A Declaration of an American Militant Humanism
By Leo Rivers
Why do we stop at the front door before going out to face the world to take up arms rather than to take a long look in the mirror?
Why is our first response to our desires never a talk with our own selves about distinguishing wants from needs?
Why is our strategy never to respond to balancing what we have against what we do not have by cooling the fires of our desires and asking first if we can make do with what we have but instead always a battle plan of going out in the world and getting more from it, by force if we can't get it by intimidation?
The wind is full of our words praising the ways of country life and family values but the ways of frugality and hard work of farm life, and the autonomy of provision and manufactured there are not our ways at all. The last thing we do is look to our families and our communities for connection to the world and the source of our goods and services and entertainment. The way of our nation is look always to the Oracle of the television as if it was a crystal ball kept by the King and his rich ministers in the capital city. We let it tell us who we are and what it is good to want.
Why is it that our leaders never give us the same counsel that our Scriptures both spiritual and secular have given us? Why do they never counsel to always first try to see if you can live within your means?
Could this be because our leaders are owned by the men and women who own the means of manufacturing goods which are designed to serve first the ever-changing impulses of week and on informed men and women rather than provide the stable and long-lasting sustenance of communities in which the efficiency of stability is more praised the efficiency of profit? Is there something strange in what I am saying or difficult in my words to hear?
It seems the words “family values” have a great deal of power to puff up the politician using them, but their ceaseless privileging of corporate forgiveness and military adventure doesn't seem to lead to much security for families who need living wages, and education for their children, and healthcare that is part of their life with the philosophy of “a stitch in time saves nine, rather than just an ambulance sent when catastrophe finally arrives at their door.
There is two kinds of efficiency, the efficiency of producing profit, and the efficiency of ensuring stability and security. They are both wholesome forms of efficiency, but we only worship one in our nation, profit. And anything that suggests there are's values beyond profit is perceived as effeminate and is hooted down with the kind of display you see a pretty girl and work as she walks by a construction site on a spring day having to listen to rough men shout rude invitations and animal hoots in the howls at her.
Why is it that we can't see that the general tone of the people who are called talking heads on TV and even our politicians is that of bullying derision and an unwillingness to allow multiple points of view to all have what my father used to call “basic respect”? I can't help think of the basically criminal perspective that if you can get something by “talk” before resorting to “force” you do it. If you can get what you want by insinuation or lies or bullying, hey, that's okay. If you have to get what you want by making an example of someone, that's okay too.
Why is it that the most powerful among us seem the most threatened by the ancient counsel to first make do with what you have and budget your life to what resources you have available to you? Could it be that our entire nation, the philosophy of our economics and our politics are both in reality the anonymous blossoms of pride and greed?
How has it become acceptable to see our children's education and the health care of the commonweal as parasites on a nation that is always marching to war?
Was it the founding fathers intention in the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a nation that was the world's policeman, predation that was at perpetual war?
I think that the provision of government to a nation of 311 million people will never be a government small enough to drown in a bathtub. I think a robust government is like having a healthy skeleton. You want it to be dense and not brittle. I believe it is a rational desire to see a nation founded on the efficiency of security and providing a socially guaranteed foundation of government, national defense, the economic infrastructure, universal healthcare geared towards prevention and health, (rather than remedy for those who can afford it), and an education system that provides from K to 12 and college a perspective that a wide view of the world in history and the diversity of humanity builds the best possible framework for economic development and international conversation.
That can be called a Democratic Socialism, if you need to call it something else you could call it a Militant Humanism.
All of the projects of nations and empires are built on the back of families who live in the real world of caring life from generation to generation. Let the pirates be turned out of our house to make do in the moral wilderness they would have everyone else live in. We have already inherited the wind.
It is time for the prodigal son to sober up and come home.
Friday, May 13, 2011 5:43:34 AM