Just as fish swim in a vast ocean unaware of a completely different world outside their environment, we, too, swim in a vast ocean. Unaware of the nature of our environment due to long immersion in it, we assume this is the way things ought to be, rather than just the way we've come to accept them.
The ocean we swim in is the ocean of coercion. Coercion of others, coercion of ourselves. Coercion by government, by industry, by social institutions and by other individuals. Gross coercion inflicted through brute violence, suppression, strong-arming, and physical intimidation. Subtler forms of coercion of shaming, guilting, and the ostracizing of others simply by reason of their holding a different opinion.
Coercion has become just about the only tool in the toolbox for getting things done these days. Threaten incarceration; threaten a lawsuit; threaten to take children from parents; threaten to deplatform you; threaten to force you to choose between your job and accepting the injection of a substance you believe will be harmful to you; threaten to withhold the rewards of family harmony or friendship's quiet enjoyment.
How have we arrived at this state? While the individual always remains responsible for his or her own actions, there is no doubt a large measure of responsibility falls squarely on those in our social institutions: government, industry, entertainment and yes, even religion. Those who should be providing an example of reasonable and cooperative action based on honesty, true care for others and effective persuasion have plunged headlong into the trap of coercion to achieve their goals. They have been seduced by the lure of fast, tangible results they desire while ignoring the corrosive long-term effects such behavior from our cultural leaders will encourage among the general population.
They have failed. To repeat, they have failed. They have resorted to the most egregious forms of coercion of other societies while conditioning us to accept rank authoritarianism here at home in America. They are the antithesis of what we need today: a new model for the organization of society based on non-coercion, informed by transparent and full disclosure of all relevant facts, and animated by the voluntary association of like-minded people, while assuring those who peacefully disagree the same level of autonomy and freedom we demand.
Universal Intelligence has revealed this new truth, which is really a very old truth we simply have forgotten for a time. We offer non-coercion of others, and will accept nothing less than the same for ourselves. We demand full disclosure of all facts relevant to our decision-making in every area of our life. Our beliefs require us to extend to others that same right, so that they may be fully informed and base their voluntary association, whether personal, commercial or other, within a context truthfully arrived at.
Establishment of Religion is an underlying truth familiar to all of the great world religions. It says we cannot be fully human, and participate in healthy societies, until we have purged coercion of others from our character and resisted every effort to coerce us or others. As the servant of We the People, we do not ask government to grant the cessation of coercion; we confidently say we will not participate in the coercion they wish to promote. We do not petition industry, or entertainment, to do better in promoting the principle of peaceful cooperation. We simply will not support businesses that promote or glorify coercion or violence as legitimate behavior in anything other than appropriate self-defense.
When carefully examined, it can be shown everything from simple moral precepts such as, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," to the prohibitions of criminal law may usefully employ the principle of non-coercion. It is the Universal Solvent of human conflict and the sure path to a society that values productive cooperation, inclusiveness of alternate viewpoints, and the ratcheting down of violence of all types in our relationships with others.