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With So Much Diversity, Can There Be Unity and Peace?

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(Article changed on October 3, 2013 at 06:53)

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This article is not specifically about the exploited Working Class, the disappearing Middle Class, or the still-controlling Ruling Class.   This article is not about how to achieve the short term objectives of one particular problem.   Instead, it is about describing the ideal scenario of what a democratic nation and world should look like. To hard-core Pragmatists and Realists, this article may be considered a waste of time.   But to Idealists--visualizing the actual goal or dream is the only thing that energizes them.   I have identified some of the main groups in the United States that have radically different beliefs about politics and religion, and then I propose a way to create unity and peace among those diverse groups.  

One political group consists of the Paleoconservatives (who are proud to be considered "paleo," or "old-fashioned"). Like our founding fathers who said our nation should not get entangled in the affairs of foreign governments, Paleoconsevatives are Republicans who are against the interventionist foreign policy of the Neoconservatives. Neoconservatives believe that our government has a right, even a moral obligation, to police the world. Republicans and Democrats, in general, have well-known, definable differences regarding taxes, spending, and social policies, but most individuals in both parties favor a neoconservative foreign policy. 

For those who view the world as a place where dog eats dog, the neoconservatives are right. But Buddhists, yogis, Christian mystics, non-radical Muslims, and other peace-practicing groups would say that, if we take the initiative in showing compassion and benevolence, then other individuals and nations will sooner or later reciprocate with matching feelings and actions. Love conquers all.      

Paleoconservatives are socially conservative, so they are less likely to support gay and abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana. They may be concerned about things like genetically modified foods that do not have to be labeled, according to current government laws, but are usually against putting more restrictions on gun owners. 

Paleoconservatives are quick to argue that our government is a Republic with guaranteed individual rights, but that it is not a Democracy. They will inform you that the word "democracy" is not in the Constitution, because our founding fathers feared the possibility of "mob rule." Democracy, or rule by the majority, is what you have when two foxes and a chicken decide what's for dinner. Paleoconservatives will argue that our Constitution was not meant to be a "living" document that changes with the times. They fear a democracy that can take away their God-given rights if it is the decision of the majority.     

The Libertarians are another political group. They are socially liberal, but economically conservative. They are likely to support gay and abortion rights, and the legalization of recreational drugs. But, economically, they are apt to recommend laissez-faire capitalism. They want a small government with the fewest possible government regulations. Libertarians may want the liberty to become millionaires and billionaires through the free market, but they oppose crony capitalism, which occurs when companies collude with the government to get subsidies and special benefits. Libertarians are also against the interventionist foreign policy of the neoconservatives.

Fundamentalist Christians and Evangelical Christians are two religious groups that are combined as one group here. The fundamentalist churches interpret the Bible in the most literal way, even more so than the evangelical churches do. But both have a 17th century viewpoint of the Bible--believing in a fiery, eternal hell for the lost who refuse to take Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They believe that abortion in most cases, and homosexuality, are sinful. Evolution is wrong, because it contradicts the first few chapters in the Book of Genesis. 

The problem that pastors often have is that if they tell their congregation everything they learned in seminary (that is, if it was a liberal seminary) about the latest scientific research on the Bible, many of the lay people would find their entrenched beliefs challenged and go somewhere else for reassurance. For many people, it is difficult to face the truth and give up certain childhood Christian beliefs. In fact, however, after the initial shock and inner turmoil that results when Christians learn what scientific Bible scholars say about the Bible, they can still grow spiritually as Christians. They can also become better citizens with broader political views, because they will no longer believe that their religion is the one and only way. For example, given the way most conservative Christians interpret the Bible, Israel plays an important role in the events leading up to the so-called Battle of Armageddon, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. For this reason, conservative Christians often reflexively support Zionism and military assistance to Israel. 

The Tea Party movement is primarily concerned about deficit spending. Every year, our government spends more money than it takes in from tax revenues, which creates a deficit. Because the government has borrowed and spent more money than it has year after year, it has caused our national debt to skyrocket out of control. This is why Tea Partiers want to reduce government spending and taxes, even though many people who currently cannot find jobs might well benefit from government investment in job-creating projects.  

According to www.WarResisters.org/pages/piechart.htm , 36% of the federal budget goes to the current military, and 18% to the past military, making a total of 54% of the federal budget that is spent on the military (and this does not include the $200 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan war spending). Before he died, foreign policy expert Chalmers Johnson said that about 30 percent of military spending is secretive, unknown even to members of Congress. But these are not issues for many Tea Partiers, since they believe that a very strong military should be a top priority.

Another group to consider is the New Age movement. New Agers often talk about the importance of making a paradigm shift in consciousness. They believe we each can experience a higher state of consciousness called the Universal Mind, which makes the ordinary consciousness experienced by separate individual minds seem less real, or even illusory.     

New Agers believe that Meditation helps one attain a calm, objective, detached, and nonjudgmental awareness that makes it possible to identify with this Universal Mind. Actually experiencing this Universal Oneness is like coming home to the True Self that had been there all along. And we can return to that Consciousness whenever we let go of our selfishness and prideful ego. By always trying to get more or to be more than anyone else, this ego creates duality and separateness from others.

This Universal Oneness is identical to the Perennial Philosophy of Aldous Huxley, the Atman and Brahman of the Hindus, the samadhi of yogis, the nirvana of Buddhists, and the inward Kingdom of God of Christians. These sublime states are supported by the findings of quantum physics and the growing scientific research on Near Death Experiences and parapsychology. 

Moreover, in recent months there has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelic drugs such as peyote and ayahuasca, which can provide a foretaste of this Cosmic Consciousness. These plant-derived drugs have been used as an effective treatment for alcoholism and physical drug addiction, and often help people overcome the fear of dying. But, in order for these treatments to be successful, the mind-altering substances require a proper mental set in a therapeutic setting. Unfortunately, those conditions are difficult to meet in the United States, since the treatments are illegal here.

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Roger Copple retired from teaching general elementary and special education at the high school level in the public schools of Indianapolis in May 2010 at the age of 60. He now lives in Bradenton, FL. He loves to learn and share what he has (more...)
 
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I wish I thought there were a possibility of our g... by Diana L on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 at 9:54:19 PM
Response to Diana L. Thanks, Diana, for being ho... by Roger Copple on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 at 10:53:49 PM