Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Goal State - How Do We Get There?

originally posted 11/08/07 - reposted in the context of discussion of American coalition building and genuine change agency.

subtitled,
if at all.....,

E.C. Hopkins has repeatedly admonished us to think about the issue of "movement at the top";
Few of us will have opportunities to wield enough wealth, power, or prestige to change the world in any significant way. Few of us will have the political, economic, or military influence to steer the world in another direction. Most of us are just here for the ride and here to play the games the power elite allow us to play. Yet, each of us, especially each U.S. citizen, has some power and a few opportunities to access more power. And, it is important that we evaluate our current and estimate our future levels of wealth, power, and prestige in order to help us better determine what we could do to change the world, even if insignificantly, during our lives. We would probably need some idea of what we could do in order to best determine what we should attempt to do. We would probably determine that we couldn’t change the world significantly no matter how hard we might try. Most of us might determine that it would be best for us to focus on securing a life’s supply of economic resources for ourselves and our families first. Then, if we found we were lucky enough to have the economically valuable talents or skills, the energy, and the leisure time to accumulate more wealth, power, or prestige than we and our loved ones would need in order to flourish, we might attempt to help a few dozen other folks take good care of themselves or their loved ones. I suspect very few of us will be able to do more than this.
Personally, it's an issue that angers me to the marrow of my luciferian and implacably rebellious bones. My motto as a teenager was taken straight from Milton; "Better to rule in hell, than to serve in heaven" and very honestly, this ethos has informed my worldview ever since.

With middle age and dependent children of my own - I find that the anarcho-barbarian warrior of the wastelands fantasy of adolescence has lost much of its savor. While the body and mind are still quite able, they are increasingly less and less willing..., so the question turns to Francis Schaeffer's perennial "How then shall we live?".

Much as many folks seek to deny it, the fact of the matter is that "our polity is our way of life". To the extent that Black, White, Progressive, Conservative, etc..., participate in a 12,000 watt per capita society - which is utterly thermodynamically unsustainable - and which is leading to massive injustice, infringement on civil liberties, and escalating levels of unjust war - then we have a shared way of life and polity which absolutely must change if we are to obtain the greatest good for the greatest number.

Reading James R. Maclean's new wiki for Hobson's Choice, I was absolutely struck by the rightness of something he had written;
Much of the radical critique of contemporary society tends to be so filled with negativity and rage; that's not meant to disparage radical critiques per se, but a precautionary word to readers venturing down that path. Your ability to transform society in a radical way is, to put it gently, limited, and you will find that the things you're fighting against are surprisingly resilient. A lot of great radicals found themselves totally exhausted and embittered at times, and you will too. It's important to remember that the same mankind who shaped this cruel world also is ingenious, generous, noble, and witty. Always be open to fresh ideas, always seek to discern fairly, and don't forget to appreciate the wonderful achievements of the others with whom you share the world.
Which answers in part Schaeffer's question and brings me to the article I chanced upon last night hoping for a new deal which gets full back around to E.C.'s lofty perspective - and gives us a very concrete and constructive place to channel our political emphasis.
Ultimately, power holders must be convinced that [energy transition] policies, if obnoxious to them now, will be far less destructive to their interests than a complete breakdown of society and biosphere - which is the very real alternative. For a historic example of a similar conversion of elites think of the 1930s New Deal: then the titans of industry had to sacrifice some of their financial power in order to keep from losing it all. Many wealthy individuals never forgave Franklin Roosevelt, whom they regarded as a "traitor to his class," but most of them reluctantly agreed that redistribution represented the lesser of evils.

The analysis offered is original, detailed, and very well worth your perusal.