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NOTES ON A NEW SOCIAL ETHIC

Something is happening here in America and neither Bob Dylan's Mr.  Jones nor many other citizens of our democracy know exactly what's going on. A new permissiveness has been at large throughout society for decades. This permissiveness pervades the lives of Mr. Jones' children as well as the huge corporation where Mr. Jones works.  It now also pervades the Office of The President off the United States.

         Corporations are now regarded as having the same rights as an  individual person. Corporate charters no longer bind a company to act in the best interests of the community in which it operates. They're self-governing entities for the most part, free to gobble up their competition without fear of retribution due to lax anti-trust regulations.

         The radical left refers to living in a fascist state. The radical right calls for more corporate freedoms. When Mussolini and Hitler introduced fascism in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, Webster's dictionary defined it as collaboration between government and corporations.

         Today, Wikipedia has this to say:  " Fascists usually work closely with corporations and economic elites, and use the resources to build up the military and other parts of the fascist state. Fascist states take over schools and other parts of civil society in order to promote nationalism and propaganda. All adults are expected to either join the fascist party or support it as the government. Fascist governments, similar to the Nazis in Germany, pursue racist policies of segregation and/or extermination in opposition to cultural and ethnic pluralism."

         Comedian Will Rogers was once asked if he belonged to an organized political party. "No," he responded. 'I'm a Democrat." Perhaps it's true that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

I confess to being a Democrat who appreciates many of the benefits of capitalism and democracy. But I'm reminded that free market, democratic capitalism comes with a price. Author and political scientist James MacGregor Burns brilliantly put it this way in his 1963 book, "The Deadlock of Democracy:"

         "The cure for democracy, people used to say, is more democracy. A half century of hard experience has shown this cliché to be a dangerous half-truth. The cure for democracy is leadership – responsible, committed, effective, and exuberant leadership…."

         Where can we find "responsible" leadership? Not in today's White House.

         It's truly time for good men and women to come to the aid of their country.

The question is: How can they accomplish this?

         Their first task is it educate themselves on popular issues through reading a good news magazine, then going on to reading books aimed at explaining today's outstanding issues.

         The second task is registering to vote and to vote in every forthcoming election.

         Here are some important books providing valuable insights into the problems and issues we are facing as a society: "The Speculation Economy-- How Finance Triumphed Over Industry" by Lawrence E. Mitchell; "The New Realities –In Government and Politics/In Economics and Business/In Society and World View" by Peter F. Drucker; "The Deadlock of Democracy – Four-Party Politics in America" by James MacGregor Burns; "Reforming American Government --The Bicentennial Papers," edited by Donald L. Robinson.

         Reading these four books is akin to taking a graduate seminar in modern American history. You will be a well-informed voter.

         Climate change is going on around us. Our oceans are in a state of flux, responding to nudges from rising seas and warmer temperatures. The oceans drive our atmosphere.  All weather is the result of nudges coming from various directions and sources. So long as we depend on fossil fuel, weather will continue to be a  source of uncertainty and danger, from droughts to floods.

         In an economy based on the stock market, accurate  weather prediction is an essential tool in economic planning. Meteorologists try and keep track of the shifting backgrounds that  influence climate change.

My response to climate change is two-fold. Our first concern must be to avoid crisis through education. The second is to show the links between  lifestyles and the consumption of polluting fossil fuels. We must shift away from our reliance on fossil  fuels to sources of renewable energy, such as wind and water power.

         Unfortunately, much of our economy is built on speculation. Stock markets and the finance sector rule. Whatever brings in fast money is the paragon for investment on Wall Street. It's time  now to support innovative, capital investments in new, non-polluting technologies in our manufacturing sector, as well as in  all other sectors  of our economy.

         In conclusion, I'm reminded of something Martin Luther King once said:  "We must all learn to live together as brothers or we shall perish together as fools."

         Of course,  such noble sentiments are rarely heard these days, especially if we are expecting them to come from the current occupant of the White House.

         Instead, what we are getting is slanderous innuendo about non-existent scandals aimed at whoever has the courage to speak truth to power.

         It is, after all, The Age of Trump, where the presidency has become an institution serving one man's perverted sense of  power.

 

RICHARD NUSSER