You can read the previous post in this multi-post commentary here.
What we all want is a better world. A better life. Isn’t that what we really believe Democracy and Freedom is all about?!
Such democracy is not something we can purchase at a store – online or offline. It’s not a one time, one click purchase. No government can deliver on that. For each of us, it is a life-long commitment to demanding it from each other -demanding the things that matter most. And not just demanding those things – but also giving them.
What things? The list is long, but at the top of the list are Justice, Courage, Temperance, and Prudence. Without these virtues, civil society is a charade. Aristotle and Aquinas have argued the point more than a thousand years ago. In the last century, Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us the content of our character is crucial to a civil society.
Indeed, if we lack the behavior and character of the good neighbor, the cherished comrade, or the noble citizen, how shall we move forward in solidarity with others to advance our shared interests, purposes and values?
My former philosophy professor from the University of Southern California, Dallas Willard, wrote a simple, clear primer on virtue for everyday people: The Spirit of the Disciplines. I recommend it highly.
Beyond virtue, the opportunity for solidarity with the greater human family, itself, has been expanded by the internet. Social media is an excellent example. Also social games. Connecting with people, ideas and their hopes is a step in the right direction. But we must engage the world and each other beyond the click: follow, like or game request. We must also engage each other beyond 140 characters, picture-music-movie sharing, and cute comments.
We must engage each other about the hopes and challenges of our times. We must do so in ways that do not merely stir controversy, contention and division. We must solve human problems. Together!
Regardless of our differences and personal interests, we can stand together against the things that put Democracy at risk. That stand in the way of Democracy. Corruption, for example, is a common enemy. Tyranny, another.
Wikileaks, Facebook and Twitter (among other web services) illuminate our path forward.
Together, we must embrace the opportunities and responsibilities as prosecutors, juries and, perhaps, as disciplinarians. Through social media and the internet, we have become the courts of world opinion. Even the mainstream media follows us with baited breath.
Truth be told, there is no one better suited for making tough decisions than we the people. Indeed, we have come to the point when we can begin to recognize that the so-called informed opinions of Kings, Governments, Judges, the Press and Economists have become increasingly irrelevant to peoples. To you. To me.
Like it or not, the responsibility has always been ours – proxy or no proxy.
God help us!
If you haven’t read the previous posts in this multi-post commentary, you can start at the beginning.
25 February 2011
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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