
On 9/21/16 I had completed an initial search for past use of "private integrity" to define a civic culture. I have not found past use, but want to share results so far.
I like Stanford's online*** and there found this thought: "The pursuit of adequate personal integrity often depends, not so much on understanding who one is and what one believes and is committed to, but rather understanding what one's society is and imagining what it could be.” I think the thought is close to mine, but not quite parallel. I might mimic the the though as follows: In practicing private integrity the person willingly considers possible harm to self, other people, and the universe, and neither brooks nor imposes harm. On 2/19/17, I view that last sentence as describing public-integrity; see below.
"Private integrity" by Ron Rolheiser**** boils down to a standard argument against applying Pascal's wager. The person who bets knows his or her motives. Also, believing in the wrong god might beg woe.
There are some modern applications that seem more like spam, not really worthy of consideration.
On 9/21/16, I wrote: Consider private integrity a concise expression of private liberty with civic morality. Thereby, one can help discover, and benefit from, the-objective-truth rather than try to impose an opinion on a civic culture. A civic culture collaborates for Security (comprehensive civic safety and security).
** Carl Eric Scott, "Five Conceptions of American Liberty," National Review, No. 20, 2014, online at nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-five-conceptions-of-american-liberty .
***Cox, Damian, La Caze, Marguerite and Levine, Michael, "Integrity", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/integrity/>.
**** Online at ronrolheiser.com/private-integrity/#.V-LavK3QNIQ .***** [Before 9/6/16, private integrity did not occur to us, but we studied and discussed that phrase. In online dialog with William Bonin on October 10, 2016, we realized that public integrity better expresses private-liberty-with-civic-morality, because private-integrity does not explicitly invoke civic duty. See the dialog at theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/our_views/article_c4331eda-800b-11e6-bffd-0779ed43ea0e.html?sr_source=lift_amplify .]
Copyright©2016 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 on July 4, 2018