Governing to Promote Civilization

We, the American people, by our free will, have designed a system of governance that profoundly endangers our long-term national security. Stormclouds remain mostly hidden beyond the horizon, with those early warnings that we have seen (a needless trillion-dollar war here, a contrived recession for the personal profit of a few there) smoothly explained away by the glib guilty parties and, yes, by those of you who remain deep in denial. Yet we have an historic opportunity, at the moment, to think about this. Despite all the troubles in the world, we are actually NOT under the gun. Don’t panic; we have time, if we choose, to stop and think.

Contrast our sacrifice of the common good for the enrichment of an increasingly parasitic elite, our destruction of our children’s natural birthright for the convenience of our generation, our preference for war against the world’s oppressed instead of sharing our wealth and privilege on the one hand with, on the other, a moral, long-term policy of protecting the only natural environment we possess while both managing the U.S. for all the nation’s people and making of ourselves a symbol of hope for all the world’s people. Does this contrast not give one pause? Does it not beg the question, “Why do we tolerate a system of government that causes us such grievous yet unnecessary harm?” We fall so far short not just of what we should be but even of what–with all our privileges of geography, history, and resources–we so easily could be!

Surely every thought in the above paragraph could be challenged, but perhaps the place to start lies with the assertion that doing a better job of designing a system of governance supportive of the long-term advancement of human civilization would be easy. First caveat: not politically easy, for the advocates of war, class war by the elite, and the maintenance of global control through violence are both massively powerful and skillful propagandists. But easy with the proviso that we could if we the 99% so chose…yes, that I claim to be true. When has a society ever had such a magnificent combination of wealth, security, resources, absence of significant enemies, and degree of personal freedom to “tell truth to power”? When, in a word, has such an opportunity as now faces the American people ever faced a human society?

Wealth I placed first not because it is the most important but because its misuse is the most obvious flaw in our system of governance. Be it how we fight our trillion-dollar brushfire battles against diminutive adversaries or the equally large handouts that we take from the taxpayers to reward the morally and probably legally criminal fraudsters of that so very special billionaire class, the assertion that we are heedlessly wasting our society’s great wealth with a level of counterproductive financial and foreign policy behavior that would shock a drunk should raise no eyebrows among thinking citizens.*

One could continue endlessly in this vein, but to cut to the chase, we the people–much to the amusement of a few slick billionaires–by our patience, our addiction to consumerism (the gladiatorial games of our rulers), our thoughtless voting habits, our lack of faith in our fellows aid and abet the maintenance of a system of national and global governance by the Washington elite backed by the ever more powerful financial elite with a little help from the war profiteer elite that is wasting our breathtaking advantages and dimming, rapidly dimming, our future prospects. Read this sentence not as a conclusion but as an invitation to dialogue.

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* Those who do not find this assertion obvious may wish to read the speeches of Elizabeth Warren or the writings of Ronald Reagan’s fraud fighter Bill Black or Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

 

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