What are your principles?
Principles? Sometimes I wonder if i have them. And if so, what they are. Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Maybe write them down before reading this. Really, it might be good to do before letting this influence you.
So do you have’m?
There comes a time in many people’s lives when they realize their chosen brand of ideology has failed them. This includes things like religions, political parties or vapid movements such as (insert your once favorite social cause here).
See, it’s only a matter of time before any movement becomes coopted by those that have the power or desire to rule over others. Once it grows (your movement) to sufficient prominence, it becomes a fishing net that can (and will) be used to guide its followers toward a political brand, party or even just bend its efforts toward a self-serving agenda that aims to pander to the lowest common denominator among its own following (in order to get more donations so that it can grow, build more edifices and purchase bigger jumbotrons). And when that time comes, you will slowly realize that the ideals you once thought your ideology stood for are no longer being upheld by your “tribe”. Instead you find yourself becoming a political tool or puppet of your movement and no longer a champion for any real principles.
This is why it’s always best to adhere to principles and not ideologies. See, I believe principles are the pillars of any civilization. Not religion, not politics, none of those things. If anything, these are merely parasitic ideological megastructures that support themselves by resting atop the floors built for them by a principled civilization. I realize this sounds counter intuitive, but hear me out.
Its true, most people still attribute the rise of civilizations to a particular brand of religion or political structure. But I argue that these come later. If anything, it’s these things that are most often the cause of strife and the severing of civilizations. Religion? Politics? Inner city gangs? Just think of it. It’s only these things that ultimately serve to tear down communities and (if spread) can rent asunder entire nations. Wars aren’t started by principles, they’re started by power hungry leaders that simply appeal to people’s principles in order to justify their own lust for more shit.
When the United States was born, it wasn’t founded on Christianity or by the US senate, but rather a set of principles that included phrases such as “all men are created equal.” They may have been inspired by Christianity, but that’s as far as that went. These principles are like the DNA of civilizations, and a code of ethics, if you will, that form the instructional basis upon which (and through which) is built everything that follows. And it’s the sophistication, elegance and robustness of that “program” that will determine how successful that civilization will be that emerges from it. Slavery was inherited from the East (where it still lives to this day) but it was the US constitution that made it impossible for slavery to persist for very long. Like an antidote that in time would eradicate the poison that came on board the host (look up Arab and African slave trades still existing to this day).
In many ways, the United States is the latest and newest civilization in human history. And also one which devised a set of principes that learned from mistakes made by past civilizations, in particular those witnessed from the European and monarchic civilizations it fled from. Unfortunately there is no place left to flee and so if we can’t figure things out this time, we’re screwed. And time is running out.
Fortunately people are waking up to this fact (that you can only count on principles and not ideology). But unfortunately, since most have been guided by these ideological movements and for so long, they have no real principles to fall back on now. Instead, most self-guided people are crafting their own principles based solely on whatever encompasses the behavior they want to exhibit on a given day. Consequently, we see emerging a code of ethics that is tribalist in nature and often consists of “loyalty” and nothing else. In those instances where people are not part of a group they create principles for themselves designed to merely to justify selfish actions. A purely hedonistic and individualistic code that bears no responsibility to others, not even to themselves. It should come as no surprise then that electronic notifications are now the modern currency by which most youth derive a sense of self-worth and validation. “Chaching!” I got a like. “Chaching!” I got a comment. “Chaching!” I got a follower. I’ve even fallen prey to this, so i can understand the endorphin hit that comes from it. Though i’ve also grown somewhat averse to it and to the point that I’ve deleted and renamed this blog twice, whenever i started getting too many readers. Too much attention makes me uncomfortable. In that sense i’m like the opposite of a millennial i guess.
Unfortunately (and as a consequence of this new vapid code of ethics), drug consumption has risen sharply, as have suicides, sexual promiscuity, reports of rape, intoxicated sex, abortions, child abuse and record rates of low job participation among domestic populations. These are clearly the tell tell signs of a civilization that is dissolving at its feet. Fortunately, for the US, it’s been able to attract between 1-2 million hard working immigrants every year into the country (legal and illegal) most of whom come from cultures that still have an intact code of ethics. But the benefits of this only last one generation, as their children will inevitably fall prey to the code in place by the predominant culture they were born in.
In the US, today’s youth would rather live off their mom and dad or suck sustenance off the government teet instead of working hard. In fact, going to school has merely become an excuse to postpone work and often a way to pay living expenses via student loans and access to dormatories. This is why most youth today are economically far better at earning debt than they are at earning an income. Young men have turned to drugs and video games while women have turned to prostitution and escort work (coined as “survival sex” by scum journalism like the huffington post).
Don’t get me wrong, i have nothing against these things, and believe people should be free to do anything they want as long as they are not hurting others in the process. But that means that if someone is say, a parent, certain drugs, and other behaviors, in my opinion, should be illegal for them to engage in. I also believe people should have to take a background check and get a license in order to be allowed to consume alcohol, since irresponsible drinking has caused FAR more deaths than irresponsible gun use. So yeah, most of you would probably not want me as a law maker because my principles would be seen as pretty extreme by most.
Hang on, was that a principle i hold? Freedom is fine as long as you’re not hurting others? And if you’re a parent, you should have fewer freedoms because when you afflict harm on yourself you are, by extension, hurting your children or dependants? It seems like this could get complicated. What about mothers vs fathers? Say if a woman has been awarded such a license (to drink alcohol) should she still be allowed to walk into a bar while pregnant? Or let’s say that’s fine. But would you frown at a late term woman downing glasses of vodka? And if so, would you frown on her still if she told you “it doesn’t matter because i’ve got an abortion scheduled tomorrow.” I don’t know. i don’t think principles work if they require this much specificity. You end up leaving way too many random scenarios out of your rule book and people ultimately end up finding the loop holes to engage in their preferred behavior regardless.
Dear lord, i just realized something. I started writing about principles and found myself diverted into writing about laws, as if the only way to have principles is to have a code of laws to enforce them. This just goes to show how far i’ve been programmed to think that more government is the only way to solve social problems, when i’ve already explained, how this is completely the opposite of what’s true. More laws just serves to destroy society. We don’t need more laws, we need to agree on a basic set of principles! So again I ask. What are your principles? What are my principles?
Wait a minute. What is a principle? And should they apply to everyone? Or should we discriminate by age? For instance, we don’t allow children to get a drivers license. Are there other freedoms that should be constrained by age? Should a one year old be allowed to crawl their way through the city unsupervised? What freedoms does that same child have before they exit the womb? Does the fetus have a right to live through the birthing process and become a child? Should those that choose to conceive a child get a test beforehand to make sure they’re fit to be parents? Should they marry to begin with before even having sex? Should marriage be purely for reproduction and everyone else merely have civil unions? These are all questions that ultimately rest on some principle and knowing what you stand for is important. But so few of us put any thought into these questions unless and until they become part of our tribe’s political agenda.
Here’s another question. How do you know what is a principle and what is merely the absence of it? Because some might say their principle is to “just leave people alone and let them do whatever the hell they want and deal with the consequences themselves. ” But this is the absence of principles. Because a principle is ultimately a very specific rule or constraint that renders a very specific and predictable outcome. And in the absence of these I’ve found that humans become the most terrible creatures. Just imagine this. Imagine two college dorms. They are both exactly the same except for they differ in this one rule: One of them allows boys and girls to be in the same room and the other one strictly forbids it. Over the course of five years, do you expect there would be different outcomes? Just imagine if a couple lived together in the same room and halfway through the term they broke up. Do you think this could cause distress and have negative impacts on their academic performance? And let’s say there is no roomcesting going on, let’s pretend boys and girls live in the same house as friends. If the girls don’t create boundaries (like asking boys to knock on their door before entering) do you think the boys will ultimately gravitate toward just opening doors without knocking? What about boundaries on using the bathroom? What about human contact? If people don’t have boundaries there, don’t you think that over time people will give themselves permission to hug you? Or barge into your room early one morning to wake you up for the morning group exam? Without any boundaries, people act on impulse and rarely think things through or take other people’s feelings into consideration before acting.
Principles or the absence of them have profound impacts on society at every level. It might be time to start putting some thought into this and figuring out what you really stand for. It will be the only thing that grounds you through life. Without principles we will become monsters. Or we will beg the government to lock us up and take all our freedoms away until we find joy and happiness in debt-free slavery, that place we all came from, not so long ago.
I vote for freedom.