You Can’t Kill Me I am a liberal

There is a very interesting diatribe on youtube. A woman in a panel discussion looks at history and discusses the atrocities of the tyrannies and points out that though the majority of opinion was not signed up to the leadership – the atrocities still happened. Why?

In part it is the structure of how we govern ourselves that lends itself to these tyrannies – something the Americans saw clearly and tried to avoid. However, more relevant, is the fact that the mass of people are harder to mobilise than small groups and they become, in the lady’s resounding phrase, irrelevant.

If you are not prepared to stand, be counted and die as so many of Gandhi’s followers were, the tyranny of the few will always rule the many.

Names Are Easy,

but they betray true content. I listened briefly today to two young students talking, one espousing capitalism the other communism. The conversation was brief given it was a news programme and just a three minute filler, but the idea that our societies can be summed up in one word, hides vital facts about the way in which human beings interact.

Capitalism thrives off free gifts. The gift of time given by families to each other. No mother is paid to be a mother, nor a father to be a father. If they were paid society would be bankrupt. Equally no communist society was ever created that did not deal in and with money. Our relationship to what we do for free and what we do for pay is deeply confused because the conversation on how we should deal with each other never gets past first base: lets be fair to each other.

No system yet has been equal to this challenge.

Our Rulers Я-Us

The most successful leaders, it is said, go and do what the people want but make the people think it is their decision.

There is some truth to this observation but how much is different for different tribes. It is obscured by the language of nations which we are so fond of using and does not allow for the power of oratory to sway opinion. That said there is a fascist side to our thinking (look how we universally treat animals) and there is a totalitarian side to our natures (capitalism is the totalitarian power of money not to allow other forms of society.)

There is also the gentler side to our natures broadly described by ‘altruism’ in which our decisions are made with less vanity and under the auspices of that famous phrase ‘there but for the grace of god go I.’

The thing is as tribes we move very slowly and our political decision making has as much psychology in it as reason.

The Big Idea

What is it to have a big idea?

I was talking with friends who said the immense political ideas have gone from the world, the days of Communism versus Fascism dominated the first half of the last century. I suggested we tend to think of big ideas as bigger if opposing sides fight it out on the battlefield but we should not belittle the ideas that are ruling us today, good or bad.

To restructure our relationship with nature is the most fundamental change to the thinking of the human race in its known history. To redefine what money is for and how we apportion it the most challenging thing humanity has done with the financial system since its creation.

Either one of these immense structural changes to our thinking will reverberate down the centuries whether we are in existence to hear it or not. They will change the way we develop and run society and they will lead us into conflict in their own way, in their own time.

How we come out of that conflict will define us.

When In Rome

The recent revenge on a few bankers is almost too ridiculous to mention for the panaceas thrown to the people have always been the way of tyrants and despots and I am sure a few hundred years ago a few men would be without their heads today. What was more interesting was a contrite business leader saying on the BBC news that capitalism is not a good system but it is better than the others out there. Another mantra for those who are not used to thinking.

First let us begin by admitting that capitalism IS NOT democracy. Capitalism is the accruing of wealth and from what I can see tyrants and Communists are pretty good at that, they are just useless at sharing.  The democratic principles of conscience, freedom of speech and association and many others, are not capitalism. So what we have is democratic capitalism, and that is not the best idea out there because capitalism necessarily brings boom and bust cycles and appeals to greed and selfishness.

There must be forms of capitalism that we can marry with democracy that do better than that? That do away with the whole idea of nations and treat the world as one Eco-system without which there is no money, unless of course we are planning to build a new world somewhere else and feel we can trash this one completely first.

Rampant self interest and greed do no go well with democracy.

The Communist Agenda

It always surprises me when people say that Communism is dead. It’s as if they think political philosophies are created in  mid-air with no reference points to human communities whatsoever. If nothing else we should always remember every political philosophy ever enunciated has been an answer to a real or perceived problem.

So to know if a way of thinking is forever gone you need to be sure that the reasons for it have gone too. Reading Marx you will see that he was writing in a world filled with the most profound poverty and he was discussing the boom and bust cycles of capitalism. He was discussing ways in which both could be eradicated from human society. Interestingly he was discussing how industrialized societies like England, France and America could eradicate them by growing out of capitalism into a better organized system of production than one which relies heavily upon human greed and ego.

People today who are demanding fairness, who argue against entrenched power-brokers who keep the status quo because that is what enriches them, who see the financial system murders the poor around the world every year by not having the free distribution of food to the starving,  are all setting the foundations of a new flow of communist ideas.

Just as tyranny is never far from democratic countries, so communist ideals will flow back into the world this century.

The Death Of Communism

Political ideas do not appear out of thin air. Marx himself thought the communal ideas he discussed would emerge naturally out of the industrialised countries as the population grew tired of boom and bust and the greed factor ruling the lives of the countries’ economies. There are those today who think Western countries will become more socialist as environmental degradation becomes more and more a reality and the obvious factor of not being able to continuously grow on a planet that has finite resources, takes hold.

I am not here to say what will be. It is quite possible by the time we have genetically modified our way out of even being able to live on Earth we will be able to live on another planet and we will wave the earth goodbye (well those of us who can afford a ticket).

But I think the death of Communism is one of those self delusions. What died when Russia fell was Russian totalitarianism as begun by Lenin, nothing else. Even Russia’s natural dictatorial politics is coming back as I write. But economic injustice has gone nowhere and the philosophy of not caring how one makes one’s money as long as one gets rich is  still a corrupting philosophy that has and will give birth to many objections.

Not only have the ideals of communal living not gone anywhere, they will resurge in countries in the future. Let us hope they will not come hand-in-hand with tyrants.

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