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76 Do not protest; do!
Activism without demands or
Article 75 approved
democratic decision making. It also reminded us “We cannot change
the temperature of the ocean by popular vote.” Some fundamental
objectives cannot be realized by voting.
Wouldn’t this be nice?
Why don’t we pass a law
that everybody must be nice? As soon as we obey that law,
everybody is happy, right?
Article 56 listed that
dogma after the dogma that demonstrations look like asking
other people to do something. Examples were education,
minimum wage, and healthcare. Today’s article digs deeper into
minimum wage. I propose we do more than voting. When we pray for
God to move a load of coal into Widow Smith’s basement, it helps
if we bring shovels.
Why is there a problem?
Economists recognize that
unfettered competition reduces wages to subsistence levels.
Assuming excess supply of labor, there is always someone who will
work for less, down to the lowest pay level that will keep him or
her alive. This blog contains several articles promoting the
balancing of resources and consumption. We can produce
enough for everyone to be well fed (an idiom to be taken
broadly). Therefore, we have a moral obligation to assure that
result. Inhumanity is the practice of advancing self over others.
When humans learn to blend self with others, to apply equal
recognition and dignity, there is no poverty. The god-language
for that is “All are equal before God.” The humanist term is
probably “fairness” or better yet “enlightenment.”
For example, the “poverty
draft” recruits those who do not have easy upward mobility.
Military service, instead of being idealistic maintenance of
freedom, becomes a last resort for poor people to level up to
where they should be anyway without being trained to kill on
command. Similarly, when applicants outnumber jobs, corporations
indulge in sucking off as profit the returns that should be
In contrast, I believe
that lawyers should be paid the same as those who pick
strawberries. This is necessary to provide our children equal
opportunities such as nutrition and educational development. The
idea works: I have done both, and I would willingly go through
law school twice if that were the only way I could avoid
the long-term fate of picking strawberries. The moral value of
the two professions is equal. Somewhere the principles have been
skewed to produce wage gouging that deprives people of proper
recognition and makes them accept mere survival.
Not by law alone
Demanding and protesting
alienate all parties. “Be-nice” laws lack definition. Government
force produces reluctant compliance, if any. Forcing other people
to do something we want is not democracy. An economy does not
spring up by government fiat. Shared abundance does not result
from minimum wage laws. Our moral imperative calls for a higher
order. Enlightenment is voluntary sharing.
The FISH of
article 27 (Fundamental Ingredients Sustaining
Humans) are arranged by urgency, air being the most
immediate need. There is no thought that some people should
arbitrarily be denied the earth’s supply of air. There is no
stage in the sequence where unequal distribution becomes
justifiable. Assigning resources unequally to self is
bullying. Article 22 recognized
that our houses are not all the same size. Circumstances need to
be appropriate to our activities. The underlying principle is not
enforced uniformity but rather equal enjoyment of the
FISH. Other details really don’t matter.
Human intelligence (article 73) is the key to equal enjoyment.
Government-imposed uniformity is an unwieldy tool for social
improvement. It plays a role in setting standards after
agreement is reached. It does not achieve the agreement without
which progress is unlikely. The precision tool that can make a
difference is locally applied intelligent good will. When a
person of means discovers a person in need, the stage is set for
improving society. A lone benefactor is a limited tool, but by
combining forces those who control resources can work miracles
voluntarily applying them to real-life needs. That is the
article 45: “People of substantial means need to apply their
management skills far beyond merely patronizing businesses. An
individual can grab the flag and run with it.” Those who do this create and populate our new world.
Applied to minimum wage
We do not protest to
enforce minimum wage. That does not create wealth. We reorganize
our collective priorities so that jobs spread the existing wealth
evenly. Sub-minimum-wage jobs disappear because we create
better jobs. Individual intelligence coupled with collective
will reach this goal. It is doing, not
The voluntary path starts
internally and spreads by example. Overcoming the distinction
between self and other initiates this higher order and it becomes
our natural state.
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