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May 15, 2005



What is your vision of a better world?

One where heads of state may walk freely and safely alongside citizens, in abiding recongition of the source of their power and legitimacy, all aware that it is delegated, and not an entitlement, with none thinking the arrangement is an aborgation of personal responsibility by any of the parties, where the citizens may be grateful for the service and heads of state appreciative of the opportunity to serve.

What are the conditions needed to realize it?

• A free, vigourous and, at times, rumbustious press.

• Labor mobility to lend harmony to capital mobility. What capital may do to labor, labor may do to capital.

• Decentralized social welfare programs, run on a cooperative basis, with a sliding scale for services and a guaranteed minimum level of service. There's a fascinating alternative proposed here.

I'll have to get back to you on the rest.


What are the conditions needed to realize it?

• A public education system based on the Montessori Method as the first step to greater reform.

• A greatly expanded GAO and CBO, with guaranteed and generous budgets. Expansion of the Freedom of Information Act; no documents may be kept classified for more than six months; all denied requests must be justified within the jurisdiction of the filer in front of a jury.

More to come.

Phil Cubeta

Thanks, Harry, when you get done, why not piece it together and post it on your site, or email me the text for posting here in your name? I plan to link responses from a listing in a sidebar, as the World We Want - under various definitions of we.


You would prefer it all in one mini-essay? Can do.

Phil Cubeta

Yes, it would set an example. This is meant to give people a chance to have their views heard and discussed by their fellow citizens, as if we really were a democracy in which our voices matter.

Juke Moran

Politics is about social morality. So political change is about morality.
The two goals of moral systems are preservation of the existing, and something a lot harder to define that involves the continuation of change, movement; change that got us here, change that will keep bringing what it is we're only the latest version of into being.
Preserving the status quo is pretty easy to track. Here's all this, just measure what stays and what doesn't.
The other stuff's mind-bogglingly difficult to even imagine. The perspective is open-ended and leaves the present as a dot on an infinite line. But it's where we are.
So the world I want to see is changing, even after the changes I want to see happen, it will still be changing, toward something that we can't name, can't even describe. Making that possible is the first thing I want to see. An allegiance to it. Putting that above the status quo even when it calls for sacrifice. The best human labor was done in that light, always.
Recognition of what got us here is one of the first steps in that direction. And oddly enough it's where some of the most bizarre combat in the social landscape is taking place.
We evolved to get here. This isn't a question anymore. The serious conflict around the issue comes from other deeper, unconscious roots.
And evolution isn't just being attacked as a theory, its process - mutation, selection and elimination - is being condemned as an offense against humanity. The current violently-enforced pseudo-division between fundamentalist anti-intellectuals and enlightened rational positivists has all the earmarks of a duplicitous scam. The third entirely unrepresented position in the argument is what I'd like to see put forth - that evolution is obviously integral to what we are and how we became what we are, but that it was never a result of human control of our own shaping until very recently, with disastrous consequences to that hubristic assumption. It was balance that got us here, give and take, adaptive change and preservation, just like the way the body maintains its equilibrium and health.
So I'd like to see recognition of that - the roots of our lives in the earth. And what that recognition bears is reverence. Not just for some pristine fantasy of trees and chipmunks with elephants and lions off in the middle distance, but the real drama of existence, with its seasons, harsh as well as bountiful, and its necessary place in our lives. That reverence will then widen to include the so-called "primitive" people still among us, and the common ancestry that we've all been schooled to deride, the cartoonish "cavemen" that include all human lives before the earliest cities, to the point that it takes an effort of will and disciplined imagination to picture human beings laughing and singing 50,000 years ago. But of course they did, and probably with more frequency than the families now living in and off the trash wastelands at the edges of our privilege. An example of evolution that's tolerated by both disputants.
So I want to see a reverence for those ancestors and their contemporary heirs, not as nostalgia or out of romanticized idealism, not as though they're exhibits or curiosities, but with the same reverence many of those primitive people extend to their own elderly. And to their children. Reverence that has nothing to do with immediate utility, that has a lot to do with a more complete recognition of what we are, what we're doing, where we come from, and where we may be going. And I want to see that reverence even if there's nothing in front of us but chaos, I want to see it all the way.
The treatment of the elderly in this culture is a damning testament to its values, and the molding of children by unaccountable virtually invisible "corporate" entities that have legal but no moral presence in our lives is shameful when it isn't criminal.
I'd like to see a world where the elderly and the young are both revered as part of what we are, and where those early and late forms of being are extended outward, forward and back to where they merge with the eternal. And I'd like to see a world where the sacred isn't considered intellectual property.
I'd like to see a world where the adolescent smirks are wiped permanently off the faces of people who win arguments in which the other side has no voice or representation.
One example of that is the knee-jerk scorn at Wendell Berry's advocacy of local agrarian power, where the smug technocrats scoff at that vision as nothing more than nostalgia for a phase that was merely a necessary step to get to this "modern" world - where the fields are poisonous deserts and void of any life but the commercial products that are pumped out of them and the workers who service them. As Berry said, imagine how much progress would have been made by now in the technology of horse-drawn power if it hadn't been marginalized and then abandoned.
Look at how far the bicycle has come, as peripheral as it is, and what slavish devotion to petroleum and its engines have done to us and to life.
I'd like to see a world where crime of that scale is recognized and condemned, where the power hierarchies it created are dismantled, and where the necessity of change, however impossible it seems, is embraced.

Phil Cubeta

Reverence for what flows through us, larger than our cost benefit calculations, our management by objective and results, our grant making benchmarks, our double bottom lines - yes.


You've got some really key and deep observations packed in there, Juke. One of the most dangerous lies is the idea of a static world created in a complete state by a hands-on creator God. Change is a central part of the world, and evolutionary change is how anything complex got here in the first place in holarchic progression from a much simpler state.

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