PUBLIC SERVICE ESSAY
American Democracy, Part II
“People are of equal worth, not to be manipulated, exploited nor oppressed.”
Joseph W. Ferrara, EdD
The quest for freedom comes closer to characterizing what we Americans are all about more than any other single idea. American democracy centers upon this ancient, noble human search. Every ideal is distorted by dictators or terrorist because of their rabid, self-seeking, myopic view of freedom. They want freedom to seek their own restrictive, exclusionary agendas. Also, they want tolerance, peace and appeasement so they can be absolutely free to do as they please no matter who they hurt. Inherent in their demented desires is a profound misunderstanding of both the character of America and of freedom.
The equal worth and dignity of the individual’s personhood is the cornerstone upon which American democracy is built. Our fundamental conviction is that, in the physical world as we know it, there are but two realities -persons and things. Americans believe that the most clear-cut of all divisions in the universe is the line that separates the two. Any one person above that line is worth more than all the things combined below it. Below the line, elements and objects might be classified according to their group characteristics and within each group, might be regarded as essentially duplicating examples of the entire species. Americans do not, as a rule, accord to the things below the line infinite worth. For that reason, vivisection and other forms of scientific experimentation are considered ethically acceptable by most. But above the line, individual characteristics take precedence over group characteristics so that human vivisection, such as that practiced by Hitler’s doctors, is regarded as unconditionally evil. Our moral consensus is that no human being may be used as a guinea pig – people are infinitely precious while things are not. Things are of instrumental and operational value and may be used as we may need them, but people are of ultimate worth and are to be loved as ends within themselves. It is immoral to reverse these priorities – to love things and to use people. The essential immorality is to use people as though they were things, and it is clearly the tyrants’ intention to manipulate and exploit human beings as objects.
Dictators and terrorists alike, being ambulatory weapons of mass destruction, desperately covet and exploit peace to our peril. Their indelible abuse of relationships always lead to inevitable victims, pain and sorrow as observed during any period of unprovisional peace or appeasement of their wishes. Unprovisional peace is not the answer to their maniacal, covert plans and overt actions. Even in the tyrants’ body, the white corpuscles are intolerant of germs and attack immediately without negotiation or compromise when their body is invaded by infection. Tolerance and/or appeasement of germs by our blood would be destructive and fatal to our body. Thus, an appropriate intolerance involves American concepts of democracy, justice, equal rights, judgment of ideas and insightful action, not appeasement of tyrants and their simultaneous oppression and exploitation of people.
Those who mistake the immortal, self-actualizing principles of American democracy and conditional safe-guards of peace, i.e., everyday courage, loyalty, honesty, free speech and enterprise, open elections, equal human worth, representation, protection, opportunity and justice, also mistake the character of their own national duty and the abiding inheritance of freedom’s future footlight for us all. American democracy and PROVISIONAL PEACE assures and affirms all human worth and the value of our individual and collective lives everywhere. Our national founders did not draft our inalienable “Bill of Rights” and design our “Federal Constitution” based on freedom beause they believed less than the purveyors of tyranny, but because they believed a great deal more.