Mar 23, 2009

What an Edanian Looks Like

While there are a lot fewer Edanins today then there were a decade ago, we soldier on. The biggest reason that Edan was made smaller, quieter, and more private was that the King realized that most micronations do thinks in the wrong order. In the military this is called 'Ready, Fire, Aim!' thinking. HRM Richard stopped and decided to make the road, then travel down it.

As the last article stated, the Kingdom of Edan was made for a reason, which is;

The purpose of the Kingdom of Edan is to create a sovereign nation whose culture, laws, and values lead to individual and community actions that further the weal of the Kingdom and its citizens while also promulgating those same laws, values, and resultant culture. ... the goal of the Kingdom of Edan is to build, maintain, and spread a just and moral civilization.
The next step is to discuss Edanians, the people of which the Kingdom is made. All Edanians will share certain traits, especially at first. The first thing that makes Edanians different is that they want to belong; after all, micronations are something people want to belong to. Since Edan has the requirement of an oath of allegience rather than automatic citizenship, this will never change; all Edanians will be volunteers.

This means that every Edanian wants the same thing - to build a better country. The way that you do this is to start with the citizens.

The constitution was the first thing made for two simple reasons; 1) it defines the nation, allowing potential citizens to understand Edan quickly and 2) it exists to protect Edanians. Indeed, Edanians don't swear to uphold the Constitution - the King does. That is because the Constitution is the King's oath to the people that he will never become a tyrant.

The next thing we need are citizens. What are we looking for in a citizen? Well, someone who agrees with the idea of a constitutional Catholic monarchy based upon Distributist ideals, naturally. Someone willing to wirk at building something new. And someone willing to build a virtuous nation.

There is a concept that you don’t hear much about anymore; civic virtue. Heck, virtue in general is seen as a quaint, obsolete idea. But these two closely linked but distinct ideas, virtue and civic virtue, are as critical today as ever. Indeed, they are the center of the idea of Edan.

The simple definition of "virtue" is ‘ a character trait that is inherently good’, so that developing and holding these traits is something that makes a person better than they would otherwise be.

The Four Cardinal Virtues are Prudence, Temperance, Courage, and Justice. While I grew up hearing of these traits (for all his faults, my father is of the Greatest Generation, after all), they are so outrĂˆ today that many don’t know what they mean.

‘Prudence’ is not caution (although that is the usual modern meaning) or timidity – it means ‘sound judgment’, the ability to distinguish between acting with courage and acting recklessly, for example. Prudence is seen not as action, but the knowledge and wisdom that guides actions.

‘Temperance’ is usually seen as another word for ‘moderation’, but it is more. It really means ‘moderation through control of the self’. The ability to control oneself is a key element of acting virtuously. After all, a person with the prudence to know which actions are proper and which are immoral but without the self-control to avoid the immoral in favor of the good cannot act in a proper manner. Temperance is seen as guiding not just eating, drinking, and sex, but also the choice of words and courses of action.

‘Justice’ is the impartial treatment of all individuals, regardless of race, creed, or origin, and thereby according them what they actually deserve. This is not some blanket ‘everyone is OK’ PC tolerance concept. Justice encompasses punishment as well as reward, rejection as well as acceptance. A stranger is judged by his actions, not the color of his skin – but if his actions merit punishment, then the color of his skin is no shield against justice. This is also true of gender, religion; you name it.

The fourth cardinal virtue is Courage. ‘Courage’ means the trait of acting in a moral manner in the face of fear. Regardless of shame, pain, loss, or death, the courageous man acts properly.

These virtues are Cardinal because they are each necessary for the others; without prudence, you cannot know when or how to act; without courage, you will not act when it is risky (and moral behavior is almost always risky); etc. In short, you either have them all, or you effectively have none of them.

The ancient Greeks, especially Socrates, identified these virtues and their central, critical role is moral life and it was soon assumed by his intellectual heirs to be proven that these virtues were key to living a proper, moral life. Thus, these virtues form the foundation of the concepts ‘good’ behavior.

This brings us to the Civic Virtues. Where the Cardinal Virtues are seen as the elements that make a person’s own life worthwhile, the Civic Virtues are the elements that make a person a good citizen and the building blocks of a good society. In other words, just as the Cardinal Virtues make you an objectively good person, Civic Virtues build an objectively good society.

There is some debate on exactly what is meant by ‘civic virtue’, with some arguing that it means simply to be involved in the community, or even to send our children to public school. In the end, however, the definition of ‘Civic Virtue’ boils down to the core concepts that each individual has a duty to society as a whole and that this duty is to act in a moral, selfless manner.

The fascinating thing about civic virtue is that it is a virtue of individuals, not the group; it is not about the government helping the people or forcing certain activities with laws, but about individuals placing the common good above their own narrow interests of their own free will.

Why would someone do that? Why would anyone reject their own narrow interests and voluntarily restrict their own free willfor the 'common good'? Two reasons, really. The first is the idea summed up in the phrase 'a rising tide lifts all boats'. If the society as a whole is doing better, every person within that society is also seeing their overall life improve. The second is much more direct. That is the fact that the Cardinal Virtues show that Civic Virtue is a good. This means that if you are living a prudent, temperate, just, courageous life you will embrace civic virtue for its own sake.

Further, we must remember the admonition; "'Freedom' does not mean the liberty to do whatever you want, 'freedom' means the liberty to do what you ought".
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