23 January 2019

We Want Virtuous People to Have Greater Freedom and Power

I have discovered that my wife really likes Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Duane Chapman and his family often convince the families of his bounties that they are better off in jail and drug rehabilitation, especially if that person's life is out-of-control.  Dog encourages some of the worst elements to get themselves clean, take responsibility for their actions and make their families a higher priority in their lives.  This is good advice for those who have used their freedom poorly.

People usually end up in jail because they cannot control their own behavior. We find that once we put them into a situation where their behavior is under tight external control, it isn't surprising to find that inmates don't develop any more self-control, though they have an great incentive to do so. Upon release from custody, they will likely be even less able to control themselves, after a period of not having to control themselves at all while incarcerated, and will quickly find themselves back in prison.  Recidivism is an expression of a lack of ability to master one's life or lack of interest toward doing so. Some of these returning inmates actually prefer the controlling environment of jail - it imposes a framework of behavior that this person didn't have on their own under circumstances of greater freedom.

There are attempts to create "half-way" houses where released ex-convicts can be helped toward better self-control in the more free society. Their activities may be stringently monitored and certain abilities may still be curtailed toward easing people into a world that needs personal responsibility and virtuous living to function. These are places of hope where people move toward the goal of virtue lived through individual liberty in a free world.  We don't want them to be constrained - we want them to be the sort of people who can be responsible enough to live free.

It doesn't help when society and its government legislate and dictate away the ability of all people to develop and exercise freedom toward self-mastery. One can't learn how to wield power with noble restraint and self-control if "leaders" impose a smothering collectivism on all.  Such overseers seek to turn communities and states and nations into "half-way" environments that appear to be moving toward something that many call a "police state" where every person is institutionally managed and all behavior and speech is heavily monitored and tightly controlled, just like in a prison.  It is the gradual stealing away of liberty from all and the imposition of dictated control as if all people are convicts and can never be trusted to act independently.  In a way, we are all being eased into a prison, whether we are convicted of crimes or not.

My desire is to preach virtue and empower those who are virtuous.  In a republic like America, our government depends on elected officials to be women and men of virtue, putting good and right before the often selfish whims of the easily-stirred masses. Collectivism, as manifested in communism or socialism, says that societies don't really have virtuous people and most people will only do good when compelled to do so, like inmates in a prison. We must reverse the societal trend to monitor and control each other. I choose to see people in a better light, even those who have been incarcerated - we each can improve, help each other to gain more virtue, and reinvest in the liberty that our ancestors worked so hard to establish in the USA.

If you are a virtuous person, I implore you to seek positions of power and to influence others for good.  I pray that your virtue includes goodwill toward those around you in spreading the conditions of personal freedom and a more universal liberty to act. The more good people that take power to act will make our nations and our world a far better place for all!