Episode 1 – The Three Pillars of Life

Welcome to the first episode of my new podcast, The Power of Three. Our nation has become so divided ideologically that at times we seem to be speaking different political languages. We have become so focused on what everyone else is doing wrong, that we have lost sight of the fact that we all have so much more in common than we have differences. We need to begin the difficult task of finding solutions to all our problems. This is true whether they are social, religious, environmental or political.

The purpose of this podcast is to start to find those solutions, to help you Liberalize Your Life. I will be asking the question, “How do we live lives that allow us personal freedom, while taking into account the rights of others, and our obligations to the environment?”

Who is this podcast intended for? I want to speak to people who consider themselves environmentally aware, who believe in equality, and a community spirit, people who embrace the values of fairness, justice and liberty. My audience members are those who believe that we need to create a sustainable world for our children, a nation that provides healthcare and financial security in old age. If you care about your children’s future, their education, infrastructure that works, a tax system that targets those who have the means, not those who do not, this is the podcast for you.

My aim is to explore the three pillars of a liberal society, Life, Liberty and Equality. By life, I mean all life, including our relations with one another and with our environment. I look at these questions from a scientific perspective by questioning whether science is the answer to many challenges that we face.

Why on Earth would you want to liberalize your life? And precisely what do I mean by liberalizing your life? Isn’t “liberal” a term used to insult and disparage rather than a way to seek fulfillment? That is the journey that I would like us all to start, a journey that will attempt to determine, what is the best way to live life? Is there a best way, or are there many paths to self-actualization? How can we live a moral life regardless of any religious belief, social group, or political party?

I believe that there is no single road that will lead us to fulfillment, but many trails, many blind canyons and a lifetime of searching that leads us to our goal. I believe that the three pillars of life that we should consider are life, liberty and equality.

The single most important pillar is Life. Everything we do as we move towards our goal should be to ensure that we consider the impact we have on all the lives around us, from our pets and herd animals to the lowliest form of life. Are our lives sustainable, or are we irreparably harming life on our world? We cannot destroy our home with total disregard for the generations that follow us, or the other life that occupies our home. We have to find ways to sustain our lives and our environment, and leave a healthy planet for future generations.

Next we need to fight for freedom from domination by governments, corporations, religions or other institutions. We also need to acknowledge that those institutions play an important role in our lives. We must find ways to work with them to ensure that people, and other life, remains free.

The final pillar is that of equality. We cannot demand freedom for ourselves without considering our impact on the freedoms of other people and the rights of all life on Earth. We need to ensure that there is at least a playing field incorporating rules that set boundaries. We need to be certain that we are not creating prisons for some, while allowing for exploitation by others.

Let’s start this journey by taking a look at our world today.

We live on a planet with a variety of modes of living, religions, ideologies, economic systems, social norms and political leanings. Most people, understandably, believe that they possess the correct way to live life. On one hand, authoritarians want to impose certain codes on people and force them to live a certain way. On the other, people want to be left alone to live in whatever way they choose.

After Second World War, the world settled down into societies divided between a few dominant ideas, chief among them capitalism and communism, with each fiercely defended by its adherents. In both Europe and the United States, a variety of mixed economies evolved, with Europe developing a greater social role for government. With the collapse of Communism, a vacuum developed in many parts of the world, with many nations turning to democracy and capitalism.

For a while, it looked as though democracy would triumph. That, is no longer the reality that we face. Capitalism, supposedly the face of free enterprise, is following Communism, and is beginning to fail. Societies are returning to authoritarian, and sometimes autocratic states. Capitalism, once vaunted as the savior of a free society, is increasingly becoming its nemesis.

The World Trade Organization and World Bank now force small nations to privatize their water systems, prisons, mining industries, pensions and a host of sectors within the economy. Large corporations from wealthy nations step in and buy up forests and farming land or use gill nets to scoop hundreds of tons of fish from their shores. The citizens of those countries are no match for these companies, and lose their land, their livelihoods, and often their lives. The companies drain the local economies without regard to the locals, making huge profits that are siphoned offshore. This is becoming nothing more than neo-colonial corporate exploitation.

Corporations dominate global economics, and through the WTO, can sue countries for perceived violations of WTO laws. Increasingly, it is not governments that make laws, but corporate lawyers. Naturally, they call them corporate contracts or rules. If it acts like a law and has similar repercussions to a law, it’s a law.

These corporations are using advanced technology to systematically destroy the environment in these countries, leaving them with landscapes stripped of delicate ecosystems, their natural resources taken from the land.

In many countries, social programs carefully nurtured for decades are being outsourced or undermined by corrupt governments, governments beholden to corporate interests rather than the interests of the people.

The economic systems on which we rely, capitalism, the command economy, mixed economies and traditional economies, have all failed to one degree or another. Religions, governments and other social structures have failed to address stark disparities in wealth and access to resources among citizens.

Our world sits on the precipice of environmental disaster, a perfect storm of crop failure, extreme weather, drought and flooding. All of which will lead inevitably to population dislocation and a flood of humanity pouring across borders around the globe.

The United States has turned dramatically towards a man and an ideology that draws ominously from the autocratic catastrophes of the Twentieth Century. In our current President we find a man without scruple, lacking a moral compass, who blunders through the norms of civil society with all the panache of a herd of elephants run amok. He appears unable to comprehend that Western Civilization is based on a solid foundation of law, not an adhoc series of tweets by which he issues decree and presidential edicts. This man appears poised to go to war with all and sundry, rattling nuclear sabers and threats of annihilation to countries across the globe. He threatens to undermine the decades of peace and stability created by liberal democracy.

I have drawn a very bleak picture of society and our planet. Yet, there are solutions to all of these problems. I believe that that solution lies in how we are prepared to liberalize our lives. No other ideology offers the comprehensive ability to address these compelling problems.

What do I mean by liberalizing your life? Liberalism is based on two fundamental ideas, both of which are part of many religious beliefs. These ideas are liberty and equality. The concepts of individualism, liberty, and limited constitutional government are generally proposed as the most important ideas in the liberalized life. Liberalism rose as one of the great pillars of the Enlightenment, pushed by economists and philosophers. Centuries of hereditary privilege, state religions, and absolute monarchy were seen as the obstacles to freedom and the rights of the individual.

Today, liberty has new enemies. Corporations and government collude to take away the hard won rights of the people. By liberalizing your life, we can win back those freedoms before they vanish into the endless chasm of time.

The great advances of the west, often led by the thinkers of French philosophy and the American Founding Fathers extended freedom to many, although it took almost two centuries to realize those gains.

The liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the right to free speech, a free press, freedom of religion, the right to assemble together with free trade, civil liberties, democracy, secular government and international cooperation together form the edifice of liberal ideology. Add to that environmental protection and you have the essential ideas behind this podcast.

I want to engage in a conversation with sensible people, people who believe in the freedoms embraced by liberal democracy. Our civilization is veering off course and we need to return it to the right path.

What is my vision for this podcast? I believe that we need a new kind of society, a society that works for the vast majority of people not just in the United States, but also across the globe. This society will embrace the realities of what we inaccurately term “climate change”, the rights of the downtrodden, and form a bulwark against autocracy, corruption and the idea that some people are more equal than others. It will embrace the idea that the workers have a right to dignity and a fair wage, and that the wealthy must return what they have taken from those workers. Most of all, all people should be able to live the lives they want, while recognizing the rights of those around them, and of the non-human lives with whom we share this planet.

My vision is of a world whose driving ideology is to embrace difference, whether it be cultural, sexual, racial or economic, to see the essential commonality that we all share, not only with one another, but with the Earth that we share. Without a return to the idea that we are a part of this Earth, not separate entities, we will continue our slide into the darkness of environmental destruction, and ultimately the end of our hegemony on this planet.

I encourage you to continue to help me search for solutions to our most pressing problems, to liberalize your life, and search for the best possible life to live.

Until next time, go well my friends.

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