Friday, August 13, 2010

Let's Add "Peace" to "Dignity" and "Justice"

To me, Dignity and Justice are encompassing principles that can be construed to cover most of what we desire in forming and implementing modern nation states. But in the current context of the United States as HyperPower pursuing global hegemony through war and Imperial rule, specifying "Peace" as an objective and a foundational principle is more and more desirable.

We may come to question the advisability of any nation-state in the modern world, but the default position -- absent nation-states -- would have to be either World Empire (which is the direction we're going), or tribal units, which is the direction I would prefer, though with many caveats.

Some random notes:

I am in favor of abolishing the states and substituting semi-autonomous regional governments, for the simple reason that states have become as rotten and corrupt as the Federal government, in fact, they probably started out that way. There are far too many statelets on the East Coast that could be more practically governed as a unit. There is a serious mismatch between the interests of various regions of the country and some of the states have internal mismatches between the interests, populations, and geography of one sector versus another. Break them up, reform them into affinity regions.

Autonomy is important. Direction from the Capital is only feasible with a unified polity, and the United States has never been that. Expansion merely disperses and institutionalizes inherent division. Instead, try for internal unification within the regional polities.

With regional autonomy, ironically, the national assembly can become an Imperial state, but one with strictly limited powers. In other words, the urge to empire, which appears to be deeply ingrained in the American psyche, can be expressed in a national government which ostensibly rules its autonomous regions (think parts of post Maoist China) with all the pomp and circumstance required, but which is purposely benign.

In fact, the national government does not "rule" so much as fulfill the mutual interests of the peoples of the regions.

With Peace as a foundational principle, the nation, much like China, does not engage in armed conflict abroad, and strictly limits armed domestic action. Yes, we have to think about domestic police action, potentials for armed rebellion and so on.

Dignity and Justice are principles that serve as brakes on the predatory interests and intentions of some, generally small, proportion of any population, and sometimes the predators among us become dangers to themselves and others. Their control becomes an interest of the People and the State, but that interest may have to be backed up with force. Predators do not generally yield willingly.

Dignity and Justice encompass more than Law; they are foundational principles of the social contract. They are fundamental principles of a desirable economic and social condition as well as legal principles. One should not separate Law from economic and social justice.

How they are expressed may be different from region to region, and the national expression may be different still.

To be continued...


  1. Hello Che Pasa,

    You seem to be writing for this particular cycle of End Times, with an eye to those who might be trying to put something back together out of what rubble or freedom will remain after Imperial collapse - of course, as you suggest, takeover by the next rising Empire might be the more likely possibility, even if under the mask of Tea Party faces. In such case, I mainly hope to find haven elsewhere. I'm going to quite seriously start exploring possibilities and begin making what preparations my circumstances allow for me and my brother.

    Have you read Octavia Butler? *Parable of the Sower* is a deeply thoughtful, down-to-earth, and emotionally powerful depiction of the breakdown of the U.S. and of the beginnings of a new nomadic community on the disintegrating coastal highways of the West Coast - it seems to me that what has been called a science fiction novel might be quite practically useful in not too long.

    Thanks for your random notes - or seeds.


  2. Hi Helen,

    I've returned to California, and I'm slowly putting together a standard routine. There's a lot to catch up on.

    As for End Times, that's an interesting thought. The music that popped up when I opened the site this morning was REM's "It's the End of The World As We Know It," and while I'm aware of the intensity of the irony -- and humor -- of the piece, there's an underlying darkness. Oh my yes.

    Whether it goes all the way to the necessity of putting something back together out of our collapsed society and national experiment, I don't know. A lot of us -- and lot more of us all the time -- are thinking in terms of being Ex-Pat, Exiles, or Internally Displaced Persons. Leaving the country altogether is appealing to some. Some are not allowed to return.

    More and more are taking the internal route to another locale and reality. Some by their own choice, many forced by circumstances beyond their control.

    The United States is undergoing as thorough a restructuring -- in every respect -- as it has experienced in its entire history, and the wonder of it is that the People are essentially disinterested observers.

    It is because they/we are objects in someone else's game. Objects somewhat less valued than pawns on a chessboard.

    The People should be Players, yes?


  3. "The People should be Players, yes?"

    A rhetorical question?

    The compartmentalized morass of divided individuals that contemporarily constitutes the People cannot be more than an assembly-line of pawns.

    Only solidarity — within broad swathes of the People, if not universal — can render the People, collectively, as a Player. No?

    And really, doesn't it seem like the only means by which that unity might be attained is widespread economic disenfranchisement — significantly worse than even the current great recession — in which the distinction vanishes between the working- and middle-classes?

    And on that trajectory, doesn't it seem at least as likely that the worsening economy will trigger a sociocultural backlash quite the opposite of unity? (Meaning: the frothing fruition of the Birchy seed we call the teabaggers.)

    Enjoy these thoughts of auspice and contentment! Insomnia says hello.