Commentaries on Our Times

Commentaries on Our Times: An Inner Quality Perspective

This section addresses current issues during the early decade of the 2020’s from the perspective of the inner quality. Its purpose is to explore the practical application of the ethical standards of the inner quality to contemporary issues of concern to society. The subjects chosen and the discussions are my own, as I seek to learn how best to utilize the integrative power of the higher mind in a pragmatic way.

The Role of Revolutionaries in a Democracy

During much of 2020, there were demonstrations and riots across many parts of the U.S. Initially, these began as protests against police brutality towards Afro-Americans and perceived racial discrimination. Within a short time, the peaceful demonstrations became a cover for rioting, looting, destruction of public and private property, and targeted attacks against law enforcement. Soon thereafter, these general acts of lawlessness were used to further the agenda of rebellion against the country itself and its constitutionally defined institutions.

Viewed from the perspective of the inner quality, these activities — while often occurring simultaneously on the streets — need to be handled differently. The right of peaceful protests, for example, is a long-established and accepted outlet for expressions of frustration over the social status quo. The inner quality standard of ethics has no qualms about this type of demonstration.

The rioting, destruction of property, looting of businesses, and attacks on law enforcement are criminal activities with no justification whatsoever from the perspective of the inner quality. Excuses based on poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunity, etc. ought not to be used as justification for these types of activities. Like all criminal acts, perpetrators of these crimes need to be subject to the laws established to guarantee the safety of citizens, the protection of their property, and the orderly functioning of society.

Acts of rebellion against the state move from being criminal in nature to revolutionary, in that their aim is the overthrow of the country’s political system and government. From the perspective of the inner quality, these revolutionary activities — which often are accompanied by violence and hence fall within the definition of crimes — ought also to be classified as actions by non-state actors.

There are many types of non-state actors. Some are truly worthwhile such as groups trying to alleviate humanitarian crises. Some non-state actors are international criminal syndicates such as drug cartels, whose criminal activities are trans-national in nature. Still other non-state actors exists for revolutionary purposes, often with an ideological goal in mind such as the overthrow of democracies and the establishment of totalitarian regimes.

From the perspective of the inner quality, humanitarian-based non-state actors are legitimate and ought to be supported. Criminal syndicates ought to be prosecuted and their activities stopped through cooperative, international law enforcement agencies. Revolutionary movements can either be legitimate or criminal, depending upon their ideological purposes.

In international politics, there is the observation that one man’s revolutionary is another man’s patriot. That is because revolutionary movements are generally ideological: democracies have their favored revolutionaries and communists have theirs. From the perspective of the inner quality, the key issue is whether a certain group’s revolutionary activities and ideology are morally supportive or destructive of the soul’s purpose on earth.

The philosophy of the inner quality is based on the premise that the purpose of the soul being born on earth is to learn how properly to use free will — that is, how to make decisions aligned with the character of goodness given by the Creator to the individual soul. Democracies such as the U.S. are imperfect; however, they give their citizens much more freedom to make decisions than do communist systems of government. This contrast, for example, could easily be seen in the Chinese Communist Party’s imposition of its new security laws in Hong Kong in 2020, which previously had enjoyed a relatively high level of individual freedom of choice.

In the case of revolutionaries participating in the U.S. riots of 2020, their distinguishing ideology was anti-democratic, anti-U.S. government, anti-American constitution, and anti-those agencies and personnel given the responsibility to protect the nation, its institutions, and its public buildings and other infrastructure. The ultimate ideological goal of most of these revolutionaries appeared to be Marxism, socialism, communism, or anarchy. In their use of violence to undermine the U.S. government, the revolutionaries were not only anti-American but also against the free will choice of the souls of the majority of American citizens.

Because these revolutionary groups were and are destructive of individual liberty and the freely chosen, democratic system of the U.S. government, these groups are dangerous to society as a whole. Those who use criminal methods to advance their goal need to be arrested and prosecuted within the U.S. system of justice. All U.S. law enforcement agencies — tribal, local, state, and federal — ought to cooperate to bring these individuals to justice in a timely and legal manner before further damage to American society is done. (July 2020)

Racial Equality and Fairness

A long-standing controversy in American society is how to deal with racial inequality and unfairness towards Afro-Americans and other minority ethnic groups. There are many reasons for this inequality and unfairness: the biases held by individuals and groups against those thought to be outsiders, a particular culture’s predominance in a given society and the tendency to believe one’s own way of life is superior to that of others, the historical record of a society and interactions between various ethnic groups, the sense of superiority that comes when one’s race or class dominates important political and economic sectors of society, the characteristics of society itself such as a strong sense of class differences or egalitarianism, and the perceived threat on the part of an ethnic group towards other groups.

It is important to remember that racial inequality and unfairness exists not only in the U.S but in almost all countries and societies of the world. Racial inequality and unfairness are part of imperfect human nature. From the inner quality perspective, racial inequality and unfairness, along with injustice, prejudice, hatred, jealousy, rage, violence, addiction, criminality, manipulation, dishonesty, and a thousand other perversions of the goodness of God — all need to be brought under control in society and gradually eliminated through education, training, and cultural refinement. Nearly all political theory over the ages have had as their goal the improvement of the character of man and his society.

The inner quality philosophy assumes that God created the human soul and that He made each soul’s character slightly different to reflect the infinite variations of His goodness. Thus, human souls are equal in that they are all sons and daughters of God; however, they are unique in the sense of their individual characteristics and capabilities. Human society, therefore, ought to reflect and respect both the equality and uniqueness of all people.

How to achieve this balance of equality and uniqueness has thus far eluded humanity’s political institutions because of the imperfections of mankind itself. Government has the responsibility to protect society and its citizens. To protect society from its self-destructive tendencies, all governments must use a combination of coercion and encouragement to move its citizens towards a more fair and just society.

From the inner quality perspective, the best standard government can use in developing policy and strategy in maintaining a proper social balance is fairness. To be just, fairness must have standards that are applicable to all citizens. For example, everyone ought to have the opportunity to become a professional athlete. However, to succeed in joining a team requires that individuals meet certain standards of excellence. A similar approach ought to be expected for people who want to become CEOs, accountants, professors, government officials, or any other profession.

Appropriate standards are vital in ensuring that fairness and justice characterize society. Government and social policy should ensure that everyone is equal in having both opportunity and in being evaluated on the basis of common standards for specific professions. To be abundantly fair and just, government and society should make every possible effort to provide training to those who wish to be successful in some field of endeavor. In this way, equality of opportunity and fairness in achieving personal goals can be reconciled and made to work for the benefit of society and its individual members. (August 2020)