WE SUFFER in many lands on earth from the actions of our own governments. Our troubles look worse in our eyes when we see how we supplied the means of our suffering by consenting to be ruled by these bad governments. As Thomas Paine wrote, “Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence.”
Mindful self rule is the fine art of making ethical or moral choices about how we want to live. Personal democracy is the art of expressing mindful self rule in the world. Inner self rule and outer personal democracy interact. Self rule stimulates personal democracy as personal democracy stimulates self rule.
If a state acts in an immoral way, Rousseau said, that government violates its social contract and ceases to be legitimate, losing the right to wield authority over us.
SOCIETY has long been ruled by a worldview that makes sense of life by assuming a king must govern us. Now we’re evolving a new view of life. Due to the emergence of “global thinking,” Paine’s 18th century vision of a free society makes sense in our 21st century.
The history of society is the story of humanity learning to accept responsibility for liberty. If people governed their own lives sensibly, there would be no need for a high government to control our lowest impulses.
I picked up my phone and called my representatives in Congress. I left messages urging them not to sacrifice our civil liberties on the alter of homeland security. They did not call back.