Justice & Corruption


Carborendum
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The pride-prosperity cycle seems very simple as the Church has framed the phenomenon throughout the Book of Mormon. The description from a philosopher of the early 20th century worded it with much greater detail (I can't seem to find his quote, nor do I remember his name).  But both of these were in very general terms.  So, we sometimes don't grasp the reality of what is happening.  And because we don't grasp that reality, we don't understand why God and righteousness is the answer.

Human beings are born with an innate sense of justice.  Of course it is not able to be verbalized by a child, nor is it fully intellectualized.  But a child also has fear of threats to his well-being.  Studies show that even a baby has a sense of not wanting to fall.  A child doesn't like restrictions to his desired movement.  Even though babies like a swaddle because it gives him comfort, a baby eventually will want to move about.  Any restrictions to that movement causes the baby to object to such restrictions.  And a baby may not understand property rights, but if you've ever tried to take candy from a toddler, you realize that he understands the concept of "mine."  Thus "life, liberty, and property" are innately understood as individual self-evident rights even from infancy.  And the denial of these rights are a violation of justice.

Again as children we aren't able to verbalize or intellectualize justice.  But we have some sense of it.  We can feel when it is being violated.  And when it is violated human beings tend to have a few different reactions.

  • With no justice, we can commit crimes with impunity.  So, we become criminals.
  • With no justice from others, we take it upon ourselves to levy justice upon others -- usually through violent means or through other violations of rights, and a breach of justice.
  • Latch on to ANYTHING that seems like a kind of justice that many will latch onto -- even if that form of justice severely violates the very concept of justice -- even if it is really corruption in disguise.

1. With small levels of injustice, we see criminal activity increase.  I won't go into detail because this is the level that most societies are expected to handle through appropriate governmental action.

2. With injustice in front of our faces more and more often, we may want to become vigilantes.  And I won't go into how dangerous and unrealistic Batman style justice can be.

3. But apparently, we've become so corrupt as a society that we have approached level 3: HOW?  Simple.  We took God out of schools, work, government, and even churches (I'm sure many will wonder why I say that-- later--if the thread continues) and something will replace it.  Our innate sense of justice, our longing for justice demands it.

But when we demand false justice as a replacement, we're not just replacing sugar with Splenda, we're replacing wholesome foods from the basic food groups with alcohol.  It is the opiate of the masses.  We feel our sense of justice is momentarily appeased.  But underneath it all, we feel the unhealthy results.  But instead of fixing the problem by recognizing that justice itself has not been applied, but only an illusion, we keep asking for more of the illusion.

I know that anyone reading this who even partially agrees will think "OK, so my philosophy is the 'real justice' and yours is a false one."  Fair enough. But isn't there an objective way of determining what is real and what is the illusion?

Yes.

What philosophy, what laws, what societal rules and social order allow for the greatest number of people to experience the greatest amount of freedom?

Every rule is about limiting freedom.  But some limits on freedom will increase freedom for others.  Most importantly, the limits on governmental power will increase freedom for the general population.

Punishing those who choose to violate the life, liberty, and property of others will increase the freedom of others to maintain their life, liberty, & property.

Surely most of you have already considered these things as the basis of "proper role of government."  So, what does this have to do with the pride prosperity cycle?

At some point, someone has to judge whether something is "reasonable."  There are some supposedly measurable rights, "My right to swing my fists around end at your nose."  But what about personal space?  What if I choose to swing my fists 1" away from your nose?  What if I happen to hit your nose when I was trying to miss?  I could accuse you of stepping into the punch (you drew the foul).

What is this elusive "reasonableness" we all cite and venerate?  If left to mortal reasoning alone, there is no answer.  It is by popular opinion that will change over the generations and eventually fall to ruin.  There are no guidelines, no safety rails.  But with God, there are always guardrails.  And while society is slow to change (even across generations or requiring great wars to evoke such change) society will change to the standards of an unchanging being.

But why God?  Surprisingly, whether we're talking about the Judeo-Christian God or the gods/concepts of many religions throughout the world the reason is the same.  The one unifying principle is that there is some absolute right and wrong out there... somewhere.  And that absolute right and wrong will not change because we simply take a vote.  There is a higher power (whether it is a sentient being, a force of nature, or simply the underlying framework of the universe) that will always win out regardless of how we mere mortals vote.

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