Review: All Rise–Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Education (General)

All RiseManfiesto for Transpartisan Democracy and Moral Capitalism,

April 20, 2007

Robert W Fuller

Over the many years, roughly 3,000 books of which 850+ have been reviewed here at Amazon, with a few exceptions all of the authors at the top of their game, I have never encountered a book quite so straight-forward or quite so vital to our future. At 54, I simply did not understand the fundamentals of “all men are created equal” until this author pointed me to the one word I was missing: “dignity.”

This book is nothing less than revolutionary, nothing less than the manifesto for the new politics of transpartisanship and being developed by Don Beck and Jim Turner and Reuniting America (80 million strong and growing).

At the very highest level, the author suggests that “rankism” or the abuse of rank, not to be confused with the proper use of rank and authority for the good of the group, is an umbrella term that encompasses racism, sexism, fascism, and even (I add) fundamentalism that excludes “the others” and offers an almost cult-like sense of belonging to the “initiated.” We are all in this together, and with one word, DIGNITY, the author has completely shredded all excuses for abusing others, and opened the door for a new politics of one for all and all for one. The Republican and Democratic parties are, in my personal view, toast. Not their individual candidates, mind you, but the two parties, both of which violated their Article 1 responsibilities for keeping the White House in check, both of which have treated “the other” party as the enemy, with arrests, venomous attacks, slander, and other monstrous behavior.

Norman Cousins and his book, “The Pathology of Power” is still the best all-around dissection of the corrupt nature of unchecked power, but this book is in my view the single best lifeline for those who would seek to embrace bottom-up power, the power of the We, the Us, the collective intelligence of everyone from janitor to Epoch B swarm leader.

As an intelligence professional, and as an estranged moderate Republican who did what he could to oppose the war on Iraq based on lies from Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, I found the author to be utterly compelling and relevant when he reviewed how rankism silences or ignores dissent, and consequently leads to disaster. His examples are brilliant, from the shuttle disasters to nuclear power plant short-cuts that have almost led to Chernobyl-level melt-downs in the USA.

Bottom line: the dignitarian approach dramatically increases the chances that we will get a particular policy or budget or process RIGHT.

The author teaches us that insulting behavior from above is a precursor to exclusion, abuse, and I would add, genocide–see the work of Dr. Greg Stanton on the web. Isolating any one group is the first step in making them “sub-human” and thus acceptable as targets for mass murder.

I worked hard in the 1980's to shift the US Government away from its focus on military hardware geared to the Soviets and Chinese, and toward what General Al Gray, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, called “peaceful preventive measures.” I am warmed and impressed as this author makes the point that “dignity for all” is the ONLY “pre-emptive” strategy that will work both at home and abroad. See my reviews of “Class War,” “Working Poor,” “Rogue Nation,” “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and “The Soul of Capitalism” for a broader understanding of how all that our American leaders are disgracing America and making us less safe.

The author tells us that DIGNITY respects every contribution at every level. From this I take dignity to be the foundation for TRANSPARTISANSHIP, which embraces all individuals while recognizing that “Unity08” like the takeaway of the debates from the League of Women Voters, is a thinly guised effort to keep the two-party spoils and pork system alive.

The author teaches us that dogma is neither dignified nor sacrosanct. It is the opposite of dignity.

The author devotes an entire chapter to the importance of creating new models of understanding, something that humans are uniquely qualified to both do, and communicate and discuss.

He teaches us that humility is essential to an open mind, and essential to successful leadership. I fear that I have been lacking in this area my entire life, but now I embrace this term and am moving forward.

The author equalizes the role of the experts (who we learn are wrong 45% of the time in “The Wisdom of the Crowd” and the end-users, the citizens.

The author brings together and simplifies an entire literature in four ideas: shared governance; 360 degree reviews and evaluations, collaborative problem solving, and–this is huge–CONSTITUTIONAL reviews every five to ten years. Henry Kissinger in “Does American Need a Foreign Policy” and General Tony Zinni in his most recent book both tell us that our current government is DYSFUNCTIONAL. In my view, the most dysfunctional aspect is the “winner take all” approach to both the Cabinet and to Congressional leadership positions. We need a COALITION government that restores both the balance of power and the balance of ideas.

The author tells us that when authority loses credibility, the ship of state is on the rocks. See Max Manwaring's “The Search for Security” and Will and Ariel Durant's “The Lessons of History” to understand why legitimacy and morality, respectively, are the non-negotiable foundation for our future.

The author provides 10 ways to combat rankism, and provides a 17 item conclusion as a guide for leaders. Finally, the author joins with the relatively recent declaration of the United Nations, to wit, that sovereign nations should NOT be allowed to violate human rights, a universal right. On this see Philip Alcott's extraordinary book, “The Health of Nations.”

The author errs in identifying only 1 billion in poverty. Not only is the number five billion. See C.K. Prahalad in “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.”

This author and this book save our Republic and the world with one word: DIGNITY.

The Pathology of Power
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
The Working Poor: Invisible in America
Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century
The Lessons of History
The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

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