WHAT MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN SOCIALIST THEORY IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO MOVE THE PRACTICAL STRUGGLE FORWARD?
The nurturing atmosphere for growth that children get in the human family differs from what they get in an institutional orphanage or a juvenile hall. Both family and orphanage provide for the material needs of members, but the human family provides an additional quality: the giving and receiving of sincere caring attention. This quality is customarily called love or agape. Most American families have in addition a religious or spiritual life. These additional qualities in a functional healthy family unleash spirit and energy so that each member can evolve to his/her fullest potential. Adults need this quality if they are to continue life-long growth. The strategy and vision of socialism now is that of an institutional orphanage with a lock on the door. It aims only to provide material needs, and accompanies that with great pressure to conform to the doctrinal model. Our actual human experience with Socialism is that it “produced a system that used terror as an instrument of social engineering.” Domination in some form has always been required. Socialists do provide the much needed, but almost lost insight and wisdom that capitalism is an incurable cancer on human beings and the planet. Socialists know also that capitalism has not and never will meet human needs however it is reformed or controlled because it builds power in a few persons based on greed and violence, and the threat of violence and starvation. Socialists are also well aware of the almost impenetrable trance of people in the West who enjoy the material benefits of
SOCIALISM NEEDS TO RECONNECT WITH THE SAGES PAST AND PRESENT IN ALL FIELDS OF HUMAN WISDOM SO AS TO OFFER A STATEGY AND A VISION THAT IS FOUNDED ON CARING, AND COOPERATION
Visions of socialism inevitably involve a conflict between two worthy values, a conflict between liberty and equality. E. F. Schumacher pointed out that enforcing equality for some humans will inevitably involve infringing on the liberty of other humans. On the other hand, enforcing liberty for some will inevitably leave many humans with unmet needs. Neither value can prevail without serious damage to the other value. Schumacher called this a “divergent issue,” the unavoidable conflict of good values. These conflicting good values can only be harmonized by another value such as “love” which a family uses with children to reconcile freedom and discipline or “fraternity” that the French chose in the slogan “
The point of this for us socialists is that socialism abhors such wisdom because socialism is wedded to science. Science rejects all sentimentality, insight, feeling, spirituality, and religion. Science, and hence socialism, have no means, insight, or knowledge with which to reconcile conflicting good values peacefully. The reconciliation of conflicting values cannot be had with rational experiment, argument, or debate. It is a fundamental part of science that one be objective and ignore all subjective thoughts or feelings. Science could enable Robert Oppenheimer to make an atom bomb, but science could not give him the wisdom to decide whether to make it, or whether to use it, once made.
Components like “love,” caring, sharing, and cooperation are not mentioned as core ingredients of present socialist theory. This is because they are part other fields of human wisdom that socialism has so far ignored. In secular language, Schumacher lists four fields in the map of human knowledge that he calls “The Wisdom Tradition.” They are:
- What is going on in my inner self? In the philosophy of the East, this area is as vast and as worthy of study as the outer universe. This field involves human feeling, spirituality, the meaning of life, insight and introspection. It involves the uniquely human capacity to observe what we ourselves are thinking and feeling. This gives us the ability to reflect and think of intended and unintended consequences before we act. There is immense personal psychological benefit in simply asking one’s self, “What’s it to you?” before acting or speaking. We cannot begin to know of the needs of other humans unless we know of our own subjective thoughts and emotions. It has been a disaster that socialism has ignored this field of knowledge.
- What is going on in the inner lives of other humans? We cannot have direct knowledge of this field. We can have hunches based on our own inner study. We may be able to verify our hunches by observation of body signals, and apparent moods and behavior. Most children are familiar with the axiom, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This field seems to be the root source of the value of compassion. Together with our own inner exploration, it allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of another. It fosters values of caring, sharing, cooperation and peaceful behavior. It is the root of family and civilization. It could and should be a root of both socialist strategy and vision.
- How am I seen in the eyes of those around me? If we wish to have a check on our own irrationality, delusions, bad ideas, and craziness, we must be concerned with how we appear to others. We can thus have a check on our shortcomings of which we may have been unaware. Jim Jones, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and their “isms” could well have benefited from this field of knowledge as could have their victims.
- What do I actually observe in the world around me? This is the field of science. It is useful in astronomy, chemistry, physics, and making atom bombs, and chemical weapons. This field requires the exclusion of all inner experiences like love, hate, hope, fear, joy, anguish, and even pain. One must objectively observe, measure and record. This field is startlingly compatible with capitalism and torture, since it imposes no curbs on violence, greed or aggression, and with the type of “socialism” that existed and failed in the Soviet Union and
These four fields have occupied sages, wise men, philosophers, and spiritual figures like Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed in the past and theologians, philosophers, psychologists, song writers, and poets in the present time. Before the 4th field of Science came to dominate the planet, bright men studied, meditated and reflected on all these fields, not just the fourth, and they were honored and respected by the lay population.
Socialists are unacquainted with and uninterested in the sages past or present and what they are thinking because they are not scientific. The sages are non-rational which socialists sometimes confuse with irrational. They are spiritual, reflective, insightful, even religious men. They are respectful of science for what it can be used for, but their thoughts are not confined to or imprisoned by science. Socialists have much to learn from them as to both means and ends. These sages have much to learn from Socialists as well if Socialists can make themselves relevant, appropriate, and palatable by ingesting the Wisdom Tradition and its four fields of knowledge. This cross fertilization of insights is now desperately needed.
The sages of today include theologians, people like Thich Nhat Hanh, Dalai Lama, Alan W. Watts, Dorothee Soulee, Sjoerd L. Bonting, Walter Wink, Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, and Matthew Fox. Socialists can be enriched by studying them, and using their wisdom. Many of them are proponents of liberation theology. For reasons of strategy and personal enrichment, socialists might consider becoming liberation theologians as the Latin American priests did a few years ago. Socialists will find these theologians to be rational, and their ideas have a surprising and enriching correlation with socialist objectives. Some of the concepts that individual progressive theologians write about may be surprisingly inoffensive to socialists.
Since an overwhelming majority of people are spiritual, Socialists wedded to “science” are impeding the realization of our vision. Socialists are not connecting with potential allies, and helpful insights. Socialists might consider participating in the spiritual traditions to support these modern progressive interpretations and to oppose those that are crazy, reactionary and enslaving.
One of the main obstacles that Socialists face in organizing and recruiting is the trance imposed on people by capitalism and its oligarchic media. The Oligarchy “informs” people that the status quo is the best that can be and that there is no alternative. The Oligarchy augments this trance with its proliferation of material goods in the West and with the threat of unemployment and starvation everywhere. So far, Socialists have not found a way to penetrate this very powerful and addictive trance. It is in penetrating this trance that religion, spirituality and progressive theologians can be very helpful allies. It is the essence of every religious tradition that human beings and their lives on earth can be better. Each provides disciplines, rituals and ceremonies that encourage and seek this better life. The Oligarchy, well aware of this progressive potential, has linked itself with right wing religious leaders who ignore or falsify this essence and divert the attention of people to other topics like sin, evil, terrorists, heaven, atheists, and Armageddon. Socialists must combat this and they have very real eager allies in the progressive theologians. These progressive theologians constantly seek to teach religious people about the caring, sharing, cooperative, peaceful essence of their spiritual traditions, and to refute the false and corrupting interpretations of right wing religious leaders. One of the principal themes of the spiritual traditions, properly interpreted, is that people should do what they have to do to survive in the status quo, but they should deny its legitimacy: “To be in the culture, but not of it” or “To render unto Caesar that which is Caesars, and render unto God that which is God’s.” The ultimate objective, common in all traditions, is summed up in the prayer uttered daily by millions of Christians: “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” It can and should be the role of Socialists to join with progressive theologians to help break the trance of the Oligarchic status quo and give concrete meaning to this spiritual yearning.
By contrast, the logical, reductionist, scientific approach of Socialism is unpersuasive uninspiring and incomplete. It has not appreciated or used the insights of spiritual people. I was privileged to make the personal acquaintance of Paul Sweezey and I have read his Monthly Review for over 50 years. I greatly respect his brilliant analyses of Capitalism and Imperialism, but his working definition of Socialism has always left me cold:
- State ownership of the means of production
- A national economic plan enforced by the State.
The definition ignores the values of most concern to me, caring, being cared for, sharing, cooperation and peace. It provides no way to penetrate the trance. It is valueless “scientific” socialism. It leaves all of the hard questions unanswered: Who is to control the State? How? By What means? For what goals or ends? It ignores the problem of conflicting good values such as liberty and equality. Is it to be achieved by violence? How will socialism deal with the immense differences among human beings? I know that Paul Sweezy had personal values like mine of caring sharing, cooperation and peace, but they were not a part of his socialist strategy or ultimate vision.
SOCIALIST THEORY MUST EMBRACE THE HUMAN WISDOM THAT EXPOSES THE MYTH OF REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE, PENETRATES THE OLIGARCHIC TRANCE, AND BECOME ACTIVELY NONVIOLENT IN BOTH STRATEGY AND VISION
In my opinion, the wisest and most radical sage now living is theologian Walter Wink.
Wink says the root of inequality, domination and exploitation is violence used by one human to assert power over another human. Men use violence or potential violence to assert domination over women. Employers use the threat of violence or starvation to assert domination over employees. Some socialist theory involved hating and overthrowing the ruling class by force and violence. “ Socialist” States like the Soviet Union and
Multi-national capitalists use the awesome violence of the
Unfortunately, for 5000 years we humans have been addicted to what Wink calls the Myth of Redemptive Violence. It is a major component of the Oligarchic trance. What is this Myth that Wink has identified?
There exists an evil that is a threat to the community. A strong man emerges among us who promises to rid us of the evil. The strong man kills the evil man. The strong man acts violently outside the law and apart from the community. This violence restores our sense of safety, law and order. We are personally redeemed with no effort on our part.
This myth is so much a part of our consciousness that we do not realize that it is false.
I present here my own short summary of Wink’s Chapter 1:
Our childhood TV shows, our comic books, many of our movies and our foreign policy are all founded on the false myth of redemptive violence. It promises to redeem, to restore order, law, peace and democracy, but it never does. This is our civilization redeeming myth that appears in Popeye, The Lone Ranger, Batman, Superman, Cowboy Westerns, TV games and in our foreign policy, and in the CIA. Notice that the cause of the evil is never discussed. It simply exists as a “given.” Nothing that the community did caused the evil. It often involves a projection of the evil within the community “out there” as an external evil.
The community believes that it is redeemed by this violence. The myth is the simplest, laziest, most exciting, uncomplicated, and irrational depiction of evil the world has ever known. The good guys always win. It survives in our religious institutions. This myth, and not Christianity, is the real religion of
Many intellectuals, workers, capitalists and socialists are unwittingly, addicted to this Myth. The Myth is totally false. It is the very core of the Oligarchic trance. The truth is that violence never works to achieve the stated idealistic objective. Violence did not achieve the stated socialist objectives in the
The one successful social revolution of modern times, the elimination of state sponsored racism in the
Here are some of the reasons why violence will never bring us socialism:
- Capitalism does not create a wish for socialism among humans. Multinational capitalism and imperialism simply have not inspired employees to hate the system and to overthrow it by violence. As Thorsten Veblen wrote over 100 years ago, employees, instead, have a deep wish to emulate the rich. Recent history of Nazi Germany shows that employees in any country are more likely to choose the Myth of Redemptive Violence under the leadership of an authoritarian strong man who promises to make things right.
- Violence spawns an unending spiral of violence. The anger, hatred, and killing and torture skills humans as a group need to attempt a violent overthrow of the status quo cannot and are not simply put aside even if the violence is temporarily successful. Violent overthrow of the status quo inevitably creates resentment and a determination by the victims to use retaliatory violence to regain what was lost.
- Violence teaches no leadership skills to deal with the differences among humans. There are vast permanent differences among us humans. The advent of socialism, whether achieved by violence or nonviolence, will not eradiate these differences. Some humans will still be fascists, conservative, uninvolved and unconcerned, liberal and radical, greedy and sharing. Socialists would then need to continue domination, violence and control, far beyond a modest police force needed in a stable community.
- Violence is counterproductive in creating the profound change of consciousness in humans that is needed to obtain and maintain socialism The reliance on violence to achieve a change in the status quo brings out in us humans traits of violence, greed, cruelty, hatred and fear. The consciousness emphasizing the peaceful, caring, sharing, cooperative traits of humans, the type of human consciousness that we need and want, is stifled and eradicated.
- We can never match the arsenal of violence available to the corporate state. Violent socialists can never hope to confront directly the overwhelming weapons in the hands of the Oligarchy.
It is long past time for us seriously to consider the revolutionary power of active nonviolence. It is neither passive nor violent. Active nonviolence is an alternate third way. Its goal is true democracy, one person one vote with effective equal voting power. The active nonviolence means of change is at least as practical and realistic as the use of armed violence. It has worked when it has been tried. The advantages of active nonviolence over armed violence are:
- Active nonviolence is based on timeless national, cultural, human, and religious values and principles such as equality, security, preservation, justice, democracy, love, forgiveness, caring, compassion, and understanding.
- Active nonviolence appeals to these values held by people and nations.
- Active nonviolence is less threatening than violence to ordinary citizens.
- Active nonviolence (unlike militaristic or violent methods) allows everyone to participate: women, men, elderly, youth, and even children; people from all traditional levels of strength and weakness.
- In active nonviolence, the means are consistent with the ends—they are the ends in the making.
- Active nonviolence has the capacity to reduce the effectiveness of police and state violence—the powerholders’ ultimate weapon---and to turn it to the movement’s advantage.
- A clear policy of active nonviolence makes it difficult for provocateurs to disrupt or discredit movements by promoting internal violence, hostility, dissension, dishonesty, and confusion.
Luckily for us, trained facilitators, excellent training manuals, and training courses are available to help us get the wisdom and change in strategy that abandoning violence and domination requires.
Anyone who proposes active nonviolence must be prepared to deal with the question: “What would you do with a Hitler who seeks to enslave you and commit genocide?” This question is the ultimate propaganda weapon of those who are entranced by the Myth of Redemptive Violence. It seems so logical and realistic and the answer seems self-evident. Beware.
At the outset, every one of us would do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves and our loved ones if we were personally attacked. The real question is not what I would do personally against a Hitler’s armed might, but what I would want my nation to do. So the question requires careful thought and analysis before one supports national armed violence.
- Who is raising the question? Follow the money. What is his financial interest? Does he seek to deflect attention from some something else?
- Are jingoistic emotional frightening words being used by the proponents of armed violence? Are you being manipulated by some person that seeks to maintain power and privilege?
- Examine the truth as you know it. Are you personally in any immediate realistic danger? Is there time to consider causes and solutions other than armed violence? Or is it simply a theoretical question about alleged future danger?
- Has the proponent of armed violence examined all the causes of the alleged evil and exhausted all of the alternatives to violence? This is a basic requirement before engaging in even a “just” war.
- Have you considered the fact that our own nation’s imperialistic economic expansion supported by armed violence that is the main threat to the peace of the planet?
- Which would likely result in the least human causalities, both of civilians and combatants: armed violence or active nonviolence?
Having done all that, we can then be ready to give active nonviolence a fair hearing.
The following are the essential components of a nonviolent socialist strategy and ultimate goal:
- An effective strategy to obtain socialism requires that each of us experience a profound change of consciousness. We must become aware of our own acceptance of the Oligarchic trance. We must learn to function within the status quo, but to reject its legitimacy. We must give up our addiction to the Myth of Redemptive Violence. We must recognize our own dark sides, our own potentials for violence. We must come to know that this violence can be intellectual, physical, verbal, spiritual, and psychological. We must come to know that an act by us that makes another feel “one down” or under attack will simply create a need for retaliatory violence by the other. We socialists must renounce our dream of “power over.” We ourselves must first learn the means of assertive nonviolence, consensus building, cooperation, and the capacity to give sincere caring attention to others, including enemies and capitalists and conservatives.
- Active nonviolence involves confronting our own fear and instead of fleeing or fighting, consciously choosing to act nonviolently. It accepts anger as a motivation, providing the anger is under control. It involves channeling our anger away from impulsive violence. It is neither fleeing, nor is it passively doing nothing. It involves active nonviolent resistance such as Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus, or Martin Luther King Jr. marching into Bull Connor’s police line, clubs and snarling police dogs.
- Active nonviolence is founded on the assumption that every human being is a complex mix of positive and negative traits, and has a need to be cared for and to care for others. It involves a choice to try to connect with the inner decency in the person based on the fixed determination that the potential for decency exists in every human.
- Active nonviolence is an action of evolved humans giving caring attention even to enemies and violent persons, and of sharing and cooperation. It rejects and breaks the spiral of violence and retaliatory violence. As a start, it involves simply asking a dominating violent person or nation: “What’s wrong?” It would involve the
asking Iranians: What’s wrong? It would involve listening to the answers. I know of an incident where a young woman observed a man beating his wife on the public sidewalk. The young woman, lacking the personal power or police presence to intervene physically, simply looked into the beater’s eyes and said: “What’s wrong?” It was a sincere caring question. It did not put down or criticize the beater. The man was suddenly awakened from his trance of anger, seemed embarrassed, stopped beating his wife and walked away. The U.S. U.S.and do not ask their “evil enemies” “what’s wrong?” because neither wishes to hear the answer nor to surrender privilege. Israel
- Active nonviolence assumes that conflict and differing wishes and views among humans will always be a part of life, both now and after the advent of the socialism of our dreams. We must learn to deal with these conflicts without violence.
In the many historical situations where active nonviolence has been tried, it has been effective. The historical record is that violence is always used to preserve existing privilege, not to achieve fairness or equality, or democracy.
The authors of Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living at page 281 state its principles for themselves and for us:
Nonviolence is active, constructive, cooperative and creative power for justice, equality, reconciliation, and well-being of all that employs neither passivity nor violence.
Nonviolence unifies rather than threatens; integrates rather than fragments and destroys; and seeks the truth rather than the conquest of one side over the other.
Nonviolence is a process that refrains from violence to break the cycle of escalating and retaliatory violence; to reach out to the opponent and to potential allies; to focus on the issue at hand; and to seek to reveal more clearly the truth and justice of the situation.
Nonviolence is organized love that includes loving one’s opponent. That is, it acknowledges, safeguards, and engages with the humanness, woundedness, and sacredness of the other, while actively challenging and resisting her or his violence and injustice.
LET’S START NOW!
If we are to renounce violence, force, the threat of force, and if we are to deal nonviolently and creatively with the differences and conflicts among humans, we must immediately prepare ourselves and the people we know. Active nonviolence provides the ideal place to get started. It provides not only a durable moral foundation for our socialism; the practice of active nonviolence is socialism now. If we truly immerse ourselves in the discipline of active nonviolence, we will realize that we are also creating the foundation for the socialism that we need and want: caring respect for every human; elimination of “power over,” domination and privileges based on wealth and power; an acute awareness of the oligarchic trance. In fact, the consciousness of active nonviolence is itself the conscience of socialism. The study of active nonviolence gives us a critical change of consciousness so that we can be active in the status quo, but totally deny its legitimacy.
Our “manifesto” should be:
People of this planet earth: Awaken! Become aware of the false “reality” of empire. Be in the world, but be not entranced by it. Take active nonviolence training. Study yourselves and your own habits of violence, and the effects of violence on you and others. Listen carefully to the needs of others. Be aware of your own inner motives. Acting together with others, engage in purposeful nonviolence to, resist evil acts, domination and oppression and to seek justice for all.
This will keep us very busy for the present. It is also the privilege of all of us to envision the ultimate socialist objectives. Without rejecting the traditional components of socialism, we offer a couple of our own ideas about the ultimate goal:
- Our governmental and production institutions must be kept to a small human scale where we can know and care for each other, where democracy can be effective, and monitoring and auditing can be done.
- We must provide institutions that meet the needs of those who are religious, traditional, right wing, conservative, greedy, and in need of strong leaders:
- Allow a greedy selfish person to do and earn what he pleases alone in self employment so long as he damages no one else, but he shall not be allowed to hire another to make a profit, nor to invest his wealth to make a profit.
- Provide a ceremonial leader, king, queen or chief for the larger governmental units, but give this “leader” absolutely no governmental power. (This wise concept is borrowed from
and the Scandinavian countries. It avoids our own disaster where people give an elected President undue authority, honor and respect along with immense political power) England
- Provide modest governmental financial aid to religious institutions and retreat centers and to the sages. (This also is borrowed from Scandinavians)
- Select administrative personnel based on their capacities for caring, cooperation, sharing, (and being cared for) and create institutions that foster and promote these qualities.
There is an urgent need that we focus and prepare. When an immense multinational economic depression occurs, or when a national disaster occurs (from whatever cause) active nonviolent socialist organizers need to be prepared to lead a hungry, frightened, discouraged, and bewildered citizenry toward constructive nonviolent solutions. Socialists are now impotent, unorganized and unprepared. The Oligarchy now ruling us through both the Republican and Democratic Parties is prepared. It has caused its puppets that we elect to make laws and Executive Orders placing all governmental power in the hands of the President in a national emergency. The President alone decides when there is an emergency. The reality is that we socialists must get ready to deal with this. We know from experience that the ruling Oligarchy will push for private market solutions and seek to dominate and manipulate us with false solutions and scapegoats.
Dated: July 20, 2007
Douglas R. Page,
 John Gray, “Little Big Wars The Metamorphis of Conflict,” Harpers Magazine, July, 2007, 83.
 It is the hiring of one human by another for the lowest wage possible in order to make as much profit as possible for the hiring human that is the core dynamic of capitalism that generates immense wealth and political power for the hiring humans. Our socialism may have to prohibit hiring in order to make a profit, and authorize only self employment, cooperatives and partnerships. As Professor Rick Wolf wrote in MR “The egalitarian, solidaristic society envisioned by social democracy cannot be secured so long as it leaves in place a group of people with incentives and means to prevent that.”
 David Korten in his book From Empire to Earth Community labels this trance “the trance of empire,” but he fails to recognize the dynamics of capitalism that is the root of empire, and I prefer to label it the Oligarchic trance. It is the trance imposed by capitalist dynamics and the Oligarchic media that implants the following falsehoods and half truths, This Oligarchy in its media inundates us with the following “stories,” myths, half-truths, and outright falsehoods that dominate the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the intellectual life and citizenship of the entire Western World:
a. The uncontrolled market is the source of all good, and there is no alternative
b. We are a functioning democracy, with some flaws possibly, but they are correctible
c. Those who oppose “us” are “terrorists” who must be killed wherever they are. (From 1917 to 1990 our opponents were “communists.”)
d. A rising tide lifts all boats, so we need not be concerned about the compounding wealth some at the top.
e. Our business expansion abroad, is good for us and benign in its effects on people abroad. It is our Manifest Destiny to project our culture, our businesses, and our democracy over the entire planet.
f. Our military might is maintained and used solely to defend our democracy.
h. Any human who really wants to can become rich too.
Every human being in the Western World, who wishes to have a job, a career, and promotions with appropriate pay, must accept these basic “stories” without question. The “liberal” magazines, The Nation, The New Republic, and The Progressive accept them. A professor will get no foundation grant to study the social adequacy of capitalism. A Jewish Professor who tells the facts about
 We now know that we voters do not rule. We have less voting power than ever. Ever since Republican Kevin Phillips wrote his Wealth & Democracy in 2002 we know that 80% of the money for the election campaigns of our elected representatives comes from the richest 5% of Americans. We know from the 2007 book of John Perkins, The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Man and the Truth About Global Corruption that we are in fact ruled by an oligarchy hat Perkins calls “corporatocracy.”
 E. F. Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed, (Harper & Row Publishers Inc. 1979), 121.
 Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ, (The Berkley Publishing Group, A division of Penguin Group [
 Daniel Goleman, Destructive Emotions A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama (Bantam Dell, A Division of Random House Inc., 2003)
 Alan W. Watts, Myth and Ritual in Christianity, (Beacon Press, Boston, 1968)
 Dorothee Soulee, Against the Wind, Memoir of a Radical Christian, (Forest Press, Minneapolis, 1999)
 Sjoerd L. Bonting, Chaos Theology,
 Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers, Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1992)
 Marcus J. Borg, The Heart of Christianity, (Harper,
 Karen Armstrong, A History of God, (Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1993)
 Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, (Bear & Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1983).
 Modern progressive theologians offer such concepts as the following: Nobody can prove the existence or non-existence of God or of a loving or creative intelligence and energy in the universe. However, most humans have always yearned for a reality beyond ordinary experience, and the yearning seems to be a part of human DNA. For many centuries, most sages have found it meaningful and useful to assume the existence of a loving God. Zen Buddhists put much more emphasis on the teachings of Buddha, but in effect Buddha occupies the place of a loving God. In this 21st Century many non-believers or outright atheists addicted to alcohol find help in the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous by “faking it until they make it,” that is by pretending that God exists and getting on with the Program.
God is love…at least this is the reliable component that humans can experience. God is in us and acts through each of us. God is neither male nor female and is certainly not a bearded man in white robes sitting in the clouds making angry judgments about us and sending sinners to hell.
We each have the capacity to be ongoing loving co-creators with God if we choose to do so because God is in us.
God created all humans (along with the rest of creation), loves each of us humans, sinners included, and expects us humans to give each other sincere caring attention as God does. This may be a root of our socialist and Constitutional concern with equality and socialist vision of a compassionate political economy.
The Christian doctrines of Virgin birth, Resurrection from the Dead are not literally or historically true, but are nevertheless profoundly meaningful stories and metaphors that give meaning to our existence for some humans.
Evil, sin, hell, the Holocaust, and wars are part of the chaos of the universe in a sense similar to the chaos of modern physics. A loving God, and loving human co-creators with God, struggle to bring order and love to this chaos among humans, and to make meaningful adjustments and accommodations to avoid the effects natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes insofar as is possible. There is a realization that some chaos is a permanent part of the universe co-existing with a loving God as it is in nuclear particles.
Ancient Ritual and Ceremony deserve respect for being reminders of the foregoing values and to maintain and preserve the human wisdom so far accumulated.
Ritual and ceremony, long tested by human experience, can bring order to the irrational dark sides of us humans, which if unchanneled, can lead to mob behavior, National Socialism, holocausts and the insane doctrines of Jim Jones in
Since the word “love” has so many meanings, progressive sages make clear here that the love involved is caring for others, being cared for, sharing, cooperation and the absence of angry violence.
Institutional Religion does as much harm as it does good. This is because basic insights and teachings have been codified, stripped of meaning, ignored, misinterpreted, or used by rulers to manipulate the people or to achieve secular political power. Religion has been and is the opiate of the masses. The Church continues to be the Chaplain of Empires.
 See Note 11
 Thorsten Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, (Kingsport Press Inc., Kingsport, TN , 1979 [First published in 1899] ), 68
 Bill Moyer, Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living, Pace e Bene Press,
 Two excellent training manuals exist: Ken Butigan and others, From Violence to Wholeness, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Las Vegas NV (2002) and Laura Slattery and others, Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living, Pace e Bene Press, Oakland, CA (2005). The latter training manual was designed for more secular persons who may not find meaning in the stories of Jesus in the Bible. Training Facilitators are available from the Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. These organizations also schedule several 3 day training workshops each year in the
 Walter Wink in his book, Engaging the Powers (See note 11) quotes the work of Gene Sharp at page 244 where Sharp found 198 examples of the use of nonviolent power from 1350B.C.E.to 1991, ranging from the Jewish women refusing the order of Pharaoh to kill their babies, the women on both sides in Lysistrata withholding sex from their soldier husbands, up to 1991 when thousands of Soviet demonstrators protected President Boris Yeltsin from an attempted violent coup.
 GANDHIAN PRINCIPLES From Engage: page 281
Nonviolence holds that all life is one.
Nonviolence asserts that we each have a piece of the truth and the un-truth.
Nonviolence is rooted in the idea that human beings are not reducible to the evil they commit.
For nonviolence, the means must be consistent with the ends.
Nonviolence underscores “difference without division”: we become our truest selves the more we j
Nonviolence is a process of becoming increasingly free from fear.
Nonviolence is the desire for, and action on behalf of, the well-being of all.
 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR PRINCIPLES From Engage: p. 160
Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
Nonviolence holds that voluntary suffering can educate and transform.
Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
 The John W. Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2006 (PL 109-364), was signed October 17, 2006, by President George W. Bush. The Act has a provision called 'Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies'. Thus the President can declare a national emergency and take over the government, using the Armed Forces to implement his will. This is implemented by another Executive Order: 11051: The Director of the Office of Emergency Planning authorized to put Executive Orders into effect in "times of increased international tension or financial crisis". It is also to perform such additional functions as the President may direct.
This Act augments the vast authority already taken by Presidential Executive Orders.
E. O. 12919 was signed into law by President Clinton June 3, 1994, which gathers together into one document the 11 Executive Orders set forth below. This means that FEMA would take over 28 Executive Departments and Agencies whenever the President of the
- 10995 - Seizure of all communications media.
- 10997 - Seizure of all electrical power and fossil fuels.
- 10998 - Seizure of all food resources, farms and farm equipment.
- 10999 - Seizure of all transportation and control of all highways and seaports.
- 11000 - Seizure of all civilians for work under Federal supervision.
- 11001 - Federal takeover of all health, education and welfare.
- 11002 - Authorizes FEMA to order Postmaster General to register every man, woman and child in the
. United States
- 11003 - Seizure of all aircraft and airports.
- 11004 - Housing and Finance given authority for population relocation.
- 11005 - Seizure of railroads, inland waterways, and storage facilities.
Does anyone doubt that the 5 current conservative Justices on the Supreme Court would uphold the Constitutionality of a President declaring such martial law?