By Brent Johnson
In Plato’s Republic, the author-philosopher put forth the proposition that the character demonstrated by the rulers of a society would trickle down and become inherent in the general population of a society. In other words, a social system based on good principles and values would generate serenity and happiness among the people.
Unfortunately for us all, the entire world has lost sight of this simple concept: that your society is defined by those things you value most.
In most if not all societies around the world, people value money, position and power over values like truth, justice, honor and freedom. That is why there is so much injustice and greed around the world. Most people are more concerned about what they can get for themselves than what they can do to support others. In any given interaction, people are more prone to ask, “What do I get out of it?” than to consider, “How can I support you?”
We have cultivated among us cultures that promote the concept of “winning” over everything else. “What do I have to do to get that promotion?” “How can I come out on top in this upcoming deal?” “How do I come out of this situation with more than I had entering it?” In other words, “What’s in it for me?” This attitude permeates and worse, motivates people in their daily actions; and it is a highly destructive value system in which to live.
The reason this attitude is so destructive is because winning is made more important than doing what’s right, seeking justice, speaking truth, etc. In other words, people are encouraged to do anything to get what they want; lie, cheat, steal, murder, and so forth.
Perhaps this is because most of you tend to value yourself based on how much property you own, what kind of job you have, how high up on the totem pole you are, and all other kinds of temporal things, instead of valuing yourself based on the kind of person you are.
This attitude of winning at all costs attracts and encourages greed, manipulation, horrible injustices, and overall depravity; and it may be found at the highest levels of governments wherever it exists. Remember, the general population takes its cues from the rulers or leaders of its society. If a government is staffed with thugs and unprincipled sadists, then the population will be filled with thugs and unprincipled sadists.
Conversely, if a government is filled with people who value truth, justice, liberty, and consideration for your neighbors, then the general public in that society will reflect those values.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with winning. There is nothing wrong with having a good job, making a lot of money, having nice things, living comfortably, and enjoying the best that life has to offer. The question is how did you come by those things? What price did you pay for them?
If you acquire your money, position or power by violating the fundamental principles of truth, honor and integrity, then I believe you have paid far too high a price for them. If you taint your very soul in order to acquire the things that you have then you have paid far too much.
So how do we change our world from one that pursues winning at any cost to one that respects the rights of everyone and opposes those who would seek to make themselves bigger by making other people smaller?
The answer is actually pretty simple. We need to change our value systems to reflect the kind of world in which people can be happy and feel secure. We need to disallow actions taken out of greed, power-hunger, and a desire to achieve things by diminishing others.
This starts on the local level. It begins in your own house. You - like Plato’s philosopher king - need to set the example by acting out of altruistic motives. You need to consider others in your family in your daily life. When one of your children acts improperly you need to correct him or her, and explain that it is best to respect others even if you disagree with them. You need to punish those who steal, cheat or lie. Meanwhile, you need to set the example by not stealing, cheating or lying.
Once you get your own house in order you need to take your message to your local community. Speak up when a neighbor or fellow citizen says or does something wrong. Don’t be afraid to express disapproval with harmful acts. Don’t worry about whether you are popular for taking a stand; just take a stand for good values. Believe me, when you do this the message will spread rapidly throughout your local community. Others will pick up on your behavior and start to reflect it. The effects will be exponential and amazing.
However, do not diminish what others have to offer. Do not speak at people; speak to them. Listen and understand others’ positions even when you think those positions are harmful or destructive. Respect their individual situations even if you don’t agree with their conclusions. It is from that standpoint that you become powerful and effective in manifesting the kind of changes that are needed in this world.
You might even run for local public office so that you can inject your core values into your local community. Whether you win or lose, you run your campaign by communicating your character beliefs to the local population. Use media to accomplish this. Regardless of whether or not you win, you will have made your mark on society.
As you proceed in changing your small part of the world, growing numbers of people will join you, thereby creating a gestalt that will serve to effect change on a larger level.
When the time is right, expand your efforts to a larger social group. Infect others with your views, first throughout the city, then the state, then the nation, and then the world.
Do not be discouraged by telling yourself, “I am only one person. What can I do?” That thinking is false thinking. One person who refuses to accept the status quo has always changed the world. Consider Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Yashua Christos (Jesus Christ). It is always the individual who will not accept that the way things are is how they must be who manifests changes in society.
Of course, those changes could be for the worse and not for the better. Adolf Hitler and Mao Tse Tung are prime examples of individuals who by their charisma changed the world to their ends; but their objectives were destructive and harmful. You need to exercise the same charisma they did, but toward the goals of truth, justice, liberty, enlightenment, and peace.
If you set as your personal goal to bring about a world in which honor, integrity and justice abound, then you are perfectly capable of making it happen. Don’t accept the messages of those who say you are insignificant and cannot change things. Don’t listen to those who say, “You can’t fight City Hall!” Do what you know to be right, regardless of how many people stand against you. I promise you that if you stay true to your vision, others will join you, your ranks will grow, and inevitably, you will succeed in bringing about a world in which we can all live in peace, prosperity and honor.
Brent Johnson is Director of Freedom Bound International, a common law service center dedicated to the preservation of personal freedom, privacy rights and the Declaration of Independence. He may be reached at 1-888-385-FREE or on-line at www.freedomradio.us.