Is Humanity Growing Less Truthful and Empathetic

Softball Politics has historically opined about issues affecting politics, business and foreign relations. In this latest post, however, I will delve into human relations and how they are negatively impacting our country and the world.  

The reason for my focus on this phenomenon is I have witnessed a marked deterioration in truthfulness, ethics and empathy among our leaders and neighbors in most facets of life. The result has been a dramatic change in the relationships between world leaders, our political representatives and even in our families and friends. Most people are more combative these days.  

I’m not a philosopher, but I’m in tune with the actions of others and whether they represent an acceptable way to behave in times of duress. The areas that I will cover include the truth, violence and empathy.  

Let’s begin with our politicians and the lack of transparency that Americans now experience. Our leaders keep things from us that we should know about. There are no better examples of liars taking control of our lives than the presumed nominees in the 2024 presidential election. Both men do not for a minute seem concerned with the truth or the feelings of their constituencies.  

The plight of Joe Biden and his son Hunter is front and center. The drama associated with these two men is usurping a lot of resources and brainpower from more productive activities, but there are some very important issues at stake. Joe Biden obviously was involved with his son and has taken money illegally and/or unethically from shady people and governments around the world who are looking for favors. This is corruption. Conservative members of Congress have jumped on the bandwagon and are accusing the first family with all types of misbehavior.  

To make matters worse, the Justice Department is apparently protecting the first family by withholding information that they uncovered during its investigation. Why is this important? If the leader of our country is incapable of following legal and moral standards, how can we expect common citizens to do what’s expected? And, are the Bidens above the law? I think not.  

At the same time, Donald Trump continues to bamboozle millions of Americans who somehow see it right to support him for the presidency. Trump has been lying to people his whole life extending into his term in office and into the current election campaign. Most politicians are afraid to criticize Trump in any way feeling reprisals may damage their own political ambitions. In my humble opinion, Donald Trump is the worst example for our children, our voters, our allies, our enemies. He will go down in history as a scoundrel of the worst sort.  

The point to be made is that we have dropped to a new low in terms of human relationships led by the two men who are vying for the presidency. As an aside, I continue to hope for circumstances that will railroad the political ambitions of both of men before the next election.  

Telling the truth is such a basic thing. Our country would not have advanced to the present stage unless its leaders and citizens were truthful during the past two centuries. I see all sorts of respected and honored traditions going to hell in a handbasket because our leaders are bold faced liars and only concerned about retaining their own positions.  

I shouldn’t be critical without some sort of suggestion to improve the situation. The best I can do on short notice is to recommend the country enact more term limits on our politicians so that new blood continues to refresh our government. There’s a reason why presidents can only serve two terms. We need new ideas and people confident enough to sell creative ideas to the public at large.  

The second issue I wanted to discuss is violence. It’s just wrong to use the First Amendment to cover the tracks of violent behavior. Our forefathers never for one second wanted free speech to be an excuse to physically attack fellow citizens or their property. Even Berkeley has been untrue to the cause. When I was in college, it was the epicenter of free speech, and recently students burned down the town to protest a conservative talking head that was scheduled to make a presentation.  

The violence that erupts from “peaceful demonstrations” is unacceptable and is tearing our country apart. Several years ago, I decided to avoid conversations about politics with strangers that I met at rubber chicken dinners and other social affairs. At the time, I thought debate was good sport and enjoyed discussing my ideas versus somebody else’s that were diametrically different than mine. I gave up the activity because certain people hated me after these conversations, not accepting any views that were opposed to their own personal perspectives. I think it’s a sad moment when a country with a First Amendment that guarantees free speech has citizens who can’t have a drink and talk about whether a politician is good for our country.  

Free speech is not a synonym for violence. No matter what you hear from radicals on both sides of the aisle it’s unacceptable, immoral dangerous, and a threat to our democracy. Moreover, you can’t have free speech unless all perspectives are unfettered, excluding the violence provision.  

We are now at the point where certain topics can’t be discussed in a public forum, or even in our own homes. The woke generation uses innocent conversation as a reason to cancel people. Every important issue seems to have a racial, sexual or personal angle in the minds of those who are paranoid. How are we to make changes to improve the lives of all citizens regardless of color, religion, sexuality or political perspectives if we can’t have a peaceful conversation about the issues in public or in Congress?  

The next issue on the table his empathy. I practice yoga and meditation and appreciate the importance of showing empathy to those who have less than I do. Every act of kindness should be respected by others. Those that give money to the needy should be applauded for their generosity. Every day is a new opportunity to be empathetic and to improve oneself by showing how concerned we are for others.  

The beneficiaries of the generosity of wealthy people should not accept the benefits from others with an attitude. It should be viewed as an act of kindness, and not just a tax deduction or a sign of bravado.

But empathy is much deeper than giving money. It also involves the unease one should feel when others suffer. We must have sympathy for those who search for fresh water and food every day. We must empathize for children who are homeless and living in squaller. We must feel emotion for those who are impacted by war and devastating acts of Nature. And Americans must offer to help.  

Having said this, the US cannot rescue the whole world from evil, pestilence, famine, disease and other calamities. We must pick and choose how we dedicate our resources to helping others. In this regard, I believe we need to take care of our own before we take care of people in other countries. It breaks my heart to see people on the street begging for money and food while our government is incapable of finding the resources to help them.  

And then there is the issue of ethics. This is a topic that seems to be lost on many people around the world. Our government and businesses have developed an extensive list of ethical considerations. If we don’t abide by these standards, our infrastructure will come crumbling down.

  Some examples of this for individuals would include paying your taxes truthfully. Our government operates with the taxes it receives from its citizens. To cheat and underpay for somebody earning $50,000 or $1,000,000 is criminal, literally and figuratively. Why should one person say that their taxes are unfair and force another person to make up the difference?  

The same holds true for corporations and for the government. In particular, Congress is responsible for the power of the purse meaning that they are given the job of allocating money for different purposes every year. If they cheat, it’s no different than if an individual cheats. If they allocate money to people that don’t need aid, somebody else maybe going hungry tonight.  

But the whole body of ethics is important for other reasons. In order to run smoothly, businesses and our government must have rules that everyone follows so there can be no misunderstandings. Frankly, I believe too many people are taking liberties with ethics in this day and age.  

There’s much more to talk about from a philosophical perspective. Perhaps I’ll take up other issues in the future blog posts. For now, make it a habit of being truthful to yourself, your partner, your children, your business associates, your friends and your government. Additionally, feel for those who have less than you do.  

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