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OTHER HELPFUL GUIDANCE SOURCES

an article by our site


          Encouraging Self-Actualization
How to Be a No-Limit Person
Predictive Parenting and the Self-Talk Solution
Self Parenting

          Exposing Authoritarianism, Encouraging Democracy
George Lakoff’s Moral Politics
Philip Slater’s A Dream Deferred
Joel Kramer’s and Diana Alstad’s The Guru Papers
Jerry Minchinton’s Maximum Self-Esteem
Dr. Louise Hart’s The Winning Family
Dr. Thomas Gordon’s Discipline That Works

          Exposing Permissiveness & Social Engineering, Encouraging Democracy
Myron Magnet’s The Dream and the Nightmare
Don E. Eberly’s The Content of America's Character
Theodore Caplow’s Perverse Incentives
Peter F. Drucker’s Post-Capitalist Society
Newt Gingrich’s To Renew America



Encouraging Self-Actualization

How to Be a No-Limit Person

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He has written numerous bestselling books, including How to Be a No-Limit Person.

“ . . . my studies on the road to self-actualization and my own experiences on the roads of life have taught me that the most persistent barrier between normality and the No-Limit Person is the authoritarianism which is so rampant in contemporary society. . . . Anyone who is an alert observer of society can plainly see how few people think for themselves, but some scientists have estimated that as many as 77% of the people in our culture (Western Civilization) manifest more authoritarian qualities than nonauthoritarian on a daily basis. This is not surprising in view of parallel statistics showing us generally to be in abysmal states of mental health. I believe that our tremendously increased incidences of chronic depressions, 'nervous breakdowns,' family breakups, suicides, alcoholism, chemical dependencies, ulcers, hypertension, stress and other mentally related illnesses are due in part to the internal frustration and boredom that authoritarianism breeds. As a human being, you were built to think for yourself. If authoritarianism is as huge a [social error] as I think it is, we are going to have to transcend it before we can . . . even begin to fulfill our greatest potentials as human beings on any large scale. But, as always, the solution starts with you, the individual."

Our tremendously increased incidences of chronic depressions are due in part to the internal frustration and boredom that authoritarianism breeds
Our tremendously increased incidences of chronic depressions are due in part to the internal frustration and boredom that authoritarianism breeds


Depression rate in the U.S. in 2011
Depression rate in the U.S. in 2011

Huge studies on the authoritarian personality have been available since 1950, and even though it was clear to many before that, for anyone who can fulfill the two prerequisites of being able to read and believing in science, it is very clear—as Dyer points out—that the authoritarian personality, unless the person can somehow change to an autonomous person, has no real chance of full self-actualization, full maturity and optimal mental health. (Unfortunately, faith in science is dwindling at the same time that faith in authoritarian fundamentalist faiths is increasing. Most people have begun to suspect scientific research findings, since much too often the entity paying for the research has an agenda and the researchers don't wish to lose funding so they conveniently find results that are in harmony with the agenda. Science is the whorehouse of politics and the corporatocracy—SOMETIMES. We run into both biased and unbiased research all the time. The problem is figuring out which results are objective and which are slanted. Hence the loss of faith in science.)

Science is the whorehouse of politics and the corporatocracy—SOMETIMES: we run into both biased and unbiased research all the time
Science is the whorehouse of politics and the corporatocracy—SOMETIMES: we run into both biased and unbiased research all the time

Incidentally, Dyer erroneously points out David Riesman as having said that the most evolved people are “inner-directed” types. Riesman said no such thing!!! Like Fromm, Maslow, and most other sociologically and psychologically trained, he sees the autonomous person as most evolved. Many people read what others have interpreted Riesman to have said, rather than reading Riesman himself. (See The Lonely Crowd.) The late Allan Bloom is another misquoter of Riesman and there are dozens of others that have done so. It's odd to see Dyer stumble like this since elsewhere he champions autonomy.

Dyer, like all contemporary great thinkers, champions the ecological-holistic paradigm over the mechanistic-reductionistic one. He champions being at cause, not at effect, and having you run your life rather than your life running you. Rather than simply being at effect of your environment he advises creating your own environment until it inspires and nurtures you. (Think MC.) He favors being part of the solution rather than being part of the problem, in personal, local and global contexts.

He’s found few people, in his counseling profession, who feel their lives have a real purpose. He advises good self-talk to defeat all self-defeating behaviors, explaining how to go about it. His book The Sky's the Limit has a wonderful section in it about cultivating meaning. It asks you questions about what you really want to do with your life, what kind of people do you really want to live with and near, are your best friends really who you want to be with or were they just convenient, where would you live if you could live anywhere, would you like your life to really work? He points out that the best “authority figures” are ever going to do for you is lead you to be average/normal. His books are about the difference between needing and being, deficiency-cognition and being-cognition (Maslow), surviving and self-actualization (Maslow), coping and thriving.

In his book What Do You Really Want For Your Children?, Dyer—a professional counselor—states that to help people to change their lives so they work better, he:

  1. helps them discover their self-defeating behavior
  2. helps them face the neurotic dividends—the payoff—for this behavior
  3. helps them come up with new behaviors that will implement the change.

Note: The MC movement helps people to change their lives so they work better with the use of PSBs, MCs, and this website as a tool to help people discover and change self-defeating and relationship-defeating behavior, such as:

Each person in each MC is to have his/her own personal space
Each person in each MC is to have his/her own personal space

Like Maslow, Dyer stresses letting kids “adventure” and figure things out for themselves, whenever possible. He also advocates alone space, “permission to enter” rules, and respect for other’s space. He shows parents how to help kids learn to be more self-directed (autonomous), rather than other-directed.

Idea leading to paradigm shift (Maslow shifted our psychology paradigm from sickness to wellness so we could learn to do nurturing right, not fix broken people)
Idea leading to paradigm shift (Maslow shifted our psychology paradigm from sickness to wellness so we could learn to do nurturing right, not fix broken people)

He recommends Maslow as a great author, who made the greatest breakthroughs in psychology since Freud, via his paradigm shift of concentration on what causes wellness rather than on what causes sickness. He shares the wisdom that parents help kids most when their lives work wonderfully and therefore they are irresistible examples to emulate.

Freud
Freud

He also has a book about cause and effect in which he stresses being at cause, not at effect, is the only way to live a satisfying life. It’s called Pulling Your Own Strings. Another one, a best-seller called Your Erroneous Zones, deals with similar subject matter.

Predictive Parenting and the Self-Talk Solution

Shad Helmstetter has written two good books about self-talk. Predictive Parenting is about parents realizing how their words to their kids actually program them to have a strong tendency to turn out a certain way. The ramifications of this are that parents can learn, in this book, how to change their communications to their kids (which most parents inadvertently do in a way that limits or even cripples their kids' futures) so that they tend to enhance their kids futures.

The books shows how to: help kids avoid substance abuse pitfalls; help kids develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and personal responsibility, improve communication quality, engender at-cause children, and teach by example and logical consequences.

The books of Dr. Louise Hart and Dr. Thomas Gordon are much better sources for learning about teaching kids consequences and self-responsibility, but Helmstetter does a good job with explaining the implications of good and bad self-talk. He does an inadequate job of dealing with personal space and avoiding manipulating kids, and he doesn’t stress letting kids help evolve responsibilities lists, or avoiding the pitfalls of praise*. But his stressing that kids be given constant choices and reminded of their ability to choose in all situations, along with his self-talk advice, certainly goes in the right direction, even if it does need revamping with the more sophisticated, authoritative parenting wisdom of people like Hart. Helmstetter is a self-talk expert, but Hart is expert at parenting, self-esteem, communication, effective lifeskills and self-talk.

Praise is a bad way of instilling self-esteem—it  produces not self-esteem but dependency; verbally encouraging is bad for kids if it is done with You statements but good for kids if it is done with I statements ('I'm wondering how you felt when you drew that' or 'I appreciate it when you help with dishes')
*Praise is a bad way of instilling self-esteem—it produces not self-esteem but dependency; verbally encouraging is bad for kids if it is done with You statements but good for kids if it is done with I statements ("I'm wondering how you felt when you drew that" or "I appreciate it when you help with dishes")

Helmstetter’s other book, The Self-Talk Solution, helps you look at the self-talk you have used and are using, and it helps you make positive changes in self-talk you do in the future. He points out that 75% of past programming by parents and teachers is negative and that each of us has to take the responsibility to reprogram ourselves—via good self-talk—in order to overcome the negative effects of this programming. He stresses choice to overcome the determinism of past programs. One either listens to the past programming self-talk and becomes a loser or one takes charge of one’s life and takes steps to get beyond being at effect and becomes a winner.

Like Hart, he sees how self-esteem can be enhanced by changing self-talk from negative to positive. Self-talk is a widely accepted tool for self-esteem enhancement, and Helmstetter is the most widely read self-talk expert. His methods could be improved by adding wisdom from Dr. John Pollard's Self Parenting, which acknowledges that it’s not only important that you get good self-talk—it’s also important that if you feel unloved (because of emotional needs not being filled very well when you were growing up) that you learn to nurture yourself so you don’t have to unconsciously approach every situation needfully.

Self Parenting

Dr. John Pollard has written Self Parenting and The Self Parenting Program. The books are a wealth of knowledge on how to take responsibility for reversing the effects of inadequate parenting experienced as a child. He teaches us to have sessions in which we nurture our inner self in the direction of happy, creative aliveness. Blaming parents won’t help, nor will giving up and rationalizing that if you didn’t get the nurturing you needed, you probably didn’t deserve it.

Finding a way to fill needs so you aren’t crippled by needfulness (if you still feel a desire to be cared for) or deadness (if you’ve numbed yourself to all feelings because of the pain of past deprivations) can be a lifesaving process of renewal, restored hope and happiness. Pollard has given us this self-actualization tool to allow us to transform from being at effect to being at cause, regardless of past deprivation. He strongly recommends P.E.T. books as an adjunct to self parenting, as they help you learn to be a good “outer” parent so that your “inner” parent can use this example to emulate as it nurtures your inner being. Very comprehensive and detailed guidance is included in these two books.

Exposing Authoritarianism, Encouraging Democracy

George Lakoff’s Moral Politics

Conservatives have a problem. As we enter the Third Wave with knowledge as the dominant and most important power source, they find themselves torn. On the one hand are the authoritarian family values which they’ve managed to drag from our nation’s past, and to our nation’s present. Neither science in particular nor knowledge in general supports their parenting style. They strongly believe in science as the basis of our country’s technological progress and resultant business /economic success, but in all areas where it clashes with their beliefs, they put their head in the sand.

Where science clashes with Conservatives' beliefs, they put their head in the sand
Where science clashes with Conservatives' beliefs, they put their head in the sand

Obviously if science supported their beliefs in this area, they’d say they believe in science in this area, but since it doesn’t they simply refer to the only documents that do support their beliefs: religious documents. This opens the door for the excessive power that fundamentalists enjoy in politics, public opinion, school policies, and women’s rights issues. But now, the problem:

As the world gains more knowledge about win-win relationships, conflict resolution, women’s issues, parenting, childcare, nurturing, and the Third Wave, it will slowly abandon errant ideas and practices in these areas in favor of effective, nurturing ones. And as the world shifts paradigms from the old, win-lose, domination-obsessed, mechanistic-reductionistic worldview to the new, win-win, cooperation-based, ecological-holistic worldview, conservatives will have to either revamp beliefs and practices or get left behind in a fog of whimpering nostalgia. They will have a tendency to hold back the world as well, but ultimately they’ll have to either get with the program or get out of the way.

It will be up to both enlightened new-paradigm conservatives and nonconservatives to help them understand that their value system had and still has great worth, and that authoritarianism in general and authoritarian parenting in particular were valuable in earlier times when dominant fathers helped families to survive, but that these ideas and practices have become anachronisms and no longer serve anyone (in this nation). From this respectful context, nonauthoritarians will be able to slowly pull unenlightened conservatives—hopefully not kicking and screaming—into the twenty-first century.

Lakoff insightfully analyzes today’s morals and politics in terms of the two models: Nurturant Parent and Strict Father. The first is liberal and the second is conservative. He looks at the fundamentalist-extremist-rightwing-conservative connection, but also why the two sides never hear each other and never will unless they grasp the models/contexts they are coming from in their conflicts and discussions.

In the Culture War, the two sides never hear each other—so impotent arguments prevail
In the Culture War, the two sides never hear each other—so impotent arguments prevail

But more importantly, he looks at the science and research in the area of parenting and shows that, without any doubt, the authoritarian method flies in the face of all knowledge and science, as does the permissive method, and the only methods that are validated by science were the Authoritative method and the Harmonious method. There wasn’t much difference in these two methods except that the Harmonious method (e.g., P.E.T.) doesn’t use logical consequences but the Authoritative method does. Both rely heavily on active listening, win-win conflict resolution, democratic parenting, and letting natural consequences teach kids whenever possible.

But then Lakoff goes astray, pushing the idea that authoritative parenting is part of the liberal trend in our country. And he also believes that this is good reason to be a liberal politically, including its beliefs about government programs being the answer to much of our problems. He’s incredibly right that his discovery of the errant ways of authoritarianism should make him oppose it and avoid it. But his black/white logic which leads him straight into the arms of liberal politics are beneath the man. He should have waited a few years to write his book once he had completed his quest to grasp what was behind all the moral politics and what it all meant.

Authoritative parenting is part of a Third Wave-manifesting, new paradigm-based, good science-founded movement that transcends the liberal-conservative continuum. It hardly defines one end of this continuum!

Philip Slater’s A Dream Deferred

For democracy to survive a society needs people with balanced character in harmony with the integrated worldview of the ecological-holistic paradigm, not the aggressive, exploitative, dominating worldview of the mechanistic-reductionistic worldview. “ . . . no real democratic tradition can take root in a society in which the macho tradition holds sway. . . . It is the power of one adult to decide what’s best for another and to implement that decision against the other’s will [which irresistibly corrupts.] It is authoritarianism itself that creates brutality toward other, not any particular expression of it.” Our constitution reflects the fact that the Founding Fathers understood this fact.

Founding Fathers of the United States
Founding Fathers of the United States

“Cultural patterns are imbibed in infancy. What the child learns in the mini-society of the family is often accepted as the way the world is, even in the face of radically new experiences later in life. A child raised in an authoritarian family, where unquestioned obedience is demanded, discipline is severe, the parents secretive, and the child encouraged to hate various types of strangers—may grow up, even in a democracy, believing that authoritarianism is normal and psychological slavery is a sign of character and moral rectitude. People brought up this way are uncomfortable with democracy and never really accept its premises. Yet they are too well trained in obedience to rebel overtly against their society’s principles. Their solution to this dilemma is to pay the most fervent devotion to the words and subvert the principles themselves.”

The democratic family—like democracy itself—is a system that maximizes the availability of [people uncommitted to obsolete authoritarian agendas relevant only to the past] . . . In a democracy, the fundamental goal of education is development. For authoritarians, it is obedience. . . . Early in 1989 the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that students taught by traditional methods were unable to reason or think for themselves . . ." And teachers were too authoritarian for more sophisticated learning to occur. Good teachers knew this already. This new info will probably be ignored by the authoritarians—who usually make educational policy. Some great thinkers in every era have been self-educated. People learn by doing. But authoritarians want people to learn by listening to others talk—especially themselves or at least other authoritarians.

Science is beginning to discontinue reductionistic, mechanistic, universe contexts, looking instead at the whole. Science has stumbled upon the oneness of the universe just as the peoples of the world are being forced to confront the fact that they are all a part of the world community.

Religion is a system that filters one's perceptions of the world so that the same words can seem to say one thing to an authoritarian and something else to a democratically-oriented person. The democratic radicalism of Jesus has gotten turned on its head: Note that a religion that preached love, peace, poverty, and democracy become one that Calvinistically condoned wealth (which was deserved only by the predestined elect), slavish authoritarianism, and unending slaughter. In highlighting Jesus from the wrong perspective—suffering and death, authoritarians have insulted a lifetime that was devoted to the spread of compassionate, democratic, religious ideas. The churches twisted these messages so they could be used to exploit the people and irreversibly lock in the power of the churches and their leaders.

A brilliant thinker, Riane Eisler, in Sacred Pleasure, has similarly demonstrated how authoritarians have kidnapped religions and slanted them into forces for the old mechanistic paradigm of misogyny, dominance, win-lose, pain rather than pleasure, and hate rather than love—i.e., negative power more than positive power, or in Tofflerian terms, power based more on wealth and coercion than on knowledge. The more fundamentalist a religion, the more it proclaims knowledge and science and humanistic forces the evil enemy of mankind. Toffler sees fear and ignorance causing these factions to seek a return to the Dark Ages.

Toffler sees fear and
    ignorance causing fundamentalist religions to seek a return to the Dark Ages
Toffler sees fear and ignorance causing fundamentalist religions to seek a return to the Dark Ages

The neurotics that symptomize authoritarian upbringings are people who feel empty and like they need filling. When authoritarians are so alienated they withhold their thoughts and feelings from other people, they feel lonely and disconnected from them even when they are with them. Their loneliness comes as a result of cutting off communication. They feel unable to feel what is important to themselves. The same alienation goes on inside the individual. When they withhold these feelings from themselves they feel an inner void. And the culture pushes the belief that only by becoming a consumer can you feel like you are a fulfilled and happy human being. "In other words, we are taught to be addicts."

All us consumers are addicted, even if not to drugs
All us consumers are addicted, even if not to drugs

Slater says that he believes it's useful to reveal patterns of thought and behavior that are authoritarian, and he also believes that trying to root them out is an authoritarian approach to a democratic goal. He thinks we'll proceed most quickly not by eliminating old patterns, but by creating new ones. He believes that the past will only give way when we create something rich and appealing to replace it. Let's not expunge—let us transcend. (Think MC.)

Slater says that he believes democracy is based on the conviction that there are great potentials in ordinary people. We need to redirect our attentions, energies and resources toward improving the society we live in, which would give us the opportunity to build a great civilization. He wonders where America will be if democracy envelopes the globe. Will we be clinging rigidly to the past? There is still a lot of creative energy, imagination and originality in the U.S., he says.

Joel Kramer’s and Diana Alstad’s The Guru Papers

“We view the authoritarian ideologies and practices so deeply rooted in the ways things are thought about and done as what keeps the world stuck in old ways of doing things that no longer work. They are a major hindrance to the necessary kind of creative problem-solving now essential to deal with the crises that threaten basic survival. Creativity comes from self-trust, which authoritarian beliefs squelch.” Ideologies that breed mistrust in self and other are the basic prerequisite for easy and successful manipulation. The fact that our culture teaches our young that they are bad/unacceptable as well as the opposite of this guarantees that the average citizen in the U.S. will be a conflicted, divided, nonwhole person.

Authoritarianism remains hidden because it is like water in the ocean to a fish swimming in it—it's too omnipresent to notice
Authoritarianism remains hidden because it is like water in the ocean to a fish swimming in it—it's too omnipresent to notice

“Authoritarianism lies at the root of the old paradigms worldwide. It easily remains hidden because it is often not apparent in the specific content of a given structure, institution, ethic or worldview. Authoritarianism rather exhibits itself in the process of how these human constructions maintain power. This includes the ways control over people’s minds is obtained and maintained.”

“We view the degree to which a culture is authoritarian as a barometer of its dysfunctionality. . . . what is preventing people from applying the same kind of stunning brilliance and inventiveness to social spheres [as they apply to science and technology] are old social and moral frameworks that are essentially authoritarian.” History shows that when errant ideologies and historical forces converge to produce a tendency towards massive social engineering, an authoritarian who will “benevolently” administer the engineering “for the good of the people” always appears. And soon the blood flows.

History shows that when errant ideologies and historical forces converge to produce a tendency toward massive social engineering, an authoritarian who will 'benevolently' administer the engineering 'for the good of the people' always appears—and soon the blood flows
History shows that when errant ideologies and historical forces converge to produce a tendency toward massive social engineering, an authoritarian who will 'benevolently' administer the engineering 'for the good of the people' always appears—and soon the blood flows

The Guru Papers aligns itself with the new ecological-holistic paradigm (see Fritjov Capra's books) and tries to help us leave the mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm behind. It looks at the fact that both other-directedness, where others control you from outside, or inner-directedness, where a superego—representing parents—controls you from inside, represent authoritarian control of self by other. Only autonomy represents maturing beyond dependence on others and taking full responsibility for ones own choices and being. Being "divided" (full of inner conflict because your controlling faction is extrinsic to self, whether internal or external) and not whole/fully mature/autonomous is a great problem for the happiness of the divided one, but an opportunity for exploitation for others.

“From our perspective, it will take people who are whole to create the structures that can keep the world afloat. A conundrum for the times is how to become whole in social orders that create and reward divided people. This dilemma is one reason the [psychological maladies people are manifesting do not lend themselves] to a facile therapy that can help people fit into the existent power structures. For the real problems are not just personal, but structural.” (Think MC to find "people who are whole to create the structures that can keep the world afloat.")

He says that the challenge the world faces is not only restructuring the authoritarian sociopolitical mechanisms of power and control, but also restructuring the authoritarian climate of values to foster human beings who can wholly express the full range of being human. For global survival, we must unleash humanity’s potential for intelligence and creativity. So, failing to foster whole, unneurotic people is now the real threat. Divided and alienated people cannot trust themselves and so must look to "authorities" for their sense of worth. Unless a grassroots social movement championing wholeness occurs (like the MC movement), the people and structures whose vested interests and power depend upon having divided, fearful people will be in control. (For more about this, see Media Sexploitation.)

He says that one of the greatest sources of violence on the planet is unwanted, uncared for, unloved children. When these children grow older they are typically angry and prone to violence (and targets of terrorists who convince them to be suicide bombers so they can "express their anger" or "please Allah"). And they're also potential time bombs that can violently explode and destroy whatever or whoever is around them. We're generating a planet full of people without hope who are often driven by hatred and envy, and who don't care about their own lives, let alone yours. How can these people really care if life on this planet continues or not?

Jerry Minchinton’s Maximum Self-Esteem

He says that “The majority of us were raised by caregivers and authority figures who, themselves, had inadequate self-esteem, persons who had learned unrealistic, impractical thought and behavior patterns from their parents. Unwittingly, they passed their incorrect beliefs, values and concepts on to us by way of their attitudes, feelings and actions. . . . Our parents did the best job they could—with the resources available to them. It was not their fault their resources were so limited and inaccurate. But since they were, all our parents could do was pass on the unhealthy, faulty concepts and ideas they had accepted in good faith. Like family traditions, feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and insecurity they had inherited were handed down to us. Since we seldom received love for being just as we were, it was impressed on us that we were not easily lovable.” So what love we got was conditional: “If we failed to meet their demands, they withheld their love and acceptance. Insecure people are unlikely to encourage genuine feelings of security in their children. . . . Life was meant to be endured, not enjoyed.”

Minchinton goes on: “Children fortunate enough to have parents with high self-esteem learn to love and accept themselves without reservation. In so doing, they establish a solid experiential basis for their own high self-esteem. Sadly, too few of us were brought up in such advantageous circumstances. . . . We grew up with a lot of negative labels attached to us. Eventually our parents’ criticisms became so familiar we began to think of them as our own.”

He makes the point that our kids are not taught to reason independently so they can develop their thinking skills. Instead, school teaches them to be dependent on authorities. They're also taught to be superficial and other-directed.

Based on their parents' examples, they assumed they were too inept or incapable to handle certain aspects of their lives themselves.

Putting ourselves in their shoes for a minute, we assumed that bureaucrat "experts" could and should do it better. As a result, we allowed such highly personal matters as religion as well as physical and psychological health to be taken out of our hands and placed into the hands of these "professionals," effectively reducing our control over our lives.

By adulthood, youth have been thoroughly indoctrinated with unhealthy values and consumerism, and the result is low self-esteem and a combination of immoral and amoral values
By adulthood, youth have been thoroughly indoctrinated with unhealthy values and consumerism, and the result is low self-esteem and a combination of immoral and amoral values

Next, as we evolved into adolescents, we became less accepting of what our parents said, but more receptive to misguided and immature ideas of media influences, as well as friends and classmates. I.e., we became other-directed.

By the time we got to adulthood, we were thoroughly indoctrinated with the unhealthy values and illogical, negative beliefs, conventional wisdom, and consumerism that the result was low self-esteem and a combination of immoral and amoral values. As adults, we continue to accept these ideas mindlessly. Sadly, it doesn’t occur to us to question them. (In the 1960s, such questioning was common, but not so much in the 21st century.)

So thoroughly have we been brainwashed with these inaccurate concepts that it does not enter our minds there could be any reasonable alternatives. We become afraid to dispute these beliefs. We become so other-directed that we are afraid we’ll seem “strange” to others if we question the common “wisdom.” We conclude we have no control over our lives and we’ll always be at effect, never at cause. We conclude we’re inadequate, incapable, dependent, bad, and deserving of punishment—or at least unhappiness and loneliness.

So we act out and "accidentally" sabotage things for ourselves and end up feeling sad. And then we act out some more and wreck relationships with people. Our thinking is shallow and we only notice those things that confirm what we already think, so we have trouble learning something new. We've become classic alienated Americans.

Is it possible for such negative self concepts to affect us so greatly? Yes. When we believe something is true, it makes no difference whether it is or not since as long as we believe it is, we behave as though it is. What can we do to improve how we feel about ourselves? We can use affirmation and visualization, two powerful techniques to effectively help us replace negative life patterns with beneficial ones. Using these procedures, we'll be ready to generate improved self-esteem. Affirmations are sentences we repeat over and over with the intention of convincing ourselves they are true. We can say them out loud, in our minds, or both. (This procedure is also known as self-talk.) There is nothing mysterious about this self-talk. It works on sound psychological principles to help us transform our lives. And they’re not new—everyone uses them.

It’s just that the ones most of us do automatically and without thinking about it are negative and reflect past negative views of others, especially parents. Good self talk is an antidote for this emotional-psychological violence (bad self-talk) we unknowingly do to ourselves as a bad habit. Part of good self-talk is to cease bad self-talk. And then we must start replacing bad talk with good self-talk. When we notice bad self-talk, we are taught to stop it that second and begin good self-talk. It gets down to the fact that it’s bad enough that various factors have made you less than happy, effective, and good at relationships, but to continue bad self-talk is to continue the negative environments that got you thinking in such ways in the first place. You hated the oppression, so it only figures that you really do not want to follow the lead of the oppressors and begin to oppress yourself! So anyway, after an extended period of time using positive self-talk, the new talk turns into beliefs and you no longer have to think of them.

Visualization
Visualization

Visualization is the act of imagining realistic mental images of behavior we would like to adopt and then regularly focusing on these pictures until we manifest the desired behavior. So if we want to replace our customary response to certain situations with actions we consider more helpful, visualization is a useful tool to help make the change. Like self-talk, which we all do and have always done, but simply not always constructively, we all use visualizations about what we want, what we’d like to be like, and what we’re afraid of. But many of these are just an extension of bad self-talk wherein we express doubts about ourselves, fear of people and the future, or we dwell on negative possibilities.

Visualization is, like self-talk, a useful tool often used wrong. It’s used in medicine, self-help, stress reduction, substance abuse elimination, etc. It’s important to note, as Minchinton does, that we’ve all been programmed, and some of this is negative, and unless we make a conscious decision to break out of this abusive cycle of negativity, we will always stay at effect of the bad programs. Existentially, this author hits the nail right on the head when he points out that unless we replace other’s programming with our own—unless we distinctly CHOOSE to change such things from negatively affecting us—our lives will be running us; we won’t be running our lives!

Note: People full of self-defeating patterns of behavior and thought are not likely to allow themselves to evolve in the direction of healthy, satisfying, fulfilling lives—such people don’t believe they deserve a good life. But such people, with the help of affirmations and visualization, will gradually convince themselves it is all right to have what they want, thereby opening themselves to the possibilities that it could happen.

The author looks into the indirect-self-acceptance area in a way reminiscent of Putney and Putney’s classic book The Adjusted American. He also points out the pitfalls of victimhood, which just postpones one taking charge of one’s life while time is wasted pointing the finger. About responsibility, Minchinton says that the biggest problem facing mankind is refusal to accept responsibility for our lives. Whether as individuals, communities, cities or nations, our unwillingness to be held accountable for what happens to us is at the root of the social ills that threaten our world. Note: Most families and neighborhoods are dysfunctional, and waiting for others (such as “them” or “government” or anyone else not ourselves) to fix them is simply collusion with the problems continuing into the indefinite future.

He (happily) argues against liberal handouts and opts instead for empowerment. He feels it’s harmful to people when we encourage an unnecessary dependency on others, on handouts, on government, etc. If help doesn’t make a person stronger, it’s harmful.

Dr. Louise Hart’s The Winning Family

Dr. Louise Hart’s Winning Family Lifeskills add up to the most balanced and comprehensive method of parenting ever evolved. With a perfect blend of democratic, win-win, authoritative parenting, self-talk wisdom to enhance self-esteem, alone-space, self-responsibility and autonomy wisdom, flat-gradient nurturance encouragement, the responsibility of families to create an environment that nurtures, neighbors as a social asset, the option of kids to choose among nurturers, shifting to the ecological-holistic paradigm, and general lifeskills knowledge, she stands head and shoulders above all other thinkers that are now, or were in the past, teaching lifestyle wisdom. She’s an author, parent, seminar and workshop conductor, and leading educator. She knows the liabilities of permissive and authoritarian parenting, and she supports one and only one parenting style: authoritative.

She’s studied the parenting subject thoroughly and also experienced it herself, and knows what kind of lifestyle people have in authoritatarian and permissive homes, and what kind of kids result from such errors. She sees co-dependency as occurring in 98% of our country’s adult population, knows its connection to steep-gradient nurturance, and realizes that when people are parenting according to what happened to them (Second Wave, traditional) rather than according to what the best knowledge says will work the best and make them the happiest (Third Wave), they are going astray. Second only to the Tofflers, she sees how lower level power (e.g., manipulating with money, threat of or use of force) is desperately in need of replacement by the high-quality power in lovingly applied knowledge. And she champions the shift toward the ecological-holistic paradigm and away from the mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm.

Dr. Thomas Gordon’s Discipline That Works

This book is a mother lode of information that shows where all good science and research stand with regards to the serious error of utilizing authoritarian parenting on kids. It reiterates the basics of P.E.T., no-lose conflict resolution, teaching self-responsibility, active listening, I-messages, and win-win, democratic parenting. It also stresses the hopelessness of permissive parenting. It invites people to take the P.E.T. course, which has been taken by over a million parents in 50 countries and 20 different languages. Over 7 million people have been helped by him and/or his books and courses and trainings by 2014.

Exposing Permissiveness & Social Engineering, Encouraging Democracy

Myron Magnet’s The Dream and the Nightmare

This 1993 tome says that “Since low-skill jobs exist in profusion, since work today will normally lift people above the poverty line, and since opportunity for further advancement is open to those with the ambition and energy to seize it, for the able-bodied poverty in America is no longer an utterly ineluctable fate: one can choose to try to escape, by legitimate rather than criminal paths, with a good chance of success.” So why are there “panhandlers begging outside McDonald’s, right under the Help Wanted sign”?

Help Wanted
Help Wanted

Magnet says that it’s because they don’t have the character or will, they don’t and never did have good examples to emulate, and they were brought up by people who were clueless about what they were doing in their parenting—people who were unable to reflect or pass on good values. Subtitled "The Sixties Legacy to the Underclass," this book shows that the Johnson Administration’s “War on Poverty” had actually harmed those it had intended to help. By making welfare more attractive to single mothers than marriage or entry-level jobs, the federal government created “incentives for failure” which lured the poor, particularly poor blacks, away from the economic stepladder to success and into a mercilessly perpetual cycle of dependence and illegitimacy.

Magnet says that slackers do not work because they don't have the character or will and never did have good examples to emulate
Magnet says that slackers do not work because they don't have the character or will and never did have good examples to emulate

But, most of all, says, Magnet, the Haves are implicated in the poverty of the Have-Nots “because over the last thirty years they radically remade American culture, turning it inside out and upside down to accomplish a cultural revolution whose most mangled victims turned out to be the Have-Nots. . . . the precise opposite of what was supposed to happen.” In short, liberal belief in, dependence on, and obsession with governmental social engineering as the solution is what went wrong. And to add insult to injury, the bleeding-heart liberals then managed to convince the poor—especially blacks—that they weren’t to blame for anything: they were merely victims and not “responsible” for their plight—or even their crimes. Incredibly enough, this liberal drivel affected some courts, judges, lawyers, juries, and much of the public, and Hollywood was a major co-conspirator in this pulling of the wool over America's collective eyes. (Hitler said that to convince and manipulate a nation, tell only big lies—the littles ones won't be believed.)

If ever in history anyone ever found a way to disempower a class of humans, it could hardly have been much more effective than this. What had been needed was an empowerment mechanism to get disadvantaged people ambitious, working, and being entrepreneurial in the great American tradition, but the incredibly naïve social engineers in Washington D.C.—probably to work off guilt at knowledge of past injustices towards African Americans—concocted the most disempowering welfare plan ever conceived. The before-and-after statistics on this plan are chilling at best.

As a way to re-empower, Magnet makes a good point when he states that: “The culture of the Haves needs to tell them that they can do it—not that, because of past victimization, they cannot.” The media went so far as to make angry black criminals into admirable heroes, rebels and even Robin Hoods, and made them feel like they were saps if they adopted the white work ethic. This is, without a doubt, one of the stupidest and most naïve things that the liberals in the media have ever done, along with racial quotas and gender quotas, and such implementation of affirmative action was soon ruled unconstitutional—happily, quotas were dead. Later, in 2013, the Supreme Court upheld a ban on race- and sex-based discrimination in public university admissions, so things are at least getting more reasonable and institutions are allowed to keep race out of decisions.

Social engineering liberals in Washington D.C.—probably to work off guilt at knowledge of past injustices toward blacks—concocted the most disempowering welfare plan ever conceived
Social engineering liberals in Washington D.C.—probably to work off guilt at knowledge of past injustices toward blacks—concocted the most disempowering welfare plan ever conceived

" . . . the required solution is for the poor to take responsibility for themselves, not to be made dependent on programs and exempted from responsibility." After all, what good is a human who has been “exempted from responsibility”? Where is respect, pride, work ethics, honor—where is anything that makes life worth living if a person is “not responsible”?

Don E. Eberly’s The Content of America's Character

Eberly says that “Signs that the shrunken view of society [one that ignores whether the citizens actually have the appropriate character to support a healthy culture] is finally running its course are now multiplying. The chief ingredients of America’s social regression are increasingly understood to involve factors that are less susceptible to fiscal and programmatic adjustments. . . . The concept of character . . . is increasingly noted by its absence in a culture that drifts steadily toward the vulgar and violent. . . . [But] the movement to restore character is finding a vast field of common ground, even in a society riddled with deep disagreement over politics and public policy.”

He goes on: “Turning conditions that corrode character into conditions that foster it will require the involvement of leaders from all value-shaping institutions—from our churches, schools, and a host of other private and public institutions.” He’s right that these institutions can help, but he needs to realize that most character forms in the family and that social engineering won’t significantly change the factors in families that profoundly influence character. Only individuals enhancing their lifestyle and relationship quality can do that. He does see the supplementary role of neighborhoods in this process, however.

He also says that “Today’s students . . . have become fitter candidates for a mob than for a citizenry. . . . The portrait of American society presented in the images and language of today’s popular culture is of a country in retreat from the notion of society. . . . In higher education, learning to think with moral clarity has been traded in for learning to sympathize with new claims of victim status. . . . Margaret Mead . . . warned on her deathbed that if civilization is to survive, it will be saved, not by reformist government, but by citizen volunteer associations going out and taking social action.” She saw character as central—as important as ballot boxes.

Happily, he tells us that “There are signs that as the twentieth century draws to a close the century’s most destructive scourge, political salvationism , may be in retreat.” People have seen the evils of social engineering and the limits of “programs” to deal with social problems. On the other hand, the simplistic conservative and libertarian solution that government is always the problem and getting rid of most of it solves things is also being seen as naïve. “What is needed to save families, make neighborhoods friendly and safe, and restore lost virtues are dynamic new social movements centered on the restoration of character.” (Which is exactly what we discussed in the MC Introduction.) But such a restoration of character needs to avoid social engineering mistakes this time by being fully empowered by individual actions, NOT “policies and programs!”

Examples to emulate, set by parents’ behavior, are seen as much more important to character than the words parents say. Teaching good conflict resolution skills (as in P.E.T.) is another character builder Eberly stresses. Using the media to promote good character, effective relationships, and functional lifestyles (as in the MC movement plan) is also promoted, and Eberly cites research to indicate that exposure to even a single prosocial TV program can produce “enduring cognitive and behavior changes in viewers.”

Eberly cites research to indicate that exposure to even a single prosocial TV program can produce 'enduring cognitive and behavior changes in viewers'
Eberly cites research to indicate that exposure to even a single prosocial TV program can produce 'enduring cognitive and behavior changes in viewers'

Theodore Caplow’s Perverse Incentives

Caplow gives us a clear view of why the government does not and cannot work right and why the more we try to fix things, the worse they get: “The large body of knowledge accumulated by social research about motivation, learning, behavior control, family structure, bureaucratic processes and many other relevant matters is seldom consulted by the careless designers [of government programs].” Knowledge goes unused, but special interests get appeased. This is very Second Wave and regressive, implementing as it does (low quality power) wealth influence rather than the needed Third Wave (high quality power) knowledge influence. This is a shameful sign of democracy's demise concomitant with oligarchy's rise. In 2014 in the United States of America, we citizens serve as the cash cows for the corporatocracy of the dominant oligarchy. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes and Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite.)

What do you say, reader, are you tired of being milked yet?
What do you say, reader, are you tired of being milked yet?

“Between 1960 and 1994, health care costs outraced inflation by 5 to 1, education costs by 3 to 1, welfare costs by 2 to 1, criminal justice costs by 3 to 1, and liability costs by 6 to 1. . . . There have been, in recent years, numerous attempts to reform these systems—cost-containment measures that were supposed to halt the escalation of physicians’ fees, job training programs for welfare mothers, the expansion of police resources for the war on drugs, competency testing of teachers and legislative restriction of tort liability. These measures were not even moderately successful. In each case, the principles of social technology continued to be ignored and the perverse incentives that result from that neglect were either left untouched or reinforced. . . . "

The expansion of police resources for the war on drugs helped nothing, but the social technology knowledge that could have helped was utterly ignored
The expansion of police resources for the war on drugs helped nothing, but the social technology knowledge that could have helped was utterly ignored

Perverse incentives are rewards and punishments that are built into a system and block the achievement of that system’s goals. The principles of social technology are not that complex or difficult to apply, but "ever since it became the custom of the country to neglect them in favor of good intentions and symbolic enactments, the effects of legislative and judicial initiatives have been more often harmful than beneficial." Money allocated for programs always ended up in the pockets of administrators and other powerful people, and those who were supposed to benefit from the programs were given token aid. Lawyers and bureaucrats have greatly profited by all these programs, which is why they praise the programs and seek to continue them, even though the problems continue to escalate.

Lawyers—the main beneficiaries of most government-run social programs
Lawyers—the main beneficiaries of most government-run social programs

Peter F. Drucker’s Post-Capitalist Society

Drucker says that “What the future society will look like . . . depends on how the developed countries respond to the challenges of this transition period . . . but above all [how] each of us in our own work and life [respond].”

True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real—the end of the belief in salvation by society surely marks an inward turning
True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real—the end of the belief in salvation by society surely marks an inward turning

“Still, redemption, self-renewal, spiritual growth, goodness and virtue—the ‘New Man,’ to use the traditional term—are likely to be seen again as existential rather than social goals or political prescriptions. The end of the belief in salvation by society surely marks an inward turning. It makes possible renewed emphasis on the individual, the person. It may even lead—at least we can so hope—to a return to individual responsibility.” That would surely be a blessing! Two chances it'll happen—slim and none. Unless the MC movement begins and multiplies.

Drucker also says that “Equally, there is a need to restore community. Traditional communities no longer have much integrative power; they cannot survive the mobility which knowledge confers on the individual. . . . One can no longer count—as one could in the rural village—on neighbors who share the same interests, the same occupations . . . The community that is needed in post-capitalist society—and needed especially by the knowledge worker—has to be based on commitment and compassion rather than being imposed by proximity and isolation.” For a more complete handling of this issue, see The Responsive Communitarian Platform.

Liberal dependence on social programs and conservative dependence on traditional family values are equally inappropriate. (See Culture Wars.) One needs to take the responsibility for one’s life and create viable community options based on commitment and compassion. Social engineering leads to tyranny and conflict, but knowledge-based individual initiative can restore community and society.

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich’s To Renew America

Unfortunately, Newt is as willing to talk/write about what he knows very little about (childcare, psychology, nurturing, parenting) as he is to talk/write about what he knows a lot about (history, politics, Toffler’s Third Wave, Congress, the Information Age). It’s tempting to dismiss everything he says in its entirety after hearing Newt spout right-wing fundamentalist propaganda one minute and high-tech info-wisdom the next. Many aspects of Newt’s Contract With America were regressive steps backwards to placate the fundamentalist factions serving as much of Newt’s political base of power.

Central to the problem with Newt’s utterances and proposals is that—except for the Tofflerian and Information Age wisdom—they all come out of a context of authoritarianism, and those that don’t share his vision are seen as immoral or even traitorous. One can only cringe when one hears Newt put down the efforts of parents and teachers to create a context of self-esteem in our young. Every finding from every branch of science known to man supports this endeavor, and the only force that doesn’t is right-wing fundamentalism, which therefore makes Newt seem to be a sell-out to the average thinking American. He wants spiritual counselors to replace secular ones, since the latter have failed; this is merely one of many ways in which he doesn’t fully grasp the profound need to keep church and state separate.

On the other hand, he is helping to fight the culturally degenerative forces in this country in many ways: By pushing people to drop Second Wave thinking and adopt Third Wave thinking, by trying to reverse the process of the undermining of personal responsibility by the philosophy of victimization, etc. He wants to create a context for entrepreneurial free enterprise and a strong work ethic in areas of the country where there is only crime and welfare dependency and blaming everything on “society.” He wants these underclass people to examine their strengths and deal with their problems constructively, rather than blaming, robbing, or despairing.

He takes bureaucracies and unions to task for often being more of a problem than a solution, and he berates the welfare state as having done more harm than good, which he supports with figures. He sees the toll that education unions are taking on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of education, and realizes that it may be necessary for private companies to take over education if the current system continues to fail our young. He sees the relationship between balanced budgets, inflation, national security, and freedom itself. He sees the importance of devolving power from Washington D.C. to local governments because of the realities of the Third Wave.

One of his best ideas is to take federal unemployment insurance money and use it to fund adult learning, since in the current world, unemployed people aren’t likely to find new jobs using their old skills, so they’ll need new skills in order to get work.

Newt is convinced that “if each of us does a little bit, we can remake the world.” And he’s absolutely right. However, his vision is clouded with regressive values and authoritarian images. He rightly takes liberals to task for having carried things too far, but wrongly believes that authoritarian means are an appropriate antidote. But the aspect of his proposals that sees the immense opportunity of the Third Wave fully blooming in the 21st century is visionary and exciting, and—we can hope—prescient.