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The Consequences of Having No Common Ethic

When religion does not provide common values and a common way of life for a society, the people gravitate toward lesser things to unify them. That is what has happened to us. We may not share beliefs with our neighbors, but at least we share a common power grid, perhaps a common internet provider as well, and maybe a favorite TV show. We share the same representatives, who are supposed to represent all of our views, but that's impossible since our views are all so different. But hey, at least we have our freedom. 

Or do we? When a society is not deeply rooted in a common ethic, it becomes easily manipulated. To quote country singer Aaron Tippin, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." The authorities in our society have united us under the least common denominators they could think of in the name of peace, but those denominators have become their means for dominating us. 

The only solution is to become self-sufficient again. We can do that by putting our expertise to use on the local level. Every working member of society has an expertise or specialty. I am, I suppose, what you can call a liberal arts specialist. The value in a liberal arts specialist is in his ability to make connections. As an analogy, take two cities: Pittsburgh and Detroit. Pittsburgh makes a lot of steel, and Detroit makes a lot of cars (or at least they used to). But the steel factories in Pittsburgh aren't much use to the car factories in Detroit if there are no connections between the cities allowing the steel to get to the car factories. Just as rivers, canals, railroads and highways connect cities to transport resources, a liberal arts specialist connects specialists from different disciplines and professions so they could share ideas and find new solutions. 

Right now in our society, professionals in different fields who ought to be working together in at least some capacity are talking past each other. For instance, real estate agents don't work much with local governments to improve the quality of life in their towns. If we improve the quality of life in our hometown, we improve our own quality of life and our own business. Property values will increase, including the value of our own home. We need to think of our hometown as an extension of our own home. This attitude will help us find solutions on the local level and mitigate our need to rely on outside sources to run our communities.

We ought to work with public officials, not against them. Every public official has a jurisdiction. If they're not letting you do something, you can go around them, above them, or below them. You can elude their jurisdiction. This is what the balance of powers is designed to do to keep citizens resilient and engaged. You can go around authorities by looking to other public officials who hold similar amounts of authority, or officials with the same office in other municipalities, or business owners who have similar leverage in the community. You can go above the public officials by appealing to a higher authority either in the municipality itself or a larger governing body like the county or state. Lastly, you can go below the official and start a grassroots movement. All of these strategies are not designed to undermine the authority of any duly elected officials, but to influence them to join your side by garnering more democratic support.

Whatever we are trying to accomplish in the real estate sector is not working. Lack of a common vision for our communities has led to excessive laws and regulations that prevent us from meeting basic needs like housing. It has also led to ugly environments, because we are focusing on profit, not beauty. Beauty is a necessity, not a luxury. We built beautiful places for centuries, even in communities that didn’t have much money. It doesn’t cost more. It just requires more time and attention.


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