cj#278> Ferguson: substance and direction


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 08:40:47 -0700
Sender: •••@••.••• (Joe Ferguson)

    Hi Richard,

    I just wanted to touch bases to let you know I'm here and have been
following CJ - I just have been too busy to comment (and I often feel that
I have more to learn than to offer, on many of the threads).

    A while back I made a statement about the division between "left" and
"right" as an artifice of the manipulators.  You acknowledged there was
something to this, but rightly observed it doesn't go too far in itself.
I agree, and just wanted to illustrate the thinking further.

    What I'm looking for in discourse is substance and direction.  Examples
are your writings on the corporate facism trend, and that book I recently
reviewed, "The Death of Common Sense."  In both cases, there is no effort
I can detect to take a left or right side or to advocate either.  There
is substance of ideas: in the former, illustrating how big, greedy and
wealthy powers are exploiting the general population; in the latter,
illustrating fundamental folly in how Americans utilize law and process
in government administration.  There is direction: in the former, for
people to rediscover the value of democratic government and to take it
back as a force for serving the whole population; in the latter, for
people to restore human responsibility, judgement and experience to the
administrative process and to remake government into a more efficient
and sensible apparatus.

    Too often, when I read or hear the words "left" and "right" it seems
to be a substitute for actual substance or direction, and it seems like
buying into the manipulators' game.  An appropriate use of these categories
I think is in pointing out the errors of the extremes: on the right, to
abandon the tool of government, thinking the powerful will let us all be
free; on the left, to suffocate individuality by eliminating all personal
reward from society.  Either way you end up with totalitarianism.  It is
only in a middle ground, where people pursue substantial ideas to address
the needs of the diverse population of the world, where we can make any

    When I read your ideas, they appeal to me as sensible, which to me is
a moderate, universal attribute.  I have never heard you say that all
personal property is evil, that all individual reward is evil, or that
people should enjoy luxury without earning it.  What I have heard you
say is that greedy people should not be able to starve and evict poor
people from the world, and get a free ride; that government should
provide help and service to people who need it, and not give away all
the wealth of the land to the rich, while taxing the hungry.

    What I have found in substantial, honest discourse is a universal
acceptance of values learned from old-fashioned stories like Aesop's
fables, Jesus' parables and even popular pulp literature like the books
of Edgar Rice Burroughs, or the Conan stories.  The point is that there
is room for people who are strong and achieve personal rewards, but
these people can co-exist with poor, weak people - and don't have to
feel threatened by them to the extent they feel they must be evicted,
banished or imprisoned.  In other words, people are allowed to live in
a subsistance mode, like an indigenous community, or just plain poor
people who would rather play with their children than work their butts
off or spend all their energy forming finacial strategy; and people
are allowed to work and save and build.  There's room and resources
enough for us all, and it is simply evil to prey on the weak (an extreme
"rightwing" thing) or to forbid individuals to rise (an extreme "left-
wing" thing).

    Arun has captured the essence of the point in his quote of Gandhi:
"There is enough in the world for man's needs, but not for his greed."

    This works if one can imagine people having personal desires without
wanting "all the marbles."  That's what I believe is the basic nature of
most of humanity, with an acknowledged massive variation in what people
desire or perceive as "valuable."

    - Joe


 Posted by      Richard K. Moore <•••@••.•••>
                Wexford, Ireland (USA citizen)
                Editor: The Cyberjournal (@CPSR.ORG)

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