At Fairfield University my negotiation teacher was the late Jesuit Priest, John Smotzer, PH.D. a native of Kosice, Czechoslovakia in the Carpathian Mountains. He was a brilliant advocate of the use of enlightened self-interest, and felt it best served humanities interest. Father Smotzer life is recorded in the Yale, 'Holocaust Library' having saved hundreds of Jewish lives in WW II, by refusing the SS Arrowhead entry into his Church where they were in hiding. He told me that the thing that saved his life was that Russian artillery was heard in the distance, which made the SS Arrowhead worry that dealing with the situation might be too time consuming, and they would be overrun by Russian Infantry. Rev. John Smotzer later in his life was incarcerated by the Chinese Communist for his Church work in China for many years before being released. His release from Chinese captivity was announced over the BBC and he was soon enrolled at Georgetown for his PH.D. in government.
I tell you of the man’s history to make an obvious point, Rev. Smotzer, who could speak five languages fluently, had an enormous amount to teach. And concerning the use of enlightened self interest as the beacon that could keep a society and an individual on track here’s what he had to say, “When individuals act according to precepts based on the pursuit of enlightened self interest, they become reliable generators of good works for all of society.” Trust me the Rev.made it very clear that greed and solely focusing on self interests, were not
necessary very enlightened approaches to life at all. Instead mere self serving needed to give way to an understanding of the role we can play as a citizen and a member of the community of human kind. Like Socrates who he admired greatly he felt that ‘good works’ were best defined in what made a life of service important to both one’s own self-interest, and the interests of our fellows or ‘Community’.
So this man who had confronted both Nazi and Communist tyranny clearly understood the worth of free and open elections, where the vote was sacrosanct and revered as the people’s beacon of light to the leadership on how to follow their wishes as a Community. It certainly didn’t include Parliamentary machinations that dulled the intentions of citizens who had cast their ballots in a free election. This is what is so troubling to me about the whole ‘Coalition' government concept that Gov. Cuomo has put into place with behind the scenes machinations. It clearly isn't in the wishes of Democratic voters in the State of New York. They've had their Democratic Majority taken away from them, even after electing a Majority of Democratic Senators to Albany, NY. The Voter’s wishes are clearly being usurped by ‘Coalition' government, as they see a majority of elected Democratic Senators, stripped of their right to participate equally in the Majority, to work as that recognized majority in passing Gov. Cuomo’s legislative agenda. Gov. Cuomo has failed to pursue his own enlightened self-interest, by undermining the 'Community' and their right to a Democratic Majority in the NYS Senate. Gov. Cuomo by doing so undermined the rights of NYS Democratic Voters. He must rethink this now or assume the mantle of an unenlightened leader. To Socrates that was the worst failure of any Prince.
Mike Flynn ‘Middle Class Mike’