Monday, August 13, 2018

Why Spend So Much Time on the Social Sphere

The Social Sphere

In the Spherical Model, we talk about how the three spheres—political, economic, and social—interrelate. But we talk a lot about social issues. There’s a reason for that. Or maybe several reasons.

One: It’s the sphere in which the individual has the most ability to effect change for the better.

Two: Lack of civilization (savagery) leads to lack of freedom and prosperity. So the social sphere seems to be a larger contributor in the interrelated spheres.

Three: It’s essential to have enough individuals and families living civilized lives in order to make the self-governance necessary for freedom and prosperity possible. Alternatively, limited freedom and prosperity can hinder civilization, but they don’t necessarily lead to savagery. It’s harder for the basic unit of civilization—families—to live civilized lives when they live under tyranny and/or the poverty of a controlled economy. But within the family, it’s still possible.

Four: The social sphere is where the principles of civilization, as well as the principles leading to freedom and prosperity, get passed on from generation to generation.

I said it this way at the beginning of the Civilization section of the Spherical Model:

The Civilization Zone is more important than either the Free-Enterprise [economic sphere prosperity zone] or political Freedom Zones; it is essential for the others. A civilized people (people who choose to be honest and caring with one another) are essential in order for free enterprise to function. No amount of regulation and manipulation by law enforcement can compensate for people unlawfully and unethically taking advantage of one another or refusing to care for the less fortunate. And if regulation and manipulation are used to control the greed, then it’s not a free market anyway. Likewise, it takes a civilized people in order for a free society to work. No amount of government control can force out corruption among a people in power who choose to grant favors according to bribes and special interest pressures. The public behavior will mirror the private behavior of the people. But with a truly civilized society (people choosing to be moral), free enterprise and political freedom can and will thrive.
What does it mean to be civilized? What are the necessary elements of civilization? And how do they contribute to the other spheres?

By way of review, here are the main rules for civilization—the northern hemisphere of the social sphere:

1.       Not all religious societies are civilized, but every civilized society is a religious society. This absolutely does not mean state-sponsored religion or lack of religious freedom; in fact, the opposite is true. Freedom of religion is essential, and the flourishing of religion in general must be encouraged.

2.       The family is the basic unit of civilized society. Whatever threatens the family threatens civilization. So preserving and protecting the family is paramount in laws and social expectations in a civilized society.

These are big ideas—and not without their controversies in today’s world, so let’s take them piece by piece.

A Religious People

It is in the social sphere that we understand and honor the idea that life is precious, a divine gift from God. Races and types of people are not lesser humans; all human beings are created equally valuable, with equal standing before the law. So, without God, there is no concept that life is divine and worth protecting. And without God, there are no God-given rights. Nor do individuals feel obligated to live according to standards they either set for themselves or have imposed on them externally. Belief in facing God beyond this life obligates humans to live better lives than they would if goodness were meaningless.

Without a religious people—a critical mass of believers—who feel obligated to live their lives in the way God commands, you don’t get a people who are good enough to live freely, self-governing.
What does God command? Take a look at the Ten Commandments. The first four cover honoring God—and no other entity—as supreme, as the very definer of Good. Then we honor family: honor thy father and thy mother; and thou shalt not commit adultery. Then we honor life: thou shalt no murder. Then we honor truth: thou shalt not bear false witness (lie). Then we honor property rights: thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not covet.
The Ten Commandments
at the Texas State Capitol

So the religion required of a religious people needs to include, for the sake of civilization, believing in and honoring God, family, life, truth, and property rights.

Think about how honoring life affects the political sphere. If you want unalienable rights, they have to come from God. Otherwise, they’re just privileges granted or taken away by the ruling power. Without God, there are no God-given, or inherent, rights that you have by virtue of being human. Having them interfered with or taken away by government doesn’t mean you are not, as a human being, entitled to them; it just means that some tyrannical force is wrongly attempting to deprive you of them.

If you want freedom—to pursue your life and livelihood as you see fit, to be free from servitude—you need to value life. And you need to have others in society value life as well, or you might end up beaten, dead, or enslaved.

If you want justice, you need to have a system that both honors each individual equally before the law, and that values truth. Imagine trying to get justice when wrong is done to you, if there’s no respect for telling the truth.

Similarly, if society doesn’t value property rights, people lack incentive to care for things. And they can’t keep the things they value, or what they have earned. And if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labors, because someone else lays claim to them, then your life—the hours, days, or years you spent laboring—is really someone else’s belonging.

Every society improves by placing higher and higher value on those things we’re commanded by God to honor.

Strong Families

And what good would it do to have a civilized people who honored these things as commanded, if they didn’t pass them on to their posterity?

The Spherical Model family,
when we were young and cute
Family is the basic unit of civilized society. That’s not simply a platitude. A civilization—the society of people living together in peace and harmony and goodness—can be as small as a single family. The more families there are in a society who are living the principles necessary for civilization, the larger the civilization can be. It can grow to the size of a neighborhood, and a community, a town, a county, a state, and eventually a nation.

If a critical mass of people around the world were living the principles necessary for civilization, that’s how we would get world peace. Some problems are simple, just not easy.

Family is a particular thing. A family is a married couple and the children that come from their union. A certain number of single-parent households, resulting from a death or divorce, can be accommodated, but only if there is a critical mass of intact families.

That means marriage is a particular thing: the permanent covenant between a man and a woman, to be exclusive, and to care for their offspring. It is simply not, as redefined by fiat in the courts, “a temporary declaration of connection to a sexual partner.” That leaves out permanence, exclusivity, and the biological possibility of procreation.

People can make whatever social arrangements they like, but only families make the essential contribution to civilization.

All this means it isn’t really possible to be a “fiscal conservative” but a “social liberal,” meaning you believe in free-enterprise principles but you favor things like abortion and same-sex “marriage,” or any other sexual revolutionary idea. To make that claim simply means you do not understand the philosophical basis for believing what you do. Maybe you think, yes, it’s right that the person who earns the money should decide how to spend it, because you’ve seen how well that works, and it seems right. But you haven’t connected that to the religious values of life, liberty, and property.

But the spheres are interrelated. You can’t choose prosperity while also choosing savagery. Because if you choose savagery, you’ll also get tyranny and poverty. Maybe not immediately in your personal experience. But soon enough. Decay can be significant within a decade—or even one or two terms of a presidency. And catastrophic results are likely, or maybe inevitable, by a third generation.[i]

Trying to pass along the underlying philosophies that lead to freedom instead of tyranny in the political sphere, prosperity instead of poverty in the economic sphere, and civilization instead of savagery in the social sphere—that’s what we do here at the Spherical Model. And that’s why we spend a lot of time on the social sphere.

[i] The length of collapse from socialism is about 70 years (mentioned in this post). The social data provide by Daniel Unwin on societies that move away from strict monogamy show collapse by the third generation, which is probably 75-100 years (mentioned in this post). Reference: Joseph Daniel Unwin, Ph.D., “Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behavior,” address given to the Medical Section of the British Psychological Society. (Library of Congress No., HQ12.U52)

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