The time will come when Humanity is no longer engaged in strife and conflict, no longer embroiled in battles for personal prestige or national supremacy.
The motivations of individual enterprise, initiative, growth and development remain as strong as ever; but they are tempered by the limitation of respect for others; growth comes through collaboration with others, not at the expense of others.
With conflict replaced by collaboration, energies find new directions: in culture, beauty, creativity, the arts, nature, and the simple pleasures of friends and community. When a rock is removed revealing a plant struggling for growth, that plant will suddenly flourish and blossom.
So with humanity. When the rock of conflict is removed, spiritual and intellectual growth can begin, destined to reach new heights of intellectual, cultural and spiritual development.
Only we can remove it.
LAW AND GOVERNANCE IN THE NEW AGE
Governance as it was
Governance was always based on power and self-interest.
When parliaments replaced monarchs, dictatorships and military rule as the main source of law, political parties immediately polarized according to perceived class interests, the Right representing the wealthy and powerful, the Left representing working classes, peasants and factory employees.
Religious sectarianism apart, elected assemblies throughout the world became polarized in this way, the Left-Right confrontation always evident.
Some individual legislators may have been motivated by idealism, but most were motivated by their class interests, the opportunity for personal self-aggrandizement and prestige, and in many cases the interests of those who financed their campaigns.
In the democratic tradition, governance was based on the power of numbers. Majority will was law, even though it might be irresponsible or disadvantageous to minorities, or to future generations, or even to the financial credibility of over-indebted governments, the Majority was always right.
Meanwhile, as the guilt of growing inequality was reflected in growing taxation, expenditure took over from simple legislation as the main pre-occupation of government, and the added influence accompanying the power to dispense money tended to corrupt legislators.
The rewards of office increased, as also did campaign expenditure, and those who financed the campaigns of legislature-hopefuls naturally expected to be rewarded if their candidate was successful.
With religion-motivated terrorism on the increase, governments became quietly oppressive, unresponsive and secretive, their powers and the taxation needed to support them steadily increasing without any apparent limit.
And that discouraging tale of governance applied only to the minority of better-run countries. For the rest, greed, corruption and widespread poverty were the rule.
Universally, some of the most important tasks of governance were ignored, a major example being the banking system which, although arguably the most vital element of a nations infrastructure, was left largely to its own devices, to gamble with the nation's financial destiny secure in the knowledge that if they lost, the government would bail them out.
Throughout the world's political history, attempts to establish basic human rights and to set limits on law have always been pursued, together with the eternal search for some inherent rightness in law and social conduct as a guiding concept in the formulation of law.
This would become the basis of law and governance in the New Age.
The Presumption of Liberty
The seeds of self-preservation and self-improvement are, of necessity, born into every one of us.
If we use this impetus to create, to invent, to improve on what has gone before, collaborating with those around us, then civilization will advance to the benefit of all.
But if the desire for self-aggrandizement is exercised at the expense of others, if we seek to gain wealth, not through our own creative labours alone but by exploiting and dispossessing others, by expropriating the work and wealth of others, the more aggressive will become richer while others grow poorer, and resentment, acrimony, conflict, confrontation and ultimately war will result.
The avoidance of this path to social self-destruction would provide the motivation of law and governance in the New Age.
The foundation of law and social conduct in the New Age is the perception that none should have power or dominion over others; none should be permitted to exploit or steal from others; none should be able to gain at the expense of others, none should increase his or her wealth by diminishing that of others.
Simply stated, governance is based on a Presumption of Liberty, everyone being free to do as they like, qualified only by one simple, supreme law: Do No Harm. The purpose of law and governance is to prevent people from injuring one another.
Injury can take many forms, personal injury, unfair or irresponsible use of natural resources, dishonesty and inequity in trade and commerce. The duty of government is to identify injury then take steps to prevent it, while at the same time ensuring that government itself remains honest, open and productive, and that its laws remain within the strictly defined limitation of the prevention of injury.
Government and People
The difference between government and people is that government holds power over people.
This is necessary. If a society is to function in a peaceful, orderly and productive fashion, a degree of regulation is required, and this is the function of government.
It is important that the people accept the regulation and laws of government; it is equally important that the departments of governance are perceived as competent, just and honest. If government becomes self-indulgent and oppressive, revolution will inevitably result.
The power of government must be conditional upon its fulfillment of specific duties, with limits on its power clearly set out. The people must have a course whereby they can peaceably criticize or remove any government department or official of government when misuse or abuse of power is perceived to exist.
The quality of governance is dependent on the quality of the people not only inside, but outside government.
The Law exists to protect liberty, but individuals must develop and respect a common culture which rejects any aggression between people, or imposition of one will upon others. Thus it is of prime importance to ensure, through education at the earliest stage, that any signs of aggression are discouraged through explanation and training.
Collaboration rather than aggressive competition should accompany each individual's growth. Daily practice of tolerance, goodwill, seeing other points of view, and of course always the renunciation of aggression and the imposition of self upon others, such practice will help to ensure and preserve the dream of lasting peace on earth.
Thomas Jefferson may have glimpsed the future in his first Inaugural Address given on March 4th, 1801:
A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another yet leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and which shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned: this is the sum of good Government necessary to complete the circle of our felicities.
LAW and GOVERNANCE in the NEW AGE
If any man, any woman, acquires or is granted power over any other or others, this will not may, but will most surely and certainly lead to abuse, misuse and corruption.
The only Power that is competent and can be trusted to regulate the affairs of community and society is the Power of Principle, the Principle that in the pursuit of self-improvement and the exercise of liberty, no-one should injure or exploit others.
This Principle of Non-Injury is neutral and impersonal. It is a shield, preventing injury.
Legislators hold no arbitrary or discretionary power. They are simply Interpreters, applying the Principle in terms of everyday events and actions. The process of Interpretation is clearly delineated and circumscribed in terms of obligation and limitation.
If there is Injury, there must be Prevention.
If there is no Injury, then there is neither cause nor justification for the interference of law.
When the rock of conflict is removed,
spiritual and intellectual growth can begin,
destined to reach new heights of
intellectual, cultural and spiritual development.
Only we can remove it.