Even before Trump’s election, a survey of US national security experts listed the “dysfunction” of the US Government as the second greatest threat to national security.
Terrorism was first. Pandemics were not listed. Since then, disturbing trends (weather events, energy and food insecurity, cyber and biosecurity issues, declining trust in government, truth decay, populism, loss of freedoms, illegal immigration, national debt, mass shootings, drug overdoses, obesity, wealth concentration, economic uncertainty, species extinction, hate speech, the evolution of weapons, political polarization, domestic and global hypocrisy and so on) have increased. And they are all connected.
We need a global reality check. About a year after President Trump left office Jen Easterly, Director of the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), our nation’s newest federal agency that he created, summarized it:
“Everything is connected, everything is interdependent, so everything is vulnerable. And that’s why this has to be a more than the whole of government, a more than the whole of the nation (effort). It really has to be a global effort.”
Cybersecurity and biosecurity are oxymorons, making security itself an illusion. Freedom is real. And we are free to do whatever we want, but nothing, and nobody will be free of the consequences.
The primary sources of these trends are our institutional systems which are based on the illusion of independence.
The illusion of independence
Consider the US Constitution and the United Nations. Both remain founded on a faulty “core” principle of independence – a mental concept that exists nowhere else. This flawed concept has yielded other delusional concepts like “peace through strength”, “democracy”, and “national sovereignty”. Under these non-natural creations, the global priority has been the protection of governments and corporations while the protection of human rights and the environment get mostly lip service.
Skeptical? Read the Constitution’s preamble. Then grade each of its seven objectives. Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and grade the UN’s success.
Obviously, neither of these flawed “independence-based” governing systems will change anytime soon. This means making urgent investments in halting, reversing, and preventing the symptomatic trends above a priority as they are essential to every aspect of global health.
Fortunately, rapid progress in preventing mass human deaths, diseases, disabilities, and suffering is achievable with humanity’s existing resources and technologies. But only if “we the people” generate sufficient political will with a genuine patriotic commitment to liberty and justice for all. What?
Reread the first paragraph of America’s “Declaration of Independence”. It holds these profound yet mostly ignored words, “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”. Our nation’s founding ideals have been applied.
Fortuitously, nature’s bountiful systems freely provided all of humanity’s basic life support infrastructure for our modern life. And now securing “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” will depend entirely on how well we treat nature and each another globally.
Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense stated “Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz., freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with snow, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is right.”
He asserted “It is the duty of every man, so far as his ability allows, to detect and expose delusion and error.” And, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
Abraham Lincoln later wrote that “Our Declaration of Independence is our “Apple of Gold” and our Constitution its “Frame of Silver”.
Fundamental principles are ignored
Why do we ignore fundamental principles? Gravity? Biology? Sustainability? If we refuse to re-engineer our political systems to codify the “truths” that we hold to be “self-evident” the next best path is funding the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These are the best health plans for the three most complicated systems in the known universe that have enabled us to survive and thrive for thousands of generations: nature, our immune system, and our mind’s problem-solving ability.
For 3 billion years microbes have always been the higher life form’s greatest threat. Pathogens change rapidly yet immune systems kept up with them. Now our mind’s concepts are failing to grasp the survival value of maintaining healthy immune systems and the environment. Genetic diversity and adaptation of our minds to this reality are our best survival values. Hostility to diversity and ridge beliefs will not survive.
Human experiences and perceptions originate from three sources. First, our five senses (yet plants, other animals, and scientific instruments offer vastly superior sensory powers). Second, our emotions or internal experiences often depend on our limited senses or experiences with the religious, political, or cultural values we adopted. Third, via mental concepts and our mind’s many profound and powerful capabilities such as problem-solving, creativity, and the capacity to believe anything. This includes defending flawed ideas that damage relationships or lead to violence, mass murdering those who look different or believe in alternative concepts, ignoring wisdom and what we know needs to be done, codifying women as lesser citizens, and not understanding root causes.
“We need more understanding of human nature because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger. And we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man … far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil.” – C.G. Jung
Our linear-thinking mind struggles to grasp the power of technology’s exponential growth, combined with its affordability, speed of distribution, anonymity, and multi-use nature persistently dependent on the will of the users.
See how the pace of change in our government systems is glacial if not flatlined or going backward. Static constitutions cannot meet all of the three underlying human expectations of freedom, security, and independence. We can only have two. Nearly every human problem is a freedom/security dilemma because we believe we are independent. And, we have only two fundamental means of resolving disputes, fight or talk (the law of force vs. the rule of law.) The majority rules never last. For the rule of law to function best, the laws must be made and enforced by a democratic process, applied equally to everyone, and focused solely on protecting fundamental human rights and the environment.
“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on Earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.” Thomas Jefferson.
The evolution of weapons and war should make the creation of the global rule of law non-negotiable if governments refuse to fund and achieve the 17 SDGs by the year 2030.
“When shall it be said in any country of the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes not oppressive; the rational world is my friend because I am a friend of its happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and government.” – Thomas Paine, Rights of Man.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – or health?
Thus humanity is left with just two types of laws. The “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and human laws. If not in harmony, expect global catastrophic consequences.
There’s only one truth that will set humanity free. Our personal religious truths and ad nauseam political truths are incompatible. The practical truth is self-evident to all rational minds.
In a 1789 letter to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson said “The Earth belongs always to the living generation. Every constitution and then every law naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it is enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.”
Dr. Benjamin Rush (a signer of the Declaration) suggested Jefferson edit its best-known phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, suggesting “Happiness” be changed to “Health”. Imagine how different we and the world might be today if Jefferson had listened and our constitution prioritized it.
Could the thousands of organizations and billions of people in the world unite to build a Movement of Movements (MOM – environment, peace, and social/economic justice movements) that Naomi Klein called for in the 2014 climate march? A MOM so powerful it could create the political will to globally freeze and seize the trillions of dollars stashed in offshore accounts by kleptocrats, oligarchs, violent extremists, criminal cartels, and obscenely wealthy capitalists avoiding taxes?
Woody Allen once said humanity stands at a crossroads. One leads to utter hopelessness and despair. The other is to complete annihilation. He hoped we would choose the right path. He didn’t understand that every crossroad offers three other choices.
Chuck taught HS Biology and reached the peak of his career as Issues Director of the Global Health Council and the World Federalist Association. He was then elected to the Action Board of the American Public Health Association and as Chair of the United Nations Association’s Council of Organizations. Now his volunteer time is leading weekly WeedWarrior outings for the city of Rockville and Montgomery County as a certified MoCo WW supervisor. He is also in his 5th year as a wrestling Coach at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day school (“we always wrestle with issues and life’s concerns”). Chuck is also an avid quote collector. One of his favorites is “Science is my passion, politics my duty” by Thomas Jefferson.