MC Movement Related Issues
an article by our site
SALVATION BY “EXPERTS” OR TRANSFORMATION BY EXPERTISE?
AUTHORITARIANISM AND PERMISSIVENESS—BOTH HARM DEMOCRACY
WHO MADE THE SELFISHNESS/SELF-ACTUALIZATION CONNECTION?
DOES IT “TAKE A VILLAGE”?
WHY DON’T WE APPLY OUR KNOWLEDGE AND MAKE THE WORLD WORK?
CHARACTER FORMATION AND MISINFORMATION
In 1996, Mark Gerzon’s book on polarization, A House Divided, was published. The book tries to help U.S. citizens transcend the sound bites, divisive rhetoric, black-and-white thinking, good-us but evil-them perspectives. Instead of analyzing the competing factions into a right-left, conservative-liberal dichotomy, Gerzon sees six major belief systems competing for the soul of America:
- The Religious Perspective: (its strength is its faith, its weakness is its dogmatism)
- The Corporate Perspective: (its strength is its ingenuity, its weakness is its materialism)
- The Disempowered Perspective: (its strength is its conscience, its weakness is its defeatism)
- The Media Perspective: (its strength is its communication, its weakness is its sensationalism)
- The Transformation Perspective: (its strength is its vision, its weakness is its elitism)
- The Government Perspective: (its strength is its leadership, its weakness is its divisiveness)
Gerzon sees that if we cease our reductionistic perspectives in which the perspective we hold is right and good and the other five perspectives are wrong and bad, and begin to listen to others from other perspectives and find common ground, we will lose our feeling of isolation and alienation and begin to reconnect to the WE feeling America was created to be, and leave behind the divisive polarization that kept us saying THEY. Too many people are speaking in generalities and slogans. Too many people never listen to others—they hear only themselves. The media puts the spotlight on the loudest and most obnoxious—like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, people who exaggerate, demonize and distort in order to make better sound bites and therefore get more attention and better ratings. The media has the potential to be part of the solution but corporate profits have dictated that they maximize revenues by going for sensationalism, so they’re normally part of the problem.
The fragmentation is more than about arguments, disunity, alienation and misunderstanding. It’s about the United States disintegrating into the Disunited States and forgetting the fundamental truths that we’re all in this together and “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” See Bold New World: The Essential Road Map to the 21st Century near the bottom of the page for an explanation of the map below in which the U.S. has Devolved Into Three Countries.
U.S. Devolved Into Three Countries
Gerzon sees the need for leaders, officials, famous spokespersons, and common citizens to get together and build bridges between the six perspectives above. He also sees a general need for the isolated citizens of our fragmented country to reconnect. He wants each of us to rediscover America. He sees the need for people to transform their negative power tactics that express hatred with positive power which expresses love or at least compassion. This dovetails with the MC movement’s close encounters of the first, second and third kind and the replacement of authoritarian parenting with authoritative parenting; with Fritjov Capra’s books Uncommon Wisdom and The Turning Point, in which he champions the new, ecological-holistic paradigm as opposed to the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm; with Rianne Eisler’s Sacred Pleasure book in which pleasure and love—positive power (of a democratically-minded culture)—replace pain and hate—negative power (of the authoritarian-dominated culture), and a nurturing rather than dominating and punishing context takes over; with George Lakoff’s book Moral Politics in which he advocates transforming authoritarian Strict Father morality, politics, and parenting with authoritative Nurturing Parent morality, politics and parenting; and with dozens of other transformative sources.
Distinguished sources like John Marks, the founder of Search for Common Ground, has pointed out that media has failed us when it only reports on the hot, the loud and the ugly. Many times the most significant news is when things change to the cool, the soft, and the pleasant-to-look-at. In his words: “ . . . let’s report on conflict; but let’s also report on the resolution of conflict.” Like the MC movement, such organizations as Search for Common Ground, like Gerzon’s books A House Divided and Coming Into Our Own, are seeking synthesis—and a path to unity. Whether Christ, the founders of our country, or Martin Luther King, the seekers of unity have a distinctly different sound than the polarizers in the media who seek to exploit the economic opportunities of conflicts and disagreements of all types. One can tell which type of intentions are operating by noticing whether one feels more connected or disconnected as one listens to their messages.
Only the MC movement, to date, has come up with a way to empower the type of character development in our young that would cause people to be predisposed towards positive power and unity, rather than negative power and disunity.
A great thinker whose name escapes us once said that social policy shouldn’t be about allocating resources according to the deficiencies found in a category of people or an area, but about encouraging the people of a category or area to examine their resources and then individually—or as a group if appropriate—to see how much they can accomplish. In short, policies should play to our strengths and be about what we can do, not what we can’t. See Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets. There are lots of thinkers and writers and sociologists who've decided that focusing on assets rather than deficiencies is the only way to go.
Communities focusing on assets rather than deficiencies is the only way to go—is this glass half empty or half full?
Such a simple, concise statement is precisely the point. When one tries to analyze the need for us to be governed and protected and diagnosed and remedied by “experts,” one barks up the wrong tree—this is old, obsolete, liberal sociology. When citizens participate via citizen patrols so that safety isn’t simply “their” (the policemen's) job, and when parents participate via constructive involvement and support so that education isn’t simply “their” (the teachers') job, and when consumers participate via recycling so that environmental quality isn’t simply “their” (EPA's, and waste/trash management workers') jobs, then the systems are efficient, effective, and successful—they work. This is new, modern, wise sociology. Old sociology is reductionistic and new sociology is holistic. It springs from the new systems view of social thought. It involves empowerment of the citizens, not intervention and intrusion by experts.
Overstuffed landfills are only one of a myriad of symptoms of handing off social problems to 'experts' instead of relying on personal commitments
Overstuffed landfills, kids that cannot think in classrooms dedicated to discipline rather than learning, and crime-ridden, scary neighborhoods full of cocooning, frightened citizens will inevitably be what we reap if what we sow is reliance on experts to do for us instead of reliance on empowerment from the holistic forces of community involvement and individual commitment.
The facts are known and it’s not that hard to teach, and yet students sit, bored, in factory-model classrooms where they listen to lectures and memorize facts even though what they need to be learning is how to think, cooperate, problem-solve and live
What kids need to be learning is how to think, cooperate, problem-solve and live, and they need educators who can build self-esteem in the classroom
Although dependence in children as a temporary condition (while they grow and get secure enough for independence) is appropriate, immature, emotionally dependent adults indicate a problem. In the same way, able-bodied citizenry dependent on social programs, welfare, agencies, and “experts” will be disempowered to succeed and thrive, and will find that defining themselves in terms of their needs instead of their beings has a severe downside in the realms of character development, self-esteem, self-actualization and life satisfaction.
Able-bodied citizenry dependent on social programs, welfare, agencies, and “experts” will be disempowered to succeed and thrive
There’s a bleeding-heart liberal assumption afoot that gained traction in the 60s and 70s but has lost most of its credibility in the new millenium: When some people have more than others, define those with less as needy and those with more as greedy, and then take from the greedy and give to the needy. Another way of saying it is that when some are down and others are up, bring down the ups a few notches so as to give more to the downs. This type of socialism is bound to backfire in the long run, of course.
The fatal flaw in this logic is that of context. The entire focus should be on how you empower the downs to become ups, i.e., how you inspire and empower the able-bodied needy to work both hard and smart (which is how most of the Haves got where they are today) so that they can transcend the Have-not label and become Haves too. Taxes from Haves can give the Have-nots more money. That’s been tried and it failed to inspire. Taxes from Haves can give the Have-nots social programs that are supposed to help them get on their feet. That’s been tried and it helps a little but mostly the programs are too much about money and too little about empowerment. Most social engineering has caused irresponsibility, character degeneration, and has made matters worse.
The problem is that whenever people see government as the solution, people vote in such a way that the government gets enough rope to hang itself
The problem is that whenever people see government as the solution, people vote in such a way that the government gets enough rope to hang itself. And then the government quickly hangs itself: For example, our 20 trillion dollar debt. Or another example: U.S. international incompetence and warmongering helps precipitate ISIS. Apparently the U.S. is part of the problem in our world, not part of the solution—this latter is what they'd have us believe. But how many citizens are dumb enough to listen to them telling us the U.S. government is the world's solution even though the facts say otherwise? We look at the debt, at ISIS, at our useless Congress gridlocked in a pathetic, downright embarrassing Culture War, and we see our government once more proving that it is not the solution. Not even close. So it's way past time to look elsewhere for solutions.
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
Much like the situation of an immature mother with a dependent child that needs to mature into an independent adult but the mother won’t cut the apron strings, people who’ve depended on social programs oftentimes weren’t empowered to become independent, mature adults—they were merely taught to be dependent on the system—in spite of the “empowerment” rhetoric bureaucrats and politicians used in the process. The perverse incentive operating is that if the experts cannot keep the needy in permanent need of their services, they could find themselves out of a job.
Expanded to national context, we see the two parties spending as much as they can (the right for military, the left for social programs) to win votes, and this results in obscene national debt that can never be repaid. (Remember when conservatives supported less government spending? Sigh . . . ) As we mentioned, whenever people see government as the solution, people vote in such a way that the government gets enough rope to hang itself. Better relationships, more effective communication, more compassion, more wisdom, more knowledge, more effective communities, well-functioning families, good parenting, grassroots movements, and more effective local organizations should be the answer to social issues, not government. How can such a thing be done? See The Forest Through The Trees.
Kids need people who really care for them more than they need people with a degree in child care
In the realm of lifestyle, looking for child-care “experts” to care for our kids while we work would be idealistic nonsense, since if they were experts very few people could afford them; and besides, you cannot buy love, and kids need people who really care for them more than they need people with a degree in child care. But people have to work to makes ends meet, so they have no choice but to find the best care providers they can afford and then live with it, right? Right, in the past. But not when the MC movement changes the standards!
Without the need for child care by strangers, or payment for child care, or care by people who don’t care for the kids, or even ferrying kids around by car, kids will get FREE loving care guided by the best child-care expertise on the planet in MCs—and some of that care will be from their parents. And that’s what is meant by the phrase in the subtitle, above: "transformation by expertise."
- Is the best answer uncaring people with degrees, government involvement via licensing day-care centers, and taxing everyone to pay for child care of questionable quality, or any other type of reliance on salvation by experts?
- Is the best hope convincing women to go back to the 50s and stay home and let the Washington “experts” handle the huge amounts of economic hardships and social chaos this would cause?
- Or is the best answer going to be found by going "back to the future" by using all the best of the past plus all the best of the present?
The best of the present: Winning Family Lifeskills, P.E.T., PSBs, authoritative rather than authoritarian parenting methods, good communication skills between all (not just parent and child) in MCs where expertise is shared by all, and unhealthy and unnecessary dependence on unaffordable experts is nonexistent
No lifestyle in history has been so much about empowering and inspiring in such a way that people define themselves in terms of their beings rather than their deficiencies. And nothing in history will quench America’s thirst for community and unity as much as the MC recipe for lifestyle enhancement.
Some try to convince us that so many functions have been taken from the family and given to our other social institutions that it’s simply inevitable cultural evolution that we end up dependent on the experts in those institutions. Well, the MC movement changes all that:
- Teachers may teach, but it is the MC lifestyle that will get our young amazingly ready to not only learn but also learn how to think.
- Preachers may preach, but it is the MC lifestyle that will get people the opportunity to develop loving, compassionate hearts and unity with their fellow man as well as great character.
- Shrinks may shrink, but it is the MC movement that will minimize dysfunction proactively by prevention, rather than relying on psychological bandages once the damage is done.
- Lawyers may litigate, but it is the MC movement that will empower people to communicate effectively in a win-win manner, be responsible, be trustable, and manifest the type of character and integrity that will minimize litigation needs and maximize the chance that many lawyers will be inspired to cease exploiting the dysfunctionality in our culture and instead become entrepreneurs, which America needs more of, rather than lawyers, which America has a glut of.
Shrinks may shrink, but it is the MC movement that will minimize dysfunction proactively by prevention, rather than relying on psychological bandages once the damage is done
Preachers may preach, but it is the MC lifestyle that will get people the opportunity to develop loving, compassionate hearts and unity with their fellow man as well as great character
Teachers may teach, but it is the MC lifestyle that will get our young amazingly ready to not only learn but also learn how to think
Lawyers may litigate, but it is the MC movement that will empower people to communicate effectively in a win-win manner, be responsible, be trustable, and manifest the type of character and integrity that will minimize litigation needs
In other words, it’s time that life’s most important functions were restored to the family (and to each family’s MC, as needed) where we all know—in our hearts—that they belong. Trying to get schools to “teach” morality and good character when families don’t have the time or resources is a bad joke reflecting a culture out of whack: It’s not just conservatives that know where such teaching belongs. It’s time to give families and neighborhoods the vitally necessary opportunity of doing what they once did best: instill character, responsibility and morality. And it won’t take any obsolete authoritarian tactics to make this transition. It will merely require acting on what we know, and evolving MCs as quickly as we can.
Experts in the megacorporations (e.g., Google, Facebook) and marketers in big corporations in general cannot succeed in their quest to help us replace community, relationships, and viable lifestyles with their counterfeit, attempting to replace real need fulfillment with plastic pseudo-need fulfillment. We are not that easily duped. We need to quit accepting pacification and patronizing from experts. We need people to discover new and better ways to increase MC movement participation (beyond the media blitz and the Search and Match database registrations) and to let us know, and we need to thank them each time they succeed. But we don’t need experts that try to keep their jobs by keeping us dependent on them, much like the immature mother, above. We need to cut the apron strings keeping us tied to our mother-experts. Instead, we need these experts to go learn more so they can advise non-MC families to start MCs or at least learn P.E.T. and start up babysitting co-ops.
But don’t undermine Americans in the name of “benevolent social engineering.” We should accept nothing less than empowerment from our experts, and those that can’t or won’t empower need to go somewhere and learn more, because they’re not yet “expert” enough to be worth listening to. Examples of empowerment: develop enhanced after-school programs, improve preschool and grade school education methods in the Montessori direction, develop ways to make carpools efficient and attractive to citizens, get people starting babysitting co-ops, and create better teaching methods so our country starts actually educating its young, for once. Empowerment is recommending the irl/f2f offline social networking in MCs, not recommending online social networking—which is 99% superficial, materialism-and-entertainment-focused time wasting, acting as a distraction from evolving self-awareness. Empowerment is creating MC-focused TV series, not creating more TV ads for alcoholic beverages.
Online social networking is 99% superficial, materialism-and-entertainment-focused time wasting, acting as a distraction from evolving self-awareness
See Other Helpful Guidance Sources starting at Myron Magnet’s The Dream and the Nightmare, after the subtitle: Exposing Permissiveness & Social Engineering, Encouraging Democracy and see Other Helpful Guidance Sources starting at George Lakoff’s Moral Politics, after the subtitle: Exposing Authoritarianism, Encouraging Democracy. And check out The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, A Dream Deferred, Discipline That Works and Good News and Bad News.
Those who actually understand what self-actualization means cringe whenever a right-winger somehow connects this to the concept of selfishness. Can anyone be so naïve as to honestly believe that all subjects about “self” are related to selfishness, i.e., greed? It would take a very jaded fundamentalist to assume that those who strive to increase self-esteem in self or other are somehow “liberal,” “selfish” or errant. But if you read enough, you do see such things pop up in conservative literature, and even more in fundamentalist literature. Is this a right-wing conspiracy? No, just careless dogma in the Culture Wars. But this one is more than careless—it’s also irresponsible.
- Self-esteem is related to selfishness and self-centeredness. Wrong. People who have self-esteem are less likely to be selfish and self-centered. It is people who have little self-esteem who must focus on self because of the emptiness and deficiencies that keep manifesting themselves.
- Self-actualization is related to selfishness and self-centeredness. Wrong. People who are self-actualized are whole enough to be able to avoid selfishness and self-centeredness. It is people who are not self-actualized who must focus on self because of the emptiness and deficiencies that keep manifesting themselves.
- Self-centered, selfish people were surely raised by people who focused on self-esteem and self-actualization. Wrong. Such people were raised by authoritarian or permissive parents, but not authoritative parents.
- Authoritarianism works as an antidote for selfishness. Wrong. Being raised by autocrats increases the likelihood of selfishness, since needs are not well filled and painful areas are omnipresent in the person’s emotions and memories, so the person is likely to engage in behavior which has the goal of getting more for oneself, getting even, or beating someone out of something.
- People get self-centered because they like themselves too much and don’t think of others much. Wrong. It’s the exact opposite. A self that’s full and happy focuses on activities, thoughts, others, etc., and doesn’t need to focus on self as often as most other selves because it knows of no problem in itself that needs attention.
- Autonomy is about selfishness and lack of concern for others. Wrong. It’s about being at cause, not effect. It’s about running your life rather than having it run you. It’s about knowing who you are, making your own decisions, and being responsible for oneself. It’s about being a chooser rather than a loser. It’s about not being swayed by others when you know you’re right, about avoiding other-directed motivations, about transcending the superego that parents instilled in you by replacing it with your own set of shoulds and shouldn’ts—values which you’re mature enough to evolve and adopt because it’s part of your character. It’s about being motivated by being-cognition (see Being-cognition in the Maslow book Toward a Psychology of Being and here: Why Register for an MC?) rather than deficiency-cognition, and about enjoying being self-actualized because it’s such a clear, true, honest, real state compared to the need-based states we all pass through (most people get stuck in them). Autonomy is likely to make a person less self-focused, less selfish, and more concerned with others, since one can empathize better because of the being-cognition, and since one feels full and not in a condition of deficiency or need.
- Cultural evolution requires social engineering. Wrong. It needs the opposite of social engineering: grassroots-based individual- and family-initiated MC actions that allow NO interference from government, politicians, or social "programs" of any type whatsoever.
Cultural evolution requires grassroots-based individual- and family-initiated MC actions that allow NO interference from government, politicians, or social programs of any type whatsoever
Registering for MC search and match
As you can see, the myths aren’t just wrong. They’re obscenely wrong, and the exact opposite of the truth. It’s easy to see why well-meaning conservatives would misunderstand the searching for meaning and realness in the 60s and 70s, as well as the people engaging in such behavior, and the terms many of them used in their quests. But it goes too far to impugn the character of everyone who wishes to evolve as a human being to a maturity level at which they can know who they are and take responsibility for their lives. The irony here is that conservatives end up applauding the character and behavior of self-actualized people with self-esteem and criticizing the behavior of those who are not self-actualized and who have little self-esteem, and yet here they are putting down the very people whose quests for wholeness led them to become those that conservatives admire. There’s gross, fundamental confusion at work here. And it illustrates the liability of generalizations, dogma, labeling, and bigotry. Some conservatives have grasped all this, but some of those who rarely read or think are still buying the old prejudices, out of ignorance. Maybe it’s time to pass a law that all conservatives read Maslow's Toward a Psychology of Being, or all schools teach Maslow, before this farcical comedy of errors progresses any further.
It does indeed. Hillary Clinton is right. (It Take a Village is a book written by Hillary in 1996.) The research is in, research that contrasts the effects of parenting with the benefit of good social support systems compared to parenting in isolation. The contrasting results are startling, to say the least. But clarification is in order. To the degree that she’s pointing out that the “village” is composed of social programs engineered by bureaucrats, and to the degree she’s using this old African proverb to support a liberal contention that government is the answer, then to that degree she is incorrect and to that one should probably respond with an old Reaganism: “There you go again.”
However, she does not define a “village” as big government, but as “a network of values and relationships that support and affect our lives.” This is vague, but indicative. Many places in her book point out that she understands the importance of maximizing resources in the child-care environment, including using the most prevalent type of child care in all of history: flat-gradient nurturance.
In support of Hillary, it’s not her fault that she hadn’t heard of MCs when she wrote her book, and therefore had to assume that since there's so little real community functioning at the level of effective neighborhoods, social programs of some sort would have to take up the slack. What else could she say? Conservative rhetoric that says “it’s the parents’ responsibility to raise their kids responsibly,” but then fails to even hint at how a working couple (most child-raising homes are this) is supposed to really give the kids the kind of upbringing they need—this is simply naïve and counterproductive.
Was there ever a more pathetic utterance than Dole’s ’96 presidential campaign statement that: “ . . . it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a family.”? (Of course, this could be expected from someone who’d sell out to big tobacco interests and question the harmfulness of tobacco during his campaign.) Such denial and ignorance should be beneath the dignity of U.S. presidential candidates, but it seems that in both these and those days, anything goes.
Anyway, once you eliminate functional local community (there isn't much of that), the only things that are left to consider as the villages are programs and MCs. Hillary hadn’t heard of the latter, so she had to run with the former. But she made her best attempt at making her book as light on social programs and as heavy on “village” support (extended family, neighbors, friends, local organizations, etc.) as she could.
She proved, with good, sound statistics from reputable studies that many Head Start-type programs, good, stimulating environments at home, good nutrition, good medical care, and good parenting are critical elements in the nurturing formula. MCs would, by definition, insure that their kids had these, since they’ve learned that filling early needs is vital. And yes, if there was an instance where a social program was needed in order to insure such care, they would be utilized. We’re all for good school nutrition programs and vaccination programs and Head-Start programs. But when social engineering tries to make up for the missing “village,” we have to draw the line, because there’s no reason a “village” (MC) better than any that have ever existed cannot be set up in a neighborhood or group of neighborhoods. And since this is possible for all who seek it, there’s simply no good rationale to use social programs to replace village-like social resources when such resources are indeed fully available to the resourceful—the MC starters and joiners.
Both working parents and stay-at-home parents spend most of their time with their kids watching TV, not reading to them or talking to them or playing with them
She’s done her homework: She knows that parents spend most of their time with their kids watching TV, not reading to them or talking to them or playing with them, and she’s studied the research that shows that this is at least as true of stay-at-home mothers as it is of working mothers. She knows that children who get the early attention they need will have good character and be part of the world’s solution, not its problem. Hillary comes close to advocating MC-like strategies—the woman’s instincts are good: “ . . . the neighbors themselves deserve some of the blame. Why didn’t they organize themselves to meet their children’s needs? . . . Parents can’t police kids twenty-four hours a day. They need to be able to rely on other adults for help, the way my mother and father could.” (You can see where she got her strength to be such a strong, caring and dynamic First Lady, senator, and secretary of state. Her early needs were filled better than most people's.)
She’s studied child development and fully and unreservedly advocates authoritative parenting, and warns against authoritarian or permissive parenting. (As all responsible people who’ve studied the subject would do—there’s simply no other option validated by science.) Those that might have seen her as a liberal-permissive parent would get a quick education by reading her book. She’s right on track, knows the science, and understands the child development issues involved. She understands that the best teachers are good examples to emulate. She understands the great strides that have been made in child development research and rightly bemoans the fact that this information has not been widely disseminated. And she quotes Cornell University psychologist Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner who says that problems that we used to think happened only to “disadvantaged” children will be confronting us all very soon. He goes on: “The present state of children and families in the United States represents the greatest domestic problem our nation has faced since the founding of the Republic. It is sapping our very roots.”
Some people are doing so, and are helping the world. Some good examples are to be found in this website, both real people and hypothetical people. But, good and wise as their knowledge is, it isn’t disseminated nearly enough into the general population. It competes with thousands of other books and ideas. Profoundly important works from Louise Hart, Thomas Gordon, Richard Louv, Ken Dychtwald, Gail Putney and Snell Putney, Ronald Rohner, Fritjov Capra, Abe Maslow, Wayne Dyer, Philip Slater, John Pollard, Erich Fromm, Alfie Kohn, Gloria Steinem, Aletha J. Solter, Shad Helmstetter, David Riesman, David D. Burns, John Holt, Bruce E. Levine, Riane Eisler, Peter R. Breggin, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, et al., don’t get read by a fraction of the people who need to read and understand them. Although our website clearly informs anyone who can read why the above authors made critical contributions to world knowledge, too many people associate books with “schoolwork,” thinking them irrelevant to their lives.
Too many people associate books with “schoolwork,” thinking them irrelevant to their lives
Three notable exceptions to the assertion that books don’t get to enough people or change the world are Toffler’s Future Shock, The Third Wave, and Creating a New Civilization. The latter was recommended as must reading for Congress and the American people by Newt Gingrich, and the former were record-setting best-sellers that helped guide history, especially that of the U.S.S.R., China, Japan, and all nations trying to make sense out of the rapidly changing world.
This is very relevant to the question of why knowledge known doesn’t more often end up as knowledge applied. People don’t hear about it. Or people get future-shocked with overchoice and don’t know which knowledge should be applied to what. For instance, Dr. Louise Hart has synthesized all self-esteem and parenting knowledge into two wonderful, clear, concise, inspiring books. If the world makes sense, she should stand out like a light in the darkness when one endeavors to grasp the most vital wisdom in this area. But there are countless other books of lesser value, some of which are either very incomplete or quite flawed, and capitalism dictates that all publishers will try to push all of their books to the max, in order to maximize the bottom line. So they’re all made to look great, even though they aren’t. So where does one go to find out that this website (along with P.E.T. books) is the mother lode on the subject? It’s almost like a person has to read dozens of such books to find the pearl in the oyster. And, needless to say, few people will take the time.
All this leaves us with the dreary fact that books will sell according to the marketing money the publisher spends, not according to their value. The bright spot in all this darkness is that capitalism has its problems, but it’s better than any of its competitors. But back to Hart’s books. It takes something like the MC movement to get such great books on the best-seller lists.
Think tanks are, in general, the whores of special interests, and they contain a ton of manipulation, exaggeration, turning a blind eye on what invalidates their position, false logic and logical twisting for every ounce of true thinking that goes on there
Three major factors in why the best knowledge isn’t utilized to make the world work are: politics, special interests, and think tanks. In politics, political gain is the dominant motivation and truth and knowledge have become irrelevant—winning is all. Special interests push their own agenda regardless of what science says. The truth is again irrelevant, because furthering their agenda is all. Like the old TV shows The Practice and Boston Legal, you manipulate people, truth, logic and the system in whatever ways are expedient to get things decided your way. Think tanks are, in general, the whores of special interests, and they contain a ton of manipulation, exaggeration, turning a blind eye on what invalidates their position, false logic and logical twisting for every ounce of true thinking that goes on there.
Books that actually are full of truths but don’t help further an agenda or, worse yet, invalidate an agenda, are ignored completely by all of the above. So Capra, Hart, Gordon, Louv and others with uncommon wisdom may seem irrelevant to such entities, even though in reality the truths in these people’s books are the most critical elements of all in the issues involved. Tofflers’ books are in a special category of their own because of their importance in helping various countries in dealing with the rapidly changing world, and because of Newt Gingrich telling Congress that Tofflers’ Creating a New Civilization is must reading.
See the next section for more on why knowledge often isn’t allowed to help our culture evolve.
As this website must have proven to you by now, the conservatives (e.g., William Bennett and his The Book of Virtues) are indeed correct that good character is the critical ingredient that needs to form in our young to prevent further cultural deterioration and actually get things going the other way. There’s nothing surprising in this concept and few from the left or right can disagree with the need for good character. What is surprising is that so few people from either camp are willing to stand up and concisely state the actual facts about the subject—instead we get dogma and counterdogma. Instead of science and its application, you get the Culture War in which the right says Bibles and obedience to parents and no more MTV and much more hard work will get people character, and this dogma is followed by reactive, at-effect counterdogma about separation of church and state, the wrongheadedness of the authoritarian concept of obedience, the First Amendment rights to hear the music you desire to hear, and how in the Information Age people should work smart, not hard. So the polarized, reactive, rhetoric circus begins and everyone yawns and tunes out.
Voters wonder why they even bother to vote—it changes nothing; so they get cynical and apathetic
Voters wonder why they even bother to vote and why the corporatocracy even bothers to put on the clown shows they call elections
None of this sound and fury signifying nothing in any way mitigates the profound need for good character in order to preserve community, morality, and the republic itself. What it does, however, is illustrate how the Culture Wars have paralyzed the political discourse of a nation, and not only John Chancellor and Bill Moyers know this—most Americans know it. Our leaders can no longer think. They can only propagandize, spout, react, throw sound bites around as weapons, and retaliate after receiving an incoming volley.
The Culture Wars have paralyzed the political discourse of a nation, and not only John Chancellor and Bill Moyers know this—most Americans know it
So, back to the point: Why don’t people drop the useless, fragmentizing, divisive rhetoric and try to find the real science and facts about the issue of parenting, then apply these and enjoy good character formation in their offspring? After all, that’s what cultural advancement is all about: Learn new things from science and innovation, apply them, reap the benefits.
(Note: for our purpose, the knowledge in specific areas of social science about nurturing is in desperate need of application—the time for talk is done: we have the knowledge so now we must apply it. Unfortunately, most people believe it should be applied via politically chosen social programs. This is incredibly wrong. It needs to be applied LOCALLY by individuals and families! But this won't happen until our citizens get clear education on such things in public schools, including grade schools and high schools.)
What’s the payoff for people avoiding the standard, centuries-old formula (learn from science and innovation, apply it, reap the benefits) for cultural advancement in this area and instead opting for ludicrous posturing and angry pontification? We know people want the character formation advances, so why are they not acting to get what they want and need?
Many issues in both the 20th and 21st centuries have been usurped by special interests—in other words, to find the answer to who is roadblocking cultural advancement, follow the money
The answer is an embarrassment to our nation. Like so many other issues in the 1990s and into the next millenium, the character issue has been usurped by special interests. In other words, to find the answer, follow the money. For political gain, issues such as parenting, child care, abortion, school prayer, vouchers, gays, pornography, women’s rights, and crime have all been usurped by the extremists on the right. They seem to be getting all their information from the Bible, and since modern social science and psychology contradicts what they say—but no one who opposes these people wants to say that they oppose the Bible and God himself—the issues get stalemated into a state of paralysis. Of course, if the people who oppose the radicals searched hard enough, they’d find evidence that the Bible supports their position of compassion and tolerance, since most of Christ’s New Testament teachings were of this nature, rather than full of authoritarianism, like the radicals say. But the liberals or middle-of-the-roaders don’t want to touch such hot-button issues and get into religious arguments, because they know the radicals have years of practice and are experts at it.
In the meantime, the U.S. stands out like a sore thumb as a nation who won’t support vital birth-control and population-control measures in the U.N. because everyone knows that the radicals have paralyzed the political processes here and what’s right, scientific, proven, ecological and logical has become irrelevant, and what special interests have paid for and pressured for—even when they’re in the minority as with birth control—turn out to be where the rubber meets the road. Money and influence peddling by special interests define that our country’s policies don’t express the will of the people, but the success or failure of various special interests to get their agendas honored, with little regard to the desires of the people as a whole.
The pushmi-pullyu is a perfect metaphor for the U.S.'s paralyzed system of gridlocked stalemate where the oligarchy gets the corporatocracy to ensure that nothing changes since they've got their robbery of the middle class working perfectly and don't want boat rocking
The politicians are getting nowhere, Congress is deadlocked, and shutting down the government is their only relevant "accomplishment," and our democracy has been replaced by an oligarchy in which the polarized people and polarized politicians are of little concern to the corporations who are running the show: they're making out like bandits and laughing all the way to the bank. And the middle class continue to get scammed out of their wealth by those people who have power, and this wealth always seems to end up in the pockets of the very rich and the biggest corporations. So no matter what or whom one votes for, the result is still the same: massive wealth transfer from those who are barely scraping by to those with money squirting from every orifice, as the Founders turn over in their graves. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.)
Our nation's actions are making the Founders turn over in their graves
The rich in the U.S. are shaking down the poor and middle class and laughing all the way to the bank as the Founders turn over in their graves
So you can see why political leadership is irrelevant in such areas. A paralyzed system that can never behave rationally to act on its knowledge, that is unable to apply the science it has spent billions of dollars over the years to acquire, and that cannot even rationally discuss key issues, is always going to be part of the problem, not part of the solution. Not only do we not want programs and social engineering from such a source, we don’t even have a real reason to want to even hear their opinions on most subjects. They’re in a dead, hopeless, stillborn, nonstarter, checkmated position and have become irrelevant until they can drain off the embalming fluids of the political stalemate which is the only constant in their cultural war, and somehow find a way to come back to life as a system that can intelligently look at issues and use the best knowledge available to make decisions that are actually for the good of the people for once.
Happily, it can be predicted that when the MC movement gets under way, the politicians will see all the progress being made in spite of them, rather than because of them, and they’ll see that with the grassroots movements doing all the good works to help people and advance the meaning and happiness in people’s lives, they’ll become obsolete and more and more anachronistic, and for their very survival they’ll be forced, kicking and screaming, to find a way to be relevant social leaders in the new millenium rather than mere caricatures, which is what they are now. So they’ll finally find that they’ll have to “get it” and get with the program; they’ll have to see which way the traffic is moving so they can stand out in the road and point in the direction vehicles are moving and say: “This way!” Leadership? No. But at least they’re no longer in the way, which is about all you can say for them now: they're in the way.
Once politicians are unneeded due to MCs, they'll see which way the traffic is moving so they can stand out in the road and point in the direction vehicles are moving and say: 'This way!'
Now, about good character formation. Do we or don’t we know what the important factors are? Do we or don’t we know what type of environment brings it out? Do we understand which type of parenting will indeed engender such a thing? Can we nurture it along or is it a random accident?
Happily, the answers are: Yes, we know exactly how to create an environment that engenders it and we know exactly what type of parenting encourages it most, and it may sometimes evolve in negative situations (which can teach persistence, tolerance, resiliency, and toughness) but it is not a random occurrence. It occurs much more often when it’s encouraged by the right environment. The studies, research and statistics, as well as the wise words of our best thinkers in these areas, all concur. Alfie Kohn, Richard Louv, Louise Hart, Philip Slater, Thomas Gordon and a host of others have shown beyond all doubt what nurtures good character. We have only to take their facts and wisdom and apply them. See both The Responsive Communitarian Platform and The Forest Through The Trees .
No wonder the public seems so confused and nothing ever changes. They're choking on misinformation that comes their way via political manipulation of citizens and via the Culture War!
But, as a whole, the country does not do this. The country has stood by in a stupor watching special interests usurp the character issue. And as a result, the word character brings to mind just what the radical right wants it to: authoritarianism, obedience, discipline, religion, and for some, suffering and humility. The country contains the facts, the science, and the wisdom about character. But the word brings to mind not wisdom but dogma, because that’s the part of the issue that’s hot in media terms of attracting watchers and listeners, so that’s what the media presents, so that’s what we’re conditioned to associate with the term. And since the misinformation spread is unrelated to good science or wisdom or even common sense, the public gets dumbed down as a mass consumer of cheap thrills as episodes of Culture War fury and passion unfold before their eyes. Is this what our forefathers had in mind about discourse in a democracy? We think not.
A true democracy would have to start with people waking up to reality
How can our system be revamped so that we call a cease-fire in the Culture Wars and begin to allow the wisdom and facts we have guide our character formation rather than misinformation and self-serving rhetoric? A few paragraphs back we dealt with how a natural political reform process will happen when it is inevitable, and not before.
Notice that whenever campaign finance reform is trotted out as a token gesture, which no one really intends to deal with honestly because it’d be a conflict of interest for too many, nothing really happens. Corporatocracy means rule by an oligarchy of corporate elites through the manipulation of a formal "democracy" (although, in actual fact, our oligarchy has replaced democracy with a hollow sham and democratic rule has been replaced by oligarchy rule). After the right-wing Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case, the movement of the US toward a corporatocracy is complete and the chances of pro-citizen decisions coming out of the judicial, legislative or executive branches of government are nil. That pro-corporatocracy Supreme Court decision was blantly anti-citizen, pro-oligarchy, and it sealed the deal, politically: there is no longer any use in people voting in elections since the corporations control everything, including who the candidates are and who wins. In essence, the "high" court (what exactly were they high ON?) gave the corporations carte blanche to simply buy the elections, and the people's will has now become a pathetic irrelevancy.
Neocon nutjobs tell us that dumping our Bill of Rights and our Constitution was a prerequisite for our safety, which no intelligent citizen could possibly buy
The corporatocracy-controlled media want citizens to be mindless sheep, pathetically media addicted, faithfully waiting for the talk shows to tell them what to think
So wisdom and facts have no opportunity to guide our character formation because the corporatocracy-controlled media do not want it to. They want citizens to be mindless sheep, pathetically media addicted, faithfully waiting for the talk shows to tell them what to think, and waiting for the media ads to tell them what they want and what they should buy. Such sheep are in a media-caused stupor that has caused them to lose their critical thinking skills to such a frightening degree that they haven't even noticed their rights, their privacy, and their democracy are eroding away before their unseeing eyes. As a result, the sheep's character is simply: loyal, faithful grazer, eating what they're told to eat by the media, whether that's junk food, politicians' lies, or the next Culture-War-spewing election contest wherein they're told they "make a difference" because they're good citizens: they vote! (Given the state our nation is in, a good citizen would do the only thing left to him to try to reestablish democratic rule: DON'T vote, register, or participate. It won't recreate democracy, but it WILL send a message that we are fed up with the corruption, the pretense, the lies, and the corporatocracy's robbery, and we want to go back to basics, hit reset, revamp our national composition, and once again become a republic our Founders would be proud of.)
Too much influence peddling by the radical right is occurring for there to be any chance that character formation wisdom and science will begin guiding our political, educational, or judicial agendas relating to such issues.
So the answers we need to empower character renewal are NOT to be found in the realm of:
- Politics or politicians or political leadership or anyone's leadership
- Social programs or social engineering or government intervention
- Allocation or reallocation of funds via taxes or any other means
- Anything whatsoever from the top, from the so-called leaders, from "them"
U.S. citizens are in a similar situation to the 1960s citizens who wanted peace, not an immoral, murderous war—such as the 1 trillion dollar Vietnam War fiasco or the 6 trillion dollar Iraq-Afghanistan War fiasco. Current Events in 2014: Led by Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Greater Syria), insurgency in Iraq has escalated dramatically and will eventually mean insurgency rule and/or endless conflict—bye-bye Iraqi pseudo-democracy. Everyone knows that the Vietnam War fiasco was an immoral waste of money and lives. Due partially to the Current Events in 2014 just mentioned, the Iraq-Afghanistan War fiasco has similarly been judged a waste of money and lives that will inspire terrorists for many years to come. WHEN will we realize the folly of getting war-making advice from the military industrial complex? They have an obvious agenda, an axe to grind, and a conflict of interest. The essence of their advice is at the level of: "if it moves, shoot it" (preferably with our weapons!). Can you say "warmonger"?
9/11 terrorist attack
"After 9/11, President Bush declared regime change to be official U.S. policy. He took this country to war to create regime change in Iraq. How does the president know which governments to overthrow? According to Bush’s criteria, a government must:
- build or sell weapons of mass destruction
- violate U.N. resolutions
- threaten, invade, or dominate its neighbors
- exploit many of its own poorest citizens
- erode the civil liberties or human rights of its people
- fail to live up to democratic ideals
Why is our current situation like the 60s? Both now and then, citizens want(ed) peace not war and they wanted to find themselves, not have to endure media obsession and materialism being pushed on us as a replacement for a real self—which occurred both then and now. Even Facebook encourages developing a false self at the expense of finding our real self. Facebook is a recipe for self-centeredness, not self-actualization. We get so busy with trying to present a happy face to the world that we lose any reason for it to actually be a happy face.
Facebook encourages false-self actualization, not real self-actualization; and connections, not bonds
- This pseudo-democracy of ours allows us—at least currently—the precious freedom to get MC movements going and make the country work right in spite of itself.
- We are free to empower our lives by employing Third Wave high quality knowledge-power even as our political leaders are locked in Second Wave thinking and helplessly flailing around in confusion as their efforts prove incapable of solving anything.
- The knowledge of how to proceed is simple and straightforward and contained in this website.
(If we fail to act, national and social deterioration and the total death of democracy will be the consequence—see Democracy—an American Delusion. Philip Slater's A Dream Deferred tells us how the dream of democracy is being deferred due to the propensity for authoritarian thinking and the love of military solutions in our country. He says ". . . our corporations, professions, and educational institutions have yet to feel more than the palest breath of democratic influence.")
The MC movement will chain-react and thrive and turn things around; the only thing that needs to happen to get it going is the Innovator segment of our population receives the message via an MC marketing blitz and opts to adopt, which they will, since this segment responds to even mediocre social evolutionary opportunities
But the social marketing knowledge is clear and the methodology is clear, and the MC movement will chain-react and thrive and turn things around, and the only thing that needs to happen to get it going is the Innovator segment of our population receives the message via an MC marketing blitz and opts to adopt, which they will, since this segment responds to even mediocre social evolutionary opportunities. So when a wonderful opportunity without precedent in their lives comes their way—an opportunity with the potential to turn around not just dysfunctionalities in their lives but in the nation and the world as well, it will be wise to stand aside in order to avoid the stampede.
When an opportunity with the potential to turn around the dysfunctionalities in people's live comes around, stand aside in order to avoid the stampede
More books or articles about character:
- The Responsive Communitarian Platform
- Dead Right
- Seedbeds of Virtue: Sources of Competence, Character, and Citizenship in American Society
- The Content of America's Character
- The Dance With Community: the contemporary debate in American political thought
- A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character