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The End of Illusion and the Beginning of the Future

Elite democracy with its corruption of wealth distribution, language and community is not the last word. Humpty Dumpty is not the last word on enlightenment: "Words are what I say they mean." Access could replace excess. The future could be a human future of a social contract, not a war of wolves against each other.

By Marc Batko (email: mbatko@yahoo.com)

[400 translated articles on economic and political analysis and liberation theology are available at www.freewebs.com/mbtranslations. Difference is a strength and enrichment, not a threat, in a one-dimensional society and status-seeking land reaping the bitter fruits of trickle-down mythology, selective remembrance, monopoly capital and empire-building. The inside of the cup must be cleaned, not only the outside of the cup. Otherwise we are educating the next generation of unemployed waiters and college-educated taxi drivers.]

"After a night of unfruitful fishing, they followed Jesus' counsel and cast the net on the other side and suddenly the boat was filled with fish."

Corrupted by wealth and celebrity news, the US followed the example of the prodigal son squandering the world's assets to produce financial innovations and credit-bubble prosperity while refusing responsibility, taking refuge in scapegoating and decrying the need for fair distribution as an "envy" problem. Empire can be replaced by republic as American exceptionalism and preventive endless war can be replaced by multi-polar reality, inter-cultural learning and interdependence.

1. The financial, economic, ecological, food, water, housing, health care, journalism, distribution, welfare and spiritual crises call us to new priorities and policies.

2. The me-society, the majority society, has lost its way in its untreated epidemic of narcissism and needs the immigration society to attain balance and public spirit.

3. Will we seek alternatives to winner-takes-all, the law of the jungle, McDonaldization, corporate globalization?

4. Will we be guided by humility and love of life in abandoning credit-bubble prosperity, generalized insecurity and the self-healing market?

5. Qualitative growth must replace quantitative growth to solve mass unemployment, environment destruction and trade imbalance. A job in education costs $35-40,000. A job in a chemical dye plant or manipulating elections for Exxon costs $500,000. Environment destruction, an oversized footprint, results from the myth of unlimited growth on a limited planet. Nature is not a free good, external or sink but our mother, partner and guarantor of future human life.

6. Access could replace excess in a culture of modesty and frugality zealous for the rights of nature and the rights of children. Most musicians only want their niche, the joy of independently earning a living. Most musicians and writers do not want to drive around the neighborhood in a Hummer.

7. Investing in journalism and education and expanding the non-profit public sector are keys to a human 21st century. The economy should be a part of life, not a steamroller crushing creativity and self-determination.

8. The status quo like fundamentalist religion is a discontinued model, a bipartisan nightmare, setting the letter above spirit and encouraging double standards, tunnel vision and one-dimensional vulgar materialism (cf. Ernst Bloch and Harvey Cox). In a closed society, the cure is the sickness. The remedy for the failed market is said to be greater reliance on the market!

9. Our ideas of prosperity and security, strength and health, job fulfillment and exchanging roles, interdependence and education must be changed if the future is to be open not closed, dynamic not static and inclusive not exclusive.

10. Can the ideas of public and community be saved by abandoning privatization, deregulation, opening markets and corporate rule?

11. "The whole world is doomed if we do not deliver people from the long years of poverty. There is a fire that no water can put out." (Martin Luther King) Truth is forever on the scaffold and wrong forever on the throne. Yet that scaffold sways the future.

12. Short-term fixation, shareholder value and selling the sizzle instead of the steak are parts of a discontinued unsustainable model of social paralysis and economic alienation, of a status-symbol land of hierarchy and manufactured desires.

13. Selfishness, herd conduct and conformity are virtues in a culture of narcissism (see Jean Twenge, The Narcissism Epidemic:  link to www.booktv.org].

14. Economists must learn to subtract (cf. www.adbusters.org). The gross domestic product is gross since it records traffic accidents, polluted rivers, cancer treatments and nuclear weapons as positive and measures everything except what makes families and communities strong (see Robert F. Kennedy and Thom Hartmann).

15. Elite democracy is marked by lobbyists crafting legislative bills and representatives raising money for the next election. Elite democracy with its corruption of wealth distribution, language and community is not the last word.. Similarly Humpty-Dumpty is not the last word on enlightenment: "Words mean what I say they mean."

16. People can rediscover their gifts and talents, exchange roles and reduce their working hours. A social net of affordable housing, universal health care and guaranteed subsistence could create a public spirit of liberty and justice for all, not licorice and jelly for a few in a system of minority consumption (see Robert Kurz).

17. The state has a social nature and cannot be only a security and power state. Justice means sharing rights and responsibilities so everyone can share in social life and enjoy social benefits. Trust disappears when justice is redefined as "rewarding achievers" and the state becomes an "activating" and "punishing" state, a trough for corporations and the super-rich.

18. Blaming the victim, fear-mongering and destruction of language and community are bitter fruits of solipsism, hyper-individualism, vulgar materialism and turbo-profit worship.

19. Tranfiguring profit as a goal above all law and history leads to the unraveling of life where revolving doors replace checks and balances (see "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" on www.democracynow.org).

20. The future could be a human future of a social contract, not an inhuman war of wolves against each other. Redemption goes beyond coupons, validation goes beyond parking tickets and conversion is more than congresspersons turning public funds into private wealth.

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