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GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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The End of Democracy

Ezekiel, quoting the word of God that came to him, wrote:
So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
Hannah Arendt, in Responsibility and Judgement, wrote:
For my generation and people of my origin, the lesson began in 1933 and it ended not when just German Jews but the whole world was given notice of monstrosities no one believed possible at the beginning.
George Santayana wrote:
Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

 
Again and again in human experience liberty is compromised and overcome by the rise of tyranny. A clear pattern is discernable for those who take time to investigate the genealogy of their personal assumptions and presumptions.
 
Plato, in the Republic, notices the emergence of tyranny from the ground of democracy. By the voice of Socrates we hear that democracy well begun invariably devolves through the emphasis on individual liberty and the neglect of social responsibility. By incremental stages liberty engenders a widening field of difference, wherein each considers his or her right to choose freely as exclusive of any and all claim to accountability.
 
Socrates notices that liberty leads persons from unitive to divisive endeavour. This occurs by the influence of those who profit by pandering to the appetite for the unnecessary by which the development of individuality is made possible and predominant. He states that this individual pursuit of right without responsibility leads to dissolution of character in the particular person and the corrosion of social adhesion in the aggregate population.
 
Bringing this into our emergent historical moment we do well to consider three indicative developments. First is the rise of democracy as the ideology of modernity. This provides the ground for the second, the rise of corporate initiative and achievement. Then, third, the increase of corporate power engenders the shaping of pervasive corporate propaganda by which democracy is undermined and displaced; citizens are transformed to consumers.
 
The general population of Canada is almost wholly lacking in critical capacity. By the assorted drama and spectacle of mass media persons are bound to the ideological bias presented to them by corporate power which manipulate the present to serve the increase of profit and power. Politics is rendered useful in the same way professional sport is useful. Persons live with the illusion that their preference on ballot/game day is determinative of outcomes.
 
Perhaps this is sufficient to spark conversation specific to the encouragement of critical concern and the quickening of personal determination for the refusal of compliance and complicity in the rising power of the corporate powers who pull the strings by which creature and creation are spoiled for profit and power?

 

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MikePaterson's picture

MikePaterson

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Every system in the Judaeo-Christian/Roman-European family of traditions, given some time, seems to centralise wealth and power; Canada is a subsystem within a larger system that's already moved too far in that direction. We see it locally as a "shift to the right" but it's not a "shift" and it's not strictly to the "right": it's submission to a flood of inter-twined pressures that are overwhelming to fragile dykes of "community".

The big force at present, for want of a better term and in lieu of a mass of analysis, what we might call "post-capitalist monetarism" that's reached the point of annihilating genuinely competitive forces: it has become a momentum-driven movement that has sucked every participating institution, nation, organisation, polity, culture and value system into a vortex that moves too powerfully and swiftly to halt or divert without some creating breakdowns in pretty much every sphere of ordinary daily life for ordinary people. Pretty much everything takes place in the context of its flow… there are are few independent reference points.  The longer it last, the more catastrophic will be the collapse.

 

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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MikePaterson,

 

a way to look at it is, people are skilled at things.  Different people are skilled at different things.  People who are skilled enough at certain things and have the drive will get better at it.  Wealth is another thing to be skilled at.  Some people will create mechanisms that will protect that wealth, which includes things like corporations and centralized currency.

 

So the various economies amount to variations on the same theme, what limits should we put on people?

 

And then the real complications start happening when all these different economies come into contact with each other, 'globally'.

 

 

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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Inannawhimsey wrote:
what limits should we put on people?

Or....what limits should persons put on themselves?

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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GeoFee wrote:
Inannawhimsey wrote:
what limits should we put on people?
Or....what limits should persons put on themselves?

 

:3 

 

Maybe that's one of the side-benefits of Religion?  Teaching people when they're young to respect limits.

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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InannaWhimsey wrote:
Maybe that's one of the side-benefits of Religion?  Teaching people when they're young to respect limits.

 

It may be a place where religion and science find themselves in agreement. It seems to me that educating children for the practice of right use is essential to the survival of our species; accepting at the outset that this way is to be chosen and not imposed.

 

With your comments on Mike's post in mind, may we wonder what the right use, or limit to be chosen, for the talent or ability each of us brings into historical being? For example, if I have a talent for generating wealth, what would be the right use of this talent?

 

After forty years of dedicated inquiry it seems to me that the practice of right use corresponds to the insights of religion and science equally. It is the simple matter of action and consequence (karma). Respect the limit and benefit follows. Transgress the limit and harm follows.

 

 

 

EasternOrthodox's picture

EasternOrthodox

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You seem to like delivering on-line sermons. Got any practical suggestions to accompany your lofty words? See any examples of better ways to organize politics other than what we have, which is of course not perfect and never will be?

No perfection in this world.

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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EasternOrthodox wrote:
Got any practical suggestions to accompany your lofty words?

 

You have it right...  It is practice that counts.

 

Here are seven practices that I adopted after discovering them in a small book called "Ghandi's Seven Steps to Global Change".

 

  • Work for the welfare of all people by challenging all discriminations and prejudices;

 

  • Foster a healthy approach to work by supporting self-reliance and cooperative approaches to economic problems;

 

  • Cultivate the habits of love by thoughtful attentiveness and fostering mutual interest in projects by which trust may be established and encouraged;

 

  • Turn aside from institutionalisation and towards interpersonal contact by the habits of direct dialogue with those who share or oppose your views and commitments;

 

  • Support and encourage open personal communication by serving the interests and commitments of diverse persons, groups and organizations dedicated to the improvement of social and environmental circumstance;

 

  • Foster humane and balanced strategies for education by personal involvement with children and those who are directly responsible for the development of clear thinking and ethical action in the minds and hearts of young learners.

 

It seems to me that each of  us has opportunity to practice the art of being fully human so that we may grow to maturity in being the change that we look for in the world.

 

 

MikePaterson's picture

MikePaterson

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Thank you, Geo!!!

 

Might I suggest also:

 

• Moderate your own consumer impulses.

 

• Eliminate as much waste as possible from your lifestyle.

 

• Forgive hurts as your first impulse.

 

• Be curious about, not fearful of, people who are different from you.

 

• Seek out and let yourself delight in the beauty in everything that surrounds you.

 

• Let love make justice a passion in your life.

 

• Seek out the funny side of everything.

GeoFee's picture

GeoFee

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Thanks Mike, these are simple, elegant and worth practicing! 

 

I have learned that even though my practice may not change the world it sure changes me and that brings benefit to all my relations. Guessing you have the same experience.

EasternOrthodox's picture

EasternOrthodox

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thanks both. Sorry if I sounded cranky. I was sleep-deprived (my feeble excuse)

graeme's picture

graeme

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In New Brunswick, the leading businessman months ago declared he was in coalition with the government. (We'll just forget that in a democracy you can't be in a coalition unless you're elected.)  He then formed a committee of business pals to plan the New Brunswick economy. Our half-wit premier didn't tell his that people elect a government to do that.

Now, his plan is actually going into a government bill. They will officially create a body made up of private businessmen and operating along the lines of a private corporation. They, not the convert) will set guidelines for tax relief, regulations, subsidies, etc. for business. They will set yearly objectives. And they will decide whether those objectives have been met.

In this province, democracy will cease to exist and, in economic matters, private business will  decide. This is for real. I have just read the outline of the bill. This step takes us beyond democracy, and even beyond fascism.

EasternOrthodox's picture

EasternOrthodox

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Kind of like NB is a wholely owned subsidiary? It is kind of a small province, that could happen.

graeme's picture

graeme

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I can add another note to that. This council of private businessmen will be funded by our taxes. But it will in now way answer to us.

And, yes, New Brunswick is a subsidiary, notably of the Irving family. The political parties are beneath contempt.

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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I also think that everyone should be educated and practice at least a basic form of meditation.  ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US WHO ARE POLICY MAKERS/are responsible for the lives of lots of people.

 

So we change ourselves, and then the "world" thereby changes.

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