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78 Why are you not effective?
If you wanted a favor from me, would you
run up to me and say, “I am going to fight you”? Do you come to a
job interview to say, “Here are my demands; I am going to fight
you until I get all of them”? Crazy as that sounds, I see these
behaviors practiced every day, in other settings. However,
today’s title is merely an attention grabber. You are
effective and the article ends on my usual exuberance.
I have already described athletic
competition as collaboration between parties who agree to put
forth best effort to make each other better (article
64). Boxing and football are sometimes referred to as
fighting, although they are exercises in cooperation that
make both parties stronger. Today’s article exposes
destructive fighting. We are bombarded with it.
The bad example
Think of the last time you have been
asked or told to fight. Was that intended to make
somebody else stronger? Likely it was meant for getting ahead of
someone else in line.
I am still hurting because of a speech by
an unsuccessful candidate for President who loudly told the new
president elect “If you do not [do what I want], I will
fight you every step of the way.”
How was that supposed to improve him?
Here is the rule: We love bullies; it is the love that
The peace principle
Fighting involves coming down to somebody
else’s level. In Ernstraudian practice we keep to the high road
and invite the world to join us. It is a lofty ambition which is
completely within our reach; it is a matter of thinking first.
Fighting burns off energy against the other party instead of
using it in pursuit of a goal. Overcoming opposition is not the
same as achieving progress (article
73, “Intelligence over obstacles”).
Political science is not the art and
practice of frustrating other people. It is a study of best paths
to an outcome. We usually refer to the best examples as
statesmanship. Sadly, “political” has become a derogatory term.
By our own behavior, we can change that.
We start by defining a strong foundation.
Will you allow me to show that we should never fight? Once we
accept that rule, we can speak a common success language. We are
ready to concentrate on outcomes, not parties.
In case of setback
Now let’s tackle the “lost” election.
Article 60, building on
article 55, provided
details of the adjustments needed when an election “goes the
wrong way.” Society makes accommodations for coexistence of
vastly different philosophies.
Article 76 calls for
constructive action instead of protest.
Is there any wonder why
the world suffers rancor and dissention? Democracy, in
particular, requires government to be the agreement of the
people, not the tool by which some people control others.
Tyranny of the majority is not rule of law. Ideally counting
votes is an impartial and impersonal decision method. It never
determines truth. Parties state their best cases and then let go
of the question to await the counted result. After the count they
learn and undertake their roles in the newly reorganized but
To have discord there
must be a distinction between self and other—a choice between
“us” and “them.” Voting cannot evaluate differences. It is only
an unbiased outcome-selector (article 75). It works when it is neutral and
Replace discord with “we”
Protest and demonstration look like asking other people to do something (article 57, article 76).
Article 75 teaches the new social order where “the keywords of world peace are ‘we' and ‘together.’”
It drops the group “others” and installs the group “we” in its
place. That blending enables us to act. Having no control
over others, we must enable the group called “we” through our
deeds. For example, if there is a place in the US with maternal
morbidity equal to that of third world countries, it is useless
to say, “they should do something about that.” There is no
defined “they” (other) to do the job. The effective cry is to
say, “we are doing something about that.” Action expresses
being in control and being successful.
Article 56 lays that squarely at the feet of private parties.
Going into the streets,
silently or shouting, can start conversation, but it is not
action. It has two limitations: (a) if confrontational, it
incites resistance such as defensiveness or backlash; (b) if
educational, it falls short of exercising responsibility to
obtain results. Effective activism supports doing the
steps leading to success. Improving the world is not controlling
others. It is coming together as “we” to choose and implement
Once I discover that
healthcare requires input from everyone and is most effectively
funded collectively, it is wrong for me to approach the
legislature to ask lawmakers to force my program on everyone.
Social progress moves in the other direction: from the people to
the government. If my idea is so good that other people will
benefit from its advantages, it is up to me to share that idea
among my peers. After our debates and refinements, we submit our
model to leaders who specialize in codifying public policy. The
will to do always remains with the public, not the
government. In representative democracy the leaders are carrying
out the will of the people. They do not command it. As a member
of the public, I contribute to shaping public sentiment by being
persuasive. I am not justified in influencing government to force
public sentiment to my position.
The elusive “others”
appear in two roles in the above paragraph. (a) I might look at
leaders and try to persuade “them.” (b) I might look at fellow
citizens and try to persuade “them.” Both approaches fail.
Success comes when I, as a member of the body politic,
participate in arriving at “we believe.” Once we blend
self and other, when we see the body as “we,” social order
America is founded on the vision that
political discourse is a tool of cooperation. Diverse viewpoints
are heard in preparation for taking united action instead of
breaking into chaos. Success is not overcoming by browbeating.
Success is improving the lives of the people. We have come a long
way down the road to including (not fighting) all people
and our progress is accelerating.
Being For Others Blog copyright © 2020 Kent Busse
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