Introduction

Why I wrote this book.

 

At the end of World War II my father and other young men came home, and our quiet world of waiting, worrying women and children became one of joy, excitement, vigor, and optimism. For a time many of these veterans would gather at our house to talk about what they had seen and done. But mostly they talked about the future. They were all children of the Great Depression, so they talked about how America would fare economically. They talked about what it would take to keep us safe. They talked about political phi­losophy, jobs, sports, religion, education, world affairs—they were, for me at least, a wonderful window on the world. I was permitted to sit with them and I could even ask questions which they would patiently answer. But eventually most of these men moved away from our small town to jobs or colleges in Fort Worth or Waco, both cities about seventy miles away. My father, three uncles, the husband of my mother’s cousin (whom I called, “Uncle John”), and a few family friends remained. For more than a decade they would meet often and spend an hour or two conducting a seminar that my mother called, “Solving the World’s Prob­lems.” It was fascinating for me.

I admired all those veterans very much then, and I still do. They were confident in themselves and sat­isfied with the many mighty things that they and millions more had accomplished in World War II. They thought that they and America would build a better world. Who is to say they were wrong? But they could not live forever and, ultimately, they had to pass America to their children.

From these experiences I developed a deep interest in how our institutions worked. In high school I determined to study them to see if I could devise ways to make them better. I realized that I would have to study them throughout my life be­cause my point of view would change as my age and circum­stances changed. I further vowed that upon reaching retirement age if I had learned anything useful I would write about it.

Let me be explicit. “Better” meant “better for ordinary people, first, last and always.” Those veterans—those young, wise, and caring men—taught me that the purpose of government was to serve all of the people. They were very clear that government, above all else, must help those who need help, protect those who need protection, and recognize and cherish those who have served and sacrificed. The systems I propose in this book are intended to serve those goals.

I am now twelve years beyond retirement age and I was right to wait. In 1965 I saw the movie The Cin­cinnati Kid. I identified with Steve McQueen’s portrayal of a brash, young gambler. I wanted McQueen’s character to win the big game against the old gambler played by Edward G. Robin­son. Thirty years later I saw the movie again. Then I thought McQueen’s character was a fool, and I wanted Robinson to win all his money. Many things changed over time.

I became a teacher of math and German in a large Texas high school and later entered the world of computers just when they were starting to be widely used by American businesses. From 1965 to 1995 I worked as a designer and developer of large-scale computer systems. Updated versions of some of the systems I helped develop are still in use today, and they directly affect the daily lives of millions of Americans.

The years of my working life were exciting in that our nation was undergoing tremendous change, and I, in a small way, helped structure that change. In my segment of that world, com­puters were being applied for the first time to all aspects of a business: accounting, marketing, personnel, analysis, customer service, billing, product support, and much more. We called this process “developing application systems.” We followed a simple procedure in each new situation. First we had a data-collection step, followed by analysis and de­sign, implementation, and operation. My work permitted me to continue with my hobby of imagining ideas for improving our institutions. In some cases my ideas were actually implemented, and I got to see how they worked.

Upon reaching my 65th birthday, I decided that I had learned some worthwhile things, and I will offer them here. I am not a scholar. I am simply a former schoolteacher who became a com­puter programmer—I am an ordinary man, or as my father would say: “a common man.” I was raised a Southern Baptist, gradu­ated from Baylor University, then the largest Baptist school in the world, and have lived all but four years of my life in Texas where (as the old joke goes) there are more Baptists than people. At Baylor, some of my minister-in-training friends informed me that because of a technicality I was not a Christian—I had failed to be baptized. So, I became a golden-rule concretist, one who believes in making the Golden Rule of Reciprocity a concrete thing—a working system of government that implements the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” I lived one year in each of the following places: New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Mechan­icsburg (Pennsylvania), and Greenwich (Connecticut). They were all nice places with nice people.

I admired my father and mother very much. They were smart, logical, and deeply analytical. My father went only to the eighth grade, but he knew so much about so much. I am still amazed by it. My mother finished high school; in fact, she and I graduated from the same high school 21 years apart. She told me how she had read all the books in the small school library when she was a student, and she chal­lenged me to do the same. In my senior year I was looking through the shelves to find a book I had not read and came upon a small volume of poetry. I took it to the checkout desk and there discov­ered that the last person to take out that book was my mother twenty-one years before. She and I shared a big laugh about that. She had an intuitive grasp of mathematics. When I was in college I would talk to her about the math courses I was taking. She would understand things immediately, and she often helped me to understand them as well. One of the most interesting mathematical dis­cussions I ever had with her was when she started talking about mapping the rich inner lives we all have onto the poor actions we are allowed by na­ture and society. I talked with my father about everything else—but mostly I listened to them both.

So what I have to say is drawn from ordinary experiences in ordinary jobs while I was living an ordinary life, but with extraordinary parents. In the writing of this book, I have used the same approach that I used to design computer applications. I frankly hope that my ideas make it to the light of day, and I expect that they will provoke anger and re­sistance. Throughout my career of introducing change, I saw that such reactions were the leading indica­tors that we were on to something good.

I have presented my ideas informally to many persons and a good many of the reactions I have received would cause a practical man to abandon them. But I have had some encouragement from friends and family. One friend has been steadfast in her belief that things can, and must, be improved. Her insights into our society in general and into the baseless hypotheses put forward by industrial agriculture, corporate medicine, and the criminal justice system in particular, have kept me on the right path. Two lifelong friends and classmates read an early version, and while they did not agree with some of the things I wrote, they nevertheless gave me valuable suggestions and encouraged me to continue. For example, one of them taught me that there are many good lobbyists—the problem is that our system rewards the bad ones. Last, but not least, another friend has taught me two things. First, love is the answer to most human problems, and second, life is simple, but people make it complicated.

My brother, Randall, read the book as it was being developed and he corrected my many mistakes, sharpened my poorly expressed ideas, offered his own ideas, and reinforced my love and admiration for our parents. In fact, he pointedly reminded me that the heart of this book is based on the ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and actions of our parents. He is right. No matter what differences nature and nurture may have produced between us two brothers, we are definitely our parents’ children. We two apples fell in the comforting shade of the tree, and we are glad of it.

So I, a weary old man, wrote this book to make good on the vows made by that earnest young boy in the spring of 1956—and I aimed this book at the earnest young people of today. But I also wrote this book to honor my ancestors, and all the other Americans like them, who, through the way they lived their lives—their hard work, their independence, their self-reliance, their clear-eyed view of the world, their high intelligence, their strong voices and their fearlessness in using them, their sense of right and charity, their drive to leave the world a better place than they found it, their fairness, their love of family and country, their belief in education, their conscious practice of the Golden Rule of Reciprocity, their willingness to sacrifice, to do their part, to expect no more, and no less, than what they deserved, and all the rest they did—defined for me the “American Way.”

Many persons and organizations lay claim to the term “American Way.” I include in it all the things that my parents’ generation fought for in World War II, and the things that those of us who stood and waited for our loved ones’ safe return dreamed about while the battle raged. All the ideals from those long ago days, whether fully realized or not, are the ideals that I hold, and against which I measure our systems and institutions. Those ideals, for me, are the true American Way, chiefly because they include all Americans. We are all in this thing together, and I wouldn’t have it any other Way. I devote this book to an effort to reestablish the American Way, because I fear it is racing away. I think it is essential that we Americans agree on what the American Way means to each and all. It is essential that we agree on what each of us must do in order to do his duty. For too long we have gone our separate ways as we tried to find our way. The new way will focus on common destinations and common ways to travel to them. It is essential that we assume responsibility for our national government and all of our other major institutions, and once we agree on what they should do to build a better world, we must bend them to our will.

The essential ingredient of the original American Way, the ingredient that built, defended, and when necessary, rebuilt America is the people. In this book I offer a system that will enable us to sharpen the definition of the American Way, and will enable us to make it a reality. I call this new system, “Faction-Free Democracy.” In the new system, the people will express their will in clear language and then they will use their absolute power to carry it out—there will be no middlemen. Faction-Free Democracy is truly government of the people, by the people, and for the people—and through Faction-Free Democracy we can establish an America where all persons can live long lives, and their lives will be worth living.

My father, who had the outlook of a philosopher, used to say that there are three eternal questions which engage humankind: “Where did I come from? Where am I going? What should I do while I am here?” My mother, who had the outlook of an engineer, would counter with her four eternal questions: “Where do we stand? How did we get here? Where do we want to go? How do we get there from here?”

I would often talk with my father about the myriad answers to his questions, and it was lots of fun. But he would usually close the discussion with a reminder that I should answer his third eternal question, “What should I do while I am here?” by trying to answer Mother’s four eternal questions. That is exactly what I have done for the past six decades, and this book is a summary of my answers to her questions.

Finally, when I was approaching adolescence I became a little too smart for my own good. I was cracking wise one day and my mother patiently said something like this, “Jerry, I had a dream about you last night. I saw you standing in a dark place with a bright light shining on you. Behind the light I could see many pairs of eyes watching you. I could not decide if you were addressing a large group of people who had come to hear what you had to say, or if you were leading a prison break and the guards had caught you in their searchlight. Things can turn out either way, and it is all up to you.” And my father often said, “All of us are born ignorant, but not all of us overcome it.”

To my father I say, “Poppa, I have tried my very best to overcome my ignorance.” And to my mother I say, “So far so good, Momma, so far so good.”

Adapt or Die

 Throughout our history we human beings have successfully, painfully, and violently obeyed the fundamental law of evolution. Today is no different. We must adapt or die.

Where do we stand?

We stand in a world shaped by evolution by natural selection. It has two sides—on one it creates new life forms; on the other, it destroys them all. It has ruled our species since the beginning. It is mindless, purposeless, relentless, merciless and amoral—it is a force of nature. It has produced two living varieties of our species—tyranni who are aggressive and selfish, and democrati who are timid and unselfish. Tyranni, such as Donald Trump, naturally, irrationally, work against the common good. Democrati, such as Jimmy Carter, naturally, rationally, work for it. These varieties are locked in a relentless, Darwinian struggle for survival.

The Cycle of Human History

  • Tyranni naturally, aggressively, selfishly push forward to take power.
  • Democrati naturally, timidly, unselfishly step back to let them pass.
  • Tyranni naturally use that power to indulge their selfish urges.
  • Innocents (tyranni and democrati) suffer and die unnecessarily.
  • A great commotion occurs—from elections to wars.
  • Tyranni-outs seize power from tyranni-ins
  • Innocents continue to suffer, but under new rulers.
  • And the cycle renews.

But because Nature has been so bountiful, because democrati greatly outnumber tyranni, and because humans are so resilient and so creative, this brutal process could not stop progress—very costly progress, often needlessly tragic and unevenly distributed, but progress nevertheless—of that there is no doubt. However, we are now dangerously near the end. Nature’s bounty is nearly exhausted. She can no longer heal our self-inflicted wounds, she cannot replenish what we take from her—she cannot forgive our greed.

Without the assistance of Nature, we humans are finally on our own. Our millennia of adolescence are over. It is time to grow up. We can no longer afford to indulge our selfish urges—we cannot afford to just do what comes naturally: act reflexively, act without thinking, play political games instead of doing the hard work of facing and solving the immense problems we have created for ourselves. If we continue to follow the instinctive natures given to us by evolution by natural selection we will go the way of countless other species—we will decline, even become extinct—and it will be sooner rather than later.

Tyranni have done much harm to our societies over the millennia. They naturally seek power and wealth. Large institutions have power and power leads to wealth. It is usually beyond the ability of a single tyrannus to gain control of a large institution. He must have allies. Recognizing this fact, tyranni are prone to form groups in pursuit of power and wealth. They work together to dominate those who do not belong to their alliance, while they intrigue against each other as each seeks to become the ultimate ruler, the supreme tyrannus. Such groups of power-seeking tyranni are factions, and they have been commonplace throughout world history. Once they gain power, once they control a large institution—from state legislatures to Wall Street banks to national governments—they irrationally push their power as far as it can take them—even if it leads to the destruction of themselves and the institutions they control.

The most powerful institutions are national governments, and they take on many forms. They are called monarchical, fascist, communist, socialist, democratic, republican, etc. I suppose that such classifications are important, but the most important category is omitted from the discussion. Governments are either tyranno or democrato. They should be measured by how they treat their people. Those that serve the common good are democrato and those that do not are tyranno. For example, several tyranno-governments have plagued us in our history. The monarchies were Great Britain under King George III, and the Empire of Japan. Nazi Germany was socialist. The Italian government of Benito Mussolini was fascist. The U.S.S.R. under Josef Stalin was a collection of socialist republics, and it was called communist as well. The Chinese government under Mao Zedong was called a republic and communist. The Confederate States of America was called a republic, as were the states of the unrepentant, postbellum South. The government of North Korea, I suppose, has its own specific identifying term, but I don’t know what it is, and I really don’t care. I only care that all of these governments treated their people badly. They were controlled by factions and they worked constantly to widen and increase their power over others. This tendency is natural for tyranni. But as they pushed and pushed their power, these nations finally met resistance and they had to obey a natural law, the law of evolution by natural selection—they had to adapt or die.

Great Britain lost its American empire because it could not adapt to the demands of its colonies. The Confederate States of America was formed because its founders believed that they could force the world to adapt to them. They thought that they could force the rest of America to accept their false hypotheses of white supremacy and chattel slavery. Such fantasies ultimately are fatal. The world is a natural place, obeying natural laws, not an ideological playground for the indulgence of false hypotheses. The Confederacy’s only hope was to adapt to the rest of America and to adapt to the world. But it was not to be. The Confederacy’s lack of adaptability caused it to belligerently self-destruct in four years of fratricide, which killed more Americans than all other wars combined. But for more than a century after this great tragedy, the faction of white supremacy controlled the southern states, and violence against black citizens continued. At long last, after another great shame had marred our history forever, America moved closer to its ideal, and not-white Americans finally were able to begin to claim, little by little, some of their long-overdue rights—but the struggle is far from over.

Nazi Germany tried to force the world to adapt to its false hypothesis of Aryan supremacy and was blasted off the face of the earth—and a benign government rose in its place. The Empire of Japan tried to force its own racism on the rest of the world and it, too, was destroyed and then replaced by a more peaceable system of government. The U.S.S.R., because of its belief in the false hypothesis of totalitarianism, and because it could not adapt to the outside pressures first applied by Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, eventually crumbled. Even now many nations struggle along, unable to adapt to the intertribal problems that have plagued them for centuries—for them, catastrophe is always near.

If we look carefully at our nation it is clear that we share too many characteristics with these tyranno-governments. We do not work for the common good. From the beginning we have mistreated seven hated groups: not-male, not-white, not-heterosexual, not-Christian, not-well-to-do, not-native, and the disabled. Our government is ruled by a small group of wealthy elite men who hold all of our nation’s power. These men hold power for decades, and it is very difficult to remove incumbents. The people have a small voice that is almost never decisive. Through their tight control of the election system and the two-party system, those in power decide who is to be granted access to power. Our rulers listen only to their own ideas, or to the ideas of sycophants, or to the ideas of those who give them money. Our rulers substitute their own wishes for the wishes of the people, and our rulers use our power primarily to benefit themselves. And, unfortunately, with regard to the economy, energy, inequality, and extreme weather, our rulers are pushing us beyond safe limits. It is safe to say that they are not following a policy of “safety first” in these four dangerous areas. The governments I named above were controlled by factions. Our government, like the other governments just described, works against the common good. Our government is a tyranno-government; it is not a faction-free democracy.

We stand in a world where the survival of our civilization, even the survival of our species, is in doubt. The systems that mistreat the seven hated groups are the same systems that have failed to protect our planet from the deadly consequences of burning fossil fuels. Scientists who are experts in the various aspects of climate change and extreme weather due to global warming, are virtually unanimous: we must do something now to stop the burning of fossil fuels. We are committing suicide. We, the people, through government, religion, education, economics, business, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, must urgently respond to the onrushing catastrophe of global warming. In short, we must adapt or die.

 How did we get here?

We got here because tyranni naturally seek power and wealth. They are very aggressive and very successful. They gain both power and wealth in proportions far greater than their presence in our society. They have exercised great power in our governments, in the slaveholding South, in our religions, in our political parties, and in our system of economics.

Madisonian Republic

We got here because the Framers chose the wrong system of government. Hold on, I must amend my statement. I should have said that we got here because the Framers chose a system of government that was right for them and others of their class, but wrong for the rest of us. No, that is not quite right. I should have said that the Framers designed a system of government that was right for them and for others of their class, but wrong for the rest of us. They designed a Madisonian Republic instead of a democracy, and, in so doing, they excluded the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. They designed a system of government that excluded the majority of Americans. The Framers designed the wrong system of government.

The Tyranno-South

We got here because the extreme tyranni who ruled the slaveholding South lost control of themselves when Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860. They foolishly declared war against the North. The South was at a great disadvantage with respect to men and materiel. In order to win against the more powerful North virtually every tactic, every cannonade, every cavalry and infantry charge, every bayonet thrust would have to favor the South. Clear-thinking men would have realized that the South faced long, probably insurmountable, odds. The tyranno-leaders of the South recklessly disregarded the safety of themselves and of the citizens of the South. These tyranni knew or should have known the strength of the North. After all, the South had many high elected officials serving in Washington, D.C. Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union army, so he should have known its strength. Either the southern leaders did not compare the strength of the North to their own, or they relied on their tyranno sense of superiority to make them confident of victory. But flying minié balls and exploding artillery shells do not recognize the invinci­bility imagined by their human targets. Delusion, no matter its inspiration, does not make the fanatic immune to the laws of physics or to corporeal insults.

So it is clear—the southern tyranni did not act wisely and they did not think clearly; instead they acted like men who were uncontrollably angry—just having a gargantuan, gro­tesque, group temper fit—an overpowering outburst of aggregated, aggravated, aggression. They were being denied their due—their almost divine right to rule. They knew they were right in all things and they believed that they had a right to spread their power, and their “peculiar” institution of slavery, across the continent. What right did some self-righteous, democrato-northerners have to interfere in the tyranno-version of manifest destiny? One of the most important characteristics of tyranni is that they are willing to use force and deception to make others live their lives the way they, the tyranni, want. Another defining characteristic is that tyranni, in the extreme form, are willing to take the lives of others. The tyranno-leaders of the southern slave­holding states definitely exhibited both these characteristics. They wanted blood, and they got it.

 Tyranno-Christianity

 Christianity is a source of great power and is irresistible to tyranni.  When Christianity, like any other institution, is controlled by tyranni it becomes an organization that works against the common good. This should not be surprising to anyone, especially to Christians, because they know that Jesus was pursued by men who worked against the common good—he and others suffered at their hands. The men who killed Jesus were tyranni. It should not be surprising to anyone that tyranni are alive and well today.

Tyranno-Christianity is more powerful today than is the tyranno-South. In addition to the faction of white supremacy, tyranno-Christianity has other factions within its kingdom. One is the faction of theocracy—and another is separatism, such as in the public schools. Federal funding for religious programs, dabbling in electoral politics, creationism, sexual abstinence, anti-progress, anti-knowledge, overt discrimination against certain hated groups, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, inerrancy, and anti-science are some of the most active factions at the moment.

Tyranno-Parties

Political parties come in the two varieties you might expect: tyranno-parties (factions) and democrato-parties. Like the generations of tyranno-parties who supported slavery and later supported Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal” schools and societies, modern tyranno-parties still fight to rule over others and to deny equal rights to certain hated groups. There is no way to explain their habit other than to say that such hatred is natural to them. They like to do it. But in order to do it they must have some sort of cover story, some rationale, so they can keep getting enough votes to keep power. So they develop ideologies. They base their policies on false or unsubstantiated or unprovable hypotheses that appeal to prejudice and emotion.

As you will see in Chapter 3, the slavers of 1790 used racist hypotheses that were untrue when they responded to Benjamin Franklin’s petition to abolish slavery. Some, perhaps most, religions are based on unsubstantiated, unprovable hypotheses. They are authoritarian, and they like to tell others how to live their lives, so they are natural allies of tyranno-parties. But in addition to exploitable hypotheses, tyranno-parties need something else to keep power—they need money for election campaigns, so they sell their votes to the highest bidder. But in spite of these obvious failings, some people think political parties are good—just ask the man who owns one, or who profits from one. On the other hand, my grandmother once told me that political parties “are not worth the powder it would take to blow them to bits.”

Tyranno-Capitalism

Slavery was monstrously cruel in many ways: masters whipping and murdering their slaves, raping them, breeding them and selling their children, breaking up families by selling a parent or a child down the river—the horrors were many, and they are eternally sickening. Slavery was a business model, the original form of tyranno-capitalism. The slave owner was no rocket engineer—he was a tyranno-capitalist. By becoming a slave owner, he had satisfied one of the two primary desires of tyranno-capitalists—he had power over others.

To satisfy the other desire, to become wealthy, he understood what he had to do. He had to put his slaves, his capital, to work on some task that would produce something that could be sold for a price that would exceed the costs of running his plantation, including the minimum expenditures necessary to keep his slaves alive and strong enough to work as long as there was light to see.

For a while plantations did not pay very well because there was no crop that would produce the profits the master wanted. But Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which reduced the labor needed to produce a bale of cotton. Tyranno-capitalism flourished. The cotton planter was wealthy and he had power over others.

Unfortunately, tyranno-capitalism is still the major business model in America. Since the beginning, most of America’s growth has been financed by unpaid slaves and the underpaid laborers who succeeded them. This resulted in an unfair transfer, a theft, of wealth from the slave and the laborer to the benefit of the tyranno-capitalist. After a long, long time American workers were able, for a short while, to demand and get better wages and benefits. But the tyranno-capitalists, in their fevered pursuit of profits, busted unions and sent jobs overseas to countries that paid very low wages. Even though the mass of American workers, underpaid as they are, cry out for resources and opportunities that will give them a better standard of living, the tyranno-capitalists manage to keep wages very low, and they manage to let the infrastructure erode as they plunder and pollute the planet—birds do not foul their nests, but we do. Thanks to tyranno-capitalists, we are fatally fouling the only nest we have.

Where do we want to go?

We want to move to a world where all groups: white and not-white, Christian and not-Christian, male and not-male, heterosexual and not-heterosexual, well-to-do and not well-to-do, native-born and not native-born, abled and disabled are treated the same. Such a world will provide equal access to rights, resources, opportunities, and protections that will give any member of any group an equal chance to go as far as her talents and efforts can take her, and give her an equal chance to build a long life worth living for herself and her loved ones.

We want to move to a world that does not burn fossil fuels. We want to do all the things necessary to stop the warming of our planet, and we want to establish international systems that will preserve and protect us. Earth is the only planet we have.

How do we get there from here?

 We must strengthen the wall between church and state, we must remove ideology from education, and we must change our business structure to one that is driven by consumer demand.

We must adapt the intellectual process that was used by the ancient Athenians as they moved from monarchy to the first, and only, democracy.

We must rely on evolution by intellection. We must apply our intellects in rational, benevolent, and forward-looking ways. We must think our way forward.

We must face the facts, and we must keep groups of tyranni, factions, from gaining disproportionate institutional power over our systems of government and economics. We must recognize and control the effects of factions.

In short, we must replace our Madisonian Republic with Faction-Free Democracy and replace tyranno-capitalism with democrato-capitalism.

 Factions Currently at Work

 There are many factions at work today in America. The faction of states’ rights has done immense damage to our society, and it is still at work. The faction of white supremacy, which was the basis of the government, religion, and economy of the tyranno-South, is alive and well. It can be found throughout the nation and is concentrated in several large sections of our country. Misogyny is actively at work everywhere. It can be seen in the practice of paying women less than men even though they are doing equal work. It can be seen in the medieval practice of denying women the right to control their own bodies—many state legislatures, overwhelmingly in the control of tyranni, have made it clear that they think women are second-class citizens, and must be kept in their place—subordinate to men in other words. The Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention treat women as second-class citizens. These two large religions clearly, and irrationally, believe that women are inferior to men, and should be subordinate to them.

Our political parties use factions to stir the passions of ordinary citizens. For example, some of our current leading political figures use hateful language to vilify non-Christians, non-whites, foreigners, and the poor, thereby garnering votes and campaign contributions. Their disparagement of non-heterosexuals has just now been muted by a recent Supreme Court decision declaring that same-sex couples have the same right to marry as everyone else. But, knowing human nature as I do, I am sure that this period of quiet will not last long and the bitter attacks will resume.

Anti-science and pro-ignorance are really two sides of the same faction. Americans who favor these two manifestations of irrationality seek to gain control of the public schools so that they can become theological seminaries from the first grade upwards. When they are unable to achieve this goal they move to the faction of separatism, and create their own schools so that anti-science and pro-ignorance can be taught to their children. And we must not forget capitalism. The form that we practice today is one of the strongest and one of the most dangerous factions. If left unchecked, it will destroy our civilization.

 The only way for democrati to win is to take control of the ideology-based institutions—government, religion, education, economics and business (GREEB)—and restructure them so that they work for the common good—which, thank goodness, has a rational basis. We will use good ideas wherever we find them, and the system that is rich with good ideas is Athenian democracy. This ancient, first democracy was a great success, and there are seven reasons for that success:

  1. Power Management—the Athenians understood that there are two kinds of government power: administrative and transformative. They understood that administrative power can be delegated but transformative power cannot, except in very limited, tightly-controlled cases. Unfortunately, we foolishly mismanage our power. We delegate too much—to too few people—for too long a time. And we delegate our power through the corrupt system of parties and partisan elections.
  2. Government of, by, and for the people—the Athenian government was of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our government is of the people, by the plutocrats, and for the plutocrats.
  3. Liturgies and Public Works—the Athenians had ways to persuade the wealthy to willingly spend their wealth for the common good. We don’t even ask the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.
  4. The Oath of the Ephebes—the Athenians taught their youth that they had a duty to act on behalf of the common good—we should do the same.
  5. Evolution by Intellection—the Athenians formalized this process for managing the evolution of civilization. It relies on the sustained, cooperative, rational acts of humankind. It depends especially on the most important of our intellectual gifts: the power to make something out of nothing but an idea. We will think our way forward. We will use our intellects together. We will ponder important matters with purpose and objectivity. Unfortunately, many powerful factions within our GREEB institutions have largely ignored this form of evolution. They reject knowledge, science, rationality, inclusion, and progress in favor of ideology, prejudice, willful ignorance, exclusion, and irrationality as the tools of governance. And, unfortunately, they have enough power to do great harm to our civilization—they could even destroy it.
  6. The Silver Mines of Laurium—the Athenians knew how to manage their money supply.  We don’t know how to manage ours—but, if we apply our intellects in rational ways, we will quickly learn.
  7. Investing in the People—the Athenians thought it was so important for the people to participate in their democracy that they compensated the poor for the income lost when they attended the Assembly. Without this payment they would have been unable to participate.

Here are some of the ways we should apply these seven ideas:

  • Change the way we choose our representatives.
  • Change the way we manage government power. To the extent possible, all groups that wield transformative power must be large enough to be made up of tyranni and democrati in the proportions they occur in nature. In general, power should be delegated by random selection, for short periods, for specific, limited purposes, to thousands or even millions of citizens, and its use should be subject to review by the people. However, if the authority wielding transformative power is so small that it cannot be made up of tyranni and democrati in the proportions they occur in nature—such as one or two police officers on patrol—then special oversight procedures are required.
  • Change the relationship between the national government and state and local governments—replace states’ rights with American rights. Only the national government can enact laws that limit or deny the rights of the individual. State governments will primarily carry out administrative functions. State legislatures can pass laws, but they will be limited to regulations and rules. Laws that criminalize the behavior of citizens can be enacted only by the national government.
  • Change the way we treat the seven hated groups: not-male, not-white, not-heterosexual, not-Christian, not-well-to-do, not-native, and the disabled, and call on all citizens to serve in our Faction-Free Democracy.
  • We should as a society devise and implement ways to favor rationality over irrationality, facts over ideology, knowledge over ignorance, inclusion over exclusion, progress over regression, and love over hate. As a matter of course our society should favor evolution by intellection.
  • We should gladly accept the fact that we have an unlimited supply of money and apply it to serve all of us. We should replace tyranno-capitalism (a system of economics that works only for a few) with democrato-capitalism (a system of economics that works for all of us). We should build a new system of economics as well as a new system of government.
  • We should invest in the people to the tune of $36,000 per person per year from birth to death so they can do the things that will build a better America. These include taking care of their children, staying in school, staying out of jail, serving in the government when they are called upon, taking care of their health, their homes, and their local communities. In addition we should pay certain professions for providing invaluable services to the people: military personnel, teachers, health care givers, lawyers, police officers, firemen and other emergency responders, and the like. They should be paid a premium by our Faction-Free Democracy.
  • We should use our unlimited supply of money to change our economy from one that redistributes money to one that distributes No longer will we take money from one citizen and give it to another. We have enough money to provide resources and opportunities to everyone without reducing them for anyone. This means that taxation for the purposes of redistribution will be eliminated. We will need a few sin taxes, and we will need to use a special form of taxation to drain excess money from our system in order to control inflation, but essentially, we will lead tax-free lives.

Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that we should replace our system with the ancient Athenian system. We could do that, I suppose, but that would be foolish. It is much easier to adapt the seven superior ideas of Athenian democracy into our Madisonian Republic thereby creating our Faction-Free Democracy. In so doing, we will finally make the fact of America match the myth—we will finally be a democracy.

It is irrational to ignore or worsen the dangers of global warming.

It is irrational to work against the common good.

It is rational to work to extinguish, control, and mitigate the dangers of global warming.

It is rational to work for the common good.

We must be rational.

We must work for the common good.

We must adapt or die.

 

 

 

25 Responses to Introduction

  1. Disaffected says:

    Interesting take, Jerry. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought and hard work into this, and I think you’re mostly right in your prescriptions, are far as they go anyway. A couple of points for further thought:
    You’re obviously an optimist when it comes to humanity in general, and American democracy in particular, which implies a rather Euro/Techno-centric viewpoint as well. I think it’s fair to say (correct me if I’m wrong), that you’re a true believer in our current system at heart, but just feel it needs some (rather major) adjustments to continue to thrive, and that it is, in any case, the best (and perhaps only?) path forward from here.
    In that light (and feel free to correct me if I’ve misinterpreted you here), have you even considered the idea of human overshoot as put forward by William Catton and many others, or the role that even relatively benign non-conspiratorial/collusional capitalism has played in painting us into our current predicament? In that light, “easy money”, as you mention above and as MMT is famous for advocating, amounts to little more than fanning the flames of human overshoot with gasoline soaked rags.
    Similarly, you seem to have an almost religious adoration for the term democracy, often termed in other quarters as “the tyranny of the masses.” Given the masses current apparent adoration of one such as Donald Trump, I wonder if you might not be willing to reconsider that view. The founders, of whom I’m no particular fan either, certainly knew what they were doing in this regard at least. Grant every drunken sod at the bar the vote and soon enough we’ll be overrun with drunken idiots proclaiming “free everything” for your vote, almost like we are now.
    But I think you’re on the right track with all the rest. If nothing else, your ideas are at least coherent, even if they might be in some cases misguided, wrong-headed, or simply simplistic.
    All that aside, you’re a damn good writer and a better than average (from the one post of yours I’ve read) deep thinker. I salute you for your efforts! I’m going to bookmark your blog and read it regularly, for awhile at least, to continue to evaluate. I look forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • xrepub says:

      Amy Chua wrote a book ‘World on Fire’ that looked at how democracy was misused by politicians cynically manipulating poorer majorities against larger wealthier minorities for their own benefit. Keep in mind that this was written by an ethnic Chinese scholar who had a very personal pov. Ethnic Chinese throughout Asia are often the ‘driven and financially successful minorities in any number of societies and therefore the target of such political scheming. Her approach was that a transition from colonial or totalitarian rule should first go through a period where the propertied – those with a vested material interest in a society – would have voting rights. This was actually how the US was first set up. Otherwise those with nothing are easily swayed by political figures promising to give them something – usually a share of something taken from a minority in that society.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rocky Coulter says:

    Hestal: DailyBeastMan here, and I not only like the “cut of your jib”, I think this has to be the most outstanding, accurate assessment of the critical state the earth has fallen victim to, that I’ve ever read! Absolutely spot on! And you’re right about the Internet being the key to eliminate this obstruction facing the STEM institutions, and our ultimate path toward a more highly evolved civilization where every individual has the opportunity to share their unique talents, and build a better world, a healthier world, a smarter world, a world without limits, and which is sustainable and progressive. It’s too bad Jimmy Carter has gotten too old to continue his original work on our capitalist system. The world would be a much better place, if only we had listened and acted accordingly. He was the last truly intelligent STEM based leader America ever had, and a genuinely moral man.

    You need to PUBLISH your ideas IMMEDIATELY. It’s not a perfect plan….. but IT WILL INSPIRE ONE!!! Thank you!

    Like

    • Disaffected says:

      Funny you should mention Jimmy Carter, as he is the ultimate example for how unyielding the current system is to change. And his reputation hasn’t gotten much better in the soft glow of retrospect than it was when Ronnie RayGun first unceremoniously kicked him to the curb way back when. Americans have finally(!) woken up it seems to the class warfare that the Reagan Revolution gave birth too, but very little else has changed in the interim. Unlimited military spending with no apparent benefits? Check. Financial deregulation and tax cuts for the rich in the face of welfare reform mandatory health care insurance at extortionist rates for the poor. Check.

      Ideas for a better society are all well and good and are to be encouraged. Unfortunately, we have no lack of good ideas at this point; but rather, we’re totally lacking in the will and the ability to coalesce around a coherent course of action based on a select few. And that’s a problem, as it indicates that we’re a fractured society at best (certainly along economic fault lines, but also likely along racial and ethnic lines, and very possibly many others as well), if not an increasingly incoherent society that no longer widely shares significant cultural values.

      This is why such calls to reform as this one usually fall on deaf ears with me. I’m no longer a particular believer in the unquestioned merits of democracy in the first place, nor do I think the US has ever been a particularly good example of a democracy in the second, nor was it ever intended to be. Our Representative Republic has indeed gone off the rails – much as the founders were afraid it would – in the past century, but how to fix that’s an entirely different question than most people are asking these days.

      In the end, our problem’s pretty simple: our Corporate Capitalist Republic has been captured by the Corporate Capitalists (surprise!) among us, and they ain’t giving it back! And why in the world would they? They put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears over the last 150 years or so in accomplishing their goals, and they now have a legitimate claim on the spoils. Further, anyone who naively thinks that a little thing like “voter empowerment” will stand in their way is probably a prime candidate for a re-education camp, if it ever comes to that, although the MSM circus serves the same purpose in real time these days.

      Like

  3. Brian Pepin says:

    Wow alot of information that i never knew about in my studies of my life.thanks for letting me know 😊.

    Like

  4. I’m having trouble with your concept of unlimited money supply, but i look forwad to reading your book for your explanation. Where can i buy a copy?

    Like

    • Hestal says:

      You are not alone. Almost everyone I talk to about an unlimited supply of money has difficulty accepting the idea. I was lucky. At the end of WWII my father and other young men came home. Many of those young veterans would gather at our house to discuss what they had done and seen, but mostly they talked about the future. I was a little boy then but these men were my heroes, and I tried to be like them. They talked about our government and our economic system, and they talked about the gold standard. In 1933 most of those men were in their teens when FDR, for all practical purposes as far as ordinary people and ordinary commerce were concerned, took us off the gold standard. Nixon finished the job when he took office. In 1946 the question of the gold standard and whether to return to it was still a hot topic, as was the hyperinflation that took place in the Weimar Republic. Because I was a little boy, I had no trouble accepting a world that was off the gold standard. In fact, these young men debated whether,by freeing our money from gold, we had an unlimited supply of money as a consequence. These men talked for several months in 1949 about this question and they came up with a novel thought experiment. They imagined that we were still on the gold standard, but we suddenly discovered that the Rocky Mountains were made of gold–in effect, we had an unlimited supply of money–trillions and trillions of dollars in gold. They then worked through our economy to see what the consequences would be of having an unlimited supply of gold. They found that it could be managed easily, and it would create a better world. Once they worked out the details based of an unlimited supply of gold, they said let’s drop the gold and just go with money. So, to me, it made sense, and ever since then I have watched our people suffer because the people who control our supply of money don’t want to let go of their power. They like having power over others, and they like being rich.

      Anyhow, in my book, I devote a chapter to showing how such a system would work. I think you, and anyone else who will take the time to think, about it, will like it.

      My book is at the publisher right now and we are going back and forth on issues of interior design. It should be ready to print by Labor Day or so. I hope it will be released before the election.

      Like

      • Mark Lehman says:

        I’d like to read your book as well – has it been published? What is it called?
        If it has not yet been published, do you have either a predicted release-date or a system to notify those interested (as in the comment below)?

        Like

      • Hestal says:

        Hi, Mark. The name of the book is Faction-Free Democracy and the target for release is Father’s Day which is a little over three months from now. I’ll let you know. Thanks.

        Like

  5. jonathan Gordon says:

    I jumped over here from your comment on Daily Kos. I did a quick read of the above and I’m quite impressed with your thinking. Please put me on your email list and notify me when the book is available.

    Like

  6. I too would like to know when your book is published. Came here from probably the same comment on Daily Kos. It has been my long time belief that since the days of those who lived through the Great Depression and fought in WWII, that the slow loss of this generation has changed this nation. Maybe more correctly, the thinking portion of this generation. Your words here mirror many of my own thoughts on how the system currently exists and is abused by what you term the Tyrannos… One thing I’ve thought about is how the Tyrannos in power mold their speech to get others to buy into the fact that someday THEY will be part of the Tyranno class… Or that by helping the Tyrannos stay in power that they are helping themselves get further along. When in reality, the opposite has happened to them.

    Like

  7. Laura says:

    I would very much like to know when your book comes out and where to purchase it. Seems to me like ‘must read’ material for all of us.

    Like

  8. John Steven Childs says:

    It would be unfair to critique your chapter without having read your entire book, which I will eagerly do. However, I’ve come away from your essay with one painful sense of lack, one that risks discrediting your entire system (at least for me). I do not see even a single instance of the word “art” anywhere in this chapter. You are clearly an articulate and intelligent man, but having these traits simply makes the omission of any mention of the arts all the more enigmatic and egregious. In fact, the absence of any discussion of the role the arts would play in your future society, any discussion of the positive role the arts have had in the past redemption of humanity, very nearly implies a hostility to art. I have lived in both worlds–the STEM universe and that of the Humanities–and you sound very much like those engineers, physicists, or mathematicians I’ve known who think of the arts as “superfluous ornament.” More generally, I feel there are too many unquestioned premises. One of the most worrisome, to me, is your adulation of Athenian democracy (speaking of the role of the arts in society). I strongly suspect you are well aware of the many real-world factors that undercut any claim to a democratic polity in pre-Hellenistic Athens. For example—and again, as I suspect you know–the majority of Athenians were left out of any say in governance: women (as usual), slaves, the poor, the land-poor, and so on. Another instance: A “democratic” economy is a socialist economy. You veer so closely to socialism in your description of “democrato-capitalism” that I am puzzled you didn’t just go ahead and say that what you are advocating–at least as I understand it–is very close to modern ideas of democratic socialism. Please do not take my remarks as hostile. I suspect you and I agree on a great deal, and I also suspect we’ve had very similar lives. So as I said at the outset, I look forward with happy anticipation to the publication of your book. The promise of excellence is certainly evident in your remarks here, and I sincerely hope that promise is realized in the book.

    Like

    • Hestal says:

      Thanks for your message. I do not take your remarks as hostile. I hope you will accept mine in the same way. I like plain speaking.

      Yes, “art” is omitted from my book. I approached our systems of government and economics as a systems engineer and it consists of an analysis of those systems to understand how they work, what weaknesses they have, and how those weaknesses can be corrected. I designed systems for many large organizations during my working life and at no time did I mention “art.” It would have been out of place to do so. This is a book intended to layout a plan to improve our government and our economy.

      If you include systems design in your definition of “art” then I did include it in my book. But if you do not include systems design in your definition of “art” then I agree with you.
      In other words I make no comment on the world of art and most engineers, I suspect very nearly all, exclude any mention of “art” in their work. I know you will correct me if I am wrong.

      Your understanding of the democracy of ancient Athens is just plain wrong. To criticize the treatment of women and others in ancient Athens without acknowledging the even worse treatment of women and others in our modern republic is just too much for me to bear. But many people use the same arguments to dismiss my ideas. Read a little about it. I suggest recent books such as “Democracy, A Life” by Paul Cartledge, one of the two leading world authorities on the ancient democracies. Another excellent new book is Roslyn Fuller’s “Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose.” Both of these books show the inaccuracy of your assertions. I include many other authors who agree with these two authors. Believe me, I am not the first to think that ancient democracies hold the solution to our problems, and I did so in full awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknesses of our Madisonian republic and tyranno-capitalism.

      I veer close to socialism in your mind only. In fact I veer far away from it. What I do that is new is include all of the people in the fruits of capitalism, and for this reason I call my new system, “democrato-capitalism.” This knee-jerk reaction to my ideas shows a lack of understanding of socialism itself as well as my approach to economics.

      But you are certainly entitled to your opinion. And I appreciate your kind words and your interest in my project. Your reaction is shared by many others and will probably result in the failure of my book.

      I have seen similar reactions in the world of mathematics. Many people, well-educated, intelligent, and all the rest have fixed ideas about things and reject clear facts in order to hold to their incorrect beliefs. One can be seen in the controversy triggered by Marilyn vos Savant’s Game Show Problem. You can read all about it by searching the Internet for it. You will see that many trained mathematicians were wrong in their analysis of her puzzle and held fast to their beliefs in spite of clear evidence, incontrovertible evidence, to the contrary.

      Now, back to the humanities. I don’t know if you think of history as being part of the humanities or as a social science. But in any case, my ideas should be applied to history. It is clear to me that historians fail to include the effects of human nature on events. Our history books will be rewritten as science provides more and more proof of the impact of human nature on governments and economics. The fact that poor people are mistreated in our society is not due to the fundamental features of economic theory, such as the oxymoronic phrase, “creative destruction,” but rather is due to the human nature of those who controlled our economic system. Unlike our government, which was designed by a few men, our economic system evolved under evolution by natural selection. We think of evolution by natural selection with respect to organisms, while we forget that evolution by natural selection produces organisms that behave toward nature and each other. Our economic system is an artifact of our dominant organisms. But that is another book for someone else to write–but they will write it.

      The original model for our current capitalist system, which I call tyranno-capitalism, is chattel slavery. There one can clearly see that the contours of economics were due to the human nature of the men in power, and they got that power because of the effects of human nature in the world of government.

      BTW, “adulation” did sting a little, but I got over it.

      Like

  9. John Steven Childs says:

    By the way, your “details” table below won’t let me fill in my website. It keeps telling me to insert a url after I’ve inserted a url. Anyway, jschilds.com/wp will give you a sense of my thinking.

    Like

    • Hestal says:

      I got it this time. Thanks. I will update you. Thanks for taking an interest in my project. I have worked on writing the book for nearly thirteen years, and I started gathering data in 1949. Hard to believe, but true.

      Like

  10. xrepub says:

    Yes, the current system is broken but i suspect it is beyond salvage. Throughout human history a very few have controlled the masses and charted the course taken by humanity. Their actions have never been to benefit the masses but to benefit themselves. I suspect the masses have been too ‘dumbed down’ by the ruling tyarnni to ever recognize this fact. The masses really are sheep – led to the slaughter on a recurring schedule.

    I disagree with a few historical suppositions. The American Civil War was not really about slavery – Congress had in fact reaffirmed the Southern States ‘right’ to hold slaves. The conflict was in part due to Southern resentment of tariffs that forced them to buy northern manufacturers in stead of otherwise cheaper English goods. I suspect it was also an effort by European powers – specifically Britain and France to rein in the power of a growing United States. Split the nation in two and let Mexico regain lost territory. The US is no longer a rival on the rise.

    The creation of Nazi Germany had less to do about ‘racial purity’ and such than a larger chess game developing a power to stand up to Communist Russia (which was created to overthrow Czarist Russia for a number of reasons). British and US interests helped Hitler immensely before and even during WWII. As for Japan – it was a rarity- an eastern nation emulating the west but after defeating Russia in 1905, the US sought to restrain Japanese ambitions. One could argue that given western treatment of China, Japan had reasons to be ‘pro-active’ in defending and expanding its interests. However curtailment of oil supplies and other raw materials pushed Japan into a conflict they would be unable to win in the long run. Their hope of a quick devastating blow failed when they did not sink any US carriers at Pearl Harbor and saw their own numbers devastated at Midway.
    I agree with your talk of the ‘beliefs’ of those that served the US in WWII. The ideals held my most Americasn are noble but their leaders often have other goals – completely different and deeply hidden. Go back to Wilson’s quote:: “Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the fields of Commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, threat they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”

    Your tyranni are those Wilson speaks of – and those others call ‘The Illuminati’ Whether they are as organized as some claim – and their reach world-wide – who knows? But it does seem that a few have exerted far more control over events than anyone would think possible. The whole ‘money’ issue seems key – with ‘state banks’ actually being privately held and used to milk governments and nations dry. A few control the world’s money supply -and therefore , the world itself.
    I suspect those exerting power and control have been too busy looting the planet to realize the damage that’s been done to it. I wonder how much time is left for most of us.

    Like

  11. BARRY HOSTBJOR says:

    Thank you all for your remarks which I found to be very interesting and extremely informative. I am so glad that I have been exposed to this conversation. Now I have a better understanding of that which I have known for a long time. I especially relish the way each of you tries so hard to respect and honor the views of the others. Bravo! In some way each of you has expressed opinions that concur and we do try to expand on these thoughts in order to bring them into a sharper focus, hoping to find a larger area of common interest. I would like to add to these thoughts.

    Someone said that each of has our own version of reality. I would agree. In fact I believe that we create are own reality by choosing our thoughts, sometimes unknowingly. Exposure to propaganda, fake news and alternative facts for example train us to think in specific ways. I think we can and should create positive change once we understand how to adopt this reasoning towards building a more promising future. Always remembering the lessons from the past but moving forward with the understanding that our future is an expansion of those concepts.

    So I would hope to add a beacon of light to these dark times which seem so oppressive and difficult. We must all carry a better vision of this world before it will become a reality. “Simple it is , Easy it isn’t.” Thank You

    Like

  12. Very nice writing and discussion and comments. Yes, I want to read more also. I have been a lurker at DailyKos since 2008. I didn’t join the community, because it seems too contentious to me, too wrapped up in identity politics, which I believe causes people to go in circles and not work productively on fixing the governing and economy. I like some of the discussion there anyway. The distribution/redistribution of wealth is what I believe is the crux of our society’s problems, that and the purposeful muddying of issues by what you are calling the tyranni. My parents are in the same generation as yours; my oldest brother is around your age. So I particularly enjoyed your discussion of the educational experience going on. I believe that generation was very focused on education, extending it into family life and showing their children practical daily work. This drove so much intellectual thought and conversation. Somehow that has changed since. I do not know how much of this is a product of being military families and trained in that process. I would say that their parents’ generation was also much more focused in this way as well. As they aged out of voting and died is when I saw the decaying of our governing. I suspect because that generation (adults during the Depression) was witness to the brutal socialism vs capitalism struggles firsthand as workers. I also did read your suggestions as close to democratic socialism, but I don’t see that as a negative. Propaganda has pushed the idea that socialism is an all or nothing idea, and clearly that isn’t true. My children’s generation has a much better understanding of this than mine. Because of the mismanagement of our economy, and willfulness in continuing that route, I believe people will be for socialistic ideas, though not a complete takeover. Just as my grandparents’ generation was actively pushing FDR to apply socialistic ideas, even though they weren’t all socialists. I see hope in listening to my kids’ discussion and knowing they are also talking with a large community online. As homeschoolers, we have had many conversations. It is a part of what we do and my family did. Often heated or passionate. Despite not being in college, I think they are starting with a much stronger background than I had. One thing that is very sad to me though, is that we were leaning in a more people oriented direction when I grew up in the 70s, before our rights deteriorated. When I talk about it, my kids don’t believe it; they think I am looking back with rose-colored glasses. But the reality is that we had health care then that was supported by local governments at least. Education that was supported by local, state and federal government. A more cooperative spirit within the communities, including the schools. I know it was real. I know it was not just that my family believed in considering those that were worse off. It was a conservative Catholic family, that did believe in the common good too.

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  13. Hestal says:

    Thank you for the kind words. I’m not sure why you think my ideas are “close to democratic socialism.” I have no idea what “democratic socialism” is for one thing, and the other is that “socialism” has been and still is defined as a system in which the government owns the means of production. My system does not do that. It does all it can to keep the means of production in the hands of the people who start and build businesses. It does try to prevent the current problem of “creative destruction,” which present-day capitalists admit they cannot do. My system can. But it is a capitalist system through and through. If you have an idea that will lead to profits for you and good jobs for citizens then develop a business plan and the government will provide you with interest-free money. But the business will belong to you. In this regard my model follows the current venture-capital model, which does create new businesses today, but, because of a lack of capital it does not do enough. In my system of democrato-capitalism money will be available for all worthwhile, non-inflationary projects.

    Like

    • I would have to read more of your plan to know. But I say this because of the plan to allot a yearly sum to people. If the government doesn’t control any production or services and there is no income tax, where do you expect that money to come from? When TARP was being discussed prior to Obama’s election, there was another plan suggested in Congress that was pretty much rejected right away. It was to give a large sum to each household instead of directly to the banks. This way most people would be helped, not just the banks, and the money would circulate before ending up with the banks. I believe McCain and Sanders were both for this before it was rejected. European socialist countries do not control all of the production. They have capitalistic businesses going on also. Only key production is controlled, such as health, energy and other utilities, communication, and not even all of the health businesses are. Democratic socialism would mean that the citizenry has some say in the governing through elected representatives of some sort and much of the necessary production is government controlled. Another thing is that given the control of production by multi-national corporations in the US, how do you expect to move from this extreme reality to something that would work as you say without government control happening? A capitalistic society requires that most everyone works to survive. A socialistic society can allow more choice, because people are then less focused on survival and more on what they can do by choice without starving. Health care is a big part of why so much of our society is struggling now. We had community supported facilities that changed to become for profit businesses, so it now comes largely out of our pockets. It was not structured that way decades ago. That support may have been from wealthy donations, but I bet it was also government supported, though I don’t remember it being discussed in that way. Another huge key is who decides the distribution between owners vs workers? In the US, that is almost strictly done by business owners in conjunction possibly with other business owners or organizations. In socialistic countries the government would be part of the decision making, though not necessarily strictly controlling it. I believe this concept right here is more the thing that determines if it is capitalistic or socialistic. I have not read Marx, but other descriptions of socialism. Many of the things we do in the US are socialistic ideas. It is just that decades ago there was a stamping out of people who were willing to call themselves socialists. FDR applied some concepts, because at the time there were millions of socialists in the country, and they had their own candidates.

      Like

  14. Hestal says:

    It is difficult for me to discuss my book using existing definitions of economic systems or functions within systems. It is impossible for me to discuss my book with someone who throws their own definitions into the mix. I defined my terms at the beginning of my book and I followed the standard definitions of economic types and functions. But, I understand that you and many others already have your own terminology and your own ideas about how our system works and how it ought to work and how mine works when you have read only a little of my discussion. I shouldn’t have raised the question of the definition of “democratic socialism.” My systems of government and economics work on their own terms. In designing systems one is permitted to define their functions in any way one pleases, but it is best to use standard definitions whenever possible for clarity. Socialism is a system in which the means of production are owned by the government.

    “Democracy” is another term in which many people have their own definition. But there is only one definition and thank goodness, the Athenians defined it. I rely on their definition, but most people do not accept that because it conflicts with our fantasy about America. We Americans believe, hook, line, and sinker, that we are a democracy. But we are not. We are a republic. And there are important differences between a republic and a democracy. Our problems are functions of the ways that republics work. Democracies don’t have the problems that we have.

    In ancient Athens, in their democracy, they gave the people money for participating in the government. That is what I do, except I apply it in a slightly different way to account for our size and the needs of the people. This is a real difficulty for many people. We talk constantly about the need for our citizens to have a higher income, and we worry and worry and worry about finding a way within our current capitalist system to put more money into their pockets. I agree with that goal, and I realized that the best way to give the people the money they need is to give it to them. Problem solved, you are welcome. Next problem?

    So, at first I tried to deal with all the objections that this simple idea triggered in the minds of those who were nice enough to discuss my system with me. I tried to overcome their objections, but then I realized that my readers were asking me to explain the objections they came up with based on their understanding of how our current economic system works. But it doesn’t work the way we are taught. So, I can never explain why the system that everyone seems to not understand but does hate works the way they say it does. So, I decided to just put my ideas in a book and let everyone object. My hope is that enough people will think seriously about it to finally realize that our systems of government do not work the way they think they do and we should just concentrate on how my system will actually work. One of the things it will do, actually do, is put more money into the pockets of ordinary people which will have a profound effect, for the better, on our society.

    I simply cannot respond to questions that are based on the way our current system works when in fact it does not work that way. We Americans think we know many things that we do not know, and we think we can do many things that we cannot do.

    We think our nation is a democracy but it is a republic.
    We think we know how Athenian democracy worked, but we don’t.
    We think that we have a national debt, but we don’t.
    We think that we have a limited supply of money but we don’t.
    We think that hyperinflation is caused by the government printing too much money, but it isn’t.
    We think that our current economic system depends on spending by capitalists to fuel growth, but that is simply not so.
    Capitalism accepts as part of its process a thing called “creative destruction.” Capitalists say that this thing cannot be a voided. They say that capitalism will not work without it. I say, “baloney.” This function does not exist. It is not a natural effect of the capitalistic system. It is just a way for capitalists to say that they should bear no responsibility for the life-shattering effects they force on workers when they abandon a failed business. They don’t want to pay for the damage they do, so they create an elaborate story and claim the effects of their greed are inevitable consequences of how capitalism works. Nonsense, “creative destruction,” is the natural result of how thieves work.
    And, we the people buy it hook, line, and sinker.

    All of these errors are artifacts of a system knowingly designed by a small group of elite males to keep power in their hands and our of the hands of the majority. And they did that in order to control our wealth for their personal advantage. So, we should realize that we have been duped. Don’t pledge you allegiance to the current systems because they clearly are failed systems. They work only for the 1%. This is not an accident.

    So, a reasonable objection to my idea of giving money to the people is inflation. But the way to overcome this problem is to spend money only on worthwhile non-inflationary projects. Capitalists don’t want the government investing in projects that the people dream up. Capitalists want to earn interest on that money, but governments do not want. Governments do not want to tax the labor of the people. Governments do not want to charge interest on money given to the people to build long lives worth living. Forget taxes, forget interest. Forget this steaming, stinking pile of manure that we call capitalism.
    In the movie “Moneyball,” starring Brad Pitt and the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. He wanted to install a new system of player evaluation so that the team could spend its meager resources more efficiently. He want to buy the best players he could get for the dollars he had. The talent scouts of his team, who were experts in the way the system of player evaluation worked, went nuts. They thought he was crazy. At one point he was sitting with these talent scouts as they evaluated minor league players. The scouts began to talk about a particular player and they described his prowess in fielding, base running, and batting. They said he had a wonderful swing, and when his bat struck the ball it made a crack that caused heads to turn all over the ball park. They said he was a really good hitter. But, Pitt, looking at his hitting average asked this simple question: “If he is such a good hitter how come he don’t hit good.” Silence.

    So, I ask all those who object to my system because it does not work the way our current system works: “If our systems are so good, how come we have all these economic problems?”

    The answer is that our systems work exactly as intended. They were designed to work for the benefit of the 1% and not for the rest of us.

    We are constantly reminded that we live in the greatest capitalist economy in the history of the world. But for the mass of our population we live in a failed economy. So, who do we believe, what the rich and the politicians tell us or do we believe our bank accounts. I know which I believe, and I designed a simple system to put money into the pockets of every citizen in America. Let’s see our current system match that.

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