A New Social Contract
We need a common social contract that informs all other contracts. A contract that can be recognized by children, presidents, corporations, common wisdom, local custom and international law.
The contract must be so basic that it can be understood by anyone over the age of three. The contract must encourage every human being, group and institution to respect one's self, others and place on earth at all times to the best of their abilities.
There are many barriers to such a universal contract. All over the world, there are individuals who, probably both by nature and by nurture, are compelled by selfishness and greed. Many leaders, big and small, all over the world, fit into that category, using their power only to obtain wealth and power for themselves.
The minds of many are ravaged by addictive disease, and others by severe psychiatric illness. Much of the world's population is illiterate or poorly educated. Xenophobia, or fear of strangers, is a common human trait. Intolerance of all types abounds.
Although we have traveled with these stubborn conudrums of human nature and society since the beginning of recorded history, we can no longer survive without acknowledging that they are herding us to the abyss.
Like an alcoholic taking the famous first step to recovery, we must admit that the problem is ourselves. If we don't admit that, talk about it, think about it, promote it, research it, understand it and overcome it, then we are doomed.
We will never be able to solve all the complex issues surrounding violence and waste, unless we first solve the universal problem of disrespect that keeps us from solving anything else. Respect is the central issue that defines all others. We cannot wait any longer to recognize this.
To quote one of the great Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships -- the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together, in the same world, at peace."