Posts Tagged ‘Golden Rule’

Human Heartedness

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the Confucian ideal of Human Heartedness, is one we all should emulate. It has been translated into many English words and phrases, but I prefer human heartedness, because it sums up most all of what Confucius wanted to say, as evidenced by his teachings. Those who should emulate human heartedness the most are our leaders since Confucius had the most to say to them. Unfortunately, most people in the West, when they hear “Confucius…” they turn off. The name has been so diminished from it’s rightful stature, from Charlie Chan movies, where the name Confucius became a punch line. Others cannot fathom how anything someone said in 550 BC, could have any relevance to today. They turn their backs on ageless wisdom to their own and our detriment. The human condition and indeed humans themselves have changed very little since then. We still strive for pleasure and avoid pain, we still fall into traps and snares and it is egoistic self interest that baits those pitfalls. Yes, Confucius and his human heartedness have a great deal to say to us today, to ignore such wisdom is to see the pit and yet step into it anyway.

A large component of human heartedness is the Golden Rule… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Every one of us could benefit from following the golden rule. Better even to double down and hold others to a lower standard then we hold ourselves. It is in our animal nature to hold others to a much higher standard than we hold ourselves and in our civilized nature to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We would benefit by living in a civilization where there can be less laws, less draconian punishments and less government, because we control ourselves from within instead of needing to be controlled from without. Prosperity would increase, since regulations, laws and ordinances are friction to the economy, but become more and more needed the more barbaric the people become. We should all incorporate human heartedness, the golden rule, into our lives.

Human heartedness is all about compassion and empathy. The golden rule is also explicitly about empathy. As I wrote in my last article, compassion and empathy are paramount human attributes, that lead to civilization and away from barbarism. The barbarian has no compassion and no empathy. When an Italian city state was being attacked by the Gauls, Roman dignitaries were called to mediate. One of the Romans asked the Gaul general, “By what right do you lay siege to this city?” The Gaul answered back, “Natural law, that the strong must take from the weak, so the strong can survive and the weak die out…” But what the Gaul didn’t understand is that there are many forms of strength and a multitude of forms of weakness. His was marshal strength, a strength that always has it’s better, he lacked wisdom. We must have compassion and empathy else we become like the Gaul general, strong in might but weak in wisdom.

One of Confucius’ disciples asked, “Does the human hearted man love all?” I suppose referring to Mo Ti’s all embracing love. Confucius said, “No! The human hearted man loves the good and despises the bad.” Clearly Confucius didn’t want good men to turn their faces from evil and so allow it to grow. To be human hearted is to lift up that which is good, in other words… pragmatically benefits individuals, society and culture, while attacking the bad, that which lowers people, harms society and rots the culture. It is obvious that embracing evil as well as good gives evil a leg up, since the good will be fair and honest while evil will use good’s virtues against it. To have a prosperous society where crime is low we need to be human hearted and embrace good while fighting evil.

When talking about leaders Confucius liked to refer to the Sage Kings of “old.” The sage kings led, as Confucius would argue, “by force of personality,” or to put it in modern terms, they led by example. If they wanted the people to be more honest in their business dealings, they would be more honest themselves, and if they wanted the people to stop lusting after each others wives, he would forswear it himself. In that way the leaders of the great society would convince the people to be virtuous. The Duke of Lu asked Confucius one time, how he could get the people to stop lusting after ill gotten profits, women and luxury. Confucius told him to stop doing those things himself and the people would follow. Confucius had to flee Lu state shortly after. The leaders of society want the people to be virtuous, but can hold to the virtue the demand in another, for a single day. If we want our children to live in a safe, prosperous and civil country we must only elect human hearted leaders, who will lead by example.

When Confucius was asked what he would do if he were made emperor, Confucius replied, “I would rectify terms…” or put another way, he would set standards. Standards apply to everyone equally, they create systems where commerce can flourish and they level the playing field for everyone. Today standards are eschewed for regulations, ordinances and laws. Instead of everyone on the same level, regulations are specifically designed so some politically favored group, can get a leg up on an otherwise free exchange. Where a standard is what it is, no matter how politically favored a person is, application of a law is dependent on who the person is. Look at Hillary Clinton’s wiping a subpoenaed email server before turning it in. If you or I did that, what was on it would instantly become irrelevant and we would be charged with a felony, tampering with states evidence. She however was not. A standard is the antithesis of arbitrary rule. For any country to flourish the leaders have to be human hearted, setting and holding everyone, including themselves, to a standard.

There is no question, we are no different than the people who lived before us, oh we might drive cars, talk to people on the other side of the planet, and have put a man on the Moon, but essentially we are the same. We have the same desires, wants and needs. Therefore, wisdom that applied to human beings in 550BC still apply to us today, perhaps more so since we have grown arrogant, egoistic and self aggrandizing, not for our achievements, but for the achievements of those who have come before us. How many among us could create a gasoline engine, having never seen nor heard of one before, yet most of us take them for granted, and look down our noses at those who didn’t have them. Yes, our society, civilization and personal lives would benefit greatly from following the wisdom of Confucius, and becoming more human hearted.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

The Immorality of Presumption

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

It seems to me, most if not all the evils visited on humanity, have been as a direct result of presumption. Someone presumes to know what is best for another, society or humanity and acts according to their prescription of their idea of “right.” Of course, their remedy is never for themselves or their family, it is always for others to pay the price for the presumer’s cure. Behind such presumption lay great hubris. When someone believes he or she is so much more intelligent, wise and beneficent than others, is the path to presumption. Recognizing hubristically fueled presumption as a source for evil in our world, is the first step to solving those evils, so that no one ever has to suffer under the presumption of arrogance again.

 

So much of what is wrong with this world, crimes against humanity for instance, are from those who presume to know what is best. From the Eugenics movement to slavery, those who have presumed to know what is best have done great evil, often in a perverted sense of justice. As I have explained before in past articles, justice can be summed up by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No one who was or is a advocate for eugenics would sterilize themselves, their solution is for others, since by their selfish standards, they are the best and brightest. This shows the absolute lack of justice in their actions, since doing something to another that the actor would never allow done to themselves, is in direct contravention of the golden rule.

 

Presumption is the basis for civil crime as well. The bank robber presumes to have the right to the funds of others, because they believe their needs and wants trump those of others, since he or she sees his or her own wants and needs close at hand, while they see the needs and wants of others at a distance. Therefore they presume their need for immediate wealth should come before the needs and wants of those people who earned the money by the sweat of their brow. This same logic applies to those who steal from the wealthy. Even speeding is based in hubris and presumption that the speeder is such a good driver they need not follow the speed limit. No matter what crime you use for an example it is founded in presumption and presumption is rooted in hubris.

 

Politicians are the greatest hubristic presumers there are especially progressive politicians. They presume that because they won a beauty contest, they have the democratically bestowed right to visit evils on others, while they themselves would be deeply offended if they were yoked with those same evils. This is one reason why politicians never hold themselves to their own laws. The biggest advocates for tax increases universally cheat on theirs and when they get caught there are never consequences. This is why politicians whittle away at any restraint there is on their power, because they arrogantly presume they are above any foolish Constitutional limits on their actions. Their hubristic argument usually goes, “Aren’t they the representatives of the people?” While they make this presumptuous contention they violate the golden rule without a thought.

 

Religions also fall prey to presumption. Those who are rabid followers of this or that religion presume they will go to heaven and no one else will. Atheists presume that even though they undermine the religion of others by the spurious worship of science, if they are wrong, they will go to heaven anyway. When one religious community attacks another it is presumption that is the “moral” underpinnings of their actions. Truth told, religion should be the place where presumption is the least, yet it is often where people presume the most, because all saintly religions have the golden rule as their foundation, and the golden rule is the opposite of hubris and presumption.

 

Presumption provides those who would visit the most heinous crimes against humanity cover for their hubristic egoism. To look at a fellow human being, and presume that the other should be sterilized because they are “mentally deficient” by the observer’s arbitrary standard, to be so arrogant one enslaves another, to have such a lack of a moral compass that someone kills another because they disagree with that person’s religious belief, or any of a thousand other presumptions that give people free reign to do what they arrogantly believe is “right,” is always based on presumption fueled by hubris. Moreover, that the hubristic presumer never subjects him or herself to their own remedy, is a naked violation of the golden rule and therefore is the definition of injustice, proves the hubris and presumption better than a thousand pages written on the subject. Yes, we as members of the human race need to recognize this predilection of ours to presume what is best for another, and learn to mind our own business, else we are the the villains in our own story.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

John Pepin

 

 

 

Uplifted People

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Dear Friends,

 

It seems to me… it is impossible to lift someone up by tearing them down. This logic applies in all walks of life and in every circumstance. Those who claim otherwise are abusers. To lift someone up, we have to raise their perspective with sound religious teachings, give them the confidence that comes from self assurance and the wherewithal to stand back up when they fail. When a human being reaches his or her highest potential it is always because they can stand on their own two feet. Moreover, when someone reaches their potential, the rest of us are improved both physically and spiritually. If a culture where people are uplifted is what we seek, then tearing people down is the opposite of what we should be doing, but if what we really want is a society where poverty, violence and social ills are the norm… we are on the right path.

 

To teach someone they cannot make it, they are subhuman or that they are hated, only lowers them. These memes in our society are forwarded by the progressive socialist faction, who benefit directly from poverty, need and depression. Socialism and Progressivism preys on victim hood. They drink social ills like a vampire drinks blood. Progressives pander to those who have been taught they are downtrodden, and who are so torn down they cannot see a path to self fulfillment, so they turn to government for the succor they believe they deserve. We have seen over and over this path leads to perpetual dependence, anger and social unrest. All of which lowers us all.

 

One of the schemes the progressive socialist left uses to lower people is to vilify accumulation. If you disagree, read Joesph Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, in it he outlines this as a means to socialism. (You have to actually read the book to know what is in it… just like a bill before Congress). High tax rates, and creating barriers to starting a business fetter capitalism and are a few of the means to this end. What the vilification of accumulation actually does in a market system is to keep people down. If we cannot accumulate wealth, there will be less and less to invest, both for our old age and for innovators to use to fund their innovations, further lowering us all.

 

Race baiting tears down people in the most pernicious way. Telling a group of people they are too stupid, they are hated or that they cannot make it in free enterprise, only destroys human beings self image, makes them angry, resentful and violent. None of which is uplifting in any way. The whole of the human race is lowered when people are taught they are worth less than others. This goes both ways. Some people are taught that simply by virtue of their birth and skin color, they inherit a propensity to hate, which is absurd and is not the least uplifting for anyone. This is furthered by hate crime legislation, or in other words, thought laws. Under such a regime everyone is lowered. They teach the vilified race they are evil, and teaches those whom the thought laws don’t apply to, that they are substandard, because they cannot be held to the same standard as others.

 

If what we want is to elevate people to their highest, we must not tear them down, we have to raise them up. Schools should teach basic economics. Children and teens would understand how the market works. Should that be done, they could more fully engage in it, to their and our benefit. Thought laws must be overturned especially those that ostensibly apply to only one race. People must be allowed to think and debate freely, and if some people act out on bad thoughts, there are laws that apply. It is not the role of schools to undermine the teachings of religion. To do so only cuts the ties that civilize children and lowers them. People who are atheists can never be at peace. Since their philosophy teaches them this is the only possibility, they have nothing stopping them from grasping at anything they can, especially hedonistic pleasures, like sex and drugs. Instead of self regulation, they must be policed from the outside, since they don’t believe in an everlasting reward.

 

If we want to lift people up we have to stop tearing them down. The results of tearing people down are plain to see for anyone brave enough to open their eyes and look. Humanity is not served when people are destroyed, told they are substandard or made dependent. Our goal should be to uplift everyone, by being good courteous people, teaching right from wrong, practicing the golden rule, treating people the same regardless of any arbitrary grouping, and most of all, stop abusing people by tearing them down. If we do… good will follow.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

John Pepin

Bureaucracy vs Complexity

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the main difference between bureaucratic and complex systems, is that bureaucracies are inefficient and primarily benefit those in charge, while complex systems are extremely efficient and the benefits are more widely distributed. This is a well known truth yet is overlooked by most people. This fact can be applied to many areas of life but is most appropriate in the sphere of economics. Overlooking or disregarding this reality leads to all sorts of negative outcomes, like huge trade deficits, lowered economic outcomes, low or even negative GDP growth, and even outright tyranny.

Bureaucracies are hierarchical in structure. This type of system is characterized by a top down decision making structure. The commanders in such a system can be a single person or a group of people. All governmental structures are built this way. The decisions are made at the top, the middle men enforce them and the people dutifully carry them out. Unfortunately, the natural evolution of this type of system, is for those in charge to become more and more selfish. Feeding both their greed and egos until all the efficiency is wrung out of the system and only the people at the top get any benefits.

This is only one avenue of inefficiency in the bureaucratic system. Perhaps the primary source of inefficiency in a bureaucracy, is that so many decisions need to be made every second of every day in a modern economy, it becomes impossible for any group of people, no matter how smart or benevolent, to keep up. The task is simply too herculean. Just think about how many decisions need to be made when you build a house. The floor plan must be thought out, the type of heating system must be determined, the electrical feed must be decided, the exterior siding and trim must be considered, the color of the home is important to it’s blending into its surroundings, the interior color scheme and trim must also be considered, the roof system and treatment must be thought out, the list goes on and on. This doesn’t even take into account the millions of smaller decisions that need to be made, like figuring the rise and run of the cellar stairs, how long to cut each stud, the rafters must be measured and bird’s mouths cut… etc. Now, magnify this a hundred million times, and we have the decisions that are made in a simple economy in a single second.

Command and control economies, like socialist and communist, are forms of bureaucracies. If we look at the historical examples, of governments that have been socialistic or communistic, we see that this paradigm holds true. Those at the top get the goods while the people get the orders.

Complex systems are distributive in their structure. Decisions are made at the lowest level possible by the people who have the most information regarding them. This distributed decision making structure of the complex system, is the fundamental reason complex systems are so much more efficient… than bureaucratic ones. As the decisions themselves, are made by those most able to amass the necessary information to make them, in the most efficient way possible, the benefits are also distributed to the people… not the bureaucrat. Another reason complex systems are more efficient is that they build in competition. Competition forces efficiency, because those that are less efficient, are surpassed by those who are more efficient. This makes the limited money available more wisely spent and thus achieves the most bang for the buck.

Demand side economics is a form of bureaucratic decision making process, while supply side economics is a form of complex system. Demand side, as expressed by John Maynard Keynes, empowers the bureaucrat to take money from the earners and spend it to drive up demand. Supply side encourages those people who earn money to make their own decisions what to do with it. The one presupposes the individual will make the most of their own money while the other presupposes the government will make the most of someone else’s money.

The upshot is that demand side’s inefficiency’s create incentives to corruption, huge government deficits, general poverty and outright oppression, the other, supply side, leads to economic growth, personal freedom and general prosperity. But demand side has one thing going for it, it empowers those in charge, to misspend money earned by others, to massage their egos, enhance economic outcomes for the rulers and create a perpetual ruling class. As Thrasymachus said, most people just want to be left alone but those great men want power…

So I ask, is it more important that “great” men have power, or that there be general prosperity?

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Age of Grace

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas!

It seems to me that Mankind has a lot to be rejoicefull for. Our single biggest benefit is; we live in the age of grace. No matter our problems and tribulations we are indeed blessed. Not only are we blessed but our children and grandchildren are blessed. The age of grace we live in is both a blessing, and a calling, it is up to us to open our eyes and listen with our hearts.

At no other time in human history has there been such an abundance. Not only is the abundance rife in our World it is available to anyone who opens up to it. Even in starving North Korea, where the tyrant has died and the new tyrant has taken power, there is abundance at hand. If only the blind men in charge would let power to the one eyed man. “He has but one eye.” the communists accuse, yet they are utterly blind, and so, have a predilection of finding cliffs to fall over.

Since the time of Christ we have seen a thousand fold increase in the lot of Man. Like any complex organic system the gain has not been uniform or smooth. There have been spikes up as well as spikes down. But, taken as a trend the lot of Man has gone up exponentially, and will continue to do so. Accelerated by the market system coming into general usage. The market system would not even have been possible before the age of grace. The philosophy of Man wasn’t up to the challenge. We should be thankful for the market system and the fundamental attribute of it, it’s ability to create new luxury and cheapen old luxury, so that it becomes new necessity. That is a lot to be thankful for.

It may seem as though the barbarians are at the gate all the time. That is because they are. They wait for civilization to lower it’s guard so they can strike making a spike down. It is not their fault they are barbarians no more than it is a dog’s fault it is a dog. It is divine to love those that hate you. It is worldly to hate those that hate you. To be divine is to store up treasure in heaven and on Earth as well. To be worldly is to waste treasure in heaven and to amass the enmity of your fellow man. The one is a path of grace and the other a path of degradation.

Living in an age of grace requires of us a divine calling. Our nature is to envy and avarice. We have gained “grace” in that we have the ability to conquer our emotional elephant and reign it under the control of our reason. We must always remain vigilant that the elephant doesn’t get out of control. The elephant of emotion that our reason rides, that has power, but is prone to destruction. As the rider is strengthened, we affirm the fact, we live in an age of grace.

We have been given grace, not from any good we have done to merit it, but that God sees the time as ripe for us to receive it. It is to our great benefit that we have been so blessed. As I have shown we live in times of plenty. It is that our fathers and their fathers lived in grace that we have such plenty. Our ability, to pass on a blessed land to posterity, is dependent on us living as Jesus urged us to. By, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, do unto others as we would have others do unto us, God forgives us our trespass’ as we forgive those who trespass against us, so let us pick up our cross’ and follow Jesus.

These are the philosophical truths that he brought into the World. These truths were unimaginable, before he was born, yet they reverberate with us today and are why I say, we live in an age of grace. The grace bestowed upon us by Christ. Not only for Christians, but for all people of the World, both believers and unbelievers. That is just another example of the grace we have been given. The grace to forgive and turn the other cheek. To be divine in our actions even as our nature is worldly.

Rejoice and be glad for we live in a time of grace. Live gracefully, promote blessings on all mankind, and we propagate the age of grace. Understand that those who hate and are closed minded simply have not opened up to the grace that bathes them. They steadfastly say no when yes opens up new opportunities and blessings. Like drinking from a filthy puddle when a clean clear spring is at hand.

“O Lord, I pray that somehow and in some way, I improve the lot of humanity, and that my life is a blessing on mankind… Forever. Amen.”

So goes the Capitalist’s prayer… In the age of grace.

Sincerely,
John

The Golden Rule and Social Justice

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Dear Friends,

It seems to me that the concept of justice, as it has existed across time, civilizations and age, is rooted in the concept of the Golden Rule. You remember, the one that goes, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Pretty simple really. Do things to other people that you would like them to do to you… And don’t do things to them that you wouldn’t want them to do to you. This is true justice. As opposed to social justice which means, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” Which is actually a form of injustice masquerading as justice.

Confucius went on and on about how the ruler should be the ruler he would want while the subject should be the subject he would want and the father being the father he would want while the son is the son he would want. He put it many ways like, maintain the fences to the left as you would have your neighbor on the right do his. Piled up they amount to the golden rule. So much so, we can safely say, one leg of Confucianism is the Golden Rule.

I bet almost all religions have at their core the Golden Rule. This should give us pause. If so many sages across the ages have agreed on the Golden Rule being a fundamental truth of life, I ask you, why do so many people eschew it for social justice? Perhaps it is because they have been misled? The media are full of questions.

Questions such as, should the government do all it can to improve the lives of it’s citizens are specious. They presuppose that an activist government improves the lives of it’s citizens. To presuppose such a giant thing requires hubris. Especially when a large and growing segment of the World’s population are relearning things that have been intentionally hidden. The advances of the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment taught us that the market system is the only system that has ever raised the lot of mankind. Every other system, ever tried, has lowered or at best maintained the standard of living, for the few, at cost of the manys’ very liberty. This was one of the principle advances of the Enlightenment. To have forgotten such a profound truth is a tragedy. To have intentionally hidden it is a sin.

Social justice flies in the face of thinkers such as Voltaire and Hobbs. They were all about the liberty of the individual to seek his or her interests without government coercion. They were big promoters of the market system and free economy. They saw clearly that people, when left to their own interests, not only made their own lot better but in doing so, improved the lot of everyone else too.

But Social Justice finds the Golden Rule too simple. The promoters of Social Justice are looking for a more nuanced form of Golden Rule. They want to do what they want, to those they don’t like, the rich for example, while denying the “rich” the ability to do back unto them. In other words, the person who favors Social Justice, is a hypocrite.

The very definition of hypocrite (from Dictionary.com) “A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.” We can say that hypocrisy is a form of breaking the Golden Rule. In this case the hypocrites are open about their hypocrisy. Not only open but actually yelling it from the rooftops. Unabashedly calling attention to their moral failings, while cajoling others to join them, with sophistry and rhetoric.

The promoters of Social Justice are not only hypocrites but are falling into the very trap Bastiat warned of. That people would come to have the mistaken belief that the role of government is to seize the wealth of those not in power and protect the wealth of those in power. We see this attitude in bills that seek to make the system “fair” by punishing some group that is disliked by those in power. This inevitably leads to the disordering of society due to everyone being acutely interested in the affairs of government, fighting with their political enemies and not looking after business.

So, we have reasoned, that Social Justice is actually hypocritical and destructive to the body politic, therefore it is indeed a form of injustice. The injustice of Social Justice must not be let to grow further. It’s growth leads directly to the lowering of the lot of mankind. If however, the truth of Justice is the Golden Rule, and people apply it to more and more situations, the lot of mankind will be improved greatly.

The question is, do we want injustice masquerading as social justice, or a better standard of living for everyone through real justice… the Golden Rule and the market system.