Issues of import to our community present a great challenge, especially in fostering fair and fruitful conversations and decision making when good people disagree and passions are high. At the Agora Foundation we strive to support civil exchange in our community through our seminars, panels, videos, and writing. Having explored and discussed the writings of great thinkers throughout history and geography, especially those who have wrestled with political and moral decisions, we offer these guideposts for our Ojai Valley leadership, and hope it will influence their decision-making and action:
Philosophical Dimension -
1) Am I treating others the way I want to be treated?
2) Am I acting is such a way that I would will my act to be a law for all people?
3) Can I state, clearly and distinctly, how my action appeals to reason?
4) Have I sought facts pertaining to my action in every reasonable way?
5) Have I sought out contrary opinions and really listened, prepared to change my mind if moved to?
Practical / Social Dimension -
6) Do I believe that the end of my action is worthy of concerted effort?
7) Is there historical precedent that my action produces the desired effect?
8) Is my action unbiased, sustainable, and inclusive?
9) Does my action map to generally accepted moral practice?
10) Does my act have the potential to uplift humanity?
Political Dimension –
11) Am I acting for the common good, with goodwill toward all involved?
12) Am I deciding what is best for my constituents, even though a large portion have declared their interest in the opposite way of my intention?
13) Does my act apply the rules to everyone consistently?
14) Does my action benefit the greatest number of people?
Psychological Dimension -
15) Have I asked myself, alone and facing the mirror, why I am pursuing this action?
16) Might I be self-deceived?
17) Have I been convinced in the past that I was right, later to be proven wrong? How is this time different?
We hope that as our elected officials move through difficult decisions (and 2023 has begun dramatically), they can pause, reflect on some of these criteria, soul search, and listen to each other and to their communities. And we, as a community, can do our part to support goodwill, reason, patience, and civility in return.