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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Damn The Socialists!

Damn the Socialists!
Damn them all to Hell!!
Those thieves of personal rights,
On behalf of the common welfare!!

Vile vermin!
Bleeding hearts with no spine!!
They would deny a man the right,
To exploit the services of human kind!!

How dare the Liberal scum,
Deny me the right to claim as mine!
The air, the land, and the profits,
And to pocket the most as mine!!

How dare the pinko commies,
Claim that profits are for the common good!
When I could invest the profits for my personal benefit,
As every good businessman should!!

How dare these bleeding hearts,
Deny a self made man the right to keep for himself!
The profits from the labor of others,
Who are mere minions and laboring elves!!

How dare those pinko Libs,
Be more concerned with poverty.
Than with legislation which functions,
To provide even more for me!!!

Damn the Socialists!
Damn them all to Hell!!
Those thieves of personal rights,
On behalf of the common welfare!!

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

On Humanity and The Fundamentals of Socialism

I maintain that most people are actually socialists and simply do not realize such to be the case. The reason being, I believe most people are decent deep down inside.

You ask a person: “Do you believe that every person has a natural right to food, water, shelter, and medical care in time of need?”; then if their answer is “yes”; then that person believes in the fundamental principles of socialism. You ask a person: “Do you believe every person has the right to exploit the circumstances of other people for their own personal profit; even if people, especially children, suffer in the process?”; then if their answer is “no”; then that person does NOT believe in the fundamental principles of Capitalism.

I repeat: I believe that most people are socialists and do not realize it, because I believe most people are decent deep down inside.

Denton, Texas Demonstrates Democracy In Action; Bans Fracking!!!

Last night yielded questionable results for the American people in the Senate, but there was a major victory for Democracy in Denton, Texas!!

I am so proud of my daughter Cassie Henderson and the entire community of Denton for standing up to big oil and big money by exercising Democracy in Action by voting to ban fracking in their town.

This grassroots effort was David vs Goliath; a community of concerned citizens versus the money of big oil and the fracking industry.

Goliath spent the money and spread the misinformation.

Goliath threatened to and no doubt will sue the City of Denton for the sins of the citizens.

And what were the sins of the citizens of Denton, Texas?

The sins of the citizens of Denton, Texas is that they refused to be economically terrorized, bullied, and pushed around by Goliath.

The citizens of Denton, Texas refused to bow the knee to Baal by meekly submitting to the will of the fracking industry.

The citizens of Denton put five rocks in the sling, and confronted the mighty, loud mouthed Goliath; but it only took one rock and a lot of collective effort to get the job done.

The people of Denton, Texas demonstrated, held concerts, performed informative and thought provoking plays (Cassie’s significant role was via this venue), wrote letters, and basically banded together against the fracking industry, and THEN….

They went to the Polls on Election Day and collectively said HELL NO to the fracking industry and big oil.

Denton, Texas has won a victory for clean air, clean water, and for the environment.

And in the process Denton, Texas has demonstrated to America what Democracy is and how Democracy functions.

Thank you Denton, Texas for showing the rest of America how Democracy can work for the people and for the planet against greed and big business!!!!

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

The Social Immorality of Our Obsessive Quest For Oil

Drilling for oil amounts to the rape of the earth in order to reap profits for an elite few. Insensitivity as to the harmful effects of our obsessive quest for fossil fuel is simply shameless.  At some point we simply must ask ourselves “should we” instead of being guided by the principle of “can we” with no consideration of the consequences for our actions.  The rape of the earth in order to reap profits for an elite few is simply shameful and socially sinful.

Consider the depths of the immoral means to which our society has stooped; all due to our obsessive quest for oil:

Our obsession with oil has seen our government illegally invade and occupy foreign lands.

Our obsession with oil has seen our government illegally overthrow other legally and democratically elected governments (see Iran, 1953)

Our obsession with oil has seen our government illegally endorse and engage in the torture of other persons.

Our obsession with oil has seen our government execute war against civilians, indiscriminately killing women, children, and the elderly in the process.

And for what?  To fuel our homes and our automobiles?  At what price in terms of social suffering?

We pollute and destroy.

We invade and we kill.

And for what?

The truth be told our obsessive quest for oil has lead us to rape the environment and pillage other societies so that an elite few who don’t give a rats ass about our convenience can reap the profits of our social sins.  In fact, our society’s obsessive quest for oil is about the acquisition of and the accumulation of wealth for the elite few who profit from the process.

Hence, so long as radio and television pundits propagandize on behalf of these shameless profiteers, then our general public will continue to buy into the blatant lie that there are no alternatives other than fossil fuels to serve as a  viable means to heat and cool our homes and fuel our vehicles.  Furthermore, so long as oil companies and corporations are allowed to have the same rights as natural persons, then they will simply continue to bribe the political system to execute their will so as to maintain the wars and pass the legislation conducive to keep our society hopelessly dependent upon further obsessive quests for fossil fuels, and so on and on our social immoralities shall continue.

Meanwhile, countries with less means at their disposal than our own are devising ways to survive off clean energy sources.

Why can’t we do so?

Or is it: Why WON’T we do so?

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

Bonnie and Clyde: The Story Behind the Story

This Friday marks the 80th Anniversary of one of the most infamous of all executions ever carried out by Texas authorities. This particular execution did not take place on Texas soil, nor by way of seemingly conventional means.  For it was May 23, 1934 at a few minutes after 9 AM, that six gunmen ambushed and viciously shot to death a young couple who were driving down a lonely two lane road in Louisiana.  The first shot took part of the young man’s head off.  As he was the driver, the car went off the road.  When the young lady, who was the passenger screamed, the gunmen proceeded to fill the young couple with bullets.  The events so described are in my judgment among the most vile and vicious of deeds related to the account of BONNIE AND CLYDE…….

Most folk have heard of “Bonnie and Clyde”; mainly due to the 1967 film which told the story of their vicious and bloody two year crime spree which lead to the deaths of more than a dozen, and which terrorized the Southwest to the degree of hysteria.  Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker are among the most famous of all Dallas-ites.  The story of their crime spree being so widely known, I would like to briefly address “The Story Behind The Story”, for as is so oftentimes the case with hardened criminals:  There is most definitely “a story behind the story”….

By no means do I wish to glorify or justify the deeds of this young Dallas couple.  Clyde Barrow, the leader of “The Barrow Gang”, was a hardened criminal and a cold blooded killer.  The role of Bonnie Parker in the violent deeds of the gang is oftentimes exaggerated to the point of femdom style glorification.  Her role was depicted thusly mainly due to pictures of her clowning around with a cigar in her mouth which were printed in most of the nation’s newspapers during the heat of the pursuit of local peace officers who were desperately attempting to capture the true killer of the group, her lover, Clyde Barrow.  Although Ms Parker will likely forever be characterized in folklore as a cigar smoking, gun toting murderess,  the truth is she may very well have shot no one.

As to Clyde Barrow himself, his life of crime reads like so many others who choose such a path:  1)  He was the product of extreme poverty, and 2)  He was hardened by prison life.

When Clyde Barrow’s family moved to West Dallas (no longer exists as an entity as such, incorporated by Dallas in 1954. Basically lies between west Dallas and the city of Irving), they were so poor they had no place to live.  Clyde’s father, like many other tenant farmers, was starving along with his family due to drought and famine.  The Barrow’s were so poor that upon their arrival to “the city” they lived out of his wagon under the Trinity River viaduct.  When Mr Barrow bought the family a tent, that was a social upgrade, for they then became citizens of “Tent City” which was a crowded dwelling place of the many homeless who migrated to West Dallas during the 1920’s….

One of Clyde’s first encounters with the law was when he was arrested as a teenager for stealing turkeys.  One is lead to wonder:  Why steal turkeys?  One is lead to speculate that perhaps he stole because he was hungry.  Why was young Clyde Barrow hungry?  And that brings us back to “the story behind the story”:  Clyde Barrow was the product of extreme poverty.  Yet poverty was but the beginning of the social demise of Clyde Barrow….

His deeds as a petty thief eventually lead to prison.  It was while in prison that Clyde Barrow became a hardened criminal.  Clyde Barrow was a small young man, and his size and youth made him vulnerable to the extremely violent class within prison.  Clyde was repeatedly sexually violated by one particular prisoner.  Receiving no help from the authorities, Clyde took matters into his own hands, and at an opportune time,he beat his assailant to death.  This was a major step in Clyde Barrow’s social decline.  There were several prisoners who later attested to the fact that his prison experiences hardened Clyde into a cold blooded killer.  So bad were his experiences in prison, that Clyde actually chopped off part of his own foot in hopes of receiving a medical release!

Clyde Barrow, hardened criminal and cold blooded killer was a victim of society and the penal system.  Society all too oftentimes turns its back on the poor and the uneducated.  Clyde Barrow was poor and uneducated.   The Penal System all too oftentimes only serves to harden young offenders who are incarcerated within, Clyde Barrow being a specific case in point.

I have no answers to the social conditions which lead Clyde Barrow to his murderous crime spree.  I have no justification for the terrible deeds of Clyde Barrow.  But even now, some 80 years after the cold blooded murder of Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker at the hands of “Peace Officers”, I simply ask this question:

Could society be at least partly to blame for the Clyde Barrows of the world?:

Sometimes I wonder,

What sort of fellow,

Might have been,

The infamous Clyde Barrow.

If as a very young boy;

He would not have lived under the Trinity River viaduct;

On account of the fact;

That at dirt farming; his poor daddy just could not make a buck.

Yeah I wonder what thoughts ran thru young Clyde’s mind;

As at night he may very well have been starin’;

From his family’s “home” in the old Tent City;

At the lights of Dallas as they were a glarin’.

Yeah I cant help but wonder;

If things would not have differed for the likes of Bonnie and Clyde;

If instead of growin’ up poor in old West Dallas;

They had grown up in a home with plenty to provide.

Would the death wish that characterized this dynamic duo;

Have developed within Bonnie and Clyde;

Would they have met such a violent end;

On that Louisiana ride;

If society could have seen fit;

To provide for the likes of Bonnie and Clyde?

And sometimes I wonder;

As I see the poor on the streets of Dallas;

If I am seeing a Bonnie or a Clyde in the making;

Who will bear against society a similar malice.

Yeah, as I see the poor on the streets of Dallas;

I cannot but these very thoughts ponder;

Yeah, as I see the poor on the streets of Dallas;

I cannot but think about Dallas’ own Clyde Barrow.

(Note:  I count myself very lucky to have been raised in the comforts of a nice home in Carrollton; a suburb of North Dallas with clean streets and good schools.  It was a great place to grow up and develop into early manhood when I did so in the 1970’s.  I actually consider myself damn lucky when I consider the environment that young Clyde Barrow grew up in just a few miles South and about 50 years earlier….)

On Poverty and Social Obligations (Deuteronomy 15:7-11)

Although I no longer regard the Bible as more than literature created in the human mind and crafted by human hands, I nonetheless do find this ancient material interesting, if not downright fascinating.  And more specifically, I find certain sections of the writings contained therein reasonable if not downright practical.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 is just such a very passage.

Deuteronomy 15 makes sense to me.

Deuteronomy 15 makes sense to me because it speaks of the human condition as it truly is.

Deuteronomy 15 makes sense to me because it speaks of the reality of poverty.

Deuteronomy 15 makes sense to me because it offers a realistic and practical resolution to the realities of poverty.

The following is the text of Deuteronomy 15:7-11; which is very specific as to the obligations imposed by the Hebrew culture as to the real world issue of poverty.  (The text is copied and pasted from biblegateway.com.  The bold lettered emphasis is mine)

DEUTERONOMY 15:7-11:

7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:

8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.

11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

My comments:

1.  This passage addresses the realities of the human condition:  “the poor shall never cease out of the land” (Deuteronomy 15:11).

2.  This passage addresses the fundamental problem with regards to how those with money all too oftentimes tend to relate to the poor.

  • Hesitantly

  • Begrudgingly

  • Resentfully

3.  This passage is clear as to the responsible party with regards to resolving the issue of poverty.

  • The responsible party was those with the means to resolve the issue of poverty.

  • The responsible party was those who had the money to give to the poor.

4.  This passage is clear as to the obligations of those with the means to assist the poor and with the money to give to the poor:

  • They were to give to the poor.  Period.

  • Even if the timing was such that the loaner would likely not receive back the full money, because of “the year of release” (cf Deut 15:1-2).

  • Those with the means were to give to the poor.  Period.

5.  This passage is clear as to the attitude with which those with the means were to assist the poor:

  • Freely

  • Willingly

I regard Deuteronomy 15:11 as a passage which addresses the realities of the human condition and the resolutions thereof in an unmistakably clear and concise social commandment:

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

Oh that humanity never had to suffer the condition of poverty; but so many do. (Deut 15:11)

Oh that humanity would periodically release the debt of the poor; with no conditions and no  strings attached; if only they would.  (Deut 15:1-2)

Oh that humanity would “open wide” their hand and their hearts to the poor and the needy… if only they could see it in their deepest sense of compassion to do so…..

Oh that humanity cared as much about the suffering of others in this world, in “the here and the now”; as they do about the fear of their own suffering in “the afterlife”……

“open wide thine hand unto thy brother, to thy poor and to thy needy, in thy land”…..

Plenty of opportunities out there to do so……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3KoJj4dz2I

That Was Then, But This Is Now

(Disclaimer:  Socially irreverent  thoughts.  You have been warned.  Proceed at your own philosophical peril.)

All my life I have heard about the “founding fathers”.

Who the hell were they anyway?  What characterized a person who was alive then as being a “founding father”?  What criteria distinguished a “founding father” in those days from a “non-founding father”?  And what about the “founding mothers”?  Are there no “founding mothers”?

And who gives a damn about the social theories of people who lived some 200 years ago?  How do their lives relate to us now?  The fact is that those people, whoever the hell they were, are now dead and gone.  Nothing we do affects them, nor vice versa.

They did what they thought was best for them when they were alive, it is we who are alive now who must think for ourselves.

Are we so  helpless that we can no longer think for ourselves?  Must we consult the writings of exclusively white male organizers who have been dead for almost 200 years in order to know how a society should exist?

And lest we fall all over ourselves genuflexing and  worshiping the almighty memory of this exclusive club for their foundational foresight, let us remind ourselves that they were either bigoted sexists or they were victims of their own social ignorance.

The fact is that our “founding fathers” gave neither those of a different gender nor skin tone a voice in the proceedings and there is no reason to believe that they would move to do so now were they alive in our era.

If social ignorance is a defense for those who founded a nation based upon the right to capture and enslave Africans; conquer and displace the Native Americans; and to subjugate and oppress women; then I rest my case on that very defense.

Why the hell should we who are alive today give a damn what the “founding fathers” would think about decisions we make today, in the light of the decisions they made then?

Listen Up Young People!!

I look at this younger generation and I wonder, “what have they learned from mine?”:

Have they grasped the vital importance to scrutinize and judge humanity before making efforts to relieve human suffering?

Do they understand that it is more likely that the thousands who are suffering in poverty are lazy shiftless losers, than the remote possibility that the few hundred who live in lavish luxury are greedy exploiters of the globe in general and of humanity specifically?

Do they understand that industry and imperialism merely must be supported by foreign military endeavors, and that the cost of such is the reduction of unnecessary expenses such as education of the young and healthcare for the elderly and disabled?

Do they realize that even though our nation was founded by the brutal, deceptive, and exploitative efforts of undocumented foreigners, that illegal aliens merely must not be accepted into our society but must rather be relegated to the shadows and back alleys of our righteous society?

Do they not understand that even though sharing and caring is the way of kindergarten, that in the adult world such is a socialist plot to undermine and overthrow our very way of life?

Do they not understand how vitally important it is to blindly pledge allegiance to their society for no other reason than they were born on American soil?

Do they not realize that the attempted genocide of the Native Americans was a part of God’s plan for a righteous people much like the attempted genocide of the Canaanites was a part of God’s plan for the Israelites?

Do they not further understand that any seemingly brutal practices of the American military such as waterboarding and torturing individuals or drone strikes that kill civilians are justified because God is on our side?

Finally, and perhaps this is most important:

Do the young people of today not understand how vitally important it is for them to overcome the idealism of their youth as soon as possible so they can become the self serving exploiters of tomorrow?

Listen up young people!:

It is up to you to maintain the American way of life!!!

A Burden to Bear

People bearing burdens bring the best out in humanity. 

The person carrying a load who approaches a door is likely to inspire a complete stranger to rush to open the door for them.  The person who rushes to open the door is so inspired not by any expectation of gain or approval in so doing. The person who rushes to open the door is so inspired not because of common ideology with the burden bearer.  In fact, the person who is inspired to rush to open the door likely knows absolutely nothing about the person carrying the load except that the burden bearer is carrying a load.   The fact that the burden bearer is carrying a load is enough, in and of itself, to so inspire the complete stranger to rush to open the door for the person carrying the load. 

Indeed, people bearing burdens bring the best out in humanity.

Imagine how inspired people would be to rush to aid each other if we would realize that EVERYONE bears burdens.  Not all burdens are as noticeable as a load that someone is carrying in their arms.  In fact, most burdens that folks bear are more troublesome than a mere load in one’s arms.

People bearing burdens bring the best out in humanity. 

Or do they?