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Lose-Lose Politics

by Rod Amis

Day One

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Warren Beatty gets a big laugh during the film "Bulworth" by pointing out that Americans dread the word "Socialism." The audience laughs in order to show that it's "hip" enough to get the joke. But the joke is really on Socialists because everyone knows that most people in the United States *don't* understand socialism, and those who do tell the Socialists to tone it down for fear of provoking greater repression from the ignorant. Everybody plays to the segment of the political audience occupying the Babbit seats. It's a lose-lose situation all around.

Americans, fearing ideas they don't understand, never get the benefits of the social democratic reforms which grace other industrialized societies and Socialists are relegated to obstructing street corners and passing out newspapers that nobody ever reads because their too irritated.

Some people think I'm a Socialist, but I'm not. I'm a Radical. I'm a radical thinker, a radical philosopher and a radical futurist.

While I take common cause with many of the changes Socialists would like to see occur, I consider them too tame in their attitudes towards Government and Business. Government has effectively been run by Business here in the United States for the last twenty-five years, as far as I'm concerned. So I feel safe in asking the Reagan question, "Are we better off?" The answer: Well, no. Among the reasons I can provide the negative response:

You don't have to be a radical to see that these are symptoms of a society in need of fundamental changes, not just "programs" or "plans," but it helps.

Non-radical politics is always big on programs, plans, and policies meant to tinker with the gears on the run-away train while completely ignoring that the hand-brake is there and the passengers would probably be grateful to get off.

So as America enters another election season, lots of programs, plans and policies are being put forward by people who --- under normal circumstances --- we would not have run our car wash or planning our summer vacations, but are willing to consider for leadership of the "Free World."

If you doubt this last statement, let's do a quick resume-scan, shall we? Let's see:

I'd hate to make a hiring decision faced with this motley crew. It's a lose-lose situation.

How do we turn this situation around? Like most things in the post-modern republic, it all boils down to a matter of MONEY: who has it, who wants it, who gives it, to whom do they choose to give it, who takes it and why.

As implied above, a radical thinker necessarily believes that we have to bring the money-go-round which makes modern American politics a lose-lose situation to a DEAD HALT. We need to apply the hand brake on this run-away train and allow the panting passengers to step down onto solid ground once more.

Once the panic is abated, folks will probably decide on some other means of transportation.

I suspect the next vehicle of managing the body politic would have some libertarian features and a few features which might be called social democracy, too. After we make the radical decision to use the hand brake, it follows that we would also be a bit more picky about the kind of engineers we chose. We've already learned that letting the ticket-sellers choose the engineers imperils our chances of ever reaching our desired destination. All they care about is selling more tickets. We care about arriving safely at the place we planned to go.

Now that I've squeezed that metaphor until it screamed, let me give it to you straight: any system which becomes based entirely on consumption is fatally flawed. Consumerism is not evil, but an obsession on consumerism to the exclusion of providing adequately for a healthy and expandingclass of consumers is just dead wrong.

I'm saying that we should have learned from the failed IMF/World Bank policies in the "developing" world that you *need* that infrastructure of *distributed capital* to make the engine of society function properly. Distributed capital.

That's the part of understanding global economic forces that the Socialists --- yes! the Socialists --- got right from Day One.

A division tool.

ROD AMIS is a writer, editor and technology commentator. While publishing this magazine every week, he writes for various other organizations.


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