1 of 4
1
Finding the way
Posted: 16 December 2005 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

The End of Faith is everything the book on the subject of religion, reason and spirituality (whatever it means) ougth to be. I didn't find a single thing I would disagree on with Sam.

The obvious question is what the rational thinking people can do to defend themselves and prevent the tragic end the religions of the world are leading us to.

Here are some starting ideas.

1. Religions must be both engaged and controlled. The Unitarian Church is one example of how religions can be engaged so the faithful find a suitable environment to practice tolerance. The control of religions consists of enforcing secular laws with authority and determination. A cleric or minister should lose the license for preaching if caught on making any politically incorrect statement. By the way, political correctness does not mean respect for religious symbols but respect for human rights (women are humans, too) renouncing violence, and many other obvious requirements strange to the Muslems and Christians alike.

2. A political system better than modern democracy must be invented. Democracy is like communism - nice idea, which unfortunately doesn't work in real life. The replacement of democracy would be the system where the important decisions are made by competent and educated professionals, and where the governing by the people is realized at the community level. The modern state should be run by the institutions and not by elected politicians. Democracy is synonymus with corruption and not something that is the antidote for corruption. The "tough on corruption" America has corruption built into its political structures - how else do you want to classify the lobbying system, PACs and similar institutions? The political struggle in Turkey in the past 70 years should teach us something about the impotency of democracy. The progressives there can not win the hearts of people because of the corruption under every democratically elected government, and because of islamist parties being the only ones helping the poor.

3. The fight for the soul of the nation starts with education and with schools. Why only churches engage in running private schools? Where are the private schools sponsored by atheists, or beter yet, by all people, atheists or not, who believe that reason is better than dogma? Where is the secular equivalent of the scouting organization?

Of course, in a country like the US where the religion is entrenched in the government (and because of many other reasons)  the above program is more like a prayer (to paraphrase Sam Harris) than it is a plan of how to put the country on the right path after the next elections. However, at this point we don't even have a vision that would attract all rational people so this is my suggestion where to start.

Thomas Orr

P.S. I am new to this forum. Is spelling checking available somewhere in the editor?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-02-06

Thomas, welcome.

A cleric or minister should lose the license for preaching if caught on making any politically incorrect statement.

The replacement of democracy would be the system where the important decisions are made by competent and educated professionals, and where the governing by the people is realized at the community level. The modern state should be run by the institutions and not by elected politicians. Democracy is synonymus with corruption and not something that is the antidote for corruption.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you how much I disagree with your ideas. You’ve just set up the the perfect tyranny. No free speech, no way to redress grievances or for the public to have a final say. And even in your perfect state the competent professionals would have to get together and DEMOCRATICALLY decide on a course of action…. right? No chance for corruption there? The battle is not to take away people’s ideas, but to give them better ones.

As an aside, professionals are great, and their advice is worthy of heeding most of the time. But….give specialists the power and they will be off spending ALL your money on their pet projects in no time. The public, as one great big generalist, has the duty to see that our efforts are spent on OUR priorities.

The fight for the soul of the nation starts with education and with schools.

Well, at least I can agree here. And we can use professional input on what is true and worth knowing, but the public has to decide on the balance of arts, sciences, etc.

Rod

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

I’m afraid I can’t tell you how much I disagree with your ideas. You’ve just set up the the perfect tyranny. No free speech, no way to redress grievances or for the public to have a final say. And even in your perfect state the competent professionals would have to get together and DEMOCRATICALLY decide on a course of action…. right? No chance for corruption there? The battle is not to take away people’s ideas, but to give them better ones.

I think you agree with me more than you realize. The problem is I am breaking a new ground in political thinking and your perception of what I am trying to say is blurred by old and obsolete associations.

Tyranny and free speech. The value of the free speech is that it protects reason and rational thinking. If the true pursuit of good ideas is encouraged only good things can happen and that is what the protection of free speech is all about. Commerce and religion alike do not engage in free speech. They use speech to promote their own narrow interest and that’s why they need to be regulated. A university professor would be fired if he used his post to ridicule religion. I am only suggesting holding the churches and their ministers to the same standards we hold our public officials. Is it really too much to ask for?

Now my “perfect state”. Turning to competent professionals doesn’t mean giving them broad powers as you automatically assume. A scientist (a prototype of a perfect professional) doesn’t hold any power outside of his/her area of competency. In fact, institution as I understand it is power neutral. It is sad that all great civilizations could produce institutions that catapulted them to power and yet we learned almost nothing from their examples. Think about British Empire of 19th century with its institutions like Royal Academy of Science, British Banks or Navy. Today, all we can do in America is to privatize everything including Health Service and Science with disastrous consequences. There is a difference of State Run Programs (something I don’t endorse or support) and State supporting institutions. I don’t think that we as voting public need or should decide how the public transportation or school system function as long as they are managed by professionals, which is very different from being managed by political appointees. The urgent question you probably have is who controls professionals? Well, look at science and the peer review system. This being said I know all too well that creating institutions and maintaining their health is not easy. However, it is certainly possible.

Thanks for your replay and regards,

Thomas Orr

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2005-12-13

It’s a couple of really provocative and unconventional ideas you’re presenting. Wether I agree with them or not, I think I’ll leave unsaid for now, but let me just express my deep admiration for the fact that you at all have the guts to bring them out in the light. We certainly need more thinking like this.

I recently had a conversation with my my mother, a believer, regarding abortion and euthanasia; I presented my theory that the debate is “infected” by christian values that proclaims life to be holy, and I suggested that we move the debate away from that foundation and instead let the issue rest on a base of reason, science and truth. You might think this has little or nothing at all to do with your post, but I just came to think about unconventional ideas when i read “The problem is I am breaking a new ground in political thinking and your perception of what I am trying to say is blurred by old and obsolete associations.”
This is, I firmly believe, the biggest problem of most debates and discussions.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Airik,

It’s a couple of really provocative and unconventional ideas you’re presenting.

Here is another one and very important. I have a major problem with the principle principle. We admire people who live by the principles they profess. I think it is a dangerous road. Here is why. We create principles in response to our feelings and intuitive grasp of the problem. We don’t like injustice so we try to express our dislike first by defining what justice is and then by finding a good sounding principle to express our original feelings. However, we are not very good in doing this. Look at the legislative process and the abuse of justice by finding and using loopholes in the law. When we come up with principles we do something similar lawmakers do. We create a law and proclaim it holy. The problem arises when the law we just created and our original sense of justice go different ways. Liberals that are the laughing stock here in America are those misguided people who choose the (good sounding) principle over the common sense (or the letter over the spirit.) By the way this is one of the reasons I deeply dislike the American Judicial system with its total disregard for common sense and insistance of literal interpretation of the laws, which only serves the crooks, rich and well connected.

Europe got itself in trouble because of its infatuation with the principles. The liberal forces of Europe are paralyzed and cannot deal effectively with the problem created by the presence of Muslem immigrants.

Well, the conclusion is that all of our principles must be constantly debated and revised when necessary. When doing the revision I suggest keeping the following in mind.

1. We need to honor our survival instincts and reality. This is why pacifism and anarchism don’t deserve to be taken seriously. Sam Harris explained the case of pacifism. The anarchists simply forget that when the (oppresive) governement breaks up in no time the warlords and gangs step in. Many people in Eastern Europe feel nostalgic of the old order under communist regimes now when they have to deal with untamed forces of capitalism.

2. We need to realize that the world outside - being it nature and/or people left to fend for themselves - is brutal, unjust, violent, merciless and unsympathetic (a lot like the God of the Bible). Yet, we have the obligation to combat those forces of evil and live by love, empathy, compassion and wisdom.

3. We need to realize that at least now and in the nearest future we will not be able to create a perfect system where justice and freedom is available to everybody. Some compropmize between #1 and #2 is always necessary.

I presented my theory that the debate is “infected” by christian values that proclaims life to be holy, and I suggested that we move the debate away from that foundation and instead let the issue rest on a base of reason, science and truth.

You are right about “infection”. It is a myth, however, that life is holy to Christians. Here in America the Christians are the strongest proponents of the death penalty. It is funny when American conservatives promote Christian values as absolute and not prone to relativism of ethically confused. However, the conservative stand on life (and sex, and many other issues) is a classic example of relativism. Even the vocabulary betrays them. Why use the adjective innocent when talking of aborted fetuses? Apparently to indicate that not all lives are deserving equal protection. After the Columbine shootings some Christians expressed desire to have a opportunity to “die for Jesus Christ” and other Christians didn’t scorn them. This is, indeed, some example of absolute values. The current position of the Vatican although consistently pro-life (opposition to death penalty including) is just a political strategy convenient at this point of history. Sam Harris explained this all too well.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

Welcome to the forum Mr. Orr.

I am not sure the corruption in our democracy is the fault of the political system of one person one vote.

I would say the faults are twofold…apathy, and votes are items of commerce that can be bought and sold.

Your idea to have instutitions run by professionals, probably modeled on corporations, is interesting, but I don’t see any control on spending there, or taxation, or the economy.  Take the current border issue…483 million dollars to install a camera system, system still not complete, and average cost of each pole with cameras installed 800,000.  What checks and balances do you propose on these “instutions?”  As for peer reveiw, don’t we have cases of corruption in that arena also? 

My ideal of a utopia would be where every citizen was educated enough to serve in a political capacity, and public service was subject to a draft, like jury duty.

Also, I would like to see more direct voting, easier voting, more secure voting.  Wouldn’t the world be a great place if you were text messaged current ballot issues on your cell phone and could vote from your phone? = )

ah well just thought I would throw out my utopia vs yours.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Hi Tisbliss,

I am not sure the corruption in our democracy is the fault of the political system of one person one vote.

I say why vote at all? There are two ways of reaching consensus without voting. One in a perfect tyranny, which I don’t advocate. The other model is demonstrated by science, at least the science as established in the age of reason and before it was sold to corporations. A perfect institution I am advocating is modeled on science and it distinguishes itself by the following characteristics.

1. It is driven by the higher principle. Examples: expanding our knowledge, serving the nation (or the Queen as it was successfully tried in England), helping the sick (medical profession before it was sold to the drug industry).
2. It operates on consensus established by the judgment of peers.
3. It is elitist recruiting only the most talented and capable.
4. It has the right mechanism for advancing its members through the ranks (real accomplishments as judged by peers).
5. It gains its clout and influence from being competent and authoritative in its field of expertise.

As you can see from those characteristics (most) corporations do not qualify (they don’t operate on consensus, they don’t have a higher governing principle, the promotion system there is tainted by the power struggle).

When you vote on issues you don’t really understand you are subject to subtle and not so subtle manipulations by those who have vested interest in a particular outcome of the voting. In most cases that outcome doesn’t serve your interest very well. Not to mention that in reality the options you have when voting are pathetic. One corrupted politician versus another corrupted politician. Interestingly, Poland (my country of origin - Thomas Orr is just my assumed name) was much better off under dynasty than it was under elected kings. It doesn’t take a genius in interpreting historical facts to understand why.

Let’s go back to institutions. One institutions will not make much of a difference. Many are needed. Here are the most important ones. National Industries (as alternative to taxes), Science, Health, Education, Public Transportation, Corps of Engineers (what happened to the Corps of Engineers of 50 years ago, which was the envy of the whole world?), Spiritual Department (to manage religions). I firmly believe that institutions can self support themselves. I firmly believe that working for an institution can become one of the highest honor and aspiration an ambitious individual can have. It can be also most rewarding in the spiritual sense. Now, what about the rest of us?

Well, we will govern ourselves in our communities, the only place where the true (in the spirit) democracy can be exercised. In communities we will protect our economic interest by working in cooperatives and in not for profit organizations keeping WalMarts and other corporate giants at bay. The community I am talking about is something drastically different of what passes as a community in America today. The American communities of today make a mockery of democracy. They are preoccupied with pushing up the property values and fighting other communities over where the road or public school the new shopping center should be built. When the private property of the land is abolished (as I suggest) together with the real estate taxes the communities will have time, energy and incentive to work together on making everybody’s life easier. Moms will not have to drive their children around to make sure the children are not bored. Moms will not have to be paranoid about their children safety. In general, people will be able to work for the luxeries and for the necessities like water, food and rent.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Hi all,

One of the few minor things I don’t agree with Sam Harris on is about the degree of danger we face from religions. Sam was apparently under very strong impression of the 9/11 attack and expressed fear that we are threatened by Islam on the international level. I disagree. I fear more the rising Chinese imperialistic ambitions than whatever Bin Laden and company are planning.

For handling the radical Islam problem I have one solution. Change our attitude about oil. Get serious about alternative energy sources. Limit the use of oil as much as we can allowing only military and few strategic industries to use oil in limited quantities. Prohibit oil tankers from our waters. Place ban on exporting oil drilling and oil processing technologies. Policies like this will cost us a little in the first few years but we will reap tremendous benefits in the long run. We will also shoot three birds with one stone. We will advance technologically, we will help our environment and we will dry the source of money feeding the radical Islam.

Our greatest enemy on the religious front is still Christianity because it is entrenched in our governments and in the minds of the voters who shape our political future. The worst thing is that I don’t see much of a progress on this front. Mark Twain’s books were freely published a century ago but they are still banned from our schools today.

Regards,

Thomas Orr

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

Thomas, I think your vision is at odds with the capitalist creedo, since it requires a high degree of altruism.

Also, if you look at population density in the US, you can see that well run communities would attract people to move from less well run communities, and eventually probably overwhelm the better run communities…kinda like the US and Mexico?

I am very much anti-consumerism, and anti-unrestrained capitalism, and I think Ayn Rand was partly full of crap…but…you can’t ignore human nature in any utopian scenario.

People will manage to screw it up !! = )

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Hi Iisbliss,

Also, if you look at population density in the US, you can see that well run communities would attract people to move from less well run communities, and eventually probably overwhelm the better run communities…kinda like the US and Mexico?

I think that high mobility of the people is the result of economic pressures. When people are worry free regarding their economical survival they will tend to stay in one place. Regarding competition between well and not so well run communities the more competition the better. The competition will stimulate evolution towards truly democratic and freedom respecting communities.

Of course, I am a dreamer. The fundamental problem is the population control. I don’t agree with those who claim that decline in population growth is a natural attribute of economically developed countries, or high level of education. Both in Europe and in the US the population growth is kept in check because of economical reasons. Children are very costly, you know, and more so in the developed countries.

I am a dreamer like the rest of you guys in this forum for another important reason. We think that we leave in the country governed by reason. We don’t. And the future looks bleak. Our best hope for a change would be to elect Bush for the third term and allow him to strip the neocon movement from any credibility. Compared to Europe we are a barbaric country. Unfortunately our presence undercuts Europe’s efforts to establish social stability and justice as foundations of modern democracies. We are in turn being undermined by countries like China.

The only course of action I see is to engage in the grassroot movement and be very careful who do we associate with. Because of the histeria of the last two presidential elections people are losing their minds. Why spit venom on Ralph Nader? What good does it do to elect democrats to the local governments and see the corruption as the most visible result of our efforts?

The changes we hope for can only happen when the positive feedback loop is established. Rational people creating rational culture and rational culture stimulating people to grow in the right direction. The environment is much more powerful than individual will and ability of an individual to make the right choices. When the positive feedback loop is established the progress is quick and impressive. Even the conservative tradition and cultural resistance to change can be overcome as proven by Japan. However, at best we are in a sort of ideological impass with opposing forces and things will not start changing for the better anytime soon. Maybe Lincoln was wrong. Maybe it would be better for today’s generation to let the South states separate some hundred plus years ago.

My program is to start building institutions and communities as the grassroot efforts. Secular private schools is something worth contemplating as the first step in this direction.

Regards,

Thomas Orr

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Hi Iisbliss,

Thomas, I think your vision is at odds with the capitalist creedo, since it requires a high degree of altruism.

I don’t understand and don’t agree. Can you explain?

I place hope in people’s ability to fend for themselves. This is not altruistic on their part. Working in and for the community is not altruistic either. You contribute but you get more in return.

I have no problem with capitalist creedo as long as the law keeps capitalism in check by giving the communities the sovereignity in dealing with what goes on in their territory. For instance, if the banking industry is trying to put Credit Unions out business in the name of “fair competition” I see it as intrusion into the comunity rights. No need to pass laws regulating how much banks can charge for ATM transactions as long as the communities can turn to Credit Unions when bank services are too costly or inadequate. No need for HMOs either as long as the public can freely choose between chemical drugs and herbal remedies, and when nurses, paramedics and pharmacists are allowed to compete with doctors. In short, my problem is not with capitalists but with their friends in Congress.

Regards,

Thomas Orr

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2005 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2819
Joined  2005-04-29

Thomas, I agree with all of your sentiments and one or two of your details, if expressed a bit more conservatively. (I’m only human after all.)

Media advertising for political candidates needs to be banned. As things are in the U.S., those who have the most money are able to hire the smartest cognitive psychologists to sway their potential constituents. Cigarette and hard-liquor ads have been banned and we need to do the same for slimy politicians. Can’t live with them; can’t live without them, but we can certainly live without their mass hypnotism. Talk-show apprearances by candidates would be more than sufficient.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 December 2005 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Homunculus,

Thomas, I agree with all of your sentiments and one or two of your details, if expressed a bit more conservatively. (I’m only human after all.)

This is nice to hear ... but the devil is in the details. Anyway, I would like to go back to the topic of this thread, which is how to deal with religions.

I think I am ready to formulate specific suggestions now. Here is the plan.

1. Create a network of private secular schools (K to 12).
2. Start the secular TV channel.
3. Start the movement to create secular communities and institutions.

Big problems to overcome are the following.

1. Funding
2. Prevent sectarian highjacking of the movement

Precisely because of the problems above I was trying to explain my political views in the previous posts. In short, I am convinced that institutions and communnities are the right channels to accomplish anything we dream of. Both institutions and comunities can be supported as the grassroot movement - winning elections is not necessary to start the good work.

Regards,

Thomas Orr

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 December 2005 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2005-11-14

[quote author=“Thomas Orr”]
I think I am ready to formulate specific suggestions now. Here is the plan.

1. Create a network of private secular schools (K to 12).
2. Start the secular TV channel.
3. Start the movement to create secular communities and institutions.

Big problems to overcome are the following.

1. Funding
2. Prevent sectarian highjacking of the movement

Can you imagine the bible thumpers tantrums with respect to us forming private secular schools?  It would cause severe indigestion. 

The creation of secular communities sounds zionistic.  Comes off elitist and intolerant.  But why would we have to be in the same place?  We have a secular community here on this forum… and in other forums like Internet Infidels
http://www.iidb.org/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=4

I would like to understand why you feel secular communities are so important because I think I have misunderstood you, Thomas.

Funding for such ideals will probably only happen only if an altruistic secular philanthropist hits an oil well somewhere and thereby comes into an unlimited money supply.  It would be nice to restructure many things in society.  But that was the idea in 1776 when America was founded, wasn’t it?

Noggin

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 December 2005 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  985
Joined  2005-12-16

Hi Noggin,

Can you imagine the bible thumpers tantrums with respect to us forming private secular schools? It would cause severe indigestion

Don’t capitulate so easy. From the rational point of view the Christian right is accusing secularists and liberals of attacking the system of public schools. If they start speaking against secular private schools they would undermine their own position as at this point almost all private schools are faith based.

I would share your concerns if the schools I have in mind were “sectarian” meaning placing atheists ideology above the main purpose of the school, which is to provide good education. Incidentally may be now we have a golden opportunity to launch the system of secular schools at the very best time. As you may realize American parents are very concerned about the quality of education their children get. At the same time we have private tutoring institutions providing extra edge in academic competition. In my state (NJ) there is a large community of immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe. Those people were educated in schools far superior to what an average American public school can provide, especially in math and science, and they decided to take initiative. The schools they founded now have kids of Chinese and Indian origin in addition to the original Russian variety. I am not sure how those schools are funded but I would think that they are probably financially self sufficient. Interestingly, you will find that the percentage of atheists among Russina and Chinese (mainland China, of course) is much higher than it is in overall American population. Well, here you have some tips how to go about the initiative I formulated in #1 of my agenda.

The creation of secular communities sounds zionistic. Comes off elitist and intolerant. But why would we have to be in the same place? We have a secular community here on this forum… and in other forums like Internet Infidels

Good that you mentioned the [virtual] internet secular community as I wanted to explain that my idea of a community is not a kibutz, or people worshipping communal life as the end in itself like hippies or some religious folks. Community happens whenever bonds of friendship and mutual trust are formed between a group of people. Community happens when people draw benefits from the bonds and trust they established. My own experience from childhood includes the community of gardeners. The foundation of the community was laid by the socialist movement in Poland (around 1930). They addressed the sentiment of city dwellers to have some contact with nature and they converted a big lot of land into smaller lots for gardens about 300 square meters per lot. It was a huge success benefiting the gardeners and non-gardeners alike. After some 20 years the trees planted in the gardens matured and the place transformed itself into a beautiful park where people would just go to take a walk. The benefits the community provided included getting hard-to-get stuff like “genuine” cow manure and selling it without profit to gardeners. The people were especially pleased with the opportunity to buy produce fresh from the garden - some organic farmer’s market half a century ago. I guess in one of those gardens, owned by my grandmather, I developed interest in gardening, and one of my hobbies today is gardening.

The need for communities is huge in America even if people don’t realize it. The list of what communities can provide to free American people from their miseries is long and I will not even attempt to put it together now. I just want to mention one more thing from my childhood. When I came to America (in 1984) I was shocked with the amount of nuisances and inconveniences of American life (like filing tax returns). I was especially shocked by seeing how the mothers in the suburbs go crazy driving the kids around to birthday parties and soccer games. To me the necessity for the parents to provide kids with daily entertainment was shocking. Not to mention the prevailing paranoia about the kids’ safety. When I was a kid I would just ask my mother if I could go and play outside. I had so much fun relying only on myself and other kids from the neighbourhood that my mom had a hard time trying to get me back home. Well, only now I realize that my neighborhood was no accident but a carefully planned settings envisioned and built by Polish socialists. The apartment complexes were built in such fashion that a generous area planted with grass, bushes and trees was left between the building thus creating the space for kids to play (and be watched by the neighbours) and the grownups to come out, sit on a bench and relax. My favorite spot to play was a huge sabdbox made of concrete where the clean sand was supplied every couple of years.

Cooperatives are probably the single most important form of community needed in American reality.  As long as you work for somebody in this market economy you are a slave. You can lose your job at any time and you can do nothing to prevent that from happening. However, starting a successful business and be free as (almost) every American aspires is harder than we are lead to believe. Minorities are encouraged by well meaning advisors to assure success in business ventures by pulling their resources together, help each other and cooperate. What’s good for minorities is good for everybody. This is kind of cooperation I had in mind when I suggested that we start building secular communities. I am sure that those groups who first realize the benefits of acting together, and work out ways of implementing it will enjoy tremendous success. You guys on this forum should understand what I am talking about perfectly. Cooperation once assured the survival and evolutionary success of our species. Today, the evolutionary competition takes place on economical front. Communities (and institutions but about institutions maybe later) are powerful weapons in the struggle for survival and success. I can also assure you that economical success gives a tremendous leverage in political struggle. So, forget getting ready for the next presidential elections. I say, let’s start building communities and institutions.

Funding for such ideals will probably only happen only if an altruistic secular philanthropist hits an oil well somewhere and thereby comes into an unlimited money supply. It would be nice to restructure many things in society. But that was the idea in 1776 when America was founded, wasn’t it?

I don’t want to sound like a self improvement guru and sharlatan but let me say this. If you have a sound plan the money to support it will appear. There are many filantrops (George Soros is one of them) who will gladly and generously support any idea worth supporting. In addition, I think that the goal from the start is to create a structure perfectly able to support itself. Otherwise how I am different from a liberal who is a laughing stock of conservative propaganda?

Regards,

Thomas Orr

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 December 2005 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1243
Joined  2005-11-14

[quote author=“Thomas Orr”]Hi Noggin,

Regards,

Thomas Orr

Thomas,

It sounds well intended.  Are you part of an organization?  Have you ran these ideas past influential men or women?  Right now, what I read from you is this is kind of grass roots, pull up by ones bootstaps sort of momentum and those are the most difficult ones to get above the drowning tides of beaurocratic insanity.

I am intrigued as far as capitalism is preserved.  My family has created it’s wealth through a family owned business started by my grandfather… of which, if capitalism was not structured the way it has been, we would not know the relative successes that we do.

Socialism has few merits.  I lived in Spain for two years straight.  I saw a much different lifestyle there.  Little entrepenurial spirit, but they had their vacaciones!  And I won’t knock that!  Horrid health care by the way.  The doctors who examined me the two times I went actually blew smoke in my face.  Gotta love that.  However, since I am praddling on about socialistic impressions I am loath to say it but I shall.

I would probably take the free health care a Spaniard gets rather than fork over the $1,300 dollar emergency room bill we just did to take my son there last month for an allergic reaction.

They gave him benedryl… fucking benedryl… and charged me $1,300.00.

oops, my bad… they did administer it through an IV.  Yeah, that makes it extra spayshully expensive some how.  How expensive could that be?  $1300?  Don’t think so.

end of rant.  Must leave now. 

Blood pressure is rising… veins popping out on side of neck…. fists clenching…. must go decompress.

hasta!

Noggin

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed