Factfulness and the Rule of Law

An Evolving Poly- Eco- Yoga Humanifesto, from Pegasus at the Balance

Tenth Deep Breath

Yogis of the world unite and take your yoga off the mat and into the wider world!!

Today I’m remembering a conversation I had with a yoga practitioner and lawyer of my acquaintance before I left Texas. She is a well-respected family law attorney and lives on protected farm and ranch acreage west of Austin with her retired psychoanalyst husband. I knew them both as yoga students. Now I consider them friends.

During our discussion, she noted that what concerned her most is the lack of respect in our local, state and federal courts for the rule of law. It has been so consistently, frequently and thoroughly disrespected, she said, that it looks as though it no longer holds any moral ground for us. The nation’s last seven years (and counting) of inability to have meaningful political dialogue in Washington, let alone in our communities, has left a lot of us with deep concern about the future.

Good news, though. When we have the facts at hand and stop judging each other about strongly held religious beliefs (the country was FOUNDED on religious freedom for all), we are less likely to remain stonewalled in our discussions. Climate change has been a big stumbling block, as has gun control and women’s ability to have agency over their own bodies.

When we are faced with numbers and facts about these issues, we have strength to back up our points of view. Yesterday I picked up Hans Rosling’s book “Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world and why things are BETTER than you think.” Seeing his colorful graphs of population numbers, women’s education, and poverty levels (among other metrics) worldwide has given me hope that indeed, giant steps have been taken toward improving the quality of life for millions of people on the globe. I HEARTILY RECOMMEND READING THIS BOOK!

When we are provided with honest facts and numbers about migrants, for example, or quality of life outcomes for women who are allowed choice about unintended pregnancies, we can see that much of what is claimed about these two issues is fear-based. Religious beliefs are also a factor in peoples’ stances on these issues, yet freedom of religion and freedom FROM other people’s religions is a founding principle of our nation.

Most of all, the rule of law ideally should govern the behavior of the people who serve as judges on our courts, municipal, county, state and federal. I think we have at least three Supreme Court justices who when questioned at hearings before their appointment to the bench claimed that they would follow “stare decisis” and uphold the rule of law. They basically blatantly lied that they would follow the precedent of earlier decided cases. As it turns out, their word was not to be trusted.

The rule of law can be a subject for discussion, as we can see when people debate the meaning of the second amendment. Having read the work of legal scholars on this topic, I can say that it’s manifestly clear to me that “the framers” had a militia in mind when they wrote that amendment, not young people with mental problems.

It’s plain to me that we simply cannot hope for a civil society based on the rule of law when fear-mongering and lying bring discussions to an emotional point of no return. The sentence that has been repeating itself in my head for over 20 years is: “We can do so much better” (if we just listen to each other and proceed democratically with plans for the way forward based on facts).

…to be continued, please weigh in. The Yoga Humanifesto is at its halfway point. There is more to come.

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