Most people I have known do not want to know the truth. The path of truth is the hardest path you can take and, usually, the reward is some kind of cruxifiction so I don’t blame people for living in denial. Truth is the surest way to social isolation and very few people are able to tolerate it. While I agree that social situations need lubricating through courtesy, compassion, and saying the truth in as pleasant a way as possible it is our duty as members of society to tell the truth anyway we can even if it means doing so in dribs and dabs. The results of not telling the truth not just in fact but in intention is that society we destroy civilized society. Distrust, cynicism and isolation is the result and it is the direct cause of the multiples small and large disasters we are facing today. Since honesty and truth is not respected and critical thinking is almost absent in contemporary American society and education has increasingly become about parroting back answers that some central authority decides. And there is the rub—it is in the interest of dishonest and larcenous rulers to make sure that people distrust each other so that repressive institutions can take the place of morality.
A moral people do not require police or much external regulation. An honest businessman/woman will not knowingly pollute the environment. A corporation will do so if it increases profits even if its officers are themselves relatively honest. Corporations as currently constituted are by nature dishonest and conspicuously immoral or amoral structures. Yet, we accept these structures as being central to our society because we cannot face the truth of what I just said. No one who is even marginally moral can approve of the modern corporation. There are and have been other structures for corporations that would bring us the benefit of large scale enterprise, which I believe is a good thing, to our society that would not only not interfere with a free-market but would aid in rediscovering it.
The chief struggle of our time is to deal with the result of decades of our drawing of social capital such that there is almost nothing left. Our major cultural, political and economic institutions been corrupted by immorality. Let me be clear here what I mean by morality and immorality a subject that I deal with in my writing project, Swimming in Paradox. Morality is essentially a structure of rules to live by These rules are not necessarily written down of easily defined but they focus on two aspects: 1) virtue or strength of character; and 2) our conduct and attitude towards others as individuals and society itself wherein the health and well being of others is as critically important to others as to oneself.
This brings me to the recent spate of violent events particularly the killing of people by police (usually but not exclusively of black men) and of people shooting and killing police. What is going on here? On a larger level the very emphasis on police and law enforcement including prosecutors, judges and prisons is a direct result of immorality in society. Rather than get to the source of the problem we are, because most of us lack virtue, fearful and irrational in dealing with difficulties we face. We don’t want to face the truth that criminals are not substantially different from us because our fear requires that we turn them into a separate species of “bad guys” who must be stopped, preferably through killing them or, if we have to, to put these non-humans into cages. This is true of all enemies foreign and domestic, which is why, because (again) we lack character, we have no problem giving the President power to kill any human being anywhere in the world who he personally decides must. Eliminating nearly a thousand years of jurisprudence we have eliminated habeas corpus and rule-of-law. There was never a clear calculation, there was never evidence weighed for or against such a course of action. There was never a discussion based on or scientific findings—there was jut the use of fear and the knowledge that the moral character of the land of the free had deteriorated such that we became the land of the bound and the home of the cowardly.
We don’t need more police or more soldiers or more war-robots need a return of morality otherwise our society becomes a mockery of what we claim to be. If we lose personal morality (and we can argue about what that constitutes as we should) we lose social morality and vice versa and everything is poisoned as it is in the situation we live in at the moment.