The Idea of America

52 State Flag (proposed); if add Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

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The Idea of America

America is an idea struggling to free itself from slavery and the many degradations that slavery entails: conquest, genocide, racism, classism, sexism, exploitation imposed by fear of starvation, and regimentation into legions of thuggish enforcers and cannon fodder used as pawns for self aggrandizement by the kings, queens, bishops, executioners, and judges of the social order.

There is rebellion trembling in the souls of the people, looking up to the fabled blue sky of their dreams from the dank dark depths of their wells of desperation; and looking out with bleary eyes to the hazy lost horizons for unrealized promises, from the burnt lands and baking deserts of their isolated naked vulnerability.

What do you do when you fall far from help? You sit waiting until you can get up, and then you go on. On!

Those that survive to do this embody the earth tremors of the idea of America struggling to erupt into freedom ruled by justice, fortified by intelligence, ennobled by compassion; an eruption that will inevitably require a crisis that may unleash tragic cruelties because the unyielding resistance against the pressure for social change — by the slaveowners, the speculators, the profiteers — could only be broken by a terrible and searing explosive force.

The idea of America will find its lasting peaceful freedom in solidarity by the resurrection of America in the aftermath of its last death in its last civil war. Who can know if they will live to see this? All that we can know is that the idea is undying.

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On Plato’s Republic and Just Societies

I see Plato’s book, Republic, as logic-based epistemology applied to political philosophy. Anyway, that would be my claim in my undergraduate Philosophy 101 essay on Plato.

The conceptual range of “logic” and “epistemology” and “politics” in Plato’s Republic is that of a sophisticated and prosperous well-educated aristocrat of late 5th Century and early 4th Century BCE Athenian-Greek society. That conceptual range is free of prehistoric animism, and Asiatic and Celtic mysticism; it is solidly materialistic and absent any “depth psychology” of the type that would be popularized by Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung (the psychology of the “unconscious”). That conceptual range is also absent any qualms about hierarchical society structured on hereditarily-conferred class-based social status and functional roles, and which includes slavery.

So it is easy to see Plato’s Republic as the stone at the center of the plump fruit that is Western Philosophy with its inner flesh of Christian mythology and irrationality — which appropriated, subsumed, reformulated and blended prior pagan myths and mysticisms to serve the needs of temporal political hierarchy — its middle layer of Renaissance and Enlightenment rationalism, and with its outer flesh and skin covering as later envelopments by early 19th Century Romanticism — emotionalism — and late 19th Century Nietzschean anti-religious intellectualism, Freudian-Jungian depth psychology as a substitute for discredited and discarded Christian metaphysics, and the proletarian-socialist consciousness engendered by industrialization.

As 20th and 21st Century individuals, parts of each of us live in various prior periods of the development of Western Consciousness, depending on the particulars of the arcs of our personal psychological, family, ethnic, cultural, educational, economic and political situations.

The slow inter-bleeding of Eastern and Western Thought, at least since the 19th century, has somewhat diluted both, more fundamentally in the East that has become quite enthusiastically capitalist since the 20th Century, than in the West that has added a minor flavoring of Eastern philosophy into the self-absorbed and self-indulgent aspects of its materialistic consumerist obsessiveness.

In his book, Republic, Plato lays out his political philosophy for the establishment and maintenance of a stable, well-ordered and just society. In his time societies were city-states, like Athens in the time of Socrates, Plato and Diogenes. The essential element of Plato’s scheme is the “guidance” of the city — “governing” is too strongly “micro-management” of a word — by a class of “guardians” who were carefully selected and trained from youth for the task, and who were wholly devoted to it for their lifetimes: basically philosopher-guru-priests.

However, I note that the viability of Plato’s political formulation for the construction and operation of just societies rests primarily on the incorruptible moral character of its central and guiding personnel, the guardians, and secondarily on the reasonably stable decency of behavior of the citizens: that is to say, their morality.

Please note that by “moral” I do not at all mean “religious”; there is no functional correlation between the two (and in my view more likely an anti-correlation).

At least since the end of the Neolithic, the idea developed that a stable, well-ordered society (whether just or unjust, but always to the liking of its rulers) could be established solely by political means, such as in: monarchies, parliamentary democracies, socialist and communists states (most pointedly those sharply Marxist materialist), and dictatorships (whether purely materialistic or theocratic).

By political I mean social arrangements for societal management that are constructions external to the individual person. Note that such political structures can include elements of physical compulsion on individual behavior, and elements of thought-control by indoctrination and propaganda to capture, shape and distort individual thought, and that such political structures will still be external to the individual as a moral being.

So, I do not believe it is possible to ensure the stable continuation of any momentarily just society, whatever its political structure, solely on the basis of the forced maintenance of that political structure, nor solely on the basis of a change of political structure whether that change is reformist or revolutionary. Justice as societal stability requires a taproot into incorruptible moral character by a majority of the citizens. Justice is good politics and good political structure, and is a natural outgrowth of good and intelligent morality, which in turn is individually personified as character.

Given the above, I believe that any social movement aiming to “permanently” evolve, reform or revolutionize a society in need of anything from improvement to drastic change in order to make it universally just, has to base its efforts on developing the moral character of its movement adherents and the mass of citizens it wishes to convince, for lifetime incorruptibility. Here, we have faith that a society with a majority of its citizens being of incorruptible moral character will ensure the continuation of such in succeeding generations, by the operation of its educational systems.

Of course any serious movement for social change will act politically whenever it can to counter existing injustices and respond to humanitarian emergencies. But it must never lose sight of its chronic fundamental task — instilling ethics — regardless of the frequency and variety of crisis flare-ups it reacts to during the daily spectacle.

Yes, this prescription for engineering permanent social change for the better is an idealization that may seem impossible to implement, as witnessed by the history of human civilization, but I think it is nevertheless true and has been the most powerful force that has helped bring about whatever degree of decency any of our human societies possesses today.

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On Just Societies

In his book, “Republic,” Plato lays out his political philosophy for the establishment and maintenance of a stable, well-ordered and just society. In his time societies were city-states, like Athens in the time of Socrates, Plato and Diogenes. The essential element of Plato’s scheme is the “guidance” of the city — “governing” is too strongly “micro-management” of a word — by a class of “guardians” who were carefully selected and trained from youth for the task, and who were wholly devoted to it for their lifetimes: basically philosopher-guru-priests.

However, I note that the viability of Plato’s political formulation for the construction and operation of just societies rests primarily on the incorruptible moral character of its central and guiding personnel, the guardians, and secondarily on the reasonably stable decency of behavior of the citizens: that is to say, their morality.

Please note that by “moral” I do not at all mean “religious”; there is no functional correlation between the two (and in my view more likely an anti-correlation).

At least since the end of the Neolithic, the idea developed that a stable, well-ordered society (whether just or unjust, but always to the liking of its rulers) could be established solely by political means, such as in: monarchies, parliamentary democracies, socialist and communists states (most pointedly those sharply Marxist materialist), and dictatorships (whether purely materialistic or theocratic).

By political I mean social arrangements for societal management that are constructions external to the individual person. Note that such political structures can include elements of physical compulsion on individual behavior, and elements of thought-control by indoctrination and propaganda to capture, shape and distort individual thought, and that such political structures will still be external to the individual as a moral being.

So, I do not believe it is possible to ensure the stable continuation of any momentarily just society, whatever its political structure, solely on the basis of the forced maintenance of that political structure, nor solely on the basis of a change of political structure whether that change is reformist or revolutionary. Justice as societal stability requires a taproot into incorruptible moral character by a majority of the citizens. Justice is good politics and good political structure, and is a natural outgrowth of good and intelligent morality, which in turn is individually personified as character.

Given the above, I believe that any social movement aiming to “permanently” evolve, reform or revolutionize a society in need of anything from improvement to drastic change in order to make it universally just, has to base its efforts on developing the moral character of its movement adherents and the mass of citizens it wishes to convince, for lifetime incorruptibility. Here, we have faith that a society with a majority of its citizens being of incorruptible moral character will ensure the continuation of such in succeeding generations, by the operation of its educational systems.

Of course any serious movement for social change will act politically whenever it can to counter existing injustices and respond to humanitarian emergencies. But it must never lose sight of its chronic fundamental task regardless of the frequency and variety of crisis flare-ups it reacts to during the daily spectacle.

Yes, this prescription for engineering permanent social change for the better is an idealization that may seem impossible to implement, as witnessed by the history of human civilization, but I think it is nevertheless true and has been the most powerful force that has helped bring about whatever degree of decency any of our human societies possesses today.

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For Americans, the 1950s began in 1947, as Gore Vidal bemoaningly told us, and collapsed in 1964 after June 21. The 1960s began on 1 January 1959, in Havana, and disappeared steadily from October 1973, vanishing completely by 1978. The 1970s erupted on 11 September 1973 and died on 4 November 1980, when the Collapse of American Civilization lurched downward into freefall, which it continues plunging to this day as our Neoliberal Dark Age. While it is still deeply submerged, scattered faint glimpses of the Next Age have broken through the pall of our Neoliberal Dark Age with increasing frequency since 17 September 2011. Whether that Post Fossil Capitalism Next Age is strangled in zeitgeist utero by neofascism, or withered in its infancy by global warming, or lives to emerge into the open and break free to flourish, is for the future to tell.

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Climate Change is like an enormous steamroller that is inching slowly but implacably along the open road of our projected expectations, to roll over and flatten our comfortable situations.

Since we are all “cemented in place” in those personal comfort situations, that steamroller is bit by bit squashing us: first ‘here’ then ‘there’; some by sea level rise; some by hurricanes razing all; some by wildfire; some by deepening and eternal heat and drought; some by waves of disease pathogens sprung from out of formerly deep recesses in the wild; some by the increasing withdrawal of food availability; and some by the infighting all this sparks among us and that causes casualties from our war with ourselves.

First we lose our illusions, then we lose our money, and finally we lose our lives.

Those who refuse to face reality and relinquish their illusions will cause the most damage to their fellow human beings, by being rabidly competitive, as they slide down the cascade of suffering longer and ever obsessed to the death with their unrelieved anxieties of avoiding losses and pain. Those who jettison their illusions and face reality will a least gain the comfort of finding the company of similar people.

Even as the steamroller inches forward toward us, for everyone “the future is uncertain, and the end is always near.” One can pin oneself to an obsession with “the end,” and its avoidance; or one can open oneself to an appreciation for the processes of life, and to the sharing of such appreciation.

Climate Change is now our great teacher, and its lessons range from stark terror to transcendence. We have no choice but to live out those lessons, but we do have some choice in which of those coming experiences we can aim our personal selves to.

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Political Memes, Opus #1

Political Memes, Opus #1 is a collection of short pieces produced during September 2017 to January 2018. They primarily reference the United States of America, though a few are more general. These memes were intended to be infectious ideas – simple verbal characterizations of the moment – to entertain and sway the public mind. They were complete failures as prods to shift public opinion and accelerate popular thinking, but perhaps a few encapsulate ideas of longer term value. Rather then let them disappear in a forgotten electronic dustbin, I lay them to rest here in the open, in this remote corner of cyberspace. Enjoy.

Political Memes, Opus #1

U.S. foreign policy is imperialism,
its economic policy is militarism,
its domestic policy is colonialism, and
its management policy is patronism.

9-11 conspiracy advocates are like climate change deniers, they have a
compulsion to cling to scientifically incorrect fantasies out of fear and for the
selfish reasons of: seeking attention, or to continue with harmful capitalist
activities, or both. Stubbornness in clinging to erroneous beliefs and bigotries
(of all kinds), despite being presented with overwhelming factual evidence
discrediting them, is a way of masking the fear of having no control over your
fate as major national and world events occur; and of you gaining the illusion
that you have some leverage with reality because you have superior insight
and foresight for navigating into the uncertain future as it erupts into the hard
reality of the present. These preferred fantasies are comforting delusions
giving a false confidence to ward off discomforting facts.

Most people would rather believe comfortable lies
than uncomfortable facts.

Money can buy fear and envy,
but
money cannot buy character and respect.

Hey Rebs!
If you’re so upset
about Confederate statues coming down,
then why do you object
to Colin protesting the Union flag song?

Public schooling today is child abuse
designed to destroy public education.

People would rather humanity go extinct
than see their illusions die.

Some people spend their entire lives
distracted by momentary urgencies,
and die without ever becoming aware
of what is really important.

The solidarity of the Parasite Class:
Tom Perez is continuing the work of Hillary Clinton
to ensure Trump is elected to a second term.

“Taxation without Representation is Tyranny.”
-> Patrick Henry.
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If we let Blacks vote
it’ll be harder for us to rob the Treasury.
-> Republicans
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If we let Progressives vote in primaries
it’ll be harder for Super-Delegates
to cancel democracy.
-> Democrats.

Happiness in life
grows out of appreciation for it,
despite its many disappointments
and sorrows.

Republican politics is about
robbing the public and punishing
the people they are bigoted against.
Everything Republicans say is a lie
to deny what they are doing to us.

There is no such thing as a good Nazi
or and honest Republican.

Obama, Billary Clinton and Tom Perez
are Alternative Republicans,
not Democrats.

You can’t rely on others for your happiness.

I give the world my best
even knowing that it doesn’t care.

Goddess must have loved stupid people
because she sure made a shitload of them.

It’s so hard to love humanity.

To write the truth is to offend someone.

“Freedom” means
that the more money you have
the easier it is to rip people off.

The problem with education is
that it prepares you for the past.

Life is easier if you don’t think
because
you can always be the innocent victim.

Americans worship people who make money.
That is why the country is run by
the stupidest and least moral among us.

Trump is the paragon of American capitalists:
Fervent in the worship of money,
Delighted in the impoverishment of many,
Fulfilled in the punishment of the poor,
Ecstatic getting tribute from the exploited.

In American public opinion
“crime” means causing harm
insufficiently matched by wealth.

There is nothing that can’t be
incorrectly anticipated.

You can’t make someone enjoy
what they do not want to enjoy.

Socialism is so precious it has to be rationed:
only the US military, corporations, billionaires,
and the US Congress can have it.

The actual disrespect of our soldiers is
them being callously used expendables
trained for foreign bullying
for the benefit of capitalists
insulated from military hazards
and civic responsibilities.

Making money is more important than having a good life.
That is why the country is run by the Living Dead.

If someone says:
“core values” or
“world class” or
“relationship” (not math) or
“win win” or
“thank you for your service,”
they are full of shit.

Never sacrifice your dignity
to advance your career.
You can live through anything
when you maintain your self-respect.

Our rulers are cowards
who specialize in bullying the weak
and robbing the poor.

The reason the American ruling class aligns itself with Israel
(especially Likkud) is that it views the powerless “99%” of
Americans in the same light that Israel views the Palestinians.

There are two kinds of people in the US military:
those getting used, and
the careerist parasites doing the using.

Does bigotry trump law, when labeled as “religious freedom?”

Entertainers seek popularity,
Artists seek fulfillment.

Creativity on a schedule is the death of art.

“Nothing is so tempting to an inferior mind
as this possibility of rising on the talent of others.”
—> Honoré de Balzac

“The right to be rude is the salary that artists exact for telling the truth.”
—> Honoré de Balzac

The most beautiful people in the world
are those who have kind hearts.

Foreign policy is crafted to extend domestic control.
It is not (repeat, not) for your benefit.

Trump is beloved
by people envious
of a successful narcissist
and liberated bigot.

The U.S. is not a merit-based society,
it is a patronage-based class system.

Bigotry is one of the main pillars of American society.
We have federalized goon squads rounding up people
labeled as aliens,
just to satisfy the bigotry of white supremacists
and dark-skinned nativists
who pine for the dough-white Master Race
to love them uncritically.

Poetry is just dancing with words
to show a feeling.
If you write well you don’t see the words,
you see the feeling.

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