This paper is about a challenge to ethics from the standpoint of man replacing the meta-physical God with ethics courses. We discuss to corruption of government because government bureaucrats and politicians may have had ethics courses, but after taking the ethics course in collage as a course you must get through to get a degree, it is soon forgotten when going to the next class. This paper also applies current governmental situations as a lack of ethics and morals. This paper concludes with some recommendations needed to get ethics back into government.
Meta Physical Replaced By Man
I find it amazing that we have ushered God out of the schools and the Ten Commandments were removed from all public buildings. As I have gone through this course for the last eleven weeks, the one thing that seems to be missing from all course material is any reference to God or a higher being of consciousness of any kind, other than man. There were consistent references to Plato, and atheists such as Nietzsche. There was no reference to Jewish writings from 500 years earlier. Perhaps then Meta-ethics, explained by (Fieser) "The term “meta” means after or beyond, and, consequently, the notion of metaethics involves a remove, or a birds eye view of the entire project of ethics." (p 1) Our national government is so far removed from our reality today that the feeling in congress is that they have no responsibility to anyone or anything except themselves, which is a form of tyranny, and that they are gods themselves and responsible to no one, including the electorate. They do not tell us that in so many words, but actions do speak louder than words. I have not worked for any public or nonprofit organization my entire life. I am unable to use firsthand knowledge as an inside source, therefore my focus has been with the national government and the media. This paper will also focus on our national government with some reference to state and local governement.
Our current national government was formed by the states in 1887 because the articles of confederation had failed to secure a republic. A person could secure a debt in New York then move across the border to Pennsylvania where the debt would not be recognized, therefore forgiven by lack of enforcement. Duties and impost were imposed from one state to another on goods. Each state was a separate sovereign entity on to itself. With the leadership of James Madison, George Washington and many others using divine inspiration from God they abandoned the failing Articles of Confederation and created a new constitution that provides a framework to establish a new more powerful central government guarantying liberties to a new nation based on ethical principles from all across history including the Judaic-Christian bible. John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Fieser argues that morals only exist in some spirit world and are irrational for man's world (Fieser 1a). A negative right is one given to us by God or natures God, the meta-physical, while a positive right is given to us by man (Gaus 1). We must remember that a government powerful enough to give us rights, is also powerful enough to take those rights away.
A short 10 years after the ratification of the constitution liberties guaranteed by the constitution were being strained with John Adams signing the sedition act of 1798 stating that one shall not "write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against…" Therefore, the first amendment says we have the right to free speech but the sedition act says we do not. The U.S. Constitution is based on the concept of negative liberties while the sedition act is based on positive liberties. This is an interesting statement because John Adams just 22 years before help write a document that was totally based on negative rights, the Declaration of Independence. This bill by its application is authoritarian and not liberty as defined by his own earlier writings. (Carter) Many liberals, including Berlin, have suggested that the positive concept of liberty carries with it a danger of authoritarianism.
Now we will skip forward to 2001 and the Patriot Act, while most of the patriot act provide to the CIA and FBI roving wire tap tools that other elements of law enforcement like the DEA already had, it did add one unique feature which is a street warrant. A street warrant allows an agent to hand write a warrant without a judge's approval, then serve it to a person. The person is not allowed to tell his friends, family, or lawyer about it. If he does, they too must be arrested and taken into custody. This is a direct violation of the fourth amendment and the "right of the people to be secure in their persons". Again, the founders treated contents of the fourth amendment as a negative rights while the patriot act treats them as positive rights, or no right at all.
What are Human rights, are they really rights or just things that would be nice to have? Nickel argues that human rights include Civil and Political rights, Minority and group rights and environmental rights (Nickel 3). Using the United Nations definition of human rights, we find declared human rights that are not rights at all. (United) "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." This certainly would be nice to have but it cannot be considered a right. If a government tries to enforce a right like this, then it only succeeds in diluting everyone else's rights. This so called right is unenforceable and cannot be given or taken away.
(Gosepath) "Equality or equal signify a qualitative relationship." When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he recognized equality as being for all people, however he also knew that equality was not available for the slaves. He owned slaves but he also tried to eliminate slavery in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. When the U.S. Constitution was drafted there was an eight-day debate on slavery and what constituted property. In the end, the north and the south settled on the three-fifths rule, which was abolished by the fourteenth amendment.
We describe Liberty as either positive or negative. All people need to have equal access to liberty to be considered free (Gaus). While Gaus came long after Thomas Jefferson I do believe they would have agreed, again I refer back the first draft of the Declaration of Independence and the slavery issue. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that he does not believe the second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms (Sodahead). He is correct technically, but not for the reason he thinks. The AG believes that all liberties are positive in that government or Holder gives them to the people. While the founders believed that, all liberties are negative in that they come from God or Natures God and cannot be taken away. The second amendment only guarantees that government will not take them away. Therefore the second amendment does not give us the right to bear arms.
For a people to have true Justice it must be administered fairly and equally to all members of society. We cannot have a group of people getting favorable justice because it demeans a group of people. That is offensive to the rest of society and corrupts justice for all society. The major challenges to justice today are the administration of justice fairly to all members of society. The Black Panther's voter intimidation trial is an example of enforcing justice for some at the expense of others. The case went to trial and they did not show up, whis is an automatic conviction, with jail time. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the case dismissed.
Viewing liberties as either positive or negative can be misleading, however if we look at who gives us our liberties then it makes perfect sense. If liberties are viewed by the governing elite as positive, then it means that that society is going to be a society ruled by men, not law. The ruling elite will give liberties to the people, and take liberties away from the people as they see fit. If liberties are viewed as negative, then law not men will more likely govern that society. To a society like America, the biggest challenge to liberty is the people. Will the people take the time to become educated on the issues affecting them and to understand the issues driving the people they elect? If that answer is yes, then there is a good chance that justice will prevail and liberties will stay intact for all people. If the answer is no, as it seems to have happened for the last sixty years, or perhaps the last one hundred years, then liberty and justice for all is a thing of the past. America will continue to be ruled by an elitist crowd that hold themselves above the law and worse yet above the people they rule.
How should we address our current situation? That is not easy nor will it be immediate. The people need to get involved in the public schools of this country. The parents must read the text books that their children are given. The parents must attend the classes that their children are attending and listen to what the teachers are saying to their children. The parents must get involved in the school board meetings and challenge the boards to do the right things. The parents must force the school boards to open the financial books and show how the money is being used. Parents must get involved and run for the school board positions. Parents must elect people to the school boards that will teach how our country was founded and how the founding documents work. Law schools must return to teaching constitutional law not case law.
Voters must get involved in the local city and county governments. Here in Maricopa County we have a very corrupt county government, perhaps not as corrupt as Cook county Illinois, but it is in bad shape. The people must get involved in demanding that local government is answerable to the voters and the people of the counties. When necessary the people must demand retribution for fraud and corruption. In city governments where the charter is a strong city manager, weak mayor, it is easy for city administrators to conceal funding and expenses. The council members and mayors must demand that the city managers do not hide expenses. The people must hold the city councils accountable for their actions, or lack of action.
Voters must get involved in their state governments. Voters must understand what their state governments are doing. Voters must organize and get involved with local grassroots lobby organizations. They must verify that these grassroots organizations are working to the benefit of the people who belong to them. I belong to one such group, Arizona Citizen Defense League that works to bring back the second amendment to Arizona. The Brady bunch has a state ranking for gun control states. Arizona several years ago ranked a 4 or 5. We have worked hard to bring that down to a two, just two years ago. This past year they lowered us to a zero. With all the work, we did this year, perhaps next year Brady will change us to a minus. We in Arizona must hold SOS Ken Bennett to his word to keep Obama off the ballot unless Hawaii produces a real, not forged, birth certificate.
Finally, regarding the federal government we the people must wake up and demand that the elected representatives represent us and not the bureaucracy. We must demand they do not get rich doing insider trading while we are not allowed to. We must demand they hold themselves to the same laws that they expect us to follow. Where the president has made unconstitutional orders, like starting a war in Libya, we the people, must demand that our house of representatives start impeachment proceedings. Regarding Fast and Furious, we must demand that Holder provide the evidence asked for by the house committees. All people involved in providing the guns to the Mexican cartels must be tried in a court of law for conspiracy to commit murder for the two U.S. agents and the hundreds of Mexicans.
Factors that will affect the above actions are first the mass media. We the people must demand that the mass media get back to what it was designed for which was to be the fourth estate. Then to report to us the truth about what is happing in our federal state and local governments. We must demand that they be objective and tell all the truth about what is going on in government. We must demand that they do not doctor video evidence and 911 tapes to make or change evidence where no evidence existed. We the people must stop watching how Kim Kardasian looks and how she walks down the runway. We must leave TV alone occasionally in order to get involved with government. We must look into alternative media such as internet sources to get other facts on the news.
What I would expect from a full implementation of my suggestions is a government more responsive to the will of the people. I would expect a government more in tune with the will of the people. I would expect a people that would hold elected officials accountable to their actions, and be more willing to vote incumbents out of office. I would still expect we the people to complain about the government just as much with these reforms, however we the people would have a much better knowledge of what we the people are complaining about.
Earlier I stated that John Adams said that our constitution is made for a moral people, is now the time to abandon a constitution that was based on some metaphysical spiritual realm that does not exist except in the minds of some long dead people that have no relevance in today's' world? I have even noticed that this course never used any resources before Plato. There has been no reference to any of either the old or the new testaments in this course. The Pentateuch did provide a long set of rules and a moral code to live by. Is it the position of academia, to ignore that there was a history before Greece? After all, God has been declared dead by Friedrich Nietzsche and according to others God never existed.
Perhaps we should abandon all hopes and allow man to totally rule us, since we cannot agree on the simple thing like murder. In some parts of the world murder is good thing if it is done in the name of Allah (opps the God thing), while in other parts of the world murder is morally wrong, the God thing again. Was Dante correct with his statement above the gates of Hell "Abandon all hope ye who enter here"? Was Dante talking about earth and local government then, which seems to fit today? With this attitude, should we go back 3,000 years to the theory that my God is better than your God. No, I do not believe this for an instant. We need to get back to the moral position from some metaphysical realm, God. We need to follow the Ten Commandments at all levels of government. The tea parties are an element of the reawaking of America. All the tea parties that I have attended have an identical agenda at the beginning, the call to order, the invocation for Gods help and blessing, and then the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Perhaps God is working his miracle by allowing Obama to become president, so we the people in America will wake up and regain our rightful place as a moral and just people.
Fieser, James. University of Tennessee at Martin (2009) http://www.iep.utm.edu/ethics/
Carter, Ian, "Positive and Negative Liberty", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2012/entries/liberty-positive-negative/>.
Gaus, Gerald and Courtland, Shane D., "Liberalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/liberalism/>.
Nickel, James, "Human Rights", the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Alta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/rights-human/>.
Fiftieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human rights. United Nations. http://www.un.org/rights/50/decla.htm
Gosepath, Stefan, "Equality", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/equality/>.
Sodahead. Does the second Amendment give individuals the right to bear arms? http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/usa-today-poll-does-the-second-amendment-give- individuals-the-right-to-bear-arms/question-850767/