Saturday, July 8, 2017

Principles for the next stage of human history

July 8, 2017

I have consolidated and commented some thoughts I put on my Facebook profile. They are presented here for access.
I need to confess to a tone of certainty. I do not speak with the modesty of self-doubt. But I do not assume you will believe me. I assume you may agree with me, or not, but that you will reflect on your own experience when you evaluate the validity of these ideas. I make no apologies for having clear ideas, forcefully expressed. I am equally capable of listening to arguments of elaboration, difference and contradiction. I trust you will use these ideas as a foil against which to express your own ideas.

Key principle #1: I understand that for me to be safe, I must make the world safe for you.
Corollary 1: Fences, walls, guns, police forces, armies, and other forms of violence, create safety for some at the expense of safety for others.
Corollary 2: We are only truly safe when we conduct our affairs as members of a single community, in which the safety and well being of every member is a core value.
Corollary 3: There is only one thing we need to agree on: We don't hurt each other. Everything else can be by majority rule.

Key Principle n-4: If you want to avoid fascism, you need to use democracy. You need to convince a majority of the people that your ideas are the right ideas.

Key principle n-3: Revolutions are anti-democratic and typically are used to install power-hungry people, who are willing to kill people, increase misery, destroy the systems we need to produce food and housing, and destroy the institutions we need to make things happen. Revolution is acceptable to those who prioritize their own needs over the needs of others, and are satisfied with relationships defined by violence.
Privilegism began to operate early in human history. From the earliest roots of humanity, the dependence of each person on the intact social fabric, and the lack of significant differences in wealth, kept in check the selfish who would use their advantage to gain more advantage. Privilegism was controlled by the community through social processes.
But at some point, when farmers began to control their own land and more food than other farmers, and have larger families; when nomadists could increase their own herd or flock,and have larger families; when riders of horses could steal from non-riding peoples, and have larger families, the way of privileged action could not be resisted, and those who adopted Privilegism dominated their societies. Early in the history settled communities, the many remained part of the community decision making, but as the wealthy and powerful were able to use wealth and power to take more and make more, they hired goons and built armies, and used coercion to control and ultimately exploit the many who did not have the wealth, status, or resources, to resist. History is replete with examples of people using their resources to acquire resources by taking them from others, and examples of peaceful peoples being attacked and exploited by those who would use violence.
Thus today Privilegism is ubiquitous and persuades even those whose lives are made worse by it. Some societies control it better than others do. But to resist it is to resist natural selection, nature’s own mechanism for choosing winners and losers. The question, for those of us who choose to resist it is “Why we would choose to resist a force of nature?” We might also ask, “Why do we resist Privilegism?” What is the aspiration that arouses us to fight such a powerful force? And “From what equally powerful principle do we get our energy and ability to appeal to the consciences of others?” “What change in the course of history do we think we can make?”.

Key Principle N-1: There is sufficient wealth for every person to have their needs met, and for communities to be healthy and places of joy. 

Key principle N: Let us say that the wealthiest members of the community have been entrusted with the wealth which represents the productivity of the community, and that that wealth is owed to the community, and must be used to bring up the quality of life for every member of the community. Wealth implies an obligation of care and stewardship.

Key principle N+1:
The "normative income". This idea declares that the preferred economic status of every person is in the middle range of all possible wealth and income. It is a range of incomes defined by their ability to support a family which can pay a reasonable share of taxes, in comfort, with adequate health care, education and housing, It provides enough wealth to allow people to take vacations without fear of losing their homes, and to participate in the economy as fund-holders, but leans against that much wealth that permits a second home (while others are homeless), or to avoid ever needing to take a job.
The key idea of Fascism, of the left or the right, is that those who have power are entitled to use it for the benefit of what ever cause happens to be their cause. This key idea produces the idea that wealth belongs to the wealthy, poverty belongs to those who are poor, and there are no responsibilities of individuals for the other members of their communities. The Fascists were most explicit about the right to use power for the benefit of those who possess it, so their label is the label I use, but don't forget Stalin. Stalin used power fascistically.
In America, the most familiar expression of this principle is the individual accumulation of wealth for retirement. We do have Social Security, which the fascists would love to destroy, but there is the constant drumbeat in the media of Planning Your Retirement. We rely so much on the personal retirement system because we do not have an adequate social safety net.
Hence, in this principle, everyone is supported toward a middle income through good community planning, and everyone who is uber rich is hampered from being super rich through good community planning.
Hence there is one community, not a rich one and a poor one.

Key principle N+2: An economy built on a single model doesn't work. You need conflicts. For example:
A1: All wealth belongs to the community.
B1: Wealth is controlled by individuals.
We need to mix these ideas
A2: Pure Capitalism results in Tyranny
B2: Pure Socialism results in Tyranny
We need to mix these ideas
A3: The community is the source of all well being.
B3: The community is where freedom and self-expression reside.
Which is worse?
A4: Tyranny of the few?
B4: Tyranny of the many?
I could go on.
This principle draws on the observation of ecologists that diversity improves the resilience of the system, and on the political theory idea of “checks and balances”. I am trying to invoke the idea of the mixed economy. We need multiple levels of government with degrees of sovereignty, and degrees of accountability. We need large scale businesses to perform large scale projects, and small scale businesses to meet the needs of people. We must strongly advantage common ownership, to limit how much wealth any one person can acquire*. Their degrees of privilege must be regulated to prevent them from exploiting the advantages of wealth and power. We achieve this control through active legal and economic systems of checks and balances.

*This idea deserves elaboration. A way to distribute wealth is to raise investment funds in small bits from many people. We can limit the ownership of any business to one share per person, as co-ops do. When an ambitious and energetic person builds their private business up, they can reduce their wealth taxes by sharing their profits with their employees. There are many ways to correct the effects of privilegism. All who oppose these corrections must remember that everyone benefits from a healthy community. 

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