cj#253> re: CJ agenda…

1995-07-30

Richard Moore

Dear CJ,

I asked a few regular contributors for their ideas about CJ, and how we can
make it more relevant and useful...

-rkm


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Sender: Butler Crittenden <•••@••.•••>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 01:07:54 -0700
To: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)
Subject: whither cyberjournal?

Democracy and the NWO sounds good to me. As we talked about, there is and
will continue to be an emerging NWO, and certainly democracy is the bedrock
of any civilized approach to governance. The questions are: (1) what form
will the NWO take, especially will the fascists or democrats win out and
(2) what form of democracy? I'd say post away with thoughts for us to add
to, subtract from, etc.

As to whither...? A tough question. We all are truly battered these days
with Mumia's impending state-murder, Bosnia-Herz, bland politics out of
D.C., drugs and crime, environmental problems, the Ice Age (or global
warming, the same, and call it what you want), and so much more. I think
there is something close to numbness occuring to many, and hence the lack
of response to some posts. No matter what I post I don't get more than one
or two Re:'s. I've noticed that the posts that get the largest number of
Re:'s are the stupidest, often outright baiting. Or on a trite subject like
men and women. And the problem with such important topics as you mentioned
is that Congresswo/men are going to do exactly what the please and what is
most politically expedient until the system is changed. I overstate a
little, but calls/faxes/posts/letters really are as close to pissing in the
wind as most of can stand.

So perhaps your idea of what is the NWO and which form of democracy will
get us focused. I don't really know any unbrella answer other than to
attempt to design a fairly simple litany and pound away.

Regards as always,
Butler

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Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 13:11:11 -0700
Sender: •••@••.••• (Joe Ferguson)
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: Agenda for CJ

        Sunnyvale, California -- Regarding Richard's proposed agenda,
  I vote for it.  I think we have been attracted to this net group in
  large part by the power and/or validity of Richard's vision, and I
  think it is reasonable for him to try to "take us somewhere" and for
  us to help him do that.  In all cases, I think we've recognized an
  intelligent discussion when we've seen it; the quality that there is
  room for growth and learning, but there is a good deal of substance
  here already.  The only qualification I would impose on the agenda of
  Analysis, Synthesis and Action, is patience and flexibility:  let's
  not try _too_ hard to figure out exactly what is happening, lest we
  are forced to decide we are failing, and lose our purpose altogether.
  Cyberjournal is important to me, because my life is in a state in
  which I am starved both for kindred intellectual contact, and for the
  time and opportunities to establish that contact.  It is no less
  important for the incredible quality of brain-power I've connected
  with.  How, without the internet and Richard's efforts, might I have
  ever hoped to meet or have these conversations with all of you?

        Now I would like to comment on some posts that have come across
  since Richard's proposal.  In particular, I think Butler Crittenden's
  five point program was an excellent and bold stab at common sense; a
  proper role for the powers of thought.  On the other hand, I thought
  elements of John Lowry's post in cj#246 were counter-productive.  It
  is true that people can abuse reason and ideas, by reducing them to
  a "parlor game" but I for one, am not interested in that sort of
  indulgence.  There is a bunch of nasty behavior going on in the
  world while people waste their time shooting small holes in otherwise
  good ideas.  I want to make some sense and justice out of my world.  I
  have children who depend on it, and there are millions of people who
  do too.  And so what if culture is an hypnotic trance?  So is all of
  reality, but we have the game to play none the less.  People of fair
  minds and of just action discuss their ideas before they do things.
  I think our discussion here has that validity and potential.

        In fairness to John, he makes some very fine points (of reason! ;-)
  in the second part of the cj#246 post:  Particularly the analysis of
  exactly what "authority" is.  I can feel my spirit bristle at the
  authority of racist cops, and in general with people drunk with their
  "power over me."  But I hunger for the first kind of "authority" he
  defines:  "someone with a steady supply of good answers."  Richard's
  goal of striving for "some common ground of understanding" _is_ an
  intelligent goal.  While we shouldn't (as John points out) get carried
  away with overblown notions of our own intelligence, it is precisely
  Richard's (and cyberjournal's) willingness to rethink and listen that
  forces me to the conclusion that we don't suffer that problem in
  general.

        Back to the five points.  One feature of Richard's thinking that
  attracted me from the beginning was the value he placed on the U.S.
  Constitution and the potential of our government.  Without making
  believe that our government hasn't been corrupted and abused, it is
  reasonable to recognize it's potential.  This is Butler's first point
  and one Richard has made powerfully:  Let's not mess with _design_ of
  the engine right now, but let's tune it.  Let's try to unite with
  a broad group of people to ... yeah, RETRACT GATT and NAFTA!  Good
  idea for starters!  Find areas of broad consensus among the population,
  help unify that group, and force our government to enact our will, or
  vote them out!  As many of you already know, I strongly believe that
  one of the biggest problems in our world is the drug prohibition.  This
  is a crooked policy that is causing and is caused by an epidemic of
  official corruption (see recent article in The Nation on Narco-Politics
  in Mexico).  It, just like the U.S. alcohol prohibition of the "roaring
  twenties" is providing startup capital for incredibly powerful criminal
  organizations; is breaking down the fabric of our society; and is most
  hurting primarily the poorest and most defenseless people - the "common
  man."  We legalized one deadly drug, alcohol, because we recognized the
  "cure" was worse than the "disease."  All Americans have to navigate
  through life without falling prey to alcohol, and most of us manage to
  succeed.

        Second point: Let's not ridicule the notion that all people have
  the right to health and an opportunity to work.  (To take this a step
  further in a global sense, let's include the right of people to
  occupy territory in an indigenous manner: they shouldn't have to
  choose between converting to a mercantile society or extermination!)
  The major point here, is that without adopting a communist, or Marxist
  idealogy, it is natural for working people to stand up for each other
  and against the gross abuse of personal property where individuals
  control billions of dollars worth of assets without being held to any
  standard of responsibility for populations who reasonably should have
  the use of (if not "ownership" of) those resources to sustain their
  lives and health and that of their children.  I believe we can be fair
  to all people without threatening free enterprise.  People can aspire
  to "wealth" (in achieveing leisure time, and acquiring as many "toys"
  as they can manage to play with) without allowing people to hold so
  much wealth in a greedy, irresponsible and malignant manner that they
  choke the life and liberty out of entire populations.

        Regarding Butler's third point, I'd like to debate that one.
  I'm not sure that everything can be measured in terms of money.  In
  the idea of indigenous peoples I mentioned above, there are elements
  of stewardship and co-existence with the eco-system, the planet itself.
  How can people who are willing to exist in harmony, in a non-exploitive
  way, in say, the rain forests of Brazil, be expected to pay for the
  right to live there?  How can it be considered fair to allow people
  with the wealth to invest in heavy machinery and a labor force to go
  in there, bulldoze a resource that the whole world needs, and wipe
  out that indigenous civilization?  True that the history of the world
  has not been fair, and in many ways, even Nature herself can be viewed
  as "unfair" but in this I have a vision that we can do better than we
  have done.  I believe human beings can learn to walk more softly on
  the earth and leave room for children and tribes.  We need to work on
  this point!

        The fourth point is a good one; too much reactionism in the
  thinking going around.  The second part of this point is just as
  important: people need to take and exercise control over progress to
  some degree.  Maybe a metaphor is a levee or dam on the river.  We
  can't stop the river, but we can harness it, work with it, float boats
  and barges up and down it, swim in it and enjoy it.  We need to have a
  healthy respect for it's power too.

        Finally, regarding secrecy, I agree.  I think of the CIA as
  a prime example of the dangers of secrecy.  We pay for it, but I don't
  think one percent of Americans would keep it in business for another
  month, if we all knew the full truth about how consistently it abused
  its priviledge.  We like to think of ourselves as champions of democracy
  around the world, and as a force for good.  I think the CIA, too often
  lost the forest for the trees, and acted in exactly the opposite
  direction from the will of Americans, and (what we would like to think
  of as "the nature of America").  The important distinction here is
  between secrecy of activities that are public (start with everything
  funded by the public!) - and the notion of *privacy*.  Privacy is a
  value we must protect, from little children being permitted to have
  their private make-believe worlds, to adults being free to do what they
  wish in the privacy of their homes, as long as they pose no threat to
  the well-being of others.

        So, finally, I do _not_ think it is a waste of time for us to
  continue our analysis and to attempt synthesis of ideas, and plans for
  action.  Just like we are recognizing that it is local action and
  government that is most valid, as it directly serves and stems from
  real communities and real people, I think of Cyberjournal as a community.
  We are _people_ not random thoughts.  We have a stake in our world as
  well as in this small part of cyberspace we share.

        I'd also like to comment on the international, global value of
  cyberjournal.  While I often cast political ideas in terms of America
  or the United States, I hope it is understood I don't see my country
  as better or more important that others'.  It's just the one I know
  about, and vote in.  It is with wonderful pleasure that I read the ideas
  of you of other countries and cultures.  I think we have a great deal
  to offer each other!

        Thanks for letting me participate!  (And, if I'm too opinionated,
  please liberally insert IMO's and especially IMHO's in the above!)

        - Joseph C. Ferguson

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 ~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~--~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=~
 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland (USA citizen)
                 Moderator: CYBERJOURNAL (@CPSR.ORG)

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