Reason, Fairness, Freedom and Opportunity

Objective truth is the same for everyone. That is precisely what defines something as being the objective truth. We say an apple falls to the ground as a result of gravity, even if we don't fully understand what gravity is. It could be a magnetic-like force which draws objects together, or a curvature of the space-time medium, or some other yet to discovered mechanism could be responsible for the effects. While we might argue about what gravity really is, the one thing everyone can agree upon is that when we hold an apple above the ground and let go of it, it falls. That observation is an objective truth because it is the same for everyone. The means for discerning objective truth is reason. Reason is a psychological process which enables us to predict how the future will unfold as a result of cause and effect. We observe what happens under certain conditions and can predict that similar results will occur under similar conditions in the future. Reason is what prevents us from diving into an empty swimming pool. It's why place words proper sequence we in order understood to be. Our entire technological world is a result of reason.

Reason leads us to objective truth. While intuition can be a great help in gaining insights and inspiration, we must understand that intuition, beliefs and emotions do not result in conclusions which are valid for everyone. Religious philosophies may be accepted as truth by those who accept such conclusions for intuitive or emotional "reasons," but any idea which can not be demonstrated as an objective fact can be rejected by rational individuals with complete justification. At the same time, rational individuals must acknowledge that billions of people have experienced spiritual events or phenomena which have yet to be explained by mainstream science, and it is often these experiences which result in the acceptance of religious explanations.

In my book, Rational Spirituality, I make two important points which are relevant here. The first is: Reason and intuition are never in conflict when one is aware of the truth. If one's religious beliefs are valid they will stand up to the criteria of objective reasoning. In that case rational people will be able to accept such concepts as valid, regardless of the source of the information. An even more profound point is this: There is a rational explanation for everything, regardless of whether or not that explanation is known. As someone who has studied metaphysical phenomena in depth, I have concluded that every experience of a spiritual nature can be explained in rational terms and is not dependent upon the descriptions supplied by religion. Faith is not required when one is aware of the truth.

It is far better to be aware that one does not know the truth than to accept something as true when it isn't. Most religions require faith in their teachings as a prerequisite to salvation, even when those teachings appear irrational. Christians are told they will go to hell if they deny the holy spirit, and some Muslims go so far as to put people to death if they dare to speak against the doctrine. When it is impossible to question the validity of a conclusion it becomes impossible to apply reason, and reason is a fundamental requirement of sanity.

I hope these observations will inspire you to question any religious beliefs you hold which you can not prove to an objective, rational observer. You will not go to hell simply because you seek to know the truth. Any god which would punish you for that isn't worth believing in. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they chose to believe, but those who believe society should be organized according to religious principles should understand that agreement can not be reached if others are expected to ignore the mental facility that enables them to be sane.

Socioeconomic ideology is another area where doubters of the local philosophy are often scorned, repressed, imprisoned or killed. No one gets on American television promoting communism, and speaking against communism in China or North Korea will land you in prison. Capitalism is promoted as the solution in some areas and vilified in others. When conflicting ideologies are promoted as the great solution in one location and repressed in another, reason tells us that someone isn't being rational. People who aren't rational are not sane. But who is being crazy?

The only way these conflicts can be resolved is by being opened minded and looking at things as objectively as we can. The only thing everyone can agree upon is the objective truth, because, as mentioned earlier, objective truth is the same for everyone - for every sane person at least. And the means of determining objective truth is reason.

Reason then, is the only means by which everyone can reach agreement.

Reason tells us that whenever more than one individual is involved in some situation, the only way to keep everyone happy is for things to be fair. Fairness does not mean all things are the same for everyone. We were not born with equal abilities and motivations. Some people can run faster or jump higher than others, and some will want to work harder to achieve more. So fairness doesn't mean everyone must have the same things, but that no one is forced to have less than someone else. In order for everyone to have the same, fair chance, opportunity must be incorporated into an enlightened social system.

Cooperation is not possible if people are "forced to cooperate." Force implies resistance, and the more force that is exerted the greater the resistance becomes. Peace, therefore, is not possible without freedom. To those who argue for anarchy, for total and complete individual freedom in a world without government coercion forcing compliance with law, I have to ask you to apply reason to predict what the result of that would be. There is a lot of misinformation circulating that says anarchy can work because there will be rules which people follow voluntarily, without coercive force to insure compliance. That could work just fine if everyone was honest and fair and went out of their way to provide care and opportunity to all the less fortunate. But all it takes is one bad guy to ruin it all, to hire a bunch of thugs and form an army that will take whatever they want and kill all who get in their way. But there wouldn't be one bad guy, there would be millions, all fighting to dominate everyone else and the world would be one constant battle ground. The lack of enforced regulation is how 1% of the population ended up in control of the rest of us. Anarchy simply can not work.

So just how much freedom should people really have? Over the years there has been a gradual but still incomplete transition toward the recognition of the true limits of personal freedom. That limit is reached when one's personal behavior forces others to participate against their will.

There are times when the behavior of others forces us to participate against our will and nothing can be done about it. For example, if you are driving next to me on the freeway and I want to move into your lane, your being there forces me to participate in your behavior. The same thing happens when people in a restaurant and are forced to smell the food delivered to the person sitting at the next table, or when we have to look at ugly people walking down the street. The behavior of others will often force our participation, and our behavior will sometimes affect others against their will. But if someone's behavior does NOT force others to participate against their will, then people should have a right to that behavior.

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The Personal Freedoms Protection Amendment

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