by Arthur D. Robbins
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained
May 9, 2017
War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on.
What are we to do? The following text is Part VI of a broader analysis entitled War and the State: Business as Usual.
Link to Part 1
Link to Part 2
Link to Part 3
Link to Part 4
Link to Part 5
Suppose we chose to join hands with our anti-Federalist ancestors and decided we want to live in a Nation where, “peace, union, and industry, under a mild, free, and steady government” prevail. (Storing, 67) Is such an outcome possible? How could we bring it about?
Well, it certainly is possible. Above I offered five examples of countries past and present that were Nations, not States: 1) India; 2) Holland in the 17th century; 3) the United States in the decade between 1776—the Declaration of Independence—and 1787—the signing of the Constitution; 4) Switzerland; 5) Iceland. There is no reason why the United States—now a State—cannot return to its roots and become a federation of fifty states—a Nation—with a weak central government like the one that existed under The Articles of Confederation. The mechanism is a simple one. We redirect the power from the center to the periphery. Here is an excellent example of how that works.
The Bank of North Dakota
The United States has a central banking system. Although the Board of Governors are presidential appointees, basically The Federal Reserve Bank—the “Fed”—is run to serve the interests of a small number of private banks deemed “too big to fail.” In 2008, billions if not trillions of dollars were passed along to these banks to help them recover the monies they lost from bad bets while ignoring the needs of those who lost their life savings and their homes and were reduced to living in tents. There was an economic collapse from which the country has not fully recovered nine years later. Now let’s take a look at what happened in the state of North Dakota.
In 1836, the U.S. Congress failed to renew the charter for the Second Bank of the United States, (today the Federal Reserve). Subsequently, the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Vermont, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina all created banks that were completely owned by the state government. None of those banks survived.
The movement for state banking was revived in the early 1900s when mid-western farmers were at the mercy of privately held banks. Farmers counted heavily on loans for equipment and loans to get them through harsh growing seasons when wheat yields were meager. Banks in Minneapolis and Chicago continued raising interest rates. Farmers were left in a precarious position. In response an independent political party was formed known as the “Non-Partisan League.” The “League” gained control of the North Dakota state government in 1918. In 1919, the state legislature established the Bank of North Dakota (BND).
The mission of the BND is to serve North Dakota agriculture, commerce and industry. It does not compete with privately held banks but partners with them in lending monies to local business. In 1967, BND made the first federally insured student loan in the country and currently has one of the lowest interest rates for state loans.
About twenty years ago, the bank began buying home loans made by local banks and credit unions. By buying up mortgages BND gave local banks a way to move loans off their books, thus freeing them up to make new loans, but without handing the business to their competitors.
BND services the mortgages it buys, ensuring that the mortgage interest homeowners pay each month stays in the state rather than flowing to Wall Street. Between BND’s mortgages and those held by local banks and credit unions, roughly 20–25 percent of the state’s mortgage debt is held and serviced within North Dakota.
The primary deposit base of the BND is the State of North Dakota. All state funds and funds of state agencies (excluding pension funds and trusts managed by the state) are deposited with the bank. Over the last 21 years, BND has generated almost $1 billion in profit. Nearly $400 million of that, or about $3,300 per household, has been transferred into the state’s general fund, providing support for education and other public services, while reducing the tax burden on residents and businesses.
One of the core missions of the Bank of North Dakota is to cultivate the state’s economy by supporting local banks and credit unions. Thanks in large part to BND, community banks are much more numerous and robust in North Dakota than in other states. While locally owned small and mid-sized banks and credit unions account for only 29 percent of deposits nationally, in North Dakota they have 83 percent of the market. By helping to sustain a large number of local banks and credit unions, BND has strengthened North Dakota’s economy, enabled small businesses and farms to grow, and spurred job creation in the state.
In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the BND was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. And yet in 2014, BND was lending money for school infrastructure at 1%. In 2015, it introduced new infrastructure programs to improve access to medical facilities, remodel or construct new schools, and build new road and water infrastructure. A bank can be profitable and serve the common good.
In 2008–2009 when the United States economy suffered one of its worst economic crises, BND had one of its most profitable years. There was no credit freeze. BND created its own credit and the economy flourished. BND acts as a kind of mini-fed for the state, providing liquidity, clearing checks and buying up loans when there is risk to share. 
A multiplicity of state banks
Just suppose that instead of one state bank there was one state bank for every state in the union, which is to say fifty “mini-Feds.” How would that affect the economy? How would that affect the political power dynamics? How would that affect the day-to-day lives of the average American?
Economically, the American economy would be more stable, more robust. Credit would be used to fund education, business development, and infrastructure improvement. It would not be siphoned off to bloat the profits of private banking interests.
It has long been understood that private interests in control of credit on a national level was a chronic menace to the public wheal. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson refused to renew the charter for the Bank of the United States. Among other concerns was the possibility that with centralization and privatization of the system of credit, foreign interests could gain control of the American economy and shape it to their benefit. “Controlling our currency, receiving our public moneys, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence, it would be more formidable and dangerous than the naval and military power of the enemy.” (C.S.)
After signing into law the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, President Woodrow Wilson had this to say:
I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world, no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. (Wikiquote)
Thomas Jefferson put it simply, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” Said James Madison, “History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.” Here are the words of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812), founder of the House of Rothschild. “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.”
So if we set up our fifty state banks we take back that power and redistribute it so that no single entity can take control of the monetary system. No longer do the too-big-to-fail banks and their lackey the Federal Reserve run—ruin—the economy. The “Fed” becomes a vestigial organ. It begins to wither and might eventually disappear. The withering is contagious and begins to affect the centralized power of the State.
The State has two primary functions: prop up private banks, make war. These two functions form an interlocking conglomerate, a servo-mechanism in which one function feeds the other. The State needs war to accrue power. It needs money to pay for the war. Banks need war so they can supply the government with funds and then collect interest. In 2015, the U.S. spent $223 billion, or 6 percent of the federal budget, paying for interest on the debt. Good news for banks. In 2014, the Federal Reserve bought up $2.461 trillion worth of the national debt, thus making it the largest holder in the world.
In 1933—subsequent to the crash of 1929—Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act. No longer were commercial banks allowed to engage in those speculative banking activities that were allowed to investment banks. In 1999—in acquiescence to private banking interests—Congress reversed itself and repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, leading to the crash of 2008.
This is but one example of how a centralized government and a centralized and privatized banking system work so well together in satisfying the wishes of private interests at the expense of public well-being. With our fifty state banks in place power has been fragmented and redistributed. Such a grand collusion is no longer possible.
The withering has begun
The deconstruction and withering of the State have been in the works for some time. In 2003, Thomas Naylor, co-author of the 1997 book Downsizing the U.S.A. founded a secessionist movement in the state of Vermont. A poll taken in 2007 indicated that 13% of the voters supported the move to leave the union and become and independent polity. The more the center ignores the rights and interests of the periphery the more the periphery will begin to assert itself.
On June 26, 2011, mayors from around the world met in Baltimore and approved a resolution that the federal government bring home the troops and stop funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this instance, voices on the periphery are challenging the power at the center. They are claiming the right to be heard and to influence decisions at the center. We the citizenry are listening and begin to understand that the center is not the only source of power and that central power can be challenged.
On June 29, 2015—yielding to considerable grass roots political pressure—the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a ban on fracking in the State of New York. The state of Vermont had banned fracking in 2012. The center is lethargic in responding to the environmental crisis and so local government takes action, once again demonstrating how irresponsible central government is and how power can be redirected to local governments that can take crucial steps in safeguarding the planet. 
In 2014, Ellen Brown ran for California State Treasurer. The center of her platform was a California State Bank. She ran on the Green Party ticket and garnered more votes for that party than any other candidate in the party’s history. (ellenbrown.com) Phil Murphy, the leading Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his campaign. (Ellen Brown, Dandelion Salad, April 13, 2017)
Various states have challenged the legitimacy and benefit of the “Affordable Care Act.” There is a movement in the state of Colorado to suspend both the ACA and Medicaid and replace these national healthcare programs with a state program run by a board of 21 elected trustees. “A state program, responsible to patients and providers, will do much better than a rigid national program, responsible to lobbyists,” says organizer Ivan Miller.
John Rohn Hall, a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico is promoting “Amerexit,” America’s answer to Brexit. It is a “Plan for State Sovereignty and an End of Empire.” (Hall, Dissident Voice, February 26, 2017) Santa Fe has for years been a sanctuary city, i.e., a city that welcomes refugees and immigrants. Under Trump, Santa Fe would lose federal funding. If that is the case, since there is no benefit, why not just leave the union, “New Mexit?” As Hall points out there is a “Calexit” movement with over 585,000 signatures. He imagines what the world would be like with the “Republic of California” and the “Republic of New Mexico.” And then he thinks ahead to when the remaining 48 join California and New Mexico and become sovereign nations.
The marble buildings and monuments of Washington, D.C., become museums. The United Nations and The International Court of Justice grow teeth, becoming the law of all lands. National borders gradually disintegrate and disappear. Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament is now International Law. Wars of aggression are relegated to the dark recesses of history.
“Divided we stand,” says Hall. “United we fall.”
Here is a version of the deconstructed State that does away with any overarching unity, even as weak as the Articles of Confederation. Yet it is all in the same spirit. There would be local banks, local healthcare plans, local environmental initiatives. The State is gone. Monies previously reserved for propping up private banks and waging war are redirected from the center to the periphery where they are used to serve the common good.
The State is making itself less and less relevant and making it more and more difficult to justify the revenues it receives. If vital services are sold off and privatized and tax revenues are directed almost exclusively to war, what motivation do citizens have to pay taxes? [2a]
What do our federal taxes buy?
Let’s take a look at what our tax dollar is buying. You might think that your federal tax dollar goes to paying the electric bill at your local post office. In fact, the USPS is a self-supporting agency that is mandated to pay its personnel and operating costs out of revenues from the sale of postage. Up until the year 2007, the USPS saw a continued rise in mail handled and a continued rise in revenues. It was solvent.
Then Congress decided that USPS should pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years and do so within a decade, something no other public agency or private company is required to do. Now the post office is $15 billion in debt. Resources are diverted to pay off debt that would have been devoted to servicing customers. USPS starts recording losses. Despite the handicap, in February of 2016, the post office recorded a profit for the first time in five years. Nonetheless, President Obama proposed cutting 12,000 jobs and discontinuing Saturday mail delivery.
At 493,381,—down from 787,538 in the year 2000—post office workers are the largest non-violent workforce employed by the government, which explains why they are expendable. Their only purpose is to bring together people separated by distance who wish to exchange thoughts and good wishes. A totally useless function if war is your game.
President Obama’s downsizing the postal system while simultaneously personally overseeing the assassination by drone of thousands of “militants” in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as hundreds if not thousands of “non-militants,” i.e. innocent civilians, i.e. collateral damage, is consistent with his role as W.I.C. (Warrior In Chief). If you’re not killing, you’re not doing your job.
The Government Accountability Office reports declines in the workforce between 2004 and 2012 in the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, GSA, NASA, and the Social Security Administration. In the same period 94 percent of the Federal workforce growth occurred in the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security.
In 2013, Defense [sic] employed 738,300, while Education employed a paltry 4,100. Total Federal civilian employment—excluding the Post Office—was 2,058,000. Adding together Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs we end up with 1,279,800 or 62% of total civilian employment devoted to violence and its consequences. That’s what your tax dollar is buying.
At what point is enough, enough? “Empire never has enough,” said US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson during an interview in December of 2015. “That’s the nature of imperial power. It never has enough.”
War is a racket
Smedley Darlington Butler (1881–1940) was a United States Marine Corps major general. He was active in more than a half dozen wars. At the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. In the 1930s, after retiring from service, he became an outspoken opponent of war. He wrote a pamphlet entitled War Is A Racket. He is bitter, angry and outraged at the ravages of war and the grossly swollen profits of the bankers and industrialists that war provides. 
Butler points out that During WWI war profits surged to “three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent—the sky is the limit. . . . Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it.” That was the mentality during the war years. In the period 1910—1914 DuPont Chemical had earnings of $6 million. During the period 1914 -1918—the years of WWI—their profits jumped to $58 million a year, an almost tenfold increase.
By contrast, the soldier was paid $30 per month. Half of that wage was sent home to dependents. $6 was deducted for “accident insurance” and then another $9 for “Liberty Bonds” that were issued to pay for the war—$2 billion worth. Leaving most soldiers with nothing on payday.
When returning soldiers could not find work the banks would buy back the $100 bonds for $84, leaving themselves $16 as profit. And of course the same soldiers would pay taxes so the government could make interest payments to the banks on the bonds the banks purchased. 
After visiting soldiers in their hospital beds, surveying the mangled minds and bodies, and considering the ruined lives of the families, the outrageous lies that pass for truths that are used to manipulate a nation into going to war, Butler concludes, “War is Hell.” These are the words of a Major General. He ought to know.
Change and fear of change
If the goal is “a warless world founded in warless societies” then we need to make some changes. We need to create an alternative to empire. We need to restructure the power dynamics so that power in the center—the power of the empire—is redistributed to the periphery, where states can create governments that serve the common good.
Change is a word that sends ripples of fear through the human body, through the body politic. Change has its mysteries. It can seem daunting and intimidating which is why meaningful change occurs so rarely. There is the mistaken belief that change will only make things worse. And that there is no risk in maintaining the status quo. Although we cannot guarantee the outcome if we bring about fundamental political change, we can pretty much guarantee the outcome if we don’t. The planet will become unlivable.
When social/political or psychological transformative change occurs, cognitive and emotional issues arise. We have a certain image of what our government is and how we relate to it. Our government has an identity; it is seen as a certain kind of government, behaving in a certain way. We as individual citizens become subsumed within this identity, whether we choose to be or not. What happens to us when our government changes? In some measure our universe has been tampered with. That is an unsettling feeling, which is one reason why transformative change is resisted so rigorously.
There was a time when being identified as being American would bring a smile of gratitude and a handshake from a foreigner. Now it is just as likely to bring a snub. Do we like our government and how it is seen around the world? Do we like the way it feels to be associated with such a government? Would we like to be associated with a different kind of government? Are we pleased with the way in which our government addresses the needs of its citizens? These are questions we should be asking ourselves. Perhaps some readers would like to live under a government that is less feared and more respected, a government that is kinder and gentler, a government that embraces the common good.
Contemplating change brings us face to face with the unknown. We cannot predict the outcome once we initiate the process of change. We lose control. Maybe the worst will happen. We will lose our freedoms. We will be enslaved. Such thoughts are not necessarily rational but they occur nonetheless. We cling to the stability of the status quo. David Popper provides an interesting example.
Piecemeal change as the answer?
David Popper (1902—1994) was an Austrian born philosopher. He had a major impact on scientific thinking in the 20th century. He argued that no amount of induction could make a scientific theory true. But that for a theory to be considered scientifically valid it had to be falsifiable. There had to be a means to prove that the theory was invalid.
Let us say that I have a theory that says blue-eyed men are taller than brown-eyed men. The theory is scientific by Popper’s standards. All I have to do is find one brown-eyed man who is taller than a blue-eyed.
Marx’s theory of historical materialism says that the economic evolution in the means of production will lead to socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Such a theory is more a vision or an ideology than it is a scientific theory. There is nothing one can do to falsify it.
Popper wrote a book entitled The Open Society And Its Enemies, published in 1945. Popper’s book is a defense of liberal democracy and an attack on the idealist, historicist philosophers—philosophers like Plato, Hegel and Marx—who believe that history has an inherent causality that can’t be altered. Such philosophers will lead us to totalitarian societies, says Popper. The individual will be denied the opportunity for self-expression and critical thinking. These philosophers are the enemies of the open society.
Popper’s goal is “democracy,” a government dedicated to the preservation of free thought. His concern is the rise of tyranny and the crushing of individuality. In a democracy there is a means of self-protection and that is “the right of the people to judge and dismiss their government . . . the only known device by which we can try to protect ourselves against the misuse of political power.” (Popper, 335) We see here a negative definition of democracy, a definition based in fear, fear of governmental abuse. Says Bourne, “Mere negative freedom will not do as a 20th century principle.” (read 21st century) (Bourne, 46)
“The right of the people to judge and dismiss their government” is the right to vote in elections, which, as has been explained above, creates oligarchy, not democracy. Democracy is a form of government in which citizens debate and legislate on their own behalf.
Popper’s fear of governmental abuse leads him to be cautious in undertaking major changes that could lead to unpredictable and dangerous outcomes. There is no vision of a better world. Such a vision is labeled “utopian.” He is critical of those writers who would “go to the very root of the social evil” and completely eradicate it. (Popper, 154)
By means of “piecemeal social engineering,” Popper would diminish human suffering, not eliminate it. “The piecemeal engineer will [fight against] the greatest and most urgent evils of society, rather than searching, and fighting for, its greatest ultimate good. (Popper, 148) Each rising generation has the right to “a claim not to be made unhappy,” says Popper (Popper, 149), an awkward double negative brought on by an over concern to keep things just as they are.
Popper wrote his book as WWII was drawing to a close. Hitler had a vision for a new world, starting with a clean canvas. Millions died. Mao had a similar vision. Millions died. Understandably, Popper is concerned that those with “vision” should gain power. Nonetheless a political philosophy based in fear is useless. It is based in the irrational belief that holding fast to a system that ignores the common good is safe but that change is dangerous. The outcome we fear is actually our current reality, a political system that owes its existence to propaganda and misinformation, a system that ignores basic human needs and tramples on an eco-system that is running out of patience.
Political vs. economic change: Which comes first?
There are those who advocate change, but not political change. Economic inequality is the primary concern. “Let us redistribute the wealth and bring an end to the gross inequality that is a cancer in our society,” they say. Or “Let us create a form of government where the government itself—not private interests—is in control of the economy. Then we can decide who gets what.” Economic transformation comes first.
Benjamin Barber thinks otherwise. “Democracy proclaims the priority of the political over the economic,” says Barber.(Barber, 257) “Politics precedes economics,” he says, because it “creates the central values of economy and society.”(Barber, 252) “[Politics] remains the sovereign realm in which the ordering of human priorities takes place.” (Barber, 266) Says Karl Popper, “Economic power must not be permitted to dominate political power.” (Popper, 335) I agree. The first step is to redistribute political power, to set up a new political structure. Economic change will follow.
China affords an interesting example of how easy it is to change economic systems while leaving the underlying power structure intact. With Mao in charge, the Chinese people lived under a brutal totalitarian communist regime. Mao is alleged to have taken the lives of 40 million of his fellow countrymen. With very little fanfare this communist State seems to have become transformed into a capitalist State, or something close to it.
In other words, socialism/communism and capitalism are not that different in their power dynamics. Both require strong central governments and both lead to the abuse of power that central governments are prone to. If our goal is social justice, a government that serves the common good and is responsive to the wishes of the citizenry then we need to think in terms of political change, the restructuring of the prevailing power dynamics.
Change is possible
“But,” you say in quiet despair, “how can our government possibly be changed? It is simply not possible.” Although such a belief is certainly understandable, I do not believe it is justified. I believe that change is possible, provided it is introduced in a thoughtful and gradual way.
First we change our attitude, our outlook on life. To repeat the thoughts of Henry George, right reason precedes right action. We become thoughtful, rather than reactive. We take nothing for granted. We become more analytical, more skeptical, and less credulous about the government we live under; we become more imaginative and hopeful about the government we intend to replace it with. We allow our imagination free rein as we think up new possibilities. For it is only through imagination and creativity that change comes about.
As we become actively involved in deconstructing the State and more and more power shifts to local governments, the State begins to whither. Communities begin to flourish. As local politics become more meaningful and communities more vibrant, the individual becomes more robust, less frightened, more engaged in political life.
As citizens see how government can actually function to their benefit, they are less enthusiastic about sending money to the central government, which does little or nothing on their behalf. As the individual feels more politically alive he is less likely to be intimidated by the State, less likely to be swayed by fake news and government manipulation. He becomes more thoughtful, more articulate, more empowered. And this is our goal, “the realization of the individual through the beloved community.” (Bourne, 51)
Yes, power can be abused at the local level. But it is less likely to cause WWIII. And there is a way out. It is called sortition. The ancient Greeks used sortition to select their magistrates. Sortition is another word for lot, or drawing straws. Instead of allowing the major parties to stack the deck in favor of corporate power when they choose the candidates who appear on our primary ballots, we can allow citizens to volunteer for office. Once a year a sortition is held. This is a random event. Those whose number is pulled appear on the ballot. We could even do away with elections altogether and count on sortition alone to put people in power. 
Another way of limiting the concentration of power is setting a limit on the concentration of wealth. Enormous wealth is a menace to a free society. In ancient Athens there were laws forbidding a display of wealth in public places. They were called sumptuary laws. Here is an example:
A free-born woman may not be accompanied by more than one female slave, unless she is drunk; she may not leave the city during the night, unless she is planning to commit adultery; she may not wear gold jewelry or a garment with a purple border, unless she is a courtesan; and a husband may not wear a gold-studded ring or a cloak of Milesian fashion unless he is bent upon prostitution or adultery.
Times have changed, chaste or profligate we can dress as we choose. However, there should be a limit to the amount of wealth an individual or a family can accumulate. A billionaire like George Soros has enormous power that he uses to suit his political purposes, thus defeating us in our attempts to serve the common good. $40 million should be enough for any individual. Such a sum would allow for at least two residences, a yacht and a racehorse or two. Twice that amount for a family. Anything beyond that amount is taxed at one hundred percent. 
For us to reach our goals, we must have ideals, values and a vision of a better world based on a decentralized form of government. In other words, we must do exactly what Popper tells us not to do. The process is gradual—as he would wish—but the vision is all encompassing. There is little to fear because we are taking power away from the powerful center, not granting it.
The war machine withers
As the State goeth, so goeth the war machine, the house of power, the Pentagon. As monies are diverted away from the center, there is less available for big-ticket war items at grossly inflated prices. War loses some of its glamour. It becomes a sometime thing not the full-time pass-time of generals and their subordinates.
The Pentagon begins its decline. A few panes of glass have been shattered and go unrepaired. Some pigeons build a nest and take up residence. Mice can be seen scurrying about Pentagon hallways in broad daylight. There are fewer and fewer cars in the parking lot. Grass starts growing up in the cracks.
Eventually it is simply too costly to heat this enormous space in the winter and cool it in the summer. One wing is boarded up entirely. Eventually another wing follows. One central section remains open. Generals are bundled up against the cold. Whereas once they dined on caviar and Veuve Clicquot, they now have to settle for chicken fingers and fries. Soon the Pentagon is no longer a viable operation. It has lost the political clout it once had. And so it must pass on to the dustbin of history.
On a Wednesday, in December, in the year 2031, it is announced that bids are being let out to level the entire structure. In late spring of 2032 a building that was once the most formidable presence in the country has been reduced to a pile of rubble. In August of the same year a bake sale is held. Bakers from around the country arrive with grandma’s recipe for everything from apple pie to double chocolate brownies and linzer tarts. Money is being raised to create a park and a playground for children. There is even talk of a botanical garden. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those cranberry-walnut scones.
The above essay is part 6 of a six part analysis:
1. War and the health of the State: What causes war
2. Federated governments: The Nation vs. the State
3. Origin of the State: Barbarians at the gate
4. End Game: War goes on
5. Critical Thinking: A bridge to the future
6. Deconstructing the State: Getting small
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Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.
1. See Ellen Brown, The Public Bank Solution: From Austerity to Prosperity
2. Needless to say, the warrior class has little love for Mother Nature, and little concern for her failing eco-system. Their god is Thanatos, the god of death. Happily, they would oversee the extinction of the human species. A total of 192 countries have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty that’s the closest thing we have to a working global agreement to fight climate change. The only nations that haven’t signed are Afghanistan, Sudan & the U.S.A.
2a. Charles Hugh Smith (oftwominds.com) offers another solution. Why not build our decentralized government around cities? He refers to the writing of urban studies theorist, Richard Florida.
3. See Butler’s War Is A Racket.
4. As mentioned earlier in this essay. This was the system that prevailed during the Revolutionary War. Speculators ran around buying up war bonds that returning soldiers would sell for as little as fifteen cents on the dollar. These same speculators then demanded that the full value of the bonds be honored. The U.S. Constitution was written in part to satisfy these demands. Article I, Section 10 prevents states from passing laws, “impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” When these words were written the contracts being referred to were the bonds that the speculators had bought up for as little as fifteen cents on the dollar.
5. See Arthur D. Robbins, “Do Away With Elections?”
6. According to Forbes magazine there are 1,810 billionaires in the world worth a total of $6.5 trillion.
Arthur D. Robbins is the author of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained: The True Meaning of Democracy, referred to by Ralph Nader as, “An eye-opening, earth-shaking book . . . a fresh, torrential shower of revealing insights and vibrant lessons . . .” and the recently released e-book based on Part II of Paradise Lost entitled, Democracy Denied: The Untold Story. To learn more visit acropolis-newyork.com.
from the archives:
Critical Thinking: A Bridge to the Future, Part 5 by Arthur D. Robbins
End Game: The War Machine Goes On, Part 4 by Arthur D. Robbins
Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate, Part 3 by Arthur D. Robbins
Which Is Safer, a Public Bank or a Private Bank? by Ellen Brown + The Savings and Stability of Public Banking by Ralph Nader
Federated Governments: The Nation Versus The State, Part 2 by Arthur D. Robbins
War And The Health Of The State: What Causes War, Part 1 by Arthur D. Robbins
Abby Martin and Lawrence Wilkerson: The US Empire Is Ready To Collapse
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Thank you for your thoughts. Indeed, change is a complex and intimidating subject to contemplate much less act upon. I have tried to keep it concrete and simple minded. Let’s set up state banks. Only good can result from such initiatives. Ellen Brown is the pioneer. She is leading the way. I think we should follow.
I thoroughly agree, and would like to think that many others will begin to support these ideas as well !
If you can help to get this radical green ball rolling, you’ll deserve all the kudos ~ and I’m sure Ellen Brown would be the first to endorse your very wise and perspicuous analysis…it’s hard to do real justice to your work here, but I intend to think a lot more about it. Many thanks for acknowledging my comments.
Thanks Arthur, you cover a lot here. Very interesting, deserving of long reflection and deeper study ~ quite an achievement.
My principle concern, is that it is virtually impossible, to legislate political morality or social ethics, unless or until we are able to educate ourselves to aspire to authentic ‘initiation.’ By which I mean the direct experience of spiritual reality as a living truth, not as vested dogma or politicized belief.
In short, to approach the sublime and the sacred as a social necessity; understood as an individual task and a civic (moral) responsibility ~ a metaphysical obligation to be tempered and refined by a scientific method, that tests our assumptions about self, virtue and (metaphysical) reality with robust, rigorous and comprehensive thoroughness ~ & about which Popper’s meticulously argued philosophy has so much to say.
You advocate decentralization. I agree; however, we have to face the complex, differential calculus of nested realities that have such varying impacts and shifting dynamics on a global (ecologically determined) scale, for that is the scale we are operating with/at/upon/within.
Perhaps there is a natural need for continuous periodic oscillation, in order to maintain a realistic, flexible and adaptive climate of possibility, intimately implicit in the regenerative ecologies of power.
You anticipate that “monies are diverted away from the center….” However, I’m not confident that outside of local transition economies, cosmopolitan banking will function effectively without central clearing mechanisms; however controversial the Swiss BIS and so on, is, at present ~ because of their unique, privileged, oligopolistic, privatised and pragmatic ‘centrality.’
Perhaps a proportional international network is needed, with transparent accountability and rotating authority Either way, proportionality is of the essence; both gender-impartial and definitively not species exclusive. As Bill Mollison famously advocated, we have to learn how to be producers, not consumers.
I would only add, through intelligent stewardship & as guardians of life, not predators and despoilers.
Everything has to be regulated, but there must be logical, natural and ethical components to any mechanisms we invoke or design. Not impossible, if the idea of accountability is enacted rigorously. As in international law, separation of powers is the key ~ and again, discreet proportionality, standards of legitimate motivation, professionalism and genuine ethical intent.
We shall never discover a perfect system because anything we deploy will be flawed; because it will, by definition, be synthetic ~ if human made. So the best we can do is pay attention to (metaphysical) reality, listen, understand and share what we have learned from direct experience.
I posted this link before, but I highly recommend Robin Kimmerer’s wonderfully intelligent & moving Bioneers’ talk from 2014; a superb antidote to the hubristic conceits of the legions of ignorami that currently infest our public sphere ~ unenlightened human occupation of this Earth is now such a horrendous liability, somehow, the best of our species must find ways of asserting & exercising this exceptional quality of exemplary wisdom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cumEQcRMY3c