The history of humanity has been characterized by the strong and the few dominating the weak and the many. This domination has been based on brute force to be sure. But successful and cost effective control can only be achieved by controlling how people think. So for countless generations people largely accepted the rulers that were a part of their societies. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. A few people began to think for themselves. Of course this was not so funny to the kings of the world. The questions became annoying, challenging, and eventually frightening. Are kings really divinely appointed? Do kings really posses any special intelligence and knowledge that commoners don’t or can’t possess? Do these kings really deserve to inherit their status and wealth?
A band of merry revolutionaries, in a colony of the greatest empire of the day, came along and answered those questions in their own way. This band of lawyers, farmers, inventors, and merchants were far from perfect. They had economic and political ambitions that could be furthered by independence. Many had the personal hypocrisy of drawing on the money and leisure afforded to them by owning slaves. Despite all their flaws, they penned the greatest political documents ever produced. They rose above their own limitations, and the limitations of their times, and risked everything to establish a new country based on a different notion. That notion was,”…that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our founding fathers didn’t just establish a new country. They enshrined within a country’s ethos, its political rationale, its justification for existence, a principle that no man was more valuable than another. But radical and transcendent principles are only posturing, with their sincerity to be questioned, if nothing follows. After winning a most unlikely victory, against the greatest military power of the day, they then followed with another radical document, the Constitution of the United States of America.
They enshrined in the Constitution the mechanism to guard the people’s freedom from any number of tyrannies by enumerating the powers of the three branches of the government. They followed with the Bill of Rights that specifically named and guaranteed our individual liberties. One final action then firmly established the uniqueness of our country. Our first President, who was deeply loved, admired, and trusted, and who had been urged to establish a royal monarchy, finished his term and did something that powerful men rarely do. George Washington willingly and happily, gave up the power and prestige of the Presidency, and returned to his farm to live out his life.
This is what makes America exceptional! This is the shining city upon the hill! This is why the citizens of the world want the American experiment to succeed! What makes our country exceptional is the continuous striving each generation undertakes to realize the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. That striving is the American dream! Our role, like our founding fathers, is to look above our personal interests and nobly reaffirm and perfect the founding principles. Obviously we need fundamental change in our government. But we need a much more fundamental change in the way we think, act, and believe. We need to recapture our great country through unity of purpose, a peaceful revolution of the heart, and a steely conviction that breeds decisive action.
The problems and solutions are the focus of this website and all the activities which flow from it. Those are dealt with in other places on the website and will be developed over time. Once we have a game plan then we move the movers.
The Rule of the Vital Few (aka the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Rule), says that a minority of efforts result in a majority of the results. This has been universally shown to be true. For our purposes it simply means any political movement or goal is going to get 80% of its momentum, success, and direction from 20% of the people. The number is not absolute. It might be 95/5; or 70/30; or 90/10. But the point is that outsized gains will be obtained by the lead of a smaller portion of any movement or organization. This should hearten us as it points out that we don’t have to convince or motivate everyone to affect change.
A similarly helpful concept is defined in Malcom Gladwell’s book the “The Tipping Point” which describes how small causes can have big impacts when they become contagious. Most importantly these impacts come quickly. They progress at a geometric rate. It is like the old trick you did as a kid where you wondered how much money you would have if you doubled your money each day for a month starting with a penny. By day 15 you would have $163.84 but by day 30 you would have $2,684,354.56. We see this same principle at work when videos go viral on the internet.
The take away is that people do have the power to move mountains if a sufficient number of them become involved and they have the right ideas at the right time. That begs the question since finding the right people and the right ideas is the hard part. But it does offer hope since you don’t have to convince, convert, or motivate the uninterested or the uniformed. The herd will follow when the real leaders change direction.
The power of the people is much greater than most would imagine. Millions of Americans moving in one direction would be a sight to behold. The single-minded power of a country moving in one direction is easily recognized in the full mobilization of our country during World War II.
America fielded 12 million troops. Fought on multiple fronts against 3 enemy powers while supplying our allies with overwhelming amounts of food, arms, and oil. Developed an unprecedented nuclear weapons program in short order. Then after winning the war, the United States set up various worldwide institutions that governed the post war era while rebuilding the defeated axis powers and organizing the resistance to Soviet Communism.
Directed by a government they respected, the AMERICAN PEOPLE bought war bonds to finance a war effort that would take the lives of many of their sons and daughters, willingly accepted the rationing of almost all goods, and often moved away from their homes to work in factories that supported the war effort. This was accomplished coming out of a decade long economic depression. Sacrifice, commitment to victory and action, were orders of the day. Complacency was not a national trait.
Our goal should be to get the group moving. But just as important as motivating the country is to prepare the country mentally to recognize the true conditions it faces. The movers should plant the seeds of resistance, water the seeds with words and deeds, work tirelessly, but understand that only in the fullness of time will the ground be ready for true change. But when it comes, it will be the “terrible swift sword” as noted in the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
We don’t know if the catalyst for change will be an obvious challenge like Pearl Harbor or something more organic within the political process. But the reaction will be unmistakable. Changes are about to happen that most believe are not possible.
I believe the recent debate over authorizing war in Syria is one of the most important political development in decades. It is the first time I can remember that people from all persuasions spoke with one voice to the system and said no. President Obama was desperate for approval of air strikes inside Syria and offered one half-baked argument after another. The Saudi’s were livid when he couldn’t make it happen. The Israeli’s were disappointed because they hoped U.S. action would prevent the Syrian Government from getting the upper hand in the conflict.
Neither of these two countries are lightweights. The U.S. has always relied on the Saudi’s to make up any shortage in world oil demand to keep the global economy humming. The Saudi’s provide colossal economic advantages to U.S. by agreeing to price oil in dollars. The Israeli’s receive the most money of any foreign country from the U.S. and have a lobby that is unmatched in influence. But it didn’t happen.
Undoubtedly, others had impact on this decision behind closed doors that we may never know about. But it was accomplished because We the People responded. Big results begin with small steps when taken by many people. One person writing their Congressional Representative might not seem like much, but in numbers, it is tremendously effective. People cannot take from us what we are unwilling to give. If we resolve to act together, we can move mountains.
All of us view our country’s history through a narrative of what has happened to the country and what has happened to each of us individually. A narrative is helpful in providing guidance on where we have been and where we should be going. However, if we have major inaccuracies in our narrative, then this guidance can lead us to the wrong conclusions and thus the wrong direction. Our national narrative has become an amalgam of political half-truths, Madison Avenue public relation distractions, and historical disinformation. We can develop a better narrative and it will help direct our actions.
Whether by design or misfortune, our cherished Republican form of government has become an empire that uses its power to control economies and countries the world over. It is estimated that the U.S. has boots on the ground on 900 military bases in 140 countries. If this power were being used to benefit the American people, or the people of the world, then the empire might have some justification and legitimacy. However, it is not. The wars we fight are often not fought for the common good of anyone but defense contractors, global corporations, and international bankers.
The free trade principles our politicians espouse have destroyed our manufacturing base, moved our jobs over-seas for the benefit of companies that pay few taxes, and undermined the sovereignty of our political institutions by hiding the details of trade agreements and giving these international trade treaties powers over our political and judicial institutions. The recipients of our jobs are abused with poor working conditions as they are generally powerless and poor. We all suffer from the pollution these countries produce since they rarely possess the institutions to resist global corporations or their own governments.
Concepts, of freedom and self-determination, are only voiced for the people of other countries, when the Despot of the Month, who has been our friend, is no longer favored. One common refrain often heard is that other countries hate us for our freedoms. People of other countries like Americans generally because most of us are open and welcoming. They don’t like our government because it uses drones to bomb their citizens; it spies on their citizens and leaders; it tortures their citizens or sends them off to be tortured; it exports our inflation into their economies; it frequently bribes, overthrows, or invades their countries; and it incessantly tells them how to run their countries while it can’t solve the same problems in its own house.
Now it is time to ask the really important question, what would we think if other countries took any of these actions against us? We obviously wouldn’t like it any more than many of them do. Besides, how can we expect other countries to think favorably of us, when we have such a low opinion of our own government?
The U.S. is not the first world power to abuse its position, nor will it be the last. Every action we take in self-interest is not wrong. But the excesses being committed on “our behalf” are not even for our benefit. We have the only empire that doesn’t send the wealth back to the home country to enrich its power and prestige. Instead we let the crony capitalists keep the profits while we send the taxpayer’s money in foreign aid to other countries, so they can buy our weapons to the fight the “created” enemy of the day. As the Russia comic Yakov Smirnoff said, “What a country!”
Our founding fathers in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution included the Freedom of the Press to ensure that people could question the actions and words of the government. This freedom is essential to counterbalance the power and authority of the government as well as to provide basic information to inform the citizenry. Nothing can depict the recklessness, depravity, deceit, or the arrogance of government edicts better than when the press demonstrates that the “emperor” has no clothes.
One of the chief challenges we face today is that traditional media is overwhelmingly controlled by corporate media giants. The national media, where most Americans still get a large degree of their news, can in no way be considered independent. If you think someone on NBC news can run a story about how General Electric (its owner until just recently) doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes and influences policy for its benefit behind closed doors against the common interest of Americans, you are sadly mistaken.
When you get the partisan options of the more “conservative” voice of Fox and the more “liberal” voice of MSNBC, you are still forced to view the debate in the traditional Republican/Democratic paradigm. This approach is flawed because that paradigm is flawed. We don’t need more or less of the other parties solutions, we need a new, third way of looking at issues. It is not that all of the issues or solutions offered by the parties are universally wrong. It is that you cannot affect consequential change because the parties are pitted against each other in a rigid and impractical view of the world that prevents thinking outside the box. Each party is constrained by their ideological blinders as the same puppet masters control them.
Finally, the secrecy that has enveloped the government, as recently demonstrated by the revelations of the National Security Agency, prevents clear information from being provided to the public. Top secret, compartmentalized, black budgets prevent us from knowing fully what motivates our government and what it is actually doing. Not surprisingly, we hear of HARP, chemtrails, drone strikes, FEMA camps, gun control, torture, false flag events etc. and wonder is there more to these topics than meets the eye? Whether or not there are grand conspiracies involved, the trust of the people is steadily and significantly eroded.
Crony capitalism is the idea that free enterprise capitalism has been subverted by large corporations through manipulation of the political system and government agencies. These Crony Capitalists or groups of Crony Capitalists, Cartels, are given advantages that other U.S. businesses do not possess.
A two-tiered system is created where main street businesses are engaged in real, cutthroat competition, where failure means bankruptcy. This is contrasted with global businesses where special advantages lessen or eliminate competition through favored contractual relationships, subsidies, tax breaks, company specific legislation, or bailouts.
Compounding this favored status is the reality that it is virtually impossible to generate new competitors for some industries. You simply do not start up a company in your garage to make jet airplanes for the military. Plus, because they are so large, they often become, or certainly maintain, that they are systemically important and can’t be allowed to fail. Crony capitalism doesn’t mean that no competition ever occurs, but rather that what competition does occur is very muted and does not possess the entrepreneurial spirit nor the creative destruction so helpful to society.
Further, this globalized crony capitalism honors no people, is not a citizen of any country, and doesn’t know how to value those things that it cannot quantify. People love the land they live on, the air they breathe, the water and food that gives them life, the animals they share this world with, and the ideas that motivate and give them comfort. Humans can appreciate the night sky, a beautiful sunset, a peaceful mountain stream, or a walk in the forest. But how does a soul-less global corporation view these same appreciations? Is it just more air to pollute? Is it just water rights to purchase? Is it just a mountain to move for the resources underneath it?
The small business owner on main street may seek a fair profit for his efforts, but he doesn’t forget that he lives in that same community where he earns his living. His view is not separable from his community’s view of the land, sky, water, creatures, and unseen hands that guide his community.
In the fullness of time, we will know whether the increasing concentration of power in the federal government was simply foolish or whether it actually destroyed our freedoms. The scope of the government is virtually impossible to get one’s arms around because it is so secretive, distant, and complex. As Obama-care, The Affordable Care Act, demonstrates, the federal government can’t even run a website much less give us affordable care. The only talent the federal government consistently demonstrates is to secretly and systematically violate our Constitutional rights, engage the country in unjustified wars, debase our currency, and protect powerful interests.
The federal government has a role to play. Fielding an army and floating a navy doesn’t need to be done by fifty states. However, government is best when it is closest to the people. It is more responsive and efficient. It is less complex and so when stressed it is more resilient. Corruption is far easier to detect because it is closer to home. We have three options. We can either reform the beast. We can let the beast completely dominate us. Or the beast could, suddenly or gradually, collapse. Of those three outcomes, only the first offers us an opportunity to control our destiny.
The real tragedy is that we are in the middle of a real “CRISIS” as defined in the book THE FOURTH TURNING. This is when the chickens finally come home to roost. Problems that seemed unsolvable are solved. Wars that are fought are fought completely. Political parties, business practices, laws, religious institutions, etc. are changed for a new order. In American History, our Fourth Turnings have been more positive than negative: The Revolutionary War; the Civil War; and World War 2/ Great Depression. But happy endings aren’t what characterizes a Fourth Turning, but rather the decisiveness with which the country reacts. Losing a war decisively, splitting a country apart, or losing one’s freedoms are outcomes that are equally possible.