Sunday, May 19, 2013

Usurping Delegated Trust.

“All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.” Thomas Paine. The Rights of Man.

During the last election cycle the Koch Brothers spent in excess of four hundred million dollars. The money was used by super PACs in an attempt to influence elections across the United States. These men, like many others, use their position and resources from the private sector as an instrument to make adjustments to our government and reshape society at large to suit their own self interests. They game the system by lobbying sympathetic legislators and through advertising used to generate disingenuous and irrelevant informational attacks against people running against those who would serve their own interests.

We allow our democratically elected officials some flexibility to legislate based on their wisdom and experience while giving deference to the will of the people they are there to represent.  That is how our government was intended to work at least. For any elected official to accept any measurable favor from a sphere of influence outside these guidelines creates a situation fertile for a kind of third part coup d'├ętat. The existing government still stands, but is manipulated behind the scenes in both broad strokes and in a slow methodical process intended to ultimately suit the interests of those with the means and position wield such influence.

For any outside party to seek influence in the halls of government, for any reason, is not how our government was intended to operate. We elect our representatives and delegate power to them with the expectation that they will work for the common good. It is idealistic to assume that this will always be the case, but now we see entities such as the Koch brothers using their status and resources to assume power through control of those we have assigned with the public trust. The Supreme Court made this matter worse with the ruling over Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This one ruling has reshaped our political system and corrupted the ideal put forth by our founding the founders of a representative government of duly elected people charged with the duty of representing the interests of those who delegated that trust onto them. A select few are attempting to usurp power for their own purposes, and like when our country was founded, it is up to we the people to deal with it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Secular Virtue

I do not believe in a god. I take no stock in religious texts. I do not believe in Heaven or Hell. I believe in humans, nature, and the natural laws of the universe.  Does this make me a bad person? No, I do not think it does.
I put it to you, reader, that for a person to be good and virtuous does not require religion. Morality is formed by cultural acceptance of right and wrong to start with, but for me the most important thing is to do no harm. Those who know me well know that I am a bit rough on the edges, but at my core I strive to be a good person.

My moral code is based on my own life experience and the core belief that we should all cooperate to make our world a better place for those who come after us.  My values developed over the course of my life; influenced by the people in my life, family and friends…those I love and respect.  I read, I watch people and I think. I look back and examine where I have been. The mistakes I have made and that I have witnessed over the course of my life have helped make me a better person.  The beauty of this perspective is it allows me to evolve as a human and to continue to grow.  Prove me wrong with clear evidence and I will accept that and adjust my views accordingly, always maintaining the core values of kindness and cooperation.

I believe that I should be the best human I can be, seek to improve myself and try to make the world a better place, even in the smallest of gestures. I take this approach and do my best to share what I have learned with my own children so that they begin farther along their path than I did on mine.  The world grows ever more complex, but kindness without any prejudice will always have a place.