Good Governance: Finding the Right Balance of Subjectivity and Objectivity

Religions all over the world constitute what we call belief systems.

The freedom to believe whatever you want is both a right and a privilege of living in a free society. That’s a good thing.

Consider, however, that if you believe something that’s part of a religious philosophy, and someone else has a different religion and different philosophy, and there’s another person with a different one over here, and another over there… there are going to be quite a few opinions (all biased) about the ins and outs of life will exist. You’re still free to believe what you want, no matter what others believe. And they’re still free to believe what they want.

But all that diversity tells us: it is unstable, even untenable, to build public or generally-applicable structures (like, say, government) on any one belief system.

What you want to operate by are objectively–verifiable truths, around which we can all gather and agree. That’s what you build economic systems on, governments on, any organization comprised of or seeking to contain many individuals.

Once you have sound objectives, then everyone can go to their mosque or their church or nowhere, and carry on. People can believe whatever they want, but have a sold sense of what it means to be a citizen of the larger body which contains them all.

When you look at all of the belief systems, you’ll notice they’re all convinced they’re right. And with equal, competing fervor.

With that, they become incompatible, at-odds.

They all claim to be truth, but none can be verified over another or prove the others wrong. So, whatever they’re believing, it can’t be taken as truth that applies to everybody.

Something that CAN be applied to everyone is what allows the panoply of beliefs: the freedom to believe whatever one wants.

That’s why the U.S. was not founded on religion. In fact, the Constituion protects people from it with measures like The Establishment Clause, and provides protections for peoples’ freedom to choose what to believe in with The Free Exercise Clause.

The founding fathers knew what power religion has over people, and how governments could persecute people using religious justification. So, they gave religion no place in legislation.

To govern by dogma would be a brand of one-sidedness that has no place in a free & open democracy.

This isn’t a democracy…

Organizations have to govern, in a sense. But they are unique in the sense that they have the capacity for “self-expression,” that is, organizations are created for a reason, based on a mission, etc.

This allows them, unlike governments, to adhere to certain belief systems because membership or participation in them is not mandatory or all-encompassing. The Salvation Army & Chick-Fil-A can be as religious as they want, because everyone is not forced to work there, customers can choose to go there, people have freedom to associate or not to asssociate with them. Same goes for secular or non-affiliated organizations.

However, organizations that want to welcome diversity and incorporate different people do have to take seriously the message about what it means to be a ciiftzen of their world. Mission statements help clarify. Well-worded statements of values or codes of ethics. Leadership that set an example.

They all help set the tone and express the culture of their organization.

If an organization wants to purposefully exclude people, it can (and probably will) take a stance and express its culture in a very limited way. It will be clear who and what is or is not welcome within its ranks. The same applies to accidental exclusion, without purposeful attention to being accessible to many.

Organizations that want to be open and available to people of different walks of life will seek higher principles, first principles, and to be as encompassing as possible.

Being guided by larger principles will allow a vast array of people to connect & find commonality & participate. Think of it as Organizational Objectives. It can be as simple as saying, “Here, we are honest.”

Even more, having a statement that says, “Here, we value integrity, and know that anybody can embody that principle. We look to achieving our goals, and let results guide our determination of success.” Then, they’d want to lay out the desired results to those who choose to become part of the team.

That points back to the organization’s purpose and mission, leaving the door open for anyone who wants to participate.

Stay tuned because I have a post about what it means for people to not only be included, but the implications of feeling considered.