Civilization, Heritage, Prosperity & Peace, Based On Mutual Respect

June, 2014 Feature--Truth Based Logic

Civilization, based on mutual respect. Heritage based on respect for past achievement. Prosperity, based on respect for present achievement. Peace, based on respect for human differences.

In the opening clauses of America's Declaration of Independence, Jefferson justified the exposition on America's grievances by a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, which required that we declare the causes which impel[ed] separating from Great Britain. In a 1793 Memo to President Washington on Treaty obligations & foreign relations, then Secretary of State Jefferson used the term respect, in the sense of honoring obligations &/or appreciating the character, wishes, values & ethical precepts, which guide nations (or inspire man's better nature), at least six times. George Washington used the term three times, in a similar sense, in his Farewell Address. Significantly, Washington's views on foreign policy imperatives--when set in juxtaposition to President George W. Bush's confusion on the issue (Washington's Answer)--demonstrate how profoundly Washington understood the value of treating others with respect; provided, of course, that they return the courtesy!

The development of any civilization must, in large measure, depend upon a culture of mutual respect among those contributing to that development. Where the people in a community do not respect one another, you will have chaos to the extent that the lack of reciprocal respect inhibits constructive interaction. The preservation of a civilization--the ongoing heritage of a people--depends upon a high level of mutual respect among the population. Where such respect does not flow naturally, that preservation can only be achieved by some form of intimidation. What is not done happily by those who see value in that preservation, must be forced to the extent necessary, or what was once civilization & heritage will devolve into chaos. As social chaos is never sustainable, the inevitable result will be tyranny, in one form or another.

Respect among those who provide the products & services that the market requires in a community, nation, state or region, is also a major determinant of the achievable level of prosperity. The examples, here, are legion. Mutual respect or lack thereof is a key to how participants interact. Where there is little or no respect for those with whom one does business; where there is strife between employers & employees, based upon a failure of respect on either side; or lack of mutual respect between producers & consumers, or between those who transport goods & those from whom they transport, or to whom they transport, etc.; there is a situation analogous to throwing sand into the moving parts of an engine. And that is true, quite apart from the social & political effect on any society, where the members of that society, lacking genuine respect for one another, lose a sense of congeniality or community identification.

Respect begets respect! Inherent in the concept of mutual respect, is recognition of the merits of the "Golden Rule." Treating others as one would wish to be treated, is the prescription for a smooth working civilization; for building a heritage of which anyone might be proud; for maximizing the productive capacity of a people, where constructive engagement & utilization of Blessings, rather than self-centered demands, or trying to take unfair advantage, are the formula for material progress. In contrast, an egalitarian/collectivist approach to social issues, fuels the breakdown of mutual respect. This is because no two of us are really equal. Making equality of condition or circumstance a goal, inevitably leads to Mischief, to the promotion of envy & faux grievances, with a deterioration of the social structure--even to a loss of the historic benefits of the division of labor, working as it should for the benefit of the impacted society.

As important as mutual respect & congeniality are between the members of a community, as among themselves; mutual respect among the nations of the earth is even more important, if we would reduce strife between peoples. As deleterious as has been the impact of egalitarian/collectivist agitation on the harmony & congruity of any community, the effect of a similarly premised assault on the sovereignty of nations, may eventually prove yet more destructive. (See Surrender By Subterfuge, for a specific attack on America.) The most reasoned approach to the pursuit of peace among nations, was & is the approach of the Founding Fathers: An American Foreign Policy. While Jefferson thought, "it to our interest to punish the first insult; because an insult unpunished is the parent of many others," Jefferson--as General Washington--eschewed the idea of meddling in the internal affairs of other peoples. In the Nineteenth Century, we influenced only by example, and were perhaps the most respected peoples on earth. Contrast that with where a lack of respect for the diverse cultures of other nations has taken us today!

Or consider what is involved in the war on heritage & pride of nation, which has increasingly characterized the EU! The problem is not with the plan for a customs union--or a monetary union--among European nations. But why would one suppose advantage, in such basic economic pursuit, in trying to homogenize the social & moral cultures of the adhering States? Why would anyone believe that such matters as immigration policy, ethnic identification, relations between the sexes--even matters of social morality (other than those which teach honoring the obligation of contracts)--require internationalization? It seems clear, that a growing bureaucracy in Brussels is bent upon undermining all that make the nations of Europe unique; bent on homogenizing the cultural strivings of very different peoples, with very distinct "personalities," which have enriched their unique cultures over many centuries. (That the result is no contribution to good-will between nations, nor to European prosperity based upon an optimum use of resources, is demonstrated by the seething resentment manifested this May, particularly in France & Britain, in elections to the EU parliament!)

In the make-believe world of the egalitarian fanatic, people are interchangeable; breaking down a nation's unique ethnic culture is a contribution to "World Peace." But in the real world, the "Peace," that will result, is only the peace of subjugation; the peace that Genghis Khan imposed as he piled a million skulls into a man made hill, to demonstrate the danger of continued resistance. That is not "Peace," as Americans have understood the term. It is not a "Peace," that decent & intelligent people will ever strive for--or ever accept as "Peace." It is the absolute and total rejection of the very concept of "respect for others"; as such, it is a formula for endless conflict, with all the social & economic misery that must inevitably follow. It is the "Peace" that Iraq is enjoying today.

William Flax

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