Since the Bush Darkness lent it’s Taint to Mainstream Conservatism, many of my Conservative friends have, sometimes unconsciously, attempted to distance themselves from that Taint.
It has become an unacknowledged Crisis on the Right…with many dabbling in Libertarian Political Theories, and in the Austrian Economics that goes with them.
Where these attempts seem to fail is in trying to hang on to some of the Mythos that entered the Conservative Mind, after Reagan….summed up with the saw,” All Government is Bad”.
This Philosophy has always had it’s inconsistencies, and contradictions…especially in Application.(I’m thinking, here, of the Small Government meddling in Drug Wars, and People’s Bedrooms…as well as the Belligerent Foreign Policy of Neoconservatives…and the Free Market Fundamentalism)
There has been much Theorising and Advocacy of certain Anarchic, and Voluntarianist, modes of Thought…again, relying on the saw:” All Government is Bad…Necessarily”. There are many Good Things, especially Good Sentiments, in these Modes of Thinking, but I believe they rely overmuch on Utopian, currently untenable, Assumptions.
I will here engage in a little Utopianism of my own…present my ideas of an Idealised Goal, that we can, perhaps, Aim Towards…which (I hope) encompasses all of these things, at least in Microcosm.
My answer to many of these Memes, regarding State Monopoly on Force, and an Out of Control Government…has been to retake Our Government, from them that stole it…namely Big business, and the Uberwealthy folks who hide behind them. What used to be called the Aristocracy.
I maintain that the System, that the Founders envisioned, is the Best Yet…for the first time in History, a Government built Of, By and For the People. Great Idea…I just think it needs an Update. We are still operating under 18th and 19th Century Mechanisms, in Government, and in Economics…and these Mechanisms have worked well…
However, it is now the 21st Century…We know a lot more about the World, and our Place in it…and our Systems are in Bad Need of Thoughtful Revision. But rather than Chuck the Whole Thing…we should take what is extant, and attempt to Make it Better.
I do not go there, Lightly.
….and, as all of my Thoughts on the matter are still taking shape, this will take the form of a Free Verse Brainstorm/Outline…
1. One, Glaring Problem: Our Government no longer Hears Us.
“My” US Congressman, “Represents” over 600,000 People….an Impossible Task. This, I believe Necessarily, leads to a pretty severe limitation on Which of his Constituents he can Listen To, on any given day.
Currently, largely due to the Current Media Paradigm, he must Listen to those with Money. I manage, on occasion, to get through the Paywall, and gain at least his Minion’s ears…perhaps due to my dramatic writing style,and pull-no-punches approach. My Policy is to Not Hold Back, when speaking to what I still consider My Employees.
I don’t think that this is conducive to Universalisation (Categorical Imperative), because he is, after all , One Man. It is unreasonable to expect him to Listen to 600,000 Folks, no matter his Intentions, or Integrity.
Thus, I have advocated a Smaller Polity…which means, I believe necessarily, More Representatives. Why must we stick to 435?
There are 3,033 Counties in the US. None are equal, population-wise…From Wiki,”County(US)”:” The most populous county is Los Angeles County, California, with an estimated population of 9,880,000 (2009 Census estimate), greater than all but eight U.S. states. The least populous is Loving County, Texas, with 82 residents as of 2010.”
As we do(somewhat badly,lol) with States, now…we could do with Counties…Proportional Representation. Loving County, Texas would have One…LA, perhaps 30+…details are not what I’m after, here. Ya get the Idea. Keep States, of course…but Use them as “Super-Polities”…like a Sub-Congress.
It should be possible to come up with a construction where Representation is , at least ,Possible…unlike our Current System.
Such a Construction could be Scalable, Fractally…I’m calling this HyperFederalism…Scalable, from Local to Regional to Federal, and ultimately,to Global.
The Purpose of the Fedgov would be as originally conceived…as a Fence, and a Floor. A Fence around Government…a True Limit to the Powers Given to each Level…
and a Floor, underneath We, the People…a Minimum Level of Freedom, below which it is the Business of the Fedgov to Prevent our falling. Expanded Bill of Rights, etc.
(We’ll get to “Defense”, later)
Today, I respect my Garbage Man, more than I do my Congressman.
That is almost as it should be…but not quite.
Representatives perform a necessary Service….as do Garbage Men…the Respect afforded to each should be more alike. Get rid of the Marble…get rid of the expectation of Respect, currently operative, usually without having Earned it.
The various Legislative(or as I envision:Overseer) Bodies should meet in a Pole Barn…or Circus Tent(so as to move around, affording Everyone Access)…not a Marble Hall. The Emphasis should be on Service…not Accolades and Unearned Respect, and Perks of Office.
They can have Respect when they Earn it from their Constituency…by Serving them….not as a Free Perk of merely gaining a seat.
As for the Myriad Polities….the Original Idea of Federalism was that the Various States would be Laboratories…where many different ways of Living Together could be tried, and then assessed…all with the Fence and Floor, rigorously Applied.
Too many things we do are Top Down…Centralised…One-Size-Fits All.
Mason County has little in Common with New York City…why should the same Overwhelming Mass of Laws apply Equally?
I propose a Universalising of the way Maryland is set up…the Counties are the Government, Overseen (and kept to minimum standards) by the State Government.
(See: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalism#Federalism_as_a_political_philosophy) and (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_No._39) and (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution)
2.there should be No Darkness , at any level of Government. Kill the CIA, et alia. If it is the Public’s Business, then the Public has an Inalienable Right to Know. No Secrets…No “Classified”.
If it’s something that would require Secrecy, it Likely shouldn’t be done, in the first place.
This will cause a hue and cry…but the perceived “Need” for all this Secrecy is based on Fear…and on Not being able to Make the Case.
The History of the CIA makes it pretty clear…the Secret Operations that they have engaged in, from Iran to Chile to Vietnam, to Afghanistan…every one of them, they feared telling the People(their Collective Bosses)…because they couldn’t justify such actions in Broad Daylight. This is inimical to a Free Society, and has led, as water flowing downhill, to Giant Abuses of the Public Trust, as well as the Public Purse.
(Defense is forthcoming, I promise…and fits in with this No Secrecy Thing)
The Result, on the Ground, of almost 100 years of State Secrets, is that the American People don’t know what to believe, any more…we are ripe for any Conspiracy Theory that comes along…we are more Gullible…more Credulous…than we should be….because it is so difficult to establish Truth. There are , undoubtedly, many Skeletons in Government’s Closet…and many folks fear these Relevations…
This is no excuse to continue. It is a Cowardly Answer.
No matter what the Truth is, the People will get used to it.
There will likely be Shock and Horror, at many things that have been done,”In Our Name”, as it were…but this shock will pass…and Truth should be the default Policy of any Government that claims to be Representative …of, by and for the folks.
Open ALL of the Books. Punish where necessary…allow amnesty for many…and Move On.
3. Corporations are Not People. They have become Artificial, Immortal Lifeforms, in their own right.
This is entirely due to the actions of Dysfunctional Government….and, as such, can be changed.
(see; (http://soundingcircle.com/newslog2.php/__show_article/_a000195-000205.htm) on Jefferson and Madison’s Eleventh Amendment)
Corporations, Monopolies…should be severely Limited in their scope, functions, powers and Lifespans. They should have nothing, whatever, to do with the making of Laws. They should have nothing, whatever, to do with Elections.
They have their Uses…but should be Limited to those Uses.
Why this is so hard to get across, I don’t know.lol.
Public Charters, Enforceable Globally. Ie; if your Company is Incorporated in Delaware, and violates it’s Charter in Irian Jaya, it’s up to the Fedgov…it’s OUR Collective Responsibility…to Go After it…and to force reparations on the injured party, be they naked savages, or more civilized folks.
There should be No, Zero, ability to “Socialise” Pollution, or any of the negative results of Corporate Activity.
Currently, we treat Corps like People, with all of the Rights, of actual people, but None of the Responsibilities.
A cursory glance at History, gives one an appreciation of our Faults and Shortcomings, as a Species. We are a Violently Passionate Bunch…with a penchant for Greed, and for self harm. We seem almost Suicidal, at times. The case is often made that this is “Human Nature”…however, are we really prisoners of Genetics?
That same glance at History, also reveals that much Progress has been made in Mitigating our more Violent Tendencies.
This Mitigation is largely the Product of the Enlightenment…and our recent regression into even more Warlike Behaviour, is due to our willing abandonment of the Enlightenment Project…willing, because we weren’t given all of the relevant Information. Certain sectors of Society Lied…plain and simple. The Avarice of those at the Top, and their unwillingness to Play Fair, led directly to the Lies and Obfuscations(see CIA, above) that have led us to all but abandon our upward Trend. The Fear is inherent in these Parasites. They Fear Competition…in the field of Ideas, as well as in the more Mundane Pursuits. Because of their Fear, which they are Loath to admit, they Lie, and convince the rest of us that the Lies are, instead Truth. This goes hand in hand with the Secrecy.
We should, instead, be Courageous in our dealings with the World, and with each other…and here, “Courageous” has nothing to do with the usual Chest Thumping Display(as anthropologists term it)…but with the Courage of our Convictions.
We are Not, any longer, the Shining Beacon on the Hill…but we could be , again.
I propose a Foreign Policy Stance of Reciprocity.
The Golden Rule, as Foreign Policy.
It takes more Courage than our current Fearful way.
…and I believe that it would make for a better world.
Keep the Dept of Defense…but gear it towards actual Defense, not our current Belligerence. Form a Department of Peace…why is that such a ridiculous idea?
Stop Meddling in other people’s business…often on the behalf of Corporate Greed. Our current Foreign Policy is built on, on the one hand, Fear that some bogyman is gonna come take all our Pie…and on the other(the bulk,imo), that Corporations “need” access to Raw Materials, and Markets, and Labour Forces…but they can’t seem to win these fairly, and based on their Merits…but, instead, must sneakily use OUR military, and CIA, to Force others to Comply.
This causes much Hatred of the US…which is used to Justify more Secrecy, more whittling away at our Rights, and More militaristic Adventurism. The Advocates of this mess Hide behind Patriotism, and Fear…and rely on the ignorance of the American People…an Ignorance that is essential to the continuation of this Morass…
Golden Rule, treat others as you wish to be treated. Don’t want to be invaded in the service of greed…don’t invade in the service of greed.
It’s really pretty simple. Those who holler loudest about this part…I challenge you to explain how I’m wrong. I submit that this very same Idea can be readily found in the words of our Founders.
5, Med and Ed
Medicine and Education should not be regarded as Commercial Activities, save in limited circumstances; one circumstance, in medicine, is vanity surgery. In education, I can’t think of anything that should be commodified…as an Educated Populace is essential to what I’m talking about.
The 2012 Texas Republican Platform says:” Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. “
I think this is Dangerous, Counterproductive and downright Stupid.
We need More Education…More Critical Thinking….More Thought and Reason. How anyone can argue against such things just blows my mind. More Ignorance and Stupidity is the last thing that we need.
We have , currently, a large portion of the population who believes a whole slate of things that are simply Untrue…and this is easily demonstrated….but our Habits of Mind have been so eroded, and poisoned…our sources of information so polluted… that we can’t tell, anymore, up from down.
I propose, if not as a Universal “Solution” at least as a Constituent Part of a Solution…a system of Guilds….Medical and Educational. Monastic, mostly Secular…but I see no problem with there being Religious Orders doing this, too(so long as they are not the Only Ones)…with an Emphasis, not on Profit, and on Getting Rich…but on Service…on Helping People. Wandering bands of Monks, engaged in the teaching of Chemistry, Agriculture, and whatnot…Other Wandering Bands of Monks, engaged in Health Care.
The Greed, and the Maintenance of that Greed, is what screws up Med and Ed, as we currently practice them.
Just a thought.
6. Relocalisation/Decentralisation/ Democratisation.
We must come to grips with the Reality of Too Many People on a Finite World. There is simply no room, any more, for the Rugged, Hyperindividualism of the Past. Resource Depletion is Real…it’s happening all around us…yet or Systems are all geared towards Infinite Growth.
I advocate “Responsible Enough-ness”…I eschew Conspicuous Consumption. Everywhere, we are encouraged(often unconsciously) to wear the Badges of Wealth on our sleeve….whether we possess wealth, or no. Zarathustra said, “Blessed be Moderate Poverty”….and I take it seriously.
One of the worst things that Reagan did was to make conspicuous consumption Honorable….and relegate a more responsible attitude regarding wealth to the fringes.The True American became a Teenager with a Big Car…We need to enter Adulthood, as a Species. There should be no perception that living within one’s means, however meager, is shameful. I do not “Need” a new car…I do not “need” a large house.I do not “Need” to keep up with the Joneses.
Wastefulness is not something we should be Proud of…Frugality and Responsibility are. These are all Human Creations…and, can thus be Changed. It ain’t set in stone, and we are not slaves to our DNA; Nor should we be slaves to the psychological Manipulations of Madison Avenue.
Government requires Taxation…Oliver Wendell Holmes summed it up, perfectly, for me:”I like paying taxes: they are the fee, whereby I purchase Civilisation”.
(paraphrasing, from memory)
That taxation should be Fair, Equitable and Transparent is Obvious, I think.
It, currently, is none of these things.
Today, the Rich get off all but scott-free…paying nothing for the maintenance of the Civilisation that they Enjoy. This leads to resentment…and hatred and class strife(just like Marx predicted).
Coupled with the aforementioned Secrecy, and the resulting Ignorance of Reality, many folks have joined in the calls for Zero Taxes…the Mythos that All Taxes are Bad…that goes hand in hand with All Government is Bad.
Education and Transparency can remedy much of this.
Getting the Parasitical Fed out of the Equation…be honest…it is run by, of and for the very Corporate Persons who have Stolen Our Country.(it ain’t “Federal”, or a “Reserve”). I won’t pretend to know what we should do about Money, Coinage, and the like…but fiat Paper and Debt Based Economics seem pretty dumb, when ya get down to it. A total reworking of our system of Values is in order.(a large task, indeed.)
I understand that much of this is Pie in the Sky-ism…that’s fine…and intentional.
We need such Thinking, to break out of our Mental Ruts…the assumption that This is How it Must Be.(TINA)
”Oh the Economy will Collapse!”….
As long as there are Humans, who have Needs and Wants, there will be an “Economy”.
I say, that there can be a Better one. That’s all…
That the way we do things, now, is wasteful, counterproductive, if not Unproductive…and has , as it’s Goal, the Maintenance of the Current Structures of Wealth and Power.
How many of you engage in so called “Busy Work”…Non productive paper pushing that does nothing but eat up time, that could be better spent, sitting in the Garden, Thinking?
There are many things that we foist off on virtual Slaves, in China and Bangladesh…that we could do ourselves…if we could, somehow , reorder our Perceptions and Thinking on what is “Good” and “Valuable’ and “Respected”.
I think, as a somewhat silly example, that Toilet Paper is a Good Thing.
Why do we Export the provision of such “Goods” to slave economies?
Is it not Honorable to Feed Ourselves, and Provide Ourselves with quality Bunghole Fodder?
How many currently “Unemployed” People….what some have termed “Surplus Labour”…how many could have respectable, gainful work, if we brought such Activity home?
We take much of our Systems…and the Reasoning behind them…for Granted….as Unexamined Assumptions. The effect, is that we run on Autopilot…and leave ourselves wide open for Tyrannical, Avaricious Parasites….waiting ,at the edge of all Human Endeavor, for Us to look away.
These are just things that I have been mulling over for some time…
We need, more than anything else, to Think, and to Talk…and to Reason Together.
To do otherwise, is to hand Our Future over to the Parasites who would Rule Us.