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Date last revised: 25 February 2014
Some readers will think this writing is too long, some will utterly reject its ideas, some will consider it heretical, in either a religious or political way. But other readers will learn something useful from this writing, and some will be encouraged that there is a writer who has a view of this issue that is similar to their own, and who had the courage to “put it out there” where anyone can read it. But that is about the limits of my courage, which may sound the trumpet-call of retreat at any moment. So read this piece while it is still here….. it may disappear at any time. For that matter, this entire blog could disappear at any time, if it draws the attention of powerful forces that object to its truth.
For those readers who will think this writing is unnecessary or wrong, consider the recent case of the young black man in Florida, Trayvon Martin, who was shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Neither one of these people followed the Golden Rule, but each was following his own moral rules, and it resulted in the shooting death of the young Trayvon Martin, a great tragedy. George Zimmerman won the immediate fight, but regardless of his guilt or innocence, his entire life is probably ruined, by the racial and political issues that have taken over this case. That is also a great tragedy.
After Trayvon’s death, black men carried out at least 14 attacks on white victims across America, with the idea of “avenging” Trayvon. They attacked white victims, even though George Zimmerman was not white, but Hispanic. In Toledo, 6 black punks beat a 78-year-old white man, shouting: “This is for Trayvon… Trayvon lives, white man… Kill that white man!” In Gainesville, 5 blacks beat a 27-year-old white man severely, leaving his face permanently disfigured. The blacks were shouting “Trayvon!” during the vicious attack. I did not hear of these attacks on the news, and you probably did not either, because the liberal mainstream media (LMM) will not report such attacks, or if they do, they will not mention the race of the attackers. The reverse racism of the LMM is so obvious, so stupid, and so very disgusting. The LMM is no longer an objective news-reporting profession….. it is a propaganda machine for liberal / progressive / radical zealots, and a weapon to attack and punish its philosophical opponents.
Zimmerman was pronounced “not guilty” by a jury of 6 women. There were threats of rioting by blacks. There were more vicious attacks of whites by blacks, to “avenge” Trayvon, even though Trayvon’s parents urged them to to remain peaceful with “quiet reflection”.
Why did Zimmerman shoot Trayvon, and was he really justified? Perhaps so, or perhaps not. He could have avoided the fight, and Trayvon also could have avoided the fight. Trayvon was not doing anything wrong, until he found himself on top of Zimmerman, hitting Zimmerman and pounding Zimmerman’s head on the concrete. That in itself gave Zimmerman the legal right to shoot Trayvon. We must go far beyond the Golden Rule to answer these questions. But what about our hunting and killing of Osama Bin Laden? What about the hunting and killing of Libyan leader Moammar Ghadaffi, by his own people? Did you approve or disapprove of that? If you disapproved, then you have come to the right place, for you are in sore need of an attitude adjustment.
Such cases concerning the use of deadly force are fascinating, and they are happening every day, all over the world. Here is a link to a website, Victims of the State, that describes some of the more famous of these cases, in which the defendant was falsely accused….. http://victimsofthestate.org/CC/new.html …… you should ask yourself: what would you do in these situations? Following the Golden Rule would not help you in most of these situations, and if you survived, you would be wrongly accused and put through hell on earth.
In most other situations, a defender with a gun is successful in stopping or preventing a crime, with no repercussions to the defender, often without even firing the gun. One researcher, Dr. Gary Kleck, says that this happens about 2.5 million times a year in the US. This means that guns are used by private citizens to protect life or property 60 times more often than a gun is fired with criminal intent: http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0210e.asp . Private citizens are also 5 times more effective than the police, in using their guns against criminals to stop crimes.
And on the moral side of this issue, a man or woman using a gun (or knife, or baseball bat, or their bare hands) to protect themselves or their family against a monster who has broken into their home and who is intent on killing them or raping them or robbing them, is totally justified and in the right, and the historic “Golden Rule” is worthless to them, even dangerous or fatal. This little problem is not mentioned in the ancient teachings of the “Golden Rule”. And in many states today, the “Golden Rule” is enforced by law, prohibiting a homeowner from using a weapon against an intruder, but instead requiring retreat from the intruder. Such laws are an outrageous violation of natural moral principles, justice and common sense.
The following article is a work in progress, that I have written on and off, mostly off, for the last 15 years. I will probably work on it for the next 15 years, modifying it as my slow research may require. Until I finally decide what to do with it, this is the best place I can put it. This blog gets views from many different countries, as well as the USA. WordPress.com started reporting views by country on February 25, 2012. Since then, I have had 1081 views from the USA, 97 views from the UK, 92 views from Canada, 58 views from Brazil, 111 views from Australia, 29 views from Thailand, 48 views from India, 21 views from New Zealand, 22 views from Italy, 35 views from Germany, and so on. This includes views from hostile countries such as Russia (39), Indonesia (48), France (33), Turkey (20), Romania (12), Slovakia (9), Chile (9), Netherlands (14), Venezuela (7), Serbia (3), Pakistan (8), Colombia (3), Sri Lanka (3), UAE (5), Saudi Arabia (4), Libya (2), Vietnam (5), Jordan (2), Kenya (3). If you don’t think some of these countries are partially unfriendly to us, you should think again. Unfortunately, the more oppressed countries, which need this message the most, have restricted internets, so they will not be able to see it. I am surprised there are views from Libya, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. This is just a record of the views since Feb 25, 2012. The total views of this blog are 3120 views, since Jan 5, 2011, from a total of 85 countries. This averages about 3 views per day, every day, with 2 of them from countries other than the US. You may think these are paltry numbers, but if I can improve the philosophy of just a few people in the world, or have them improve my philosophy, then I consider all my efforts to be worthwhile. My “marketing” methods may be strange, as in non-existent, but after all, I am not trying to “market” a product for any profit. I am simply doing something that I enjoy, and offering it for free, to others who may enjoy or appreciate it. If you do not enjoy or appreciate it, then…… what are you doing here?….. nobody is keeping you here….. don’t let the door hit your ass on your way out. Goodbye, and good riddance…..
I would like to think that most of the people who read the following article will agree with some or most of it, but I don’t know. I might be in a tiny minority. That is why discussion and debate are so important in philosophy, so we can discover the agreements and disagreements, be directed to new evidence, and reform our viewpoints, if necessary.
If you read all or part of this article, comments will form in your mind. Comments are welcome here, with these simple conditions: if they are constructive or helpful, I will post them. If they are destructive or rude, I will not post them. If you have an opposing point or argument, that is the most welcome, because it might help me correct an error I have made in thought or judgment….. or it might enable me to help correct an error of yours. Truthseeking should be a group activity.
My philosophical-leaning articles are not light entertainment. They require an investment of reading time and thought, more than just a minute-or-two glance. With these articles, I am trying to fill a vacancy or a void I see in both formal philosophy and cultural philosophy. Most philosophy is increasingly liberal and pacifist, and it spreads many falsehoods and errors in logic and judgment. The religious and moral foundations of American culture and Western civilization are being attacked and destroyed. I am neither liberal nor pacifist, and I will not let these attacks go unchallenged. In my own small way, I am trying to nudge philosophy and culture away from insanity and back to their conservative roots, with a blend of philosophical reasoning, science, and metaphysical faith. And I hope I am giving others the inspiration and ammunition to do the same. So now, I hope you enjoy my latest article, which perhaps contains the core principle of my philosophy. That core principle is extremely important. It has the potential to end the most intense suffering in the world….. the suffering that results from predatory people preying on other people. This should not be tolerated, and we all have the ability to stop such suffering, whenever and wherever we encounter it, if only we have the courage to do so:
The Golden Rule Needs Some Iron: for the Defense of Goodness
A well-organized society is one in which we know the truth about ourselves
collectively, not one in which we tell pleasant lies about ourselves.
– Tony Judt, British historian (1948-2010)
Pure gold is simply too soft for most practical uses. It must be mixed with
harder metals to form a strong alloy. Likewise, the Golden Rule, while
precious, is too soft to serve as our only Rule of life. It must be mixed
with a Rule of Iron to form our morality into a strong and useful alloy.
–Original to this work
Immanuel Kant, Jesus, Buddha and many others would have us follow the Golden Rule in all things, above all else. The Golden Rule, or the moral principle of reciprocity, is found in the writings of almost every religion. Among good people, it is generally regarded as the most concise and most important principle of ethics. It is even hailed by many as the only moral principle we really need. Here is a collection of religious teachings on the moral principle of reciprocity:
All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them.
Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31
You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. Matthew 22:36-40
If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Romans 13:9
Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.
The Culture of Ancient Egypt, “The Eloquent Peasant” (John Albert Wilson)
That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another. A Late Period Hieratic
Wisdom Text (P. Brooklyn)
He sought for others the good he desired for himself. Let him pass. Egyptian Book of the Dead (1580-1350 BC)
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law,
the rest is commentary. The Talmud, Shabbat 31a
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself; I am The Lord. Leviticus 19:18
Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Hadith, an-Nawawi 13 (The Hadith is Mohammed’s teachings, not those of Allah)
(Note: this teaching of Islam only applies between faithful Muslims)
That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind. Conversations of Muhammad
(attributed to the man Mohammed in the Hadith, not the god Allah in the Koran)
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1
Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
Detachment and Compassion in Early Buddhism, by Elizabeth J. Harris
One should seek for others the happiness one desires for himself.
Buddha (Siddhartha Guatama, c. 563-483 BC)
One should not behave towards others in a way that is harmful to oneself.
Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8
This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 5.1517
And if your eyes be turned toward justice, choose for your neighbor what you choose for yourself. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 30
Beware lest you harm any soul, or make any heart to sorrow; lest you wound any man
with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe.
Selections from the Writings of Abdul-Baha
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.
In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.
Golden Rule: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.
Guru Granth Sahib, page 1299
Tsekung asked, Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life? Confucius replied, It is the word “shu” – reciprocity. Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you. Analects 15.23
Try your best to be treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence. Mencius VII.A.4
Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Tai Shang Kan Ying Pien
Hear ye these words and heed them well, the words of Dea, thy Mother Goddess, “I command thee thus, O children of the Earth, that which ye deem harmful unto thyself, the very same shall ye be forbidden from doing to another, for violence and hatred give rise to the same. My command is thus, that ye shall return all violence and hatred with peacefulness and love, for my Law is love unto all things. Only through love shall ye have peace; only peace and love will cure the world, and subdue all evil.”
Codex Vias, Part Two
Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others. Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-Dinik 94,5
Act in such a way that the maxim of your conduct can be willed as a universal law. Immanuel Kant, German philosopher (1724 – 1804)
Do not do to your neighbor what you would take ill from him. Pittacus, 640-568 BC
Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing. Thales, 624-546 BC
What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself. Sextus the Pythagorean
We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us. Aristotle (384-322 BC)
Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates (436-338 BC)
It has been shown that to injure anyone is never just anywhere. Socrates, The Republic
The Golden Rule painting by Norman Rockwell
Outside this original work that you are now reading, this rule of moral reciprocity, the Golden Rule, is utterly passive (or pacifist). But it appears in positive and negative forms, which are duly described in the literature. In the positive form, we are to actively DO positive things for others, to help others; things that we would wish them to do for us. In the negative form, we are to REFRAIN FROM DOING negative things to others, such as physical harm, that we would wish them NOT to do to us. This passive Golden Rule, in both forms, shared by all these different religions and philosophies, is a great moral concept. But I hope to show that it is incomplete. It should not be thought of as the complete moral principle of reciprocity. It is only one side of that principle, like one side of a gold coin, like one end of a carpenter’s hammer. One end of the hammer drives nails in, the other end pulls nails out. Both ends of the hammer are essential to the greater task of taking down an old house and building a new house.
Look at this wonderful painting by Norman Rockwell. He strove to paint people who look as different as possible, from many different cultures, but who are all equal in their peacefulness, their innocence, their humility, their benevolent morality. They are all of one mind; there are no disagreements; there are no arguments; there are no conflicts; there are no adversaries; there are no predators; there are no enemies. This an excellent visualization of all the above historical quotes of the Golden Rule. It is a tempting fantasy, but it is a pleasant lie about ourselves, about our world, that we should not indulge in. This painting is like a hallucinogenic drug, a pleasing fantasy that charms us, that entices us to ignore reality. In reality, there are arguments, conflicts, predators and enemies all around us. Even among our friends or family, there are people who are wasting their lives, and enticing us to waste our lives along with them. The dream of “Equality” is a fleeting fantasy that blinds us to that reality. The dream of “The Golden Rule” also blinds us to the reality of the moral inequality all around us.
As a general rule, it is better to be able to see the world around us, than to be blind, wouldn’t you agree? People who are blind are severely limited and handicapped in life. We pity the blind, and those of us with good eyesight would never give it up willingly. It is extremely useful to be able to use our vision to see and measure the quantities and qualities of the environment around us, which includes the people in that environment. We appreciate our eyesight, and we depend on it to the fullest extent. It is incredible how quickly that simple idea gets lost or ignored, when we delve into philosophy or theology or even scientific theory. Too often, we are asked to close our mental or spiritual eyes, or to ignore what we know we are seeing with them.
When we can see and measure something with precision, we can apply intelligence and genius to those measurements, understand the natural principles at work behind the measurements, and accomplish amazing things. Our modern civilization is based on measurements, which lead us to understanding, which leads to the miracles of technology that we all now depend on every day. We can measure almost everything, from quantum particles to galaxies, from microns to light years to parsecs, from foot-pounds to megatons. Scientists can measure just about every physical feature of our environment now, but they still cannot measure the METAphysical. What science CANNOT measure are the most important things….. life energy; the miracle of life itself; the hidden forces around us; the hidden qualities of the people that use all these measurements.
The inability of science to deal with the miracle of life is well-illustrated by the definition of “Life” found in a medical dictionary: “Life: a constellation of vital phenomena– organization, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction, adaptation.” Sorry, folks, but this is NOT a definition of life, as the dictionary writers should well know. This is a boiled-down list of the basic things that life DOES, this is not a description of the DOER. This is like listing all the known characteristics of sunlight (illumination, heat, color, etc.), and calling it a definition of the sun…. ridiculous!! The sun is not defined as the things it produces….. the sun is a star, an amazing ball of hydrogen fusion and other elements that also produce a “constellation of vital phenomena”– such as illumination, heat, color, and gravity– without which life could not survive on our planet, from its beginning 4 to 5 billion years ago. The sun is not sunlight; the sun produces sunlight. Similarly, life is not our bodies and their activities, but life produces our bodies and expresses itself through our bodies’ activities, which are life’s products. Without the vital creative energy of life, there would be no bodies, no activities, no physical “vital phenomena” for dictionary writers to list. Science has discovered and measured the physical “vital statistics” of the sun (distance, mass, size, temperature, elements), so we can give it a proper definition, because it exists in the physical realm. But science cannot give us a definition of life, because science does not know the “vital statistics” of life; the cause of life, the source of life, the energy of life. These “vital statistics” of life exist in the METAphysical realm, beyond the reach of science. Yet we all possess life within us, and know the definition of life intimately and intuitively, even if we cannot measure it or put it in writing. We cannot see it with our eyes, but we FEEL it with our inner senses. We feel it with all our being, and life IS our very being, our very essence, apart from our physical bodies. But all medical science can do to define life, is to come up with a pathetic laundry list of a few basic things that our physical bodies can do.
Some psychic-gifted people can sense colorful “auras” glowing around people, and can tell the general morality of a person by the color of the aura. Different aura colors indicate different qualities of character, and different levels of emotional maturity. A darkened or black aura indicates hostile emotions, the holding of grudges and sinister intent. With Kirlian photography and more recent techniques, cameras have been developed that are claimed to capture these auras in photographs, as shown here. These photos may be fake, but they may be real. There is an interesting effect of the photos posted here. When I move my eyes quickly from one to the other, the auras seem to move or pulsate. Do you notice this effect?
Just imagine with me, for a delightful moment, how different (and better) our lives would be, if these auras are real and if everyone could see them. I would love to wave a magic wand, and suddenly enable everyone to see auras. We would be able to tell a lot about a person just by looking at them. You cannot read a book by its cover, but you could read much about a person from their aura. We could have better relationships, because we could tell if we would be compatible with them or not. We could avoid deep relationships with people whose auras (and personalities) clash with ours. Most importantly, people with dim or dark auras would not be trusted, and they could no longer fool us into trusting them. Can you imagine a politician giving a speech to thousands or millions of people, with a dark aura swirling around him? No one would believe anything he said. Actually, there would not be any politicians with dark auras, because they could not get enough votes to get elected in the first place. Can you imagine how much better our government would be? There may not be any dictators or tyrants, because people trying to become dictators or tyrants would have the darkest auras, and they would not be able to lie about their intentions. People with dark auras would be easier to help, if they would accept help. If we wish, we could extend the passive Golden Rule to them, in a limited fashion, while on guard, like trying to tame a lion. It would be easier to identify and catch criminals, if they would not accept help. A person’s evil would be on display, in his or her aura, like a gauge on an instrument panel. Everyone, including the dark ones if they are willing, would benefit from this, and the world would become a much safer and happier place. All because we could now see, or measure, the moral qualities of the people around us, and they could see or measure ours. All because we could now see another part of our natural being, our metaphysical anatomy, that was there all along, but only a few people could see it, and the rest of us did not believe them.
Most scientists would scoff that auras do not exist, because they cannot detect or measure auras. Instead of scoffing, they should be questioning their own knowledge. But that is not all they cannot measure. Science cannot measure good and evil, science cannot measure love and hate, science cannot measure intentions, science cannot measure free will, science cannot measure morality, science cannot measure ethics, science cannot measure a soul, science cannot measure God. What science cannot measure, a soul for example, science ignores, or even denies that souls exist. Most scientists lean toward atheism, and scoff at religion. But….. good, evil, love, hate, free will, intent, life energies, souls….. these “unmeasurables” are the most important things to measure, are they not? I think so, and you probably think so, too. Yet, these are the things that many scientists (the atheistic ones) and philosophers (the liberal ones) argue against, proclaiming they do not exist. Most other scientists simply ignore these “unmeasurables”, because they are in the business of measurement, so why should they waste time on something that cannot be measured, and therefore may not even exist? This only leads to massive frustration, and possible loss of funding for lack of results. But they DO spend massive amounts of money and time researching behaviors, brain activity, genetics, hormones, and chemicals in our bodies, and use this evidence to argue that the all-important “unmeasurables” mentioned above do not exist. This is a round-about, negative way of acknowledging that the “unmeasurables” are of prime importance. It is also a biased battle against the truth, instead of an honest effort to find the truth.
Science ignores it, but If you do have a soul, if you ARE a soul, then that is the most important fact in your entire existence, is it not? That one fact changes your outlook on everything else. This is a big reason many people are atheists. If they acknowledged the metaphysical, it would logically and morally require them to move out of the ‘comfort zone’ of atheist denial, and accept the uncertain and the unknowable. It would remove the fence they have built around their backyard of certain knowledge, and they would have to ponder the uncertainty of things that were beyond that fence. They would have to develop faith in higher powers. They would have to change their lives. They might have to change their jobs, their friends, their relationships, their place of residence. They would have to stop attacking those who hold beliefs different from their own. For atheism IS a belief system, perhaps even more so than the religions it attacks. It seems to me that it would take a great deal of stubborn, bitter belief to witness the miracles of life all around us, and inside us, that science cannot measure or control or explain, and still proclaim that there is nothing metaphysical behind it all. An ancient Greek philosopher / scientist, Protagoras (490 – 420 BC), was on the right track when he said “Man is the measure of all things”, but science has long ago abandoned that great hopeful vision. Instead, too often science has the arrogant attitude that whatever man cannot measure, does not exist. This is the attitude of a tiny insect, as it is crushed by a shoe that it did not see coming and it cannot understand.
That was the attitude of neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, before he wrote the book “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” (2012). Eben was essentially atheist, even though he went to church occasionally with his wife and kids. But the scientific and medical communities he worked in turned him atheist, until he had the most incredible near-death experience (NDE) and felt the need to write a book about it. His book is the current #1 New York Times Best Seller, in its category, for 38 weeks. My latest article in this blog is a full review of that book:
In that book, Eben described love as an all-encompassing energy in the spirit world, like sunlight in the physical world, something all around him and in him, that emanated ultimately from God (or “Om”, as Eben chose to call God after his NDE). So he felt that God is love, and love is God, in agreement with the Bible. That means we humans, and all of the universe, are created by love, as Eben wrote, but it also reduces God to an energy field instead of an entity. It “dissolves” God, it “vaporizes” God, so to speak. I am not comfortable with that, but then I am not comfortable with any single concept of God. But really, that is beyond the scope of human life. We cannot know the nature of God, and really, it doesn’t matter, because our puny perception of God doesn’t change what happens. We should be more concerned with the nuts and bolts of daily life, how to reduce strife and stress, how to reduce suffering of ourselves and others, how to turn our wrongs into rights, how to live more abundantly, how to enjoy life. Personally, I am uncertain whether love and hate are products of living beings, or if it is the other way around….. whether they are temporary or permanent….. whether we guide them or they guide us. Perhaps both possibilities are true, on different levels, perhaps not. But regardless, I am convinced that they (love, hate, etc.) are all-important, that they do control our lives, that they are part of the nuts and bolts of our daily lives, and that they must be better understood and measured, by all of us, as soon as possible. Why?
Because these “unmeasurables”, these hidden human or super-human metaphysical forces are variables that dictate how all the other measurements will be used….. for good or evil, for help or hurt, for building or destruction, for teaching or tyranny, for liberation or enslavement. Science cannot measure these things, but WE can, in some fashion, as intelligent, morally autonomous, individual living human beings. We can read all sorts of indicators about the moral character and personality of the people around us, and this is crucial to our lives. So we must leave science behind us, and learn to measure these things as best we can, even while science is proclaiming that they do not exist. Our judgements in these matters can enhance our lives, or ruin our lives.
Bernie Madoff, Master Swindler, with wife
For example, think of all the poor folks who judged the financial criminal Bernie Maddoff to be trustworthy, and trusted him with their life savings. Bernie was living like a king, on their money, and turned them into beggars. His victims could have (and should have) used a better measurement of Bernie’s moral character. “Science” had nothing to offer them, to make this measurement. The “Golden Rule” told them that they should not make this measurement. But if they could have seen Bernie’s aura, for example, they would not have given him their money. In this photo, just imagine a black aura swirling around Bernie like a dark mist, to match his black coat and tie, turning his nice smile into an evil grin. Forget auras….. if they had just asked the right questions, dug a little deeper, insisted on independent verification of Bernie’s claims, then they would have found the true measure of the man. He was a predator, a parasite, a destroyer of lives….. he ruined hundreds of lives, his own life, and his family. He is now serving 150 years in prison. But he feels no shame….. recently, in a prison interview, he blamed the government for not catching him sooner.
You would think that “science” and The Golden Rule have nothing in common. But if you think that, you would be wrong. When it comes to the most important puzzles and conflicts of our lives, ” science” and the Golden Rule are of no help, and they both hinder us and hold us back. The greatest failing of the traditional Golden Rule is this: just like “science”, it forbids us from the most important measurements of our lives. That is, the measurement of the morality and / or ethics of the people around us, and of ourselves. Science CANNOT measure these things, and the Golden Rule says that we SHOULD NOT measure them. We, as incredible intelligent beings of body / mind / spirit, CAN measure these things crudely, but as it has been forged through millennia of human turmoil and manipulation, the traditional and passive Golden Rule tells us to IGNORE such measurements. The results of this forced ignorance have been mostly disaster; allowing the triumph of evil and oppression. It is time for that to change. It is time to recognize and release our innate abilities to measure morality, abilities that we use every day, but usually must deny or conceal.
It is time to shred the smothering dark blanket of idealistic “equality” that has settled over modern society. Different people, societies, cultures, nations, lifestyles, religions and forms of government ARE NOT “different but equal”. They are all different in terms of morality, ethics, efficiency, enterprise, aptitude, openness, industry, work ethic, innovation, genius, knowledge, justice, love, or the LACK of these qualities. These differences make them superior or inferior, in the different categories that can be examined. These differences make them more or less moral; more or less successful as individuals, as nations, as religions. We can respect and even enjoy cultural differences (I certainly do), but we should not be fooled into thinking that cultures or people are equal in overall morality, or equal in overall potential, because they are not. But that truth does not stop them from claiming to be equal….. indeed, it motivates them to preach the false religion of “equality” all the more.
I am not implying here that I myself am superior to other people, just because I analyze and criticize some of their theories and beliefs. The world is full of passionate people selling theories and oppressive people enforcing beliefs (if they can), that usually conflict with each other. They cannot peacefully co-exist in a fantasy world of “equality”. The very nature of different theories and opposing beliefs is to clash with the others and gain supporters, until one is generally accepted as right and the others are rejected as wrong. But whether the prevailing theory or the popular belief has a good relationship with reality or truth, is another question entirely. I have found that often, the theory or belief does not have a good relationship with even my limited understanding of reality. When I analyze the tiny portion of the universe that is accessible to me, I try to keep faithful to strict standards of logic and morality, much more than I try to do so with my family and friends, in my everyday life. My family and friends deserve good will and grace, but the vital search for truth requires a strict standard of logical or moral principles. This harsh but vital arena of philosophical thought is my sacred retreat, that I delight in, that I welcome you into, if you would join me. I do need some friends here, before my enemies overwhelm me.
This article has a great deal of analysis and criticism…. of scientists, other philosophers, other writers, politicians, religionists, liberals, pacifists, etc. I think that some of my analysis is closer to reality than some popularly-accepted analysis. I know that some of my talents are superior to others, and I know that some of my talents are far inferior to others. I know that I am a more ethical person than some people, and I know that I am a less ethical person than some people. Everyone should know this about themselves, in a vague and intuitive way. The difference is, I think we urgently need to understand and measure all these differences, not sweep them under the rug, or throw a false blanket of “equality” over everyone, or blindly give everyone a moral pass, as The Golden Rule requires us to do. The more we know about our true place in relation to other people, the better we will be able to understand and improve ourselves, and the better we will be able to help others improve, if they will accept our help.
Jacobs’ Ladder with Angels descending and ascending
Here is another image….. think of life’s path as a huge ladder or stairway into heavenly mystical realms, that we are all climbing, like Jacob’s vision of a ladder into heaven in the Bible….. not a level path that hugs the earth and leads us to a supposedly desirable destination, and not a cyclical wheel that keeps returning us to the same arena of life over and over again (as in Hinduism and Buddhism). Imagine this long ladder or stairway as the fastest climb to human maturity, and more important, the fastest improvement as a metaphysical entity. Many writers have interpreted Jacob’s Ladder in this way. Another writer hints that the angelic beings Jacob saw climbing up and down represent our own souls:
“The Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher Philo Judaeus, born in Alexandria, (d. ca. 50 CE) presents his allegorical interpretation of the ladder in the first book of his De somniis. First, the angels represent souls descending to and ascending from bodies (some consider this to be Philo’s clearest reference to the doctrine of reincarnation).” (Wikipedia)
Do you want to stay mired in petty emotional issues for thousands of years? From what I have researched (to be reported later), that is what happens to most people. I will not allow that to happen to me any longer. I envision myself as trying to climb Jacob’s Ladder, and trying to avoid falling back down it. To advance in any area of life, to improve ourselves, we must struggle to keep climbing life’s ladder of self-improvement, rung by rung, step by step, to greater heights of goodness and wisdom, and it is a hard struggle. It is as if we are climbing an invisible staircase, that we can partially feel, but we cannot see. If we get disoriented or dizzy, or blinded with anger, we can easily take a step down instead of up, and hardly know the difference. Or we can lose our moral balance, fall, and tumble down many steps. To keep climbing, we need to know which way is up, and we need to know what rung of the ladder we are perched on. We need to get to know the people perched on our rung of the ladder, and we need to get to know the people on the rungs above us, who are ahead of us and superior to us, so that we can learn how to get to the next higher rung. We need to look down and try to help the people on the rung below us get up to our rung, without letting them pull us back down to their rung. In this scenario of mine, there are real and large differences between people on different rungs. It is the difference between lazy and industrious, between deceptive and honest, between bullies and their victims, between villian and hero, between selfish and generous, between foolish and wise. When a false concept of “equality” is forced upon us, it brings life’s ladder of self-improvement crashing down, to lay flat on the ground. All the rungs of the ladder are at the same level, and we cannot climb any higher. This is what liberal philosophy does to us. A false concept of “Equality” is the killer of Excellence. Excellence is what we all should be seeking, in some arena or another. It you are not seeking excellence in some way, then you are wasting your precious cosmic time, in my humble opinion.
We need to recognize and honor those who are superior to us, and help those who are inferior to us. Those who are the most unethical and the most harmful, need to be stopped from doing their harm. After that is done, whether they can then be helped or not, is another question, and it is largely up to them, not us. We are all very different, for better or worse. The more we know about people’s better-ness or worse-ness, as well as our own, the better off we will be. If someone is truly better than you or me in some important way, then it is to our benefit to humbly learn how they are superior and how they got that way. But discovering these differences, and measuring them, is very difficult even if we all agreed to do it, and there is no such agreement. It is a very unpopular thing in society, to expose other people’s faults, or our own faults, even though we desperately need to understand our faults. It has also become unpopular to acknowledge our strengths and successes and virtues, because that is not “fair” to others . It seems that most people try to hide their differences and disguise their true nature, for selfish purposes….. not for the sake of conformity and harmony, but for purposes of deception, manipulation, and self-gain. We hide behind a curtain of societal “equality”, that has been lowered onto the stage of society by liberal philosophy. And even when the curtain is raised, we all have our personal masks of “equality” to hide behind.
As my favorite Greek philosopher Aristotle said: “The worst form of equality is to try to make unequal things equal.” But that is what liberal philosophy is trying to to, and is getting away with, in modern society.
It is always to the advantage of lesser people to proclaim themselves to be the “equal” of greater people, by whatever scale they measure….. or to deny that the more successful people are superior in any way at all, or to imply that they do not deserve their success….. as President Obama infamously proclaimed the lie: “You didn’t build that!” His pathetic outburst was just the latest expression of a century of liberal philosophy, that proclaims individuals are not really responsible for their own success or failure. It proclaims that we are not free moral agents with free will, and that our success or failure is caused by genetics, race, circumstances of our birth and childhood, education or lack thereof, societal forces, and sheer luck, whether good or bad. A famous book by liberal philosopher John Rawls, “A Theory of Justice” (1971), advanced this philosophy more than anything else in the last century. Rawls has been called the most important philosopher of the 20th century. He won the National Humanities Medal in 1999, presented by President Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls’ work “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself.”
Clinton and his “learned Americans” (whoever they are), and the rest of us, need to be reminded that there is nothing inherently virtuous about “democracy itself”. If the people in the democracy are not virtuous, then the democracy is not virtuous, but becomes a tyranny of the immoral majority. It has been said that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for supper. That is what is happening with the increasingly liberal majority in America. Not only is it a tyranny of the immoral majority– it is a tyranny of stupidity and willful ignorance (of the liberal voters). Barack Obama is the closest thing to a dictator that America has yet had, with his many czars answerable only to him, his many executive orders, his takeover of the healthcare system, his attacks on freedom of religion, freedom of speech, capitalism, gun rights, and his admitted disregard for the Constitution. He openly laments that he cannot force Congress (and the rest of us) to “do what is right”, according to his liberal agenda.
We are now finding out how far and deep Obama’s arrogance runs, and the arrogance of his liberal / progressive / Radical comrades, with the scandals popping out like measles all over his government: Fast and Furious, still brewing, is being joined by the Bengazhi lies and cover-ups, the blatant and criminal IRS attacks of conservative and religious groups, the newly-discovered widespread monitoring of emails and phone calls by the National Security Agency, and the illegal seizure of emails and phone records of over 100 reporters. Even liberal reporters, in Obama’s camp, are upset about that outrage. These scandals are not going away, and the more facts that are discovered, it is only going to get worse for this president and his gang of lying Radicals (lying is a prominent tactic of Radicals– see more below).
Obama knows what is being hidden, what may be exposed, and he is very worried. The president is reportedly not sleeping well, has been seen openly weeping, and an insider revealed Obama has told some close friends, “They’re going to impeach me.” He has been seen by Secret Service agents wandering the halls of the White House at night, often stopping to stare at the portrait of his hero Abraham Lincoln (Globe Magazine, June 10, 2013). But I don’t think the spirit of Lincoln will help Mr. Obama (except perhaps to confess, LOL). Lincoln was a great uniter, trying to heal the wounds of the country. But Obama is a divider, creating new wounds, pitting classes and groups of Americans against each other, and directing vicious attacks against the groups he doesn’t like. Obama has preached the Golden Rule at us in various speeches, but the Golden Rule is the farthest thing from his mind, when he attacks his political and philosophical opponents.
John Rawls (1921-2002)
Getting back to John Rawls….. who was a great and prolific writer, but had a stutter and was deathly afraid of speaking in public. He is the writer most responsible for creating the liberal definition of justice as “fairness”, merging the two different concepts into one. He then elevated justice into “social” justice, and made this “social justice” the primary goal of liberalism. In his pursuit of liberal “social justice as fairness”, Rawls famously called for a “Veil of Ignorance” when considering who should get what in society. He said that we should act as if we know nothing about our own position in society, our own past history; as if we do not know the position or history or ethics of anyone else. This essentially gives everyone a free ticket of equality, a free pardon for all their sins, crimes, or mistakes, and holds no one responsible for anything, good or bad. It is an amazing and compelling theory of justice, that has taken hold and dominated liberal / progressive thought ever since. But it is indeed ignorant, just as John Rawls labeled it. Dr. Rawls needed to review the dictionary definition of ignorance: “a lack of knowledge, information, or education; the state of being ignorant.”
There is another type of ignorance, better used as a verb, when we know certain facts, but we purposely ignore those facts, because they do not align with our belief or philosophy, or because we just do not “like” those facts. This is not a lack of knowledge, but it is an abuse of knowledge. It is not an innocent ignorance, but it is a willful ignorance, that is damaging and hostile to the truth. It is this willful ignorance that John Rawls was calling for, and liberals answered his call en masse.
There is nothing desirable about either type of ignorance, and there is nothing “fair” about ignorance. Using a “veil of ignorance” to consider anything, is just as stupid as the old and persistent idea of putting a blindfold on the Goddess of Justice. If anything, Lady Justice needs unobstructed 20/20 vision, and eyes in the back of her head, as well. Ignorance and blindness causes more unfairness, especially as Rawls meant it to be: a forced ignorance, that turns everyone into identical clones or zombies, in the eyes of society. It is the perfect cover for immoral, unethical, and criminal behavior of all types.
Ignorance is intellectual blindness…. but at least those who are truly ignorant can be taught to see, if they are willing to learn. Those who are willfully ignorant cannot be taught to see, because they are unwilling to learn. They think they have already learned enough, but they are wrong. Willful ignorance is foolish…. willful ignorance is a denying of facts, that always leads to wrong conclusions. But incredibly, John Rawls made IGNORANCE a fundamental part of modern liberalism. And liberal ignorance leads to liberal injustice. Similarly, the traditional religious Golden Rule puts a “Veil of Ignorance” over our eyes, and also leads to injustice. It is my hope that liberal / progressive ignorance, injustice, and lying will be its undoing, causing the trio of liberalism, progressivism, and Radicalism to fail as a philosophy. But the philosophical failure will happen only if more people begin to see the false premises and massive failures of liberalism as a form of governance. Right now, sadly, it is on the rise, and far from waning.
John Rawls also wrote in 1971 in his book “A Theory of Justice”: “Men’s propensity to injustice is not a permanent aspect of community life.” He was implying that his liberal / socialist philosophy had the ability to correct injustice. That Rawls could hold this ignorant belief after the horrors of that century, including two world wars (he served in WWII himself) and during the heights of the Vietnam War and the Cold War, during the social rebellions that his radical political allies were fighting in America, two years before an evil coalition of Arab countries tried to destroy Israel in the October War of 1973, is amazing.
It is as if Rawls put a “Veil of Ignorance” in front of his own eyes, concerning history. Socialism and communism, radical cousins of Rawls’ philosophy, proved to be failures. In the decades leading up to 1971, Russia and China took socialism and communism to levels of massive injustice that the world had never seen before….. but most liberals and socialists looked the other way, or even denied that it was happening. They did indeed employ a willful “veil of ignorance” concerning the massive injustice and tyranny in Russia and China. Twenty years later, the tyrannical Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) collapsed, confirming the colossal failure of socialism as government. In following years (after 1971), horrific genocides and persecutions occurred within the nations of Cambodia, Rwanda, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. The “community life” of those nations became a nightmare of injustice. In Cambodia and Rwanda, huge piles of human skulls were witness to the orgies of murder that took place there. In China and its puppet North Korea, murderous communist regimes have held power for over 60 years, committing all types of atrocities against their own people. In China, the “community life” of over a billion people, a quarter of the human race, is still dictated in every detail by a tyrannical government. In America, the last century has been marked by liberal pacifists protesting against all manner of so-called injustice, and with their darling presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, they have sadly gained enough power to create new types of social injustice, which must now be protested against by ethical people. “Community life” in America is now marked by runaway debt, runaway welfare, runaway lawsuits, so-called “gay rights”, multi-culturalism, socialism, daily news of shocking terrorist or criminal attacks, an attack against successful people, an attack against Christian religion, and a coddling of Muslim religion. In some Muslim countries, Muslim governments are enforcing laws that allow only one public religion, that ban Western music and movies, that ban alcohol and pork, that discriminate heavily against women, that call for chopping off the right hand of thieves, and the execution of those who leave the religion of Islam. Some of these countries have a separate police force of “religious” policemen, who roam the streets enforcing the many oppressive laws of Islam.
With that and much more evidence, it has been demonstrated in every society that injustice IS a permanent aspect of “community life”, including the current liberal community life in America. If a particular outbreak of injustice is not permanent, it is only because good men sacrifice everything to defeat it. John Rawls’ statement was completely wrong. Men’s propensity to injustice IS a permanent aspect of community life, in many different ways, and we must always find ways to fight the injustice. But “A Veil of Ignorance” is not the way to fight it. No one can find their way with a blindfold covering their eyes. Now, Rawl’s own dear liberal philosophy, based in part on willfull ignorance, is causing a lot of injustice itself!!
Other more reasonable liberals recognize the problem of the liberal philosophy. From the liberal right, William Galston wrote in 1991 in his book “Liberal Purposes”: “Liberalism is committed to equality, but it needs excellence. It is committed to freedom, but it needs virtue.” This is a jewel of wisdom that liberals need to learn. But liberals demonize excellence, so they give every kid a trophy. They scorn traditional virtue, so they ban The Ten Commandments and Christmas nativity scenes from public display….. but they allow public display of jars of urine with the cross in them, as a display of “art”….. and they ban public prayer in our schools….. and they force the Boy Scouts to accept “gay” boys. When liberals lack excellence and virtue, their loud calls for equality and freedom only bring more injustice. Equality and freedom without responsibility and merit is always unjust. This is the new injustice that liberals are creating, in their attempts to fight old injustice.
Our American founders had a vision of equal rights and equal opportunity for all, which the liberals are trying to enforce, often in misguided ways. But the founders also had a vision of strict personal responsibility, which the liberals completely reject. The liberals want equal results for all, which the founders never intended. Also, the founders never intended for morality or success or excellence to be attacked or punished, as liberals are now doing. If you become successful or wealthy in a way that the liberals do not like, they will viciously attack you. But they are huge hypocrites, because the successful and wealthy among their own liberal ranks are praised and adored.
You, I, everyone….. we all have our strengths and weaknesses. We all have our special talents in particular areas, and if we use our special talents, they might make us rich. If so, we have earned that wealth, and we deserve it. We all have our failings in other areas, that might ruin our lives. If we allow our failings to ruin our lives, then we deserve that, too. Of course, we should all use our strengths to help others in their weaknesses. But, of course, we all have our moral choices as to how we will treat others. We all have our temptations toward evil, and some of us give in to temptation more than others. ALL OF THESE DIFFERENCES in people must be acknowledged, for any “theory of justice” to be accurate. But John Rawls told us to ignore all that, and liberals listened to him. As a result, their idea of justice is a bad philosophical joke. It is astounding to me, how well this bad philosophy resonates with the blindness and ignorance taught by the traditional, religious “Golden Rule”. It is like an unholy alliance of atheist and believer, liberal and conservative, even though they may not be aware of their alliance.
It is always to the advantage of evil to proclaim itself the “equal” of goodness, and that is what evil perpetually claims, in all sorts of devious ways, even under the guise of “fairness”. But that is a vicious lie, which allows evil people to exploit and dominate good people. Evil people (or unethical, if you prefer) are perfect chameleons, skillful actors, and masters of camouflage. They are expert liars, because they have been lying all their lives to perfect their skill. They can always manufacture excuses and illusions of “fairness” to justify their acts of selfishness, oppression, and aggression. They know intuitively how to exploit liberal philosopher John Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance”, which has now settled over modern liberal society, for their own selfish gain. And if evil people manage to dominate a nation, changing its laws and customs over time, then that nation or its government should be recognized as mostly evil (for example, I am thinking of Iran, North Korea, China, Burma, which are only some of the worst). President Bush was condemned for calling such nations an “axis of evil”, but that is what they truly are, enslaving their own people and threatening their neighbors.
I would challenge the liberal pacifist fools who condemned President Bush’s term “axis of evil” , to schedule a long vacation in the paradise nations of North Korea, Iran, Cuba, or China. While there, they should publicly criticize the government or religion, as they loudly do here, and see what happens to them. The liberal pacifist women should schedule a long vacation alone in a strict Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia or Yemen, if they think these are good societies for feminine freedom, equal to the West. They should wear the same clothing they wear in America. When they are criticized for showing too much skin, or for walking in front of a man, they should protest loudly, and see what happens to them. They will likely be beaten or raped on the street, and then thrown in jail. Such supporters of cultural “equality”, when the opposite is true, are fools, pure and simple. Like evil folks, fools always proclaim themselves to be “equal” to the wise, or even superior to the wise. But the wise folks know the truth, and the true measure. It is time to measure and recognize good and evil for what they really are. It is time to recognize those who are evil, but call themselves good. It is time to recognize those who are fools, but call themselves wise. The more you as an individual try to do this, the better off you will be, and the more secure you and your loved ones will be.
But that is getting harder to do as years march on, because of the popular acceptance of liberalism, progressivism, relativism, Radicalism, and other related “isms”. Liberal philosophy is taking us far in the other direction. The smothering dark blanket of false individual “equality” is not the only great damage that liberalism does to societies. Multi-culturalism is destroying the excellence and superiority of American society. Liberal philosophers say that evil does not exist, and liberal intellectuals say that we should not morally judge others, because we are all just helpless products of our social environment, or just victims of bad circumstances. Therefore, even though these liberals are secular or atheist, they agree with the religious Golden Rule, that we cannot or should not measure the morality of the people around us. They are fond of quoting Matthew 7:1, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” This may be the most-quoted verse of the Bible, by christian or agnostic or atheist alike. But they take it out of context. Taken alone, as an ultimatum, this one sentence would mean that we could have no judges, no courts of law, no laws, no justice system, no moral rules at all. Judges and courts would have to be condemned as wrong and sinful. Criminals could not be judged, and therefore could not be jailed or punished. Legal disputes could not be decided in courts, nor out of courts. No one in society could make a decisive judgment about another person. That is an absurd scenario, and that is not what Jesus meant.
I would recommend that they keep reading Jesus’ words in the next verses: “For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” To me, this means that our judgements and measurements must be fair and righteous, so that we will be judged in the same way. It is really the opposite of the Golden Rule….. warning us that what we do unto others, will someday be done to us. It could also be taken as a statement in support of the religious doctrine of karma. Jesus goes on to tell us to cast the beam out of our own eye, or judge ourselves, before we cast the mote out of our brother’s eye, or judge him. And I must point out another teaching of Jesus in John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement.” Here we are taught to measure and judge, but to learn to judge rightly. Jesus also taught forgiveness, which is a form of judgement in itself: you take the full measure of a person and what they have done, you decide that they have potential for goodness, and you forgive them, deciding or judging to give them another chance.
Solomon’s wisdom of the baby
And the Old Testament is full of judging: God judging man, people judging people, uniting, dividing, praising, condemning. King Solomon humbly asks God to grant him wisdom, which God does, enabling Solomon to become the wisest judge of all. So I say quite the opposite of the liberal / atheist / religious / pacifist non-judgers (the tent of non-judgement is large, with strange bedfellows, indeed); I am saying that everyone is capable of right judgement, and that we all should be doing that, collectively. We should not judge in isolation, with no input from our moral peers, no input from our moral superiors. Judging rightly is a skill that must be learned and earned, with humility and love. People who claim to be able to define and measure goodness and evil, all by themselves, tend to become the tyrants and monsters of history. But I am saying that collectively, WE ARE capable of right judgement, we should all be practicing it, but we have been discouraged by liberal society and passive believers from doing so, for centuries. They have used the passive crippled Golden Rule as a golden stick to beat us with, to keep us from exercising right judgement, to keep us from learning and growing in moral stature. As a direct result, poor judgements and wrong judgements are ruining our society, under the steady advance of false liberal philosophy. The liberal social consensus we have reached is based on falsehoods.
And, of course, the mixed bag of “non-judgers” are extreme hypocrites. They judge, attack and condemn anyone who disagrees with them about social issues. They somehow fantasize that they can condemn “judging” and people who “judge”, without engaging in harsh judgement themselves, which is insane. Their political and philosophical base is the Democratic Party in America. They measure and judge people all the time, by their own liberal scale, which has been developed over centuries, perhaps millennia, by liberal pacifist philosophy, perhaps best expressed by the absurd idea of Socrates, about 2400 years ago, who said “the only good is knowledge, the only evil is ignorance.”
Socrates takes hemlock poison
This was a statement of measurement and harsh judgement in itself, which is still a key foundation of “non-judging” liberal philosophy. It wrongly grants all knowledge the moral status of being good, and it wrongly decrees that people who do terrible things are not evil, but merely ignorant, with no moral capability to CHOOSE evil. It proclaims that knowledge cannot be used willfully for evil purposes. It wrongly assigns morality to non-living concepts, and takes away moral responsibility from living entities. This is a profoundly ignorant statement in itself, but that is another lengthy topic, which I will address elsewhere. Socrates had his brilliant points, but he also taught some glaringly wrong concepts, like that one, which have plagued society ever since. Socrates was an extreme pacifist, with his own versions of the Golden Rule, as quoted at the beginning of this article. His quotes are the last two in the list.
It is ironic, and to me very amusing, that “ignorance” is condemned as the only evil by Socrates, one of the first liberal pacifist philosophers who gained wide recognition (though they did not call it liberal or pacifist 2400 years ago)….. while John Rawls specifically called for a “Veil of Ignorance” in his liberal “Theory of Justice”, as explained above. Rawls praised “ignorance” as a great virtue in his philosophy, while Socrates condemned “ignorance” as evil in his philosophy. For liberals, “ignorance” is a philosophical football that gets kicked about over the centuries, first one way, then another, but they can never get the football of ignorance to the goal line, because they truly are ignorant of the rules of the game of life or reality. In reality, “ignorance” is never a virtue, is always a liability and a disability, and is usually very harmful. To his credit, Socrates was much closer to the truth about ignorance, calling it evil. His outrageous error was in calling ignorance the only evil. Ignorance is harmful and destructive, but it is certainly not the only human failing that is evil, as Socrates proclaimed. There are many more and much greater evils than ignorance. His proclamation revealed a great ignorance of his own, concerning certain human affairs, free will, and morality (or lack of it). Modern liberal philosophers reveal an even greater ignorance, proclaiming that evil is not even a valid concept, because according to them, we do not even have the free will or moral autonomy to choose good or evil. This assertion is their most grievous error, and it poisons everything else they think or do.
It is time to correct thousands of years of overly-pacifist philosophy and complete the Golden Rule, to make it whole again, for society as well as wise individuals, by restoring its ability to measure on a scale of morality, which restores and activates its aggressive side. Because if you know, from a certain measure, from concrete evidence, that someone is really an evil predator who is working against you or your family or your country, if you can remove that fatal liberal “benefit of the doubt”, then you must act to oppose that known predator, and you must act with swift decisive force, for every minute that you delay, the evil predator is destroying something else that is precious to someone. In this way, the full principle of moral reciprocity is followed, and it operates as it was intended to operate.
But in violation of the above principles of measurement and decisive action, the passive Golden Rule commands us to act as if all people were moral equals, or potential moral equals, at the higher end of the morality scale. We must give everyone the “benefit of the doubt.” We must ignore the evil that we clearly see in others, we must act as if we were blind. Love your enemy, and it will impress him; it will have a positive, uplifting effect on him……….
…..What’s that? You say you have no enemies?…..Do you foolishly imagine that you have no “enemy”?….. that you bear no ill will toward anyone, no hatred, no contempt, only love and tolerance, so no one should wish to harm you?….. that is probably what the hapless victims of 9/11 thought….. what the Jews in Nazi Germany thought….. what the Christians in Muslim countries thought….. what the victims of most burglary and murder thought….. what every divorcee thought, LOL. There are many places in the world, even in your own city, where your mere appearance would trigger feelings of hate and hostility toward you, based on your skin color, your gender, your clothes, your vehicle, your religion, or your language, and you will be attacked in some way. I have traveled far and wide in the world, and I know this personally. I have been the target of such an attack. There are also many places where you and your money are happily welcomed, and new friends are easily made, but that is not my current subject. There are places where the Golden Rule works as advertised, and many other places where the Golden Rule will get you attacked or robbed or killed. These places are infested with evil, predatory people, who ARE your enemies, and if you pass through their territory, they will see you as THEIR enemy. They will see you as an easy victim to violate; an easy score to collect as revenge for some imagined grievance. They will see you as ripe fruit to be plucked, eaten, and thrown away…..
……. Love your enemy, submit to his/her demands, give him everything he wants, and it will appeal to her morality; it will arouse his moral conscience, or shame her into reform. This false premise has been the basis of pacifist thinking for thousands of years. No doubt, it happens occasionally. But as much as we would all like that to be widely true, please use your common sense, and look at the military and cultural conflicts of history, and of today. Moral equals do not wage war against each other, or conduct vicious religious purges against each other, or commit various crimes against each other, yet those events are constantly occurring.
Take some quality time for your own education, and look at the following video “100 Years In 10 Minutes”, for a quick reminder of some important global events of the last century. Most of these events are wars or natural disasters. I could add a lot more. This is a remarkable video, that shows both the triumph and tragedy of the human race, that should tug at your heartstrings. This is not a happy video, but it is accurate. Our planet is a paradise for some people, but a dangerous and hostile place for most of it’s unfortunate residents. Most of us who are not victimized in wars or genocides or earthquakes, are struggling to keep our family fed. If you have food, a car, and air conditioning, you are living better than 99.999% of people on this planet in the last century. If you are even able to watch this video, with access to a computer with internet, and a safe place to use it, then you are in the upper 3% of fortunate people currently living on this planet, and you should feel blessed:
This is not the history of a planet occupied by moral equals. It is a history of deadly serious moral conflict. Every 5-second clip in that video is just the visible tip of a submerged iceberg, representing thousands or millions of human lives that were destroyed or devastated or influenced by that single event. For example, when Mao Zedong “announces the People’s Republic of China” in 1949, at 4:00 in the video, it represents the extermination of at least 30 million people in China, or as many as 70 million, for the remaining 27 years of his evil life, because the rest of the world did nothing to stop him. Mao was the greatest murderer and worst tyrant in history, and every child on Earth should be taught this in school, especially Chinese children. Mao’s portrait is on their Chinese money, but they know nothing about the horrendous crimes of this monster. American government officials should not be praising Mao for anything, as they have done under Obama (Anita Dunn and Ron Bloom)….. and other Obama lackeys have praised Fidel Castro. Chairman Mao deserves a few more words here, for your own benefit, so that you can see a bit more of the submerged bloody iceberg. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia about Mao, with descriptions from 3 writers who progress from delusion to honesty:
Mao’s English interpreter Sidney Rittenberg wrote in his memoir The Man Who Stayed Behind that whilst Mao “was a great leader in history”, he was also “a great criminal because, not that he wanted to, not that he intended to, but in fact, his wild fantasies led to the deaths of tens of millions of people.” Li Rui, Mao’s personal secretary, goes further and claims he was dismissive of the suffering and death caused by his policies: “Mao’s way of thinking and governing was terrifying. He put no value on human life. The deaths of others meant nothing to him.” Biographer Jung Chang goes further still and argues that Mao was well aware that his policies would be responsible for the deaths of millions. While discussing labor-intensive projects such as waterworks and making steel, Chang claims Mao said to his inner circle in November 1958: “Working like this, with all these projects, half of China may well have to die. If not half, one-third, or one-tenth – 50 million – die.”
One has to ask, why would hard work be expected to kill people? If Chairman Mao saw to it that the workers were provided with basic necessities of life (food, water, safety, medical care), they would not have dropped dead like flies. But that was not even considered. Mao regarded his people as his slaves, his property, his livestock, like work animals, like robots, to be overworked, used up, and thrown away like dead batteries. This is not communism, which is evil enough in itself. Karl Marx condemned capitalists and industrialists for mistreating and abusing and cheating their workers. But that is exactly what Mao did to the workers in China. This is complete disregard or contempt for the people Mao tyrannized. He thought nothing of working half of his own country to death, like an evil capitalist, while he terrorized the other half with communist doctrine. This was perhaps the greatest and deadliest hypocrisy in history. And the ignorant “progressives” in America praise Chairman Mao for it! Progressives have their own great and deadly hypocrisy. They preach tolerance, but they are extremely intolerant. The Golden Rule is the farthest thing from their minds, in their dealings with their ideological and political opponents, who they try to punish and destroy.
Mao leading peasant attack mob… FORWARD!!
This one-word slogan should sound familiar…..
Mao took supreme power over China, enforced communism, and killed or imprisoned everyone in China who disagreed with him, in the slightest degree. Chairman Mao was morbidly obsessed with death (except his own), calling it a process of cleansing and renewal. Every time he issued orders to have people killed, he was “renewing” society. He once said that when people were killed, we should make fertilizer from them, to renew the earth. He thought that this was a profound and enlightened philosophy. His disastrous “Great Leap Forward” of 1958 became the Great Chinese Famine, which was the direct cause of the deaths of about 36 million peasants. Mao’s reaction to the horrible famine, which he caused, was to say: “It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.” [236 Here again, Mao is willing to let half of his own country die, this time starving to death. For three decades, Mao turned the entire huge country of China into a communist prison camp, where you obeyed him and his thugs, or you died. Even if you did obey, you had a good chance of starving or being worked to death. All of this and much more horror is represented by a 5-second clip in the video, but you will not know that if you have not studied history on your own.
With the aid of that video, I must give a plug here for the subject of history. If you know or care anything about human history, your soul should be deeply stirred by that video. If it is not stirred, then you are probably missing almost everything of importance that is happening in our world. Consider this a litmus test, a pass /fail, a go /no go, a falling shoe, or a wake-up call. If your soul is not stirred by that video, or if you won’t even look at it, then you are dead to the world, you are part of the problem, and not part of the solution to our problems. You are a blind earthworm, when you could be a soaring eagle, seeing everything below you. You should spend time learning not just “history” in the generic sense, but learning the plural “histories” of your world, your country, your state, your city, your neighborhood, and your family, or you will surely repeat many of their mistakes, and you will not benefit from their knowledge. In this age of the internet, easy research, and easy access to organized historical information (Wikipedia, for example), there is no excuse for historical ignorance, other than our own willful stupidity.
The average American’s ignorance and dismissal of history is killing our country, or it is a telltale symptom of what is killing our country. In TV on-the-street interviews, many people do not even know the name of the Vice President, or the Speaker of the House. A great number of people do not follow important current events, much less recent history. They are only interested in shallow social pursuits (like Facebook or Twitter), or the fleeting pursuit of material pleasures (like fast food, concerts, parties, video games, sports), without ever rising above these pursuits. This is an increasing global trend of egotistic narcissism, self-absorption and pleasure-seeking, that ignores larger events. At the same time, there is an increasing global trend of other people who very much want to CONTROL larger events, and force their ideas on everyone else. This is the trend of Radicalism, that is partially a reaction against the rising global narcissist / materialist trend. Radicalism is actually a form of narcissism as well, the malignant form, like cancer, that looks outward to conquer and transform society, to force everyone to follow one’s own political doctrine, or one’s religion. Radicalism is a deadly political immoral doctrine of extremism that destroys freedom and leads inevitably to tyranny. Communism was the most deadly spawn of Radicalism, and Chairman Mao took it to its greatest extreme, as described above (on second thought, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge took Radicalism to its most horrific extreme, in Cambodia, where they seized power in 1975 and declared it “Year Zero”, beginning their slaughter). Muslim extremists are now enjoying their Radical success in countries such as Egypt and Libya and Iran. They will soon reverse the American efforts of liberation in Iraq and Afghanistan, since President Obama is abandoning those efforts. Obama is a student of Radicalism himself, condemning the America of the past 2 centuries, and those voters who do not care about history (especially the history of Obama himself) are allowing him and his “progressive” comrades to “transform” America into a socialist welfare provider, and into a crippled player on the global stage. We may soon go the way of Greece, or other great countries in Europe brought to ruin by socialist welfare.
Pythagoras 500 BC
Euclid at School of Athens
Plato and Aristotle at The Academy
Greece is such a pathetic tragedy. Greece was the cradle of Western philosophy, logic, science, math, democracy, independence, work ethic and self-suffiency, but they have turned their backs on all that now. They could still be standing on the shoulders of giants such as Pythagoras, Euclid, Herotidus, Archimedes, Plato and Aristotle, but they have fallen into the filth of self- indulgence, laziness, dependency, and welfare. America is on the same downward spiral, beginning to circle around the toilet drain. But in America, Radicalism is the hand that is flushing the toilet, chasing the utopian fantasy of “social justice,” like a dog chasing its own tail.
We are living in the age of Radical revival, both political (in the West) and religious (in Muslim cultures). Radicalism started in America in the sixties, with Saul Alinsky as its greatest prophet and teacher. In 1969, Hillary Rodham wrote her senior thesis on Alinsky and his movement, titled “There is Only the Fight: an Analysis of the Alinsky Model”. Barack Obama studied Alinsky’s diabolical methods in Chicago, and has practiced them ever since. The definition, and the threat, of Radicalism is simple. Radicals are immoral people who lust after power to control society, who lie profusely, and who try to punish or destroy those who do not agree with them. They use one ethical ideal to justify their violation of all other ethics. They are the textbook example of the infamous saying “the end justifies the means”, which should always be clarified as “the ethical end justifies all unethical means”. Alinsky, feeling his fame, actually dedicated one of his books, “Rules For Radicals”, to Lucifer (Satan). He taught liberals to abandon their ethics, lie skillfully and misrepresent themselves, lie about their opponents, to destroy the establishment, to seize political power and use it like a weapon. Nowadays Obama, Hillary, and all of Alinsky’s other followers call themselves part of the “progressive” movement, moving “forward” to “social justice”. Radicals start off with lying and deception, promote themselves to rioting and violence, then graduate to murder and genocide, but they always give themselves cover with massive lying, deception, and cover-ups. When they gain power, they don’t have to riot anymore. They consolidate their power, freedom dies, suffering increases, and then eventually people disappear or die in large numbers. History teaches us this, but few are listening. Are you? If you are, I would encourage you to read any book by David Horowitz, a prominent radical-turned-conservative who is perhaps the best current historian of Radicalism, in all its dangerous forms. In his latest book, Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion (2012), he laments: “When all is said and done, what has impressed me most, after all these years, is how little we human beings are able to learn collectively from our experience, how slowly we do learn, and how quickly we forget.” On the book cover, Saul Alinsky is the second man from the left. The fanatics that Horowitz describes in this book are the type of people who have taken over most of American government and culture, who will destroy the great philosophy and values of America if they are not stopped soon. Radicalism is the most important concept in the world today, the most dangerous, and the most in need of being understood, that is being the most ignored.
So you have never heard of Saul Alinsky before, and don’t care, but those radical thugs who want to control you or destroy you HAVE heard of him, or other Radicals worse than him, and use their methods. They are in our government, and in the White House, doing as much damage as they can. Wake up!, before it is too late. For a bit more on Radicalism, here is a link to my previous article: Radicalism – The “Dark Side” of Liberalism
This Radical takeover attempt is happening world-wide. You have probably never heard of the United Nations “Global Small Arms Treaty” or their “Agenda 21″, but you have suffered from it, without knowing. “Agenda 21″ is the UN’s wish list for expanding their power in the 21st century, and diminishing the power of the US and other nations. You may have heard of “sustainable development” or “green energy”, and those are buzzwords for the Radical / socialist / globalist agenda. The “Endangered Species Act” of 1973 has been used as a very effective weapon by these disgusting Radical government officials in America. Every state and county in America has enacted laws to “protect the environment”, and those laws almost always take away our freedoms, or make it more difficult for farmers and ranchers to make a living, to feed the rest of us. The federal estate taxes of America make it almost impossible for families to pass their land-dependent businesses to the next generation. The number of large-acreage farms and ranches in America has been cut in half in the last 20 years. Independent farmers are going bankrupt or out of the farming business at an alarming rate. Some of them are FORCED out of business, or fined or put in jail, for killing small obscure animals in the operations of their farm. You have probably never heard of I.C.L.E.I., the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives”, but this UN supported group has been very active in the last 5 years, making contracts or agreements with over 1200 American cities to increase regulations and restrictions on the use of land. This assault on American property rights has been going on for several decades. The Obama administration is accelerating its progress. Have you been aware of it? Probably not, because it does not get reported much, and if you do not own land, you are not directly affected by these ruthless, tyrannical, destructive laws. But they are in the process of destroying our property rights, our gun rights, our health rights….. all of our basic American liberties are under assault by these Radicals, and you need to realize that YOUR rights are in their crosshairs, they are constantly pulling the trigger, and they are your enemies.
There is a great need to support farming and ranching, and the work ethic and conservative values that go along with them, in our increasingly liberal, secular / atheist, urban culture. One company saw that need, and delivered support in a big way, in an epic 2013 Superbowl TV commercial, “SO GOD MADE A FARMER” :
If you do not know a smidgeon of history, you will not know who Paul Harvey was (only the most famous radio commentator), and if you do not know and respect the Bible and its story of Creation, you will not appreciate the Biblical reference. In the comments of that superb video on Youtube, one commenter adds some iron, addressing some of the enemies of the farmer:
” “And the devil said,” I need to eliminate the farmer”. So the devil made Monsanto. The devil said, “I need to contaminate the farmers good seed”. So he gave Monsanto U.S. patents for GMO’s, genetically modified seeds. The devil said, ” still the farmer prevails”. So he had jack boot thugs raid his organic produce and milk selling with SWAT tactics. The devil said, “I must do more to stop the farmer”. So he made unconstitutional laws to take his land.” ” And that is what the U.S. Government has been doing for decades, taking the farmer’s land, in many devious and diabolical ways, in the name of the environment or taxes or development. If you do not know some history, you will not know this, and you will not care, until you are starving for the lack of the farmer’s goods.
There, I have given my best plug for the reading of history, now let me return from that detour, back to the main road, which has its own twists and turns to deal with.
Let us return to the central question of the Golden Rule, moral reciprocity, moral conflict, and moral inequality. Our world is full of moral conflict, between people of vastly different moral qualities. Look at the general type of people attending churches, temples, and mosques, compared to the general type of people attending a maximum security prison. Such prisons are reserved for the most violent inmates. Some of those raging prisoners, when they flush the toilet in their jail cell, save their excrement, presumably in a cup or bowl, to throw it at whoever walks by. These people are full of hate, resentment, and malice. When they act on that hate and get caught, they are put into prison. When they get out of prison, most of them will not change, and they will be a menace to us all. Repeat offenders are the norm now, rather than the exception. Their more intelligent comrades are smart enough to avoid getting caught, but they are just as evil, and they walk among us. They could prey upon us at any moment, announced by a deceptive request for help, a kicked-in door, or a crashing computer, or a drained bank account. They are vicious predators, and they have no moral rules. They are not our potential moral equals, and we cannot trust them. In fact, we must constantly be on guard against them. That is why we have locks on our doors, that is why we have guns in our homes, that is why we have police departments, that is why we have security programs for our computers, that is why we warn our children about over-friendly strangers. The basic structure of human society is heavily influenced by the very real moral inequality of individuals and cultures and sub-cultures. This is all very obvious to most people, but the Golden Rule commands us to completely disregard it.
The Golden Rule commands us to regard our enemies, and the many human predators who prey on us, as our potential moral equals. The Golden Rule commands us to unlock our door and let the predator into our home, whenever they choose to knock on our door, because we are to trust in the good will of the predator; we are to trust in the moral equality of an evil man who is about to attack us. The Golden Rule commands the lamb to lay down by the side of the lion.
The lion and the lamb may lay down together in paradise. But in paradise, presumably, lions do not get hungry….. In this world, you cannot peacefully coexist with a hungry lion. If you surrender to a hungry lion, offering peace and love, you will just be killed and eaten faster. If you cut off your arm, and try to appease the lion with that, it will only delay your demise for a few bites. But the Golden Rule requires the appeasement of evil. It is as if followers of the Golden Rule are required to cut off pieces of their own flesh and offer it to any lion that they may meet, hoping that their sacrifice will magically turn the lion into a lamb, because the lion is a potential moral equal to the lamb. I hope you can see the absurdity of that premise, in my allegory and in human society.
Equality is a rare thing, in nature or in human society. Nature is a collection of raw dynamic forces and raw materials, set in motion long ago, all unique and unequal, which strive against each other to first find a balance or equilibrium, then to upset that balance, then to find balance once again, like the pendulum of a clock swinging back and forth, like summer and winter, with unequal forces seeking equilibrium. But summer is not the equal of winter, and equilibrium is not the same as equality, and it is not always peaceful. The forces of a hurricane are seeking equilibrium, even as they destroy trees and homes. After the energy of the hurricane dissipates, a more peaceful equilibrium is found for a while. Human society is much the same way. It is foolish to pursue equality in all things, at all times. Modern liberal / progressive society demands the equality of all people at all times, in the pursuit of “social justice”, but that is not realistic. The liberal version of “social justice” is rewarding weakness or laziness (immorality), and punishing excellence (morality). They have it completely backwards. Justice must be applied to individuals, and properly applied, taking all their inequalities into account. It should not used as a excuse to try to engineer society.
For example, here are photos of two individual women, who could not be more unequal, except for their superficial agreement in a questionable humanitarian cause….. or is it a mammalian cause, or a reptilian cause, or an amphibian cause, or a fowl cause, or simply an anti-human cause?….. I would say it is the latter…..
Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA
Taking “social justice” to its most absurd position, Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, famously said “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy… they’re all animals.” This is an insane assertion by an obsessed woman, who is an atheist. She was the star of a HBO documentary “I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA” (2007). This fanatical atheist woman is really trying to reduce humans to the generic status of animals, while she says she is trying to end the abuse of animals. But animals in the wild abuse each other, and eat each other, all the time….. they must do this to survive. The strong survive to breed, and the weak become food for the strong. This is not cruelty, it is survival. If humans are reduced to the status of animals, or equated with animals, then we should have the natural right to abuse each other and eat each other, too, shouldn’t we? Of course not….. we cannot apply the same moral standards to animals and humans. We have high intelligence and self-awareness and moral responsibilities (not to mention a soul), which animals do not have. Ingrid Newkirk could not be an advocate for animals, if she was just an animal. She has no true understanding of nature, nor of her own nature. She is obsessed with a single issue, and she has lost all perspective or balance. Her PETA advertisements, such as the one shown here, exploit the appeal of beautiful women and nudity, calling them animals, which many women find insulting and demeaning. PETA has gone far beyond the concept of “social justice” for all people. The animal advocates in PETA want to give rats and pigs and fish the same status, and the full legal rights, of people. In their fantasy world, circuses and rodeos would be banned. Pet ownership would be banned or heavily restricted, and our pets would have lawyers to sue us for causing them any “distress”. We would all be vegetarians, by force of law. Everyone who eats a hamburger, or catches a fish, would be put in jail. This is “social justice” gone berserk. PETA would have put Jesus in jail, for he performed miracles to help his disciples fill their nets with fish. Fish are not the equal of humans; we are far above them in every important way. And they are meant to serve as food for us, for each other, and for a whole host of other animals who survive by eating fish. As the bumper sticker says, “I did not claw my way to the top of the food chain, to EAT VEGETABLES.” This is the way that nature or God has designed our world, with a natural hierarchy and a food chain. We humans are at the top of the food chain, and we are superior to animals in the most important ways. This does not give us the right to abuse our pets, but it does give us the natural right to domesticate animals, USE them for our own purposes, HUNT them and EAT them as we see fit. In exercising this natural right, we have the obligation to behave in a moral, honorable manner, just as we have in the exercise of any other power. And it is true that some animals show noble attributes of loyalty and compassion (dogs and monkeys, for example). Unfortunately, some people will always abuse animals, just as some people will always abuse other humans. PETA is not doing too well itself….. from 1998 to 2011, PETA killed over 27,000 animals in its care, or 95%, at its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. They have their excuses for this, but the great hypocrisy speaks for itself. PETA kills 95% of the animals put into its care. Aside from this gross failure, the animal rights movement may be justified in trying to halt true animal abuse, but it is wrong in trying to deny the natural supremacy humans have over animals. The animal rights extremists are the ones who are going against the fundamental laws of nature, trying to replace those laws with their own false atheistic values.
If they want to extend the Golden Rule to all animals, let them start with the hungry lion pictured above, and we will see how long they survive….. HERE, KITTY, KITTY, KITTY!
The members of PETA are fanatics, who are trying to equate animals with people. But most liberals try to do the same thing within the limits of the human race, to make all humans equal in all ways. This is just as insane as what PETA is trying to do. They end up rewarding weakness and punishing excellence. People are vastly different from each other, in every aspect. Every aspect of human life exists on a scale or a spectrum of difference, and we must learn to recognize and honor those differences. Considering just the physical aspect of human activities, take a look at this video of extreme sports. You will see people doing amazing things that you CANNOT do, amazing things that you probably could not do even if you practiced for years. You will see different people with very different talents, who could not do the amazing things that others are doing in the same video. A video like this is an incredible thing, because you can experience the same visual effects as the person who is doing the incredible deed and taking all the risks. You can sit on your fat ass, in complete safety, in front of your computer screen, in your little bubble of artificial security, guzzling soda or beer, and watch other people do marvelous things in the real world, handling high levels of energy and risking injury, but avoiding injury, because of their incredible skills. These people function on a different level, a higher level of physical and mental intensity, and you should respect that. I am running out of superlatives, so just take another sip of your soda or beer, lean back, pat your fat belly, click on the video, and see if you agree with me…..
If you happen to like that video, there are a lot more extreme videos that I have collected here: http://goldenmeantx.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/philosophy-in-motion/
…..You should feel amazed after watching that video….. you should feel energized after watching that video….. everything in that video is excellent and exceptional, and worthy of respect and praise, in my opinion. But that is just my own stupid, misguided opinion….. many other people in the world are condemning such extreme activities as dangerous, irresponsible, wasteful, excessive, or even criminal. I know people who have that opinion, and who gloat when someone gets hurt doing something extreme, saying the person was stupid to be doing that, and they deserve to get hurt. I, on the other hand, feel extreme sorrow and sympathy for the person who was hurt, because they were trying to improve their own physical skills, and by implication, the physical capabilities of the entire human race. They were trying to do something on the cutting edge of human capability, and sadly the edge cut them. I respect them greatly, but other people I know belittle them and condemn them, which upsets me immensely.
Our modern, insulated, cushioned, insured and restricted society has mostly lost touch with reality. We have lost our ability to face the forces of nature and master them. Our ancestors had to do this every day. But now, we are mostly insulated and protected from the raw forces of nature, and when we see other people challenge those forces and master them, we do not truly appreciate it. We have lost our respect of excellence. We no longer respect risk, we ridicule it. As I wrote above, we end up rewarding weakness and punishing excellence.
The people who condemn extreme sports, are those people who have no personal skill or interest in such things, but WHY do they choose to condemn their fellow humans who try to advance the limits of human achievement? What sort of bizarre bigotry is this? It is indeed a form of bigotry, just as ugly as racial bigotry. They could certainly use a generous helping of the Golden Rule in their consideration of this matter. I do not condemn them for their dislike of extreme sports, but I do say that their condemnation of extreme athletes is selfish, blind and cruel to an extreme degree. Who is right, them or me? Is the act of risking injury to achieve excellence sheer madness, or sheer genius? Take your pick, and prepare to fight for what you think is right….. And this is just an argument about sports. There are drastic differences of opinion in politics, economics, culture, religion, morality and every other subject in the world.
Those differences are extremely important, because collectively they define both our weakness as individuals and our great strength as a group. True justice recognizes all those differences, instead of trying to ignore them or condemn them. True justice tries to discover all those differences, and give them all proper consideration, like discovering all the proper variables in a mathematical equation. In math and in justice, an equation will not work, unless all the proper variables are discovered and included in the equation, and given their true value. The fool is not the equal of the wise, nor of equal value, though they both may have equal rights under the law. Again, as Aristotle said, “The worst form of equality is to try to make unequal things equal.” To take that idea to it’s highest level of importance, I would rather say: the worst form of equality is to try to make EVIL the moral equivalent of GOOD. But that is exactly what many people try to do.
This is an age-old flaw of humanity. I would say that it is a basic problem in the universe, wherever sentient beings possess intelligence and free will. Before Aristotle, writers of the Bible warned against a reversal of morality, in the great struggles of the Hebrew people: “Woe unto them who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!… Who justify the wicked, but deny justice to the innocent.” (Isaiah 5:20-23)
And as an aside, to clarify, you or I are incapable of applying perfect justice to ourselves or anyone else. Only higher metaphysical beings (God) could approach being able to do that. You or I cannot apply perfect justice to ourselves or anyone else, because we do not know all of the qualities, factors, and variables that are at play in our lives. Many things are hidden from us, things that are crucial to our lives, things that we desperately need to know, but we cannot discover. It is as if we walk about in a thick fog, or as if we live in constant dark with no hope of sunrise. This is not like the liberal philosopher John Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance” I discussed above. That is an artificial, willful ignorance; a socialist philosophical gimmick which creates more injustice than it remedies. I am speaking here of our unwilling ignorance of our true nature and true origin, as individuals and as a species.
It is as if we are all gladiators and victims thrown into an earthly arena surrounded by one-way glass, not remembering anything that happened before we were thrown into the arena, and not knowing that a huge crowd of people are seated beyond the one-way glass, watching us perform as we fight and die. Some of us desperately want to know what happened before we were thrown into the arena, and desperately want to know what lies beyond the one-way glass, but we are kept unwillingly ignorant by unknown forces. Because of the unknown qualities, factors and variables at play, creating unwilling ignorance and massive uncertainty, perfect justice cannot be achieved by us. But we are capable of justice when crucial facts are known. We can, and must, take heed of the obvious moral inequalities between people. We can, and must, take forceful action when immoral people attack and destroy. Their evil actions pierce the cloak of uncertainty, and they must be countered immediately.
All people ARE NOT moral equals, and the differences are drastic. Some people are like angels, other people are like demons. Some people are creators and builders, others are destroyers. Some people give endlessly to others, others take endlessly from others. Some people nurture and liberate others, others dominate and enslave. And when these moral opposites interact, the Golden Rule fails to accomplish anything good. If the angels, builders and givers follow the Golden Rule alone, it is a great tragedy, for it works to the great advantage of the demons, destroyers and takers. The Golden Rule allows the evil people to dominate, enslave or destroy the good people. It allows evil to destroy good; it allows hate to destroy love. The evil people have no love; they have no virtue; they have no regard for others. Therefore, the evil ones feel no guilt and no shame when they harm others. When they dominate or destroy, they enjoy the feelings of power it gives them. The passive Golden Rule, taken alone, followed by good people, is a moral mandate for self-destruction. If you are one of those pacifists who follow the Golden Rule above all else, please wake up and see how you are working against your own best interests, how you are enabling evil, and how you are working against the highest interests of humanity. I consider this to be the most devastating problem facing humanity, in all of history, among many other lesser problems. The evil ones among us, who do the most damage, are far outnumbered by legions of pacifists around them, who allow the evil people to do that damage to us. Every dictator in history, every schoolyard bully, is surrounded by crowds of people who could stop the dictator or bully, but who choose not to. One of their reasons or excuses is the Golden Rule, in some form, as if that is the only rule we should follow. That is why I am devoting so much attention to this issue of moral reciprocity.
The Golden Rule is not the complete principle of moral reciprocity. Instead, the Golden Rule should be regarded as a moral contract between people of generally good moral character. When we falter or fail to honor the contract fully, by becoming angry or greedy, then those we have wronged may bring us back into compliance with the Golden Rule by reminding us of it in their words and deeds. Even if others are sometimes unfair, dishonest, insulting, or disrespectful, we should remain fair, honest and respectful of them. The Golden Rule works well among ladies and gentlemen who desire to remain civilized and honorable to some degree….. among people who have a functioning conscience….. but many people do not have one, and science now calls those people psychopaths and sociopaths. Finally, for once, science is beginning to serve a useful moral purpose….. sort of.
According to Dr. Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door (2005), psychopaths and sociopaths have no moral conscience. Stout says they have no empathy for humans or animals. They can fool anyone, even family, spouse, friends and co-workers. They can do literally anything, any harm, any betrayal, any crime, and feel absolutely no guilt or shame. They cannot (or will not) love other people, but regard others as pawns or objects for their own use. From her research, Stout sets the number of sociopaths at four percent of American society, or 1 person in 25. The number could be much higher, because sociopaths are so good at concealing their true nature. Also, it is unclear whether this number includes psychopaths or not. So the chances are high that you do have a sociopath or psychopath next door, across the street, in your own family, or in your workplace. Dr. Stout gives these people an excuse by saying that they have a “mental disorder”, which needs treatment, but she also mentions that therapy sessions will not work on them. Therapy sessions help most people, but not the sociopath. The sociopath will just see the therapy session as something to be manipulated, and the therapist as someone to be deceived. They will talk to the therapist as if they have been reformed, but keep doing the same immoral things, and even take pride in the fact that they have fooled the therapist. Stout takes care to avoid calling these people willfully immoral or evil by choice, but I think that is exactly what they are. They are immoral because they want to be immoral, because it is the method they have chosen to get what they want from other people, to dominate other people, and to make other people do what they want.
As a quick note, in the literature of this field, it seems that the labels “sociopath” and “psychopath” are similar and pretty much interchangeable. One researcher may prefer one label, then another researcher may prefer the other. They both describe the same type of person, perhaps with a slight difference in the degree of their “disorder.” Whatever their differences, it seems that every sociopath and psychopath is a potential thief or murderer, if it fits their agenda, or if they become angry enough. And lesser offenses such as lying, cheating, betraying, infidelity, embezzling, swindling, spousal abuse, child abuse, friend abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse….. these are done routinely without qualms. Abuse in general, of any and all kinds, instead of proper use, is the lifestyle choice of the psychopath. But they are excellent actors, chameleons, and mimics. They can be stunningly charming and generous at the beginning of a relationship, and they can put on this act for a long time, but that is simply to gain your trust, so that they can dominate or abuse you later.
Some sources stress the sameness of psychopaths and sociopaths, while other sources stress their differences. One website’s description of the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths, concerning violence, is as follows: “A psychopath’s outbreaks of violence are erratic and unplanned. After an erratic act, psychopaths can be easily identified as they generally leave behind a large trail of clues. It takes sociopaths years to plan acts of violence and revenge and that is why it is very difficult to catch them. Their each step is carefully planned so that their crime goes undetected.” But this same website http://www.diffen.com/difference/Psychopath_vs_Sociopath diagnoses both categories as having an “antisocial personality disorder”, as their basic malady. It would seem to me that both sociopaths and psychopaths are essentially just willfully evil people, who differ in intelligence. The psychopaths are the stupid ones, and the sociopaths are the smart ones.
The presumptions of psychology are amazing and amusing. When a psychologist diagnoses that a disruptive or predatory person has an “antisocial personality disorder”, it is the same as looking at a glass coffee cup that is broken into pieces, and then proclaiming that it has “broken glass disorder”. Any fool can see that the coffee cup is broken, that it’s “order” has been “dissed”. What we need to know is: exactly how did the coffee cup become broken, who is responsible for breaking it, can it be put back together, and how can we prevent our coffee cups from breaking in the future? Human psychology is complicated by the fact that, unlike coffee cups, humans can break themselves, by choosing wrongly or poorly. And we are highly resistant to taking responsibility for our wrong choices, but that is the key to improvement. If psychologists do not acknowledge the supreme power of choice and free will, they will never discover how the human coffee cup becomes broken. But this is key to my point: some “broken” people do not regard themselves to be “broken” at all. They are conducting themselves exactly as they wish, and probably consider their personal philosophy to be superior. Consider an Islamic terrorist, who regards his religion / philosophy to be supreme, and wants to kill everyone who does not agree completely with his religion / philosophy. Psychologists need to realize that a predatory person is not “disordered” at all, but is actually acting very orderly, according to their predatory value system. If psychologists do not address that predatory value system, and if they do not acknowledge the predator’s free choice of that value system, then they will not truly change the predator.
Some sources (such as the website above) say that psychopaths do not experience emotions, other sources say that psychopaths cannot properly process their emotions. This is all nonsense. The writers of these sources need to read more, and think better. Every human experiences emotions, because they are hard-wired into the body / mind interface, through millions of years of evolution and / or intelligent design, to enhance our chances of personal survival. Neurologists such as Dr. Antonio Demasio can insert an electric needle probe into our brains, push a button to deliver electricity, and make us laugh or cry or rage on demand (Looking For Spinoza, 2003). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant%C3%B3nio_Dam%C3%A1sio I was astounded when I read this….. I did not want to believe it, but I managed to, because I have a great respect for truth and reality, and science has an annoying way of finding them, although in a limited and piecemeal fashion. They could do this electric stimulation of emotions already in 2003, and have no doubt made more progress since then. This is scientific proof that everyone with a brain has emotions, whether they want them or not. Then, in my opinion, everyone processes their emotions through a voluntary moral filter, or a moral position that they have chosen, that determines how they will react to those emotions.
For example, when you are treated badly or violently attacked by someone, it will give you the instant emotions of fear and anger. You have no choice in experiencing the fear and anger. It floods your mind, and it triggers changes in your body, such as an upward spike in your heartbeat, a surge of adrenaline and a narrowing of vision. Your body is preparing to deal with the threat presented by the other person, and your mind is swept clear with a wave of fear and anger. But you then have the choice of how to react to the fear and anger. You can quench the anger, or you can let it grow. You can strike back immediately, you can retreat immediately, you can plot long-term revenge, you can withdraw completely from that person, or you can engage with them and try to help them. But if you choose to nurture the anger, preserving that initial spark of anger and coaxing it into a raging flame of hatred, which will reach out to destroy much later, then that is entirely your choice, no matter how stridently you try to blame others. But psychologists deny this, and join right in with the blame game and pity party. I have seen reports of “scientific” behavioral studies, in which the researcher interviews a murderer. Incredibly, the researcher will listen to the murderer’s story, and then look for ways to sympathize with the murderer, and give us the reasons that the poor murderer was just a victim of circumstances, such as an abused childhood, or a lack of emotion, or an inability to process strong emotions.
Here is a prime example of a liberal researcher’s mindset. This prevalent error of modern psychology concerning moral responsibility is well illustrated in a single writing by Gary Watson, as reported by John Kekes (1997) in his book, Against Liberalism, on page 49. In Responsibility and the Limits of Evil (1987), Watson writes about serial killer Robert Harris, a particularly vicious murderer. Watson provides a graphic and gruesome description of Harris’ murder of two boys. He then describes, equally shockingly, the brutalized childhood of the murderer. Then Watson agonizes: “the murderer both satisfies and violates the criteria of victimhood. His childhood abuse was a misfortune inflicted upon him against his will. But at the same time, he unambivalently endorses suffering, death, and destruction, and that is what one form of evil is….. Our ambivalence results from the fact that an overall view simultaneously demands and precludes regarding him as a victim.” Watson hesitates to call Harris evil because the evil he caused was in some sense traceable to the evil that was done to him. Harris was certainly an agent of evil, but perhaps he was not an evil agent. Watson explains: “The fact that Harris’ cruelty is an intelligible response to his circumstances gives a foothold not only for sympathy, but for the thought that if I myself had been subjected to such circumstances, I might have become as vile….. This thought induces not only an ontological shudder, but a sense of equality with the other (Harris): I too am a potential sinner….. Admittedly, it is hard to know what to do with this conclusion.”
What just happened here? A gross violation of logic and judgment, otherwise known as common sense, just happened. Watson, who is a scientist and professor, supposedly seeking and teaching the truth, supposedly an intelligent man, somehow blows a fuse and makes himself the moral equivalent of a serial killer, which brings him to moral and intellectual paralysis, reaching a conclusion that he does not “know what to do with.” The reason Watson is stymied with his conclusion, is that the conclusion is completely wrong. As I wrote above, the fool is not the equal of the wise, and here the murderer is not the equal of the professor, nor the other way around. Watson is almost certainly not the “potential sinner” that he thinks he is. Almost certainly, he would not have made the same choices Harris did as a result of childhood abuse. It is hard to understand how any person as intelligent as Watson could even think this way. It is a view of the human psyche that is self-contradictory and self-defeating. It makes the human mind a victim of all forces, and a master of none. It results in the empowerment of evil, and the paralysis of good.
I hardly know how to begin the objections to Watson’s outrageous view. First, this evil man Harris was abused as a child, not murdered. Abuse and murder are vastly different acts. So how can his childhood abuse, by itself, justify or explain murder? Simply, it cannot. He always handed out a great deal more punishment to his victims than he got himself. This is a classic mark of evil. Second, Harris was abused by his parents, not by his murder victims. If he was going to murder someone because of his parents’ abuse, and if he felt that his parents were evil, then logically he should murder his parents, if he had any remnant of fairness left in his soul. Third, his parents were not the only source of Harris’ moral education. He attended school, he had teachers who did not abuse him, he had childhood friends and their parents to confide in, he had the opportunity to observe that abuse is not condoned in society, he had the opportunity to ask for help against his parents, and as a last resort he had the opportunity to run away from them. Fourth, as he grew up and left his parents, his moral reaction to his childhood abuse betrayed his evilness. A person choosing goodness, having experienced abuse, will acknowledge the evil of abuse and will vow never to abuse anyone. They know how bad it hurts, and they will refuse to hurt anyone like that themselves. A person choosing evil, having experienced abuse, will foster the anger and resentment it raises in them, will admire the power of the abuser, and will vow to abuse others even worse than he or she was abused. Fifth, there are multitudes of other people who experience childhood abuse, and the vast majority of them do not choose to commit murder because of it. Watson frets that he may have become as vile as Harris, and as weak as Watson is, he may have; but most abuse victims do not. With these points in mind, it is obvious that the young child Harris freely chose his course to be evil, and was fully responsible for that choice. So when the adult Harris commits murder he should be held completely responsible for it, and should receive no sympathy from liberal researchers or philosophers or judges.
The abuse a child is subjected to, does not serve as valid justification for any later evil. More likely, it awakens the evil choice developing in the child, and gives the child a handy model to carry out his or her own evil. The abuse also gives the child a supposed excuse for anything evil he or she does later. It may help explain the background of why the person chose to be evil, but the choice remains supreme, and the person must be held completely and solely responsible for it.
Far from conducting objective science, these liberal researchers, such as Gary Watson above, are engaging in pacifist fantasy, believing that 1) the murderer is a moral equal to themselves, 2) the murderer has some unfortunate disability, such as a strange “inability to experience or process emotions”, and 3) the murderer is a victim of circumstances, such as a severely abused childhood, which caused him to become a murderer, as if he has no choice in the matter. These are false beliefs based upon the researcher’s personal and institutional philosophy, a liberal pacifist philosophy, that has taken on the qualities of a humanist religion. But instead of making criminals accept full responsibility for their crimes and repent, these humanist priests in white lab coats are helping criminals avoid responsibility and find excuses. And their beliefs make them easy marks for the lies and manipulations of the criminals they are studying. Any researcher who does not recognize our hard-wired emotions on the one hand, and our complete moral choice of how to react to our emotions on the other hand, is wasting their time, and wasting our money if they receive government grants. Worse, they are literally aiding and abetting the worst kinds of criminals in our society, by providing moral support to the most immoral people. They are weaving a thick blanket of moral equivalence, and throwing it over the entire human race, weighing down and suffocating those who are good, providing cover of darkness for those who are evil, and shutting out the light of clear moral logic and judgment.
Further, this mindset is an extension of the Golden Rule, which could be stated, “think about criminals as you think about yourself” or “excuse murderers as you would excuse yourself.” In this way, the Golden Rule becomes an anchor, to weigh us all down to the depths of human depravity and weakness.
There are other books about psychopaths, such as Without Conscience by Robert Hare (1993), Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra L. Brown (2010), and Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work by Paul Babiak (2007). There are more books, but they all say psychopaths are suffering from yet another mysterious “disorder,” and they refuse to assign psychopaths any blame for being willfully immoral or evil by choice. We have to use our God-given intelligence and common sense for that, as always, when dealing with the liberal psycho / medical establishment. They deal with the physical, the chemical, the biological, the observable….. as science must. But science is therefore limited, and scientists lose sight of that. They cannot see the human will, and the supreme power of moral choice in our lives. They cannot distill will and choice into a test tube to study. DNA and hormones affect our bodies, but they do not control us. In fact, recent genetic research has determined that our thoughts, choices and experiences influence which genes are switched from dormancy to active duty. Some research even indicates that our thoughts and experiences can actually change our genes and our DNA. See The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD (2005). Something like this has to happen, for the theory of evolution to work. Most scientists will balk at the idea that genetic change could happen so fast, but there is evidence emerging to show that it does. Even apart from such evidence, I am convinced of this idea: For every weak-willed person who lets DNA or hormones control them, there is a strong-willed person who does not. Then, above and beyond the human will, there is the metaphysical. Scientists ignore the metaphysical, spiritual elements at their peril. For if we are metaphysical beings with immortal souls, then the soul is the driver and the body / brain is just the current vehicle we are driving. If the driver is sick, changing parts on the car or adding fluids to the engine may repair the car, but it does nothing to help the driver. Likewise, if the soul is sick, or willfully evil, then treatment of the body / brain will have little effect, and could even make the problem worse.
So far, as pathetic as it may be, the most promising approach to helping psychopaths seems to be a “management” plan, managing their “disorder”, that tailors a series of immediate rewards or incentives that are given to the psychopath for completing worthwhile tasks or projects. An elaborate “token economy” is created in the treatment facility, whereby tokens such as poker chips, cigarettes, candy, or admission to social events are offered as rewards for good behavior. Scientists have spent untold money and resources to come up with this treatment, but parents of difficult children have been doing this forever. This is also similar to training dogs by giving the dog an immediate food treat for doing what the trainer wants. But in the case of psychopaths, one wonders if perhaps the psychopath is just taking what is offered by these silly scientists, until a more lucrative target comes along? If you want to explore this subject yourself, here is a good place to start, which is an excellent summary article concerning psychopaths, written in 2003: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Identification+and+management+of+psychopaths+in+court-mandated…-a0100485285
When I read articles like that, I keep wanting to tell the scientists to put the sociopaths and psychopaths into Army basic training, or Marine boot camp, with drill sergeants who would quickly find ways to force these unethical self-worshipping people to genuinely reform their immoral values, or to put them in prison, where they belong if they will not reform. The military is very good at the process of turning self-centered punks into disciplined team players. The military can take street criminals and turn them into good soldiers, who can become good citizens when they return to civilian society. The scientists would be horrified at the methods of the drill sergeants, and would probably condemn them. But that would be a serious mistake. Military trainers have a much longer history, with much more experience, much higher standards, and much more serious consequences for failure than psychologists.
I predict that Dr. Stout and her colleagues will find no “cure” or effective treatment for this so-called “disorder.” They are wasting their time looking for one, because the psychopaths and sociopaths are acting very rationally and orderly, according to their chosen value system (which worships the self and subordinates or sacrifices all others to the self). They consider their value system to be superior, because it gives them the most options and greatest advantages over others. Their immoral values must change, before their attitude and behavior changes. But their value system is highly resistant to change, as Dr. Stout has discovered in her attempts at therapy, though she attributes the difficulty to a brain disorder, or genetics, or an abused childhood. Psychologists think they can train psychopaths to act ethically, like training a dog to sit and fetch, without changing their unethical value system, without holding them personally responsible for their value system. I don’t think this will work, because when the psychopaths run into unexpected stress, danger, or tempting opportunities, they will quickly revert to their old predatory ways and values. But if caught, they will loudly agree that they are helpless victims of a “mental disorder”, as the psychologists insist. The psychologists are doing a great disservice to humanity, by providing cover for the most unethical and evil people among us.
To put it a more colorful way, there is no back door into heaven for a rapist with raging hormones, or a murderer with a brain tumor, or a psychopath with bad genes, or for a psychologist with secular liberal pacifist beliefs. We are ultimately responsible for what we do, for good or bad. We are also partly responsible for the evil we allow to happen, by our inaction or withdrawal from it. Two famous quotes address this issue:
The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.
— Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
— Edmund Burke (1727-1793)
And here is another one I found:
He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done. — Leonardo da Vinci
Let us leave the stuffy halls and clinics of psychology, and return to the real world for a breath of fresh air, even if it is the air of a raging storm. The moral contract of society is violated and destroyed by those who do not even acknowledge it, like these sneaky sociopaths, or worse….. hardened criminals. In real life, on the street, in the dark alley, off of the therapy couch, it doesn’t really matter whether a sociopath is willfully evil or not. When these bad actors break the moral contract of society, and show us their hand by using force or violence, their force or violence must be reciprocated. Ideally, it should be reciprocated immediately, in the moment of the attack, by the victim or any witnesses. This is the missing half of moral reciprocity, the essential companion to the Golden Rule. This is not a re-hash of the ancient Sumerian and Hebrew law of “an eye for an eye.” That was a punishment for crime after the fact. Neither that law nor The Golden Rule can bring law to the lawless aggressor in the act, or enforce morality upon the immoral. We must articulate another Rule to accomplish that. I propose calling that other Rule the Iron Rule, which calls for the immediate termination of evil behavior by its victims or witnesses. But the above quotes come from people in many different religions and cultures, who see no need for any other Rule. There is a great need for another Rule, which I will now continue to explain. It is incredible to me that I have found no other writings doing this, and yes, I have been looking.
Sociopaths, psychopaths, manipulators, liars, thieves, criminals, dictators….. these types of people take a heavy toll on their victims, on society, and on themselves. They are highly disruptive to the growth, maturing, and work of our souls, as well as their own soul. If we follow the Golden Rule and deal with them passively, they may slowly change. More likely, they will not change at all, or even get worse, because they will misinterpret our passive behavior as submission, or as support. But the disruption they are causing continues, or even increases, because by dealing with them at all, our lives are being disrupted, our happiness is being destroyed, and our resources are being drained. Our soul’s work or life’s work is being delayed or destroyed, and so is theirs. Dealing with these disruptive people in a passive way simply allows the disruption to spread, until someone decides to deal with them in a more decisive, aggressive way. Then there is a chance to stop the disruption, and to allow everyone to get back to the high calling and work of their souls and lives.
Black Hole swallows a Star
You may say that dealing with disruption and helping “troubled” people learn to stop causing trouble IS a high calling, and a worthy cause to devote one’s life to. That is very true, but if you choose that high calling, you need the right tools for the job. Science has now finally discovered what wise people have known for all time: some people have no moral conscience, delight in harming and disrupting and dominating everyone around them, and they are almost impossible to change. The psychopath will simply take advantage of your passive love and kindness, to manipulate you, dominate you, and take your money. The psychopath is like a black hole in space, sucking in all the love and kindness, using it to grow larger and more powerful, without changing. When it grows large enough, the black hole can even suck in stars and destroy them, using their mass and energy to grow ever larger. Like a black hole, psychopaths will not change, and you are wasting your passive love on them. They will use all the love, money and resources you give them to grow more powerful, and they will not change. They are willfully evil, and loving them passively is like casting pearls before swine, which Jesus taught us not to do (Matthew 7:6, from the Sermon on the Mount). Actually it is worse than casting pearls before swine, because the pigs will trample the pearls into the mud, where we might retrieve them later. But the psychopath will pick up the pearls, take them to the pawn shop, and cash them in. So don’t waste your pearls on these people. Different tools are needed to deal with psychopaths and sociopaths. Those tools are vigilance, firmness, intolerance, brutal honesty and aggression, with decisive physical force held in ready reserve. Some people call this “tough love.”
Like a black hole in space, willfully evil people are destructive, unrelenting, unchanging, unrepentant, and all-consuming. Every kindness you give them, every dollar, every morsel of food– every time you forgive them, or give them the benefit of the doubt– every time you support them or vote for them– they use these offerings to increase their power and diminish yours. They are playing a very different game than the rest of us, with no “Golden Rule.” Like the black hole, the only “rule” psychopaths follow is to consume everything and everyone within their reach, to serve their own purpose. The Golden Rule works to strengthen them and weaken you. The greatest difference between a black hole in space and a psychopath is what makes the psychopath even more dangerous: A black hole cannot pretend to be a star, to attract us in with false light, brilliance and warmth. But psychopaths can and do pretend to be a good person, a great person, even a holy person, to attract us close enough to feed on.
What if we had a psychopath or sociopath for president? Or prime minister, secretary of state, attorney general, senator, etc.? I think it is very likely that leaders of countries are often psychopaths or sociopaths, perhaps more often than they are good leaders who really care about the freedom, empowerment, and prosperity of their people. As I wrote above, sociopaths may be the willfully evil people who are smarter than the others. Psychopaths and sociopaths possess different degrees of intelligence and different talents, just like everyone else, and an exceptional sociopath would easily be able to deceive enough voters and accumulate enough money and powerful supporters to be elected to the highest position in any country. I think our current president exhibits some definite sociopathic symptoms, and he was in great need of some “tough love” in the recent election, but sadly for us, he didn’t get enough of it. He has been described in the media, by several credible sources, as being a “narcissist”, which is a much older term than psychopath or sociopath, but it means about the same thing. But that is a different topic, which is addressed here: http://goldenmeantx.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/hello-world
Or in this incredibly accurate post by a psychotherapist: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/a_shrink_asks_whats_wrong_with.html
His incredible arrogance, and his incredible danger to America, is summed up in this one ominous comment he made: “The Constitution is often a reliable guide. But in some cases, we know better.” He says this about the most crucial document that founded our country, and that HE SWORE AN OATH TO UPHOLD. What he truly thinks, what he cannot say aloud, is likely even more extreme. He should be thrown out of office for this one revealing comment, which proves his betrayal to his oath. Instead, he is re-elected by the foolish half of the country, and we have to endure his assault on the Constitution and our freedom for another tragic 4 years. But let us return to the subject at hand; how to deal with psychopaths and sociopaths. Suffice it to say here, that a psychopathic or sociopathic president would do tremendous damage to our country, until enough good people saw through all his deceptions, cover-ups, manipulations and veiled power-grabs, to remove him from office. He would urgently need to be introduced to the aggressive side of moral reciprocity.
However, we see by the above quotes that the passive side of the moral principle of reciprocity (the Golden Rule) is greatly honored by the leaders of most religions and cultures throughout history (and their followers), while the aggressive side of the moral principle of reciprocity is rejected and ignored. In my opinion, the Golden Rule taken alone is an incomplete moral principle, like a bicycle with one wheel. A skilled and persistent rider might get to his destination on a bicycle with one wheel, but most riders will not, and it is so much easier to just put the other wheel on the bicycle!
The above quotes are from highly moral and spiritual men who have dedicated their lives to their beliefs, and become highly respected for doing so. But in doing so they have, in effect, removed themselves from the normal daily activities of common people, and removed themselves from the physical battlefield of conflict between good and evil. I have been a soldier and an officer in the US Army, and I understand the moral conflicts of the battlefield. Can you imagine Confucius or Buddha or Jesus as a general, or even a lowly grunt, on the front lines of World War Two? Or Korea, or Vietnam, or Iraq, or Afghanistan?? If they were a lowly grunt, and if they followed the historic teachings they have given us, they would not be willing to follow the orders of their superiors and kill the enemy. They would be a great danger to themselves and their fellow soldiers. If they were a general, it would be a complete disaster. Their loving passive values would get them and their armies quickly defeated, and evil would win the day. The cries of agony from the slaughtered soldiers and their families would rise to heaven, but to no avail. Or, perhaps, heaven has devised a method to deal with gross injustice on earth after the fact, in the spiritual world. After we have been slaughtered on the battlefield, or tortured and killed by a monster such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, or the psychopath next door, perhaps our spirits can be healed. Perhaps the spirits of our tormentors can be restrained or banished to where they can do no more harm. I urgently hope and trust that is the case. But even if that is the case, it does not help us here and now. It seems that the passive leaders of our earthly religions cannot effectively deal with the gross injustice of earthly life and earthly strife. They tell us to look to heaven, and sacrifice our own earthly welfare to anyone who ventures to take it from us. But I ask you, why should known evil be passively allowed to triumph over us, at any place or time? Why should we allow evil to defeat us, when we could defeat it and stop it from harming more victims? Does this really make any logical or moral sense? I say that it does not make any sense, in this world or the next. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is all around us. Why should we sacrifice any part of that holy kingdom to evil? Our earthly lives are part of our spiritual lives, and we should not allow our earthly lives to be crippled or preyed upon by evil, regardless of what happens in the afterlife.
Our spiritual leaders have chosen love and compassion as their personal way of life, which is a form of emotional detachment from conflict, and they have rejected the application of violent force for any reason whatsoever (Mohammed was an exception, but he will be dealt with in another blog). These outstanding mentors have unfortunately become moral extremists, in the direction of peace and non-violence. They are perhaps incapable of violence, just or unjust, so they fashion a philosophy that condemns all violence. They teach an idealistic philosophy, in the hope that all people will someday share the ideals of goodness. But if that is the assumption of these religious men, I think they are very wrong. We will never have a society in which all people share and practice the ideals of goodness, morality, and ethics. We have had thousands of years, and many different religions with the same basic idea of passive reciprocity, and they have all failed miserably to stop evil from running rampant in the world. In fact, most of them have contributed to the evil running rampant in world history (Crusade or Jihad, anyone?). Today, we face religious horrors such as cults, suicide pacts, suicide bombers, massive purges, oppression of women, Islamic Sharia law, Islamic honor killings, Buddhist detachment from reality, Hindu castes, and Christian priests who sexually abuse children. I do not fear God, if God is love. But I am terrified of religion, when it turns into oppression.
The passive leaders of most religions are missing the active side of moral reciprocity, and most of them even seem to condemn it. That is highly ironic, because their survival as extreme pacifists is only made possible by the noble warriors, brave police and bold citizens who protect their society, who do not hesitate to use the active side of moral reciprocity, in the defense of goodness.
Philosophers also teach the principle of reciprocity. Immanuel Kant’s famous Categorical Imperative (“Act in such a way that the maxim of your conduct can be willed as a universal law”) is the best example from classic philosophy. The last six quotes above are from various Greek philosophers, including an interesting quote from Aristotle, centuries before Jesus voiced his version of the Golden Rule. But in modern times, pacifists of all types are clamoring for our attention, and the passive Golden Rule is still their mantra.
Spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, in his book The Third Jesus (2008), gives his thoughts on the Golden Rule: ”When I was a child in India, I first heard about the Golden Rule from the Christian brothers who had traveled from Ireland to run our school… taken literally, the Golden Rule requires you to treat an enemy as an equal, which means in essence that you can have no enemies… it’s human nature to fight back when attacked… but Jesus made no such allowances. Many of Jesus’s most famous words defy human nature in this way. Turn the other cheek… resist not evil.” Deepak goes on to champion the usual pacifist misconception of fighting evil, belittling it as revenge or punishment: “The moment someone is branded as evil (terrorists, Nazis, mass murderers, pedophiles, and so forth), the natural reaction seems to be revenge; we assume that despite Jesus’s urgings, we have every right to exact punishment. The current War on Terror is based on this notion.” Deepak is very wrong on this. It is indeed human nature to fight back when attacked, and in this case human nature is right. Deepak seeks to condemn and oppose the nobility and courage of human nature, when it disagrees with his pacifist philosophy.
But contrary to this popular pacifist misconception, the War on Terror is not “revenge.” Waged properly, it is the best of human nature. It is simply our attempt to look for, find and stop the evil activities of terrorists and their sponsors, BEFORE they commit their horrendous acts of destruction. It is prevention, not revenge. This is human nature at its finest, not its worst. Finding and stopping evil people is the essence of justice, and perhaps the most important activity in the world. It is far more important than seeking punishment after the damage is done. It is far more effective to stop a tyrant before he gains massive power, than being forced to wage war against the tyrant after he gains massive power. In accusing us of wanting “revenge,” Deepak fails to give us a way to stop criminals from planning and committing their crimes. It is not “revenge” to capture or destroy a rabid dog before it bites us, and it is not “revenge” to stop a dedicated evil person while he is planning to attack us! And it is certainly not “revenge” to pursue and kill a mass murderer after he has committed the murders, after he has avoided our efforts to find him and stop him before the crime. It is not revenge, it is justice. Deepak is completely wrong on this issue. WE DO HAVE “every right to exact punishment”, which Deepak argues against. But to go further, to reach the moral ideal, we have something far more important than a moral right to “exact punishment”, we have a moral obligation to terminate active evil, and people like Deepak refuse to see it, until the evil is happening to them. Spiritual leaders and “gurus” like Deepak are cultivating a moral near-sightedness, even moral blindness, in their followers. They have no solution for the termination of evil, so they choose not to see it, not to fight it, or sometimes deny that it even exists. And of course, they choose the historic teachings that support their position, and ignore or oppose all the rest.
Deepak’s pacifist refusal to recognize or resist our enemies will not prevent those enemies from beheading him or blowing him to pieces, if they choose him as a target. And we should not stop the terrorists from killing him, for that would be an immoral act of “revenge,” according to him. So I must let Deepak die, literally and figuratively. His arguments are lifeless and foolish to me. Deepak’s pacifist philosophy is a flawed Eastern version of the extreme pacifist philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher, who I severely criticized in another blog article (The Philosophy of Falsehood). http://goldenmeantx.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/the-philosophy-of-falsehood/
Prophets and philosophers are not the only worshippers of the Golden Rule. Even brilliant neurologists get into the act. Dr. Antonio Damasio wrote an amazing book, Looking for Spinoza (2003), reporting the latest neurological research and discoveries, which impressed me greatly. But Dr. Damasio went too far, trying to expound on the morality of human behavior, and how it affects our minds. He addressed the issue of harm. He proclaimed that:
“good actions are those that…..do not harm other individuals. This injunction is unequivocal. An action that might be personally beneficial but would harm others is not good because harming others always haunts and eventually harms the individual who causes the harm.”
Really, doctor? So it is not good to expose a liar, to stop a thief, to interrupt a rapist in the act, to kill a murderer in the act? Every time a policeman arrests a criminal, he is disrupting and harming that criminal’s life. Every time a judge throws a criminal into prison, he is committing serious harm against that individual. Every time a moral person uses force to stop an immoral person, the immoral person is being harmed in some way. So according to Damasio’s proclamation, every policeman, every soldier, every judge is engaged in activity that is not good. Damasio’s version of the Golden Rule condemns law enforcement, judicial power, and military action as harmful and evil, as not being “good actions.”
This definition of “good actions” is incredibly naïve, and ignores the universal human problem of how to stop other people who have no qualms about harming others. If society followed this “injunction,” our civilization would crumble into anarchy, with no one willing to enforce laws or repel attacks. This attempt at moral principle is very noble of Dr. Damasio, but the scientists should stick with science. Here he has given us a new commandment even stricter than the Bible, but at the same time more selfish, saying:
Thou shalt not harm anyone for any reason, for thou wilt harm thyself.
But Damasio does not say how to deal with people who ignore his great commandment. Some people will always choose harm, abuse and violence as their way of life. Some people enjoy such an immoral lifestyle immensely, getting high on the feelings of power it gives them when they abuse or destroy their victims, getting rich from the loot they take, and they consider it far superior to a moral lifestyle. Damasio’s idealistic commandment completely prohibits defending ourselves against these people (“this injunction is unequivocal,” he says). When a criminal attacks us, we are not to defend ourselves by harming him, because our harmful deed will haunt us forever! I have news for the good doctor….. I would be proud to eliminate a criminal predator from this world, and save all his future victims from harm. Here is a scientist incapable of dealing with the realities of evil, who equates all harm with evil. This is similar to the generic liberal pacifist condemnation of all violence, but Damasio takes it to an even greater extreme. Damasio could have taken one of the above quotes, from Socrates, as early philosophical support for Damasio’s view: “It has been shown that to injure anyone is never just anywhere” (Socrates, The Republic). But Socrates was just as wrong 2300 years ago as Damasio is wrong today. This is just one of at least two major errors that Socrates made in his philosophy. This is a highly flawed view of moral reciprocity.
Likewise, all pacifist principles of moral reciprocity are flawed, because they do not instruct us how to deal with evil, or worse, they tell us to treat evil with kindness. They require us to treat everyone with kindness and passive benevolence, regardless of how others deserve to be treated. Teachers of the Golden Rule, who say it is the only moral rule we need, are wrong. They represent moral extremism, which must be tempered and moderated. The dominance of the Golden Rule has accomplished much goodness in human history, but it has also caused untold harm in human history, because it has two very harmful effects. First, the question of merit is totally removed from human relations, and second, evil people are not stopped or punished.
In conflicts of will, the issue of merit must take precedence. Which party in the conflict deserves to win the conflict? Which party is conducting themselves in a more moral or ethical way? If both parties were sufficiently moral, there would be no serious conflict in the first place; there would be only discussion and resolution. So if there is a conflict at all, then the morally inferior party has crossed the line and should be corrected. That party in the conflict who is morally superior, should prevail in every way over the party who is morally inferior (I do not presume to offer the details of moral superiority or inferiority….. if you have read this far, then I am confident you have a good idea for yourself, and your idea is just as valid as mine). In my view, the moral superior has an obligation to take the necessary steps to prevail in the conflict, while doing the least amount of harm to accomplish that. This is the quickest way to demonstrate and reinforce the fact that the values of the moral superior are indeed superior. Then, equally and crucially important, it is the obligation of the moral inferior to realize his or her mistake, learn from it, repent, and reform. I have been on both sides of this scenario, and it works very well.
In fact, most religions require us to realize our mistakes and learn from them. For example, this is a theme running through the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. A typical verse says: “He who refuses and ignores instruction and correction despises himself, but he who heeds reproof gets understanding” Proverbs 15:32. The moral superior is the one providing instruction and correction and reproof, which the moral inferior must heed, for any progress to be made. This ideal scenario is difficult to carry out in real life, because usually both sides will think they are the moral superior. The psychopath or sociopath, in particular, may argue that he is following this exact scenario, but he has hi-jacked it to serve himself, and he knows that he has done so. When both sides say they are morally superior, of course, one side is either lying or delusional or psychopathic. Usually both sides are committing moral sins or errors, but one side is more in error than the other, thus needing more correction. If both sides are honestly seeking improvement, the issue of superiority will be resolved, to the benefit of both sides. Sadly, this rarely happens, because our egotistical pride prevents us from honestly deferring and bowing to our moral superiors. We can argue forever about what constitutes moral superiority, but the vast majority of us will agree that it does exist, and we can recognize it, in spite of the efforts of modern liberalism to prevent us from doing so. Not only do we recognize our own position on the moral spectrum, but we are pretty good at recognizing those people who are below us and above us on the moral spectrum. The Golden Rule taken alone, followed blindly, prevents us from putting this moral, spiritual sensing to good use.
I am not the first philosopher to criticize the Golden Rule. Rogue philosophers such as Nietzsche threw it out along with all other traditional ideas of morality. Nietzsche considered pacifist Christianity to be a philosophy of the weak, the cowardly, and the impotent; though Nietzsche worshipped power and strong will to an opposite extreme. But I am not “throwing out” the Golden Rule. I am accepting it as valid, but incomplete. It is not the complete expression of moral reciprocity, as its supporters argue.
Plato (left) and Aristotle (right)
A far greater philosopher also did not support supremacy of the Golden Rule. My favorite philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) hinted against the concept in his great work Ethics. Aristotle argued for a Golden Mean of virtue, not a Golden Rule or a rigid moral rule of any kind. Dr. Mortimer Adler expanded on Aristotle in an address to a church in Aspen, Colorado in 1991, saying: “…..the Golden Rule by itself is vacuous, empty of meaning; by itself it does not tell you how to behave towards others or how to conduct your life..…but it does contain one true moral insight, namely that any sound rule of conduct must be universal– applicable to all human beings everywhere…..this is a question that Aristotle answers in one way and all other moral philosophers answer in the opposite way” (from The Mortimer J. Adler Archives on The Radical Academy website). I think what Dr. Adler means is this: the Golden Rule by itself does not specifically mention passive benevolence or any other type of behavior. It just instructs us to act in a virtuous and reciprocal manner (but this takes the Golden Rule out of its religious context, which does require passive benevolence). As for Aristotle, he was clear on virtue. Virtue was a moral excellence that avoided extremes of weakness or excess, but did not avoid hard work, risk or danger. Sadly, Aristotle was not so clear on reciprocity. However, there is a key quote I have found attributed to Aristotle concerning moral reciprocity: “We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us.” This is the only “Golden Rule” I have found, in all of world history, that operates only among “friends,” who we can assume to be ethical people; which allows for a different moral principle to operate towards our enemies, who we can assume to be unethical people. This is the only assumption we can make about the meaning, considering Aristotle’s keen insight into ethics and his interest in the pursuit of virtue.
The pursuit of virtue requires one to be courageous, and it also requires one to be just. Courage is a virtue that addresses a quality within oneself, while justice is a virtue that addresses qualities within others. Justice requires us to consider the issue of merit in our dealings with others. Justice requires us to ask two questions: what do others need; and what do others deserve? Everyone needs help in one form or another, at various times. But who deserves our help more, the poor starving widow and her children, or the poor starving murderer who made her a widow, who killed her husband for the gold wedding ring on his finger? Which one merits our help? This is a simple question with an obvious answer, but the Golden Rule would have us treat them exactly the same, with love and kindness. If the known murderer asks us for help first, and we share our last loaf of bread with him, what will we give the widow when she finally recovers from her grief and knocks on our door? We will have nothing to give her, except sympathy, but sympathy is not food. We are out of food, but being the good people that we are, the virtuous followers of the Golden Rule that we are, we invite the widow into our hovel and offer her some water to quench her thirst, which is all we have. She is grateful for the water, and for the sympathy. As she drinks the water, we begin to talk, to be a friend, to help however we can, for we are followers of the sacred Golden Rule. But when the widow discovers that we just gave our last loaf of bread to the man who just murdered her husband, and stole his gold wedding ring, she might be just a little upset, don’t you think? You could try to justify your helping of the murderer, but you cannot justify it to this grieving, starving widow. You thought you were doing “the right thing,” but it turns out you were doing exactly THE WRONG THING. The Golden Rule would require us to give the murderer our last loaf, even if we knew he was a murderer. But in helping him, we are helping and rewarding evil. Whenever resources go to nourish or reward evil, a gross injustice occurs. The Golden Rule allows, evens demands, this injustice. It allows evil to win the hard-earned money and resources of others, even when it is intended as charity or welfare. It allows evil to do this over and over again, without end. All the evil person has to do, is ask for it, and they will be given it! To me, this is moral insanity, and moral blindness.
In the subject of crime, a similar picture emerges. There is now much evidence that most criminals follow career patterns, returning to criminal activity throughout their lives. This idea is really no more than common sense. People who use the tactics of mistreating, cheating, abusing or attacking others for their own personal gain, have not reached that position lightly. It is a clear choice of lifestyle; it is a basic moral choice; it is a basic part of their personality. They are psychopaths or sociopaths, without conscience, because they willingly choose evil. But the Golden Rule does not recognize this. Every time a person attacks us or commits a crime, the Golden Rule requires us to give the person what they want, forgive them for taking it from us, and not retaliate or defend ourselves. Jesus told us to forgive our tormentors 70 times 7 times! (But he seemed not to forgive the moneychangers in the temple, as he drove them out). If an evil person can find enough victims who follow the Golden Rule, then he or she is assured a long life of successful abuse and crime. Incidentally, this general religious doctrine of unlimited forgiveness, implied in the Golden Rule, couples smoothly with the atheistic liberal failure to recognize and oppose evil. Liberal juries and judges give hardened criminals light sentences, and release immoral monsters from prison to prey on us again and again. I already wrote an article about this tragedy in American society: http://goldenmeantx.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/why-do-the-guilty-go-free-like-casy-anthony-lady-justice-is-becoming-blind-deaf-and-dumb/
Together, pacifists of religious, secular and atheistic dogmas are allowing all kinds of evil to triumph over goodness in our society and on our planet.
For the peaceniks of both religious and atheistic stripes, I have a little parable. The human race is divided into predatory types and prey types….. think of us as wolves and sheep. Some of the wolves have grown into guard dogs. Sheep can grow into guard dogs too, but it may be more difficult than a camel passing through the eye of a needle (Bible verse, Matthew 19:24). So most of them remain sheep. It does no good to teach the sheep to be kind and gentle, while the wolves howl and run in packs. But that is what the sheep bleat to each other and to the wolves and to the guard dogs, to be kind and gentle. You can imagine what the wolves think of that. The Golden Rule, if observed by the sheep, literally “serves” only the wolves. And the sheep had better pray that their guard dogs do not follow the Golden Rule when confronted by their wild canine cousins. Liberal, peace-loving guard dogs would spell doom and disaster for the sheep, for the dogs would give the wolves a sacrificial sheep to appease them, every time the wolves appear, and wolves are hungry every day. But in the real world, the sheep need not fear, because unlike humans, dogs are not smart enough to invent moral rules to override their trusty instincts. Some sheep-herding dogs will fight to the death to repel a wolf or coyote from the herd they are charged to protect. Good dogs can put humans to shame with their outstanding loyalty, obedience, bravery, and self-sacrifice.
Compassion is also not the exclusive domain of mankind. Most species of mammals exhibit nurturing behavior within their family or group, and some will even risk injury or sacrifice their own well-being for others. In a fascinating experiment reported by Antonio Damasio in Looking for Spinoza (2003), Rhesus monkeys were used. Their cages were rigged so that when one monkey took his portion of food, a monkey in a cage next to him got zapped by an electric shock, and cried out in pain. The monkeys abstained from pulling a chain that would deliver food to them, if pulling the chain also caused another monkey to receive an electric shock. Some monkeys would suffer themselves, not eating for days, rather than cause another monkey to suffer. And the monkey was most likely to show such compassion for another monkey who was well known. The monkeys who had previously been shocked themselves also showed more compassion. So here we have scientific proof that some animals are compassionate, more compassionate than many humans. It would be very easy to argue that these monkeys are following The Golden Rule, without the benefit of ever reading or hearing about it. It would also be very easy to argue that some monkeys are the moral superiors of some humans.
Other experiments were conducted on humans. In one famous experiment at Yale University in 1961-1962 by Stanley Milgram, subjects chose to shock their victims with powerful electricity. One person, the “learner” was rigged up with electrical wires, and another person in another room, the “teacher” was shown how to work the controls to shock the “learner,” and control the level of shock. The “teacher” was required to ask the “learner” certain questions, and either reward them with praise or punish them with shock. Two-thirds (65%) of the study subjects chose punishment, and steadily increased the level of shock, up to 450 volts, even when they were told that the shock was very painful. The cries and grimaces of the “learner” confirmed this. Imagine their surprise when, at the end of the study, they were told that there was no electric shock at all, and their supposed victims were actors who were in on the study. So here we have scientific proof that some humans are assholes, with no compassion at all.
.Another chilling study may give some insights to the prisoner abuse committed by Americans in Iraq at the Abu Ghraib prison. In 1971, psychologist Philip Zimbardo conducted a test at Stanford University. He paid $15 a day to 24 well-adjusted male college students, to have them play the roles of prisoners or guards in a laboratory “jail” for two weeks. The experiment started, but Zimbardo had to stop it after just six days. Some of the 12 guards quickly turned sadistic and abusive, while most of the 12 prisoners became despondent and withdrawn. The “guards” were verbally abusive, and forced the “prisoners” to do things like clean toilet bowls with their bare hands and do excessive numbers of push-ups. Secret videotapes revealed that the “guards” escalated their abuse of prisoners in the middle of the night, when they thought no researchers were watching and the experiment was “off.” In a book chapter Zimbardo wrote, he concluded that ”the Evil situation triumphed over the Good people.” In this writing, Dr. Zimbardo was engaging in a type of moral optimism, reasonable in the upbeat American year of 1971, which is proven wrong, when you look at these photos of the infamous crimes of the American guards at Abu Ghraib prison, just 35 years later.
I would submit that this is an erroneous conclusion by Dr. Zimbardo, and that the “Good people” were not really so good after all. They were just good at acting and deception. The abusive “guards” were immoral and unethical; potentially evil people who were suddenly given the power or opportunity to exercise that evil. Worse yet, they ENJOYED the abuse of their power, doing it for their own pleasure when they thought no one was watching. Further, there was no inherently “Evil situation” in the experiment. There is no evil in the situation of imprisonment itself, as long as the prisoners have had a fair trial, and been convicted by an ethical judge, following ethical laws. Clearly, the evil came when the guards chose to violate their duties, and to commit the crime of abuse against the people under their authority.
I have seen this type of abuse before, especially in the Army. There are many ways to command. Some of them are abusive; some of them are supportive. It all comes down to a single question. Are you the type of person who uses authority to weaken or destroy those under you, or who uses authority to strengthen or build those under you? It is very much a personal choice. To me, it represents the difference between evil and goodness.
The other guards were moral weaklings who just went along with the abusive guards. This is despicable. It disgusts me more than the evil of the abusive guards. It is even more appalling that the voluntary “prisoners” in this experiment would sheepishly endure such abuse, without fighting back or walking away. Remember, this was just a laboratory experiment on a college campus. These “prisoners” were being seriously abused in a mental and emotional way. Isn’t this the most common form of abuse in society, that we have all experienced in real life? But this wasn’t “real life,” it was an experiment, and the students could have done anything they wanted. They could have fought back, they could have rebelled, they could have told the guards to screw themselves, they could have told the professor they wanted out. But no, they just bowed their heads and let the abuse continue. This illustrates my conviction that the evil of one is strengthened by the weakness of many.
So, science has shown us that animals can be compassionate when we do not expect it, and that humans can be cruel and yes, evil, when they don’t have to be. Sometimes, the instincts of animals serve them better than our human intellects serve us. The Golden Rule, taken alone, is an example of this human failure. The Golden Rule, taken alone, promotes an immoral peace by sacrificing justice. But justice should never be sacrificed, because it is far more important than “peace.”
Such passive rules of reciprocity as the Golden Rule are wonderful, as long as everyone respects them and actually tries to follow them. But common sense, and the reality of everyday life, and the headlines of our newspapers, tell us that everyone does not respect them. A significant percentage of human beings think only of themselves, and many of them even take great pleasure in harming or destroying the rest of us. According to Dr. Martha Stout, the percentage of sociopaths is four percent of American society. Many other criminals are predatory without being classified as sociopaths, and many other unethical people are abusive and predatory, without breaking laws. To them, the Golden Rule is for weaklings and fools. What are we to do, when we treat another person with kindness, and he viciously attacks us? If we continue to treat him as we wish he would treat us, he will destroy us. Or he will enslave us and drain us of all our resources. If we follow the Golden Rule, we are required to offer no resistance, and treat him as if he were the nicest person alive. We are to treat good people and evil people the same, with equal love and compassion. But this is voluntary moral blindness.
While we are operating blindly with the Golden Rule, if the person attacking us exercises his freedom of will in order to block or destroy our freedom of will, he wins in the game of life. In the physical game of life on this world, the master wins over his slaves, the manipulator wins over his victims, the con artist wins over his dupes, in short….. the predator wins over his prey. In other words, he who violates the Golden Rule wins, and he who follows the Golden Rule loses. But we are not animals, so this should be intolerable to us all, regardless of what may or may not happen in the afterlife. We should not sacrifice ourselves in this life, or in any part of our lives. Evil should not be passively granted victory in any arena. Does the triumph of evil over goodness ever serve any useful purpose? (Actually, the answer is yes, and that purpose is motivation, as when the sacrifice of a religious martyr motivates his followers to follow his teachings, but that is another subject in itself, and it has already been done for us, by many religious martyrs in history). I say that the triumph of evil over goodness should never be passively allowed to happen, as the Golden Rule allows it.
Sometime, somewhere, somehow, many of us are opposing evil, or it would conquer the universe. Enough people are opposing evil on this Earth, or the planet would have been permanently conquered by evil long ago. But evil controls many local areas, and governs many large countries. Believers say we should leave the opposing of evil to God. But they also say God gives us free will, for evil or good. I say we should all use our free will to oppose evil, every time, everywhere, and by any means necessary. Otherwise we are wasting God’s gift of free will, and simultaneously allowing others to abuse that gift. I say that evil should never be allowed to triumph over goodness, not even in any small or temporary way. On the other end of the scale, when evil humans are forcefully threatening the lives of others, the evil ones should be killed without hesitation, if that is what it takes to terminate their threat, if they ignore or resist all lesser actions. Further, exposed evil should never be allowed to enjoy ANY freedom of action and freedom of will. All the traditional moral principles of reciprocity fail to address this problem. They foolishly give evil people full freedom of action and freedom of will, without opposition. They do this in the belief that the evil people still have a conscience, and will eventually be shamed into seeing the evil of their ways. This is a poor gamble. The good person is betting everything on the slim chance that a raging tiger will turn into a purring kitten. Evil people are evil because they have decided that it is the best way to get what they want. They know it is wrong, and they don’t care. They are now called psychopaths and sociopaths, as mentioned near the beginning of this article. They view others as fruit to be plucked and consumed, not as fellow sprouts from the tree of life to be respected and honored. They will do what they have to do, in order to take what you have, whether it is possessions, knowledge, dignity, freedom, or life. If you willingly give it to them, so much the better for them. If you willingly give it to them, you are making a serious mistake. You have simply made it easier for them to achieve their vile objective. Supporters of the Golden Rule will argue that no one can steal your dignity from you. That may be true, but this is of small comfort when evil steals from you everything else of value.
For example, think of the millions of prisoners in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. They may have kept their dignity, but they lost everything else. They lost their freedom, their loved ones, their homes, their possessions, their money, their hobbies, their health, their happiness, their leisure, and their lives. The Nazis saw it as their duty to abuse and destroy the weak, in a ruthless and twisted form of natural selection. In many death camps, the Nazis specifically tried to destroy the dignity of their victims, humiliating them in devious ways for months or years before they killed them. I would argue that the Nazis DID take or destroy the dignity of their victims. The twisted slogan of the death camps, “ARBEIT MACHT FREI,” meant “Work makes you free.” The crushing labor and starvation would eventually “free” you from your miserable life, by killing you. The Nazis put this slogan at the gates to the death camps.
I personally stood before, and walked through, one of these gates at the Dacchau death camp, and it was a moving experience, on many levels. As I stood looking at those words, in a bitterly cold winter wind, biting right through my coat, I imagined the millions of doomed prisoners who trudged through those gates at gunpoint, looked up at those words on the gate, and perhaps finally realized the full extent of the twisted evil of their Nazi tormentors. Then I imagined the thousands of American soldiers who walked through those gates, looked up at those words without understanding them, but then saw the horrors behind them as they advanced into the camp, to save as many prisoners as they could.
Those prisoners who were saved, were saved by the application of irresistible violent force by the American Army and its Allies. They were saved by the courage, sacrifice and lifeblood of brave warriors for goodness. They were not saved by the application of the Golden Rule to their Nazi oppressors. They were saved by the killing of their Nazi oppressors. If the Allies had not come to save them, they would have surely died. As for those millions who did die in the camps, their efforts would have been better spent trying to kill the Nazi soldiers who came to drag them from their homes. It is better to die nobly and quickly in defense of one’s home and family, than to die slowly in the despair, misery and filth of a prison camp, especially if you manage to take one of the thugs with you. If only one-sixth of the six million who died horribly in the prison camps had succeeded in killing or wounding one Nazi soldier, the Third Reich would have been deprived of one million soldiers. This would have been a very significant influence on the outcome of the war. And to paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees, for those who love freedom. The extreme philosophical view that the Nazis could have been “disarmed by love” (this has actually been argued by at least one philosopher) is unbelievably naïve and absurd, when one understands the principles and realities of evil.
On a more theoretical basis, what happens when evil people attack good people, who firmly believe in the Golden Rule? Of course, many things can happen, but each side has two basic choices. The good people can continue to follow the Golden Rule, as they certainly believe that they should, as they have always been taught by their spiritual leaders. They can try to “disarm their enemy with love.” In this case, the evil people can either 1) press their advantage, and have their way as long as they want, robbing and raping and terrorizing, even to the point of destroying the good people, or 2) they may be influenced by the passive benevolence of their victims, and have a change of heart. That rare miracle is the desired goal of those who preach the Golden Rule. This only has a chance to work if the evil people let the good people live, for a long enough period to observe their saintly behavior. But the good people of the Golden Rule in our hypothetical situation have another choice. After recovering from their shock, their disbelief that the people attacking them could be so unfair, so selfish, so irrational, so cruel; after much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; after asking that eternal question “WHY ME” of themselves and of their God and finding no good answer, they can abandon the Golden Rule and oppose the evil attacking them. In this case, the evil people can either 1) continue to attack against stiff resistance, risking to destroy the goods and resources they wish to take over, and risking to be destroyed themselves, or 2) they can break off the attack, leave, and search for more willing victims who won’t forsake their Golden Rule. Or a third possible outcome, which we can consider as a bonus, is that the good people succeed in defeating the evil people, in which case the evil ones will be destroyed or punished. The great tragedy of this scenario is that the good people must either follow their belief in the Golden Rule and give evil what it wants, or experience great distress and torment in tearing themselves away from their cherished belief, in order to oppose evil. And if they do finally choose to oppose evil, prompted to do so by its predatory acts upon them, they start their opposition from a strategic disadvantage, for their enemies are already among them and in control. Throughout history, this problem has plagued followers of the Golden Rule. Countless victims of evil have restrained their urge to fight back, and bravely turned the other cheek, when their bravery and help were sorely needed by those who did choose to fight back. Instead, the passive ones beg the noble fighters to stop, perhaps even denounce them, perhaps refusing even to give the fighters moral support. Why are the passive ones seemingly so stubborn and blind to moral reality? The answer is: these brave but passive victims are simply following the extreme “Golden Rule” teachings of their belief system, which promises eternal reward for obedience and threatens terrible eternal punishment for disobedience.
When I hear a religious speaker express any version of the Golden Rule, such as “love your neighbor as you love yourself”, I want to shout: “WHEN MY NEIGHBOR KILLS ME AND MY FAMILY, AND HE IS COMING TO KILL YOU, THEN WHAT WILL YOU DO?“ If he does not defend himself, he will die a quick death, while reciting the Golden Rule to his killer. The Golden Rule will make a nice engraving for the speaker’s tombstone, while the murderer happily moves on to his next victim. Why is it that most spiritual leaders give us great advice on how to treat others in peaceful situations, but give us lousy advice on what to do when others attack us?
There are many reasons for this, some innocent and some not so innocent. Some religious leaders are preaching the Golden Rule because they sincerely believe it to be the greatest moral rule, as the founders of their religion decreed. Other religious leaders in history have preached the Golden Rule as the rule for the masses, but have not followed it themselves. Instead, they use their power to oppress, imprison, torture, or slaughter those who disagree with them. For these vile religious hypocrites, the Golden Rule is a valuable tool to keep the people passive, easier to control, and easier to relieve of their money.
Throughout history, there is a disconnect, an incompatibility between all spiritual leaders who preach benevolence and non-violence, and the rest of the human race, who have to find a way to survive and fight back in the face of malevolent evil. The Golden Rule does not give them what they need to preserve goodness and defeat evil (for those of you who are thinking of the success of Mahatma Gandhi, I will deal with that later, in another blog). To put it bluntly, the Golden Rule doesn’t work by itself, and cannot work by itself. It is an essential half, but only half, of a general moral basis for goodness.
What we have here, with the topic of the Golden Rule, is one of the most basic moral misadventures in history. The Golden Rule is used as a tool in a con job and a cover-up of epic proportions. The con job is presided over by some of the most well-meaning and highest-honored people among us. It is the most classic case of wishful thinking perpetuating it’s own grave error. What is this grave error? The moral principle of reciprocity is not fully expressed by the Golden Rule. There is a neglected side of reciprocity that is suppressed by those spiritual and political leaders who philosophically disagree with it. It is the missing half of all the above quoted principles of reciprocity. When goodness is not threatened with destruction, it can afford to act with passive benevolence. But goodness must act to preserve itself when it is being destroyed. This is our natural right, even our responsibility. We must also consider merit and justice when we consider what other people need and ask for.
The famous “problem of evil” has been addressed by every philosophy and religion in history, even if their way of addressing it is to deny it. Others say evil exists because God grants us free will. But this doesn’t help us deal with evil directly. When our own property, life or society is threatened, the Golden Rule is useless. To solve the “problem of evil,” we need to deal with it in a hostile, forceful way.
When the dragon of evil is crouching on our doorstep or our neighbor’s doorstep, we cannot invite it in, we cannot ignore it, and we should not let it get away. When evil is present, we need different principles to oppose it. This almost requires two separate sets of moral values: values to be followed in the absence of evil, and values to be followed in the presence of evil. The various “Golden Rules” of reciprocity tell us how to act in the absence of evil, among people who are not evil. We need a moral principle of reciprocity to guide us in our response to people who are evil. Of course, such a principle already resides in the mind of every human being with a moral backbone, who is concerned with the application of justice in human affairs. I would call it “The Iron Rule” of reciprocity, and this is the way I would express it:
The Iron Rule (neglected companion to the Golden Rule):
Every act of evil must be opposed by those who observe it or learn of it, and countered with an equal or greater force.
Before the pacifists voice their automatic condemnation, let me clarify: The word “force” here does not equate to “violence.” Depending upon the evil that one may observe, “force” may simply be speaking or writing words, applying influence or pressure, maintaining a presence instead of leaving, withholding resources from an evil, withholding information from an evil, or encouraging others to unite in solidarity against an evil. The pacifists do these things all the time, most recently and visibly with the “Occupy” movement, which also engaged in much law-breaking, bigotry, theft, car-burning, vandalism and assault….. not to mention massive littering, pissing, crapping, and humping in public parks, while denying the rest of the public the use of our parks. So the pacifists follow the Iron Rule in a limited, twisted, distorted fashion. They object when others follow it rightly, because they have an erroneous view of the definitions of “evil,” “peace” and “justice.” They are philosophical failures. They are often much closer to “evil” than those they denounce and attack.
Now, after my use of the word “evil” dozens of times, and after using it as the subject of a moral rule, you will be wondering about my definition of “evil,” if you have read this far. As a reward for your mighty struggle, I will be happy to oblige. The famous philosopher Ayn Rand was accused of excessive “moralizing” in her books, especially the use of the word “evil.” Rand defined evil as the violation of human rights, an excellent definition. Human rights are a liberal sacred cow, but still she was criticized by liberals for overusing the word “evil”. I suspect that I would surpass her, in an equal amount of writing. Maybe this will help compensate for all the times extreme liberal, New Age and Oriental writers do not use the word “evil” when they should. Most modern writers are far too forgiving and too reluctant to make judgments. The non-judging liberals are very upset with people who do make judgments, such as President Reagan describing an “evil empire” and President Bush describing an “axis of evil.” I applaud these presidents for their accuracy and courage. But my abundant use of the words “goodness” and “evil” are not because I want to make everything black and white. They are used as general terms, because I want to leave the precise definitions of goodness and evil up to the individual reader. I use these words with general definitions to avoid going into too much detail. My general definitions deal with behaviors, without delving into metaphysical considerations, though I think there are deliberate metaphysical intentions behind good and evil behaviors.
I define goodness as: the active pursuit of knowledge, love and justice, in equal parts and equal priority, which to me is part of the “pursuit of happiness”. I define evil as: willful, unjustified acts of aggression or destruction against the body, property or dignity of another person. These evil acts always involve abuse and predation of other people or their property. Therefore:
In this article, whenever you see the word “evil,” you should see it as shorthand for “willfull, unjustified, abusive and predatory behavior against other people,” which is already shorthand for the definition I just provided. Thus, a simple four-letter word becomes an abbreviation for a lengthy 16-word phrase, which you would really get tired of reading over and over…..
Evil could also be considered the underlying will, intent, thought or choice that leads to the unjustified predatory acts. Every human action is preceded or triggered by thought or choice. Every evil act is guided by an evil intent to harm, or it may not be truly evil. The definition of evil can become very complicated and controversial. But I have confidence in my readers. I trust the average person to be able to recognize goodness and evil, and to apply them as they choose to their own lives. It is my conviction that we generally know quite well whether we are behaving ethically or unethically.
It is easy for most people to recognize evil for themselves, even when they are embracing it (though they will not admit it). But it is very difficult to define good and evil, or to formulate precise moral principles for everyone to follow. As Aristotle taught in his great works of ethics, it is impossible for ethical theory to deal with too much detail. It is only possible to establish general principles that will guide us into a “habit of virtue,” if we are willing to be guided. Aristotle had a supreme wisdom here: the willingness to be guided is important, as it indicates a humility already gained by making mistakes and recognizing them as mistakes. Our mistakes allow us to recognize evil in ourselves and others, if we are paying attention.
After reading this article, you will have a pretty good idea of what I think goodness and evil are, but they can never be completely described. They are not solid absolutes like rock, they are fluid intentions like water that flows into the pores and cracks of the human experience, capable of the lightest trickle or the mightiest flood, capable of nourishing life or destroying it.
In our interactions with other people, basically, goodness is the intent to help, and it will find a way to help, if that is possible, no matter what the difficulty. Basically, evil is the intent to hurt, and it will find a way to hurt, no matter what the difficulty (and it is always possible to hurt others). That is the nature of intentions, when they are strong enough.
Contrary to naïve liberal arguments, opposing evil with force does not make good people just as bad as the evil people. Contrary to naïve religious arguments, opposing evil with force does not violate the spiritual laws of God, or the moral laws of man. Evil people using force are motivated by hate, lust and the desire to destroy or dominate. Good people using force are motivated by love, justice, and the desire to protect. Force is a tool, and by itself is morally neutral. Lightning– pure force with no mind– cares not whether it strikes tree or rock, saint or murderer. The Golden Rule follows the requirements of love, when force is not needed. The Iron Rule follows the requirements of justice, when force is needed. Love and justice are like the inseparable two sides of the precious coin of Goodness; they are different faces of the same greater virtue. Each one should be practiced with the other behind it as a foundation of support. Love and justice support each other, and each one prevents the other from excess. Love extended to others without justice is foolish and self-defeating. Justice extended to others without love is brutal and cruel.
I would go so far as to say that JUSTICE and LOVE are the proper elements of “yin” and “yang”, that ancient Chinese philosophers interpreted as “shade and light” or “masculine and feminine” or “hot and cold” or “fire and water” or “heavy and light”. The Chinese philosophers used these charming, seemingly wise contrasts while they tried to philosophize that evil is not really evil, that evil is necessary for goodness to exist, that evil must be tolerated while the mysterious forces of the universe contend with each other, represented by endless swirls of black and white that morph into each other, like a cosmic blended ice cream, in some vague path of spiritual progress.
The ancient Chinese sages were likely just extreme pacifists, like most other men who dedicate their lives wholly to religious / spiritual pursuits, and so they mistakenly identified some violent activities of justice as evil, just like modern extreme pacifists do. There were also plenty of episodes of real evil swirling around them, as different factions fought for the control of China, and committed endless atrocities against each other and against their subjects. Many episodes of real evil provoked reactions of violent justice, seeking to terminate the evil, which could also be violent. Ancient China was a very violent place, with centuries of warlords, emperors, invaders, and slaughtered peasants. For their time, the Chinese military forces were the best in the world, and their tactics were extremely ruthless. Genghis Khan conquered China, and then became China, and his monstrous philosophy survives in China to this day. So in their philosophy, the Chinese sages attempted to incorporate their idea of “evil” (which was really often the activities of justice) into a blend with “good”, because it seemed that the two concepts could not be separated in human events, nor in humans themselves. But this was wrong, and the Chinese monks who developed martial arts such as “kung fu” to combat evil, had a much more realistic approach to religion and philosophy, even if they paid lip service to the traditional doctrine of “yin and yang.” To my mind, JUSTICE and LOVE fit the concept of “yin” and “yang” much better than the attempted re-definition and justification of evil, that many of the Chinese sages were attempting to pull off. While it is true that the human psyche is complicated, and each of us have our “dark side” of potential evil, the definition and concept of evil should remain separate and unblended from goodness, so that it can be clearly recognized and opposed. JUSTICE and LOVE better fit the yin / yang concept of masculine / feminine, hot / cold, fire / water, hard / soft, harsh / gentle, heavy / light, etc., with both of them being essential elements of goodness.
If, as I maintain, love and justice are inseparable components of goodness, then the Golden Rule and the Iron Rule are inseparable moral rules of reciprocity. If only one is followed and the other suppressed, goodness is distorted beyond recognition. Working together, they enable goodness to flourish, and to stamp out evil wherever and whenever it may occur, before it can gather irresistible power. The addition of Iron to Gold makes goodness whole, and gives us a concept of goodness that is self-sustaining and self-enforcing. It gives followers of the principle of moral reciprocity the permission and the means to enforce that principle upon the evil people who choose to violate it.
This principle, the Iron Rule, seems to go directly against the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Lao-Tzu and other prophets. In Matthew 5:39-40, Jesus is reported as saying: “I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” This teaching to “resist not evil” is passivity and pacifism in the extreme. It tells us to be voluntary and willing victims, in the hope or belief that our loving sacrifice will change the heart of our persecutor. In some cases, this strategy may soften the heart of a borderline criminal, who still has a partial respect of ethics. But this strategy will not work against the hardened self-interests of completely selfish, predatory, evil, or psychopathic persons….. such as the Jewish and Roman persons who had Jesus executed by nailing him to a wooden cross.
I have serious doubts about the authenticity of this particular teaching of Jesus, which urges us to extreme pacifism. I think the Bible, as it comes to us through dark centuries and dark agendas, was flawed, misinterpreted, censored, and highly manipulated by powerful people who sought to pacify the masses. In the first 3 tortured centuries after Jesus, the sacred “orthodoxy” of fledgling Christianity was up for grabs, along with all the power and money that would bring. In the year 325 AD, Emperor Constantine sought to settle the bitter conflicts between Christian factions in the Roman Empire. He called the Nicaean Council of 325 AD, and summoned 1800 bishops to attend, providing them with royal transportation and lodging to make the trip. Already intoxicated with the power newly given them by the Emperor, at least 300 of the bishops eagerly attended the Council. The bickering bishops argued for weeks, with each faction trying to defeat and condemn the other. One rational participant called them “a synod of blockheads.” When one side finally won, the losers and all their writings were condemned, along with many old writings about Jesus, which had been as highly regarded by many Christians as the Bible is today. Entire books were banned from the official Bible and ordered to be burned, because they did not support the “orthodox” view of Christian belief that was hammered out at that incredible meeting. And it is crucial to take note that 1800 bishops were invited, but only 300-350 attended. The monumental decisions of this historic synod were made by a small minority (17% to 19%) of Christendom’s bishops. But you can be sure that the more power-hungry, the more dominating, the more manipulative, the more “psychopathic” bishops were there. And they would tend to want submissive, passive flocks of sheep-like believers that are easier to control and to relieve of their money, so they would have argued for doctrines that would achieve that goal, like the Golden Rule, which they had no intention of following themselves. Greedy, domineering, tyrannical Christian clergymen were already a big problem, and they would become a much worse problem for the next 1000 years, engineering the bloody nightmares of the Inquisition, and becoming one of the key motives behind the Protestant Reformation. This is just one example of the reason I wrote above that the Golden Rule is “used as a tool in a con job and a cover-up of epic proportions.”
If every good person followed the extreme passive teachings in the New Testament, the world would be ruled by greedy bishops, criminal gangs, evil tyrants, con men and unethical lawyers. Robbery would become unnecessary; a thief could knock on your door and demand your TV; you would gladly give it to him and throw in the DVD player, too! If the thief asked for the keys to your car, you would gladly hand them over, along with the title! Can you imagine what would happen if an unreasonable, psychopathic neighbor sued you for a thousand dollars, and you gave him two thousand dollars, before the court trial began? And you told him you are following the teachings of Jesus? And this was publicized? You better have an unlimited supply of money, because you might become the target of hundreds of requests, demands and lawsuits. Your life would be ruined. One cannot reconcile this type of pacifist morality with justice, unless metaphysical forces are at work to provide justice for us, which is exactly what orthodox Christians and other believers tell us. Sadly, history and current events show that they are wrong. Metaphysical forces are NOT preventing most injustice in our world. Justice is rare, injustice is plentiful. Whether we consider child abuse, wars, genocidal exterminations, street crime, religious persecution or politics, evil people are not stopped by any metaphysical force. Evil people are stopped only by the forceful opposition of other people. Justice is not provided for us by God or karmic force. We have to enforce it for ourselves. This is the difficult part of free will. Free will comes with tremendous benefits, and huge potential harm. Free will is given to us, but justice is not. So you must choose either the pacifist Christian teaching or the Iron Rule; you cannot have it both ways.
Outside the hallowed halls of religious pacifism, in the secular world at large, the Iron Rule has been described and acted out in popular media for thousands of years in myths, folk tales, books, poetry, theater, and movies. This is for a very good and simple reason….. The triumph of justice over evil attracts the most fans and sells the most tickets. Most of the greatest novels, operas, theatrical plays, and movies have incorporated the Iron Rule into their stories, with whatever twist the author chooses to give it. Any story in which goodness forcefully triumphs over evil illustrates the Iron Rule. Even extremely liberal/pacifist Hollywood producers and actors are hypocrites, pumping out movie after movie in which the good guys use violence to defeat the bad guys. They may say they do this for the sake of “the story” or to enhance the intensity of emotions, or to be true to history, but those are all delusions. Everyone wants to see goodness defeat evil, and most of time, the Iron Rule is the only thing that will deliver that. For after all, the central point of the Iron Rule is that the reciprocal use of force is the only thing that will defeat the bad guys. Of the 50 highest-grossing movies of all time, only 7 of them are non-violent, and most of those 7 are cartoon movies for kids: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films. Some kids’ movies depict violence, such as the Shrek and Ice Age movies.
So, even the anti-gun, anti-war, peace-preaching Hollywood liberals cannot escape this crucial fact of life: If you tell a realistic story to depict the struggles of human life against evil, real or fictional, and if evil is defeated, the Iron Rule will be the philosophical hero of that story. But it is largely an unsung hero. The Iron Rule has been poorly addressed by philosophy. I admit I have read only a small fraction of history’s philosophical works, but I have read a few different historical reviews of those works, and I have never seen this point made. Philosophers seem to be preoccupied with other things. Most of them today have liberal agendas, which ignore, suppress or denounce this vital principle. If they address the opposition of evil at all, they say we should negotiate with it, or counsel it, give it therapy, drug it, sympathize with it, or even cooperate with it, and not use force. These are all variations of the Golden Rule.
The Iron Rule is long overdue to receive proper philosophical attention, and this is my challenge to others to give it that attention. Help me support it, or provide more convincing arguments against it. So far, the philosophical and religious arguments I have heard against the Iron Rule fall far short. Negotiating, studying, counseling and turning the other cheek have their place, but that place is not the opposition of evil. If there were no need for the Iron Rule, then we would have no need for laws, lawyers, police departments or military forces. Either we need it, or we don’t. If it is right, everyone should practice it; if it is wrong, no one should. For this is the most basic level of moral value for intelligent beings. History shows we have needed the Iron Rule in the past. Many liberals, New Agers, and religious leaders imply in their teachings that we don’t need it now, or shouldn’t need it in the future, or it is not needed in Heaven. I say the Iron Rule is necessary wherever intelligent beings have moral choice, everywhere and forever.
The Iron Rule is obvious, and it has wide support in the world (though it also has much opposition). But the Iron Rule has a corollary that is perhaps not so obvious, and that has much less support. That corollary is:
First Corollary to the Iron Rule:
The closer one is to the evil act observed, the greater moral obligation one has to oppose that evil.
This corollary to the Iron Rule has partial support in our laws. That is why the driver of a get-away car can be judged to be just as guilty as the bank robber. The driver is judged to be an accessory or accomplice to the crime of robbery, not only because he assisted in the robbery, but also because he failed to stop the robbery. The driver certainly had the best opportunity to stop the robbery, since he had full advance knowledge of the robber’s plans, and was in the closest proximity to the robber, both before and after the crime. But what of the people in the bank? Let us say that the robbery happens during business hours, and the bank is full of employees and customers. The robber has to threaten a bank employee, to get the employee to gather the money for the robber to take. Does not this employee become the robber’s accomplice, just as much as the get-away driver waiting outside? The employee is an unwilling accomplice, but the objective result is the same. The employee actively helps the robber steal the money. The get-away driver may also be an unwilling accomplice, threatened by the robber in some way. Is not the employee also in an excellent position to stop the robber? He or she has just gained full knowledge of the robber’s intentions, and there is a bank full of people, potential allies, to help stop the robber if only the alarm is quickly raised. But let us say the robber has a gun. The employee risks his or her life to yell out and alert the bank full of people.
That is, of course, why the laws of society do not require the employee to yell out or refuse to cooperate with the robber. Because the average person is unwilling to tolerate much risk, our laws do not require us to tolerate risk. Thus the moral weakness perpetuates itself, and becomes institutionalized. The authorities may even encourage the employee to cooperate with the robber, and many companies may even fire the employee if he or she tries to resist a robber, especially if the employee resists with a gun. In doing so, the authorities are generally supporting the Golden Rule and violating the Iron Rule, even if they do not realize they are doing so. They are also holding society to a low standard of morality and virtue, and that standard is getting lower all the time, thanks to liberal philosophy. The liberals, who worship peace, despise violence and recoil from risk, have pushed our laws in that direction for at least the last 50 years.
When moral weakness, specifically cowardice here, is sanctioned in society, it encourages and enables the immoral ones. Would a bank robber stroll confidently into a crowded bank, if he thought that most of the people in the bank would turn against him, even risking their lives to stop him? Of course not! He may be evil, but he is not stupid. He is counting on the moral weakness, or cowardice, of the general populace. So which came first, the robber’s boldness or society’s moral weakness? It is the moral weakness that came first, lowering the standards of conduct and law, boosting the confidence of criminals. In such an environment, the bold criminal has a great advantage, and the lone citizen who decides to oppose him is at a great disadvantage. He is likely to be deserted by his fellow citizens, who run away or stand frozen in fear or apathy. He is even likely to be punished for opposing a criminal. That is the disgusting social environment we find ourselves in today.
But logic and objective morality bring us to a different conclusion, and a higher standard. The bank employee, because of his or her full knowledge of the robber’s intentions, and his or her close proximity to the robber in the act of the crime, has the greatest moral obligation to oppose the robber, regardless of risk. The employee may not have the courage to honor that obligation, but the obligation still exists. As each person in the bank becomes aware that they have a robber in their midst, they then share in the moral obligation to stop him. As more people become aware, the odds of success in stopping the robber increase. If all of the people in the bank become aware of the robber and they all try to stop him, their success is virtually guaranteed. If they fail to stop him, then they allow him to succeed in his crime, and they allow him to escape to succeed in an unlimited number of future crimes. That is a great cost to society, and a great harm to an unlimited number of future victims.
Apply this logic and objective morality to other situations. If enough people followed it, it would virtually eliminate a certain type of crime, that being crime committed in public in the presence of a lot of people. No airline jets could be successfully hijacked, no crowded banks could be robbed, and no women could be mugged on crowded city streets. The World Trade Center towers destroyed on 9/11/2001 would still be standing, and many other infamous crimes could not have happened.
Now, apply this logic and objective morality to the crime of tyranny, and apply this cost to an entire country, continent, or planet. You will begin to see the great cost of following the Golden Rule and ignoring the Iron Rule. Every tyrant in history has crowds of people around him who could have stopped him cold, but chose not to. That is a tragedy greater than the tyranny itself. The tyrant is just one man who has become immoral, but he cannot succeed without the moral failure of millions. Regardless of their reasons, they have failed to honor the Iron Rule and its corollary. They will pay dearly for their failure, and so will many others, at a greater distance, who are less guilty. Generally, the greater their distance from the evil, the lesser their knowledge of it, and the lesser their physical ability to oppose it, the lesser their guilt in failing to oppose it. But the tyrant will oppress or abuse them just as eagerly, along with the more guilty. The murdered victims in the conquered provinces are just as dead as the tyrant’s enemies in the capitol city, who failed to try to stop him until it was too late.
The valiant warriors among us live by the Iron Rule. Soldiers in all branches of the military, and our brave domestic protectors in all branches of law enforcement, all understand and follow the Iron Rule in their daily work. The best of these warriors and protectors have both the Iron Rule and the Golden Rule written into the very fabric of their psyche and soul. In their duties, they see both the greatest evil and the greatest suffering from that evil. They are ready to take life and give their own lives to oppose evil. When that is done, if they survive it, they are also ready to give from their heart and from their meager resources when they see others in pain and need. Soldiers in Vietnam and Iraq gave of their money and time to help local hospitals, schools, and orphanages. In my own military service, I have seen and heard countless examples of this finest quality. These are very brave, compassionate men risking and losing everything to save people who are less worthy than themselves; people who may even condemn them for what they are doing. I salute these men as the finest human beings who ever walked on this planet. They are supreme philosophers, and they have reached the right conclusions. If everyone shared their moral values and bravery, we would live in paradise, for tyranny and war and organized crime would never have a chance to get started, in nations or neighborhoods. Their values are forged from the finest gold and the hardest iron. What they have in their hearts is much more valuable to our species than any prophet or priest or professor. We are proud of our “modern” civilizations with sharp divisions of labor and expertise. This allows most of us to ignore the worst evils, and never have to deal directly with them. But without the warrior and policeman, the priest and professor would not have a safe and secure society in which to practice their crafts. All too often, the priest and professor denounce the very people and values that gave them a soapbox to stand on. But the rest of us should not expect the warriors and policemen to carry our own burden of responsibility in society. We should all be ready and willing to enforce the Iron Rule whenever and wherever we find the need for it, in our daily affairs.
I would also say that the Founding Fathers agreed with the Iron Rule, for they gave us the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution, which give individuals our greatest tools against evil. From free speech to deadly force, from a sharp tongue to a loaded gun, we have the whole spectrum of action available to us to counter evil. Evil persons take these freedoms for themselves anyway, so it is crucial that the government empowers its good citizens to respond in kind. This is what the Founding Fathers intended, regardless of the modern liberal efforts to distort and misinterpret that intent.
The Catholic Church also gives, at least, token lip service to the idea of the Iron Rule. In the Encyclical Letter on the Value and Inviolability of Human Life, from the Evangelium Vitae dated March 25 1995, Pope John Paul II writes: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the State. Unfortunately it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose action brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason” (bold italics added). So we have now come full circle: Just like the non-religious scientists at the beginning of this article, the Church will not hold the psychopath morally responsible for being willfully evil. Note that we have a “grave duty” to defend others, but “only a right” to defend ourselves alone. It is “only a right” for individuals because the previous paragraph of the Encyclical Letter (not shown above) emphasized the doctrine of self-sacrifice. Essentially it says we may defend ourselves, but Christ-like self-sacrifice is nobler, so to be like Christ we should not defend ourselves, but we may defend ourselves if we feel the debased urge to do so, and then feel guilty and inadequate for the rest of our lives. The Pope waffles between the Golden Rule and the Iron Rule, but gives the Golden Rule the edge. Still, the Pope was doing pretty well until that last point about responsibility. He says we may defend ourselves from aggressors, but we may not hold them morally responsible, because they do not reason well. But of course, they reason quite well, from an evil point of view. But the Pope is reluctant to acknowledge an aggressor’s evil. Why? This is a concession to the large liberal pacifist faction in the Church, as well as a strange general religious reluctance to pass judgments on people with bad behavior. Perhaps not so strange, for after all, Jesus did say in Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Not as well known, suppressed by churchmen, but perhaps more important, is Jesus’ teaching in John 7:24: “Judge not, according to the appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”) So the Pope says we can kill aggressors, but we cannot judge them as being morally responsible. He is not historically consistent, for in most of the Church’s history, the Church passed judgment on millions of heretics, then formally handed them over to the State for execution, and took all their property, and threw their family out in the street to starve. The modern Catholic Church is not responsible for the Inquisition, but it needs to realize the horrendous evil it has done for most of its history, instead of ignoring it. The policy of forced ignorance has not worked out too well with the legions of priests who are sexually abusing children, but at least the Church does not condone abuse, as it did condone the Inquisition. But all that aside, I’m sure the Pope was very proud of his clever modern compromise in the Encyclical Letter above, trying to satisfy both the conservatives and liberals in the Church.
To summarize, this basic principle concerning the opposition of evil, the Iron Rule, should be considered just as important as the Golden Rule. They are different sides of the same coin of goodness. They are both supported by logic and objective morality. They are both already present (to some extent) in every person who is trying to live a moral, decent life. They are both part of the same moral principle of reciprocity: one is passive, the other is active. One represents love, the other represents justice. They should both be taught together in classrooms, and they should both be preached together with equal emphasis from pulpits. The sad fact that this does not happen, is one of the major failings of both religion and philosophy in our American culture. Religion and philosophy are both being directed to other moral rules and principles, such as moral equivalence, cultural diversity and extreme pacifism, that either destroy cultures from within or allow cultures to be destroyed from outside. This moral problem needs a lot more discussion, and both “The Golden Rule” and “The Iron Rule” above can be incorporated into a larger universal moral rule, or imperative. But that is for another day.