Over the last year or so, various polls have come out which show invariably around 80% of people feel like the country is moving in the wrong direction. And, unfortunately, I think that those 80% of people are right. But what’s happening here….what exactly is happening, and in what areas, to move the country in the wrong direction? There is a general sense of unease, but there has to be something more specific to it. We’ve been very blessed in this nation. We were bequeathed by our forefathers the greatest nation and the greatest human civilization that history has ever seen. But what made it so? What made it so prosperous? Why is it that we’re the greatest country and the greatest civilization in the history of humanity?
If you look back to the time when our fledgling country was being formed, there were certain principles, certain phrases that kept popping up again and again. They appeared in the great documents of the day, and were on the lips of the founding fathers and on the minds of the populace. Sayings such as Liberty and Justice for All; Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; and We Hold These Truths to be Self Evident that All Men Are Created Equal. In other words it was these principles--the principles of justice for all, the principles of equality, and the principles of freedom of the people--that became the foundations around which our nation was formed. They were the organizing ideas of how to create a fair and just society, and thus America was born. Throughout her two hundred plus years of existence, she has always been the beacon for the rest of the world, the beacon for justice, equality, and freedom of the people.  As that, people have always come to this country seeking a better life, seeking a better society than that which they have come from. Yet now that great society, this great country, is deteriorating. It is moving in the wrong direction, or so says the vast majority of its citizens.
There’s a funny thing about human misery…some of it we don’t cause. Some of human misery is caused by events beyond our control. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis occur, and people die and suffer. Cancer still happens. Rare devastating neurologic diseases happen and we don’t, and can’t, control that. We try to do the best we can, but those things are not our fault. But eerily, the fact remains that the majority of human suffering is caused by other humans. It’s caused by the way we set up our societies. It’s caused by our lack of adherence to these principles, these inalienable rights of human existence of Justice, Equality, and Freedom. If you look at what’s generally considered the worst places on earth to be a human being, places like Sierra Leone, Somalia, or Mali, where human existence is filled with poverty, misery, and suffering; you will find that these societies have a complete lack of regard for these principles of justice for all, freedom of the people, and equality.
It is our moving away from these principles, our losing of these principles…that is how this country is moving in the wrong direction, and people can feel it, they can sense it. Likewise, we’ve started to develop chinks in our armor as far as prosperity, and people are running around wondering how do we fix this, how do we right the ship so that we are economically successful as a country. The truth is the focus should not be on economic success because ultimately, if you focus on the right things, the prosperity will follow (as it always has in this nation over its history). In other words, we are prosperous because we are free, not the other way around. We are not necessarily free because we are prosperous. Now I’m not saying prosperity doesn’t help in maintaining our freedom. It certainly does; it’s just not the foundation. Freedom is the foundation.
Why is this the case…why does freedom in a society lead to prosperity for that society? In a truly free society your life is your own. You are the master of your own situation. You are free to make good decisions such as getting an education and working hard and subsequently enjoy the rewards that stems from those things. You are also free to make bad choices such as being lazy or partying to the point of flunking out of school and subsequently suffer the consequences of those bad choices. Freedom, being a situation that inherently rewards the things that lead to prosperity, brings prosperity to a society.
So if we want to shore up our prosperity, job #1 is to shore up our freedom, to shore up these principles of equality and justice for all. We do that, and prosperity will indeed follow. So besides the dedications at the front of this book, this book is dedicated to the idea that a total commitment to the principles of freedom, justice for all, and equality; always using compassion for people in general as a guiding light; and utilizing common sense, we can start moving back in the right direction. We can shore up our democracy, our freedom, our justice for all.
What is equality? Equality is equal treatment by the government towards its various citizens…that the government not give preferential treatment towards one group of citizens over another group of citizens. Likewise with justice…. justice can often be used interchangeably with equality. Inequality is inherently injustice. Like freedom, equality and justice are absolutely necessary foundations for a successful society.
Let’s talk a little more about common sense. We have shown tremendous capacity for logic and reason, and by applying that capacity we have accomplished some wondrous things. We have erected buildings that tower high into the sky. We have created computers that can do billions of calculations in a second. We have walked on the moon and come back home safely. Yet we seem to have difficulty applying our capacity for reason and common sense to perhaps the most important thing of all…ourselves, and how we design and operate our society. Through the sciences and through history, we have learned so much about human nature. Yet we fail to apply this knowledge about human nature, and about cause and effect, to the way we set up and run our nation.
You see, there is a reality to our human nature. We all need love, companionship, and respect. We all chaff at injustice. In general we do things that we are rewarded for doing and we avoid doing things that we are punished for doing. Taken as a whole, this basic knowledge about the reality of our human nature is just part of common sense. If we incorporate this basic common sense knowledge into the way we set up our governmental systems then those systems will succeed. If we ignore common sense in the way we set up our governmental systems, then often times the results are disastrous as we will see later in this book.
There is another aspect to our human nature that is worth mentioning here. When it comes to injustice, we are acutely aware of injustice that is occurring towards ourselves. If instead it is injustice that is occurring to someone else and we are receiving neither benefit nor harm from this injustice, our awareness and recognition of the injustice begins to get a little bit murky. If it is injustice towards somebody else that we are receiving benefit from then often times we have a complete blind spot in recognizing that injustice. Much of the time this is not purposeful. It is just an aspect to our human nature. The only way around this is to mentally put yourself in that other person’s shoes or situation and take a mental stroll from that perspective. This is not something that is necessarily easy to do but it is an ability that can be learned over time.
People invariably agree with the principles of freedom, equality and justice for all when those principles benefit them. When sticking to those principles precludes a beneficial situation for a person however, often that person will reject these principles in favor of their own benefit (usually on an emotional basis). This book covers many different issues and problems in our society. There is much corruption and inequality (and thus injustice) occurring in many different directions in our society. It is quite likely that as you read this book you will eventually come across a topic that crosses you in some way, perhaps an inequality towards others that is beneficial to you and is simply in your blind spot. If and when that occurs I only ask that instead of rejecting the ideas presented out of hand, you read them completely and give them full consideration in terms of these principles of freedom, equality and justice for all. These principles are universal and must be applied without fail or exception.
On another level, in our modern society there seems to be a lot of “us” versus “them” animosities occurring…democrat vs republican, rich vs poor, union vs industry, race vs race. People pick their side and from that point on everything their side does is right and everything the other side does is wrong. On the basis of these very strongly felt personal allegiances, you might find yourself cheering what is said in some chapters and becoming angry at what is said in other chapters. If this happens consider that justice, equality, and freedom must be allowed to apply to all people, instead of rejecting what is being said with an emotionally based “us versus them” driven response.
There are some chapters in this book where the tone is confrontational and other chapters where it is less so. This is because in some of the areas covered there are groups that are knowingly creating and taking advantage of injustice and inequality for their own benefit. Quite frankly if you are purposely creating injustice towards others for your own benefit then you deserve to be taken to task. In other areas it appears that the inequality and injustice is simply in the blind spot of those who are being benefited by it.
You might have read the table of contents and the chapter titles and thought “each of these topics is a book unto itself, how are they to be covered in just a few pages each”. You are right that each of these subject areas are very complex indeed and worthy of more in depth discussion on their own accord. This book however is about the principles of freedom, equality, justice for all, and common sense and how these principles are being compromised in these specific areas within our society. This compromise of principle is usually very straight forward on a foundational level and I purposely focused my attention there. It is on this foundational level where we are getting things wrong as a society. In reading this book, think of each chapter subject as a forest. The forest has many trees but I don’t focus in on the trees because we don’t want to lose sight of the forest for the sake of the trees. It is the foundational principles of freedom, equality, justice, and common sense and how they are being compromised (the forest) that is important and thus that is what I focus on in this book.
The truth is that every single problem or misery that is human caused in regards to society is caused by a violation of these principles, and/or by a violation of basic common sense. The good news here is that every single one of these problems has a straightforward solution based on logic and reason, grounded in these principles, and grounded in common sense. What follows in this book are a set of ideas, positions, and statements using these principles and common sense to guide us to solutions to the most pressing national problems which face us today. Solutions which will ultimately start moving us back in the right direction to a place where joy and prosperity reigns, justice rules, and where freedom of the people is throughout the land.
Table of Contents
1) The Campaign Finance System
2) The Federal Courts
3) Some Tidying Up
4) The War on Drugs
5) Global Warming, Energy, and all that mess
6) The Civil Justice System
7) More on Common Sense
8) The Harsh Truth
9) The Public Education System
10) Social Security
12) Health Care
13) The Financial Raping of America
14) Inheritance Taxes
15) National Economic Tsunami, The One That Is and The One That Is to Come
16) Seperation of Church and State
17) Illegal Immigration