Time is right to renew the American Experiment
By David C. Korten
David Korten, author of “When Corporations Rule the World” and”The
Post-Corporate World, Life After Capitalism,”
The American Experiment was ... a truly audacious idea.
When the founders boldly declared that all men are created equal and
that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the
governed, the evidence of 5,000 years of rule by hereditary emperors,
kings, and feudal lords suggested such an idea might even be contrary to
Yet the American Experiment remains an unfinished project. The time has
come to renew that experiment within the context of the realities of
this special moment in the human experience.
We of the human species stand poised on the threshold of a choice
between self-destruction and creative possibility:
Our technologies give us the capacity, by miscalculation or intent, for
total self annihilation.
Our demands on the life support system of our living planet exceed the
planet's limits of tolerance; increasingly over stressed sub-systems are
going into decline and collapse.
On the positive side, we have ventured into space and looked back to
see ourselves as one people sharing a single destiny on a living space
Global institutions have been created so representatives of all the
world's nations and peoples may resolve their issues and solve common
problems through dialogue rather than arms.
Our communications technologies give us the ability to link every human
on the planet into a seamless web of communication and to choose our
future through a dialogue of the whole.
Millions of people the world over are coming together to create a global
social institution unlike any other in the human experience: a dynamic,
self-directing social organism that transcends boundaries of race,
class, religion, and nationality to function as a shared conscience.
It is time to renew the American Experiment in light of the distinctive
needs and opportunities of this unique moment. Unleashing this potential
depends in turn on the full flowering of democratic institutions in
America and beyond. That is what the still unfinished American
Experiment is about.
As a nation we are living a false and fragile prosperity based on
borrowed money and depletion of the planet's natural wealth. We neglect
or even actively deny the security threats that most endanger our
physical well-being — global climate change, collapsing environmental
systems, toxic and nuclear contamination, the export of jobs and
hollowing out of our manufacturing base, a skyrocketing trade deficit, a
falling dollar, and extremes of inequality and exclusion that lead to
the social breakdown and violence of which terrorism is but one
Our nation is beset with moral decay as well, especially at the highest
levels of corporate and political leadership. Leadership must come from
We the People.
Yet We the People are hindered in our great and necessary work by an
artificial political divide intentionally cultivated by power -seeking
political extremists at both ends of the political spectrum.
The real political divide in America is not between liberals and
conservatives, who in fact share a great many core values. The real
political contest in America is between those of us committed to a
politics based on principle and the common good; and those who pursue a
politics of individual greed and power.
GB1:Let's keep the voters polarized, son. While they can't agree
on anything, we keep them locked in perpetual battle! They
never turn around and see us and the 13 families we work for.
GB2: Right you are, Dad. Never know what hittem.
BOTH: heheheheheh. We got it wired!
Call those of us on the side of the American Experiment progressives —
progressive conservatives and progressive liberals — for although we may
have our differences, we share a commitment to advancing the
Experiment's progressive goals.
The elitist economic agenda centers on increasing economic growth and
stock prices through market deregulation, a rollback of social and
environmental protections, the opening of economic borders to the free
flow of goods and money, privatization of public services and assets,
tax reductions for the wealthy, weakening of anti-trust enforcement, an
assault on the rights of union members, and the dismantling of social
The key to achieving prosperity and ending poverty (they say) is to free
the private sector from the regulatory hand of government. The rich may
get richer, but so do the poor so it works for everyone.
That, in a nutshell, is the elitist prosperity story.
The actual consequence of the deregulation of markets and trade is not
to free markets, but to free predatory transnational corporations to
acquire and abuse monopoly power to manage trade and markets to their
exclusive financial advantage.
The self-serving claim that inequality — even extreme inequality — is
beneficial to society ignores the obvious reality that "free" markets —
a code word for unregulated markets — respond only to money.
The security doctrine of the power seekers centers on using police and
military powers of the state to protect the rights of private property
and the established order of elite privilege from those who challenge
The elite security story equates dissent with terrorism and implicitly
brands both as evil to justify the suppression of all forms of dissent
to protect the elite status quo.
Furthermore, the elitist security story calls for waging wars against
whole nations in the name of fighting terrorism.
In the realm of morality and meaning, the power seekers find support for
their doctrine of elite rule in two quite different stories. One is a
sacred story based on a misreading of biblical scripture; the other is a
secular story based on a misreading of evolutionary science.
According to the sacred story of the power seekers:
Nothing happens in Creation except by the will of God who created the
world in six days, gave his creation to man in return for strict
obedience to his will, and in his infinite righteous judgment favors the
obedient with wealth and power.
This story completely dishonors the life and teaching of the prophet
Secular power seekers find meaning and moral legitimacy for elite rule
in the story of social Darwinism. According to this story:
Progress comes through a competitive struggle in which the fit triumph,
the unfit perish, and the species grows stronger. This ignores
substantial biological evidence that life is a fundamentally cooperative
It is not enough merely to point out the flawed and ethically challenged
assumptions of an established story. A story that embodies a flawed
theory can be challenged successfully only by a more compelling story.
Herein lies an important challenge for progressive movements.
Although justice, peace, and a healthy environment are scarcely special
interests, our fragmented and piecemeal articulation of our many causes
makes it all too easy for the neo-royalists to portray us as a divided
collection of special interests lacking a coherent and pragmatic
alternative to their more comprehensive agenda.
We thus concede the initiative, the national story, and political power
to the modern bearers of the royalist torch.
The power seekers offer a prosperity story that promises ever-growing
material prosperity and spells out a clear plan in which, by their
telling, everyone wins. Within the frame of their story, the progressive
agenda is easily reframed to sound like a call to tax those who are
productive to provide welfare for those too lazy to get a job, take jobs
from white males to give them to women and people of color, and reduce
our standard of living to save exotic species most people have never
seen and wouldn't recognize if they did.
The power seekers offer a security story that promises to impose peace
and order on a demonstrably unruly world. By contrast, the progressive
international security story centers on unilateral disarmament and the
rejection of war as an instrument of policy.
Our domestic security story calls for greater attention to protecting
the rights of the accused, constraining the police, making life better
for those serving time, reducing sentences, and closing prisons. It
seems we have little to offer by way of comfort to those who fear for
themselves, their families, and their children. It should be no surprise
that the elitist security story carries the day.
If we are to renew the American Experiment, perhaps it is appropriate to
acknowledge and renew its spiritual foundations.
The time has come to renew the American Experiment. This is our
opportunity to join in a cooperative effort to realize the ideals of
liberty, justice and opportunity for all people everywhere.
The choice is ours. Now is the hour. We have the power. The work starts
here. We are the ones we've been waiting for.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our 'POSTER-BLOGGER' is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, Researcher, Humorist, Ombudsman, Futurist as she's a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, also a career Astrologer. Catch up with her websites TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! FRUGAL LIFE STYLE TIPS, HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also ARTISANRY FOR EXPORT, EARN EUROS....* Anita is at firstname.lastname@example.org ). Get a 15$ natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic! No smarter reading out there anywhere near that price.
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