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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Gatsby, Master Spy

Click here to access article by Christopher Dickey from The Daily Beast.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once famous in Washington for his cigars, parties and charm, is now Saudi Arabia’s point man, fighting Iran in Syria and denouncing the Obama administration.
Bandar is a prime example of elite rule: rule by people who have attained power over others in their societies by various means, but means that always include the threat of violence against those who object. Contributing to the problem of rule by elites is that many people can be quite easily trained to behave like slaves or children and to show uncritical deference to authority figures. This may be the major flaw in human nature that may threaten the human race.

Power acts very much like a drug. Once having obtained power, rulers and their agents lose their inhibitions and social conscience, and tend to act out their petty fantasies and grudges at the expense and suffering of others. Unless humanity can devise a means of organizing societies in which true equality is the basic principle, this scourge of elite rule will likely lead to human extinction now that humans possess weapons of mass destruction. If that doesn't accomplish the extinction, then the system of capitalism will in its mad pursuit of energy which will inevitably lead to the destruction of an ecosystem that can support human life.

Fortunately, there are people who still exist that refuse to act like slaves, refuse to recognize the authority of illegitimate power, who recognize the ecological destruction that is now occurring, and who are willing to fight for their survival.