Original Post with William Drayton, Alexandere Carpenter, and Robert Steele: Journal: Get America Working–A Conversation
Part II–Alexander Carpenter (AC), the Founding Fathers, and Modern Seers
If you do nothing else, please consider reviewing the many contributions by Tom Atlee via the first line in Part IV: Related Recommended Reading,
AC: And add this from Charles Hugh Smith to the list:
Charles Hugh Smith America’s Job-Creation Machinery Is Hollowed Out
Dave Cohen on Job Prospects in the Bubble Economy, looking for a technological driver:
And this for those still trying to believe in the “enlightenment model,” some lowest-common-denominator and somewhat overstated evolutionary psychology:
Ian Charles, Conscious Robots: How We Make a Decision
And add this about computer gaming:
AC: The Oligarchs are playing a zero-sum game. That it’s a game largely of their own devising (on top of some hard-core status-seeking algorithms) is outside their awareness, as they have more-and-more begun to believe their own propaganda, especially “economics.” To their listening, “a prosperous world for all” means less power and status for them. So good luck. Unless, of course, some indirect confrontation with the realities of the world can be devised, in which some minority awareness within the factions of the Oligarchy becomes enrolled in “gently” forcing a large reduction in population, thereby allowing an improvement in the quality of life for the remainder while maintaining the present comforting (to all – remember how it evolved) class stratification.
Earth Intelligence Network was created in 2006 to do all of this toward a World Brain and Global Game, and then the economy crashed and I lost everything, including a for-profit about to be sold.
Mr. Drayton: you have taken a couple of hits, but the conversation is a rich one and I hope that you will not be put off by candor, especially when it is firmly rooted in reality.
AC: I reckon (or, perhaps, project) that one such “hit” Steele means is being characterized as a “status-seeker” in my earlier screed, which I did not intend so simply, and certainly not as a condemnation. It is just a kindly reminder that for any member of an altricial gregarious species to express status-seeking behaviors is nothing more than being true to his or her evolved nature. Status-seeking is perhaps the most powerful of all the genetically-mediated impulses we carry, as it potentiates and regulates the results of the more-primordial impulses to procreate and dominate, while being endlessly rationalizable in our monkey-mind chatter. Status-seeking is as normal and natural as altruism; the two (and others!) co-evolved together and are interoperational and inseparable in the great stew of behavioral vectors that comprise human culture and our entirely typical civilization. The opportunity for choosing other behavior in the moment is only available when one has explicit awareness of the automatic impulse. Then one can consciously and responsibly do something different, or add generous, even altruistic, breadth to the results of their status-seeking.
I am reminded of my stint in Social Venture Network, where I encountered dozens of trust-fund babies with their very own do-good “institute,” of which they were both CEO and President: self-claimed status. Aside from the simple operational fact that any organization for which one person can perform the duties of both those offices has little or nothing to actually do, and aside from the fact obvious to all that pooling the resources and influences of those institutes would have increased the overall net effectiveness of the lot of them, they kept to their proprietary positions. To a man, they were unaware of their organic status-seeking impulse, masking it and insecure egos behind “save-the-whatever” philanthropy. Were they able to actually recognize the automatic expression of their human natures, they could have behaved differently and more congruent to their stated values.
Sadly, in the modern “liberal” values-set, status-seeking is not a virtue, as it is associated with power-lust and greed – empirically speaking, that is correct, as far as it goes. But the matter is larger and more subtle than that. What is lost is the opportunity to transcend that limitation and have both enhanced status and desired change-results in the world.
Perhaps the next evolution for us (one already expressed in some cultures) would be for increased status to explicitly accrue from effectiveness at giving things and status to others, as in the Potlach cultures in the Pacific Northwest and among some Bedouin tribes.
For me, it seems clear cut: Electoral Reform is the truth-teller issue, and I simply do not know how to make it THE issue as we go toward the 4th of July 2011.
AC: This is a hardened fortress to assault. Buttressed by conditioned popular narcosis on one side and by desperate secrecy on another, the multiple-dimensioned illusion of “democracy” is the principal shelter of the Oligarchy. I suspect that this one will not be reconciled directly, but by a general withdrawal of consent to the system at large, rather than incrementally (candidate-by-candidate) from within it. We are not the first to be uncomfortably aware of this:
In a dictatorship, censorship in used; in a democracy, manipulation.
Ryszard Kapuscinski, journalist, Le Monde diplomatique (Paris), August 1999
BELOW FROM NOAM CHOMSKY:
Remember, the United States is not a democracy – and has never been intended to be a democracy. It is what is called in the political science literature a polyarchy. A polyarchy is one in which a small sector of the population is in control of essential decision-making for the economy, the political system, the cultural system and so on. And the rest of the population is supposed to be passive and acquiescent. They are supposed to cede democracy to the elite elements who call themselves (rather) modestly the “responsible men.” “We are the responsible men and we take care of the affairs of the world.” The rest are sometimes called a “bewildered herd” or a rabble or something like that. Actually, I am quoting Walter Lippman, the leading figure in U.S. journalism, and a leading public intellectual of the 20th century.
This goes right back to the constitutional system. The system was designed that way…. It is not exactly what you learn in school. But if you read the debates of the Constitutional Convention, which are much more revealing than the published documents, you find that the main framer, James Madison (1751-1836), who was very lucid and intelligent, understood all this very well. He was a democrat. He wanted to have a kind of democracy in which the primary role of government – I am quoting now – “is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”
That is the fundamental role of government, what he (Madison) called “the permanent interests of the country” are those of property owners and that they must be protected. He was thinking very concretely. Remember, this was in the 18th century and the model they had in mind was England and the question of the English framework of the constitution kept coming up. And Madison pointed out that if in England the general population had the right to participate freely in the political system, then they would have to institute the kinds of programmes which we nowadays call agrarian reforms. They would want to take over property and have it used for the general population, not concentrated in the hands of a small number of wealthy. And, of course, that is intolerable.
BELOW FROM Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy, 2002, pages 417-418
We can begin with a simple premise: Democracy and market economics are not the same thing. Worse, the attempts to confuse and conflate them in pretended equivalence stood out at the millennium as a destructive aspect of U.S. politics. As noted, the rollbacks of democracy sketched in these chapters have accompanied the elevation of markets – the fulfillment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the European Union (launched as a common market) and the World Trade Organization, and the ascent of the Federal Reserve Board as the protector and liquidity provider of financial and securities markets.
Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and the two Roosevelts would probably have been appalled. Politics and government down through the ages, while often brutal or grossly deficient, have been the subject matter of Plato and Aristotle, Aquinas and Machiavelli, Locke, and a few of America’s own great names. Markets, by contrast, descend from fairs of late medieval Europe, church-permitted safety valves for gambling, money-lending, and other forms of license. The idea that they have turned into a vehicle for human governance lacks any base beyond the occasional financial publication.
The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism, ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any controlling private power.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, message to Congress, 29 April 1938
The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. During those 200 years, these Nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from great courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back in to bondage.
Alexander Fraser Tyler (1748-1813), The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic, 1787
How we dare even prate about democracy is beyond me. Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale. It’s far worse than anything that occurred in the Roman Empire, until the Praetorian Guard started to sell the principate. We’re not a democracy, and we have absolutely nothing to give the world in the way of political ideas or political arrangements. God knows, the mention of justice is like a clove of garlic to Count Dracula.
Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.