Reworking Success: New Communities at the Millenium
a book by Robert Theobald
(our site's book review)
Theobald as always is thoughtful and insightful, but also a bit wordy, indecisive and liberal. He reminds us of Margaret Mead’s famous line: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” He assumes the Michael Moore stance against big businesses axing large quantities of their workers in the name of profits, and CEOs making 225 times what the average worker makes.
Endless wealth: the rich people get richer
Like most liberal idealists, he likes the idea of setting limits for top and bottom levels of income. He dislikes elitism, the gap between the rich and the poor, and greed in general. But it is disappointing not to read that he has reservations about such social engineering tactics. Market capitalism should allow those who can succeed in entrepreneurial activities to do so unchecked, except for their paying their fair share of taxes and being prevented from unfair trade practices and monopolistic strategies and offshore money sheltering and tax loopholes that allow them to avoid paying their fair share, and except for their taking full responsibility for preventing or at least fixing whatever negative ecological consequences their activities have on the environment. It’s the American Dream, and it’s a damn good one. If we followed the author’s proposal, we’d cripple our ability to compete in the global marketplace. Happily, there is little desire for this sort of big government intervention into the American Dream.
Note: Their fair share is currently 39.6% (subject to changes if Trump gets changes through Congress), and the top 1% income bracket should get NO shelters onshore or offshore, deductions, loopholes, or foundation write-offs whatever. If they make 10 billion, they owe 3.96 billion in taxes—period. Paying one's taxes is fair—the rest of us citizens have to so they should too. This no deductions for the superrich policy is fair since the U.S. is headed for bankruptcy if the corrupt elites in government keep putting the tax burden on the middle class and letting us go deeper in debt by the second.
By the same token, setting bottom levels of income can be wise or unwise, depending on what is meant. Jobs have value in the marketplace. If American politicians play savior to the lower class and pump up their minimum wage beyond their worth, the end result is not economic justice, as the liberals would have us believe, but jobs moving offshore to where a reasonable wage can be paid.
The gap between the rich and the poor is cause for revamping tax rules until the top 1% really do pay their fair share (our idea, not Theobald's)
It is an economic fact that if companies cannot compete in the global marketplace because of the high wages paid to American workers, they sometimes have to choose between going bankrupt and using offshore workers. Bankruptcy serves no one, so it’s best for these companies to do what they need to do to survive. People like the Tofflers, Thurow, Naisbitt and Reich have let us know that when Americans are poor and complaining, it is up to them to learn more and get training—especially in Third Wave, information age skills relating to knowledge and computers—in order to better themselves.
And it's high time the bleeding heart liberals cease telling the underclass that they're "victims." If they are victims of anything, it's not prejudice, it's buying into white-guilt-obsessed liberal Hollywood's portrayal of underclass—especially minorities—as victims that are too good to work, so they end up paying no attention in school and learning no skills and instead going for a fast buck via crime.
An underclass victim—not of prejudice—but of gullibility
Unions forcing artificially higher wages than can be afforded, protectionism, tariffs, blockades, a minimum wage set higher than many companies can afford, reducing taxes on the poor, and socially engineering a welfare state full of entitlements is not the answer to bettering the lives of the lower class. Giving them more than what their services and work warrant is no long-term solution to anything. The U.S. citizens will never buy the liberal socialism line—we're just not that type of people. And it wouldn't matter if we did buy it. We are 19 trillion dollars in debt. So whether we want expensive social engineering programs or not is irrelevant—we can't afford them!national debt
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
This, like all other (noncriminal) jobs, is respectable work; if only liberal Hollywood would quit telling the underclass such jobs are beneath them
We must look to community empowerment, revamping our educational system, adding a couple years of community, military, government, or political service to the requirements for all citizens so the unbalanced rights/responsibility scales can be brought back into balance and people can feel and experience the responsibilities that go along with the rights we all enjoy. We need active, committed citizens, not lawyers and politicians committed to artificial wage inflation in order to socially engineer their version of economic equity. We need schools that work, families that teach good work ethics, and Third Wave education for all so that the value of our citizens’ work in the global marketplace is high enough to incur for them a decent lifestyle.
"Work? Hell no—I've got food stamps!"
What’s so depressing about proposals to take from the rich and give to the poor is that the last half a century has proven beyond doubt the liability of giving unconditional money to those that have little of it. We wanted it to get them back on their feet, but instead many of them abandoned their work ethics and became dependent—on things like food stamps and unemployment checks. See image above. And the more money we threw at these problems, the more they failed to improve. And once we saw the 28 cents per dollar that went to the entitled and the 72 cents per dollar that went to the administrators (in some social services), most of us had a singular flash of insight. We got where all the pressure for such "benevolent" programs was coming from. We understood where most of the money was going. And we saw why big government bureaucracies trying to “help the disadvantaged” actually created more of an entitlement program for the bureaucrats than for the poor. Newt Gingrich was right—give opportunities, NOT money!
We saw why every single program the social engineers pushed on us kept saying that “our program will cease being a failure if we only get more money,” and never once did any of them think it was time to close down because they were admitting their failure. (Even teachers and the NEA keep saying that “our teaching will cease being a failure if we only get more money.” We gave it. Things got much worse.)
The NEA has a choke-hold on American education that only the MC movement could alter
Entrenched government bureaucracies have only one goal: survival. As they get more bloated, they need more money to survive. Once these employees experience the benefits and pensions of being a government worker, they become dependent, just like those “clients” and “cases” they help become dependent. And in spite of their grand and glorious stated objectives, they simply want to continue to exist because they cannot relinquish their paychecks and benefits.
The programs all turn into bloated hogs gobbling money like there's no tomorrow
Big government managing "benevolent" engineering on the population is exactly, precisely, what America does not need to stay healthy and empower the disempowered. A Third Wave-ready, well-educated, computer-literate populace with good work ethics, high responsibility levels, and good character stemming from good family/community lives and high autonomy/individuality levels in which they are at cause, not at effect, and choosers, not losers—THIS is what America needs most. (And this is the direction MCs will take us, not as a socially engineered whole, but as a movement based upon the individual lifestyle decisions of families and individuals. See Why Register for an MC?.)
Registering for MC search and match
Uncle Sam will NOT be riding in on a white horse to save the day!
But our question here is this: WHY, WITH ALL THE DISCUSSIONS AND THINKING AND WRITING AND EXPERIENCES THAT THEOBALD HAS HAD, HASN’T HE REALIZED THE ABOVE? How could he let himself utter liberal cliches and “big government as savior” fantasies? The answer seems to be that liberal speakers speak to liberal audiences and reinforce each other’s liberal “benevolence” and the tendency to “socially engineer desired social outcomes.” Part of the Culture War’s intractability is that liberals hear only other liberals and conservatives hear only other conservatives. One can count on acceptance when one preaches to the choir. Mark Gerzon’s book A House Divided has dealt with this issue eloquently. George Lakoff’s book Moral Politics has superbly analyzed the underlying beliefs and feelings, as well as the parenting and relationship practices that lead to this cultural polarization.
Quit looking to social engineering superheroes and rely on local community efforts
Theobold introduces the term “right livelihood” to mean the desire people have to make a living in ways which satisfy themselves and respect ecological necessities. Admittedly, it is a good goal to shoot for, but often a difficult thing to achieve.
He’s right that the day of reckoning will come for the rich countries who are lying about sustainable growth and ignoring the long-term ecological nonviability of their long-term growth and development plans, and he’s on track with his pointing at population increases as one of the main factors.
He realizes the absurdity of keeping people alive long after they wish to be dead
He realizes the absurdity of keeping people alive long after they wish to be dead. Jack Kevorkian is one of the few national heroes with the guts to actually confront this issue. The media has shown an incredible lack of insight on this matter, preferring to focus on dying as a medical challenge rather than simply a natural aspect of the life cycle, and preferring to focus on court sound bites rather than the serious ethical issue involved here. The churches have pushed for their often misguided versions of morality to be foisted upon the rest of us, but in the late 90s Oregon managed to win against the right-wing extremists and enable people to have the dignity to make choices about their own lives, and some other states followed. We find it unforgivably, obscenely foolish for anyone—government, doctors, churches, relatives or courts—to even think about depriving human beings of the basic right to make the serious existential decisions in their lives!
Without using these exact words, Theobold is in sync with the Tofflers’ call for us to cease allowing the Second Wave mindset to hold us back, and also Tofflers’ call for us to begin to transform ideas, organizations, governments and societies to allow for the realities of the Third Wave.
In a futuristic prediction in this 1997 tome, he depicts the next fifteen years (1998-2013) in a positive light, using a scenario that places a high priority on social cohesion and redefining the meaning of development and growth. He foresees a new Pope finally wising up about birth control, given the increasing seriousness of the world population explosion. He feels that in the future there will be more support for good parenting and people won’t be pushed to spend most of their lives working, since our technological level will allow many people to work only some of the time and care for young ones some of the time too. (Unfortunately, the opposite has happened on these predictions—but we understand his wishful thinking.) He sees families defined as any group of people who care for and are committed to one another. (This happened, socially by common public agreement, but not legally and bureaucratically except for some gay aspects.) He sees fewer accidents of conception in the future. He predicts this scenario:
“Small, geographically-based neighborhoods are now [early 21st century] seen as the basis of much activity: they tend to range from 200 to 500 people. People in these neighborhoods are deeply committed to each other, and aim to grow and produce much of what is needed for living through local activity [Toffler’s prosumption]. . . . These neighborhoods usually support a full-service community structure. It is often based in an extended family’s home and contains the complex technology required in today’s world. [Toffler’s electronic expanded families]” (It in analogous to MC’s hubs, but may be bigger than MC hubs. He forgot that such places are a natural for centralized childcare and elder care, which parents, elders and kids alike find enjoyable and convenient.)
Toffler’s electronic expanded families are predicted in Theobald's book
He also sees these hubs as the base of the local political system (since the national one is a corrupt, pretentious, negativistic disgrace). He expects that teenagers will all be expected to give two years of community service. This has been a reasonable social strategy for many years, because without a meaningful connectedness to community and political decisions, we’re all just individuals in a pseudo-democracy, with a pseudo-political system apparently running things while we curse at their errors—as if we had no civil responsibility to make sure there weren’t errors. His hub idea would be a good antidote for hyper-individualism and social apathy, if not alienation.
Microcommunity (MC) with Japanese garden
We say "a pseudo-political system apparently running things" since the insightful among us are wiser than that—the politicians are not running things. The U.S. has already degenerated into a Corporatocracy and an Oligarchy, and Feudalism is the next logical step in the progression although that's a few decades away. The oligarchy actually runs things through the shadow government, giving orders to the Corporatocracy and the politicians in ways we do not fully comprehend—this stuff is hidden, like NSA spying on our citizens used to be before Snowden's heroic revelations.
Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!
The evidence of what's happening is overwhelming: The oligarchy has directed the corporatocracy to drain most of the wealth from all U.S. citizens that are not rich. We'll soon be a two-class society. The rich will have so much power and wealth they'll use our troops to both guard the rich and enforce wealth seizure when citizens resist. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.) Below are a couple of proofs that what's occurring is The Biggest Redistribution Of Wealth From The Middle Class And Poor To The Rich Ever.
Evidence the oligarchy has directed the corporatocracy to drain most of the wealth from all U.S. citizens that are not rich and give it to the rich. Source: Congressional Budget Office
More evidence the oligarchy has directed the corporatocracy to drain most of the wealth from all U.S. citizens that are not rich and give it to the rich. Source: Congressional Budget Office
The warmongering neocon elites' policies of unafordable empire building have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury; we citizens object, but no one listens—welcome to the rise of the Corporate Security State
We need to wrest power away from the shadow government ass clowns in charge in order to protect the U.S. from going down the drain