My thoughts about culture and our present conditions. As Dianne Moore says in Learning to Love a Wounded World, "This requires a willingness to feel everything…. the horror and the beauty of what is here…. the fear and the Love.”

Democracy issues

Presidential brutality an extension of presidential power

Note: First published on Facebook this morning, but I wanted to preserve it somewhere else.

I love Facebook. It asks me what’s on my mind when I visit. So here goes: For those who are bouncing around in the media’s portrayal of a dramatic binary opposition, represented as two political parties vying for the attention and support of the political will of the people of this nation, I just want to call attention to the underlying truth that’s been with us — and building in strength — through most of my life time. Deep, institutionally-based presidential power.

Simply put, the difference that all this daily uproar we are currently experiencing as “news” is supposedly all about is superficial. In psychology family dynamics it’s called uproar. Uproar is a power play game where one individual gets everyone else confused in a chaos of personal argumentation while they advance an agenda of their own underneath the atmospheric haze that results.

I think this current administration has done us a favor and made no effort to disguise that superficiality. But now we have to come to grips with the facts. It WAS disguised all along.

Apologists for the Democratic Administrations of one of those two parties need to look at what the last, inappropriately-awarded Peace Prize version of their party was really about. And face this: it was not a big deviation from the previous administrations, including Clinton’s, and certainly including the one that put my generation into Vietnam, and of course the one that put us on this path to unending military engagement in the Strategic Ellipse, an engagement ever seeking to expand across The Arc of Instability (search those terms, you’ll find the descriptions if you don’t know what they refer to; your military leaders and political policy professionals certainly know what they mean) where, incidentally, you’ll find many of the raw materials needed to keep industrial civilization growing. And that’s what most people really want, isn’t it? So who really wants to look beneath the uproar?

Well, in case you do. There are voices out there talking about it.

Here’s one just this morning, I’ll link it below. It came through what amounts to my news feed of headlines in one of my email accounts.

As a little background to the article: I’ve looked (deeply) into the upwardly growing arc of power in the executive branch of the U.S. I found that the basis for that growth in power was put forward as a coherent theory during Reagan Administration. Remember Reagan? A favorite and a hero president to many? Also, incidentally, a grade B movie actor, but good with remembering his lines, and talented enough to act presidential on stage in front of a nation tuned into those news feeds with their televisions.

Well… during his administration this thing came up called the Unitary Executive Theory (UET). It is a legal theory that delves into the intentions of the Founders and their Constitution we now live with, and their constructive concepts about the relative powers of the Executive Branch. The legal scholars who were advancing this theory also started a legal “club” known as the Federalist Society. Please look it up if you don’t know what it is. At least five of the SCOTUS justices are associated with it. It didn’t even exist before the Reagan Administration.

Hmmm. A legal society intent on changing the nation’s interpretation of the Constitution that didn’t even exist thirty eight years ago now one of the biggest and most influential legal societies in the nation….? According to their textualist and originalist-based theory, the President was supposed to have more power than they thought presidents at that point, in the early 1980s, had.

And, guess what, presidents since then have been trying to act out that theory in order to make it a reality. That includes Clinton and Obama. Presidents want more power. It makes their job easier. Trump isn’t disguising that in any way at all. And I, for one, appreciate that he’s bringing it out in the open. That way this nation can decide, finally, if it wants to be a nation of authoritarian followers or not. I hope we get to decide for ourselves.

The UET, of course, can be a troubling idea to anyone who might be concerned that a presidency can move towards something more dictatorial in nature — which, as a political system, is one of the noted dangers of a presidential system. I don’t know if they teach that in high school political science classes. It wasn’t mentioned in mine as I recall. I had to find it on my own.

Jacob Bacharach doesn’t mention the UET in his article. But what he is describing is the result of it, especially as it was expressed throughout the much maligned previous Obama Presidency — maligned by the people who now support the current President, whose Presidency is following the Obama arc of seeking ever greater presidential power, with a few hyperbolic steroids added to buff those presidential muscles, but not maligned by most of those who are now in binary opposition to the current Trumpians. Like I say, superficial.

Trump’s Brutality is Part of Obama’s Legacy Now by Jacob Bacharach


Obstruction of Justice and the President

Obstruction of Justice: A felony under federal Law.


According to the official record, Obstruction of Justice has been the core of the last two articles of impeachment brought against American Presidents Clinton and Nixon. The currently appointed Special Counsel Investigator, Robert S. Mueller III, is carrying out a broad investigation of links between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, and any matters that arose subsequently to the election in relation to that association. That includes current charges of obstruction of Justice that Trump has incurred related to his firing of FBI Director Comey on May 9. This is my attempt to try to organize the structure and meaning of obstruction of justice as a legal concept related to that investigation.

My concern is that too much has been made of the hyperbolic features of this President. Yes, to many of us, he appears both erratic and incompetent. But the larger issue overshadowing those features — leadership features that have brought about reams of, to me, hyperbolic description of the person himself from those who are understandably aghast by his sudden ascendancy — has to do with standing in resistance against what also appears to be an accelerating, ill-conceived effort to deconstruct years of work towards putting in place of a carefully structured oligarchy by Founders who were the propertied elite of their day, democratic policies and institutions.  These were necessary to put in place because of a Constitution that was, to begin with, a poor effort at creating a truly democratic social arrangement in what’s come to be called the United States of America.  We the People kept discovering these deficiencies and, at the grass roots level, so to speak, began efforts, time after time over the past two centuries, to correct them.

In response to over two centuries of democratic correction, what’s now occurring appears to be an accelerating expansion of a developing inverted totalitarian rule by what has come to be called the “one percent”, with the current president as a very visible member of that group, elected under circumstances intractably set up by the Constitution that are in their very nature, undemocratic. In Trump’s case, this effort is being accomplished in the name of “restoring” something ambiguously described by him throughout his election campaign and so far through his brief reign, as American greatness.

So, to resist — and I consider myself a member of those who resist — is to resist this oligarchic-inspired reversion to what I see as a deeply entrenched oligarchic structure that we have so doggedly dragged ourselves out of over the years.  The “truthful hyperbole” of Trump’s sales pitch — that he wants to “make America great again” — barely disguises his true intent: that he wants to restore the original intent of those who set this nation up for a specific group of property owning white males, like himself.

My hope is to inform myself about the law of obstruction so I can articulate the seriousness of this charge to anyone I happen to talk with about this subject.

Federal laws defining obstruction of justice are found in Title 18, sections 1501 through 1521 of the United States Code. In looking at those sections, one can see they define 21 separate obstruction crimes.

Robert Mueller will be looking at the accumulated evidence, as it has been accumulated so far, and as it will be as his investigation unfolds, in an attempt to discover if anything President Trump has done (and may continue to do) can be legally defined as obstruction of justice.

Bill Blum, a former judge and death penalty defense attorney, now a writer, has provided me with a lot of legwork in paring down the legalities of Obstruction of Justice. Here are three of his most recent articles, all focused on Obstruction of Justice (Please note: although for some inexplicable to me the following do not appear as links like all the others in this post, they are actually links, and each can be clicked on to get to the article at their source):

More on David Korten and the Great Turning

Here’s a little autobiographical background on David expressed in an interview:  

Conversation with David Korten 




I want to call attention to his answer to a question about whether or how his values growing up in the late Depression and WWII in what he considered a "conservative values" environment may have changed over time.


Interviewer:  …though you’ve gone through this huge journey, do you feel that the fundamental values you held when you were young have changed?


David Korten: Well this is what’s… what’s a very fascinating aspect of my experience, because the values that I grew up with, of community, family, of personal responsibility, of local control… I mean these are things that I grew up with understanding were conservative values.  Most of what I do now would be considered Progressive, er ah, Liberal in that I clearly see an important role for government, yet those core values — including the idea that business should be a service to the community — those are the underlying values.

So in the present societal obsession with sorting ourselves into political categories someone might summarize that David is a progressive with conservative values.

While I wouldn’t put it exactly that way, I think I grasp the sentiment.  Sometimes, though, summarizing and categorizing does a disservice to what’s being called to attention.  So, with no intention to be critical of those who want to sort things out and categorize ourselves in these ways, I want to take a stab at describing
what I see in Korten’s own life evolution as expressed in his words and
his works, how what I see relates to the liberal and conservative conceptualizing
through time, and to Korten’s idea of the "Great Turning."  Wow, that’s
a handful, maybe I can’t do all of that here.  Anyway…

One way of saying it is, we are potentially all these values but we may sort out which ones we want to be or to emphasize at different times depending on our perception and our held beliefs in given circumstances. That’s not a new statement by any means, George Lakoff makes the same arguments in his various books describing the strong protective parenting and the nurturing parenting, which he describes as a kind of mix and match relative to his explanation of expressions of conservative
and liberal values in society.  Note that when I say "held beliefs" I
am talking about something that can be taking place individually on a continuum of consciousness, from a kind of taken-for-granted subconscious attitude that one might project as an unassailable "truth" about oneself to a very objective form of consciousness that sees a belief as a construction of thought that becomes a relative and potentially flexible position.

I tend to see these values and concepts as a cultural tool kit. 
That’s relative to my own life process which seems to somewhat parallel
Korten’s, where in my education I veered off into cultural anthropology from my goal of getting a degree in literature when I got back from Vietnam.  I couldn’t help myself it was so fascinating to think about what this tool kit — this concept of culture — is.  And in thinking about it, recognizing that we are all basically the same human beings underneath, capable of being identified
by any culture if we’ve been raised in it, each of us with these
different styles and patterns of being to which we become deeply
attached, and into which we often project our identities with all the passion and energy that goes with owning a piece of property and defending it from perceived threats.

So that’s a stab at trying to describe what’s stewing around inside individuals. 
Socially we have a process going on where as a group we develop these
symbols and metaphors and through time the tend to revolve.  My guess
is that’s taking place due to so many factors that a succinct description of why is impossible. 

What I wanted to bring out when I posted that above interview where Korten talks about his own metamorphosis
through his life was this odd situation I see.  It’s odd to me because
I’m old enough to have lived in the cultural norms that were shared in
the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, and now the first decade of 2000.  And while I find it consciously
difficult to identify myself according to the latest popular political
labels, I find that what I express about what I think is important
about the world does get me labeled.  And I am often frustrated by that process in my efforts to communicate.  That’s a given in society it seems, at least from my perspective, because I find that people vary in their range of expressed awareness about how they apply labels and what they mean.

What’s odd is my values are fundamentally about those very same one’s Korten has expressed: family, community, local control, personal responsibility, and the idea that the business is in a consciously reciprocal relationship with community, and by being conscious of reciprocity and the system of shared connections, a kind of humbleness
comes about in all parties, both the business owner who opens his or
her doors to the public, and the public who has this service at its
disposal to appreciate.  I remember credos expressed like: "the
customer is always right."  As a kid I don’t remember very many shrill
customers haranging the shop owners in return, there was respect on the
part of the customer because that respect was extended to them.  Then
somewhere along the line that seems to have disappeared.  Now herds of customers trample security guards to death in an effort to get a special price on a flat screen television.

Real Change is Often Much More Than a Slogan

Change one can believe in and change that is real are two very different things.  –Anonymous

I am always heartened when I see someone trying to raise this issue. It’s
one of those conceptual paradigm shift problems, though, and it’s going
to take an engaged debate to get anywhere, not just a few comments and
quotes scattered hither and yon.

When someone can actually make the shift to a different paradigm,
suddenly the world looks completely different. Thomas Kuhn discussed
the history of those shifts that took place in science, and we have
some famous examples of how the threat of a shift was received by the
status quo, beginning with figures like Copernicus who we can recall
played a major role in what we are taught in our little dogmatic
textbooks in grade school was the great scientific revolution that
brought us out of the darkness and into the light. Copernicus helped to
shift the paradigm of the times that the earth was the center of the

The problem of revolution itself is cyclical, systemic, and structured into our very thinking processes,
however. We aren’t generally informed about that part because most of
what we are being taught is not how to stay in the light, but how to go
back and hide our heads in the darkness of received wisdom, which we
regurgitate obediently on tests, and live out obediently in life as
mostly managed beings. But even if we were informed, that wouldn’t be
nearly enough, each one of us must also raise the questions that rock
our views of the way the world is structured.

Unfortunately what they don’t tend to tell kids, especially now that
they are so busy teaching them to pass the national exams so they don’t
get left behind, is the revolutions have to keep occurring over and
over, because humans have a tendency to recreate a "center of the
universe" mental paradigm in all sorts of ways, including politics. As
Thomas Kuhn noticed in his monograph, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,
those who haven’t made the shift in their mental framework from the
flat earth to displacing earth from the center of the universe in our
now commonly accepted heliocentric cosmology don’t "hear" what the ones
who have made such a shift are saying about the new model. Getting
people to learn to shift their framework of thought is not the same
kind of education as teaching them facts to regurgitate on tests. The
ideas in a different paradigm don’t register when the mental framework
filters in only what someone has learned to hear. Paradigm shifting is
very heady stuff, revolutionary and usually controversial. The status
quo — be they the management or the managed — are resistant unless
they find something exciting about change itself. But real change can
be excruciatingly threatening.

The notion that this system of management we find everywhere (though
almost nobody really thinks of it as that), with a vast global system
of nation states, each with a centralized political system that
operates on the military command, hierarchical model of a corporation,
is the only way it can be now — is in fact "democracy" — is the real
problem you and your sources question. But I fear that a "Tweedle dee,
Tweedle dum" description of the two parties that hog the national stage is not stimulating the acquiescent mind to ask
the necessary questions. It evokes a Saturday morning television
caricatures for children in front of a television set, not a model of how the programmed minds arguing over the
pros and cons of the details of the latest corporate bailout, or a
centralized national stimulus package, see a binary model of warring
Republicans and Democrats struggling over our fate.

I find this perhaps the least instructive of this problem when I read quotes people like to use about change:

of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than
surrender any material part of their advantage" – John Kenneth

The reason I say that is because the "privileged" are not the only
element of the problem. The concept "hegemony" also includes the
accepting minds of the managed. Wolin’s inverted totalitarianism is not
just about the privileged holding on to their advantage, it is about
the minds of the ordinary citizen being unwilling to question the
structure of that advantage and how they participate in their own management. Even argue vehemently and rationally for its continuance.

Wolin is a political theorist whose political theorizing throughout his
life represents a paradigm shift that those who are struggling to
create new political visions, like the Green Party’s vision that
includes a restructuring of how we view the environment, are only
beginning to appreciate. That’s often the way of paradigm shifting
ideas. His own student, Chalmers Johnson didn’t get it back in the late
fifties when he was in grad school, and only now, in his seventies, has
he finally begun to appreciate what his teacher was trying to tell him,
and the result has been a shift of his own that produced his recent
trilogy. Your link to Johnson’s review of Wolin’s book, Democracy, Inc.,
gives a hint of that. I highly recommend the following paper for anyone
who wants to work on re-visioning politics (and the way society would
be structured for a different politics) in light of the vast systemic
disruption we seem to be facing at the moment.

Greening Sheldon Wolin: Limits and Vision, or Environmental Political Theory as a Vocation


This paper stages an encounter between Sheldon Wolin’s democratic
political theory and theorizations of environmental politics or “green
theory.” Environmental issues do not figure prominently in Wolin’s
work, nor has Wolin been seriously taken up by environmental thinkers.
There are, however, suggestive parallels between the two, as well as
ways in which the theorizations of each could be enriched by the other.
Wolin’s recent revision of Politics and Vision concludes by emphasizing
small scale community and “the value of limits” as democratic
counterpoints to “Superpower” and “inverted totalitarianism,”
presenting highly suggestive resonances with earlier environmentalist
critiques of industrial society. In the environmental field,
considerable critical thought has been brought to bear on the concepts
of limits and scale, which might be fruitfully brought into Wolin’s
democratic theory. On the other hand, the contemporary environmental
movement often sees the solution to environmental problems in either
technical (scientific or bureaucratic) changes, or in individual
ethical or spiritual transformation. In this context, I argue that
Wolin’s earlier work on the social role of political theorizing bears
revisiting, as environmental political theorists search for a role in a
movement that continues to struggle with its relationship to both
politics and theory.

Thoughts on the future of the U.S. political system

Well, we have inaugurated a new president,
finally, and I must admit I am already feeling some dismay while I’m watching this
one as he begins to address our many national problems.  As a
structuralist, the problems I see are deep and will require some serious
reconfigurations, yet I don’t see anything in this president’s choice of
advisers and staff that promises an attitude of understanding for the depth of
all of this.  Without that attitude, I can’t imagine the administration getting around to taking the problems I see seriously.  I fear we are in for more band aid treatments, and then we may
face a recurrence of what’s been promulgated upon us since Reagan as the
Republicans work to regroup, and work also to continue with their propaganda
program that has already deeply embedded itself in the political consciousness
of this nation.

Chris Hedges, with whom I often find myself simpatico (a
Spanish term for which I find no good English equivalent), has brought yet another
version of this structural issue to our attention in a recent article, here’s a
bit of it:

By Chris Hedges

The daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic
crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots
that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter
of time. And not much time. When things start to go sour, when Barack
Obama is exposed as a mortal waving a sword at a tidal wave, the United
States could plunge into a long period of precarious social instability.

At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril
or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life
is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will
never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will
sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future.
There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades
in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion
dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has

How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams
of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our
stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational,
those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the
demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of
crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our
system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common
good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality
and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to
crush all dissent? We won’t have to wait long to find out.

There are a few isolated individuals who saw it coming. The political philosophers Sheldon S. Wolin, John Ralston Saul and Andrew Bacevich, as well as writers such as Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson,
David Korten and Naomi Klein, along with activists such as Bill
McKibben and Ralph Nader, rang the alarm bells. They were largely
ignored or ridiculed. Our corporate media and corporate universities
proved, when we needed them most, intellectually and morally useless.

For the rest of the article, go to: It’s Not Going to Be OK

In this article, Chris reports on his recent phone interview with
Sheldon Wolin, and provides some commentary on Sheldon’s conclusions of
where things can possibly go for the US under the guidance of the Obama
Administration, and of course the Democratic majority Congress.

I happened upon my old copies of Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and Necessary Illusions the other day while unpacking some boxes of books, and I find them to be good companions to Wolin’s recent Democracy, Inc., which is the primary substance of Chris’s interview with Wolin.

What I’m noticing is that the vast majority of topics that people are
concerned with has to do with the economic meltdown, it’s causes and
potential effect. What I don’t see is a serious discussion of the topic
Chris Hedges tries to flesh out in this interview, a topic that works
with the critical issues of the future of democracy, what it means and
what the population as a whole is not just willing but able to do about
it. The title, of course, suggests his conclusion.

Just one of the reasons for that might be found in this focus on
economics. Economics has become the primary raison d’etre for our so
called democracy. This is a fairly lengthy and complicated argument to
unveil, but I did find this quote in Chomsky’s Necessary Illusions,
in the chapter he titles "Containing the Enemy" (the "Enemy" being the
ordinary people.). I think it illustrates at least some of the
political theory that has tried to explain how the U.S. has moved away
from the participatory political policies that were just beginning to
be instituted during the Roosevelt Administration, and towards an
economic based, corporatocracy style management system, which some
identify as "conservative." That style is closely associated with the
marketing industry, as spearheaded through much of the last century by
the famous nephew of Sigmund Feud, Edward Bernays. A synonymous term for corporate (and state) marketing would be propaganda, which works off the same principles. Chomsky:

Operations of domestic thought control are
commonly undertaken in the wake of wars and other crises. Such turmoil
tends to encourage the "crisis of democracy" that is the persistent
fear of privileged elites, requiring measures to revers the thrust of
popular democracy that threatens established power. Wilson’s Red Scare
served the purpose after World War I, and the pattern was re-enacted
when World War II ended. It was necessary not only to overcome the
popular mobilization that took place during the Great depression but
also "to bring people up to [the] realization that the war isn’t over
by any means," as presidential adviser Clark Clifford observed when the
Truman Doctrine was announced in 1947, "the opening gun in [this]
campaign." Necessary Illusions, p. 32.

Chomsky calls it a "crisis of democracy."

As early as 1947 a State Department public
relations officer remarked that "smart public relations [has] paid off
as it has before and will again." Public opinion ‘is not moving to the
righ, it has been moved — cleverly — to the righ." "While the rest of
the world has moved to the left, has admitted labor into government,
has passed liberalized legislation, the United States has become
anti-social change, anti-economic change, anti-labor." Necessary Illusions, p. 32.

Naomi Kline uses "The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism" as her coined term. Wolin describes the results as "inverted totalitarianism."

The media controls the focus, keeps the focus on economics, raises fears of social stability based on that:

The model of media as corporate oligopoly is the
natural system for capitalist democracy. It has, accordingly, reached
its highest from in the most advanced of these societies, particularly
the United States where media concentration is high, public radio and
television limited in scope, and elements of the radical democratic
model exist only at the margins, in such phenomena as listener
supported community radio and the alternative or local press, often
with a noteworthy effect on the social and political culture and the
sense of empowerment in the communities that benefit from these
options. In this respect, the United States represents the form towards
which capitalist democracy is tending; related tendencies include the
progressive elimination of unions and other popular organizations that
interfere with private power, an electoral system that is increasingly
stage-managed as public relations exercise, avoidance of welfare
measures such as national health insurance that also impinge on the
prerogatives of the privileged, and so on. Necessary Illusions, p. 21.

Organization Man and Democracy Incorporated

In the interview below, Aldous Huxley mentions a book I am sure I read in High School, The Organization Man by
William Whyte.  I certainly couldn’t have had then the networks of
understanding I’ve put together since — webs of thoughts with which I now tend to
view and interpret the organized, so-called "civilized’ world, a stage of life I’ve reached I guess could be called "aged," seems somehow past "middle."  But certainly the
basic forms in that book must have resounded in me even then.  I can’t even
remember what stimulated me to read it.  It was written in 1956. 
Huxley’s interview was 1958, I was ten and twelve respectively, so not
yet ready for such thoughts.  But by the early Sixties in high school, they were
starting to blossom.  I was reacting to high school, the institution; I
can remember that.  Orwell’s 1984 was also in my reading list at that
time.  I wonder now how much that prepared the ground in my mind for
the growth direction it took?  My visceral response to the military,
for instance, did it prepare my mind for that?  Or was my mind in some
way already pre set to take in the forms those writers were seeing and
describing in their writing, and something else had prepared the soil
long before, maybe shortly after birth even, and their ideas were just

I don’t think I’m seeing anything particularly new these days.  It’s seems that more of it is lit at once, is all, and so I have more visually available to me to work with.  The brain people call that right brained seeing, I believe.  Perhaps it’s something else.  But I doubt I
would understand the work Sheldon Wolin recently did, his own brain still lit up in his late eighties, on managed democracy (Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism), nor would it
be still working at my thoughts, without that set of categories that
I’ve been working into various patterns all my life; ideas that form this abstract "vision" of
civilization I keep coming up with. 

I awoke this morning thinking
about Wolin’s description of Superpower and how he sees it as working from an implied informal "constitution"
that becomes culturally embedded in the very cognitively developed framework of the minds of those who get in
positions of decision making power.  Hence my association with Whyte’s Organization Man. Superpower, with a capital ‘S’ is his unique visionary description he uses throughout
the work, whereby he couples the emergence of the U.S. as a global
Superpower with the comic book hero, Superman, a metaphorical figure
not surprisingly from the same era he traces back to the beginnings of
Superpower. The "enculturated" constitution of Superpower is, as such, an imaginary constitution evoked by other "imaginaries" like American Exceptionalism,
evoking a vision of power, but one that contradicts and works against the written and formally transcribed political Constitution, the one that supposedly defines our nation and formally legitimizes the political exercise of power — a power that was intended to be limited, where Superpower’s is virtually infinite. However Superpower seems to have somehow countervailed (and perhaps counter "veiled" as well) the written one.  I suppose transfixing the imaginary can do that.  At any rate, we are, then, according to Wolin, rendered a schizoid nation, part democracy and part empire, but in whole neither.  Perhaps we are struggling for our sanity.

Imagining all that evokes a profound and generatively imaginitive
thought process for me that I suspect I could not have evoked without all those other
categories in the mix after all these years. Any one by itself just dies out once triggered if the others aren’t there to light up, and bells don’t ring when those steel balls bounce off them in a mind blowing pinball game.   More and more when I think now, I light up the whole game.  It’s just because I practice. There is some value to aging, after all.

I would certainly not have been hesitant to introduce this concept on a message board back when
I conceived the potential of the Unitary Executive Theory.  It was the
ever frustrating results of my efforts to bring something out of the
coalescing intuition of that vision that now cautions my mind not to
bother.  I suspect in some ways it’s the self fulfillment of the vision
of the organization man concept as it has evolved at which I’ve participated on various boards, combined with the
masterminding controls of the board managers themselves, supposedly acting in the interest of free speech and sharing openly of each other’s ideas, and all those other inarticulate thoughts that fill out
the vision I can see but can’t express adequately in that venue, that
now brings up that sense of caution in my mind.  And what that implies
to me is that if this urge towards limiting expression is a theme running through the collective of
social conscience, then very likely it’s acting the same way on others,
keeping others from trying to work it out in a public venue, discussing
it openly with others.  Weird to watch.  It feels like unseen societally
controlling forces are at work that are way beyond any individual, because
no matter what I do the results will be the same — defeat in sharing a vision.

Links to the below interview:  Aldous Huxley interviewed by Mike Wallace, Part OnePart Two, and Part Three




Conservatism and Liberalism in Democracy

Can governments manage large economies?  Probably not.  I’d come down on the "no they can’t" side. 

Can large economies work themselves in such a way that benefits from the work all participants put into economies is fairly and equitably distributed?  Maybe, if you overlook the extremes in the sine wave as they go through these booms and busts, and just measure the median line running through.  Lemming in the Arctic tundra over time have pretty much the same mean population.  Power and positioning of the capital in economies based on such measures of wealth will always result in a competition for accumulation, and we will have humans who want and want and want, and they will accumulate to satisfy those wants until they can’t.

What that which we label as governing functions can be made to do is take some of the wealth that accumulates at the top of these little — and big — inverted funnels, and move a little of  it back down to those who struggle to move it up for those with the unique structural positioning to collect it. 

Now you can say that those at the top work too, that’s fine.  But I know what work is, all different kinds.  I know what property is, both conceptually and to actually own it and do something with it. And I don’t see the "having fun" winning at monopoly quite the same as losing.  At least not in real life, with the same few land "lords," their grubby fists wrapped around  their land titles, their piles of wealth measurement stacked in front of a them, and with all the rolls of the dice rolling for them, no matter who rolls it, as quite the same as the "work" of the losers in that game.  And so I can’t find it in my heart to see that the "not having quite so much fun" losing is the same work as the having fun winning is.  That’s what I see when the winners try to tell me that.  Because I’ve been both.

You can play with words and make what’s happening out to be all sorts of different things.  People will be swayed by this feature of human cognition.  But the way I see it, stripped of the illusions created by the words about the old Puritanical work ethic, governments are misconceived as entities that take and give from those who work to those who don’t. That’s a trick.  We trick ourselves that way.  Governments are not entities, they are a rule bound process — an ongoing collection of various functions that are just a part of a society of people with common social connections. Giving such things entity status is a conceptual error that leads to mistakes in other conceptual errors.

Capital accumulation processes have their structural roots in a social meme that has created some of the worst of human social equality arrangements in the last ten thousand years.  We keep getting the same form with different names.  We keep getting these inverted funnels that look just like ancient Egyptian pyramids because that’s just about as advanced in their human evolution as they’ve ever gotten. 

Modern day socialist thinking did not begin with Marx, and it was not accurately formulated by Ayn Rand who misconstrued and miscategorized the term "collective," thereby sending who knows how many off down the wrong cognitive road with a misconceived image of the world and the word socialism. It began with such thinkers as Rousseau and his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality Among Men, and other forms of anarchist thinking by people who really did care to whom and how many the term "freedom" could be applied.