A response to the "Occupy Movement"

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I'm no longer a Democrat...

In responding to recent posts and comments from Randy Crutcher, Parke Bostrom and Don Allen, I first reiterate that with Entrepreneurial Humanism and Fractal Economics I'm not trying to create yet another ideology for debate.

I'm trying to get as quickly as possible to a level of consensus on principals held in common that makes effective action possible, and I'm willing to take seriously any plans or structures that might work better than the ones I'm proposing.

What I'm hoping is that, at some point, this dialog will move from critiquing bits and pieces we question or don't agree with to something like "Okay, there's more I agree with than disagree with here, and it could conceivably work. What would the next step look like?"

I read all of Matt Stoller's piece "Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals", and found more there that I agree with than don't. I think his fingering of long standing Liberal/Dem ties to war financing and centralized control are right on the money, and Obama is acting them out as clearly as I can imagine possible.

I've had it with supporting tax & spend government as the answer for virtually all social problems, and I've had it with the Democrat-enabled war, torture, assassination and imprisonment machine. (Look at this Glen Greenwald piece if you have the stomach for it...)

But I'm also not in support of some Conservative/Libertarian rhetoric that goes something like "If we just close down all the social programs and get the Gummint the hell out of the way of a free, unregulated market right across the board, everything will turn out fine."

I think that Americans have been too long in the thrall of push-based consumerism, as well as Big Daddy government, to be able to cope with true freedom (including the freedom to fail catastrophically,) and all the responsibilities that go with it, delivered in one fell swoop.

I think we must first undergo a period of building the 'muscles' of personal integrity and effective cooperation while weaning ourselves from government aid and corporate/government control of the marketplace.

That's why I'm pushing the principles of Fractal Economics and an American Consumers Union, because it would give us some kind of framework for building those muscles - both individually and as a community.

I also see this as an implicit answer to Randy and Parke's challenges of the "Buy American" thing.

No, I don't advocate buying American made stuff, regardless of its quality or the integrity of its manufacturing process, simply because its American and we're the good guys so it must be the right thing.

But I do see it as a place to start, an opportunity to cooperate across long standing ideological boundaries, to make enough of a difference in our economy that we can actually see and document that difference, and to use our cooperation and its results as the basis of further cooperation in advancing a common set of values - all within the existing market structure, and without passing laws forcing other folks to do likewise.

I'm calling this conscious mutual acculturation - the process of starting with a set of common principles, putting those principles into action, documenting the results, and using this documentation to support more action which, over time, changes the fundamental fabric of the culture in which we live.

It may also be a response to Don's theme (my term) of "We can only change ourselves."

My view is yes, we can only change ourselves, and yes, when we change ourselves (e.g., our buying habits, our willingness to act for something beyond our own convenience,) in conscious cooperation with other selves, we create changes in our world that support and compound our individual efforts.


  1. If you are looking for agreement in principle at this point in the dialogue Bob, you have it from me. I've been looking for some time at what on the ground already exemplifies these principles of self-reliance and mutually beneficial economic ties and relations. Having recently read Bill McKibben's Deep Economy and a few years ago at the Bioneers Conference viewing Paul Hawken's graphic demonstration of the now hundreds of thousands of people out there forming producer and consumer cooperative networks and unions, I already know these arrangements work and are on a parallel track with, if often less visible than the more highly publicized black and white of Big Government and Big Corporate. Do you see what you are proposing as fundamentally different in some way from these movements already well underway?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Randy. My intuitive answer to your question is "no, not fundamentally different." But I don't know much/anything about the other people forming producer and consumer cooperative networks and unions, and that's what I was trying to address in this dialog - the fact that I wasn't seeing this happening. I'll give McKibbens' Deep Economy a read.

      I have been reading Riane Eisler's "The Real Wealth of Nations", and so far (I'm only about halfway through,) I am in agreement with 80% of her observations about creating a partnership based economics. But the 20% where I differ with her, and what I see as being crucial to getting past the toxic conservative vs. liberal divide, is that I don't recognize tax & spend government programs as a valid expression or tool of partnership economics. I see the whole tax and spend model as a form of armed coercion, and therefor part of the androcratic/dominator model that Dr. Eisler is trying to replace.

      So maybe I'm re-inventing the wheel here, or maybe this dialog will help introduce people who are already on the same track recognize each other.

      I keep thinking that what we who are already inclined toward a more cooperative, partnership based economy need is some recognizable identifier - a logo, picture, something - attached to a clearly defined set of principals, and a way of tracking our actions and their impact.

      Open to suggestions!