Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Question of Size - E.F.Schumacher

Based on a lecture given in London, August 1968, and first published in Resurgence, Journal of the Fourth World, Vol. II, No. 3, September/October 1968.

I was brought up on an interpretation of history which suggested that in the beginning was the family; then families got together and formed tribes; then a number of tribes formed a nation; then a number of nations formed a 'Union' or 'United States' of this or that; and that finally, we could look forward to a single World Government. Ever since I heard this plausible story I have taken a special interest in the process, but could not help noticing that the opposite seemed to be happening: a proliferation of nation states, The United Nations Organisation started some twenty-five years ago with some sixty members; now there are more than twice as many, and the number is still growing. In my youth, this process of proliferation was called 'Balkanisation' and was thought to be a very bad thing. Although everybody said it was bad, it has now been going on merrily for over fifty years, in most parts of the world. Large units tend to break up into smaller units. This phenomenon, so mockingly the opposite of what I had been taught, whether we approve of it or not, should at least not pass unnoticed,

Second, I was brought up on the theory that in order to be prosperous a country had to be big -- the bigger the better. This also seemed quite plausible. Look at what Churchill called 'the pumpernickel principalities' of Germany before Bismarck; and then look at the Bismarckian Reich. Is it not true that the great prosperity of Germany became possible only through this unification? All the same, the German-speaking Swiss and the German-speaking Austrians, who did not join, did just as well economically, and if we make a list of all the most prosperous countries in the world, we find that most of them are very small: whereas a list of all the biggest countries in the world shows most of them to be very poor indeed. Here again, there is food for thought,

And third. I was brought up on the theory of the 'economies of scale' -- that with industries and firms, just as with nations, there is an irresistible trend. dictated by modern technology, for units to become ever bigger. Now, it is quite true that today there are more large organisations and probably also bigger organisations than ever before in history; but the number of small units is also growing and certainly not declining in countries like Britain and the United States, and many of these small units are highly prosperous and provide society with most of the really fruitful new developments. Again, it is not altogether easy to reconcile theory and practice, and the situation as regards this whole issue of size is certainly puzzling to anyone brought up on these three concurrent theories.

Even today, we are generally told that gigantic organisations are inescapably necessary; but when we look closely we can notice that as soon as great size has been created there is often a strenuous attempt to attain smallness within bigness. The great achievement of Mr Sloan of General Motors was to structure this gigantic firm in such a manner that it became, in fact, a federation of fairly reasonably sized firms. In the British National Coal Board one of the biggest firms of Western Europe, something very similar was attempted under the Chairmanship of Lord Robens; strenuous efforts were made to evolve a structure which would maintain the unity of one big organisation and at the same time create the 'climate' or feeling of there being a federation of numerous 'quasi-firms'. The monolith was transformed into a well-co-ordinated assembly of lively, semi-autonomous units, each with its own drive and sense of achievement. While many theoreticians -- who may not be too closely in touch with real life -- are still engaging in the idolatry of large size, with practical people in the actual world there is a tremendous longing and striving to profit, a at all possible, from the convenience, humanity, and manageability of smallness. This, also, is a tendency which anyone can easily observe for himself.

Let us now approach our subject from another angle and ask what is actually needed. In the affairs of men, there always appears to be a need for at least two things simultaneously, which, on the face of it, seem to be incompatible and to exclude one another. We always need both freedom and order. We need the freedom of lots and lots of small, autonomous units, and, at the same time, the orderliness of large-scale, possibly global, unity and co-ordination. When it comes to action. we obviously need small units, because action is a highly personal affair, and one cannot be in touch with more than a very limited number of persons at any one time. But when it comes to the world of ideas, to principles or to ethics, to the indivisibility of peace and also of ecology, we need to recognise the unity of mankind and base our actions upon this recognition. Or to put it differently, it is true that all men are brothers, but it is also true that in our active personal relationships we can, in fact, be brothers to only a few of them, and we are called upon to show more brotherliness to them than we could possibly show to the whole of mankind. We all know people who freely talk about the brotherhood of man while treating their neighbours as enemies, just as we also know people who have, in fact, excellent relations with all their neighbours while harbouring, at the same time, appalling prejudices about all human groups outside their particular circle.

What I wish to emphasise is the duality of the human requirement when it comes to the question of size: them is no single answer. For his different purposes man needs many different structures, both small ones and large ones, some exclusive and some comprehensive. Yet people find it most difficult to keep two Seemingly opposite necessities of truth in their minds at the same time. They always tend to clamour for a final solution, as if in actual life there could ever be a final solution other than death. For constructive work, the principal task is always the restoration of some kind of balance. Today. we suffer from an almost universal idolatry of gigantism. It is therefore necessary to insist on the virtues of smallness -- where this applies. (If there were a prevailing idolatry of smallness, irrespective of subject or purpose, one would have to try and exercise influence in the opposite direction.)

The question of scale might be put in another way: what is needed in all these matters is to discriminate, to get things sorted out. For every activity there is a certain appropriate scale, and the more active and intimate the activity, the smaller the number of People that can take part, the greater is the number of such relationship arrangements that need to be established. Take teaching: one listens to all sorts of extraordinary debates about the superiority of the teaching machine over some other forms of teaching. Well, let us discriminate: what are we trying to teach? It then becomes immediately apparent that certain things can only be taught in a very intimate circle, whereas other things can obviously be taught en masse, via the air, via television, via teaching machines, and so on.

What scale is appropriate? It depends on what we are trying to do. The question of scale is extremely crucial today, in political, social and economic affairs just as in almost everything else. What, for instance, is the appropriate size of a city? And also, one might ask, what is the appropriate size of a country? Now these are serious and difficult questions. It is not possible to programme a computer and get the answer. The really serious matters of life cannot be calculated; We cannot directly calculate what is right: but we jolly well know what is wrong! We can recognise right and wrong at the extremes, although we cannot normally judge them finely enough to say: 'This ought to be five per cent more; or that ought to be five per cent less.'

Take the question of size of a city. While one cannot judge these things with precision, I think it is fairly safe to say that the upper limit of what is desirable for the size of a city is probably some thing of the order of half a million inhabitants. It is quite clear that above such a size nothing is added to the virtue of the city. In places like London, or Tokyo or New York, the millions do not add to the city's real value but merely create enormous problems and produce human degradation. So probably the order of magnitude of 500.000 inhabitants could be looked upon as the upper limit. The question of the lower limit of a real city is much more difficult to judge. The finest cities in history have been very small by twentieth-century standards. The instruments and institutions of city culture depend, no doubt, on a certain accumulation of wealth. But how much wealth has to be accumulated depends on the type of culture pursued. Philosophy, the arts and religion cost very, very little money. Other types of what claims to be 'high culture' -- space research or ultra-modern physics -- cost a lot of money, but are somewhat remote from the real needs of men.

I raise the question of the proper size of cities both for its own sake but also because it is, to my mind, the most relevant point when we come to consider the size of nations.

The idolatry of gigantism that I have talked about is possibly one of the causes and certainly one of the effects of modern technology, particularly in matters of transport and communications. A highly developed transport and communications system has one immensely powerful effect: it makes people footloose.

Millions of people start moving about, deserting the rural areas and the smaller towns to follow the city lights, to go to the big city, causing a pathological growth. Take the country in which all this is perhaps most exemplified -- the United States. Sociologists are studying the problem of 'megalopolis'. The word 'metropolis' is no longer big enough; hence 'megalopolis'. They freely talk about the polarisation of the population of the United States into three immense megalopolitan areas: one extending from Boston to Washington, a continuous built-up area, with sixty million people; one around Chicago, another sixty million: and one on the West Coast from San Francisco to San Diego, again a continuous built- up area with sixty million people; the rest of the country being left practically empty; deserted provincial towns, and the land cultivated with vast tractors, combine harvesters, and immense amounts of chemicals.

If this is somebody's conception of the future of the United States, it is hardly a future worth having. But whether we like it or not, this is the result of people having become footloose; it is the result of that marvellous mobility of labour which economists treasure above all else.

Everything in this world has to have a structure, otherwise it is chaos. Before the advent of mass transport and mass communications, the structure was simply there, because people were relatively immobile. People who wanted to move did so; witness the hood of saints from Ireland moving all over Europe. There were communications, there was mobility, but no footlooseness. Now, a great deal of structure has collapsed, and a country is like a big cargo ship in which the load is in no way secured. It tilts, and all the load slips over, and the ship founders.

One of the chief elements of structure for the whole of mankind is of course the stale. And one of the chief elements or instruments of

structuralisation (if I may use that term), is frontiers, national frontiers. Now previously, before this technological intervention. the relevance of frontiers was almost exclusively political and dynastic: frontiers were delimitations of political powers determining how many people you could raise for war. Economists fought against such frontiers becoming economic barriers -hence the ideology of free trade. But, then, people and things were not footloose; transport was expensive enough so that movements, both of people and of goods, were never more than marginal. Trade in the pre-industrial era was not a trade in essentials, but a trade in precious stones, precious metals, luxury goods, spices and -- unhappily -- slaves. The basic requirements of life had of course to be indigenously produced. And the movement of populations except in periods of disaster, was confined to persons who had a very special reason to move, such as the Irish saints or the scholars of the University of Paris.

But now everything and everybody has become mobile. All structures are threatened, and all structures are vulnerable to an extent that they have never been before.

Economics, which Lord Keynes had hoped would settle down as a modest occupation similar to dentistry, suddenly becomes the most important subject of all. Economic policies absorb almost the entire attention of government, and at the same time become ever more impotent. The simplest things, which only fifty years ago one could do without difficulty, cannot get done any more. The richer a society, the more impossible it becomes to do worthwhile things without immediate pay-off. Economics has become such a thraldom that it absorbs almost the whole of foreign policy. People say, 'Ah yes, we don't like to go with these people, but we depend on them economically so we must humour them.' It tends to absorb the whole of ethics and to take precedence over all other human considerations. Now, quite clearly, this is a pathological development, which has, of course, many roots, but one of its clearly visible roots lies in the great achievements of modern technology in terms of transport and communications.

While people. with an easy-going kind of logic, believe that fast transport and instantaneous communications open up a new dimension of freedom (which they do in some rather trivial respects), they overlook the fact that these achievements also tend to destroy "freedom, by making everything extremely vulnerable and extremely insecure, unless conscious policies are

developed and conscious action is taken, to mitigate the destructive effects of these technological developments.

Now, these destructive effects are obviously most severe in large countries, because, as we have seen, frontiers produce 'structure', and it is a much bigger decision for someone to cross a frontier, to uproot himself from his native land and try and put down roots in another land, than to move within the frontiers of his country. The factor of footlooseness is, therefore, the more serious, the bigger the country. Its destructive effects can be traced both in the rich and in the poor countries. In the rich countries such as the United States of America, it produces, as already mentioned, 'megalopolis'. It also produces a rapidly increasing and ever more intractable problem of 'drop-outs', of people, who, having become footloose, cannot find a place anywhere in society. Directly connected with this, it produces an appalling problem of crime, alienation, stress, social breakdown, right down to the level of the family. In the poor countries, again most severely in the largest ones, it produces mass migration into cities, mass unemployment, and, as vitality is drained out of the rural areas, the threat of famine. The result is a 'dual society' without any inner cohesion, subject to a maximum of political instability.

As an illustration, let me take the case of Peru. The capital city, Lima, situated on the Pacific coast, had a population of 175.000 in the early 1920s, just fifty years ago. Its population is now approaching three million. The once beautiful Spanish city is now infested by slums, surrounded by misery-belts that are crawling up the Andes. But this is not all. People are arriving from the rural areas at the rate of a thousand a day -- and nobody knows what to do with them. The social or psychological structure of life in the hinterland has collapsed; people have become footloose and arrive in the capital city at the rate of a thousand a day to squat on some empty land, against the police who come to beat them out, to build their mud hovels and look for a job. And nobody knows what to do about them. Nobody knows how to stop the drift,

Imagine that in 1864 Bismarck had annexed the whole of Denmark instead of only a small part of it, and that nothing had happened since. The Danes would be an ethnic minority in Germany, perhaps struggling to maintain their language by becoming bilingual, the official language of course being German. Only by thoroughly Germanising themselves could they avoid becoming second-class citizens. There would be an irresistible drift of the most ambitious and enterprising Danes, thoroughly Germanised, to the mainland in the south, and what then would be the status of Copenhagen? That of a remote provincial city. Or imagine Belgium as part of France. What would be the status of Brussels? Again, that of an unimportant provincial city. I don't have to enlarge on it. Imagine now that Denmark a part of Germany, and Belgium a part of France, suddenly turned what is now charmingly called 'nats' wanting independence. There would be endless, heated arguments that these 'non-countries' could not be economically viable, that their desire for independence was, to quote a famous political commentator, 'adolescent emotionalism, political naivety, phoney economics, and sheer bare-faced opportunism'.

How can one talk about the economics of small independent countries? How can one discuss a problem that is a non-problem? There is no such thing as the viability of states or of nations, there is only a problem of viability of people: people, actual persons like you and me, are viable when they can stand on their own feet and earn their keep. You do not make non-viable people viable by putting large numbers of them into one huge community, and you do not make viable people non-viable by splitting a large community into a number of smaller, more intimate, more coherent and more manageable groups. All this is perfectly obvious and there is absolutely nothing to argue about. Some people ask: 'What happens when a country, composed of one rich province and several poor ones, falls apart because the rich province secedes?' Most probably the answer is: 'Nothing very much happens.' The rich will continue to be rich and the poor will continue to be poor. 'But if, before secession, the rich province had subsidised the poor, what happens then?' Well then, of course, the subsidy might stop. But the rich rarely subsidise the poor; more often they exploit them. They may not do so directly so much as through the terms of trade. They may obscure the situation a little by a certain redistribution of tax revenue or small-scale charity, but the last thing they want to do is secede from the poor.

The normal case is quite different, namely that the poor provinces wish to separate from the rich, and that the rich want to hold on because they know that exploitation of the poor within one's own frontiers in infinitely easier than exploitation of the poor beyond them. Now if a poor province wishes to secede at the risk of losing some subsidies, what attitude should one take? Not that we have to decide this, but what should we think about it? Is it not a wish to be applauded and respected? Do we not want people to stand on their own feet, as free and self-reliant men? So again this is a 'non-problem'. I would assert therefore that there is no problem of viability, as all experience shows. If a country wishes to export all over the world, and import from all over the world, it has never been held that it had to annex the whole world in order to do so.

What about the absolute necessity of having a large internal market? This again is an optical illusion if the meaning of 'large' is conceived in terms of political boundaries. Needless to say, a prosperous market is better than a poor one, but whether that market is outside the political boundaries or inside, makes on the whole very little difference. r am not aware, for instance, that Germany, in order to export a large number of Volkswagens to the United States, a very prosperous market could only do so after annexing the United States, But it does make a lot of difference if a poor community or province finds itself politically tied to or ruled by a rich community or province. Why? Because, in a mobile, footloose society the law of disequilibrium is infinitely stronger than the so-called law of equilibrium. Nothing succeeds like success, and nothing stagnates like stagnation. The successful province drains the life out of the unsuccessful. and without protection against the strong, the weak have no chance: either they remain weak or they must migrate and join the strong, they cannot effectively help themselves.

A most important problem in the second half of the twentieth century is the geographical distribution of population, the question of 'regionalism'. But regionalism, not in the sense of combining a lot of states into free-trade systems, but in the opposite sense of developing all the regions within each country. This, in fact, is the most important subject on the agenda of all the larger countries today. And a lot of the nationalism of small nations today, and the desire for self-government and so-called independence, is simply a logical and rational response to the need for regional development. In the poor countries in particular there is no hope for the poor unless there is successful regional development, a development effort outside the capital city covering all the rural areas wherever people happen to be.

If this effort is not brought forth, their only choice is either to remain in their miserable condition where they are, or to migrate into the big city where their condition will be even more miserable. It is a strange phenomenon indeed that the conventional wisdom of present-day economics can do nothing to help the poor.

Invariably it proves that only such policies are viable as have in fact the result of making those already rich and powerful, richer and more powerful. It proves that industrial development only pays if it is as near as possible to the capital city or another very large town, and not in the rural areas. It proves that large projects are invariably more economic than small ones, and it proves that capital-intensive projects are invariably to be preferred as against labour-intensive ones. The economic calculus, as applied by present-day economics, forces the industrialist to eliminate the human factor because machines do not make mistakes which people do. Hence the enormous effort at automation and the drive for ever-larger units. This means that those who have nothing to sell but their labour remain in the weakest possible bargaining position. The conventional wisdom of what is now taught as economics by-passes the poor, the very people for whom development is really needed. The economics of gigantism and automation is a left-over of nineteenth-century conditions and nineteenth-century thinking and it is totally incapable of solving any of the real problems of today. An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention t~ goods -- (the goods will look after themselves!). It could be summed up in the phrase, 'production by the masses, rather than mass production'. What was impossible, however, in the nineteenth century, is possible now. And what was in fact -- if not necessarily at least understandably -- neglected in the nineteenth century is unbelievably urgent now. That is, the conscious utilisation of our enormous technological and scientific potential for the fight against misery and human degradation -- a fight in intimate contact with actual people, with individuals, families, small groups, rather than states and other anonymous abstractions. And this presupposes a political and organisational structure that can provide this intimacy.

What is the meaning of democracy, freedom, human dignity. standard of living, self-realisation, fulfilment? Is it a matter of goods, or of people? Of course it is a matter of people. But people can be themselves only in small comprehensible groups. Therefore we must learn to think in terms of an articulated structure that can cope with a multiplicity of small-scale units, If economic thinking cannot grasp this it is useless. If it cannot get beyond its vast abstractions, the national income, the rate of growth, capital/output ratio, input-output analysis, labour mobility, capital accumulation; if it cannot get beyond all this and make contact with the human realities of poverty, frustration, alienation, despair, breakdown, crime, escapism, stress, congestion, ugliness. and spiritual death, then let us scrap economics and start afresh.

Are there not indeed enough 'signs of the times' to indicate that a new start is needed?

The Realms of the Unreal

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Heck, That's Wheezy

Distributism (From The Democratic Labour Party blog)

Distributism is a third-way economic theory formulated by thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.
According to distributism, the ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralised under the control of the state (state socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (laissez-faire capitalism). As Chesterton said, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”
While socialism allows no individuals to own productive property (it all being under state, community, or workers’ control), distributism itself seeks to ensure that most people will become owners of productive property. As Belloc stated, the distributive state contains a collection of “families of varying wealth, but by far the greater number of owners of the means of production.”
Some have seen it more as an aspiration, which has been successfully realised in the short term by commitment to the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (these being built into financially independent local cooperative and small family businesses).
Private Property
Under such a system, most people would be able to earn a living without having to rely on the use of the property of others to do so. Examples of people earning a living in this way would be farmers who own their own land and related machinery, plumbers who own their own tools, software developers who own their own computer, etc. The “cooperative” approach advances beyond this perspective to recognise that such property and equipment may be “co-owned” by local communities larger than a family, e.g., partners in a business.
Distributism puts great emphasis on the principle of subsidiarity. This principle holds that no larger unit (whether social, economic, or political) should perform a function which can be performed by a smaller unit. Thus, any activity of production (which distributism holds to be the most important part of any economy) ought to be performed by the smallest possible unit. This helps support distributism’s argument that smaller units, families if possible, ought to be in control of the means of production, rather than the large units typical of modern economies.
The essence of subsidiarity is concisely inherent in the Chinese maxim ‘Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day; teach the person to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.
Society of Artisans
Distributism promotes a society of artisans and culture. This is influenced by an emphasis on small business, promotion of local culture, and favoring of small production over capitalistic mass production. A society of artisans promotes the distributist ideal of the unification of capital, ownership, and production rather than what distributism sees as an alienation of man from work.
This does not suggest that distributism favours a technological regression to a pre-Industrial Revolution lifestyle, but a more local ownership of factories and other industrial centers. Products such as food and clothing would be preferably returned to local producers and artisans instead of being mass produced overseas.
Guild System
The kind of economic order envisaged by the early distributist thinkers would involve the return to some sort of guild system. The present existence of labour unions does not constitute a realisation of this facet of distributist economic order, as labour unions are organized along class lines to promote class interests and frequently class struggle, whereas guilds are mixed class syndicates composed of both employers and employees cooperating for mutual benefit, thereby promoting class collaboration.
Distributism favors the dissolution of the current private bank system, or more specifically its profit-making basis in charging interest. Dorothy Day, for example, suggested abolishing legal enforcement of interest-rate contracts. It would not entail nationalisation but could involve government involvement of some sort. Distributists look favorably on credit unions as a preferable alternative to banks

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Conspiracy Theory Rock

the mind of god

"If we find an answer to that

(why we and the universe exists),

it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason

for then we would know the mind of God."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion by Jim Walker

The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion  by Jim Walker

Originated: 11 Apr. 1997

Additions: 26 Dec. 2004

Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting
that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our
Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does
not hold to the historical evidence.

Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many
believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although
they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to

The U.S. Constitution

The United States Constitution serves as the law of the land for America and
indicates the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Constitution forms a
secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus,
or any supreme being. (For those who think the date of the Constitution
contradicts the last sentence, see note 1 at the end.) The U.S. government
derives from people (not God), as it clearly states in the preamble: "We the
people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union...." The
omission of God in the Constitution did not come out of forgetfulness, but
rather out of the Founding Fathers purposeful intentions to keep government
separate from religion.

Although the Constitution does not include the phrase "Separation of Church
& State," neither does it say "Freedom of religion." However, the
Constitution implies both in the 1st Amendment. As to our freedoms, the 1st
Amendment provides exclusionary wording:

Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
government for a redress of grievances. [bold caps, mine]

Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the 1st Amendment to his January
1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it
a "wall of separation between church and State." Madison had also written that
"Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the
Constitution of the United States." There existed little controversy about this
interpretation from our Founding Fathers.

If religionists better understood the concept of separation of Church &
State, they would realize that the wall of separation actually protects
their religion. Our secular government allows the free expression of religion
and non-religion. Today, religions flourish in America; we have more churches
than Seven-Elevens.

Although many secular and atheist groups today support and fight for the wall
of separation, this does not mean that they wish to lawfully eliminate religion
from society. On the contrary, you will find no secular or atheist group
attempting to ban Christianity, or any other religion from American society.
Keeping religion separate allows atheists and religionists alike, to practice
their belief systems, regardless how ridiculous they may seem, without
government intervention.

The Declaration of Independence

Many Christian's who think of America as founded upon Christianity usually
present the Declaration of Independence as "proof" of a Christian America.
The reason appears obvious: the Declaration mentions God. (You may notice that
some Christians avoid the Constitution, with its absence of God.)

However, the Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the
United States. It came before the establishment of our lawful government
(the Constitution). The Declaration aimed at announcing the separation of
America from Great Britain and it listed the various grievances with them. The
Declaration includes the words, "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen
united States of America." The grievances against Great Britain no longer hold
today, and we have more than thirteen states.

Although the Declaration may have influential power, it may inspire the lofty
thoughts of poets and believers, and judges may mention it in their summations,
it holds no legal power today. It represents a historical document about
rebellious intentions against Great Britain at a time before the formation of
our government.

Of course the Declaration stands as a great political document. Its author
aimed at a future government designed and upheld by people and not based
on a superstitious god or religious monarchy. It observed that all men "are
created equal" meaning that we all have the natural ability of life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness. That "to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men." Please note that the Declaration says nothing about our
rights secured by Christianity. It bears repeating: "Governments are 
instituted among men

The pursuit of happiness does not mean a guarantee of happiness, only
that we have the freedom to pursue it. Our Law of the Land incorporates this
freedom of pursuit in the Constitution. We can believe or not believe as we
wish. We may succeed or fail in our pursuit, but our Constitution (and not the
Declaration) protects our unalienable rights in our attempt at happiness.

Moreover, the mentioning of God in the Declaration does not describe the
personal God of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson who held deist beliefs, wrote the
majority of the Declaration. The Declaration describes "the Laws of Nature and
of Nature's God." This nature's view of God agrees with deist philosophy and
might even appeal to those of pantheistical beliefs, but any attempt to use the
Declaration as a support for Christianity will fail for this reason alone.

The Treaty of Tripoli

Unlike most governments of the past, the American Founding Fathers set up a
government divorced from any religion. Their establishment of a secular
government did not require a reflection to themselves of its origin; they knew
this as a ubiquitous unspoken given. However, as the United States delved into
international affairs, few foreign nations knew about the intentions of the U.S.
For this reason, an insight from at a little known but legal document written in
the late 1700s explicitly reveals the secular nature of the U.S. goverenment to
a foreign nation. Officially called the "Treaty of peace and friendship between
the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary,"
most refer to it as simply the Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11, it states:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, 
founded on the Christian religion
; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the
said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any
Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from
religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing
between the two countries." [bold text, mine]

Click here to see the actual 
article 11 of the Treaty

The preliminary treaty began with a signing on 4 November, 1796 (the end of
George Washington's last term as president). Joel Barlow, the American diplomat
served as counsel to Algiers and held responsibility for the treaty
negotiations. Barlow had once served under Washington as a chaplain in the
revolutionary army. He became good friends with Paine, Jefferson, and read
Enlightenment literature. Later he abandoned Christian orthodoxy for rationalism
and became an advocate of secular government. Joel Barlow wrote the original
English version of the treaty, including Amendment 11. Barlow forwarded the
treaty to U.S. legislators for approval in 1797. Timothy Pickering, the
secretary of state, endorsed it and John Adams concurred (now during his
presidency), sending the document on to the Senate. The Senate approved the
treaty on June 7, 1797, and officially ratified by the Senate with John Adams
signature on 10 June, 1797. All during this multi-review process, the wording of
Article 11 never raised the slightest concern. The treaty even became public
through its publication in The Philadelphia Gazette on 17 June 1797.

So here we have a clear admission by the United States in 1797 that our
government did not found itself upon Christianity. Unlike the Declaration of
Independence, this treaty represented U.S. law as all U.S. Treaties do (see the
Constitution, Article VI, Sect.2: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United
States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made,
or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the
supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby,
anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary
notwithstanding.") [Bold text, mine]

Although the Treaty of Tripoli under agreement only lasted a few years and no
longer has legal status, it clearly represented the feelings of our Founding
Fathers at the beginning of the American government.

Common Law

According to the Constitution's 7th Amendment: "In suits at common law. . .
the right of trial by jury shall be preserved; and no fact, tried by a jury,
shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States than according
to the rules of the common law."

Here, many Christians believe that common law came from Christian foundations
and therefore the Constitution derives from it. They use various quotes from
Supreme Court Justices proclaiming that Christianity came as part of the laws of
England, and therefore from its common law heritage.

But one of our principle Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, elaborated about
the history of common law in his letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10,

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced
by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by
proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which
terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about
the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the
seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy
having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here
then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in
existence, and Christianity no part of it."
". . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period,
supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed,
and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and
became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part
of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the
introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a
part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having
their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to
find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though
contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither
is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

In the same letter, Jefferson examined how the error spread about
Christianity and common law. Jefferson realized that a misinterpretation had
occurred with a Latin term by Prisot, "ancien scripture", in reference to
common law history. The term meant "ancient scripture" but people had
incorrectly interpreted it to mean "Holy Scripture," thus spreading the myth
that common law came from the Bible. Jefferson writes:

"And Blackstone repeats, in the words of Sir Matthew Hale, that 

'Christianity is part of the laws of England,' citing Ventris and Strange ubi
surpa. 4. Blackst. 59. Lord Mansfield qualifies it a little by saying that 'The
essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law." In the
case of the Chamberlain of London v. Evans, 1767. But he cites no authority, and
leaves us at our peril to find out what, in the opinion of the judge, and
according to the measure of his foot or his faith, are those essential
principles of revealed religion obligatory on us as a part of the common law."

Thus we find this string of authorities, when examined to the beginning, all 

hanging on the same hook, a perverted expression of Priscot's, or on one
another, or nobody."

The Encyclopedia Britannica, also describes the Saxon origin and adds: "The
nature of the new common law was at first much influenced by the principles of
Roman law, but later it developed more and more along independent lines." Also
prominent among the characteristics that derived out of common law include the
institution of the jury, and the right to speedy trial.

For another article on this subject visit The Early America Review: http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.html

Note 1: The end of the Constitution records the year of its ratification,
"the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven
hundred and Eighty seven." Although, indeed, it uses the word "Lord", it does
not refer to Jesus but rather to the dating method. Incredibly, some Christians
attempt to use this as justification for a Christian derived Constitution. The
term simply conveys a written English form of the Latin, Anno Domini
(AD), which means the year of our Lord (no, it does not mean After Death). This
scripted form served as a common way of dating in the 1700s. The Constitution
also uses many pagan words such as January (from the two-headed Roman god,
Janus), and Sunday (from the word Sunne, which refers to the Saxon Sun
god). Can you imagine the ludicrous position of someone trying to argue for the
justification of a pagan god based Constitution? The same goes to any Christian
who attempts to use a dating convention as an argument against the
Constitution's secular nature, and can only paint himself as naive, or worse, as
dishonest and deceiving. (For a satire on using calendar words to support pagan
Gods, see The United States: A Country founded 
on paganism

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

United States TERRORISM

"A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man."
 - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sir Christopher Lee - Rest in Peace

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015) was an English actor, singer, and author. With a career spanning nearly 70 years, Lee initially portrayed villains and became best known for his role as Count Dracula in a sequence of Hammer Horror films. His other film roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014), and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002 and 2005) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008).

Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011 and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013. Lee considered his best performance to be that of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah (1998), and his best film to be the British horror film The Wicker Man (1973).

Always noted as an actor for his deep strong voice, Lee was also known for his singing ability, recording various opera and musical pieces between 1986 and 1998 and the symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010 after having worked with several metal bands since 2005. The heavy metal follow-up titled Charlemagne: The Omens of Death was released on 27 May 2013. He was honoured with the "Spirit of Metal" award in the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden God awards ceremony. (read more) (christopher lee filmography)

Democracy - Anthony Wedgwood Benn

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

pulp fiction magazine cover art

Did Nazi's Invent UFO's?

Distributism - Third Way Politics


A third-way that works.

Hillaire Belloc and GK Chesterton
Hillaire Belloc and GK Chesterton

Distributism is an economic and political philosophy that is an alternative to both capitalism and socialism.

Opposed to laissez-faire capitalism, which distributists argue leads to a concentration of ownership in the hands of a few, and to state-socialism, in which private ownership is denied altogether, distributism was conceived as a genuine Third Way, opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace and the tyranny of the state, by means of a society of owners.
Distributism is an economic system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by as many private owners as possible for the purpose of self-reliance for its citizens.
Distributism is concerned with improving the material lot of the poorest and most disadvantaged. However, unlike socialism, which advocates state ownership of property and the means of production, distributism seeks to devolve or widely distribute that control to individuals within society, rejecting what it saw as the twin evils of plutocracy and bureaucracy.
The ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralised under the control of the state (state socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (laissez-faire capitalism). As Chesterton said, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”
Some have seen it more as an aspiration, which has been successfully realised in the short term by a commitment to the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (these being built into financially independent local cooperatives and small family businesses).
Naturally, it follows that Distributism favours the principles of industrial democracy and the cooperative model of business.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Master of Two Swords

The Words of Leopold Kohr

“Wherever something is wrong, something is too big. If the stars in the sky or the atoms of uranium disintegrate in spontaneous explosion, it is not because their substance has lost its balance. It is because matter has attempted to expand beyond the impassable barriers set to every accumulation. Their mass has become too big. If the human body becomes diseased, it is, as in cancer, because a cell, or a group of cells, has begun to outgrow its allotted narrow limits. And if the body of a people becomes diseased with the fever of aggression, brutality, collectivism, or massive idiocy, it is not because it has fallen victim to bad leadership or mental derangement. It is because human beings, so charming as individuals or in small aggregations, have been welded into overconcentrated social units such as mobs, unions, cartels, or great powers.”  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Aliens by Stephen Hawking

daring greatly

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." 

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, June 1, 2015

We Todd did

I am we Todd did

I am Sofa King

we Todd did