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A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

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Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity

Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"


Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds










October, 2008
7, Number 10

This Month's Article

Have We Been Willing Slaves?

“In this country sometimes we forget that we have the capacity to shape our own destiny.”

—Birch Bayh, Lafayette, Indiana 10/5/08

Choosing hope means conscious risk: it means looking at the ideas that govern us. While it is easy to condemn terrorists who justify the destruction of themselves and others, a much greater challenge is to ask: Do we, too, hold ideas that end up placing other values before life? What belief systems allow people to tolerate day in and day out, for example, the devastation of nature and other species as well as the starvation and early deaths of millions of innocent people, [in order to benefit from] cheap food, fuel, and finery…?

—Hope’s Edge, Frances Moore Lappe – p. 4

Americans are too domesticated. Our domestication is based on a self-centered world view that places all of nature at our disposal for our pleasure as a God-given right. This has made us like puppies wagging our tails for treats. At worst it makes us like cattle fattening in the feedlot for slaughter. Our “goodness” and loyal domesticity has resulted in our being used and manipulated by hypocrites that feed our vanities and pride in order to keep us “comfortable.” That is the worst enslavement because we are under the delusion that we are free and have made our own choices.

If this characterization of contemporary Americans seems harsh, it has been proven by the fact that we have elected leaders of our government who have trashed our core values and repeatedly lied to us while ignoring our most basic needs. They have accomplished this by pandering to our desires, fears and sincerely held beliefs to gain power and wealth for themselves. Why, for example, do we swallow their sound bites and slogans as truth? In our blind faith and passive acceptance we become the worst hypocrites and don’t even see how our own values are being exploited. For example, why would someone consider himself or herself “pro-life” and not object to war, torture, the death penalty, poverty, restrictions on firearm sales to criminals, and the devastation of nature? Our slavery has been a result of our voluntary abdication of critical thinking, our aversion to having rebellious thoughts, and our desire to see the world as we wish it to be.

Unlike the unwilling slaves of our early history we have not been “seasoned” into obedience by torture, but by our willing addictions to the excesses of “our way of life.”  The feedlots providing the required “fix” have been the big box stores where we can shop patriotically, cheap gas to provide freedom and fun, and the bubble of belief that “America is Number One!” (In the meantime we are propping up and enriching the economies of China and the oil producing companies and countries, becoming their colony as a debtor nation!)

The old news is that we have consistently voted against our self-interests whether at the ballot box or with our pocket books. The “rabble-rousing” Michael Moore used humor, outrage and entertainment in his book Stupid White Men: ...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! to try to shake us up and wake us as he takes our chosen leaders to task for their blunders, either maliciously pre-meditated or as the result of incompetence. For the more intellectually inclined, psychologist Drew Western believes his book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation proves that voters respond emotionally and will subconsciously ignore facts and other information that contradict their selection or preference, thereby often voting against their own self interest.

Today, as our economy implodes and political candidates use different ploys to try to get our vote, we need neither a satirist nor a psychologist to tell us that in the past we have blindly supported people and institutions that subsequently put our well being at risk. Disasters tend to open our eyes and give us a sense of objective perception that helps us recognize our chains. Suddenly, the reality helps us see the condescending manipulation, hypocrisy and lies by which we have long been controlled. Suddenly, the bubble of our illusion bursts and we become angry.

For many of us the first pinprick in our bubble of imagined well-being was the fraud in Florida elections and the subsequent decision by a Republican friendly Supreme Court that cancelled the recount and named Bush president in 2000. This made some doubt the very legitimacy of our democracy. The bubble of our complacency was further rent by the terrorist attack on 9/11, and the subsequent erosion of our leadership in the world. Rather than being a wake-up call shaking us up from a dangerous sleep, our masters used the occasion to solidify our chains through the enslaving emotions of fear and blind patriotism. We found ourselves in a contrived war based on lies that started to suck our country of its life-blood. The masters of our nation further empowered themselves with myths that justified acts against our core values and moral leadership, but the majority went along and reelected them. The accumulated mismanagement of our nation came to a head, as the threat of global warming became a clear and present danger, as hurricanes and natural disasters ripped at our aging infrastructure. The tsunami of our collapsing economy finally struck with a vengeance this September, and the subsequent bailout has failed to substantially save our sinking ship.

Choosing hope is a risk, because we must reevaluate the values and myths with which we have been living. Change is stressful, but change is the result of taking the responsibility for our future in our own hands. It means having a healthy skepticism, and truly investigating the claims those who would want to shape our opinions and country in the future. Sometimes we may find that we have been wrong, and admitting our ignorance is a great step forward psychologically. Finally, perhaps in the stress of social and economic crises we will take a new look at the choices we made and recognize our past slavery. Thus may we develop a more free outlook and renew our optimism.

© 2008 Richard V. Sidy

Read Related Articles

Beyond the Bush Years

Beyond Ideology: The Politics of the Future

Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society - Part 1

Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society - Part 2

Moving Forward

Is Liberal a Dirty Word?

Bullies in our Political Culture

Can Idealism Solve Problems?

The Imaginary Economy - Part 1

The Imaginary Economy - Part 2

Tribalism and the 2008 Elections


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Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
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