The bizarre but easy next step to fixing America.

Summary:  By now most Americans see the need for drastic political reform in America. This post explains why nothing happens (the usual stories are wrong), and how we can take the first step to fixing the Republic. It’s not what you expect.

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom – go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
Samuel Adams’ speech to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on 1 August 1776.

Vision

Hundreds of posts on the FM website have documented the political crisis of the Second Republic (founded on the Constitution), a sliver of the work done on this great issue by Americans. The Republic burns, with a New America under construction right now on its ruins. By now most Americans see this. That is wonderful news. Problem recognition is the first and most difficult step. But the next steps are hard.

Our wealthy opponents have a simpler task: rebuilding the America of the Gilded Age. They seek power, order, and control. The ways and means of plutocracy have been polished over millennia. Their capstone tool is propaganda, scientifically perfected during the 20th century.

Against this we have fragments of ideas about reform, a powerful inheritance from the Founders, and centuries of political theory of proven effectiveness. Yet we cannot assemble these pieces together into an effective whole. Scores of posts discuss possible solutions: goals, strategy, the use of anger and protests and art and music. All in vain, so far.

I watch our efforts to reform with the same feeling of despair as I had opening the box late Christmas evening and finding dozens of pieces, all of which must be assembled before dawn into a shiny toy. Everything I needed was there, except useful instructions. I knew it could be done, but lacked a vision of the process. I could see the path; victory required only skill and effort.

“The problem is choice.”
— Neo in The Matrix Reloaded (2003).

Why has the Second Republic fallen so? What changed? How can we fix or replace it? We tell ourselves a thousand simple stories answering these questions, stories like those in Kipling’s Just So Stories (like “How the camel got his hump“). These often show great creativity, but strike no sparks with us. Most Americans see that the Republic is dying. Most find this terrifying, except those on fringes. The far-Left considers the Republic illegitimate, even evil – – and wants to build dream castles to replace it. The far-Right hopes for an armageddon after which the Pure and Strong will Build a New City on a Hill. Both are part of the problem, but only a small part. The apathy of the majority is the core problem. We can only guess at the reasons: fear, cowardliness, irresponsibility?

“We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.”
— The Oracle in The Matrix Reloaded (2003).

Another perspective on our situation

“{T}his was the object of the Declaration of Independence. not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we [were] compelled to take.”
Letter by Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 8 May 1825.

Chess or Go?
By XKCD.

Perhaps how we see our condition is part of the problem. We live on a game board, and so do not see the game. Like ants wandering across the black and white squares, we only see the giant pieces looming over us. We cannot see the nature of the game, its rules, or how we can win. We think winning results from racing across the board, or hopping on the correct squares – or that we cannot win because the game is played by gods with us as bug observers.

“The world revolves around the creators of new ideas, revolves silently.”
— Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

This is a matter of vision. We are in a new world. Appeals to traditional values, such as citizenship and patriotism, no longer work. If we can find a new and effective perspective on our situation, then the answers to many key questions will become obvious. Rejoice in this good news. The first step to political reform requires only thought – not risking our lives, fortunes, or sacred honor. Finding this vision is the purpose of the FM website.

“I want you to think of a jigsaw puzzle-with most of the pieces missing and no picture on the cover of the box to guide you. Now think of a warehouse full of similar incomplete jigsaw puzzles. Now mix them all up. Now find someone who’s never seen a jigsaw puzzle before in his life, and put him in the middle of this pile of mixed-up pieces and ask him to figure out what’s going on here. At the point he realizes what a jigsaw puzzle is, he’s won the game. He’s solved the hardest part of the problem.”

— From the science fiction novel A Matter for Men by David Gerrold.

Unfortunately, having a clear course of action does not mean that victory will be cheap or easy. What happens next is up to us. Nothing will happen without Americans willing to risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.

“A large Japanese fleet has been contacted. … This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

— Commander Ernest E. Evans, captain of the destroyer USS Johnston, on 25 October 1944 at the Battle off Samar. There the US Navy won one of WII’s great victories over a vastly superior Japanese force. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. For more about this see The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour.

Phoenix

For More Information

We can fix America. See the suggestions in Reforming America: steps to a new politics.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about politics in America, about the Trump years in America, and especially these…

  1. Can we organize the political reform of America? Our past shows how.
  2. The 1% are changing America. It’s our move.
  3. Resolve to begin the reform of America in 2017!
  4. A picture of America, showing a path to political reform.
  5. A 4th of July reminder that America is ours to keep – or to lose!
  6. Andrew Bacevich looks at America’s political rot and describes solutions.

14 thoughts on “The bizarre but easy next step to fixing America.

  1. Larry,

    Have you read Lind’s Victoria? It describes a highly-plausible way by which reforms and civilization could be achieved through grass-roots organization. However, the characters all have honor, courage, commitment, and cooperation. So much of success depends on enough people having these virtues. In my experience, they are severely lacking among modern Americans.

    1. PRCD,

      I like Lind. We correspond and talk. I’ve learned a lot for him, and respect his work. But even his strongest admirers believe he has to be relied on selectively. That’s often so with creative people. As they said of Churchill: “When he’s right, he’s great. When he’s wrong – OMG!”

      I’m uninterested in the almost-identical (structurally) fantasies of the Left and Right of apocalypses that result in the triumph of the Pure and Ideologically Correct. As Vdare describes Victoria’s plot, a “Time of Tribulations before the golden age of social restoration that ends the novel.” Note how the most extreme Left and Right love that formula.

      Dreams of the Great Day That Arises When the Evil Society Burns Down and the Righteous Rise Up. IMO, this genre acts as opiate for pleasant peasants. Real citizens – working for reform – have no interest in these fantasies.

      To mention one obvious fact: we have to learn to live with fellow Americans with different views. That’s been true since long before the Founding. Societies whose people instead dream of crushing their fellow citizens rightly wind up on the trash bin of history.

  2. Thought there might be something, anything, on the bipartisan bill to end the Saudi-led war in Yemen. On the other hand, yet another jerk-off fest in the comments about Lind’s unreadable novel will be cool. Forgot most of the readership on this blog are shut-in “autobahn aficionados”.

    1. Max,

      (1) “Thought there might be something, anything, on the bipartisan bill to end the Saudi-led war in Yemen.”

      Why would you expect that on a post about the process of reforming America? Why would you believe that is the first step to reforming American? If that past, how would America be different?

      (2) “yet another jerk-off fest in the comments about Lind’s unreadable novel will be cool”

      There have been 7 comments mentioning Victoria among the 56000 comments on the FM website. Three by the same person. No “jerk off fests.”

      (3) “Forgot most of the readership on this blog are shut-in “autobahn aficionados”.

      I know some of the people commenting here, and they have very distinguished bios. My guess that their’s are much more so than yours.

    2. Follow-up –

      The list of “authors” on the home page is automatically generated by WordPress, listing all the authors on this website. It can’t be edited.

      These people helped launch the FM website, contributing the massive effort to get it off the ground. Several of them remain valuable advisors today.

    3. Hi Max,

      Lind is a fan of light rail. That makes us “bahnhof aficionados” not “autobahn aficionados.”

  3. “Time of Tribulations before the golden age of social restoration that ends the novel.” Note how the most extreme Left and Right love that formula.

    Yes, it’s a relic of the Christian worldview.

    To mention one obvious fact: we have to learn to live with fellow Americans with different views. That’s been true since long before the Founding. Societies whose people instead dream of crushing their fellow citizens rightly wind up on the trash bin of history.

    I also think that the ideological divides between Americans are too deep for us to live with one-another. Both sides could back away from their ideologies, but what do the sides have in common? I have a completely-different worldview than my liberal neighbors. They want to use the State to crush me.

    1. PRCD,

      “also think that the ideological divides between Americans are too deep for us to live with one-another.”

      They are no larger than at many other points in US history. Journalists live in the now, ignorant of the past, so they describe everything as SUPERDUPER UNIQUE! Or perhaps they know better, but realize that we don’t.

  4. I feel uneasy to quote a paragraph from someone else’s work (talking living authors); but this time I don’t think anyone could say it any better than — John B. Cobb Jr.:
    “Ever since World War II, what the United States has done has been widely copied. Hence this country has had a great opportunity to lead the world. For the most part, it has led in the wrong direction. The United States and the whole world, including China, are paying, and will continue to pay, a high price. But the days of American leadership are ending. I would still like for the U.S. to engage in major reforms, but it is too late for these to change the world. We can rejoice that the American century is giving way to the Chinese century.”

    Whether the Chinese (and Russians) would play their cards right and not engage in a major show-down, that’s another question.

    1. The Real Peterman,

      See the penultimate paragraph:

      “If we can find a new and effective perspective on our situation, then the answers to many key questions will become obvious. Rejoice in this good news. The first step to political reform requires only thought – not risking our lives, fortunes, or sacred honor. Finding this vision is the purpose of the FM website.”

      The final paragraph discusses what comes after that.

  5. Larry,

    Great thoughts and a vision but… “The apathy of the majority is the core problem.” > The MSM is even a bigger problem.

    1. Ron,

      “The MSM is even a bigger problem.”

      Americans love to blame others for their faults. Journalism is a business. A tough business to make a dollar. Worse, modern tech has collapsed the barriers between markets – so everybody is competing in everyone else’s markets. I live in Iowa and read The Times (London), the Telegraph, the BBC, and (sometimes) Der Spiegel.

      To survive they have to attract an audience against all the other competitors. That means giving them what they want. We want info-tainment. We want fake news that fits our tribal truths. When we change, they will change.

      Don’t blame vendors from giving us what we want.

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