If I were king…

If I were king I would attempt to eliminate the concept of ‘greed’ as a driving force which motivates people. Instead, I would attempt to instill ‘quality of life’ as the primary driving force. It has long been said (and proven correct) that ‘Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely’. It has also been proven correct that to have power one needs money — a lot of it. For many decades, in order to become president of the USA one required many millions of dollars or at least access to many millions of dollars. This narrows the field of candidates dramatically since very few people have this amount of money or even access to it. It is somewhat similar if not quite as dramatic in other democratic countries. Therefore, if I were king I would take money out of the equation. Money creates imbalances. Some people have (by chance) a higher ability, in many different ways compared to others. Essentially, when money is a primary motivation driving force some people are more fortunate than others. These people have in a sense ‘won the birth lottery’. Others, through no fault of their own fared worse in this ‘birth lottery’. To balance this, we must create a different society. To create a different society a critical mass of the public must be convinced of this concept. They must be persuaded to undertake the ‘Spock’ assertion: “The needs of the many must prevail over the needs of the few, or the one”. They must be persuaded to potentially accept a loss for themselves in exchange that others, not as fortunate can live lives equally as comfortable. In today’s world this redistribution of wealth occurs through taxation, whereby a portion of an earners salary or wages is deducted and spent by the government in various ways. Moreover, many people give money freely to various charities or voluntary organisations.

Therefore the concept of giving is already quite prevalent. By removing money entirely from the equation we have a further advantage. Crime will be reduced if not entirely wiped out, thus improving peoples quality of life. Courts would be largely irrelevant, prisons largely empty and therefore peoples everyday life much pleasanter as they would feel safer walking the streets and going about their daily life.

All manner of daily life-education, transport, politics, hospitals , doctors, nurses, policing, industry, trade and commerce would be conducted without money as the primary driving force. Citizens would choose their own career, not because of money as an inducement but because of the enjoyment and personal satisfaction they would get from it. Jealousy and resentment would not become an issue since everyone would have the same amount. Builders, carpenters, electricians, doctors, teachers, taxi drivers would work in harmony and peace working for satisfaction rather than living to work.

It’s probable that depression and mental health complications would be reduced as would stress levels leading to better health all round. A happier people would therefore be a healthier people, living longer, and being more productive with it.

Doubtless, there would be objectors. Free marketeers would cite the above proposal as ‘Communism’ which has an emotional undercurrent. Others would cite issues such as ‘inefficiency’ since money would no longer be the driving force.

In order for this ideal to prevail a sea-change in peoples attitude and value system must be undertaken. A microcosm of the above policy must be implemented over a prolonged period of time. This would probably be the only means of allaying peoples fears since fear is also a primary motivating factor among people. A relatively large body of people and land would be required to conduct this ambitious societal experiment. To achieve this microcosm of society a focus group of influential members of the public must be activated and persuaded to ‘take the gamble’ and allow the experiment proceed for a reasonable time frame-say 10 years. Housing and food must be provided naturally. During this time period no outside involvement must be undertaken in order to properly assess its success/failure other than to review and analyse its progress. In other words the experiment must be conducted in as near as practicable in a vacuum. This is the only manner through which an objective assessment can be made.

Following a ten year period a proper assessment can be made as to whether it is possible or practicable to extend the practice.

Continue reading “If I were king…”

An opinion of Humanism

The basic principles of ‘Humanism’ as outlined in the ‘HumanismIreland’ web site read as an ideal worth striving for and are alluring in the extreme. It suggests that peace and harmony can be achieved among human kind through peaceful coexistence and cooperation.  While the ideals of humanism as outlined in the web site are attractive and at face value logical and even mutually beneficial they are not realistic. Human beings are by their very nature flawed. Moreover, they are greedy. Many are violent. Even those not violent by nature are violent when drink and narcotics are imbibed. Even those not violent through the use of stimulants are violent when provoked. Humanism has no credible answers to the intrinsic propensity to violence that almost every human possesses. The fact that most violent acts are illogical and unnecessary is irrelevant since all humans behave illogically on a regular basis, sometimes through the use of drink and drugs, sometimes through some misguided sense of loyalty to a cause, sometimes simply because they enjoy the feeling of physical superiority. Witness the joy experienced by men and women at boxing matches, wrestling and no-holds barred cage fighting. Humans are a violent race, always have been and there is no reason to believe other than that they always will be.

It is also worthwhile considering other attempts at creating a better society. All, (with no exception I am aware of) have ended in tragic failure.

Karl Marx believed he had produced a template for a socialist paradise through the concept of ‘Communism’. Russia had a revolution in 1917 and attempted to implement it. It resulted in the dictatorship of Josef Stalin and the slaughter of (allegedly) about 20 million Russian people and the imprisonment of millions more. It also involved the annexation and virtual slavery of many other states in the post-world war two period, when the ‘Iron Curtain’ was created. Misery and extreme unhappiness was all that evolved from the interpretation of Karl Marx’s ideals for a socialist paradise. Essentially, greed took hold. When the Iron Curtain fell in the 1989-91 period criminal groups emerged such as the Russian Mafia, also as a result of greed.

China also indulged in its own form of Communism. Essentially, this has been interpreted as meaning the suppression of civil rights, the imprisonment of many thousands if not millions and the slaughter of hundreds of protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Cuba, North Korea and its respective peoples have fared little better under Communism.

From this we can conclude that Communism is hardly the ideal model.

America, under the title United States began in 1777 under great fanfare, courtesy of  its founding fathers  intention of creating a model state. Words like freedom abounded throughout its constitution. It created on paper a model republican state where all men were created equal (at least in theory). Today the USA is a virtual police state. The CIA and FBI are essentially the permanent rulers of the USA. The US president is only ever in charge temporarily. E-mails are read, phones are tapped, police and school yard shootings are almost an annual event. The gun lobby has a huge influence politically. The treatment of the Native Americans in the USA is generally agreed to have been shameful. The treatment of African Americans has not been much better, and in many cases worse. The USA therefore, while not as oppressive as its Russian and Chinese counterparts has also failed as a model of the ideal state.

Many European states,  for example Britain, France, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Russia have all indulged in civil wars as a means of improving its society and creating an idyll state. None succeeded. To this day all have many imperfections.

The one common denominator linking all these countries is the greed of people. This greed emerges through the amount of crime which abounds. Additionally, political corruption is endemic, especially in so-called democratic countries but probably also in the so-called socialist countries. Bus and truck drivers who travelled through the Eastern Block countries have regularly spoken of the Black market at border controls there.

Therefore, we can state categorically that regardless of the systems organised by humans, crime, violence, greed and corruption are part and parcel of what it is to be human. Humanism, despite its noble ideals is doomed to failure.

Even people with strong religious convictions cannot point to a great deal of success with regard to the behavior of  humankind. It is over two-thousand years since Jesus Christ walked the earth preaching the message of peace and reconciliation. Ironically, many people have died as a result of religious wars. Many Muslims claim that Islam is not a violent religion. Yet, many Muslims have killed, maimed, wounded and injured thousands of people all over the world and continue to threaten to do so again. The Crusades undertaken by Christians were just a fore runner of what today we refer to as Islamic ‘jihad’. Christians were suppressing all other religions or cultures through naked aggression.  Tolerance is a rarely (if ever) spoken word among religious zealots.

Despite this, humanism is harmless in itself. If it brings people together in a social way it is a force for good. People of like or similar mind are free to articulate their views of what ‘a perfect state’ would look like. It is essentially an exercise in building castles in the air, in other words totally unrealistic but harmless fun, for all that.

When it comes to contemporary challenges such as Brexit, there is little doubt that greed will again rear its head. It is difficult to see a place for humanism in this debate as everyone, humanist or not will see everything from their perspective. Brexit negotiations are best left to the politicians and diplomats. Humanists can certainly express their opinion but whether they will be able to speak as one voice is debatable. As is always the case with humans, greed will be the driving force throughout the negotiations.

In summary, humanism is just an ideal. It is impossible to see it as a major driving force. There are so many parties, groupings, organisations, pressure groups and independent voices out there it is difficult to see humanism getting a strong voice, even if humanists were speaking as one. Ultimately humanism is just a polite talking forum which is nice, peaceful and harmless. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But it doesn’t resolve the issue of greed.