Saturday, March 13, 2010

Self, Government, Money and Altruism

The quest for identity and meaning often starts whether consciously or subconsciously with the question "Who am I". Throughout the animal kingdom, including humans, most of that identification is wrapped up in reflecting and imitating the behaviors, thinking and sentimentality of the family and friends we grow up with. Whether from the genetic core or just from behavioral modification, most people ,whether they like it or not, act and talk very similar to others in their families.

The topic of self and government came back to the forefront today as I was listening to a political speech online. The speaker was quoting from the USA Declaration of Independence where it says:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

For some of you it may be a reach for tying this quote into my topic...but let me explain how it does.

The biggest trend in modern day life is to let governments and institutions take over in areas that used be very "localized". The world is becoming a "melting pot" while at the same time "extreme fundamentalism" is growing in direct relation to this phenomenon. While modern transportation and technology enables us to travel at much greater speeds and lower cost...a majority of the world is NOT free to travel outside of their own borders. Protectionism and socialism are the fastest growing ideals for attempting to resolve the world's ills. The problems appear so big that the majority of folks simply and with futility pass their sovereignty over to governments and institutions to solve the world's crisis.

Sensationalism is also running the mindset of the masses related to crisis management. While it seems positive to see so many fund-raising and awareness campaigns for helping in the recent devastation due to earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, these same forces seem blind to the continued plight of the poor and homeless in the USA. We have more homeless in many of the USA's largest cities than you have in many of these emerging market Latin cities I am currently involved with. Yet, our government pours billions into foreign causes but can't get a handle on its own homeless and disgruntled veterans of foreign wars. And when it comes to helping places like Haiti, there is apparently little rule of law managing their property rights and many other legal issues of their current plight. do you help a country where there is no true democracy or clear ownership rights on much of the country's land? Many people there are still homeless NOT because there isn't ready aid for them...but because there is no clear ownership of property or way to know who will really be the benefactor/owner of a given structure or housing. What has been going on in that country for the last century and with all the aid given heretofore? I think we have a pretty good idea...statism in it's truest corrupt form where the people are controlled by a elite "police state". Is this really so different from the rest of the world?

Unfortunately we now live in a world where Governments and dictatorships strive to limit the freedoms of their constituents and lord over the sovereign choices that individuals should be able to make for themselves. Increasingly governments are passing MORE laws and ordinances to control the movements of one's assets, expression of thoughts and even more importantly, our freedoms physically to roam in God's good earth. Unless you are part of the "elite" in most parts of the world, you are not free to come and go as you please. Even to get a passport...a requirement for international travel anymore...involves making certain oaths and declarations of "allegiance" that to me countermand the "God given" constitutional rights our forefathers in America envisioned for ALL...not just Americans.

It has now come down to...if you want to get along "peacefully" in this world, you'd better be identified with and in allegiance to a "democracy". And you had better have money, because money in reality is the ticket to freedom and independence. If you are "dependent" on your government or the society or family around you for your had better be ready to give up your "independence". The reality is, you can't have it both ways. You can't be "independent" and "dependent" at the same time. You are or you aren't...just by definition.

Don't mistake my intent here. I am not saying we NEVER should depend on each other in the human family or help each other out when disaster strikes. But what I AM saying is that we should never take such help or association for granted, and we should never leave it the hands of institutions and governments to take from us and give to others. Third party morals are almost always the problem when it comes to waste and graft.

Pertaining to what I have previously written in other of my blogs...the pyramid of entitlements and redistribution of "societal wealth" has gone completely upside down. People in general do not take responsibility for their own and count on the "social good" to cover for their lack of productivity or wrong thinking. The whole world system teeters on the brink of oblivion because of this dynamic...too FEW doing for too MANY. It doesn't take a college education to read and deduce the coming macros of population booms and its drain on global resources. The poor and uneducated continue repopulating the earth while the educated and financial elite are actually too busy or stressed out by society to even have a sex life. Sure, I am over generalizing...but my point stands.

I am convinced that in order to change "the world", governments and institutions need to revamp their approach to providing security for the masses. Instead of money for bombs and armies...we need to spend more for armies of teachers and "producers". The world needs to wake up to the reality that there is no entitlement for entitlements sake. No one "owes us" anything just because we put ourselves in the position of owing or being owed. If someone gives to us, we should be ready and willing to return that which was given when we are able. Lets face it...if everyone was brought up to simply take care of THEMSELVES, there would be very little need for altruism in taking care of the masses.

Most religions actually preach a communal way of life and coexistence where EVERYONE is supposed to work and strive to take care of themselves and their families. It is wise in almost all religions to neither owe nor be owed a debt. Being just and fair in most of man's religions involve very strict codes of interactive conduct and a sense of "an eye for an eye...a tooth for a tooth". Its just the way it has been for thousands of years, whether you look at it from a Darwinian or religious point of view. Yet somehow in our "modern", "enlightened" age...we are now conditioned to think that we owe the world and the world owes us. Whether that is a "job", or international disaster relief...I think things have gotten out of hand as to the world's perspective on government's role in our lives.

Since most countries are NOT true democracies, how can we be assured that our support of one country or another is truly going to the proper place or need? it a person's or country's obligation to give freely to an others well being? I have no problem with helping others and giving loans, but I think historically CHARITY has proven to continue feeding off itself. The more one gives, the more others want. It seems the evil side of human nature is that this pattern perpetuates. I am more confident than ever that it is "better to teach a person to fish than to just give them fish".

So, is it "un-American" to question my government or reject some of the controls it is trying to usurp over me to meet its own impossible obligations it perceives in the rest of the world? From a constitutional standpoint I would have to argue "NO". Government is supposed to serve it's constituents, not the other way around. And it is supposed to uphold anyone's individual rights against any unconstitutional demands of a majority of other people. That is true of constitutional government in the USA at least. To the extent that my government makes demands on one's sovereign rights or freedoms, it is your constitutional obligation to reject and/or ignore its demands.

Unfortunately, in this day and age it is easier to exile oneself from their country than to try and initiate change. The world, including the USA, has become a huge example of the "Atlas Shrugged" phenomenon. The knowledgeable, hardworking, productive "good guys" are starting to escape the demands of the masses and institutions. As I told some friends the other day, "it is a sad day when the good guys have to hide". By "hiding" I mean...they have to hide their assets, their knowledge and their passion...lest the masses of the world system steal it all and waste it on the machinations of futility. Those who "take" begin with requesting a dime, then they want a dollar, then they want it all. And somehow they convince themselves they are justified in demanding it.

I close this blog with a quote from "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand...

Not an ocean of tears not all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor—your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money, Is this what you consider evil?…

Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. …

Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. …

Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another–their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun. …

When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

“Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing—when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors—when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you—when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot. …

Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, ‘Account overdrawn.’

“When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world? You are.

No comments: