Tag Archives: socialism

Our Constitution guarantees us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our Bill of Rights and the following amendments dictate that we shall all treat each other equally in any public venue whether through race, religion, ethnicity or social “class.”

Although it’s not possible to legislate morality, the law does make provisions and consequences for abiding by our Constitution and its laws. However, until an offense is observed and officially objected to, we are all left mostly to our own consciences to determine what actions must be taken and how far we can or must go in aligning with those Constitutional dictates. Yet, in the Constitution there appears to be a lot of room for interpretation…or misinterpretation depending on what perspectives are taken and what level of perception exists within our personal and cultural dictates or, namely, each of our clans. It appears that equality among our citizens is not enough for some. Diversity is no longer simply a tolerable perspective but seems to be developing into a problem involving an expectation of deference. Contemporarily, it has ceased being regarded as an allowance and now appears to have become a requirement amidst what behaviors and preferences are expected or required among our citizens and depending on our clans and our affiliation with them. Diversity is no more regarded as a permissible allowance but now a required deference. So, what has happened to our concept of equality?

First then, what is diversity and second, how should it be regarded in relation to our citizens and how we treat each other? To understand this, we must first look at its meaning and then how it is being expressed and can be best applied.

Diversity, as a derivative of divert from the Latin divertere (14c), is “to change the direction or course of; change the aim or destination of; or turn aside or away." Simply put, it is simply changing direction. But as with all words of any import, time and culture add dimensions that are not often understood or agreed with, especially, for those who have a classical or literary education of which most of us, especially recently, don’t. In our common language we interpret the word as simply being different but in our deeper and perhaps unconscious perception we receive its meaning as a need for turning away from our own familiar direction and preference.

Our current confusion with diversity expresses itself in concert through several different perceptual avenues; inequality, the social erosion of thinking for ourselves, low or high cultural context, religion and lack of individual courage.  Let’s first look at inequality.

Almost everyone has a need to belong and be accepted as they are without any requirement to meet standards that might be different from what we have become familiar with or trained into. In the same way, different races and cultures, invariably, differ from each other in what is preferred, trained and then expected by our respective clans. When another culture or race intermingles with the long-time standing tradition of the cultural or race oriented behavior of our country, we feel an almost automatic resistance toward their behaving or their doing things any differently than what we’ve become familiar with. This not only extends to new changes between a traditional culture and a commingling culture, but even to anyone of our own culture entering our environment that does things differently, consequently, assuming that we will adjust to them in any way. Now, let’s take a look at thinking for ourselves.

There is a growing social erosion of thinking for ourselves that is becoming more and more prevalent every day. We seem to have experts and pundits espousing social rules for our behavior in every daily activity we find ourselves involved in. Doctors have received Carte Blanche in dictating their rules about our health. Advertisements tell us what we must do to smell “right,” look “right,” be smarter, faster, cooler, more intelligent, more desirable and wealthy. There is a drug that’s appropriate for every ailment under the sun independent of any causative circumstances or actions we should consider ourselves. On every level we’re being told what to think, feel, and what we should want. The insinuation is that if we don’t follow the socially prescribed rules we are labeled as odd, inadequate, unlovable, undesirable, and should be abandoned or ostracized by socially “acceptable” groups. There is something wrong with us if we even support the “wrong” political party. We’re slowly being trained out of thinking for ourselves. We’re being conditioned to consult an “outside source” for even unimportant decisions for fear of being criticized, shamed or ostracized by our peer group. On top of that, everyone of any influence is being investigated for anything that appears to be wrong doing. We’re now seen guilty by our accusers until proven innocent. We are being made to feel paranoid over the validity or properness of any action or inaction we take. We’ve been trained to become afraid of expressing ourselves in public for fear of reprimand or shame, especially, on college campuses. Now, let’s take a look at cultural context.

Our Western culture, especially in the U.S., has developed a pattern of values based on independence, individual accomplishments, self-reliance, personal strength and responsibility and being “actualized”, as a psychologist would call it, to be our level best independent of any outside support or assistance. This type of life perspective has been termed as belonging to a high context culture.  It is based on individual effort and the personal gain of recognition from a person’s peers and clan. Until recent years this has been the primary goal and perspective of most Americans.

Over the last ten or so years this perspective has been being slowly ebbing into a belief that others and the family are more important than any individual efforts or accomplishments. It has also been rapidly becoming more and more of a politically correct expectation that individuals should sacrifice their own interests and well-being in favor of the family’s interest and their clan’s well-being, political or not. By definition, psychologists call this perspective of a race or culture low context. That is, that the group is more important than the individual. In low context cultures the family or “clan” is dependent on the individual’s alignment for its structure, stability and well-being. Low context culture also has been gaining in a growing a current presence in our population now that is largely due to the tremendous influx of Hispanics into our American culture through an overwhelming emigration from “impoverished” countries.  Consequently, African Americans, seeing the Hispanic culture as having the potential for increasing their own influence and advantage over their host country, have recently aligned themselves in a similar perspective. For their elders, it is simply the resurgence of low context cultural traditions that were slowly buried during their assimilation into slavery as the African culture has, historically, been a low context culture. For the younger generations, it is perceived as a method to achieve social and economic advantage for their families and clans. Nevertheless, these minority cultures have serendipitously “co-focused” their objectives, mostly unconsciously, but still hold a conscious desire for their own separate advantage over the culture they have immigrated into whether introduced to it through enforced slavery, as with African Americans, or escaping their own national poverty as with the Hispanics. It should be noted that the earlier African American generations began with a low context culture but since their immigration here, their offspring very quickly acclimated toward high context objectives. This split between generations accounts for the mixed response toward aligning with the similar low context Hispanic drive toward achieving family and clan advantage. It should also be noted that the Christian base of our own population also professes to align with the values supported by a low context culture and have provided a virulent climate for the low context perspective to propagate. Lastly, let’s look at individual courage.

Having courage depends, essentially, on the propagation of one of two perspectives. First, that the individual has faith and trust in their own abilities and resources or, second, that the individual has the belief or hope that they will be taken care of and supported by the clan or family that they’ve aligned themselves with. The latter perspective has achieved an accelerated dominance in our culture due to the reduced tendency for people to actually think for themselves and the increased tendency for them to make their decisions based on externally dictated protocols.

All these factors may individually seem like they are inconsequential as to how we relate to other people who demand an attitude favoring their view of diversity when we relate to them. Yet, their combined effect produces a fullness of influence from so many seemingly different angles that it seems overwhelmingly natural for us to acquiesce to what’s being demanded of us. The fact that have been lulled or even trained into allowing, almost exclusively, external influences to determine how we act and believe is the primary reason that we have become convinced that it is our responsibility or even duty to sacrifice our own potential and well-being in favor of capitulating to the advantage others might gain over us; intentionally driven or not.

To look to the values and expectations of others who inhabit the world around us to the exclusion of our own gut feeling and common sense sabotages any semblance of personal autonomy or self-determination. Diversity has become a tool geared toward enabling the tyranny of the weak and the “less fortunate.” With the rise of a socially contrived requirement for acquiescing to the demands of this new diversity we have gone well beyond the tipping point for being able to save any autonomy, personal dignity or individualism that we may still possess. Despite the claims of our professed “superiors,” including those hiding behind the cloth of religion, we are not responsible for the fate or condition of others.

For most of us, mainly in our current social context and deeply imprinted within our conscience is the belief that to be a good person we must do the right thing. It is also assumed that society knows what that right thing is and is watching our performance at any given moment to see if we are measuring up. When we do the right thing, there arises a feeling of satisfaction within us in relation to how our society and peer group sees us. We feel supported and secure in that we are accepted and have a sense of belonging to our clan. Yet, there also arises within us an undercurrent that gives us a gnawing and indescribable feeling that something is missing. It is as if something has been ignored or omitted relative to our own preferences and wishes. If we take the time, we then we sit back and feel inside ourselves. In that moment we realize that we’ve sacrificed a part of our own needs and preferences to the benefit of others. We might even feel a little cheated. But, we tell ourselves, we’ve done the right thing.

There is nothing wrong with ministering to the needs and wants of others. If we’re going to interrelate within our culture, it’s important that we also have sensitivity to its needs and preferences. But, by the same token, we must also be sensitive and responsive to our own needs and preferences even in spite of feeling pressed into sacrificing those needs in favor of doing the right thing for others. We must also do the right thing for ourselves, even in the face of being labeled selfish by those who expect our service. Both objectives must be present in equal measure within us if we are to feel balanced and peaceful in our daily pursuits within our culture. However, our current cultural perspective has been changing such that its emphasis has been leaning more and more toward service to others taking precedence over our own personal welfare. This meaning of doing the right thing must be shifted back to a balanced perspective between public needs and personal needs. However, in light of the direction of our changing educational system, this is not likely to occur any time soon. With this in mind, let’s look at where the evolving meaning of do the right thing has been progressing toward.

We’ve all heard this expression time and again. But for each of us, it registers differently depending on how and by whom we were brought up. But what do we really mean when we say the right thing? To define this will seem crystal clear for some of us but nebulous at best for others.

Rather than getting involved in a whole plethora of definitions, suffice it to say that the majority of us perceive the word right as meaning what is considered to be proper, moral and socially acceptable. That being said, there are many perspectives to be taken depending on our culture, religion, beliefs and past experience. This will make our expectations for ourselves and those we hold dear extremely diversified. However, any of our reasonings will fall into one of two categories; what we’ve been taught and what we personally feel internally.

In our modern-day world our concentration on life through the internet has encouraged us to be much more interactive as opposed to if we were left to our own devices without it. That is, we’re being groomed into putting much more stock in what the world outside of us believes and espouses to be true and proper rather than what our own heart may dictate. And although we’d also like to think that our children have been raised by us to think for themselves, the reality of the message they’ve received is if I am acknowledged at all, I must do as I’m told and what I feel or think comes second to world beliefs. The parental perspective of this message, usually held unconsciously, is do as I say not as I do.

Our culturally promoted world view, whether we are conscious of it or not, has evolved into the belief, or maybe just an accepted assumption, that a good person is to be altruistic or sacrificial to others by nature. A bad person is someone who is assumed to be selfish, self-absorbed and not considered to be a contributing part of his clan. In other words, altruism is defined as "having regard for the interest and well-being of others (1853)” and selfishness is defined as “self-seeking, self-ended and self-ful (1620s).” Unfortunately, our current society has been morphing into seeing any perspective in terms of only black or white. For many, the blending of the two is virtually impossible. We’re left with being judged as either good or bad.

Giving back to our society has become the gold standard for what is expected of us when we deal with the outside world. What we do in private, for all intents and purposes, is ignored by our culture unless it directly affects someone in public. Then, it receives judgments and consequences. This “manifesto” has been drilled into our psyches by the prevailing religious organizations who have their own control oriented agendas under the guise of the morality peddled throughout the centuries. The belief that God, Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed or Krishna are to be followed flawlessly as the only way to insure a rewarding afterlife and that there are special people and books who “know” the secrets held by these people. The expected public belief is to accept that there is an absolute universal perspective that dictates the behavior and perspectives that we all must abide by…with the exception of those who supposedly “know” the truth and administer rewards and punishments, of course. Bottom line, we’re trained into believing that the authority for how we run our lives is dictated by others who “know” how the world should be. Still, they were brought up as we were; following and doing what they we told. However, at some point they became aware of the manipulative dynamic in force, jumped on the bandwagon and assumed a position among the “knowledgeably elite.”

So, what is the right thing to do socially? It is whatever the elite dictates that allows them to maintain control over the masses (us). This funnels favor, opportunity, advantage and finance in their direction at our expense. So, what is the right thing to do personally? This depends on where we take our authority from. For each person it will be different. Do we subscribe to the absolute universal perspective peddled by the elite which almost always channels benefit in their direction or do we follow what our inner self or heart tells us is the best response for maintaining self-respect and domain over our own life circumstances? The former insures our safety and belonging in the clan. The latter often leaves us banished and without support as punishment for not ministering to the needs of everyone else before ourselves. To choose the former is easy but squelches our own preferences and creativity while promising safety and security through believing that others will support us if we fail. The latter activates our preferences and catalyzes our creativity but provides no social safety net if we fail. Oddly enough, these same scenarios resonate with socialism and capitalism, respectively. Think about it. The more we allow group principles to take precedence over whatever our own heart tells us, the more we move into becoming a socialist culture. One only has to look at other socialist cultures to understand the direction and circumstances that this migrating belief system will present us with.

To the extreme, doing the right thing has socially almost become synonymous with being politically correct. This has been cleverly developed into a weapon for coercion by many special interest groups also climbing on the bandwagon and looking for advantage through engendering guilt and emotional blackmail with our deprecating labeling and “excommunication” as its price for non-acquiescence.

So, what to do? We must each make a choice. Are belonging and social support the most important commodities in our lives? If so, we must align with what our culture demands of us as the right thing to do. We may gain belonging and support but there’s a price. We must forego our own personal preferences and individual creativity in favor of the needs and preferences of others.

Are being self-directing and individually creative the most important commodities in our lives? If so, we must align with what our heart tells us is the right thing to do. We will gain our independence and ability to express our creativity as we please but there is also a price. There will be no belonging, support or social safety net available to us if we fail.

One last point. Of the two choices, the latter requires more courage.  Who do you know who has been successful and has done everything they were supposed to do or were told to do? Odds are…no one. People like Thomas Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nicolai Tesla, Queen Elizabeth I, Albert Einstein, Joan of Arc, Jesus, Marie Curie, John Lennon, Janis Joplin and Nelson Mandela, to name just a few, have all followed their own path listening to their own heart and inner calling. Do you want to be successful? All we have to do is listen to that small voice inside us, muster up our courage and do the right thing.