Can’t Get Any Simpler

for understanding a truly just approach to governing governance

Stephen Yearwood
2 min readMar 29, 2024
Photo by Kalea Morgan on Unsplash

[This is a (very slightly edited) copy of a Reply to an article here in Medium by Matthew.]

So religion — faith — is a form of immaterial, personal truth after all. So is any secular belief, such a belief in the moral equality of all people or a belief in the existence of ‘Natural Rights’ or ‘Human Rights’, with no reference to any sacral thing, such as God.

Meanwhile, we live together in geopolitical groups (nations, states/provinces, cities/towns, etc.). Such groups require governance. All forms of governance exhibit some organizing principle, even if it is only ‘rule by the most ruthless’. Just governance requires some ‘higher’ principle, one that constrains everyone, to include, as former President (W.) Bush would say, the “deciders,” those in the offices of government — and for that matter would determine the structure and sanctioned functioning of the political process (of which the offices of government are its functional core) and the economy.

To apply to all, that principle must be universal. Any belief could be universal. There is no belief that is universal, that all people hold in common. The only commonality we humans share is our experience of material existence.

Even there, differences do arise. Yet, there are some experiences of material existence that all people do share in common. One is the fact of human existence that we have no choice but to effect choices, i.e., choose among perceived alternatives and take action to bring that choice to fruition.

That makes choosing integral to being human. So, we have there the starting point for a truly universal ethic to govern the governance of any community, however large/complex or simple/small it might be.

if interested in more:

Alright, Already” (“18 min read”) in which effecting choices, including its ethical impetus, is explored in somewhat more detail and the ethic that follows from it is applied to personal conduct as well as the structure and functioning of the political process and the economy

Dr. Giles and Me (again)” (“5 min read”) in which, specifically, a belief in equality, which has historically underlain democracy (and a belief this author shares), is shown to be inadequate as the source of an organizing principle for a just society

Reply to Sam Young” (“14 min read”) in which the philosophical derivation of this approach to an ethic for governing governance is related in detail

An Idea That’s Time Has Come?” (“11 min read”) in which respect for others (in some form) as the ethic of justice is considered in a historical context, in particular its relation to liberty

the economics of it: “Economic System Not the Problem” (“22 min read”)

(all linked articles are here in Medium, but not behind the paywall)



Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice