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The Big Answer


To link to this article from your blog or webpage, copy and paste the url below into your blog or homepage.

The American Dilemma: Personal Autonomy and The Common Good

an article on http://www.herblondon.org by Herbert I. London

(our site's article review)

London says that modern liberalism emphasizes the ideal of individual autonomy, which is the belief that individuals are free to do as they choose as long as their actions do not harm others. Overemphasizing the rights context, the socialization context to promote the common good is often overlooked.

The U.S. Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules (e.g., Google); also: do onto others before they do onto you
The U.S. Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules (e.g., Google); also: do onto others before they do onto you

While government cannot directly promote the principles needed for social order, such as the Golden Rule, the ends do not justify the means, and the Ten Commandments itself, government can support the institutions that give voice to these principles, recognizing as it does so that there should be a prohibition on arbitrary government coercion and implicit constraints imposed by moral law. You can't legislate morality. You can only develop community and its resources so that morality evolves, and this must be done from below—it cannot be done from above, especially not via social engineering. See The Responsive Communitarian Platform. Of course, the media may just decide to undermine such moral evolution due to the profit motive. See Media Sexploitation.

London says that "Leaders in the nation should not be reluctant to define what is the common good and how it might be pursued. If there is to be a national conversation on any theme, it should be on the tension between personal autonomy and the common good. Moreover, it must be a conversation that recognizes the relationship between unfettered private action and the proliferation of social pathologies. America should be grateful for its liberty, but it should be equally grateful for the traditions that keep that liberty in check."

America should be grateful for its liberty, but it should be equally grateful for the traditions that keep that liberty in check. Or used to. Citizens are restrained, but no tradition restrains corporations. Oops!
America should be grateful for its liberty, but it should be equally grateful for the traditions that keep that liberty in check. Or used to. Citizens are restrained, but no tradition restrains corporations. Oops!

Of course, this article of London's was written in 1999, 17 years ago—it is now 2016. The social pathologies abound, and the unfettered private action he worried about didn't show up because the rights and privacy of the citizens are being slowly eliminated so that all private actions are being spied on with cameras, and there is email, Internet, chat, social networking, texting and phone call monitoring. It is part of how the oligarchy plans to maintain its power. Democracy is dead—see Democracy—an American Delusion. The oligarchy replaced it. See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.

Democracy is dead—here an oligarch gives it a proper burial
Democracy is dead—here an oligarch gives it a proper burial


By 2008, the idea of communications privacy in the United States had literally become a joke—our government watches your every move
By 2008, the idea of communications privacy in the United States had literally become a joke—our government watches your every move


Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!
Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!

As it turns out, it is unfettered corporate action and unfettered government action he should have been worrying about. What do these two—unfettered corporate action and unfettered government action—add up to? Rule of the oligarchy using the Corporatocracy. Also, "the traditions that keep liberty in check" didn't. Except for the citizens. They're too afraid of the government's and Corporatocracy's powers to do much of anything. So the government and Corporatocracy haven't been held in check at all. Eisenhower warned us about what would happen if we didn't keep the military industrial complex on a leash. We'd get bitten. Consider us bitten.

Eisenhower warned us about what would happen if we didn't keep the military industrial complex on a leash. We'd get bitten. Consider us bitten.
Eisenhower warned us about what would happen if we didn't keep the military industrial complex on a leash. We'd get bitten. Consider us bitten.