Summary: Please read these in full. These are big stories. Too important to excerpt. Both concern every American. Perhaps they can help arouse the anger that might be the Republic’s only hope for survival.
“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
— Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (lightly paraphrased)
“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
— Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odyssey (1997)
Readers often complain that the FM website offers description of America’s problem — even diagnosis of America’s problems — but no solutions. I disagree. People look for formulas, nostrums, simple & easy solutions. Such as tinkering with the laws, Constitutional Conventions, even new ideologies.
I disagree. Any of these paths have the potential to reform America if we wish to reform America. None will work otherwise. By “wish” I don’t mean asking the Blue Fairy for a wish, but demanding reform — with a willingness to pay any price to achieve it. As have so many Americans before us.
I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
— Patrick Henry
“And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
— The Declaration of Independence
What might give us this will to force change? Perhaps contempt for what we’ve become. Perhaps anger. Read the two articles shown below to provide good reason for both anger and contempt. They’re by writers who deserve to be at the top of your daily reading pile. They’re the bright lights shining on the evolution of the America-that-Once-Was into The New America.
(1) “Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann: accountability for prosecutorial abuse“, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, 16 December 2012 — “Imposing real consequences on these federal prosecutors in the Aaron Swartz case is vital for both justice and reform.
This is small story — the US government’s abuse and persecution of one man, driving him to suicide. But it’s part of a larger story, the government’s shredding of the Constitution — the evolution of the America-That-Once-Was into The New America.
(2) “‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Is Osama bin Laden’s Last Victory Over America“, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 16 January 2013 — I said the same thing, but not so well: Bin Laden won, with our assistance. Our applause shows the scale of his victory.
The first step to reform: understanding — and revulsion
The first step to reform is not knowledge. Not logic. But rage, contempt at what we have become. From that other things can flow, good or bad depending on our character.
Weber points us toward Nietzsche as the common source for serious thinkers of the twentieth century. He also tells us what the single fundamental issue is: the relation between reason, or science, and the human good. When he speaks of happiness and the last man, he does not mean that the last man is unhappy, but that his happiness is nauseating. An experience of profound contempt is necessary in order to grasp our situation, and our capacity for contempt is vanishing.
Weber’s science presupposes this experience, which we would call subjective. After having encountered it in Nietzsche, he spent the greater part of his scholarly life studying religion in order to understand the non-contemptible, those who esteem or revere and are therefore not self-satisfied, those who have values …
— From The Closing of the American Mind, chapter “Values”, Allan Bloom (1987)
This is the opposite of most proposals offered today, which suggest blaming the world, the rich, or the poor, or terrorists,or foreigners — or our leaders, who cut the cake unfairly and refuse to kiss our boo-boos. Everybody is responsible, except us. Folks proposing such analysis suggest that we adopt the attitude of alarmed cattle. Or mice. Are they correct?
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For More Information
A look at America’s future: birth of the New America:
- A soft despotism for America?, 22 July 2008
- What comes after the Constitution? Can we see the outlines of the “Mark 3″ version?, 10 November 2008
- America reaches a tipping point as Washington becomes its heart and soul, 29 January 2009
- A look at America’s future – grim unless we get smart and pull together, 12 March 2009
- “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic”, 24 April 2009
- More about the tottering structure of the American political regime, 17 August 2009
- A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one, 30 March 2010
- For America to prosper it must first burn, 22 November 2010
- The hidden price America pays for its dark deeds (a high price, but not immediately visible), 26 March 2011
- Origins of what may become the 3rd American Republic (a plutocracy), 8 April 2011
- A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals, 10 August 2011
- Lewis Lapham explains why America needs a Third Republic, 26 December 2011
- How to Fund an American Police State (aka Weaponizing the Body Politic), 5 March 2012
- What will replace the Constitution in Americans’ hearts? Let’s check for Fascism., 29 March 2012
- Bulletins about the birth of the New America, and the disinformation driving it, 24 September 2012
- Under the cloak of liberalism America slides to Fascism, 20 October 2012
- Attention Americans: the Revolution has begun. You must choose a side., 23 November 2012
- The New America needs a new national anthem! Here’s my nomination., 24 November 2012