On A Limited Libertarian Socialism

It is my personal opinion that a society which operates in accord with limited Libertarian Socialist values could potentially be the most humane and the most practical of all prospective systems which I myself have considered. This is not to say that there may not actually be social systems better suited for human cohabitation than those which I have researched to date; however among those systems which I have researched, I prefer limited Libertarian Socialism to the alternatives.

I qualify my Libertarian views as limited, in that I do believe that a minimum of social structure is necessary in order to ensure mutual benefit and the common good of each and every person, the latter expressing the sought end of any society of my personal preference. As I am clearly a Socialist, my thoughts as to limited government may seem contradictory, but frankly, my observations of government in general are that such seems to inevitably evolve into layers of illegitimate power and assumed authority which are unnecessary and at times outright oppressive.

It is likewise my observation that most people tend to do the right thing quite naturally, seemingly as a matter of personal principle, as opposed to as a response to an external coercive power such as a law or rule of social engagement. Frankly, most people don’t need a law in order to live peaceably within the realm of their social relations. Sensitivity for the feelings of others as a natural governor of social conduct is the norm, hence autonomy is for the most part a reliable guide for such. The exceptions to those who choose to live peaceably with others, and the existence of those who exploit others in unfettered circumstances; however would necessitate a limited, democratically directed structure for the purpose of protecting principled people from those with malevolent intent in any given social setting.

As to Socialism itself, I maintain that the principle of “from each according to ability, to each according to need” is a practical guide for any society, and one which maintains an ethical high ground in terms of seeking the best for everyone. I certainly regard such as preferable to any form of Capitalism. The social experiment known as neo-liberal Capitalism, which has been the prevailing process here in the US since the late 70’s, has proven to be a pitiful failure as a medium to provide for the general welfare (a Congressional responsibility according to Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution), yet such has been a smashing success as a get rich and stay even more wealthy scheme for the upper 1% among our society. The last few decades have seen a decline in the leverage of the working class to the extent that collective bargaining is becoming a practice of the past, an alarmingly inequitable distribution of financial resources between the wealthy and the working poor to an extent unrealized in this country for almost a century, which has resulted in a working class whose existence is a dependency upon wages that have seen no noticeable increase for almost 40 years. Our society is in dire straits, and we have neo-liberal capitalism to thank for our miserable state of affairs.

Inasmuch then as the cause of Socialism is just, it subsequently seems to me that we should be able to transform a given culture by intelligent persuasion and passionate appeal to the principles upon which Socialism is founded. In fact, it is my personal opinion that most people are Socialists, they just don’t realize such to be the case. Most people believe in the principle of “from each according to ability, to each according to need”. Most people feel it is wrong to allow someone to suffer. Most people feel it is wrong for some to hoard resources while others suffer. Most people seem to hold Socialists views, for Socialism is based upon basic principles which are so universal that in everyday life they are almost assumed.

That said, I maintain that the means to secure a Socialist society is by way of passionate but intelligent persuasion, and perhaps there is no time more opportune for such than the 21st CE.

We live in the age of the information highway, the social media, Youtube, and Instagram. Now, I personally am a techno fossil. I actually use my cell phone primarily to place calls, which seems to put me in the minority. But even an old throwback like me can navigate FB, email, or blog. And I can also present my case on behalf of Socialist principles in everyday conversation, which I try to do as reasonable opportunity allows.

The case against Capitalism as an evil system is a case which should be maintained persistently, but one of the fundamental evils ever present to such is that Capitalism must be secured and maintained by brute power. There is no righteous basis for Capitalism, and certainly no one would voluntarily choose such as a viable social system, save for those who are greedy and insensitive enough to exploit the misery and services of others for their own gain and gratification. Certainly no one would volunteer to be exploited at the commencement of a start up society; hence no one would willingly choose Capitalism as a social system of choice. Thus, Capitalism is a system which has to be secured and maintained by way of brute power, and the history of Western Civilization reveals such to have been the case.

Ours is a just cause, theirs is an evil and sinister system. Most people don’t realize this, and consequently vote and propagandize against their own self interests.

I am for peaceful, persistent, private and public appeal to the intellect of my human peers in pursuit of a society based upon mutual benefit and shared responsibility, established and maintained not by brute force, but by way of voluntary cooperation.

Such as they are, these are some of my general thoughts as to a society based upon limited Libertarian Socialists values.

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Make America Great. Finally.

It seems to me that many of the problems related to our badly divided society are actually due to the fact that certain of the more honorable principles of our national Constitution have historically been systematically limited as to the degree of their application. For example, consider the beautiful sentiment and the profound principles of the phrase “promote the general welfare” as recorded in the introductory Preamble of the Constitution. As noble as the concept sounds, the fact of the matter is that promoting the general welfare was by no means the actual concern of the 55 Aristocrats who composed the Constitutional Convention. Nor for that matter had promoting “the general welfare” ever been the primary concern of any of the other greedy gold diggers from whom our nation evolved. The sentiment so expressed is indeed honorable, and undoubtedly “the general welfare” is in fact the end goal and defined purpose of that noble collective known as the society; but therein lies the misunderstanding which serves as the basis for the limited application of the sentiment itself.

For from our very conception as a sovereign nation, America was never a society. More to the point, America is, and always been; an ongoing commercial enterprise, whose welfare for an elite sector is systematically maintained by way of domination and exploitation. In fact, for the most part the history of Western Society was never about promoting “the general welfare”, but rather has always been an ongoing predatory commercial enterprise based upon invasion, conquest, domination, and exploitation of the vulnerable, for the express purpose of enriching and further empowering the already wealthy and powerful class of any given country. The systematic domination and exploitation of the many, in order to provide welfare for an elite sector then, has been the historical pattern of Western Society in general, and America more than any other country simply serves as an example of such.

And so, while giving lip service to the concept of equality and the general welfare, the fact is that the societal system by which our forefathers functioned is in principle the same by which we function today. Granted, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s legalized the concept of the equality of all people, nonetheless we have yet to abandon our national systematic commercial enterprise for the welfare of the wealthy, nor do we yet refrain from foreign invasions to the same end. Thus, in spite of our incremental social advancements towards social justice, we nonetheless continue, as did our Forefathers, to fall short of the sentiments of our own Constitution, by implementing a system which fails to function accordingly.

This is not to say that things must remain as they are. For as long as the words “promote the general welfare” remain written in our Constitution, then we as a collective people shall ever have the documented right to become a society which seeks the common good as a necessary goal. Our challenge then is to aspire towards that noble state of social being which has alluded every generation of Americans going back to and including our Founding Fathers themselves.

For when, and only when, we as America decide to finally live up to the precious sentiment as expressed in our national Constitution “promote the general welfare”; then and only then, we will actually be a society instead of a collective commercial enterprise for the primary welfare of the wealthy and the powerful.

To do so would make America great. Finally.

Damned To Pay Our Dues

Those who are born wealthy,
Use their money to stay wealthy.
Those who are born poor,
Work for money to be healthy.

A ceaseless quest,
To exploit Mother Earth.
Manufacture money from trees.
Then pretend there is a worth.

To a rectangular shred,
Manufactured and stamped.
To symbolize some value,
To we the living damned.

Damned to pay our dues,
For exploiting her so.
Damned to become earthworm feed,
And to help her flowers grow.

The Second Coming of Jesus

While sitting on my deck today,
Enjoying the morning rain,
I had a weird thought,
Perhaps somewhat insane.

What would happen if one day,
Up there in Heaven yonder,
Jesus decided he’d had enough,
As on our deeds he pondered.

Would he turn to his left,
To look His Father in the eye.
And ask permission to depart,
From the sweet bye and bye.

And as he arose to split the scene,
Would he make this declaration:
“Got to go, Daddy-o,
To visit our favored nation!!”

So would he come to the USA,
This modern day Babylon,
To tune in to Faux News,
To hear the pundits babble on?

Or would he choose instead,
To visit that horrid place,
The secular pagan temple,
Of our entire race?

Yeah, would he go to Wall Street,
And rip up the ticker tape.
And overturn people’s desks,
As people stared and gaped?

And would he declare with anger,
As he looked into CEO’s eyes:
“Let not my Father’s world,
Be a mere place of merchandise!!”

And would he choose to dine,
With the President, and the First Lady.
Or would he rather keep company with,
Those whose character seems shady?

And would he heal the sick,
Oh, would he even dare!
To do the unthinkable,
By providing free health care?

And would he feed the masses,
The heathen and the slobs,
Or as he turned his back on them,
Would he say “Get a job!!”

And would his simple answer be,
When asked what he thought about Gays,
“I am no more hung up on that topic now,
Than I was in Biblical days”

And as he beheld bare mountain tops,
And saw the fracking of Mother Earth,
Would he appeal to our common sense,
For all that effort’s worth?

Or like that Indian in the commercial,
Back in the 1970’s.
Would Jesus be moved to shed a tear,
As his heart mourned woefully heavy.

And as he gathered his closest friends,
For his second grand ascent.
Would he speak of a spiritual kingdom,
Before away he went.

Or would he rather remind us all,
That existential is our being.
So we ought to try to alleviate,
All suffering that we are seeing.

Now, I readily admit,
These thoughts are pure speculation.
But I wonder what Jesus would do,
If he ever visited our nation?

Common Ground of Christianity and Humanism

Initially, it might seem that there is nothing whatsoever in common between Christianity and Humanism.  Yet I propose otherwise.

 

Granted, Christianity is based upon a theistic worldview; while most Humanists maintain a secular perspective.  And granted that Christians tend to interpret the Bible as sacred material; whereas Humanists rarely attach such sentiments to any writings whatsoever (although we typically value literature in general).  And whereas Christians usually maintain the historicity of miracles; at least those which are recorded in the Bible, most Humanists reject such based upon our secular worldview.  Yet these differences notwithstanding, I maintain that with reference to the most basic exercise of the human experience; that of social relations, Christianity and Humanism actually share core interests and concerns.  

 

Humanism is the theory that the intellect, and sensitivity towards the suffering of others, are sure and certain guides to sufficiently regulate the human experience.  Living in accord with reason and compassion then is to live as a Humanist.  In this context, it seems evident that Humanism is by no means an ideology which is exclusive from the Christian faith, nor the latter from the former.  For even the very namesake of the Christian faith himself lived as a Humanist. Regardless of whether Jesus was in fact a historical figure, or whether he was instead a mythical literary character; this much can be said on behalf of Jesus Christ:  His was a life which exemplified the basic precepts of Humanism.

 

Jesus was an independent thinker who did not allow laws and tradition to surpass reason and practicality.  When his disciples were hungry on a Sabbath day, and picked corn to fill their bellies, Jesus justified such as a practicality of the human experience, even reminding their authoritarian critics that the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man, and not vice versa.  When Jesus saw those in need of medical care on the Sabbath, he healed them in defiance of and in spite of tradition.  

 

Jesus was a practical man and one who was close to nature.  His illustrations and his teachings were oftentimes based upon nature rather than upon a text.  He reasoned with his hearers by challenging them to reason within themselves rather than to be merely lead around by authority figures and archaic traditions.  Jesus chided his critics for utilizing their intellect to read the signs of weather patterns, yet failing to be able to figure out right from wrong by reasoning circumstances to such an end.   

 

Jesus was a compassionate man, who realized the social responsibility to supply that which was lacking for those in need, not as an opportunity to capitalize upon the suffering of another for personal gain, but as the right thing to do.  When his disciples reminded him of the hunger of the masses, rather than question the lifestyle or initiative of the people, Jesus fed them.  When Jesus saw folks suffering and in need of medical attention, rather than inquiring as to their ability to pay for medical care or judging their worthiness and character, Jesus simply tended to their needs.

 

Jesus Christ; be he a literal historical character, or be he a literary mythical character was a man who was lead by his intellect, and who acted in accord with his compassion for the suffering others.  In this regard, Jesus Christ may very well be the greatest of all examples of what it means to live as a Humanist.

 

It is my conclusion that the major distinctions between Christianity and Humanism are primarily differences related to mere tradition and doctrines. As to more practical concerns; namely those of social relations and human suffering, the common sympathies between the two philosophies are basically indistinguishable. Hence, if we would but dispatch with matters spiritual for the purpose of mutual cooperation; and then focus those efforts on the plight of the human condition, I am convinced that Humanists and Christians alike can do much to alleviate suffering among humanity.
And so the apparent antipathy between Christianity and Humanism being merely philosophical, I suggest that a pact of cooperative efforts for the common good would be a practical benefit for the entire global community, and at the same time an opportunity for Humanists and Christians alike to exercise their respective heartfelt convictions.   

On the TPP: A Human Rights and Environmental Disaster

It is my personal opinion that we the public need to be aware of and actively oppose the TPP. This is a human rights violation and environmental disaster plan in the making.

The TPP would further enable American profiteers to outsource jobs overseas to sweat shops; in order to exploit people for even less wages and expose workers to even worse and unsafe working conditions than our workers are exploited by and exposed to already here in USA. Furthermore, the TPP would allow companies to sue governments (foreign and their own) over even the potential loss of profits if laws passed by such countries could potentially reduce those companies’ profits. Thus; if a country attempts to legally raise the minimum wages for working people, or attempts to legally raise the standards for working conditions, or attempts to legally regulate carbon emissions; then any given company can sue such a government for potential profit losses based upon such laws. Sweatshops, unsafe working conditions, ongoing human induced global warming resulting in even further catastrophic climate change are all issues that the world will be dealing with if the predatory Capitalists of this generation are able to get this TPP into effective operation.

Sadly enough, it seems that we would have already learned our lessons about the social digression of multi company trade agreements which enable and empower Corporate profiteers in the exercise of exploitation of people for gain and profit. We certainly did no favors for our own generation and that of our children by way of the original multi company trade agreement which enabled and encouraged the fabrication of American products by sweatshop labor; that being the NAFTA agreement passed in 1994 during the Clinton Administration. And we are surely only compounding our disservice to this and future generations by considering ratcheting up that process by way of the TPP.

That said; if you have an ounce of decency or compassion in your hearts, please become aware of and actively oppose the exploitation of people and the human rights violations exercised in sweatshops worldwide, and which are enabled by such trade agreements as NAFTA, and the pending TPP.

On Predator Capitalists and Decent People

I do not believe in God,
But I do believe in good.
To be kind and compassionate,
I believe we all should.

Predator Capitalists,
Prey on the misery of others.
They exploit circumstances,
And take advantage of our global brothers.

These vultures and vermin,
Are always on the take.
From New Orleans to New Guinea,
Another dollar they want to make.

To hell with Predator Capitalists,
I’ve nothing more to say.
Except to ask this question:
How can decent people look the other way?

America, On Any Given Day

Preacherman say,
There’s a god up in heaven.
Loved you enough to make hell,
Eat your bread with no leaven.

Gambler say,
Seven come eleven.
Mathematician say,
Six before seven.

Policeman say,
Time to walk the beat.
Another unarmed black man,
Lies dead in the street.

Businessman say,
Accept pennies for your work.
Wipes his forehead with a money roll,
That dude’s a real jerk.

Two men wanna make love,
Politician get angry and vent.
Oil man say time for war,
Politician say “Where you want the troops sent?”

An oldie but goodie:
“Livin’ In The USA”
Scenes from America;
On Any Given Day.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

On French Bums and American Businessmen

French bums and American businessmen,
They pretty much the same.
Each live a life of dependency,
Each got their own game.

French bum live off handouts,
From the local grocery store.
Come next time he be hungry,
He be comin’ back for more.

American businessman live off labor,
Of others who do his work.
Pays out pennies on the dollars made,
I call this dude a jerk.

French bums and American businessmen,
They pretty much the same.
French bum live off handouts,
Survival is his game.

French bums and American businessmen,
They pretty much the same.
Businessman live off work of others,
Exploitation is his game.

French bums and American businessmen,
They pretty much the same.
Each live a life of dependency,
Each got their own game.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Content and Discreet

Content to be a wage slave,
I sing praises to the USA.
Better to be like everyone else,
Than to seek a better way.

Content to pledge allegiance,
To the flag of imperial rule.
If not brain washed at home,
What better place than in school?

Content to defend the rights,
Of plutocrats to exploit the rest.
Better that the poor stay hungry,
Than that there be social unrest.

Content that the few have the most,
And that the many provide for the elite.
Best to lower your eyes and submit,
And to be quiet and discreet.

Just who was Herbert Marcuse,
To critique one dimensional man?
Better to let as is be,
Than to think out a more humane plan.

Content to be a wage slave,
I sing praises to the USA.
Better to conform and comply,
Than to seek a more humane way.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas