Righteousness versus Expediency
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 1 October 2012
by Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service
In the sphere of a good community, righteousness plays a big and vital role because it always reveals the expression of wisdom and prudence. We demonstrate wisdom when we perform things that are geared toward the best interest of all people. Prudence enables us to be fully aware of the needs of others as to be in a better position to render good and effective services. Needless to say, honesty always plays a good role because it excludes every possible element of deceit. Hence, the traditional saying: Honesty is the best policy.
Righteousness in Perspective
A righteous and honest person is always identified with truth, which inspires trust in all people. When Pilot asked Jesus who He was, the reply was fast and smooth: Ego sum veritas – I am the Truth. To which Pilot replied with another question: Quid est veritas? – What is Truth? Truth is viewed as conformity to fact or reality with complete absence from falsehood, which was condemned from the outset in one of the traditionally known God’s Ten Commandments. One of these says explicitly: You should not tell lies.
Ascetical writers always tended to describe the devil, commonly known as Satan, as the source of evil, as the father of lies. In fact, since Satan was once one of the most beautiful angels of God, his intelligence remained intact when his abode changed from heaven to hell. This means that when the devil wants really to get a selected number of individuals under his full control, he proceeds to tell half-truths. He tends to present only one side of the coin as to deceive his chosen victims faster than anticipated.
In our earthly community it is not difficult to recognize the righteous from the deceitful ones. The former tend to be honest in their expression and in everything they do, while the latter tend to distort carefully and methodically the realities that surround us as to force people to see things from the angle of their choice. Unfortunately, we find this phenomenon among people of virtually every religion and culture. But we can always bring the situation under control.
This may explain perhaps why in this world we can never attain peaceful relations on a permanent basis. This is not due to the fact that it is impossible. On the contrary, such a phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that most of us do not possess a strong will-power. In the sphere of politics especially we do find problems with what is true and false. Most politicians choose to defeat their political opponents by fabricating plenty of lies about them. This should backfire in the sense that if such politicians choose to deceive us now, in the future could be much worse from virtually every aspect one may imagine.
Expediency at Work
The question raised quite often is this: What motivates people, politicians in particular, to utter lies? The answer we hear often is generally summarized in one word: expediency. This would be best described as the seeking of an immediate selfish gain at the expense of truthfulness. In expediency, there is always the tendency to eventually secure selfish ends, no matter how bad they may prove to be to others. Those in politics especially who are motivated by expediency prove to lack de facto integrity of character and personality.
In the Maltese language there is a proverb, which is well understood by Arabic nations, stating that minghajr flus, la tghannaq u anqas tbus – without money you cannot even hug nor kiss. This is equivalent to the English saying: Money talks! This enables us to understand why in the realm of politics most politicians tend to go constantly and systematically against the will of the majority of the people whom they supposedly represent. A recent classic example of this was demonstrated in the US invasion of Iraq.
The reasons given for the US invasion of Iraq were proven to be entirely false. They were purely fabricated to justify the invasion and occupation of a foreign land, which constituted a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. The holy and well-respected Pope John Paul II warned the United States that such an invasion of Iraq would be a grave mistake. The Pope even warned that such a war would create a quagmire by turning the entire region into a haven for terrorism.
All the pleas made by well international respected figures, such as Nelson Mandela, Oscar Arias, the Dalai Lama, in addition to many others literally meant nothing. We need to keep in mind that in the sphere of politics, politicians tend to be driven by expediency and not by righteousness in virtually anything they decide to do. The vast majority of all people in every single country on earth want peace. They want to see their governments embarking on an international program of disarmament and arms control.
They want to see their governments talking intelligently to each other on mutually beneficial basis. Although this is theoretically fully possible, in practice we have one single big problem. Struggles and wars have become a lucrative business. Because of this, plans are carefully made to instigate these elements perpetually if possible. The ruthless massacre of innocent people, mostly women, children, the elderly and the sick, is viewed openly as “collateral damage” like people were merely a piece of furniture. This needs to be stopped, the sooner the better and the people have the full power to do it.
Hope Still in Sight
The thousands of humanitarian organizations we have around the world need to get together to provide effective guidelines to people everywhere in this regard. Outstanding leaders, who sincerely believe that in a war every one is a loser and no one a winner, should join these humanitarian organizations and help them form a strategy to have all politicians that are determined to continue to promote struggles and wars, to be removed from office without further delay. Regardless of who they are they should never be elected or appointed again.
We all know with virtual certainty the weakest elements that belligerent political figures have in common. They all try to approach us with the hope of instilling fear saying that we should be prepared to “fight back” in case we are attacked. The time for demanding the various governments of the world to dismantle their foreign military bases is now, and not the next time we sit in the backyard watching the stars! The military everywhere should be replaced with humanitarian organizations that are fully beneficial to all people.
Political figures that view struggles and wars as good business venture and seem determined to continue with this avenue, should be viewed the way they are by their very actions, that is, criminals. From a continuous history of civilization of 6,000 years we learned that wars were never used eventually to promote peace on earth. They were used to bring endless harm and misery through the massacre of millions of innocent people, the destruction of the infrastructure of nations, the creation of millions of refugees and helpless orphans whose parents were brutally murdered.
Waging wars is never right. They cannot be waged on the assumption of “righteousness.” The only alternative left for such heinous acts is “expediency” that would make the rich become richer and the poor become poorer and fully miserable if they were to survive. To go back to where we started, let us keep in mind that honesty always remains the best policy and that we should never do to others what we would not want others to do to us.
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.