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democracy
Image from www.nationalhellenicsociety.org

Everyone seems to know the American experiment is failing, but what we’re not hearing is a crisp reason followed by a solution.

Allow me to propose one.

The two conflicting forces

There are two primary forces in motion within human individuals and human societies:

  1. The Selfish Forces are given to us by evolution. They compel us to bite and claw our way ahead at the expense of others.

    There are benefits to these forces—not least of which is that they propel our survival as a species. They also drive innovation, as they are heavily called upon in capitalism and free market enterprise. These are good things, and we should not discard or disparage them on account of misuse.

  2. The Advanced Forces are given to us by our higher selves. These enable us to desire self-sustaining communities, to be kind to those not within our inner circles, and—more than anything else—put others before ourselves.

The problem with America’s democracy could not be more clear: our current government is composed of a dangerous mixture of these two elements.

  • Lobbying is designed to make money. It’s a selfish force.
  • Campaign contributions are designed to make money. They are selfish forces.
  • Politicians leaving office and becoming lobbyists is designed to make money. It’s a selfish force.

These simply cannot mix with the advanced nature of building a government that promotes the welfare of millions or billions. This requires attributes steeped in the Advanced Forces.

  • Putting the good of others above your own
  • Forgoing the pleasures of the luxurious and exotic
  • Quieting the inner desire to acquire and become more powerful

This doesn’t mean that those who cannot, or do not, make this choice are inferior human beings. Someone needs to invent the next generation energy capture and storage, and financial incentive should be there to attract those who are so inclined. And we should celebrate are revere these types as well.

What we must avoid is combining the two. We cannot allow the financially motivated, the power-ambitious, and the selfish to enter government due to it being equally (or even more) lucrative than the private sector. This mixture of matter and anti-matter is so obviously destructive as to be comical to anyone looking from the outside.

Yet this is precisely what we have today.

A way forward

Fixing this is conceptually quite simple: Being a politician, and being part of government in general, should have basic rules associated with it. And these rules would be understood and respected by everyone in the union.

  1. When you enter government, you have made a life choice. You have decided to serve humanity instead of yourself.
  2. Politicians are subsidized by government. They and their families will never want for food or shelter, but they will also not allowed the finest things in life. They will receive a modest home, a family vehicle, education for their children, and money for modest vacations, but little more.
  3. They will be prohibited from owning or participating in luxury. Fine jewelry, homes, cars, etc. will not only be technically illegal, but will simply be prohibited by the order of the servant. In short, any representative in this model would be outright shunned if they were to be seen pursuing or enjoying such things. It would be considered a betrayal of their office, and akin to a crime against humanity.
  4. Relatedly, and importantly, it would be considered downright treacherous to attempt to entice those of the political order with gifts or favors or any other incentives towards a particular behavior. This sort of influence would not just be seen as out of bounds, but as a malicious attack on the foundation of human decency.

In short, we must identify and extract the base human influences from our higher-order institutions, e.g., government, with money and government being the most volatile of mixtures.

Put another way, we should train ourselves to look for these combinations and react accordingly when we see them. Government, healthcare, education—these are institutions that call for the Advanced Forces, not the Selfish ones, and we must work to decouple them wherever we find them entangled.

Let’s start with government, as it’s arguably the most important and also determines how easy it is to address the others.

If ever there were an idea for an application that affects the world positively, this is it. I can think of few things more positive than encouraging and enabling people to become more ‘citizen’-like.

Posted via email from danielmiessler.com | posterous

One neglected pattern that stands out to me is that many economically-puzzling regulations and policy inclinations tend to make everyone act like high status folks act, regardless of how appropriate that is for their situation.

Consider one-size-fits-all building codes, food and drug regulations, safety rules, professional licensing, and medical insurance regulations. Such rules tend to make sure that a typical rich person wouldn’t accidentally buy a product or service of a much lower quality than they would desire.

Posted via email from danielmiessler.com | posterous


sott.net

big_brother

This isn’t one of those “Google is the NSA” posts. Well, it kind of is.

The way the Government ends up with all our shit is not through some massive raid where we hand over all our passwords against our will. The numbers don’t add up. There’d be too many unhappy people — as in “Malotov” unhappy.

No, the way this works is a gentle but constant relinquishing of our lives. Smart people like to think we’re aware of the game and that we won’t fall for it when it starts. But that’s not true. Or, at least it’s not true for smart Google users.

Google is how the government will get my life. I like Google’s services so much that if someone were to tell me that there’s a 42% chance that the NSA either already took Google over or they are 100% to do so in the near future (in the name of “securitah!”), I’d probably still use them.

Why? Because I’m stupid. And Reader is just really good.

No, really, think about this. This isn’t conspiracy stuff. Look.

  1. Terrorist event happens (or doesn’t).
  2. NSA shows up at Google and says, “Plug us in. We live here now.”
  3. They also say, “If you tell anyone we’ll eat your soul.”
  4. So they can’t tell anyone, and things continue as normal.
  5. You hear rumors, but nothing’s confirmed.

But now I’m linking my iPhone’s location-based services and lifecasting and everything else all through Google (it’s a year or two in the future). One minor event and now the government sees everything it wants going through Google. Oh, and it does it to Apple’s MobileMe as well. And Microsoft, Yahoo!, etc.

The point is that the risk of this happening is very real, and people like me know it. But we’ll still use the services because we like them.

This is how they’ll get control. Convenience.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. At least we’ll have someone there to protect us.

A few days ago I wrote a post about government that I thought was moderately decent. An online buddy, Jon Robinson, pointed me to the following article that I consider to be most excellent.

[ Libertarianism and Cultural Differences ]

Here’s an excerpt:

Whatever the cultural conditions and preferences of a people, no matter how strong the tendency toward conquest and graft, regardless of whether contract and fairness are respected or not, there is nothing the state can do to improve the situation.

A society might be warlike and poor without the state; that is true. It might be brutal and impoverished. But imposing a state on that society will only exacerbate its worst tendencies and crowd out its best tendencies.

The state offers no benefit to any society under any cultural conditions anywhere in the world. The state institutionalizes and entrenches bad things and forestalls the emergence of good things. Thus the focus on the state in libertarian doctrine.

I’m not sure I agree with this, but I like where it’s taking me.

Definitely check out the comments, but be warned: they’ll require Wikipedia.

[ Libertarianism and Cultural Differences ]

anarchy_neat

The goal of socialism should be to iterate itself out of existence. Its purpose is to keep negative aspects of human behavior in check for the common good, but only temporarily.

Socialism is a control system necessitated by the presence of severe human flaws. This is to say, if any semblance of equality is to be attained given these primal vices, some sort of socialism will be required.

But it is not an ideal. In fact it’s the opposite, and every responsible proponent of the ideology should realize that the goal of socialism should be to allow its beneficiaries to grow to the point that it’s no longer needed.

You can’t reach the ultimate goal of anarchy (self rule) or its younger brother, libertarianism, without the highest levels of individual responsibility and underlying concepts of mutual respect and connectedness. These are precisely the characteristics that immature and primal societies lack, hence the need for intervention.

So socialism is an intermediary phase between young, primal societies (which need the most controls) and those that require no interference from the state.

The goal of socialism should ultimately be anarchy.:

nwo

Let me just say that I am highly resistant to conspiracy theories in general. I think most of them are the product of too much time and abject stupidity. That being said I also realize that there have been real events that would have fallen into that category, to a cynic like myself, if they had been proposed as conspiracy theories while they were being carried out.

So, I’m skeptical overall but aware of the fact that some twisted stuff does actually get planned (and executed) from time to time.

And that brings me to the Council on Foreign Relations. I recently wrote about why Ron Paul supporters should get behind Obama for a simple reason — foreign policy. The idea was that McCain is batshit crazy, and that if you support Ron Paul you’ll do what you have to in order to keep McCain out of office.

The first Digg comment on my article was very short, very cryptic, and led me to do some research (dammit, I’ve been socially engineered!). It was simply:

Obama = CFR

I started searching my dictionary of Internet acronyms, e.g. FTW, but couldn’t come up with anything. So I did what anyone else would do in that situation — I went to Google and Wikipedia.

The Organization

So here’s some information about the group collected mostly from Wikipedia but also from other sources:

Wikipedia: The Council on Foreign Relations

  • The stated goal of the organization is, “to “find and nurture the next generation of foreign policy leaders.”
  • Today it has about 4,300 members (including five-year term members), which over its history have included senior serving politicians, more than a dozen current and former Secretaries of State, national security officers, bankers, lawyers, professors, CIA members and senior media figures.
  • The council is considered by many to be the most powerful agent of U.S. foreign policy outside of the state department (weasel words acknowledged, citation needed).
  • Seven American presidents have addressed the Council, two while still in office – Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
  • The organization has been accused (WW) of pushing for One World Government by those opposed to the loss of U.S. sovereignty.
  • They have an extensive list of corporate members.
  • Over 50% of council meetings are held off the record in order to, according to their own site, “…encourage frankness among participants who may be hesitant to express new or developing ideas if they feared that they would be publicized.”
  • For the council meetings that are on record there is extensive transparency; meetings are made available through transcripts, webcasts, video and audio stream.

So What’s The Conspiracy?

So the conspiracy theory is pretty simple here: the idea is that this group gets together the most powerful people in America and talks about how to go about creating a One World Government. Here’s a video that lays out what seems to be the main theory:

And here are some other other CRF videos from YouTube.

Interesting Quotes

As always we have to be cautious of context, but a few of these are pretty scary…

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
I am a most unhappy man. I have unwillingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. — Woodrow Wilson
We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world… no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and a vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men. — Woodrow Wilson
They’re gonna make it look like suicide. — Hunter S. Thompson, one day before his death, while working on a 9/11 piece.
The high office of President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American’s freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight. — JFK, ten days before he was assassinated
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. — Thomas Jefferson

conspiracy_cartoon

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it. — Edward Bernays
For many years I thought that FDR had developed many thoughts and ideas that were his own to benefit this country, the United States. But he didn’t. Most of his thoughts were carefully manufactured for him in advance by the Council on Foreign Relations-One World Money Group. — Curtis Dall, FDR’s Son in Law
The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. — J. Edgar Hoover

Is the CFR Really For Global Government?

Again, some of that is genuinely scary but some of it could easily be taken in a number of ways and blown out of proportion. Besides, the question at hand is whether or not the CFR specifically is into this whole one-world-government idea.

As it turns out, yes — they appear to be. One of the videos linked above asks the viewers to go and read what the president of the CFR wrote about national sovereignty in a global world. So I did. Here’s the link, followed by some rather scary excerpts.

Sovereignty and Globalisation | Richard N. Haass, President of the CFR

The near monopoly of power once enjoyed by sovereign entities is being eroded. As a result, new mechanisms are needed for regional and global governance that include actors other than states. This is not to argue that Microsoft, Amnesty International, or Goldman Sachs be given seats in the United Nations General Assembly, but it does mean including representatives of such organisations in regional and global deliberations when they have the capacity to affect whether and how regional and global challenges are met. Moreover, states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies if the international system is to function.
Globalisation thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker. States would be wise to weaken sovereignty in order to protect themselves, because they cannot insulate themselves from what goes on elsewhere. Sovereignty is no longer a sanctuary.
Necessity may also lead to reducing or even eliminating sovereignty when a government, whether from a lack of capacity or conscious policy, is unable to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. This reflects not simply scruples, but a view that state failure and genocide can lead to destabilising refugee flows and create openings for terrorists to take root.

And people wonder where the whole CFR/One World Government conspiracy comes from. If an author of a conspiracy theory novel were to write a manifesto in the voice of an evil mastermind, this is the kind of stuff they would produce, except this might be a bit over the top for fiction.

The author just said it may become necessary, in this new “global” world, to reduce (or eliminate) a country’s sovereignty when it fails to take care of its people. Is that what we did in Iraq? Does this Haass character realize that someone posted this on the Internet?

Then he busts out with this gem:

The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalisation, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.

So lets assume he doesn’t want anarchy… (admittedly just a wild guess)

The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalisation, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of world government.

Ok, new question — who thinks the CFR is secretly pursuing world government? Have we considered the possibility that they’re not trying to keep it a secret? I mean, if it was supposed to be a covert plan why would they post an op-ed piece, written by their president, on the Internet?

So yes, my finding after a few hours of research is that YES, the CFR — at least at some level — is for one world government. But does this necessarily imply evil?

My Thoughts on the Philosophy of One World Government

So here’s where I’ll switch things up on you guys a bit. I don’t think the notion, by itself, of a one world government is bad. Star Trek had a one world government and they seemed quite happy (and free). Sure, it was fiction, but still.

In other words, just because there’s a one world government doesn’t mean we’re all watched from the sky and can have our nervous system disabled if we pay our cable bill late. Can’t this be done in a good way, given some more growing up on our part? Like 200 or 1000 years from now?

I think so. Definitely. In fact, I think it’s THE way to go. Philosophically I feel that as we evolve as a people (humans) we’ll have less need for borders and labels of “us” or “them”. It’ll just be “we”, and that’s fine with me. I think it’s superior. It’ll go from what we have now to what Norway has, then to Star Trek, and then when we are really advanced we won’t need much government at all.

As an example, Obama and Jimmy Carter are members. Do we really think they are for implanting RFID chips in everyone so that they can sit at the top, turn us all into slaves, and roll around in the money we make for them? I call bullshit.

Again, IF (and I stress IF) there is some faction of the CFR that is for this kind of elitist takeover of the world (that feels weird to type), very few people in the CFR even know about it. I’d be willing to bet that most people who are for one world government — including those in the CFR — are envisioning the Star Trek version, not the evil empire version. And if Obama and Carter subscribe to the idea they most certainly are in that category.

So that’s one option — the big happy Star Trek Federation option. The other option is the evil RFID / big-brother / monitor your thoughts and nuke your soul from orbit option. Not pleasant — I think we all agree on that. Unfortunately, that’s the model of global government that has the best (only?) chance of being put into place given our current situation.

And on a practical level, given our current situation, I think the best thing we can do as Americans who are also long-term global citizens, is to focus on America independently and ensure that it’s strong going forward. In other words, a broken America is no good for anyone. I like my air travel analogy — if you lose cabin pressure you put YOUR mask on first, then you help others. This isn’t a selfish act; it’s how to do the most good.

So the question really comes down to this: which model of one world government is the CFR pushing for? And can’t we as logical people accept that all members of the CFR are not necessarily (and most likely are NOT) for the evil-empire version? I think so.

Conclusion

So what can we take away from all of this? In my opinion, if you add everything up and throw in some logic and common sense, here’s what we end up with:

There is most likely one or more elite organizations, no doubt made up of very wealthy, influential people who are doing what they can to make themselves more wealthy and more powerful — at the expense of the ignorant and underprivileged. Perhaps some within the CFR believe in this, perhaps they don’t.

There are also some organizations who believe in the “Star Trek” version of One World Government. Fewer borders, central government, less war, happier people, etc, etc. Cultural evolution. Progress. I have very little doubt that many within the CFR have this vision in mind. The question is how many have the other, evil version in mind instead (if any).

And that’s where I’ll leave it. I do know that I’ll be paying much more attention to these different groups, especially the CFR. I’ll be watching for news about the North American Union, the North American Superhighway, the Amero, National ID, and all those types of programs. It’s interesting stuff, if nothing else.

On a side note, one thing all this does do for me is reframe the immigration debate. Given the fact that Obama and Hillary are CFR members, perhaps their stance on “the path to citizenship” is just part of their shared vision of a unified North America? Maybe not, but it’s a possibility.

Anyway, feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment below if you have any thoughts.:

Related Information

The CFR Website | cfr.org

Avoid “Weasel Words | wikipedia.org”

The CFR’s Election 2008 Blog | blogs.cfr.org

Conspiracy Quotes | dedroidify.com

The North American Union | wikipedia.org

One World Government | wikipedia.org

The Amero | wikipedia.org

Net Neutrality is one of the most important challenges facing civilization as a whole right now, yet most people don’t even know – let alone care – about it. Here’s my simple summary of the issue, and please be sure to watch (and pass along) the video that comes after it.

Radio and newspaper, when they were first introduced, were user-generated media sources. This means that people could, for relatively little money, produce their own content and then get it out to very large groups of people through these media. But once corporations realized how lucrative the mediums were they, along with government help in many cases, created an environment where only very few could create the content, while the masses could only consume it.

This translates directly to the Internet. For these first 10 years or so that the web has been in its current form the people have had the ability to create and instantly publish their content to millions of people. This, just as with radio and print, has been an invaluable tool for propagating all types of individual expression. Art, movies, music, poetry, novels, political opinion, philosophical discourse – all these constituents of healthy democratic society are spread instantly through the Internet, even more so than with the previous media types.

But just as with radio and print, the corporations have now realized the power of this medium, and they’re moving to seize control of it. Quite simply, they plan to limit access to content, making it far more difficult (if not impossible) for regular people to create content and then distribute it to the world. Their intention is to place controls on who can and cannot create and distribute content by, you guessed it, charging for this “privilege”. What this will do is effectively do to the Internet what they did to radio and print, i.e. make it a one-way highway that goes from corporations to the people, but not from the people to the people.

So this is not a minor technological debate; it’s quite simply one of the most important issues facing our generation. The Net Neutrality debate literally discusses the ease with which people gain access to information. Please take the time to follow the issue and educate others whenever possible.:

I don’t use the term “big brother” lightly. This applies.

[ Microsoft Biometric Monitoring ]

FUD.

If any of these militant Christian candidates get elected (especially Guliani) they’re going to start a war. A big one. Neocons encourage terrorism. Religious extremism encourages violence.

As a realist I recognize the need to maintain (and constantly modernize) our military capabilities, but we have to combine that with a drive to stop using them. Our reputation and respect in the world’s eye is what keeps us safe — not having more weapons.

In security terms we need to stop increasing the numbers of those who want to hurt us rather than (stupidly) trying to stop them from being able to hurt us. Nice guy. Big stick. But nice guy first.

I’m torn. The guy was clearly out of line, but did it really need to come to this?

This is a major incident right now; it’s all over the place. What do you guys think? Did the kid deserve to get roughed up, or were the police totally overreacting?

A Blackwater Prediction

September 17th, 2007 | Corruption | Government

I predict that the U.S. government will apply pressure to Iraq in order to keep Blackwater there.