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Sunday, January 6

The Revolution is Not Being Televised

How The Ball Of Yarn Got Rolling:
There goes the neighborhood

Socialism, in its original conception, had nothing to do with 'leftism' or Communism. As Pundita readers may recall, some years ago I stumbled across the original meaning of socialism during my quest to track down the genesis of the term 'police state.'  

It turned out that socialism, in its original conception, was simply the inclusion of more people in a society in the government. It was the brainchild of aristocrats in the Germanic kingdoms who saw the rise of industrialization and recognized that a modern government had to be more inclusive but for this more in the society had to be literate. So their idea was to take numbers of people off the farms and educate them and then put them to work in government.

Universities began cranking out many graduates but the system of socializing government was so popular and so profitable for the universities, soon things got out of hand. The governments couldn't make enough jobs for any more than a fraction of the graduates. The rest were left destitute but because of their college education they not only knew how to read and write, they also knew how to work a printing press. Three guesses what happened next. Yes, the Revolutions of the 1840s. These were accompanied by the rise of the police state and the rise of Communism, and on and on.

The Shah of Iran made the very same mistake. The wheel was again created right here in the USA only with a twist. Scoundrels talked credulous American parents and their college-age children into believing that all they had to do was go into steep debt to finance a college education and presto! the graduates would step into good-paying jobs.

So that was how millions of American college graduates ended up serving coffee, driving taxis or living, jobless, in their parents' basements. The twist was that these destitute American college graduates were saddled with so much debt that they might never hope to pay it off in their lifetimes. 

Now there were contributing factors in the 1840s revolutions and the Islamic one in Iran. Nearby kingdoms at odds with the Germanic ones used the unrest fomented by jobless college graduates to make even more trouble in the Germanic regions (thus, the biggest impetus for the rise of the Germanic police state). And some of the Shah's policies had angered the Iranian business community, which then joined with jobless Iranian college graduates to foment revolution.

There are also contributing factors to the unrest among many college graduates and their families in the United States in the recessionary and post-recessionary periods. This led many of them to push the Democratic Party toward Stalinist Communism masquer0ading as 'socialism.' But the biggest factor had been building in the USA long before the college debt scam and Great Recession. The factor is simply that a large number of Americans can't afford to have children in this era. 

The Bottom Line For Societies

Child-rearing adults need a reasonably stable means of supporting themselves; without that, the society has more problems than you can shake a stick at, and it can't last; it will either evolve or descend into chaos and revolution. 

Over the past half-century, the United States went from being the land of lifetime employment in big businesses to a land of very uncertain income from small businesses. This has meant that many young Americans not only can't afford to raise children they don't dare procreate. Not unless they want to face the prospect that their children will be raised, in effect, as wards of the state -- raised on government welfare payments -- and on unemployment checks. 

These Americans are not impressed when they see 312,000 new jobs were created in the USA in December. They know many of the jobs are so low-paying they can't support a family, or can be taken over by a robot at any minute, or can disappear when a business has to cut back on production.    

Which is to say the lives of many American small business owners and their employees are governed by business quarterly reports. This means that many child-rearing American workers can't plan much further ahead than the next business quarter. It is a system that punishes humans for having children -- for being human. 

Given this overturning of the natural order, the chief factor preventing armed revolution in the USA is that its governments -- federal, state, and local --  and their contractors employ many Americans of working age, including many victims of the college-education debt scam.  

Today the federal government alone has about 800,000 full-time employees. Not surprisingly many of those employees government contractors would vote for Stalin himself for President if he campaigned on the promise never to cut any federal jobs or departments.

In summary, the need for job security not employment per se is the biggest driver of the current push for larger government in America, even among Americans who hate welfare. These Americans aren't looking for handouts. They want a steady income, one they can plan on continuing long enough to raise a family.

The catch is that big government itself depends on a relatively stable business environment, which is now deader than a doornail. The era that allowed for the prospering of the Germanic kingdoms has been replaced by dog-eat-dog global business competition. This has turned even the most liberal of democratic governments into versions of the deacon in the 1970 satire film, "Cotton Comes to Harlem." But whether liberal or authoritarian all central governments are now rip-off artists as if they had a choice, and that's not even talking about central banks fiddling with the 'economy.'

Thank You We Can Do It Ourselves

Now whenever you see so much mess everywhere you look, this is a Sign of a system failure. But the flip side of a system failure of this magnitude is another system being born.

That is exactly what is happening, and it's been happening since a fairly large number of literate people got really good at doing research on the internet. All these people are talking to each other all across the world via the internet, and so How-To tips for doing things yourself, whether it's curing a medical condition without help from a physician or managing a community problem without government assistance, are flying thick and fast. 

This epochal DIY shift is not showing up yet on the TV nightly news, except in bits and pieces that give no indication of its magnitude. For the magnitude, you need to be very skilled at internet research. [laughing] So the Black Power sloganeers and Gil Scott-Heron were right when they intoned in the early 1970s "The revolution will not be televised," only they couldn't have imagined back then -- no one could've imagined -- how the revolution would really take shape and what it would mean. It's not about Black power; it's about all people in the American society getting a handle on managing their own lives.  

Communitarianism

But what's the DIY solution to the problem of highly uncertain employment for parents? It's basically the same solution that's been in effect ever since humans organized themselves into tribes. The English word for it in this era is "communitarianism;" here's a dictionary definition I pulled from Google:
a theory or system of social organization based on small self-governing communities.
an ideology that emphasizes the responsibility of the individual to the community and the social importance of the family unit.
There are two types of community organizing. One type is exemplified by the Americans Barack Obama and Saul Alinsky; it's basically organizing a community to get the government to do something. The other type, exemplified by Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the American Paul Glover, is organizing a community to do something for itself.

The second type holds the key to buffering parents against the uncertainties of employment.

The community-based system of self-governing is not here yet but it's on the way, and this is unstoppable. Humanity is finally taking in stride the social upheavals set in motion by the Industrial Revolution and learning how to translate the time-honored way of governing into one that works for this age. The key, as King Bhumibol recognized, was networking: not just one small community but ones plugged into others in a region. 

In other words, lateral government rather than pyramidal. It's the only way to manage governance in the age of mega-populations, and now it's do-able. 

If it's not on the telly has anyone told the Establishment a revolution is going on? You bet the ones who supervise the status quo see what's coming. So it will be a bumpy ride but nothing we can't handle. 

[smiling] Happy New Year, everyone.     

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