In response to the outhouse wall...

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A rebuttal to the green anarchy in the Yak shack

I submit for discussion and debate:

Society is based on morality

Morality rests on consensus and requires the use of power to remove those who will not accept that consensus

The continued existence of a shared morality rests on the forbearance of every single individual within a society from claiming the entire fruits of his or her labor

A society's ability to achieve consensus is inversely proportional to the size and complexity of society, to the degree of technological advancement, and to the speed of internal communication.

The more complex a society's framework, the shorter the existence of that incarnation of a society

Power cannot be maintained and effectively exercised without a moral structure accepted and practiced by all because power attracts the corruptible  and because corruption destroys consensus

Certain individuals are born incapable of forbearance; so are certain cultures

Thus, the continuation of society rests on: the willingness of each individual to accept the shared value of the society; the willingness and ability of those in power to remove those who do not support the morality of the society; and the willingness of all to limit the size and complexity of society to the scope of consensus required.

-the paradigms of power

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.  Adiamante




I would say that this is in support of green anarchy.

Modesitt writes "and the willingness of all to limit the size and complexity of society to the scope of consensus required."  He is recognizing that consensus is necessary for morality, and that it is impossible if a society is to big or complex.  Society must then be limited in size.  You can do this by killing off all the extra people, or by dividing society up into self empowered communities, each of which has there consensus-based morality.  He probably is not advocating the former, so he must be advocating the latter.  This is the green anarchist platform.

He also is recognizing the problems with power, and the necessity of those with power to be within the consensus framework: "Power cannot be maintained and effectively exercised without a moral structure accepted and practiced by all because power attracts the corruptible  and because corruption destroys consensus".  I think that he is advocating that people with power should have no other rights than people without power.  In a sense then they do not have power, they are merely facilitators/organizers/leaders without any form of formal power or control.  This is anarchy.

"When any man is jailed unjustly the only place for any just man is in jail."
--- Henry David Thoreau




The first problem with the argument is that morality is the product of the society of the time, different things are considered amoral under different sets of norms and mores.

The other problem is that since we are not particularly close to the average lemming the government counts on for its support/authority, we are judged by most to be amoral. In effect, your message is dismissed outright, as one lacks the repetition of message and high visibility that is necessary to overcome the uninformed and lethargic popular view. If the government on the whole is corrupted by too long a reign, it can essentially enforce a consensus on the masses -- restricting the public exposure to your message, and spawning a deluge of MSN/NBC news kits that present a unified front against any varying views. Increased technology becomes both a friend and a worst enemy, as the rulers use it to prolong their time in power indefinitely, and new ideas are presented where the target 'lemmings' rarely see them.

What I'm trying to say is that Modesitt's argument doesn't work in this case because 'the consensus' isn't really the consensus of the people.

but that's just one guy talking




I think we can agree that Modesitt's paradigms cannot work in our incarnation of society.  Also despite my unfortunate choice of subject heading, I felt that they represented a complement to the concepts of Green Anarchy, as posted in the yak shack.  When I read the GA statement, I felt it lacked a grounding in human nature.  It seemed to rely to heavily on a presumed sense of morality and goodwill.  The paradigms speak of a very similarly organized structure, the small consensus based society, ruled by a common morality.  It however recognizes what may be referred to as human frailty, and attempts to make allowances for it.

"Morality rests on consensus and requires the use of power to remove those who will not accept that consensus "

"Certain individuals are born incapable of forbearance; so are certain cultures"

Teuton's point about the lemmings is well taken, representing one of the major flaws in democracy.  The ancient Greeks had it right "rule by the mob" indeed, I think this flaw also occurs in the paradigms.  The internal communication Modesitt refers would be necessary to maintain a consensus based society.   However that should read effective internal communication, the mere dissemination of information is not enough, it requires that part of the shared morality be a sense of civic (political?) responsibility.  To maintain consensus as a political unit, the members must care about the proceedings, and not be content to pass on their say to a representative and be done with it.




Did Teuton just call us amoral?



Government is our creature. We make it, we are ultimately responsible for it

The Cabinet is responsible for most legislation. It has the sole power to prepare and introduce bills providing for the expenditure of public money or imposing taxes

Equality rights (no discrimination on grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability; again, with provision for "affirmative action" programs).

The fundamental, legal and equality rights in the Charter are subject to a "notwithstanding" clause. This allows Parliament or a provincial legislature to pass a law violating any of these rights (except the equality right that prohibits discrimination based on sex) simply by inserting in such law a declaration that it shall operate notwithstanding the fact that it is contrary to this or that provision of the Charter. Any such law can last only five years, but it can be re-enacted for further periods of five years.  Any such legislation must apply equally to men and women.

Incidentally, they leave the provincial legislatures their power to confiscate the property of any individual or corporation and give it to someone else, with not a penny of compensation to the original owner

Nor could any provincial legislature pass an Act taking the province out of Canada. No such power is to be found in the written constitution, so no such power exists.

local works declared by Parliament to be "for the general advantage of Canada or of two or more of the provinces" (this has been used many times, notably to bring atomic energy and the grain trade under exclusive national jurisdiction).

But under the constitution, every province except Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba is absolutely free to have as many official languages as it pleases, and they need not include either English or French. For example, Nova Scotia could make Gaelic its sole official language, or one of two, three or a dozen official languages in that province. Alberta could make Ukrainian its sole official language, or Ukrainian, Polish and classical Greek its three official languages. Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba also are free to have as many official languages as they please, but they must include English and French.

in Canada, the head of state can, in exceptional circumstances, protect Parliament and the people against a Prime Minister and Ministers who may forget that "minister" means "servant," and may try to make themselves masters

the Senate has many members with specialized knowledge and long years of legal, business or administrative experience. Their ranks include ex-Ministers, ex-Premiers of provinces, ex-mayors, eminent lawyers and experienced farmers.

Our system could not work without political parties

A strong Prime Minister, having listened to everyone's opinion, may simply announce that his or her view is the policy of the Government, even if most, or all, the other Ministers are opposed




The problem with our system isn't so much the existence of political parties, but that there are no reasonable alternative parties, due to an apathetic electorate. The government has established a firm hold on power, and so long as it does nothing to enrage the 'lemmings' I spoke of earlier, there will not be sufficient numbers of people interested in supporting alternate views/representatives. We live in a society where structural changes are seen as bad, and without any huge influences on what the masses see as prime directives for their administration, changes will be small and easily reversible.

Take Sept. 11 for example, I bet you'll see some really interesting hidden maneuvering in any upcoming US policy. Events have enraged the masses down there, and they will bow to anything the government wants just as long as they can 'see' that the perps. are brought down. The government has given itself the nationalistic backing it needs to pull off all sorts of trade moves and political relations changes that might otherwise be frowned upon. It has focused the 'lemmings' on a single issue or problem. Just as long as the people don't ever have their focus directed to these (perhaps more important) changes, they will never question their support of the governing body.




I think that you are forgetting one point.  People ARE lemmings.  This can be bad, or it can be good.  It means that they will blindly follow a moral code if that is what is socially acceptable.  People DO NOT just act in their direct self interest, perceived social advancement plays hugely in the way that they will act.  Gandhi uses a good example.  In India, a member of the upper class would rather die of thirst (or at least get REALLY thirsty) than drink from a well that had been used by one of the untouchables.  The social more was that strong.  In this case it was a bad social more, but it shows that the neurological pathways do exist to enforce a social code.

I think that if you substitute 'morality' with 'peer pressure' or 'drive for social conformity' it might not sound so idealistic to you.  The proper term used in social marketing is 'norm appeal'.  It doesn't sound so pessimistic about human nature.  But norm appeal is very strong in humans and can be used to the advantage of a social group by promoting cohesion and cooperation.  Don't forget, individuals that disobey the 'morality' that is achieved by consensus can face harsh social ridicule.

Then just comes the problem of originally setting up the system.  There is a problem with letting uneducated people make decisions.  It becomes the rule of the media.  However the solution is to educate people, not to disempowered them.  Consensus decision making isn't a completely different thing from democracy, it is merely what democracy proclaims itself to be but isn't.  I have participated in several groups that used consensus decision making to make decisions with thousands of people represented, from a wide range of ideologies.  It is hard, it takes work, but it can be done.  And it is worth it, you end up with a decision that everyone is happy with.  It just requires that people be dedicated to making it work, and that people be willing to learn.  And it isn't to naive to hope for this.  Reject acceptance of disempowerment and reject willful ignorance.

Vote Anarchy!




how can you reject willful ignorance?

you cannot force another to learn. one can disagree the viewpoint of another, but cannot ignore their voice -in a moral democracy -as that is discrimination.

to cull the 'dissenter' diminishes the strength of the decision as it represents the interests of fewer people.

-----   i may not agree with what you are saying, but i will defend to the death your right to say it.   




The problem with most protests is that they never reach the people on a meaningful level, (unless they are in direct contact with the protesters or their activities). In essence the protests aren't changing much outside of their direct sphere of contact, because the masses have no tangible exposure to the actual implications of government policies. At best, most sense that there is something wrong with their situation, but can't connect the dots to see where it's stemming from. They lack the interest to do the background research, and the government sure as hell isn't going to make the information easily available.

The problem faced by protesters is akin to slapping someone upside the head to focus his/her attention, without pissing him/her off. There is a need to obtain the same media blitz that the government uses, without having the activities involved place one in the wrong field of public perception.

Guildenstern's groups that are consensus governed rely solely on a shared group interest. When the groups grow too large, as is the case with many countries, they foster a ass with no desire to get involved, and essentially torch any hopes of a non-enforced consensus.




In response to Phoebes:

    To reject willful ignorance is not to ignore the voice of someone that you disagree with and it is not to cull dissenters.  The advantage of consensus over democracy is that it DOES hear the voice of all.  Democracy ignores the voice of unpopular dissent.

    But it is appropriate to disregard someone if they are actively choosing to remain ignorant.  This is not discrimination.  It does not mean that you are culling out opinions that you think are caused by a lack of knowledge.  It means that if someone refuses to look at information even when it is put in front of them and is instead choosing to keep there opinion as one based in ignorance and prejudice, their opinion is not valid.  If you cannot even state the rudimentary fundamentals of your oppositions argument, your argument cannot be taken seriously.  You have to have listened to your opponent's argument before your argument is to be considered.  This is what it means to reject willful ignorance.


In response to Teuton:

    I agree that large demonstrations do little to influence policy makers.  But I do not think that is relevant to their intended purpose.  The most essential thing for the movement is to recruit active members.  When the movement is big enough it can engage in activities that will actually effect policy.  Activities such as massive civil upheaval and direct action.  But to do this effectively we need more people.  Demonstrations and other such activities broaden a movement's membership and recruit members.  Protests are about strengthening a movement internally as much as they are about directly causing policy change.  Most importantly, protests educate the protestors, energize the protestors, and draw in more people to become protestors.  Policy makers are a lost cause.  To hell with them.  Work subversion underneath them.  Undermine their popular support and energize the people to take action.

    You are absolutely right that consensus does fall apart in large groups.  It cannot be expected to work on anything larger than a community level.  That is why it must be accompanied with the empowerment of local communities and decentralization of power structures.




While government is our creature, it does not behave according to design.  The problem is that the government is run by people.  Human being who have their own objectives and their own opinions which most of the time differ from the majority.

More often are we hearing that people voted for the best of the worst so obviously there is no satisfaction in the government system and unfortunately there is nothing being done to change this.  The reason is this.  We continually elect the same people into office.  Although they may have different phenotypes they were all brought up and educated in a system run by the government and outlined by it's policies.

There is a utopian idea that government is to be utilized for regulatory purposes.  Governments of today not only supply infrastructure but have a hand in regulation and construction and research and development and many other things.  Society has become so entirely dependent upon the government.  While some may disagree they are in a very small minority.

In the beginning government was created to be the voice of the majority, now it is apparent that they government is it's own voice and because of it's  perceived power there is little opposition


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