The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Holy War in the book Holy War for True Democracy.
Universal values and beliefs
To avoid being subject to government by the powerful few, we have to agree on core principles – a shared set of common beliefs. Most good people today, regardless of religion or political affiliation, who desire to live under a fair and equitable democratic government will agree on the following universal values, which form the foundation for the ideas in this book.
- Love is better than hate.
- Peace is better than war. However, sometimes it is necessary to be strong and fight in order to preserve these universal values and beliefs. Fighting should be a last resort, and is only justified when no other viable approach is available.
- People should have basic freedoms, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Other basic freedoms include freedom of speech, religion, sexual orientation, political views and what activities you engage in, so long as your actions do not truly threaten the safety and well-being of others.
- Honesty and trustworthiness are better than dishonesty and untrustworthiness. In fact, honesty and trustworthiness are critical for a society to function efficiently. For example, if people can trust banks to hold their money, then people don’t have to build secret safes on their property and don’t have to hire guards to protect those safes. Trust brings economic efficiency, thereby freeing people so they have more time and energy for improving their lives and the lives of others.
- Kindness and compassion are better than meanness.
- Tolerance is better than intolerance. If someone else is different than what you are used to, such as different skin tone, dress, manner of speaking, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, political views, gender, disabilities or age, you should not be prejudiced against that person so long as that person does not truly threaten your safety or livelihood.
- People should balance self-interest with camaraderie and these universal values. Yes, everyone needs to take care of Number One (i.e., yourself), but only to the point that you don’t harm others directly or indirectly, within the bounds of reason.
- The goal of government should be improving the general welfare of its citizens. Governments should not prioritize its own objectives or the objectives of the powerful few at the expense of citizens that have less power, particularly power based on money or arms.
- For a government to work well for its citizens, there needs to be a set of laws that are policed and enforced by the government. However, the government should act fairly with all people, reflect the will of its citizens and allow people their basic freedoms. In particular, equal justice and opportunity for all.
- People should honor contracts and agreements, no matter if written or verbal.
- True science, where experts in a particular scientific domain follow the Scientific Method of hypothesis, test, publish methods and results, and allow other scientists to review and reproduce results, represents truth and fact for the things that science can explain.
- You cannot prevent people from being creative, which also means you cannot stop the inevitable advance of technology and knowledge. Because technology is now so powerful (e.g., nuclear bombs, guided missiles, satellites, planes, drones, genetic engineering, stock trading, etc.), it is necessary for governments to monitor and regulate technology, but only intervene when technology has the potential to harm people.
- People require the ability to socialize for multiple reasons. Most people cannot achieve happiness and fulfillment without some combination of family and friends. Socialization helps people learn from each other and helps correct destructive impulses and behaviors. Socialization also helps diminish fear of others because we tend to be comfortable with the familiar.
- Today’s world is dependent on people cooperating. Technology is so advanced and specialized that most people cannot be completely self-sufficient. Babies need to be guarded and nurtured by older people (usually parents). Most adults depend on governments for security, employers for jobs, stores for food and clothing and, these days, the Internet for information, commerce and social interaction. Most people require close relationships with other people (e.g., marriage, family and friendship) in order to realize happy and fulfilling lives.
- Trustworthy information and universal education is critical for a well-functioning society and for people to act in their own best interest. Falsehood, propaganda and bias from information sources are evil (usually emanating from someone who places self-interest above the common good) and serve to prevent people from acting in their own best interest.
- Mankind is now greatly interconnected and mutually interdependent. Therefore, there needs to be some level of world governance to prevent the self-serving actions of one country from harming other countries. Note that this comment primarily reflects the world as it exists today, where we have the U.N., the Geneva conventions, nuclear nonproliferation treaties, space treaties and trade agreements. World governance must be only as much as is needed and no more so that each country is free from potential world government oppression.
Holy War for and against what?
We are fighting for:
- The universal values and beliefs listed in the previous section
- All people are created equal
- Each person has a set of inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
- Government of the people, by the people and for the people
- Freedoms of speech, religion and peaceful assembly
- Freedom to live your life as you wish, so long as your actions do not harm or threaten others
- Rule of law applied equally
- Equal opportunity for all
- Equal power to all citizens to participate in government
- Equal access to information
- Honest and true information sources available to all people
- The pursuit of knowledge should not be restricted for ideological reasons
We are fighting against:
- Government controlled by the powerful few
- Prejudice and intolerance
- Authoritarian or oppressive governments
- False, misleading or manipulative information sources