Whether we consider ourselves religious or atheist or neither, we are nonetheless spiritual human beings. We experience a physical body, feelings, thoughts, and spiritual impulses. Many deny their spiritual impulses from time to time, but those impulses are present inside us ... and when we are honest we admit to them.
It is our spiritual nature which moves us to do marvelous things. We might be moved to write a wonderful novel, discover a cure for cancer, be a good mother, build a business that produces goods, or rescue a little animal who is trapped. Maybe we are moved to do something we can't even see the value of at first, but we do it because something deep inside us tells us it is right for us to do. That something deep inside us is our spiritual nature.
It is our spiritual nature which speaks to us from deep within saying, "We are all in this together ... every living being. What is truly good for one is good for all. What is truly good for all is good for one."
It is our spiritual nature which also says deep inside us, "It is I who will show you what is truly good."
OUR THINKING MIND CANNOT SHOW US WHAT IS TRULY GOOD
Our thoughts are based on limited information and limited perception. In order to make a correct intellectualized judgment as to what is truly good, we would have to be 100% completely aware of an inconceivably wide range of factors; past, present, and future. We would need to have certain advance knowledge of all the effects of our judgment on everyone and everything. We would have to be absolutely sure that we didn't have the slightest slanted angle of perception.
Who could possibly have this magnitude of information? Who except in the height of fantasy could imagine themselves to have such a totally all-seeing and all-knowing viewpoint? How many times have we been so thoroughly sure we knew the facts upon which to base correct judgment, only to find out later how wrong we were?
Because philosophers and lawyers are just like ourselves, subject to limited information and limited perception, neither can we rely on even the most scholarly who use the best intellectual reasoning to help us discover what is truly good.
OUR EMOTIONS CANNOT SHOW US WHAT IS TRULY GOOD
Our emotions are brought about by our thoughts and ideas. Since our thoughts are based on very limited information and a very limited viewpoint, so are our emotions. Should our thoughts not serve us well, neither will our emotions serve us well, even unto breakdown.
OUR PHYSICAL BODY CANNOT SHOW US WHAT IS TRULY GOOD
Our physical body is literally only a servant doing the bidding of our thoughts and feelings and spiritual impulses. Would a man ever risk bodily danger for a higher good if his body was his guide?
ONLY OUR SPIRITUAL NATURE CAN SHOW US WHAT IS TRULY GOOD
Our spiritual nature on the other hand, because it is shared with every living being, knows what is truly good for all. Our spiritual nature is present inside us to influence, teach, and guide our thoughts, emotions, and physical body. Whether or not we listen inside ourselves to our spiritual nature is another story, but our spiritual nature is inside us waiting to be heard.
In any situation, if we quiet our thoughts, quiet our emotions, quiet the urges of our body, and listen inside ourselves to our spirit, we know what is the truly right thing to say or do. We don't need a legislator, or philosopher, or psychologist, or political correctness detective, or church authority of any kind to tell us what is right. If we are honest with ourselves, we know the answer is inside of us. Our spirit is our guide.
THE BEGINNINGS OF LAW
We don't always listen inside to our spirit, do we? Maybe sometimes we listen to our thoughts, emotions, or even the urges of our body, instead of listening to our spirit. Does our spirit know we are not going to always listen deep inside? Of course. Our spirit knows about human shortcomings and mistakes.
So our spirit says, "Here ... in case you forget to listen inside yourself, I'll let you know in advance that I am never going to guide you to murder, nor am I ever going to guide you to commit adultery, nor am I ever going to guide you to steal, nor am I ever going to guide you to bear false witness against your neighbor. If you want to, you can call these laws."
Thus laws are born. In the beginning, laws are born of our spirit ... as reminders.
LAWS NOT OF THE SPIRIT
After a long time, when the beginning has been forgotten, many, many laws are born not of our spirit, but of the egos of men and women.
Therein lies the first and main reason why governments, legislatures, and laws should always be suspect. They may not be in rapport with the spiritual nature inside of men and women. They may be instruments of men and women's egos and not instruments of our spirit.
GOVERNMENT GUIDED BY THE SPIRITUAL NATURE
Yet the spiritual nature of men and women could move them to set up a government, true or false? Listen inside, not to your intellect. Does your spirit inside say yes or no?
How many laws would a government need if it was based on men and women's spiritual nature? Three? Five? Ten, like the ten commandments? Probably very few, wouldn't you say? Listen inside and see what you hear.
How many laws would it take to assure that you would be a good citizen even if you didn't listen inside to your spirit at all times? A half-dozen basic laws having to do with stealing, murdering, raping ... that sort of thing? Or would it take 25 or 30 good laws written as basic principles to remind you? Listen inside to your spirit.
Would it take hundreds of thousands of pages of tax codes and regulations to make you a good citizen? Listen inside. What is your spirit saying?
NO NEED FOR A LEGISLATURE
So why not write up a constitution that outlines 25 or 30 good laws in basic principle and creates only two branches of government, the judiciary and the executive to make sure these few good laws are followed?
Another branch of government to invent new laws is not only unnecessary, but practically assures deviation from your original intent, true or false? Because if you set up a branch of government whose purpose is to make new laws, then when those law makers come to work in the morning, in order to feel good about themselves doing their job they are going to want to do what? Yes ... they are going to want to make up new laws.
What if no new laws are needed? No matter. Those law makers get paid to invent laws and they are going to want to do their job, right?
So if you are listening carefully inside yourself to your spirit you will hear that it doesn't take a lot of laws to keep you reminded to be a good citizen and once those basic few laws are identified you don't need a legislature making up new laws.
GOVERNMENT PROJECTS MOST PEOPLE WANT
But what about all the good things that governments claim they do? Let's look at building interstate highways, for example. Let's listen inside and see if your spiritual nature wants you to have interstate highways built by your government? Do you hear "yes"? Does that seem to be a good idea to your spirit? If so, now listen inside for a "yes" or "no" answer to these questions: Do you need a legislature to build an interstate highway? Do you need new laws to build an interstate highway? No. All you need is an executive branch which is given the authority to spend money for the projects earmarked by people when they voluntarily send in their dollars.
Suppose the executive branch of government broadcasts a notice that says, "All those in favor of interstate highways, please send in your money voluntarily and it will be earmarked for interstate highways." Your spiritual nature would not be offended by such a notice, true or false? Listen inside. For a little while, suspend any intellectual arguments your mind wants to make as to why such a system would be difficult to make work. Maybe it wouldn't. Maybe it would. Your intellect couldn't possibly know because it doesn't have all the information it would need to make a judgment. For the moment, just listen inside and see if your spirit would be offended by such a notice.
No, your spirit is not offended. Why? First, because your spirit lit up at the thought of interstate highways, so interstate highways must be serving the common good. Second, and very important, your spirit is not offended by voluntary donations. Nobody is being forced against their will to pay for the highways.
YOUR SPIRITUAL NATURE DOES NOT USE FORCE
But what if the executive department of the government tried to force people to pay taxes to pay for the highways? Now your spirit might be offended, might it not? Because your spirit doesn't ever force you to be good or do good things. Your spirit suggests. Your spirit guides. Your spirit urges. Your spirit might even give you a very strong nudge in some direction if it is really important. But your spirit doesn't force you, does it? Your spirit leaves you free to make mistakes and learn from your mistakes.
Any proper government, guided by your spiritual nature, would leave you free to make mistakes and learn from your mistakes just as your spirit leaves you free, true or false? Listen inside.
Would your spirit ever guide you to use force? Yes, it may so guide you in certain situations. Your spirit might say inside of you, "It is wrong for that bully to be beating up on those kids! Go stop him!" You could very well be guided to use force to stop someone when that someone is breaking one of the basic spiritual laws, true or false?
The same principle applies to governments. Your spiritual nature would not be offended if your government used force to stop someone from breaking the basic spiritual laws. In fact, your spirit might rejoice when force is used in this manner. Putting a stop to, let's say, a neighboring dictator's brutal initiation of force would be a spiritually appropriate response. For this reason you feel deep inside yourself that the establishment of responsive armies and police departments is moral, as long as there are safeguards against the abuse of power.
A THIRD BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT
What if the executive branch of your government began to use force not to stop others who had initiated force in the first place, but to further the ego-vested interests of men and women in positions of executive power? Or what if the judiciary branch of your government began to make judgments based not on the spiritual intent of the basic laws, but based on the ego-vested interests of men and women in positions to render ego-motivated judgments? In other words, what if your government started abusing its power?
Your inner voice, the voice of your spirit, might guide you thus: "In the hopes of guarding against the abuse of power, set up a third branch of government made up of elected representatives whose sole purpose is to monitor the activities of the other two branches of government to make sure they are not straying from their original mandates. Call this third branch of government ‘Congress,' if it pleases you. But, like the executive and judiciary branches of government, this third branch would have no power to make new laws. This third branch of government would only serve as auditor of the other two branches of government and as a 'Watchdog of Liberty'."
But a watchdog has a bite as well as a bark, true or false? So this third branch of government would be given authority to dismiss the officials who are abusing power and oversee their replacement through specified processes. Members of this third branch of government would not get bored from lack of work. They would be auditing everything the other two branches of government were doing, making sure there were no abuses.
YET ANOTHER SAFEGUARD
Remember, your spiritual nature is interested in you having a system of government which closely approximates the freedom that your spirit itself enjoys. If your government, which was created in the first place for the convenience of your spirit, began to take away freedoms that would rightly be yours if there were no government, then that government is no longer serving your spirit. So your spirit favors safeguards, true or false?
What if a particular political party became very adept at selling itself to the public and won effective control of all three branches of your government? Your spirit would see a problem with such a setup, true or false? Your spirit inside of you doesn't say, "The more the government is being controlled by one party, the better." Your spirit inside of you says, "The more safeguards against power accumulation, the better."
So in your original constitution you would be guided to include a clause that specifies that if a particular political party and its allies dominate the auditor/watchdog branch of government, then the executive branch of government must be operated by members of a different and opposing political party. The mechanisms for resignations and replacements of officials would be spelled out in your constitution.
Your spirit wants liberty safeguarded with as many safeguards as possible, because freedom is who you are in spirit. Freedom is your spiritual birthright. Your spirit wants to be free and be in control of your life, not be dampened and controlled by the egos of others. Your spirit works to free you of pain, sickness, suffering, and death; and bring you the experience of happiness, and joy, and love. But your spirit needs freedom to do its work. A little bit of government is helpful and guided by your spirit. But a government that does not enhance your freedom cannot be tolerated by your spirit, true or false?
The device which more deeply prepares freedom lovers for success, A Course in Miracles , talks about our ultimate need to free ourselves from every kind of slavery:
You have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of your self, the little thought that seems split off and separate, that the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping, and needs no guide. But this wild and delusional thought needs help, because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.
Available free of charge online:
Course in Political Miracles
11 January 2008