I am totally engaged by the idea that liberty is a state of mind, that America the Beautiful is a state of mind, not to be confused with the Wall Street greed and two-party tyranny that is killing the Republic.
The author has done a moderately good job of reviewing the history, and that which she shares is most valuable. I especially like her quoting Robert F. Kennedy on how each generation must win its own struggle to be free, and later in the book, she cites one of the thousands across the country as observing that we have abdicated our citizenship.
The state of mind theme is carried on in a discussion of the difference between a free society and a fear society, and throughout parts I and II we see documented evidence of how America has become a fear society and how the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has been a virtual seizure of power by quasi-fascist mind-sets who may have the best of intentions but in fact have executed a “paper coup” or as the author also puts it, following a long (LONG) summary of restrictions on everything from permits for free speech to travel to voting rules and regulations, “civic death by a thousand cuts.”
Although the author is not to my knowledge tied in to the complementary literature and movement represented by such books as The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All, All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents (Hardcover)), Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People, or Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential, her own contribution is magnificent in its own right and every bit the equal. I have also noted her offerings via the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, and post Event notices for that organization at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog.
QUOTE: Key Enlightenment beliefs of the colonial era are these: human beings are perfectible; the right structures of society, at the heart of which is a representational government whose power derives from the consent of the government, facilitate the continual evolution; reason is the means by which ordinary people can successfully rule themselves and attain liberty; the right to liberty is *universal*, God given, and part of a natural cosmic order, or “natural law”; as more and more people around the world claim their God-given right to liberty, tyranny and oppression will be pushed aside. It is worth reminding ourselves of these founding ideas at a time when they are under sustained attack [today].
QUOTE: We need a strategy for a new American uprising against those who would suppress our rights; we need what Lincoln would have called “a new birth of freedom.” As readers of Tom Paine's Common Sense had to realize, we are not declaring war on an oppressor–rather, we have to realize that the war already, quietly, systematically, been declared against us.
The above are fighting words, and rightly so. I attended a “transpartisan” séance at which there were about representatives from around thirty major league non-profit organizations representing various issues, and I left shaken with the realization that they LIKE the two-party tyranny for the simple reason that they have invested decades in that tyranny, and are loath to destabilize the hand that feeds them scraps from the high table.
The author has some gifted turns of phrase throughout, for example, stating that the Declaration of Independence “is about our continual duty as Americans to rebel,” going on to say that the Declaration is a MANDATE to continually confront abusive power in all its forms.
The author also correctly interprets “happiness” as the fulfillment of one's gifts and potential, not as free-riding joy.
FALSE PATRIOTISM CHAPTER QUOTE: I find that true patriots seem driven by a personal burning sense of responsibility to act in the face of a great wrong. True Americans–domestically or globally–seem to take it personally when faced with injustice; they burn. They can't sit in the bleachers even if they want to, even if it would serve them. A violation of the American premise is not abstract to them. It sticks in the gut.
I am so totally there on the above. I submit as my own contribution to this fight Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography) and Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace edited by PhD (abd) Mark Tovey.
FALSE DEMOCRACY CHAPTER QUOTE: With enough conditioning of Americans to comply with ever more onerous permit requirements, fees, hurdles, and ever-more-sinister-crowd-control techniques, the anti-citizen interests of the nation have put in place a system that lets them finally ignore Americans' speech rights altogether.
I am very impressed by the author's survey of the vanishing access points for actually engaging in democracy, from the loss of civic education to vanishing voters to vanishing public space. The book has a wonderful section on gatekeepers and the obstacles to actually running for office, while pointing out that MA, VT, CA, and Iowa are examples of doing it right.
In NYC free speech is a “special event” that requires a permit.
Easier to get into the military than to exercise democratic rights here at home.
I am impressed by her praise and references to two of Mark Crispin Miller's books, Fooled Again and Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000 – 2008.
Add to those Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny and Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It.
I've reached my Amazon limit. At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog I will list the seven principles and also the twelve step program from Mark Crispin Miller that ends the book. Click on the cover above to see the table of contents of the book.