The New Enlightenment
The New Enlightenment builds on the 18th century Enlightenment to build sustainable societies in which liberty can flourish and the people prosper.
The Republic's current efforts to promote diversity, at least in the short-term work to limit excellence. Often efforts to provide more "diverse" educational, social, and work environments lead to a lowering of standards. We see is in lowered requirements to graduate from high school and lower academic standards to get into colleges. The ostensible goal of "giving people a chance" while worthy takes the wrong approach. Rather than helping all citizens to compete to the best of their ability, these programs often act to inhibit competition and provide lower standards for certain groups while denying entrance to some who are fully competitive and qualified. The net effect is to lower standards, but perhaps more importantly, lower the drive to develop one's gifts to their potential and to destroy the quest for excellence.
Frankly, the results are painfully obvious in the statistics. America's ability to compete globally is dropping rapidly as shown in global statistics for educational ability and economic achievement. Perhaps the only area that has not been compromised is athletics, which perhaps the only area of life in America that has not been overly "dumbed down" to diversity. We will need to watch the effects of Title X, however, on men's athletic competitiveness as many boys sports programs are canceled to grow girl's programs.
The goal in athletic programs like all endeavors in the Republic should not be to constrain one group to grown another group. Rather, it should be to grow all groups and to provide individuals the ability to grow and successfully apply their talents.
The aims of the Civil Rights movement are correct: to ensure the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are extended to all citizens. However, the specific actions taken to achieve this objective are often counter-productive and serve to inhibit excellence rather than grow it. In the end, programs that allow people to succeed without working hard to develop their talents work to lower the overall productivity in society and dilute excellence.
To help foster excellence and to live up to the founding values, the Republic needs to have a far better mix of non-compulsory private programs and government support for true excellence in education and the maintaining of a safe environment and consistent rule of law that is, as the statue of Themis used as a symbol of justice shows, blind to the specific people involved and attuned to the facts and that weights them accurately and adjudicates them fairly.
Specific actions could include:
Any government programs to implement these actions must pass the critical tests of relevancy and end state described else where on this site. In addition, the funding should be revenue neutral as current ineffective programs are terminate, these new programs stand up.
As noted elsewhere, this program will require an educated and informed electorate that makes effective decisions and holds elected representatives accountable for their actions.
Secular Humanism is essentially a child of the Enlightenment. It is based upon rationalism, ethics and the idea that humans can be ethical and moral without resorting to a supernatural force to maintain order. While it is not necessarily atheistic or agnostic, it is often associated with a lack of a spiritual or religious belief. This precept comes directly from the rationalism and human liberty of the Enlightenment.
However, unbounded rationalism and a hyper sense of individual liberty can be just as destructive as tyranny: The French Revolution is an example of how it can go wrong. Humanity and humanism needs a balance. Hence Spiritual Humanism rather than secular humanism. Spiritual Humanism softens Secular Humanism was a sense of the Numinous and the interconnected nature of life.
Spirituality is not necessarily religiosity. While spirituality can encompass religion if an individual so desires, it is far more than a prescribed way of worshiping a deity. At its core, I think it is seeing the Numinous in all and understanding the connected nature of life. It may not involve "worship" at all. Rather, every act of life is a recognition of the Numinous and a transformation to allow the Numinous within a person to grow. Spiritual Humanism provides for a blending of a rational approach to life along with a recognition that while people are created equally, they are endowed with different gifts and burdens. Humanity must balance individual liberty and responsibility with a sense of social cohesion and a care for those that cannot care for themselves. It is rationality with intuition; self-interest with compassion, and an understanding that life is complex and we do not fully understand the pattern or all of the connections.
The combination of Excellence and Spiritual Humanism leads to Human Pontential. That is living to the best of our abilities and developing our individual gifts and talents to unlock our true potential and create a sustainable society that will "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".
The goal of Human Potential is to allow every citizen to fully develop their talents and be able to apply them in a productive manner that allows them to pursue happiness and prosperity and benefit society.