The Good Citizen
August 9, 2007
By Jack Martin
The Good Citizen with excellent character is the backbone of civilization. But what is character? How are they the backbone of civilization? And why does civilization need good citizens with excellent character?
Often people confuse reputation with character. Reputation put simply is what people think you are and character is what you truly are. Many people confuse the two intentionally to disguise defects of character that are generally shunned by most people. Examples of this behavior are: killing other humans for thrill, treason and pedophilia. Most defects of character are not so extreme, but nonetheless, equally damaging to both the individual and all who come in contact with them.
General dishonesty is the most prevalent of all the defects of character. There are many ways to be dishonest both by commission - the telling of a falsehood, or omission - the act of intentionally not sharing what one believes to be the truth. Both acts require one person to lead another to believe something other than the truth, as they understand it to be.
The reason people have the need to be dishonest is out of weakness. They truly believe that if they told the truth the other person(s) would not choose to or be able to fulfill their needs. By supplying a falsehood, the dishonest believe that they are assured of having their needs fulfilled. They have already decided that their needs supersede the other individuals' needs. The consequences for the person being deceived is either minimized or totally discounted.
Except for a few mentally deranged individuals in society, all people know when they are sharing something with another individual that they themselves believe to be untrue. Repeating a lie that one truly believes to be the truth is not lying. That is being misinformed and sharing it. Many people are misinformed on a wide variety of topics.
Society today is filled with half-truths and lies that people act on as if they were true. This is caused by people falsely assuming that they are too busy to have the time to find out for themselves if what they have been told is true or not.
Both are equally damaging to the individual who has relied on a falsehood and acted as if the falsehood were true. The environment we all live in is as it is and not as any individual or group has falsely represented it to be. The consequences for the individual who has relied on the falsehood, experiences a wide variety of unexpected consequences, some with terrible outcomes. If they had known the truth they would have in many cases acted differently.
By simply following one’s internal compass and taking the time to find out for themselves the facts involved, an average person, in almost all cases will understand the truth and successfully share it with others.
The absolute highest form of all unkindness is indifference. Indifference is pervasive throughout civilization and comes in many forms. The three most common are indifference to the health of oneself, the well being of others and the business of government.
Many people foul their body and mind with a wide variety of substances and thoughts with no apparent regard to the consequences. Falsely believing that they are some how impervious to the social ills and consequences of their actions. This behavior is widely supported in the media and by the vast majority of government officials.
The ‘self-destruction’ business is what drives this behavior. The individuals who run these businesses supply the money to politicians and the media in the form of campaign contributions and advertising. They offer any product or service that appeals to subsets of the population's weakness. These are unprincipled citizens who spend every waking moment exploiting the weaknesses of individuals with no regard for the damage they inflict - either on a personal level or the damage they inflict on civilization. Their concern is the acquisition of wealth, fame and power.
The ancient weaknesses that all humans possess, known in times past, as the Seven Deadly Sins are: luxury, which is expressed as extravagance, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Many people choose to falsely believe that they are not susceptible to these weaknesses. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In our modern world, which is dominated by capitalism and the acquisition of wealth, the individual is celebrated in word, but in deed the opposite is true. Every day we receive countless messages that each one of us is somehow special and different from the general population. The individual is endlessly urged to express this special status by experiencing extravagance with no moral obligation for the pain and suffering their luxuries require of others. This is unconscionable.
The general disregard or ignorance for the consequences of one’s actions and how these actions affect others is rampant within our civilization. We watch people suffer and die on television and the Internet as a result of our collective actions or inactions – and the actions or inactions of our government with our consent and ultimate approval. We watch it and grow increasingly callous to reality and live in a world filled with fictional reality.
The fictional reality maintained by many is that television or the Internet gives the true flavor of war, prison, politics, being a victim and a wide variety of other topics – and that the broadcaster or viewer is in no way responsible. This is a blatant lie as the broadcasters and audience consent to the acts by being indifferent to the acts and subsequent suffering.
For example, the practice of selling guns and illicit drugs is not just condoned, but encouraged by the viewers by allowing the open sale of these products. The mere existence of readily available, cheap firearms, combined with an unlimited supply of illicit drugs is the fuel that drives unrelenting waves of crime and violence. This great human tragedy is further exacerbated by an assembly-line justice system whose sole purpose is the creation of jobs and profits for the people who permit the firearms and drugs to be openly sold.
Lacking police protection, the citizens of these neighborhoods are forced to form street gangs; first, for their own protection, and secondly, to seek justice – as justice is not available to them in the current system.
These people are the unwitting actors on the evening news as they facilitate the sale of a wide variety of products and services. The audience just loves to watch poor, desperate people commit an endless stream of atrocities against each other. This gives the audience a feeling of pseudo superiority.
The audience sheds no true tears for the victims.
The audience does not feel the true suffering of the victims.
The audience does not feel the true hopelessness of the victims.
The audience never feels collective remorse for what part they may have played in the suffering of the victims.
The audience does not even remember the next day that the victims were victims.
The audience is comfortable and safe in front of their television or computer and quickly moves on to the next available entertainment. The audience never does anything to end the suffering of the victims, as the victims are the entertainment.
The citizens hope that they do not become the victims of the actions or inactions of civilization. No citizen has any assurance that they will not become a victim and their suffering will be played out on television or the Internet.
The business of government is widely regarded by citizens as a wasteful, corrupt, dishonest and ineffectual system that panders to special interest groups and pockets lined with money. The typical citizen is at a lost of what, if anything, they themselves could do to right the many wrongs.
Vigilance is the responsibility of every citizen. However many citizens feel that watching for dangers to themselves and civilization and sharing the nature of that danger is the responsibility of others, such as government agencies and the media.
While the government and the media are uniquely qualified to quickly spread the word of large-scale dangers like forest fire, floods and war they are ineffective at spreading the word to citizens of which doctors are incompetent, police forces are corrupt or which neighborhoods practice forms of discrimination or in which racism is condoned. The same is true for the spread of any socially unaccepted issues that directly threaten citizens or civilization. Government workers and the media are under enormous pressure to remain silent on many social ills and injustices forced upon the citizens so that a few can derive profits, power and fame.
Good Citizens with excellent character vote when requested to do so by the government or by petition. It is the Good Citizen’s primary public responsibility to vote and to obey the laws. Citizens who choose not to vote put all other citizens in danger by not protecting democracy with their direct participation. This creates two levels of citizenship, voters and non-voters. This breach is against the electors' and civilization's will, which is not desirable and fosters rebellion. The government, overseen by Good Citizens with excellent character must in perpetuity be searching for more efficient and effective ways to run government.
Good Citizens do not request the government to favor one religion or the lack of religion over another. Good Citizens with excellent character guard against any citizen deriving or being denied any privileges or rights due to their affiliation or lack of affiliation to any religion.
Good Citizens endeavor to advance themselves in an honest and productive fashion. The good citizen, who endeavors to advance himself through life-long learning, is civilization's most fundamental asset. Mental acuity combined with a common language and a continuing and growing understanding of the natural world – free of superstition, is the cornerstone of civilization. Good Citizens with respectable reputations are good. Good Citizens with excellent character are essential to advancing civilization. Without the Good Citizens with excellent character there would be no civilization and all of the things that come with it.
All Good Citizens are loyal to their government above all other affiliations. Never does any affiliation; foreign country or power; religion; fraternal order; business; tribe, or any other, come before the Good Citizens’ loyalty to their government in public matters ¬¬– to do otherwise is treason. In private matters, the Good Citizen, with excellent character’s first duty is equally to the family of origin and the family created through matrimony. This duty is best exercised by assisting other family members to advance themselves in an honest and productive fashion. A family divided is a family conquered just as a nation divided is a nation conquered. Honest and productive families create honest and productive Good Citizens. Honest and productive Good Citizens create a great nation and advance civilization.
Good Citizens do not exploit other citizens for personal gain. Citizens who exploit other citizens legally and illegally are a great cancer in civilization. Over the years many citizens have made their living by exploiting other citizens. A wide variety of products and services are designed to obscure their true nature, and a reasonable person would not purchase them if they knew all of the facts.
Exploitation is not limited to commerce. Many citizens engage in the manipulation of facts, ideas, and public opinion and prey upon the weakness and fears of other citizens for personal gain.
Good Citizens shun exploiters in all forms of commerce and public life as does a government overseen by Good Citizens. Citizen exploiters are uncivilized people, as they have not learned to fulfill their needs without violating the rights of others. Honest and productive families lead by Good Citizens assure that their family members are educated so they never fall to this great disgrace.
The individual with excellent character; following their internal compass; who is true to themselves; who cares for their body and mind with equal vigor; conscientiously moderates luxury, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride; is eternally vigilant to all dangers to them and civilization; takes action in the most effective ways available to them and works with other good citizens to these ends is truly the Good Citizen with excellent character.
The path to being the Good Citizen with excellent character is for most of us a journey - but a journey well worth taking, one that can be started at any time. The citizen who rejects these truths acts as a fool and is the enemy of all good citizens and civilization. These people have chosen a life where they degrade not just themselves but all they come in contact with.
Currently civilization is at risk on many fronts and only the Good Citizen with excellent character working with other Good Citizens with excellent character can save it. Words without effective actions have no value. Effective actions come from a through understanding of a problem, first. A plan then must be developed that details how and why it will work as intended. That plan, must then be well executed by a group of Good Citizens with excellent character.
The Good Citizen with excellent character, working with other Good Citizens with excellent character in harmony ultimately self-actualize to their full and complete human potential, and this is highest honor any person can attain. The self-knowledge that one has done what is right and just, is the highest form of the human existence.
May all who read this strive to be a Good Citizen with excellent character and find other Good Citizens with excellent character wherever they may be and help advance civilization. Lacking the Good Citizen with excellent character there would be no civilization and all of the wonderful things that come with it.