The field of ethics has changed remarkably over the years.  In the 2000 years from Plato to The Enlightenment (was it really?), ethics (originally conceived in the political sense) was correctly identified with virtue. It seems that Plato (and Aristotle) had issues with politics even then.  Things haven’t changed much in the ensuing years.  To diverge, but not really…

The Pareto Principle, commonly known as the 80/20 rule, is an amazing ratio that holds true in most cases of all types (and this is not an exaggeration).  For example: 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people; 80% of the money is owned by 20% of the people; 20% of one’s effort generates 80% of the results; 20% of the defects cause 80% of the problems (and  20% of the work causes 80%



There’s an old story about Amos at his baptism.  After the first submersion he surfaces shouting, “I believe!  I believe!”  Coming up after the second dunking he sputters again, “I believe!  I believe!”  After the final immersion he’s asked:  “Just what do you believe, Amos?”   Amos:  “I believe you’re tryin’ to drown me!”

We all believe—have beliefs—call it trust or even faith.  You trust that you’ll be alive in the next instant, otherwise why bother surviving this one? The fact is that you believe it.  You go to sleep fully expecting–trusting–that you’ll wake up alive.  That takes faith.  If you thought you’d die during the night you probably wouldn’t be so ready to fall asleep.

But just what do you believe?  Well, you may as well believe



Unplugged, in its musical connotation, means unamplified—unembellished (acoustic) content.  In another sense it refers to removing obstruction(s): clearing the way to the goal (think plumber’s plunger).  Both apply here; simplicity is the watchword. Getting at ethics via philosophy can be daunting, so we’re going to bypass all that for now.  Ethics (with respect to its adjective ethical) can be reduced to a simple model that can be applied to everyday living in a very basic way.  Here it is—ethics for everyone, in five paragraphs.


You certainly can get by without walking the ethical line. Most people do in fact wander from it whenever it suits them. But Natural Law comes with our being, and we’re able to take advantage of (or ignore) it because it’s always there in spite of us. The truth is that we correctly assume that most people will behave predictably because of it, and most of us do, most of the time.  But it’s also true that some of us take advantage of those trusting souls who generally do follow it. We can use it to our advantage without subscribing to it, but is this right?  It certainly isn’t ethical. To be ethical, the Golden Rule really says it all if you would reflect on all that it implies.  Simply “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Or if that doesn’t resonate, try the Confucian “Do not do to another what you would not want him to do to you.” Or Kant’s more prolix Categorical Imperative: “Act only according to that maxim through which you can at the same time (resolve) that it should become a universal law.”  (More simply: what if your mother read about it in the newspaper…) But maybe you expect something more than (what really are not) platitudes, so let’s try another tack: Honestly acknowledge, affirm, accept and apply what is (fact, truth), and actively encourage the same in others.  This will work very well, by the way.  You can stop right here and have the gist of this article.  Or you may read on for more detail. It’s a fact that you can’t know something that isn’t true.  Knowledge requires truth—fact—which represents what is.  What isn’t counts for nothing.  To be ethical you have to first acknowledge and affirm the facts, accept them, and apply this knowledge, honestly; first to yourself, then to others, and do no harm while doing so.  Put in the form of simple exclusionary rules, try these: Do not violate trust (don’t lie, mislead, cheat or steal); and Do not cause harm (don’t murder, damage, impair or deprive). Stop me if I’m wrong, but we’re back to the Golden Rule and Confucius again.  Why make things complicated when they’re not? In the spirit of even greater simplicity, being ethical can be described in just one word: integrity.  Look it up and you will find that it means the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles; the state of being sound, undamaged.  Synonyms include: honesty, truth, actuality, veracity, reliability, incorruptibility, soundness.  You get the idea… What comes next should fill in the gaps and demonstrate why being ethical is essential to the complete human being.


Living with the truth is, in fact, what EXTREME ETHICS is all about.

John Ransom in a recent column: “Today all you have to do is repeat a thing often enough and it becomes truth. …(P)eople can no longer recognize even their own lies. They can’t distinguish between what is true and the fantasy that exists only in their imagination.  And…there’s only one word you can use to describe it: psychosis.”  Strong words, remarkably well-put and worthy of our attention.  But wait…  Is it the TRUTH?


…What it’s all about


Well, before we can deal with that question it’s necessary to come to terms with truth. 

Truth is, simply, what is, tangible and verified or verifiable, real and actual, that exists.  It is a noun and only a noun, one and the same as reality and fact; it



Ethics is all about truth, and the truth is: Nature Bats Last.  No matter what man does, nature has the last word.  Here’s another truism:

Nature Doesn’t Lie.  Nature is exactly what it is, no more, no less—the essence of truth. And truth is exactly what it is—no more, no less than perfection. We don’t define perfection because we can’t achieve it.  It remains beyond us.  Further, we have stipulated truth as being free of lies (i.e., untruths are not truth.  Duh…).

But that’s as far as we can go. Truth can’t be perfectly defined because truth is an a priori cause—a First Principle–that can’t be defined by its effect[s]i.e., truth is a givenEverything requires truth to even be (exist) in the first place.  (This means that truth must have preceded even the Universe, which couldn’t exist without it).

But the concept (of truth) has to be articulated to some degree so that we can deal with it—after all, that’s why man invented words.  The following definition (not original) is based on perfection (another First Principle):  a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle; being in conformity with reality, transcending even what may be perceived.  In other words, although something may be true, we may not comprehend it. This is important.  As an example:  consider the Universe.  It’s real, but we don’t fully comprehend it.  It’s literally beyond us.



Everyone knows, and we’ve here confirmed, that our federal government is unethical from the top down, which means it takes liberties with the truth.  Is such an entity trustworthy? Of course not–trust requires truth–yet that government is running our nation.  Why is this?  Why do we allow it?  After all, our government is designed to be (and remains, legally) of, by and for the people—not the professional politicians in whom we’ve mistakenly placed our

We can of course fire them, yet we continue to tolerate the erosion of our rights and the continued growth of government into areas where it shouldn’t be. Senator McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, recently said: “… a $17 trillion debt is irresponsible.” And that we’re “doing things the federal government was never intended to do…That’s not the way our Constitution was designed. We