After many years thinking about this manifesto, it’s time to write it down and to share it with others.
How a society treats its least capable and most dependent members is an accurate measure of its greatness. How it cares for its least fortunate and most needy citizens reveals its worthiness to be called advanced.
Technological invention, development, and production indicate a narrow area of evolution. The built environment, while impressive at first blush, shows a degree of success, and cooperative effort. This effort. too often, is an insight into the surface, physical success only. It seldom translates into high moral values.
Opportunities offered on a universal level are clearer indicators of a society’s humanitarian structure. For example: Is it meeting the five basic needs of all of its citizens? Does it provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical attention and education to all? Not superior, but simply adequate.
When these five programs are firmly established as guaranteed rights (not privileges), whether one parlays them to great heights or not is irrelevant. Their availability to all, alone, marks a culture as truly advanced.
Historically, major breakthroughs and inventions do not come from team efforts. They come from individuals, who, over time and with limited funding, make major discoveries and inventions. Therefore, preparing each and every individual to achieve his or her best in personal areas of choice, makes all capable of contributing to themselves and others on a variety of levels.
If to this guarantee of five basic rights is added a judicial system that is non-adversarial, but one united in its search for truth, the society created will be both capable and just. This is a society that can support and care for itself.
The kind of society proposed here costs no more, and most likely less, than our current cultural arrangement, which is exorbitantly costly. This fear-based arrangement has excessive expenses for stress-related maladies, mental health issues, physical injuries, chemical dependency and abuse, and a whole range of crimes against people, property, institutions and in the final analysis, wasted lives.
Unaffordable amounts of money are spent on security, defense, and prisons. It costs between $35,000 and $167,731 per year to incarcerate one prisoner — courts, weapons, counseling, legal fees, etc. A lack of opportunity and hope are the breeding ground for despair, anger, and violence.
The system I am advocating, in addition to offering a joyful atmosphere of vastly reduced stress, opens the door to a society of healthy, creative and constructive individuals. It is easier and cheaper to proactively thwart problems than to have to foot the bill to clean up and solve problems after the fact. It is not a question of whether to spend money and resources or not. It’s a choice of spending less now with fewer problems later (the moral high ground) or to spend more, later, on resulting problems that needn’t have arisen at all.
Malthus was wrong — the masses that will always be with us need not be poor, needy and disenfranchised. The best investment around always has been and always will be people. And the return on this investment is immense. Theories or ideas of 18th-century political economists such as Malthus are long since disproved. Today, we in America have the resources and the ability to adequately provide for all our people. No one in this dynamic society should be lacking in any basic need be it food, clothing, shelter, healthcare or education.
If you agree with what I have stated here, please get behind this “Grass Roots Manifesto” and promote the adoption of this five-benefit program in any way you can. Let’s get on to the next level of evolution, to a social consciousness that values and invests in its citizens — for the immediate and long-range benefit of all.