We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, December 28, 2012

For love of neighbor: Social Security & the ‘Fiscal Cliff'

Click here to access article by Nathan Paulsen from WarTimes
In a world where masses of humanity do not have millions of dollars tucked away in a bank account to support retirement or weather unexpected economic disruptions - like disability or death of a spouse – Social Security is a key to our survival. Little wonder that a solid majority prefer cutting military expenditures over slashing the cornerstone of our welfare state.
The author explains how the psychology of the vast majority in the 99 Percent differ from the sociopaths in the One Percent:
In the wake of nearly every disaster, stories quickly emerge of human beings lending helping hands to other human beings in need.  The acts themselves range from those of extraordinary courage to simple kindness. Legends are made of the selfless heroism of people like Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung who lost her life attempting to stop the recent massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Frequently we encounter the more mundane news of folks participating in blood drives, or helping to stack sand bags that protect local towns from rising flood waters, or donating money for storm relief. In each instant we celebrate people who give of themselves for their community and the common good.
The reason for celebration is at least twofold. On the one hand, these acts of caring occur outside the cash nexus that seems to govern so many of our relationships. There is no profit to maximize or capital to accumulate. The people doing the acting are not paid for performing their deeds. Most often they are not even concerned with getting paid back what they have given. In our longing for human connection unmediated by the marketplace, we rejoice – and rightfully so – when people come together for a cause greater than some narrowly defined economic interest.  
In the current New World Order it doesn't matter what the majority want, it's what the elite One Percents want. But that is the typical history of the last 10,000 years when ruling classes took over societies that existed for 140,000 years without them. It is only when ordinary people are organized and fight back that any benefits accrue to them. 

But, why tolerate ruling classes at all?! Why can't we construct societies where the best of human instincts can rule, instincts which enabled us to survive and thrive for 140,000 years?