Basic Thoughts on Morality, Including In Politics

I was talking with a friend of mine today, and we saw a military base and discussed radiation poisoning. I said to him, “Killing people always seems like a bad idea”. He pointed out that people say that until they have the same bad idea. Both are true, but it’s worth noting that there are basics like that out there.

In reading Twitter today, it occurred to me that not everyone is aware of basic morality, especially in the area of politics, which seems to be out of touch with the moral universe at the present time.

With that in mind:

1) Killing people is a bad idea in general.

2) Lying is wrong. There are often penalties for that. There should be. Even if there are not penalties for it in your particular field of endeavor, it’s still wrong.

3) We need a planet to live on. Without one, all other discussions are beside the point.

4) People should be seen as more important than money.

5) Stealing and/or swindling are wrong.

6) Threatening a witness is a crime.

7) Lying to someone, or obfuscating, in order to steal is wrong.

8) There is reality. There are facts. They may be unpleasant, but they are still facts.

9) There is a limit to how much a person needs to live.

10) Regardless of what retailers and advertisers say, you can’t have it all.

11) Lying more frequently doesn’t make something more true. It’s still a lie.

12) Mocking others for being idealists/dreamers only makes the world less idealistic and more depressing.

13) Blaming or shaming someone for something they can not change (I.e., who they are) adds nothing to the world.

14) Regarding religion: God can do any fool thing God wants to. We have to cope…God doesn’t.

15) If you don’t like people who do “x”, don’t be one.

16) Listening before speaking is polite and worth doing.

Honestly, these don’t seem very hard to live with to me.

These are random thoughts…. I’m sure I have more, but I’m tired now.

As the week goes on, let’s see how many of these simple ideas fall by the wayside in what people are doing or have done….Just saying.

Resisting with Peace,

John

A Political Hierarchy Of Needs

Years ago, Abraham Maslowe described a psychological “hierarchy of needs”, the idea being that people could only reach for the next thing after they had dealt with the developmental issues before it.

It occurs to me that Congress or our leaders need to understand the same idea for policy ideas and budgetary goal setting. Here’s my list of what seems obvious:

1) Human beings need a planet to live on. If, in fact, climate change will be irreversible in 12 to 15 years, we’d better get cracking on that one. No policy should ever be undertaken that increases climate change or threatens to destroy the planet. This should be the first and most basic of all our priorities.

2) Human beings need to be able to take in nutrients from the planet. Clean air and clean water are of vital importance. No policy should ever intentionally cause problems with breathing or drinking water.

3) Human beings need food. Though processed food, GMOs, etc, are ok as adjuncts to our food supply, I think it’s preferable to have natural/organic/regular food for people to eat. Why waste time and energy adding to or subtracting from what we have, if it works already? Policy should be such that all people eat what they need and a bit beyond that.

4) Human beings need shelter. They need to be able to stay warm or cool and dry. They need this to add to their mental stability. They need to be able to afford it as well. Policies which increase affordable housing for all should be sought.

5) Human beings do best if they are alive and stable. Things that make human beings die (guns, knives, poisons, drugs) or die early (disease, illness, war, poverty) should be addressed. By doing this, we can reduce the amount needed for mental health care and physical health care. Stable environments foster a sense of well-being. That might also decrease the need for police, and an army. Healthcare for all should be pursued as a policy.

6) Human beings generally grow in community. Note that this should be in conjunction with #5. People do really poorly when the community around them hates them, abuses them or neglects them for who they are. All of the -isms go here. When people are alive and stable and accepted simply because they exist, they grow and thrive. This doesn’t mean we accept everyone’s behavior (see above), but no one’s existence should be seen as a threat to anyone. Policies which help us work through our differences and avoid conflict should be pursued.

7) Human beings need to think about/ experience the world around them — and reflect on it in some way. Both the arts and education are a part of this. Both are vital to humanity. Also, having time to experience/think is necessary to this process. Arts for all, and education — to whatever level a person thinks is appropriate– for all should be policy.

8) Human beings need joy, fun, play, and general silliness. Comedy, sports, distractions of all sort make human beings more fun to be around, and generally less anxious. With these things, a society can be said to be thriving. This is where most of our economy is set right now. They make us happier, but we shouldn’t need to be this entertained/distracted. If priorities 1-7 were followed, we could choose to do this, rather than need to.

9) People need to have awe and wonder, and make meaning of their lives. Religion, philosophy, scientific exploration and inquiry about why things are the way they are is vital to people making the best of themselves. Finding higher purpose is finding the best life can be for the human soul. This also involves, for some people, being competent in their lives. Policies that allow us to have meaning in our lives ought never be restricted, except as they impact others negatively (see priorities 1 – 8). Policies should help people be as competent as they can be, and should inspire wonder whenever possible.

If these things were seen as priorities, we would have a budget that worked for all of us, based in a government in that worked for all of us. To the extent that they match our budgetary priorities, I think we’re going the right way. To the extent that they don’t, we’re doing it wrong, I think.

Resisting in Peace,

John