Created July 1, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
246 years ago, we became a country. 530 years ago, we began to colonize this beautiful terrain we call the United States of America. The colonists who came here were fleeing tyrannies and religious persecution, and seeking opportunities for living free lives, willing to face dangers and cognizant of the need to stick together for mutual protection. Among them were freethinkers whose hunger for knowledge had driven them to read widely most of the ideas written down by sages throughout the thousands of years human beings have been writing things down. The Founders respected the philosophy of Jesus Christ and the philosophy of Freemasonry, and some described themselves as deists, acknowledging the logic of a supreme creator. They tended to be openminded pragmatists, realists, and were excited at the prospects of science.
One of the principles of the American Revolution and its concomitant design of a new working model for governments, was to prevent any one person from gaining too much power. Another principle was the separation of church and state. The system was set up to be self-optimizing by innovative use of checks and balances. Our forefathers knew that any system could be gamed and that success would depend upon the good will and good intentions of honest people voted into office.
Because they were practical people, they knew they could not go hog-wild with new and unfamiliar ideas and still bring together the majority of American colonists. They would not have stood a chance of pulling it off if they proposed freeing slaves and giving every human being a vote. In 1776, colonist nuclear families were strong and could be self-sufficient survival units when they needed to be. Just as marketers today consider households a significant unit. Back then the unit had more unity than it does today. Giving the vote to the man or men in the household was a way of giving the vote to the household. The land to be settled was virtually infinite from the viewpoint of the 2,500,000 colonists in 1776 (there were also 600,000 Native Americans at that time) so it was assumed that everyone who wanted to vote could easily become a land owner. With the specific proposals the Founders made to the American people, as it was, they just barely made it. It was touch and go, many colonists weren’t sure whether they were loyal English folks or ready to risk their lives for a set of enticing ideas.
But here we are today. We made it through that gauntlet and have toughed it out through gauntlet after gauntlet since then.
We now face possibly the most terrible gauntlet we have ever faced: the system has been gamed from within.
A small number of people interested in power have conspired for a long time to set this up. It looks like one organized conspiracy but in all likelihood it’s a chain of ideologically linked separate cabals going back almost to the beginning. George Washington had urged us to never form parties but 20 years into it, we were in the two-party system, and over the years the things Washington warned us against – the party becoming more important to some people than the country – became ugly reality. Gerrymandering and filibustering became practices, despite their inherent conflict with the Constitutional principles not to mention common sense. Jefferson had the right idea that education was the key lever by which human beings could become the sane, ethical people presumed by the design of the freedom-based government. However, the content of that education was never developed to the point of sufficient efficacy to ensure sane, ethical graduates.
So, we are blessed to have been left, still today, being the ones who have that problem to solve. We are the ones to whom the prize of overcoming our own worst tendencies belongs. If not us, then to our children or grandchildren, but it must start with us, for we must teach our progeny what they need to know and do to finally put an end to the old corrupt ways that have always been so easy to fall back into.
To the average person, this challenge is so daunting that the almost universal reaction is to give up. I’m reminded of those Simon & Garfunkel lines in the song “Mrs. Robinson”:
Going to the candidates’ debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at this, you lose
This is why so many people don’t vote. They feel it’s not going to do any good. The powerphiliac perpetrators of minority rule are pleased that so many people don’t vote, it makes their plans easier to achieve.
As Americans, it’s our duty to fulfil the mission set for us in 1776. Whether we win or lose, it would be cowardly to not even try. We must all vote.
That’s not all.
Bias and Binarism
Life was always complicated, but never to this degree. The easy way out human beings always take when overwhelmed by complexity is to fall back on binarism: reducing everything to good guys and bad guys. Simplistic but satisfying as a way of achieving fake closure, this popular form of reductionism makes the world black and white. Objects in the world are sorted into one or the other. Stuff in the bad bucket is irredeemable. Oneself of course is always in the good bucket. This is another comforting factor of binarism.
Washington put down parties because they could cause counterproductive divisiveness within the nascent nation. He realized the tendency of people to operate based on attraction-repulsion and to form two poles, although being a practical person he did not go off on a philosophical rampage about it.
The illogic of the party system is that it’s based on the goodness of having a bias. A bias for change or against it. This is illogical because any bias is a fixed presumption which is likely to not perfectly fit every single situation. A better strategy is to be openminded and take everything on a case-by-case basis, looking at facts without bias. Yet political parties enshrine bias, like a superstition.
The situation in America today is caused by these things:
- Persistent underlying binarism between people driven by lust for power and people driven by lust for life.
- Pandemic binarism as part of a general self-dumbing-down strategy to cope with excess complexity (“Acceleritis”).
- Anger and hatred for a suspected enormous group of bad guys who are presumed responsible for all the bad things on this list.
- The subconscious gravitation of people into “belonging” groups.
- The almost universal assumption that we are all in this bar brawl on our own and there is nothing actually connecting us together making us all one.
- Massive frustration at the innumerable obstacles one faces each day and at the difference between one’s dreams and reality.
- A sense of not being able to make a difference, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- The party system, putting bias in the good bucket.
“You better free your mind instead.”
America is working it out. Go with the flow with an open mind, not foreclosing the future based on ancient schisms. Hit the reset button. Make your mind a clean slate. Consider each piece of evidence that hits your senses as if being born again right now. Now, that’s Independence Day!
As you may know, I’m writing a science fiction series to try every angle into empowering the minds of fellow beings with freeing thoughts and ways of being. Chuck Young, founder of Ameritest which is now part of Dynata, holder of patents for innovations in measuring the effects of communications, and wide-ranging genius, read my new novel Pandemonium: Live To All Devices, and wrote an interesting review of it containing sophisticated allusions to literature, philosophy and science, I thought you might enjoy.
Happy July Fourth Holiday!