Originally published at the LoneStar Iconoclast November 19, 2008
When my son, Justin, was around 12 he saw a movie about Houdini. Fired with a sense of emulation he told his sisters, then in their late teens, that he could do anything Houdini could do. Determined to prove this he followed them around demanding they duct tape him to a chair. They declined, for all the reasons you can imagine. But Justin persisted. Eventually, they complied. Justin then told them not to release him no matter what because they would be interfering with his demonstration. He told them if they released him he would nag them forever. They believed him, having been his sisters all of his life.
For forty five minutes Justin tried to escape the sticky bonds of the very thorough job his sisters had done. Exhausted, he asked them to cut the tape. They looked at each other and declined.
And that is where I found him when I came home from the PTA meeting though by then he had a sock in his mouth held in place by another piece of duct tape.
Raising children was an education in many ways. Justin had not been thinking strategically. He had not tested each component of his plan for whether or not it would work. He knew nagging worked. He could imagine the awe of his sisters when they saw him standing there, unfettered by duct tape, and he could imagine his feeling of accomplishment. But the escaping part was entirely untested. He could get himself into the process but not reach the goal.
You need to think strategically first.
In the US Army War College they understand the need to cover all those bases. Understanding the potentials for any situation dictates that you take into account the present technology and practices and keep an eye on potentials that are yet to be applied. Ask the builders of the Maginot Line, if your doubt that the rules can change rapidly. The rules are about to change relating to the FED, remember that.
In software development the need to 'beta test' is understood as the time when the glitches are worked out. Justin's Glitch: Ignoring the need to develop the skills of Houdini, honed by that artist over a lifetime.
None of the activities above relate to politics as such. But the same is true for all forms of human activity from building a composter to a monetary system. Know how it works. Have a strategic plan with interim goals for achieving your final goal. Thorough study helps you evade what can be devastating and unanticipated outcomes, like spending an hour with a sock duct taped to your mouth.
Raising children was, as I indicated, instructive. I already knew that politics had the equivalent of 12 year olds who put plans into motion without any thought of connecting the stated goal to a strategic plan for achieving that goal. All too often the actual goal was to raise money for the organizers and nothing more. “It educated the public,” “next time we will break through,” were common mantras heard in the aftermath of confusion, disappointment, and the sad cheers from people what wanted to believe rather than confront the truth. Their efforts had not achieved even interim goals; there had been no goal but a vague patina of rhetoric but they masked the pain with illusion. “Freedom for the individual,” “private ownership,” “return to the Constitution,” sounds wonderful. But the words will not take you there without substantial planning and focused, effective, action.
In each instance those involved believed that their activism and money was being invested in a way that was growing freedom. They were clearly mistaken since none of those many and varied plans actually moved us any further in that direction.
Today, more than ever in our history, perhaps, we need to view our time and money as an investment and treat those investments with discernment.
For instance, today we are confronting the break down of the Federal Reserve Bank. It is likely that the government could end up owning our mortgages, which would put us a long way towards a nationalism more like the USSR and Nazi Germany than like anything we, as Americans, can imagine. Such popular and well paid gurus as Larry Edelson opine on the frightening possibilities, such as this article appearing today, “The G-20’s Secret Debt Solution”, in Money and Markets.
It is not good. And waiting around until 'they' decide what to do sharply limits our available options.
At the end of the coming weekend we may or may not know what the intentions are for the global interests meeting in Washington D. C., on November 14-15. This meeting is for, “the G20 special leaders.” Whatever happens will be more like deciding how to serve us up as yet another entre than about how to save the economy. At this point that is impossible.
So while the focus of most of the world will be on what those 'special leaders' do our focus should be on building an alternative for ourselves that allows us to evade their all too clear intentions.
Which brings us to the issue again of strategic, planning, and how we spend our time from now on. Go home to your community and get active. Community relief programs are over worked and struggling; people have never been more inclined to listen.
As you make your plans consider these guidelines.
First, decide what outcome you want to enact. Those long dead revolutionaries who prosecuted the only real war for independence starting in 1775 knew what they wanted. The outcome was not everything they wanted but it took them in the right direction.
What we want is to take us the rest of the way. What we want is government by the people where the autonomy of the individual is recognized as an absolute that precedes any government and is not alterable by government. Here is an example of what I mean.
An exchange system is essential to how we live today.
The Fed is a system that has been designed to steal our substance and control us.
Therefore we need a different system, not no system, but one that serves our needs.
“End the Fed” makes a nice meme but without a means of exchange we cannot function. Petitioning Congress has proven to be a waste of breath.
The goal must be to rapidly displace the Fed with an exchange system that puts control in the hands of the individuals who are doing the exchanging. That means ordinary people at the most local level. That way as the Fed disappears we can survive, growing out that system.
Now, there are two points we need to consider. Why we spend so much time and money on such 'projects' as End The Fed and Break the Bailout, both of which fail to do anything to produce the needed alternative. Second, and most important, what we do to produce such a system.
End the Fed has a list of 'proposed ideas for action numbering 11 possibilities. It closes with the note that there are more ideas. Only Nos. 7 and 8, just ideas mind you, have anything to do with developing an alternative when the need is obvious and immediate. This is like telling the soldiers at Concord that ammunition would be a good idea and they should develop some. The time to start local alternatives is several years ago. And if that was not bad enough the next step into the quick sand of ineffective action is Break the Bailout. There, you can find the 'plan,' which is what they will do besides issue tee-shirts and accept donations and 'educate' the public. Here is their idea.
In shorthand terms, the funds will be used to build a transpartisan community of Bailout Breakers; to spread our message about ending the bailouts and taking back control of our money; and to create the tools that are going to be needed for standing up to the banksters and their purchased politicians. For a more detailed explanation of what we intend to do with the donated funds, click here. “
The 'click here' takes you to exhortations to 'get active.' That is not a plan; it is a fund-raising drive with no specifics whatsoever.
What it does accomplish is to keep activists involved in busy work, distracting them from what must be done. The future would be grim if we were dependent on this level of strategy and thinking.
Remember the words of Albert Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
It is time to dump the summer camp approach to activism; buying tee-shirts and paying $35.00 to “be a part of history,” so that you can get together with like-minded people accomplishes nothing. Go home to your community and become involved, not in politics but in your own community.
Start a local barter – exchange system. Start a coop that uses local food and gleening. Get to know the people who run the community relief programs.
Fortunately, many people have been working busily on these and other actual, working alternatives. Finding answers is easy. Many of these are now in operation and are providing communities with those working alternatives now in place. One of these related to a barter – trade system is Fourth Corner Exchange. But there are many others. Each should be considered a beta test site, to be scaled up and grown, testing its viability as the community in which it is being tried applies the principle of localizing commerce. Here, there are also challenges.
Localizing means more than talking and it applies not to one part of our lives but to all parts. It means providing jobs, not talking about theories but in manufacturing and installing energy alternatives. How about an electric car with a home based system that also powers your house? We could have one on the market in 90 days. The basic unit, car and home generation, will sell for $20,000. If you are interested, get in touch.
We do not have to originate the answers; they are out there. What must be done is effective networking and sharing that information, not for profit but because that sharing is, itself, one of the things that builds community, taking us all to the individual autonomy that is the foundation of freedom. Seeing it happen makes believers of the most skeptical.
Talking to each other is fun; summer camp was exciting when we were kids. But it is time to grow up and get serious about freedom if you want to know what it feels like before you die.