Thursday, August 4, 2016
Pimps and victims
I had a rant all set to go but it was doing actual damage to my heart and soul so I shitcanned it.
Let's put it this way.
In this nation the foundational principle is "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
That's it, top banana, number one principle. Without that principle as solid bedrock, everything else in the Declaration or in the Constitution is just so much spilled ink.
In the context of civilization and of the Liberty of human beings, the unwritten corollary to the first principle is none other than the Golden Rule, treat others as you would be treated. Or if you prefer this notion without the flavor of The Almighty, you can easily substitute Kant's categorical imperative and treat all men as an end only, and never as means to an end.
And so that's that. To be an American (to be a civilized human, really) one MUST recognize and believe that all men are created equal. That all men are human beings with the same fundamental human value. None are less human, none are more human. This means every single human being, not just one's friends and family and tribal members. All of 'em, even enemies. Especially enemies. Terrorists. Dictators. Murderers. Rapists. Lawyers. Used car salesmen. Journalists. Politicians.
If one decides that "those people" are really not human after all, then one is doing it wrong. Most importantly, one is destroying one's soul.
Now I know that we don't like such people. But we don't like them for their actions. Their fundamental humanity remains unchanged. For their uncivilized and inhumane actions they must be judged, by individuals and by society as a whole, and treated in the proper fashion.
But individuals and society cannot make such judgments and take such actions in a principled and civilized fashion unless they recognize the fundamental humanity at the core of the miscreant.
And perhaps more importantly, unless they treat the miscreant as they would be treated, as an end only, and not as a means to an end.
And note the language, please. As they would be treated, not as they'd like to be treated. As they would be treated, after hard thinking and deep reflection reveals to them what would be right, proper and just in the context of the first principle and of civilized behavior.
Hard thinking is hard work. It's also one of the most important responsibilities of the real American citizen. And it appears to be among the least practiced.
Now many people who live in this land have a different opinion. And as they will always say, they have a right to have a different opinion. They are correct.
But one cannot be an American unless one embraces the first principle. Period. It's not good enough to say it. One has to actually do it.
No human is perfect. We all stumble and fall. None of us, certainly not myself, have never treated others as objects, as things to be used, in a fashion by which we would not be treated, as a means to an end. But most of us -- every one of us who have the capacity to reason and be honest -- recognize that such behavior is wrong, and understand why it is wrong in the context of the first principle and of civilized behavior.
Now, in my opinion, our society would not be in the state it's in unless a large majority of the people who live here have cast aside any notion of being guided by the first principle. That is a very bad state of affairs.
The upside is that just as all humans are imperfect, so to do all humans have the capacity to see reason and to change course. And thanks to the giants who came before, upon whose shoulders we stand, we have a clear and reasoned set of guidelines to help steer us away from the rocks and shoals.
When I talk to people about the state of our society, most people shrug helplessly and say that they can't do anything at all to change things. That they're just one person. That it's the government, and you can't fight city hall.
Well, one can simply quit, as a clear majority have quit. Or one can get back in the fight. A good place to start -- the only place to start -- is the first principle.
Those who live in this country can either do that, or end up with one of these.
And then it'll be up to someone else to fight and die for the principles laid out in all that otherwise spilled ink.