Is it Un-American Not to be Enlightened?

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! [dare to know] “Have courage to use your own understanding!”–that is the motto of enlightenment.”
What is Enlightenment?
Immanuel Kant 1784

Every person is unique and the totalities of all their interactions, i.e., their own politics, are also unique (see). Therefore, it is injudicious to routinely follow someone else’s guidance where that other is not present to give guidance in the current unique situation. Our sociopolitical diversity requires that we have the resolve and courage to understand our own unique politics, i.e., become enlightened. Not to do so is not to respect the world’s diversity and thus may be un-American and unpatriotic. The complexities of American sociopolitical systems demand that we mature and do the work to become enlightened.

You may ask: Why shouldn’t I not just let someone else give guidance? Understanding takes a lot of resolve and courage, why not let those who do the work to have an understanding give guidance? Is there any impetus for becoming enlightened when many are capable of giving guidance? The simple answer is: Avoiding evil-doing is the impetus for enlightenment. God created everyone Good. Therefore, evil exists only because people are ignorant of Good or too lazy or weak to do Good. No choosing enlightenment because of lack of resolve or courage is to risk evil-doing or, at a minimum, to passively assent to evil-doing by following guidance from those who propose evil-doing. Enlightenment means not being ignorant of Good or being too lazy or weak to do Good and shun evil-doing.

One could argue that the America’s Iraq debacle is a result of Bush Regime’s faulty guidance. They kept many ignorant of facts (or there lack thereof) that would have increased understanding and they produced unfounded information that lead to misunderstandings. Bush’s Regime also weakened those who opposed the Regime’s faulty understandings. The lazy just went along.

Following Bush’s Regime guidance regarding Iraq has caused massive evil-doings for both the US and Iraq. Enlightened leaders should have avoided this evil-doings. Yet, fighting the concerted efforts of the entire Executive Branch of the US. Government that was using duplicity and National Security secrecy and threats requires a yet unheard of resolve and courage. In the end, even General Colin Powell then Sec. of State was fooled! History will record the evil-doings by the Bush Regime. Ironically, if he had had illicit sex and lied about it he would have impeached. But lying that leads to an unnecessary war is apparently an impeachable offense.

Genetically, we are probably predisposed to be unenlightened and follow a pack leader of some kind. Wolves subordinate themselves to the alpha and only breeding pair. The rest of the pack stays immature. Other animals including primates have identifiable group leaders that carries privileges of leadership. These privileges are usually breeding and territorial hegemony.

In primeval times, humans had similar group (“tribal”} leaders. This Primeval Tribal Leaders (PTLs) ruled with the assent of the tribe and had almost absolute power over the group. This power usually lead to the PTLs increased personal wealth. These PTLs also kept the tribes “immature”, i.e., requiring their guidance since maturity would lead to leadership challenges. Human history is replete with PTLs States and records the vast personal wealth these leaders have accumulated. The PTLs try to keep control by keeping the tribal members immature and ostracizing maturing or enlightened members who they know will eventually challenge their guidance. Some enlightened members developed their own unenlightened following. Over and over again, conflict and migrations by tribes following different enlightened PTLs occurred. This lead to colonizations of new lands and even new continents.

Humankind’s transition from hunter/gathering to agriculture groups lead to stable territorially located tribes and the development of cities. These cities were part of the PTLs domain but increasing wealth by many and inter-tribal travel and migrations lead increasing numbers of tribal members who had the resolve and courage to become enlightened, i.e, no longer needing the guidance of the PTLs.
During Greeks times, the increased number of enlightened tribal members lead to the establishment of democracy which was governance by enlightened citizens, i.e., Modern Tribes. This lead to a consensus leadership by Modern Tribal Leaders (MTLs) and fellow enlightened citizens. The Romans in their Republic allowed enlightened representatives govern. Nevertheless, enlightenment was only in the elite leadership and not in the general populous. This lead to the establishment of Nobility and Regal States. Eventually, the enlightened Priesthood participate in governance. This continued until the last millennium when the middle classes of merchants, tradesmen and others also became enlightened and demanded representation. The English House of Commons evolved sometime in the 14th Century.

Today, countries consist of varying proportions of Primeval Tribes and Modern Tribes each with their leaders. The PTLs are essentially unchanged and as noted by President W. Bush’s “I am the decider” statement, the PTLs try to remain the sole source of guidance even though they may have been selected by the smallest of margins or even a plurality. In contrast, MTLs seek consensus from their enlightened followers. These days it means using surveys and polls to get a sense of prevailing understandings. The PTLs disdain polls and surveys because they have no role in their hierarchical structure. Thus, today’s PTLs still try to keep their followers unenlightened to prevent challenges to their guidance. In contrast, MTLs require enlightened followers to give them guidance as to where to lead.
America’s and the World’s sociopolitical complexities demand that citizens have the resolve and courage to become enlightened and to participate in the guidance of their tribes and country. Otherwise, the risk of evil-doings like that in Nazi Germany or Bush Regime’s Iraq debacle will be recurrent events.

Finally, America’s leaders need to be MTLs. They represent too diverse a populous to be the sole source of guidance. Unlike MTLs, PTLs seek leadership based on faith from the unenlightened populous. They are inspirational, charismatic and/or charmingly goofy and use terms like “Compassionate Conservation” or “Change You Can Trust.” Yet their records and experiences rarely address details about what they would do in the complex situations facing MTLs. PTLs cannot have on-the-job training to gain experience needed for their positions. Their mistakes are too costly.

In contrast, seasoned MTLs have many scares and people know where they stand. They have the courage to ask what needs to be the guidance and this incurs the anger of PTLs. Finally and paradoxically, MTLs are inclusive and represent all tribes thus try to involve all including PTLs. In contrast, PTLs are exclusive and only represent themselves and their tribes and purposely exclude all others. The recent Congressional stalemates are largely due to PTLs vs. MTLs disputes. This is got to change by keeping PTLs in the minority at all times.

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