Book announcement, blogs, dialog


Richard Moore

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I am very pleased to announce Jim Macgregor’s new book, The Iboga Visions. Jim is a long-time subscriber and contributor to cyberjournal, and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting him and his wee family in Scotland on two occasions. He told me about his vision for the book before he started writing, and I stand in awe of how well he brought his vision into realization. My review, along with one by Tom Cahill, the well-known peace activist, are on Amazon. I recommend the book very highly.

The Iboga Visions 
Jim Macgregor
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: NGT Publishing Limited (November 11, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0955429358
ISBN-13: 978-0955429354

I’ve been continuing my climate research, and engaging in a lot of private dialog with folks on all sides of the issue. I’ve written an article that offers a reasonably comprehensive analysis of what’s going on with the climate, the science, and the politics. I’ve put it up as a blog page, which makes it very readable – no lost images, nothing to download, and the URL can be easily forwarded without sending the article itself.

In addition, anyone can add comments to the blog. Many of you have expressed frustration at having to ‘go through rkm’ to get your views posted. You’ve asked for a more open, democratic forum. I have my reasons for continuing my policies as they are on cyberjournal, and by using blogs, we can have open dialog as well, for those who want to participate. This particular one is on the global warming issue, and there can be others.

Climate science: observations vs. models
Richard K. Moore
8 January 2010
From: Thomas Schley
Date: 5 January 2010 15:48:13 GMT
Subject: RE: re-1: Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, & lessons for today

rkm> As I now reflect, I’d say there are there are people who have some degree of ‘established power’ and who are aligned with a liberatory paradigm. They are mostly conservatives. Like the leaders in Vermont and Texas who want to want to secede from the Union. And Sheriff Mack and the Oath Keepers. If liberals weren’t so cultish, and began to embrace such potential allies, we’d see real sparks of of transformation begin to fly. But no, they won’t even listen to Alex Jones, who’s got a better take on world affairs than any liberal pundit I’ve seen. 

Hi Richard,

You have been so right on with your replies to the responses you received from your last essay.  I hope you have read the book, “The Vermont Papers” by Frank Bryan and John McGlaughry.  The bit I’ve outlined in red above prompted me to send you this link to an interview of Bryan, made quite some time after The Vermont Papers was written.  Some interesting thoughts on local democracy and town meetings, not to say secession.  Sounds like town meetings could experiment with the facilitation methods you write about…they might become more productive.  Over thirty years ago I lived in Bryan’s town of Starksboro.  I hope town meeting is still alive and well there.

Excerpts from the Bryan interview:
Is there a population level where town meeting just doesn’t work anymore? 
Right around 5,000 registered voters, it gets tough to stretch it over a system that big. Growing Chittenden County towns like Williston or Colchester struggle with it. Brattleboro has a representative town meeting. Every little neighborhood of 100-200 people comes together. That’s a real good alternative. 
John McLaughry and I wrote a book together called The Vermont Papers which deals with how we can recreate democracy on a human scale. I’m a decentralist communitarian, which means that political parties don’t mean much. I don’t care if it is General Motors or the U.S. Department of Education, they are both big bureaucracies that are both fundamentally undemocratic because ordinary people really don’t have a say in them. …

Hi Tom
Many thanks. I had no idea town meetings were still so much alive. Very inspiring. 
I’m sure that the right processes, used in the right ways, could enhance what is already being achieved with town meetings. If I was in dialog with someone involved in town meetings, the first thing I would want to do is learn as much as I can about how they’re working. I’d want some examples of how various problems were dealt with that came up. Are there any chronic community problems?  etc. etc. etc. Only then might I have a suggestion regarding what might fit into their process and complement it. 

It would interesting to organize a little conference, including a spectrum of decentralization visions, including town meetings, local currencies, transition towns, secessionists, oath takers, whatever.
From: Richard Cook <•••@••.•••>
Date: 5 January 2010 15:55:10 GMT
Subject: Nokie Website Live Now

Because of our developer’s timetable, we’ve just gone live with the website for the Blue Ridge Mountain Exchange and the Nokie currency system:
Please bear in mind, though, that everything on it is DRAFT! Comments and improvements will be needed from this point on. Please share it with anyone you can. 
Nothing is set in concrete. Everything is subject to modification and improvement.
Note, though, that this would be one of the most sophisticated local currency systems in existence, with the potential for
doing to most good for the local economy. 

Hi Richard,
Congratulations on your continued success with local currencies. What have you found to be the greatest motivators for getting a community interested?
From: “Lincoln Justice” 
Date: 6 January 2010 07:47:49 GMT
To: “Richard Moore” <•••@••.•••>
Subject: possible solution to economic problems 

Here is a possible solution to economic problems faced by nations and states.  
  I notice that North Dakota has a state owned bank and they do not have the budget problems of all the other states. Bank of North Dakota  is the only state-owned bank in the nation. Established by legislative action in 1919, it’s mission is to promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. In this role, the Bank acts as a funding resource in partnership with other financial institutions, economic development groups and guaranty agencies.
Lincoln B. Justice 
EU/IMF Revolt: Greece, Iceland, Latvia May Lead the Way 
By Ellen Brown December 17, 2009 

Hi Lincoln,
Thanks for an inspiring article re/ reclaiming power from below. The most revolutionary thing that could happen in the world today, would be for all nations to repudiate their debts to the central bankers and their institutions, and launch their own sovereign currencies. The North Dakota bank is a great model as well. Ecuador has a particularly interesting angle, in that they are challenging the legality of of their foreign debts, seeking to erase indebtedness in that way. 
From: Zahir Ebrahim
Date: 8 January 2010 04:08:06 GMT
To: Richard Moore <•••@••.•••>
Subject: “Hegemony is as old as mankind.”

Hello RKM,

Just FYI –
In ref to your comment here:

rkm> This is a very good article. There is only one point I’d challenge,   
this comment that was made in passing: 
After all, “Hegemony is as old as mankind.” 
Should be: “Hegemony is as old as civilization.” A very different thing. 

That’s the well-known first sentence of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book the Grand Chessboard – and I am merely quoting Brzezinski to reflect the thinking of the hectoring hegemons in their own words. In anycase, even the hunter-gatherer caveman hit others over the head. Only the Neanderthal actually didn’t – which is why the Cromagnon wiped it out! That’s what Brzezinski is perhaps alluding to, by using the word “mankind” instead of your choice of “civilization” which obviously came much later. If I had to invent a statement, I’d have employed the sentiment: “Mankind may descended from the treetop and created massive civilizations, but is yet to lose its tail”.
Thanks for posting the essay. Shocking ain’t it, how hegelian

dialectics are put to use!

BTW – this is my newest:

And best wishes,
Zahir Ebrahim,

Hi Zahir,
I have no problem with your article or your usage. And it gave me a chance to make a distinction that I think is of central importance.

In any case, even the hunter-gatherer caveman hit others over the head.

This is a very wrong characterization of hunter-gatherer societies. There are four kinds of violence. First there is murder, as from jealousy, robbery, or a flash of anger. Second there are raids and border skirmishes between neighboring societies, whose function is to maintain territorial boundaries, and to maintain a warrior culture among males. Third, there are parasitic raids – – a horseman tribe stealing the crops of an agricultural community. Fourth there is organized warfare aimed at conquest and / or enslavement of another society. 

Murder has always occurred in every society, always for much the same reasons. And there is always some system of social sanctions to minimize its occurrence.  Border skirmishes among warriors, which characterized many indigenous societies, was important for sustainability, just like with lion prides. Parasitic raids emerged after agriculture and settled communities, c. 6,000 BC or so, when there was a sudden large increase in global temperatures. Organized warfare was the last form to emerge and has been characteristic of civilizations ever since. Such warfare is not possible without excess productive capacity to support economically unproductive armies. 

Hegemony is a property of hierarchical societies, and of relations among hierarchical societies. Hunter-gatherer bands were not hierarchical, and where they still exist they remain non-hierarchical. Egalitarian collaboration and mutual trust are necessities for the economic survival of such societies, as is the maintenance of their territorial rights. Hegemony emerged in herding and agricultural societies.

If I had to invent a statement, I’d have employed the sentiment: “Mankind may descended from the treetop and created massive civilizations, but is yet to lose its tail”.

This is a very common misperception, part of what Daniel Quinn calls “The Great Forgetting”. 

A human hunter-gatherer band was like a primate band (eg, baboons) in that it was small, it exploited a variety of food sources on its territory, was efficient at predation, and was tightly bound together, one step up from an extended family.

It was very different than a primate band in that the alpha-male, hierarchical principle had been left behind, not through genetic change, but by cultural evolution. Hunter-gatherer bands raised their young to co-operative values within a co-operative culture. Cultures can be passed on from generation to generation just like genes can. This was humanity’s first Golden Age, the Garden of Eden.

With the new economics of herding and agriculture, domination again emerged as a viable principle of organization. The genes were always there for alpha-male dominance and pecking orders, a left-over primate heritage. Once the culture and the child-raising changed, the dominance principle could come to the fore. And once it comes to the fore in one aggressive culture, the rest is history. We lost our tail and then put it back on again. That was our Fall, eating the fruit of the knowledge of power, and that was our banishment from the Garden. 

The good news is that we’re only a culture change away from a decent, stable, society. There’s nothing wrong with us as a species. We’re simply suffering from a chronic cultural virus: hierarchy.


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