reader dialog – 7 Dec 2006


Richard Moore


I finally made my first edit to an entry in Wikipedia. I expanded the 
scope of the 'direct democracy' page:

check it out,

         From: "Richard Moore"
         To: "marc bombois"
         Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 9:42 AM
         Subject: greetings from ireland...
            Hi Marc,
              Thanks again for hosting me on Gabriola. A very beautiful
          place. I enjoyed the adventure with the fallen branch -- a
          real-world exercise in spontaneous collaboration and
          problem solving. Has there been any 'democracy talk' since?

Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 16:09:44 -0800
From: marc bombois <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: greetings from ireland...
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>

Hi Richard,

You're welcome, it was great to meet you and I'm glad youliked it 
here. I haven't heard a peep since then, but I'm sure people are 
thinking. I noticed that we're a fairly jaded bunch, hard to avoid 
that when you become well-informed. I think most of us appreciate the 
efforts to develop a method of governance beyond hierarchy, but there 
remains the problem of stopping the elite. While DF is fascinating 
and promising... there's still a rhinoceros in the living room. I 
know I don't need to tell you this.

We need hope, Richard. We need clear thinkers like you to articulate 
and broadcast the reality of elite rule as widely as possible and to 
develop some way of stopping them. We've got to discover some way to 
mobilise the masses, some hook, some new method of getting us in 
touch with our desire for peace and love now. I'll help in any way I 

Warm regards,



Hi Marc,

The only way to 'stop them' is to take power away from them. We 
cannot accomplish that by means of our existing political systems. 
Those systems were designed to facilitate elite control, and that's 
how they have functioned everywhere for the past two centuries. Even 
in Switzerland, where there is considerable local autonomy, it is 
elites (primarily banking and pharmaceutical executives) who 
determine foreign policy, budget & finance, military affairs, 
corporate regulations, etc. etc. -- all the important national 

I was led to my vision of non-hierarchical governance not by seeking 
to characterize an 'ideal society' or utopia, but by seeking a way to 
end elite rule. I have looked far and wide, and I have seen no other 
proposal for ending elite rule that I consider to be even remotely 
plausible. Some of the other proposal might be achievable, but they 
contain the seeds of their own undoing: they do not have robust 
mechanisms to prevent the rise of future ruling cliques. They are all 
based on a political and historical analysis that does not get to the 
root of the problem.

I do my best to "broadcast the reality of elite rule" in my Chapter 
1, and with this list, but I've come to the conclusion that 
'understanding the current system' is not something that can be 
universally achieved in our media-dominated societies. I've also come 
to the conclusion that such universal understanding is not a 
prerequisite to moving forward with social transformation.

In order for 'us' to stop 'them', our first task is to bring 'us' 
into existence as a coherent entity that can 'have understanding' and 
'act'. This first task is about developing 'consensus generating 
processes'; it is not about pre-determined platforms, analyses, or 

best wishes,

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2006 11:35:25 EST
Subject: Re: Escaping the Matrix: critique & response
To: •••@••.•••

excellent letter and response- clarifies your basic position in a 
very few words. Bravo.


Thanks Jim. You are my model for brevity.


From: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 12:53:34 EST
Subject: Re: newslog: 24 Nov - 2 Dec 2006
To: •••@••.•••

Richard,  There are a number of interesting articles in your latest 
News Log.  Thanks for sending them.

Here is another interesting article [?] indicating how the neocons 
intend to worm out of the mess they created.  After picking Bush for 
the Presidency and putting him in office knowing he is ill-qualified 
and incompetent, but willing to follow orders, the neocons are now 
blaming Bush's incompetence for the Iraqi debacle.  David From even 
boasts that he attempted to plant ideas in Bush's head by planting 
words in Bush's speech, but Bush couldn't grasp the ideas -- which 
may be the cause of the problem.  (Recalling some of those ideas, 
this is an interesting twist.)

In my view this is an attempt to place total blame on Bush, believing 
he will not admit to following orders, directions or suggestions, 
after having proclaimed himself to be the "decider".  (The question 
now is, who put that idea in Bush's head.) 


Hi Tom,

Yes, clearly Bush is being set up to take all the blame. 
Unfortunately, we don't know yet whether his crimes will include a 
nuclear attack on Iran. And we must keep in mind that even though he 
will take the public blame, everything he is doing is what his 
handlers want him to be doing. If he were ever to act beyond his 
remit, he would meet with a sudden end. (He is, by the way, subject 
to the curse of Tecumseh, having taken office in 2000.)


From: "Brian Hill" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: RE: newslog: 24 Nov - 2 Dec 2006
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 09:59:01 -0800
Organization: Institute  for Cultural Ecology

This keeps getting better Richard.  Keep it up.


Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 09:04:26 -0800 (PST)
From: Diana Skipworth <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: FYI: Community Empowerment Project Proposal - Version 2
To: •••@••.•••

Dear Richard,

For the last few years I have been thinking about Native Americans. 
It is my understanding they had these same things regarding 
egalitarian government and such.  I am unsure whether all tribes had 
Wisdom Councils; I understand tribes would have disputes that would 
escalate into violence.

It raises my curiosity and makes me wonder how peaceful Native 
Americans were.  At first I consider the Iroquois Nation Charter was 
plagiarized by Ben Franklin and others.  Yet, at the same time I hear 
there were many great wars.  Have you studied the Native People of 
North America?  I was wondering if overall they were peaceful or not.

(It is very cold in Chicago and I make time to sit inside and wonder 
rather than go outside.)



Hi Diana,

(Yes, Winter can be a time of introspection and renewal.)

There has been considerable diversity in indigenous cultures, in 
America and elsewhere. Some have been very peaceful, and some have 
been warrior cultures. No dispute was necessary to initiate combat 
among warriors: They would raid one another so that warriors could 
prove their manhood, and 'count coup' (enemy warriors slain). This 
served to maintain territories, which in turn served to enable 
sustainability, just as with other predator species. When the horse 
was introduced by Europeans, that caused some tribes to convert to 
the warrior modality. In some cases, these newly empowered tribes 
would displace other tribes from their traditional territories -- but 
it was 'displace', not 'massacre'.

Daniel Quinn characterized this situation by saying that 
pre-civilized  humans were dangerous -- "as dangerous as a hyena". 
The point being that hyenas take care of themselves with a vengeance, 
but do not engage in conquest, genocide, or imperialism. Native 
Americans did not kill 'the helpless ones' (women and children), if 
for no other reason than it would have robbed them of their honor as 
warriors. Honorable warriors only fight other warriors.

All was not peace and light in indigenous societies, from our 
liberal, coddled, modern perspective. Older boys engaged in dangerous 
games, such as 'knock everyone else one off their horse', which 
sometimes resulted in death.  The sexes had distinct roles, and from 
our point of view boys and girls were not given 'equal 
opportunities'. It seems however that neither men nor women felt 
oppressed by their gender-determined roles; they considered it to be 
both natural and fulfilling.

We cannot revert to hunter-gathering or nomadic herding, nor would it 
make sense for us to copy indigenous cultures wholesale. Yet despite 
all these provisos there is much useful that can be learned from 
those cultures. In particular: (1) the focus on community autonomy 
and (2) the maintenance of community consensus, facilitated by the 
evolution of a community culture in harmony with its environment. I 
see these principles as the basis, the foundation, of a democratic 
and sustainable society.

The Sioux Nation and the Iroquois provide us yet another lesson. They 
both found a way for autonomous societies to co-exist peacefully, 
without subordinating their autonomy to a centralized entity. They 
didn't have written languages, but they developed the equivalent of a 
written constitution, or grand treaty, which they were able to 
preserve orally. When conflicts arose, or the need for collaboration 
among tribes, tribal delegations would meet in council (pow wows), 
and would reach consensus on what should be done. This provides the 
third principle in my vision of a global democratic society: 
temporary councils of delegates, harmonizing their concerns -- 
instead of centralized government bodies -- as a way to provide 
large-scale governance.


Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2006 20:35:26 -0700
From: Larry Victor <•••@••.•••>
To:  •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: FYI: Community Empowerment Project Proposal - Version 2


Creating a viable and competent CORE team to plan and implement the 
experiment will be the most difficult task. Getting the attention of 
the whole community (from which the WC will be selected) will be the 
second most difficult task. So many variables can determine success 
or failure (or other vague outcomes).

As an "experiment", multiple communities (experiments) should be 
used.  The design of actions to achieve 1 & 2 above, and the 
selection of communities, might make a multiple community approach 
"as easy" as trying with just one community. This is a TREATMENT 
modality on existing populations. Analogous to drug studies.  An 
alternative would be to create new exploratory communities that 
integrate these processes. As an "experiment", there should be an 
Experimental Design that is independent of the actual process.

What size and type of "communities" are you considering?

Have you proposed this with NCDD (National Coalition for Dialog and 
Deliberation) ?

CAUTION:  Exemplar successful community projects have been near 
impossible to replicate - there seems to be something "unique" in the 
composition of successful projects, that is not easy to identify. 
This has led me to a cliche slogan: Exemplars never enter main stream 
on their merits.



Hi Larry,

Thanks for your insights.

Yes, finding a core team of activists who are capable and motivated 
is the main problem. That must happen before anything else can begin. 
As for getting the attention of the whole community, I imagine that 
will happen over time, as the process gains momentum.

As regards community size, I'm thinking in terms of 3,000, as being 
possibly an 'ideal size' for a self-governing community. This is only 
a guess, to be tested, but it arises from Plato's statement that a 
society smaller than 3,000 is difficult to 'govern' (ie. difficult 
for elites to control).

This experiment is more like the Kitty Hawk flight, than it is like a 
drug-testing program. We are still in the prototyping stage. It would 
have made little sense for the Wright Brothers to make two copies of 
their first plane before testing the design. Also, the proposal is 
not about 'doing something' to the community, but about giving tools 
to the community so that it can do something for itself.

Thanks for suggesting NCDD. I'll post a copy of the proposal there.

If the project succeeds, we will  know a lot more about how to 
introduce it in other places. And we will surely improve the concept 
as well.



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