Why YOU should care about politics…

In directly expressing a recommendation for a more general desire to understand the nature of politics, it becomes clear that there needs be a remedy for the jaded emotional hype and all too prominent societal negativity which surrounds the general view of such a topic.

The statesman and founding father, John Adams, referred to politics as “the divine science.” That being said, would anyone reasonably consider the endless noise coming from the fruitless, and all too often merely pretended, debate between the Republicans and Democrats as “divine”? If that isn’t “divine” enough, how about the bickering between neighbors over events, in a manner just as contentious and unfruitful?

Part of the confusion surrounding the word, politics, comes from the popular modern use of it. Is it merely just any conversation we find heated, and often contentious? Of course not. So, what is exactly meant by the word: Politics? Or perhaps a better way of putting it: What should be meant by the word politics?

In brief, the word “politics” comes from the greek words politika, and politikos, which when broken down, mean “of, or relating to citizens.” In addition to that, the word, which was rendered “Polettiques” originally, has historically been modeled on a title of a book on government by Aristotle, which, when translated, can mean “affairs of city” or “affairs of state.” In the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary, the definition of the word Politics, in part, is simply “the science of government.”

With that in mind, is there any single person that you can think of that is not affected by actions done, or not done, in the name of politics? Is there any person not affected by government? Would anyone question the foolishness surrounding a situation involving an individual not at least somewhat familiar with the laws and statutes he is expected to abide by in the society in which he visits, let alone where he lives?

If it is clear that there are obvious benefits of, at least, a basic understanding of the laws and statutes we are expected to obey, would it be too far of a stretch in connecting that directly to the potential benefit of having a say in the making, repealing, sustaining, and otherwise affecting the creation and/or sustaining of laws and statutes? How about even electing and/or sustaining the elected in their creation, enforcement, and interpretation of those very laws and statutes?

However, in accepting that this type of atmosphere could benefit society, aren’t we also simultaneously conceding that it could possibly be a detriment to society, depending on the quality of the “rules” which are made and enforced, the representatives so elected, and the interpretations so given?

The primary purpose behind the creation of Freedom-or-Bust is to lay out a case for a general, as well as constitutional and prudent, moral standard towards government. The intent is to have this be a resource for knowledge and understanding surrounding the issues of our nation, and of our time. It is, at worst, meant to be a place for thoughts to be provoked, and a defense offered for a consistent case for the cause of freedom. A case that treats the issue of freedom as, what should be, the primary cause in issues behind government action, regardless of any spirit of political party, or any other popular movement that appeals to the tribal trait of the human race, which often evokes an “us vs. them” mentality when none is truly needed. (The “us vs. them” mentality should be between freedom and tyranny!) A case from the viewpoint that freedom is, and should be treated as indivisible, regardless of the issue.

Think about it. Does anyone NOT desire freedom as it applies to them? Even tyrants desire freedom as it applies to themselves! So why does it seem so difficult for people to take that next step in assuming that that same desire for freedom should be respected for everyone else? Now, politically speaking, shouldn’t government be held to that same standard?

Think about it. Is there any religious code that doesn’t have within it some sort of golden rule? Have you ever wondered why that was the case? Is there a proper relationship between this prominent social and religious teaching and the desire for freedom that is so universal and inherent in mankind, regardless of time, place, or circumstance?

Whether it is the teachings of Jesus Christ from His Sermon on the Mount that:
“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matthew 7:12)

Or Confucianism’s “Never imposing on others what you would not choose for yourself.” (Analects XV.24)

Or Hinduism’s “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires.” (Mahabharata Book 13, Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8)

Or Buddhism’s: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” (Udanavarga 5:18)

Or Islam’s: “That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.” (Conversations of Muhammad)

Or Judaism’s: “That which is hateful to you do not do to your fellow.” (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

Do you notice the pattern? [See Note One Below]

Is this principle verifiable in our day-to-day life? If not, do we recognize it, perhaps, even if it would, unfortunately, be recognized in its occasional absence? Even if so, would this standard NOT be justifiably expected by everyone, in actions relating to everyone else, via their agents in government?

Since any and all action requires freedom, all of these sayings echo the axiom that we should all allow others’ their freedom, as we would expect them to allow for us when pursuing our own purposes and desires. Since this would, (and I would hope obviously so), be the reasonable standard when it comes to our individual action, how could government action, which reflects the people and is run and literally enforced by people, be an exception to this rule? Notice that Jesus Christ even adds to the end of the verse in Matthew wherein he teaches the “Golden Rule” that “for this is the LAW.” How should this principle be a basis, especially including a legal basis, for our society?

Even for someone who doesn’t follow any particular “religious” code, or doesn’t even have a belief in God at all, do they not desire freedom? In fact, why would they object to that sort of maxim being a governing principle in society? Would not even an atheist believe in some sort of “Golden Rule”, and see it as being a net positive in being a principle to live by? Why would they, seeing that this would, if truly practiced, simultaneously secure everyone’s own ability to pursue their own happiness in their own way, without violating the rights of others’ in the process?

That is why the cause of freedom should, and will, be the moral basis and foundation of any free society! In our country, this principle is also the true constitutional standard behind legitimate government action.

It is critical to understand when talking about government and government action in enforcing laws and statutes to those whom they are applicable to, that when government enforces that “rule of action”, it is  operating under the method of Force. “Government is force.” This is explained in a quote that is often attributed to George Washington:

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

That being said, why should it NOT be important to us to care about when, and under what specific circumstances, our agents in government use force upon us, as well as our fellow man? Why would this area of life, as prominent as it is, be exempt from the consideration proscribed by the Golden Rule?

The modern Christian (LDS) religious leader, Russell M. Nelson, in a sermon given during a time of literal war hysteria preceding the aggressive and criminal invasion of Iraq, had this to say about the Golden Rule’s modern applicability:

“Wherever it is found and however it is expressed, the Golden Rule encompasses the moral code of the kingdom of God. It forbids interference by one with the rights of another. It is equally binding upon nations, associations, and individuals…This concept of treating others as one would like to be treated is easy to understand…

Because of the long history of hostility upon the earth, many feel that peace is beyond hope. I disagree. Peace is possible. We can learn to love our fellow human beings throughout the world. Whether they be Jewish, Islamic, or fellow Christians, whether Hindu, Buddhist, or other, we can live together with mutual admiration and respect, without forsaking our religious convictions. Things we have in common are greater than are our differences. Peace is a prime priority that pleads for our pursuit. Old Testament prophets held out hope and so should we. The Psalmist said, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ ‘He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth.’

As individuals, we should ‘follow after the things which make for peace.’ We should be personal peacemakers. We should live peacefully—as couples, families, and neighbors. We should live by the Golden Rule.” (“Blessed are the Peacemakers,” Oct. 2002) 

Notice the connection made between The Golden Rule, the rights of man, and the attempt to dissuade his listeners from supporting acts that instigate aggression against our fellow man? And if this principle is applicable between individuals within a nation, and to the governments of those respective peoples, how could it not logically extend to foreign affairs in terms of the relationship between separate nations of people, via government or otherwise?

Think about it. Who else’s job, if it is not that of the people themselves, is it to ensure the correctness of such acts, and that only a moral and legitimate use of such force will be used against us and our fellow man? And would that same care for our fellow human beings, for some unknown reason, beg not to extend to our posterity in future generations?

Notice the courage and the honor associated with this quote by the great statesman and founding father, John Adams:

“The Science of Government it is my Duty to study, more than all other Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation, ought to take Place, indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts. I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematics and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Music, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelain.“ (Letter to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1780)

To attempt to breed more of the attitude captured in this quotation is the entirety of the goal of this website. Because, ultimately, it is entirely up to us.

[Note One: There are obvious variations in wording amongst the various religious quotes, with some more positive in their wording (e.g. “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”) which are generally known more specifically as the Golden Rule; While others are more negative their wording (e.g. “One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated”), which are generally known by the lesser-known Silver Rule. But, needless to say, they are very similar in terms of how they should play out in terms human conduct, including in the realm of politics and government.]

3 thoughts on “Why YOU should care about politics…

  1. Wonderful perspective! Written in such a way as to remind us of days long past…but still yet, very relevant to our time.

  2. Thank you for reminding us that if we don’t study up on politics we may end up losing the freedom (time and prosperity) to study the subjects we truly love most, whether they be scientific or cultural and artistic… We can’t expect someone else to always be the government watchdog. We need to do our part! Thanks for nudging us so eloquently.

  3. Thank-you for your diligence in reminding us the roots of true freedom and to keep freedom we must choose to act in its protection.

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