commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

The Individual Freedom Reclamation Amendment

Thinking about how religious people in the US, from diverse traditions, can reclaim our Nation from corporate control, led to a search of Catholic encyclicals.  One thing that keeps popping up in Catholic social justice – identical to things I have heard from many fellow Witches – is the dignity of the human person.  Although not widely known,  several encyclicals starting with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum make it clear that the Roman Catholic Church opposes US-style capitalism just as much as it opposes socialism. In fact, it opposes any economic or political system which violates the dignity of the human person.  Given that many Baptist and Evangelical churches were deeply involved in the civil rights movement, I would think that many Protestants share this belief as well.

As the current pope has put it:

“the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

One problem in the Western world is that corporations – in legalese, “non-natural persons” – are recognized as persons by the legal system. This enables large amounts of capital to be used in ways no human person could muster: to control media, depress wages, and eliminate the “social security” net (not speaking solely of the US agency called “Social Security”.)

To restore the dignity of the human person as superior to capital – as is the belief of many Pagans, as well as many Christians – I think the following Amendment to the US Constitution might be appropriate:

ARTICLE (?).
1. No Right, stated in this Constitution, shall apply to persons other than Natural Persons, unless specifically granted to persons other than Natural Persons.

2. Section 1 of this Amendment shall not apply to the Powers of Congress as enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of this Constitution.

3. For the purposes of this Constitution, and all laws and regulations made subject to it, the phrase “limited Times” or other like phrases shall be construed as one-third of the average lifespan of a Natural Person citizen of the United States. Said lifespan shall be calculated on a decennial basis by the Social Security Administration or successor agencies; if said agencies cease to exist the national Census shall be modified to determine said lifespan.

4. Sections 1- 3 of this Amendment are curative and shall apply immediately to all treaties, laws, and court decisions now standing.

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“Corporate Greed”: a useless simplification

I see a lot of people complaining about corporate greed, as if a legal charter given to a group of people somehow acquires the very human attribute of greed. Corporations don’t have greed. They can’t. As Sir Edward Coke, sitting as the King’s Bench, put it in the Sutton Hospital Case of 1612:

“They may not commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicate, for they have no souls, neither can they appear in person, but by Attorney.”

Corporations do not have greed. People have greed, which is often more successful when hidden behind a for-profit corporation. Using the phrase “corporate greed” buys into the very denial of the I-thou relationship that the greedy people have. Calling it “corporate greed” aids and abets the glamorie that the owners of the corporation use the corporation for: there’s no people here, it’s just a corporation, it’s freedom, what’s your problem anyway? With a corporation, an individual human can only have an I-it relationship, eliminating any chance of dialogue and real change.

In order to break down the walls in society against I-thou relationships, people opposed to massive accumulation of wealth by individual persons need to initiate such connections, instead of attacking the phantom of “corporate greed”. One philosophical song that I see as addressing the desire to attack the greedy as opposed to the need to first make an I-thou connection with a particular person in hopes of establishing a resonance is T. Thorn Coyle’s “Hey Mister” (from her Give Us a Kiss! CD):

“Hey mister,it’s really not my place to put you down
Hey mister, it’s not in my theology.
Hey mister, I shouldn’t run your name into the ground
But I seem to do it anyway!

Hey mister, I know that I should see the God within
Hey mister, but in your eyes she doesn’t seem to play;
Hey mister, I suppose I ought to listen not defend
Hey mister, but I just don’t see the world your way.

All I see are your big cars,
And the way my neighborhood has changed;
It makes me want to shout you out:
And pull my hair like I’m deranged!
I want to bring salvation back;
I really want us to evolve –
But I don’t know how to see a thing
The money, opposition and false power.”

“Hey mister”: it’s a phrase one-to-one. It derecognizes the phony personhood of the corporation and tries to initiate a conversation with an individual, human, person who wields money and power behind the corporate glamorie.

Attacking “corporate greed” has gotten practically nowhere. Perhaps it’s time to look at another strategy; a humanistic strategy; a strategy of finding connections to those hiding behind “corporations”. Perhaps it’s time to try to see the world the way corporate owners (not managers unless they are also major stockholders) see it; it’s the only way to establish a slow resonance in dialogue to ultimately change the frequency.

Corporations have no souls, no greed, no lust, no passion. Attacking corporate greed is a symbolic action so divorced from the actual people who wield power and money, and an action so divorced from humanistic and social justice I-thou traditions, that it wastes energy that could be better used in addressing the actual people of power and money.

Quote Updates 9/22

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):
“If an institution is too big to fail, then that institution is too big to exist.”
http://sanders.senate.gov/

Walter Kittredge (1863):
“Many are the hearts that are weary tonight, wishing for the war to cease; many are the hearts looking for the right, to see the dawn of peace.”
http://www.merrimackhistory.org/Walter%20Kittredge.htm

Anton Szandor LaVey:
“It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable.”
http://www.satanicchurch.com/content/9-sins.aspx

Brendan Cathbad Myers:
“When most pagans think of ethics, they usually think of the Wiccan Rede — a highly utilitarian idea which has nothing to do with virtue. I’d like to change that.”
http://www.wildideas.net/cathbad/

Ken Sanzel:
“Not every story has a point. Sometimes you just bend spaghetti to watch it break.”

For the Fallen

Sometimes a poet, writing of one matter – in Laurence Binyon’s case, the English Expeditionary Force in the First World War – will write words so timeless that those parts not specifically tied to place or time re-echo through the ages whenever a like event occurs.

The second, fourth, sixth, and seventh verses of For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon, for this eve of 9/11:

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

[…]

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

[…]

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Leave Georgia, pretty please, Czar Putin

My grandfather, the late Andrzhei Antonovich Dzialtvo, fled Lithuania with his family around 1902, when he was about four years of age.  It was during one of Russia’s periodic invasions of countries around it, which Russia has engaged in as a regular hobby long before Europe even noticed the Americas existed.

It’s also long-known that asking the Czar – whatever he goes by, Czar, General Secretary,  President, or Prime Minister – to stop invading gives the guy a good belly laugh.

So this is what I’ve suggested by phone to my Congressional Representative, the Hon. Christopher H. Smith (R4-NJ), and one of my Senators, the Hon. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), in a call made to each of their offices:

  • The President of the United States of America should immediately recall his ambassador from Moscow and reduce relations to a chargé d’affaires level;
  • The State Department of the United States of America should issue a warning to all American citizens in Russia to promptly leave Russia;
  • The President of the United States of America should, by Executive Order, immediately declare a suspension of all trade with the Russian Republic.

That will get Vladimir Putin’s attention.  Calling for meetings and asking politely has not worked for dealings with Russia in over a millennium, and it obviously is not going to work now.

When I called Rep. Smith’s office, I was told that the Congress couldn’t do anything because Speaker Pelosi has declared a recess; I pointed out that the Representative was quite good at holding press conferences and could issue a public statement calling for these measures from the executive branch of the US government.  Senator Lautenberg’s office was a little more encouraging, and the staffer had a good laugh when I told him about Rep. Smith’s staffer trying to blame Speaker Pelosi for a possible inability for Rep. Smith to say anything publicly.

This is going to make it an interesting Olympic season, too…

Remembrances of a slandered Goddess

I remember.

I remember rocking the cradle;
The cradle of humanity’s civilization.

For thousands of Earth’s journeys around its Sun
I was Queen and I was Goddess.

I was heard of in the lands beyond
I was worshipped as Goddess but not taken as Queen
I did not require such.

I had my people in the cradle
My people that I was Queen for
That was enough for any Queen
And as for a Goddess: I accepted other worship
And behaved towards them as a true and faithful Goddess.

Then the murders came.
I remember.
I remember a being who chose Godhead
I remember a being who hid Kingship
Behind his worshipers.

I remember a being who, like me, had his people
I remember a being who, unlike me, rejected all but his people
I remember a being who never reached the lands in my Queenship
I remember a being who told his Priests to kill all but his people
I remember a being who brought slaughter to My worshipers and others
I remember a being who would not be stopped; a Mountain Godhead
I remember a being, a warGod, through and through
I remember a being who has slandered me from that time forward
I remember a being who hid behind his worshipers
I remember taking revenge for his people’s killing of my people
I remember not resisting until it was too late
Even now in the Time of Reawakening
I am feared as a killer instead of worshipped as Protectress
He is worshipped as Guardian of Peace instead of condemned as warmonger

He has his people still
He has allowed others to join his people
Provided they are as warlike as those they join
They say their wars are to protect peace
Even now a mongrel nation attacks my ancient Lands
Their leader a worshiper of the warmonger
But here and there, a thought, a prayer, calls me to Reawakening
I know not what power I have left
My worshipers are few and scattered
Evil curses still rain upon me from his worshipers
They believe that my retribution for his attacks
Retribution not was, but rather my war
They believe I am and was the attacker
They believe I will still attack
Even in the thousands of years past where no such has occurred
No such could occur
I remember I am not attacker I am defender

I remember
I remember a time of peace
I remember a time of Queenship
I remember a time when I and mine were Blessed
I do not know if I remember a Future Time which mirrors Past Time
Does anyone remember?

I finally watched “What the Bleep”

and was significantly underwhelmed. Maybe it’s because I’ve already read some of the underlying philosophies (such as that of Dr. Pert); but the thing that really put me off was the channeled being “Ramtha”, or maybe his host – it was never clear which was speaking – called the idea of the Biblical God, a God who is concerned with acts of wrongness by each insignificant human on this insignificant planet in the backwaters of the Milky Way, “impossible.”

Now, granted, I’m no big fan of the idea of the God of Abraham, especially as described in the Bible, as being a sophisticated enough being to create the universe. That said, the underlying epistemology of What the Bleep do We Know? is supposedly the myriad possibilities, and the notion that nothing is impossible. Ramtha simply didn’t fit into the thesis being presented; within the ideas being presented the best that could be said is that such a deity’s existence had not been experienced by Ramtha.

My suggestion: go to a couple of Reclaiming Witchcamps and pick up a book or two on epistemology, and Dr. Pert’s book Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine. As for their quantum physics thing, just watch the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where Cmdr./Captain Sisko encounters the prophets. They’re more fun to watch, and convey the same idea without having to deal with the fact that quantum physics theories change so fast that they’re usually obsolete by the time of publication anyway.