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Everyone Thinks They Have the Truth
(and why there are protestors camping in the street)

Mark A. Goldman                                                                    Dated: 11/1/2011

 

 

Everyone thinks they have the truth.  And yet a person who has a high level of intellectual integrity will find that over time the truth changes.  It changes because an honorable person is always open to learn something new and sometimes take the opportunity to look at things from other perspectives.  An honest person continually checks to see if new information they receive verifies or contradicts what they already believe or think they know. 

To not question and examine new information or facts is to believe in dogma.  People who believe in dogma are not intellectually honest with themselves or others.  Everyone who is dedicated to being honest with themselves is also dedicated to being honest with others.  They will eventually see the truth change and become more refined over time as they obtain more knowledge.  And with greater knowledge, their understanding of the world around them deepens and matures, becomes more accurate, and their perspective changes... and thatís how wisdom is born.  A wise person knows he doesn't know everything and so he keeps learning.  The more you seek the truth with integrity, the more you tell the truth with integrityÖ the more truth is revealed for you to tell.

Corporations were originally conceived and brought into being when a king decided he wanted certain risky projects to be accomplished.  Before corporations came into being all merchants were personally liable for any debts they incurred in their business dealings.  To equip and send a ship half way around the world in search of treasure was once a very risky thing to do.  Later, to build large public projects like dams and railroads required so much capital that few individuals were rich enough to take them on without limited liability protection. For if a project were to fail because of some unexpected risk, it could wipe them out in the blink of an eye.  And so certain companies were sometimes granted corporate status to protect owners from personal liability, in order that those projects could go forward.  Originally this privilege was granted for projects that were deemed particularly important to the king. 

The first incorporated business (then called a charter) was granted to a mining company in Sweden by the Swedish king.  The Dutch East India Company and the Hudson Bay Company were later formed to import spices from the new world.  The British East India Company exploited the East Indies and Africa for their resources. Eventually, more and more companies were granted those special privileges until today almost any person can go into business and obtain limited liability status for a small fee which protects their personal assets from the claims of business creditors.  But the unwritten tacit agreement is that they are being offered limited liability to carry on their business in a manner that will benefit society as a whole.

So corporations were invented to provide valuable goods and services to kings and eventually to society.  When corporations create valuable goods and services and do so honorably and legally they ought to be held in high esteem for what they accomplish.  But to the extent that they do dishonorable things, which they sometime do, they ought to be held accountable. 

Similarly, when a president takes a sacred oath to preserve and protect the Constitution, he or she is honor bound to keep their word.  And if and when they don't keep their word, citizens, through their elected representatives, have an obligation to hold them accountable.  No one is above the law.  That's the fundamental cornerstone principle of our Constitution.  Itís the founding principle of our law.  The President is not a king; he or she is a citizen like everyone else; a servant of the people. 

An honorable citizen pays attention and is willing to make judgments based on the facts.  And an honorable person will check important facts they encounter, particularly if they have not done the fundamental research to uncover those facts themselves, but got them from others who may or may not have a hidden agenda. 

If a corporation illegally pollutes the environment they ought to be held accountable for the mess they make even though that corporation may very well also do useful things the rest of the time.  A brilliant surgeon deserves a great deal of respect for all the good he or she does helping to heal people.  But if a surgeon, say, murders someone he doesnít like, he still ought to be held accountable, face charges, and if found guilty, go to prisonÖ despite the fact that he has done a lot of good work in his life.  That's how justice works.  Banks provide valuable services to customers.  But if bankers knowingly cheat customers, that's fraud and they ought to be held accountable for the damage they do.  A corporation owner needs limited liability because of the risks of doing business.  But a manager or an owner is not entitled to limited liability or limited accountability in order to commit fraud. 

Our Constitutional Republic was intended to foster justice and offer every citizen a fair chance to find success and happiness in the society formed under that Charter.  The people we elect to office, if they are honorable, will put in place the best legislation they can honorably create--they will do their level best--to make sure that the system remains just and fair for every citizen. 

What protestors are complaining about is surely not the same for every protestor who participates.  But most of them see, in one way or another, that today justice is not being served.  They know and have substantial amounts of evidence that lead to the conclusion that certain bankers defrauded the country and its people to the tune of trillions of dollars and have not yet been held accountable.  And that fraud has cost every citizen dearly.  And they know that since that fraud took place, congress has not put in place any substantive legislation that would prevent them from doing it again. 

They know that Presidents similarly have betrayed their oath of office; have perpetrated illegal acts at great cost to the citizens of this country as well as other countries, and have not yet been held accountable for their crimes.  For example, torture is illegal. Period.  And starting an unjust war is the worst crime anyone can commit under our law.  And no one is above that law. 

Protestors have accumulated evidence that governments lie and that those lies too often are made to cover up great injustices perpetrated against our own people and other peoples.  They were not empowered to do that.  When they do that they break the law, dishonor their office, and they ought to be held accountable.

Protestors know that corporations pay large sums of money to corrupt corruptible legislators into producing faulty and unjust legislation that favor the interests of those corporations over the Peopleís interests and that results in dishonest and unfair practices perpetrated against unsuspecting citizens. 

They know that in order to earn illegitimate profits for its shareholders, corporations often pollute or otherwise damage the environment and pass onto society immense costs that greatly damage the health, financial condition, and happiness of innocent people. They also know that corruptible legislators allow them to get away with their crimes in exchange for campaign contributions that only serve to allow the corruption and injustice to persist.   

Now if you don't know the facts, it's easy to remain unaware of the crimes that some people and some corporations commit and get away with.  Without considerable research it might not be readily evident that this corruption persists. One problem is that this money also corrupts a corporate media that aids and abets criminal corporate and public officials by keeping ordinary citizens in the dark about their criminal acts. 

But itís also a fact, that if you really want to know whatís going on in corporate boardrooms and in legislative offices in your name, behind your back ,and you are willing to put in the time to do the research, you can discover whatís going on for yourself. 

Unfortunately, most citizens are just trying to make ends meet.  They go to work and when they get home after a hard day's work they may not have the energy or the skills to do the kind of research I'm talking about.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication to discover what goes on behind the scenes in Washington and in the boardrooms of large corporations. 

One thing I know for sure is how much time it took for me to become educated and to do the research I've done; many thousands of hours.  The results of some of that research can be found in my books and at my web site.

The protestors who now fill parks and streets in cities all across America have legitimate grievances, whether any one of them knows what all of them are or not.  They have been cheated.  And so have you been cheated.  We all have been. 

One study shows that the top 1% of citizens owned 42.7% of the countryís financial wealth in 2007 and the top 20% owned 93%.  Thatís a hint that something isn't quite right in how income and wealth is distributed among members of our society.  Without the work of the bottom 80% the top 20% would probably have to live in shacks, not in mansions... and ride to work on horses, not in Mercedes. In any event, too many of that 80% are being totally left behind, and it's not fair.

A legitimate democracy is not sustainable at current levels of income and wealth disparity.  An honorable person will take the hint and begin to look at how and why it got this way and why it seems to be getting worse.  In our society now, money rules.  And if money rules, this is not a society of, by, and for the People. An honorable citizen will want to know what they can do about it.

I like living in the United States and I like the home I live in.  I know that for my home to remain a pleasant place to live I will need to make repairs and replacements from time to time when things begin to break down.  If the roof leaks and I donít repair it, I know it will only get worse and if termites begin to nest in the walls I know my home will be in jeopardy if I donít take responsibility to get rid of them.  If I want my space to be clean and pleasant, periodically I have to go around and look for dirt and whatever else might be amiss.   That enables me to wipe away the spider webs, clear away the dust, vacuum the rugs, and straighten things up.  You canít clean or fix things if you donít look for dirt or pay attention to whatís broken or out of place.  Itís not the most pleasant thing to do, but itís the loving and responsible thing to do.  I look for dirt in my home because I like my home and I want it to continue to live there and continue to like it.

Well, the same is true with respect to my love of country.  I discovered some time ago that the people I hired (voted for) to keep things in good order had run amuck.  Instead of working a diligent 40 hour week keeping things in good repair they were spending most of their time dialing for dollars in exchange for favors in order to accumulate money for themselves so that in election years they could afford to hire public relations people to lie to me about how diligently and honestly theyíve been doing their jobs so that I will keep them in my employ.  Now I know, that most of their time is spent keeping secrets from me and trying to fool me into believing they are serving my interests, when they are only serving themselves. 

I found that the only thing they had been working hard at was making sure that I would never be able to figure out how to get rid of them even if I one day found out how dishonest and feckless they were.  I realize now that I was negligent for allowing them to fool me for so long.  I wasn't living up to my role as citizen.  I was paying attention to the home I live in, but neglecting the country I live in.  Now Iím trying to change that and Iím asking you to help because itís your country too and I canít do it by myself.

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