Can Trump avoid reciprocal alienation? This topic starts with an overview of a six-part series on natural rights and the social contract in natural law, then demonstrates how to apply the theory to predict the future with a topical example.

 

Can Trump Avoid Reciprocation?
Can Trump Avoid Reciprocation?

Most Important,
yet Least Understood

Considering the frequency that Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is glibly quoted, and its significance to all, the topics here are the most important yet misunderstood and unappreciated subject in the United States. The articles in this series explain why Jefferson wrote that in the Declaration of Independence: Jefferson was stating not just self-evident truths, but the premise of a complex social contract, from which rights are deductions. Even though its contextual statement is amazingly brief, it cannot really be understood without knowing how Jefferson arrived at the proposition. Moreover, the Supreme Court uses the social contract here described in making decisions. The continuing significance of this knowledge therefore not only affects all Constitutional law as it is in the United States, but also lets the rational person predict the future too. While I share some opinions (more for your entertainment than any need to prove myself right), I also know, from experience, that most facts in this series are necessary to understand the social contract as it now exists. And I know the pertinence of the following topics are most frequently totally unknown. In three years of research, all relevant criticisms I heard on natural rights and the social contract were thought of long ago.

In fact, history itself has mostly followed the same temporal progression, from the simpler criticisms and simpler answers, to the more complex ideas, and their challenges. The evolution of better political thought has been continuing for thousands of years. So in the long course of history, thorough responses to most criticisms have not only been thought through, but also tested by time.

As to the title itself, "All People are Created Equal," I did not choose it because I am some kind of activist seeking adjustment of some inequity, and if I misled you in that way, I am most apologetic. I chose it because natural rights, as one half of the social contract, are inalienable, but not immutable. That which once applied only to free men now applies to all adults. The social contract has changed. As to how the social contract will continue to change, the following little introduction simply provides a lens to focus on the issue at hand, starting with the idea of freedom itself.

Natural Law, from Hesiod to Present Day

There are currently six articles in his series with a total of about 60,000 words, 150 references, and 40 illustrations.

Origins of Divine and Natural Law

The first topic, "The Origins of Natural Law," traced natural law back to Hesiod in the 8th Century BCE (links in this paragraph open that article). Hesiod's Legend of the Golden Age recorded how people sought justice and humility, in order to return to an original state of purity. Hesiod's legend even reached the Huang'Lao in China. In the 4th Century BCE, Socrates conceived an Ideal Social Contract as a way for rational beings to establish harmonious existence. Shortly thereafter, Aristotle recognized that corruption of ideals is ienvitable, concluding that democracy is the least-worse of evils.

Worldwide Foundations of Natural Law
Worldwide Foundations of Natural Law

Early Divergence in Divine and Natural Law

The second topic, "Early Divergence in Divine and Natural Law," starts in the 1st century BCE, when Cicero defined Lex Gentium. In his new tradition of Stoicism, Cicero derived natural law from the necessary conditions of existence in order, to restore the peaceful nobility of the Golden Age. In the 6th century, Justinian incorporated Cicero's ideas into the first attempt at Legal Codification. However, a movement back to religious instead of secular authority had already started. In the 4th Century, Augustine had declared natural law was in defiance of the Laws of God. In the ensuing Dark Ages, Justinian's law was destroyed, and only discovered again 1,900 years later. For about 900 years, philosophy was replaced by a widespread Theocracy. During this time, the Far East consolidated ideas of Taoism and Confucianism into Neoconfucianism. But in the Middle East, Western ideas of theocracy even spread into the Arab tribal culturea via the new religion of Islam, started by Muhammed in the 7th century. In the 12th century, the Islamic Moor Averroes identified inconsistencies in theological doctrines which made it difficult to define how legal cases could be resolved. In the a massive treatise responding to this and thousands of other theological objections, Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century conflated Hesiod's idea of a Golden Age with Eden, suggesting that divine law could promulgate from divine purity, via natural science, into common law; but due to human misunderstanding, common law is prone to unintentional error, therefore differing from our intuitive sense of right and wrong.

The Origin and Diversity of Natural Law
The Origin and Diversity of Natural Law

The American Social Contract

The third topic, "The American Social Contract," started with how Gutenberg changed civilization by making the first printed bible in 1456 (links in this paragraph open that article). With the rapid spread of printed books in the 1500s, the church no longer could maintain authority by awe. After Martin Luther published his 95 theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences, Protestant ideas emphasizing personal salvation from God the Son overturned the paternal Catholic church, and new ideas on secular authority again started to emerge in the 17th century. Hugo Grotius published "On the Law of War and Peace in 1625, advocating that nations could coexist by mutual agreement to enforce law. Building on Cicero's lex gentium, Grotius created the idea of Positive Law, now known as Natural Rights. Thomas Hobbes published "Leviathan" in 1651, inventing a new imaginary State of Nature, wherein we conceive of society without any authority. Hobbes believed human nature to be essentially evil, and therefore, in order to prevent savage violence, we need a Socratic Social Contract with authority to enable civilized peace. To both Grotius and Hobbes, authority remained imperialistic. John Locke then combined the ideas of Grotius and Hobbes to define the rational social contract as it occurs in the United States.

Locke's Social Contract
Locke's Social Contract

The Balance of Power

The fourth topic, "Balance of Power in the United States," explored how natural law works as a homeostatic power system. When the government passes legislation that unbalances the social contract, the nation disempowers the government via rising dissent. The Rousseau defined a General Will that increases the Lockean State of War, causing corresponding conflicts in society. The framers therefore used the ideas of Montesquieu to define a tripartite balance of power in government. This permits democratic adjustments in representation and legislation, or in extreme cases, constitutional amendments. When lawmakers adjust rights and constrictions on the public correctly, dissent decreases. The social contract is rebalanced, authority is restored to the government, and the nation is empowered again.

Balance of Power in the United States
Balance of Power in the United States

Marxism

The fifth topic, "Marx and Denial of Property as a Right," briefly explains how Marxism is a process of social evolution, rather apolitical system in itself, based on a new idea called dialectical materialism.. It examined implementations of this theory in new communist theories by Lenin and Mao.

Marx: Politics Evolve by Synthesizing Opposites when the Dichotomy becomes Unworkable
Marx: Politics Evolve by Synthesizing Opposites when the Dichotomy becomes Unworkable

New Ideas

The sixth topic, "New ideas in Natural Law," examines extensions and additions to natural law theory from after Rousseau to the current day. In the 250 years since the United States defined a constitution, various extensions were added to the original notions. Utilitarian ideas from Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill made punishment proprotional to crime, enabled soft crimes such as speeding, and created new ways for society to agree on conventions, where sacrificing a small amount of liberty could improve liberty for all. Ideas of legal positivism in the 20th century created new ways to consider how law should apply, particularly to minorites.Transcendentalism suggested new kinds of a priori and a posteriori truth. Atheistic social contracts attempt to remove God from USA's social contract. Human rights define universal rights by concensus.

Natural Rights, Natural Law, and Constitutional Law in the USA's Social Contract
Natural Rights, Natural Law, and Constitutional Law in the USA's Social Contract

Predicting the Future: Trump's Wall

So far this essay focused on the natural law underlying the USA, with particular emphasis on the historical roots of natural rights, describing how they work in the social contract to provide the basis of a peaceful society. When natural rights are abrogated, the social contract is broken, and the consequence is conflict to some extent. If the abrogation is great, the conflict leads to war. On this basis it is possible to make fairly well qualified predictions of the results of political actions. As noted in "Balance of Power in the United States," I refer to this the Law of Liberty:

Government actions
which violate the social contract
cause a corresponding degree
of conflict

Recently the USA has turned its attention to the policies of Donald Trump. Two in particular are abrogations of the social contract: religious discrimination in immigration, and deportation of residents who are working in the USA without legal citizenship. Here I provide a quick summary of the thought.

Can Trump Avoid Reciprocation?
Can Trump Avoid Reciprocation?

The above methodology can provide a new and challenging answer to the results of these policies, as follows.

  1. Jefferson based the United States' laws on Locke, deriving the natural rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness from Locke's social contract.
  2. On the other hand, the system of authority is not only Locke's but also Aristotelian. Aristotle's natural law, in contrast, was based on fate, in accordance with traditional conventions at Aristotle's time (best defined by Aeschylus): fate is an eternal, yet futile, hope to avoid the consequences of one's own ethics.
  3. Natural rights may be inalienable, but they are not immutable. As society evolves, the social contract changes, changing the derived rights. For example, atheists may now marry without a church wedding. But Locke's social contract is theistic, so accommodating atheistic marriages places a stress on America’s natural law.
  4. Because the system of government is also based on Aristotle, the result is a decrease in the power of Locke's benign social contract, and an increase in the power of fate.
  5. Trump has proposed major changes to the social contract, including: the denial of immigrant entry based on religion; and expulsion of residents based on their legal status, rather than the quality of their work or behavior.
  6. The inevitable conclusion, based on natural law, is a far greater collapse of Jefferson's social contract, with a correspondingly greater degree of influence by fate. Therefore, reciprocal alienation appears inevitable, not only to Trump himself, but to our own nation, and to other nations too.
  7. What is the response of Mexico to Trump expulsing all illegal immigrants back there? This theory predicts Mexico will simply refuse to accept them. There will be refugee camps on the American border, for whom neither the USA nor Mexico will accept responsibility.
  8. Not only does this alienation manifest itself at the government level, but just as expected within a social contract, by those empowering Trump also. Many Trump supporters are already alienated to the illegal immigrants, and have no concern if they die in refugee camps on borders, just as they don't care if Syrian refugees die before being able to reach the USA. The Trump supporters are just as guilty of those deaths as the Nazi guards in Germany who put people in concentration camps, while still believing themselves superior by birthright;.
  9. By the theory of reciprocation, the same response as to Nazi Germany is to be expected, whatever they consider their own rightfulness of attitude may be.

Why is Trump Successful?

Many people ask this question. The answer is fairly obvious. Being an unscrupulous businessman planning to win the Presidential election, he studied how Adolf Hitler persuaded a war-weary Germany to start another world war. No other rhetorician could claim greater persuasion. So after reading the following extract from Mein Kampf, you will be able to observe how often Trump uses Hitler's methods.

"Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating mass of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but HAS ONLY the negative and positive notions of LOVE AND HATRED, RIGHT AND WRONG, TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD.

Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favorable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side.

The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These SLOGANS SHOULD BE PERSISTENTLY REPEATED until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.

Every change that is made in the subject of a propagandist message must always emphasize the same conclusion. The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula."
- Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler (Berlin, 1928)

This excerpt does not describe the changes from the beginning to end of a campaign. It STARTS with mostly gathering those with much racist hatred first, then moving through the groups, to an emphasis on family values and patriotic nationalism. The first followers typically have a low IQ below 90, and have only finished high-school education, if any at all—together with a small, highly intelligent group who join in to manipulate the gathering mass. After gathering a significant base, the hatred is refocused on one political opponent. Everyone else is good, except the one opponent, who is also demeaned by always using his/her first name. The first name 'Hillary" is important because it is PERSONAL hatred. That is the most powerful tool, because it appeals to the most base emotions. AFTER he had power, then Hitler transitions from family values to a new enemy. There is no longer a political opponent, so the enemy has to be made anew, and the technique is to use ethnic and religious racism contrasted with the perfect example of citizen, the Aryan.

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.
- Voltaire, Questions sur les miracles (Paris, 1765)

Since the war in Iraq, there has been serious sociological research on rhetoric. It is mostly based on research methodologioies of Kruger and Dunning, which found that people with lower IQs tend to over-rate their intelligence. Logically, people with lower IQs are therefore likely to be more susceptible to emotively conveyed denigration:

  • Prasad et al. found in 2004 that people believed Sadam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, because the other reasons they had heard did not appear sufficient justifications. So they simply made that assumption.
  • Nisbet and Garrett (2010) found that people would continue to believe nasty rumors about activities in an Islamic mosque even after learning facts proving them wrong.

The last note on the technique of propaganda is that there is no such thing as a coincidental mumble, hesitation, or partially unthought sentence. Every single part of speech is designed to build to a point, and the apparent slurs, delays, and changes in direction are simply so that the less mindful have time to get to it. One can tell this is true when the politician is persuading to decisiveness, in which case all the apparent partial phrases disappear, and every single work is emphatically articulated.

In response to this, some complain that I am making an unfair comparison to Hitler. To clarify, I am only comparing his rhetoric to Hitler. His policies are far closer to those of Mussolini than anyone else, in my opinion. Others ask why I include it on an essay on the social contract. How many times have you heard rhetoric on your rights to liberty? If you have read and understood this essay, now you can completely appreciate it for what it is: an attempt to persuade How do you know if the rhetoric is trustworthy?

If rhetoric calls to increase conflict,
rather than reduce it,
then you are being manipulated
to break the social contract.

When the social contract is broken then the STATE OF WAR increases; law loses its AUTHORITY; and everyone loses rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Extending the Method

The same methodology can be applied to predict the consequence of other violations of the social contract. The method is openly extensible for a number of reasons:

  1. In most cases of natural-law theory, the assumption is that the law itself is absolute. Here, the method is to consider it as a relativistic system. Larger violations cause more conflict. Smaller violations cause less.
  2. The evaluation of conflicts between different cultures would require more extensive examination of the different liberties provided by each social contract, and making a comparison. This is not difficult for any nation that has defined a constitution, or is using some form of Marxist socialism to define the rights of the people.

For example, the above examination of the consequence of Trump's policies only examines the natural law abrogations of the United States itself. A proper evaluation would also consider the natural law of those foreign cultures impugned by the United States, in particular those of Islam and Mexico too. But that is another essay. Thank you for granting me your time and attention, and I hope these thoughts bring you greater happiness, for all your days.

 

Typical Reactions

One might naively believe that people naturally want to know more about this topic, or have questions about it. So while figuring out what to write, I posted various drafts of the 20 topics here to political and philosophy forums. And yes, several thousand people did comment on it. However, not one stranger ever asked any questions. In fact, exactly the opposite happened. Every single wrongly American assumes they know everything there is to know about this topic. I started studying philosophy at Oxford University in 1978, and after 35 years of continuing to discover more, I still do not know everything one could learn on this topic. Even more disturbingly, almost every single American assumes they know this topic better than anyone else. Because of that, most have difficulties accepting that the political problems that concern them might partly arise from limits in their own knowledge, and thus, their believed solution might be wrong, arising from errors in their own political understanding. So the fundamental ideas, and their problems, generally persist as Paine's self-evident rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Socratic social contract, and the paradoxical Aquinas idea of flawed human law without the theistic component.

Most immediately told me their opinion as self-evident fact, without even reading anything except the title. Outside my friends, less than a dozen of the several thousand who wrote comments actually knew something substantive about the subject.

Some did get as far as reading a few sentences before stating their opinion why I am wrong...again stated as indisputable fact. Then they usually demand that I must therefore hate at least one of the following, as I care about rights: lazy unemployed leeches, the rich, corporations, consumer price gouging, pro lifers, pro choicers, militants, pacifists, gays, gay bashers, chauvinists, feminists, liberal lefties, apathetic righties, commie libertarians, fascist anarchists, people who don't vote, conservatives, election fraud, democrats, republicans, lobbyists, incapable politicians, public schools, private schools, Monsanto, fast food, organic foodnuts, deregulation, over-regulation, nuclear energy, industrial pollution, global warming, wasting taxes on scientific research, overpriced drugs, bad medical care, medical insurance, public healthcare, God, racists, colored people, Christians, Muslims, Asians, Jews, Mexicans, illegal immigrants, foreigners who can't speak English, police, people who call police instead of using their guns, gun grabbers, gun control freaks, idiots like me, refugees, terrorists, anti-nuclear treaties, people in jail, people who should be in jail, the unjust legal system, alcoholics, prohibitionists, teenage gangs, laws against basketball hoops on garages, or bubblegum stains on the sidewalk and anything else unamerican.

About one in ten picked one sentence to criticize then launched into a diatribe as to why 'elitist idiots can't understand the truth,' frequently in thousands of words (most commonly, as to why theism is wrong, but also on a wide range of other things I should regard as obviously true), also, as often as not, adorned with generous quantities of imaginative profanity. Almost none of those doing so could state any well-regarded source to substantiate their opinions. When I asked what education or experience they had on the subject, I almost invariably was told they needed nothing besides their own obvious and astute intelligence, in order to know that they were stating undeniable truth. Sometimes they added, the mere fact I asked such a question proved they were right, because they are not indoctrinated, whereas they have free minds. I would ask what proof they had that their ideas were superior to those of, for example, a Plato dialogue on the same subject. At least, I would try to ask that, but none of these people were interested in answering that, and would only repeat one of their prior assertions, usually with less imaginative profanity.

So while working on this over the last three years, I gained a fairly deep appreciation of American opinions on natural rights, and moreover, the general lack of knowledge about them, resulting in this set of articles.

 

References

  1. Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (Berlin, 1925-1926). Trans. James Murphy [1946]. Retrieved from http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200601.txt.
  2. Kruger, Justin, and David Dunning. "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (7.6, 1999). Retrieved from http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/teaching/p7536_heurbias/p7536_readings/kruger_dunning.pdf
  3. Meyer, Ernest. Origins of Natural Law (Yofiel, 2016). http://www.yofiel.com/social-contract/the-origins-of-natural-law.
  4. Meyer, Ernest. Early Divergence in Divine and Natural Law (Yofiel, 2016). http://www.yofiel.com/social-contract/divergence.
  5. Meyer, Ernest. The Social Contract in the United States (Yofiel, 2016). http://www.yofiel.com/social-contract/american-social-contract.
  6. Meyer, Ernest. Balance of Power in the United States (Yofiel, 2016). http://www.yofiel.com/social-contract/power.
  7. Meyer, Ernest. Marx and Denial of Property as a Right (Yofiel, 2016). http://www.yofiel.com/social-contract/marxism.
  8. Meyer, Ernest. New Ideas in Natural Law: Rousseau to Current Day (Yofiel, 2016). http://www.yofiel.com/social-contract/new.
  9. Nisbet, Erik, and Kelly Garrett. "Belief in rumors Hard to Dispel: Fact checking easily undermined by images, unrelated facts" (Ohio State University, 2010). Retrieved from hhttp://rkellygarrett.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Garrett-Nisbet-Belief-in-rumors-hard-to-dispel.pdf
  10. Prasad, Monica, and A.Perrin, K.Bezila, S.Hoffman, K.Kindleberge, K.Manturukand, and A. Powers. "There Must Be a Reason”: Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification," (Sociological Inquiry, 29.2, pages 142–162, May 2009) retried http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090821135020.htm.

 

About the Author

I am a retired scholar and Master Freemason in The Wild of the 16th-century lodge of Devonshire (UK). I was born in Washington DC, studied philosophy and psychology at Oxford University, and now live in Sacramento, California. I am not paid for this work, and this is my personal website, which is named after the archangel of divine beauty. In the past, I worked to further pluralism and multinational cooperation to create a better life for all in Silicon Valley, California. I worked on specifications for the Pentium I (for Intel), the first 802.11 wireless internet protocol (for AT&T), the HTML/CSS/DOM interface for digital TV (for Comcast, Rogers, Shaw, and others), and the iPad microprocessor (for Apple). Prior to engineering work, I worked as a journalist in New York.

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