DONALD J. TRUMP – Our 45th President

THE TRUMP REVOLUTION

“The times they are a-changin’.”  For the first time since Andrew Jackson, our President is a populist, not a politician.  Donald Trump will prove to be a better President than Jackson, if only for the fact that he speaks and listens—daily—directly with the electorate.  All of them.  Think about it: Ever since the earliest days of his candidacy, Trump has been the headline of virtually every political and other news article.  Every day,  In every media.  Even the mass media who apparently hate him.

Donald Trump is in your face no matter the channel practically 24/7.  If you don’t know who he is and what he stands for, you haven’t been paying attention.  He clearly is not a politician—ask any politician.  If he lies, it’s usually hyperbole and it soon becomes clear what he means, and he

THE PARETO PRINCIPLE and ETHICS in POLITICS

ETHICAL ISSUES:  POLITICS and the PARETO PRINCIPLE

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%

UNETHICS and LIES: CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

LIES and LYING:  CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

When a close friend or relative lies to you, chances are you’ll call him a liar.  But when a politician lies to you, you accept it as a matter of course because “they all do it.”  When have you seen politicians (from top to bottom) called liars when they’ve blatantly lied?  Rarely?  Ever?  If they were called liars in print or on TV, there’d be less of it.

Blame it on political correctness, or possibly “hurting their feelings,” or some other liberal (sorry, but it’s true) excuse.  Being direct has a way of making a point that lasts longer than the time to say it.

Politicians, from the top down, LIE to get elected (if you need proof of this, you’re living in some other universe).  Ergo, lying is acceptable in politics, where

ETHICS UNPLUGGED

ETHICAL ISSUES:  WHAT ETHICS IS ALL ABOUT

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.

HOW TO BE ETHICAL

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.

ETHICS, LAW, and THE RULES of LAWYERS

ETHICAL ISSUES:  THE LAW

The rule of law is the most significant issue facing our civilization, an insidious deterioration of the principles on which the republic is built.”  So said Robert Bartley in The Wall Street Journal of September 19, 2000.  He was right then, and he’s right now.

In the eight centuries since the Magna Carta, we have increasingly taken the rule of law for granted, not to mention bending, folding, spindling and otherwise mutilating it along the way.  Our law has been molded by hundreds of years of subjective experience, shaping our behavior to the point where its beginnings are lost in clouds of uncertainty.  Further, this vast accumulation of experience encourages us to selectively pick only those pieces that seem to justify our need at any given moment.  This is fodder for lawyers, whose job it is to sort through the plethora of records and determine a course of action for any given situation.  Somebody has to do it.

ETHICS ISSUES: EDUCATION and MORALITY

ETHICS, EDUCATION, and MORALITY

The critical goal of education is, or should be, developing the individual to his maximum possible stature—to actualize his potential, his own identity and idiosyncratic values, and not just teaching him skills.  And this means every person, not just the elite.  It’s not happening.

In order to accomplish this goal, individuals must be allowed some degree of free choice in addition to the basics (“3 Rs”).  This means a necessary function of education is to discover and nurture the idiosyncratic characteristics of individuals.

Education can’t be values-free.  In addition to teaching skills it must include the opportunity and means to form individual values.   Spiritual and ethical values have a place in education; these are not dependent on any church or religion (nor do they in any violate the Constitutional separation of church and state).

A moral society requires ethical