Woodard’s Proposed Remedies For Our Current Political Debacle

My last post was a review of Colin Woodard’s book, “American Character”. I’ve organized and analyzed his thoughts from the final chapter, “A Lasting Union”.  They are definitely worth considering, and I’m going to do it here.  Most of these are proposed remedies; what we can do differently in choosing the next President.  It’s fairly obvious to me that Woodard is a Democrat, so take it or leave it.

1. The Promotion of Human Happiness.  That’s a core part of the Bill of Rights.  But it seems to be lost on politicians that either want to cause citizens suffering or don’t care.

2.  Accept who we are as a nation.  We are a Union, but we are not unified, and likely will not be for awhile.  We are a federation comprised of eleven countries that share little regarding universal ideals, goals, and views on the meaning of freedom.  Those nations are First Nation, New Netherland, The Midlands, Yankeedom, New France, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, The Deep South, El Norte, The Far West, The Left Coast.  These are the American Nations today regarding function, culture, values, and history.  To understand the cultures of each of these, you could read the book, “American Nations.” by the same author.

Time and again, with no more discussion wasting our time, Americans will not accept and have not allowed in the past:

  1. Social or Democratic Libertarianism-The Gilded Age (aka Trump and many Presidents from the South, gold all over everything by the elite)
  2. Democratic Socialism-(aka Bernie Sanders)
  3. Christian Social Collectivism (The Christian Right minority)

If you don’t know what these are, please google them.  You will find relatively short definitions, easy to understand, and there are entire libraries littered with stories of leaders attempting to get citizens to swallow this.  Americans won’t.

3.  A Leading Northern Alliance that

  • Checks on corporate power
  • conservation of natural resources
  • A champion for collective action for the common good
  • We consistently favor active central government to act as a federal referee

4.  Free and Fair Competition between individuals and the ideas, output, and institutions they produce.

5.  Leave people alone to be themselves.

6.  Use the government to protect individual freedom be it economic or civic.  It is a collective referee. Stop hereditary privilege. (How?)

7.  Let go of the projections of “handouts.” or “trickle down.” Neither or those is happening, and neither do they work.  They are myths.

8.  A supportive government that has your back for a time, not forever as you make your way up in the world or keeping your power in check if you are 0.1% at the top.

9.  Let go of labels, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican.

10.  Equality of Opportunity.  Individuals are obviously not equal by nature, but the society owes it to each person to make sure they have a chance to do better.  Then it’s up to them to apply themselves.

11.  Destroy special privilege that hasn’t been earned. (What if their ancestors earned it,)

12.  The Doctrine of Fairness is equality of opportunity and intervention against oligarchy. Again, my question, who gets to define justice?

Conservatives may accurately say that this is contrived.  Some people are born into wealth that was earned by their ancestors.  I don’t have an answer to this yet.

13.  Re-channeling wealth

14.  Defensive Regulation

  • Conserve the nation’s patrimony
  • protecting human health and stability of ecological systems that sustain us.
  • Maintaining a competitive marketplace
  • preventing abusive and monopolistic practices

15.  Investment in schools and basic scientific research

16.  Isolate, ignore, and move against Greater Appalachia and The Deep South in all elections.

17.  Economic fairness as the central moral issues of politics (I disagree with this.)

Now as I look at this list I see Robin Hood.  Steal from the rich to give to the poor. That is ASSUMING the rich have ill-gotten gains.  That simply is not true for all rich people. Forcing the wealthy who legally have money, to share is called stealing.  It can also be tinged with jealousy from those who have not.  So, the rich can look to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who are fine examples of philanthropy for the world.  But the Democrats can’t force the rich to behave a certain way.

If I’m rich someday, I will be delighted to be a philanthropist, but you have to watch out for takers, users, and offloaders, even if you’re just an open-hearted real person, money aside!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of “American Character”, A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good by Colin Woodard

I highly recommend this book if you’re somewhat mystified regarding how we go into the political quagmire we’re currently in.  Woodard has divided the book into nine chapters:

  1.  Maintaining Freedom
  2. Two Paths to Tyranny
  3. The Rival Americas
  4. The Elite and the Masses (1607-1876)
  5. The Rise and Fall of Lassez-Faire (1877-1930) ******
  6. The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933-1967) FASCINATING!!!
  7. Dixie Takes Over (1968-2008) REALLY PAINFUL-Hard to read
  8. Rise of the Radicals (2008-)  Unbelievable, including Obama
  9. A Lasting Union

If you can get through the hard parts after everybody was assassinated during Liberalism (1933-67), Chapter 9, where he puts forward his ideas is great!

Democracy is no easy task and we are struggling.  That is clear from all the facts and quotes he has footnoted.  This book brings to light the fact that only watching the way the media portrays the behavior and action of politicians are very misleading.  You have to read FACTS, quotes, proof of what they’ve said and done to have the full picture.  Unless you read American History you won’t know the truth.

Woodard is an excellent writer and knows his history.  He puts the facts right out there for us to chew on and couches nothing at all.  It’s amazing to me that in 150 years (1877-2017), the forces of oligarchy, plutocracy, and Gilded Age Lassez-faire capitalism are still trying to squash individuals like a bug, despite the realities of the French Revolution and the like.  You would think these tyrannical evil ones would get a clue but they have not. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  They all seem to have more time to meet in their groups to try to keep us all down and throw us out on the street while we stare at our tech toy.

At some point here, we better start talking to each other and our neighbors again so that we can agree on what the Common Good looks like and what we need the role of government to be in the meantime.  It is exceeding constitutional reach but that is due to pluralism!!  That’s a good reason!

For the first time in my life (B: 1963), I feel like the American Commune is falling apart due to incredible dysfunction, cynicism and just pure evil from the Federal Government and this handful of right wing nut bags.  The majority of Americans are not like this.  We cannot just default to someone like Trump as many did this last time.

Get to Woodard’s Chapter 9 and the wheels will start turning.

One quote, “The Deep South’s tradition of hierarchical libertarianism is profoundly un-American, being authoritarian in governance, oligarchic in economics, retrograde in human rights”

Yet all of our Presidents from 1968-2008 have been from the south:

  • LBJ
  • Nixon
  • Carter
  • Bush I
  • Clinton
  • Bush II

Woodard contends that despite their party, their record shows that they have done their best to pare down The New Deal put in place by FDR, have given the private sector, Wall St., and the banks more leverage and in some manner, want to de-centralize the government.  The civil war isn’t over.