Let Creation be Creation
“Draw a line around the urban world and offer unlimited growth. Offer a true wilderness on the outside of that line. That is the place from which we all came. Getting those two things done, or well underway is all that is needed to solve all our problems. Build good cities and let the rest of creation be creation. One thing for sure is the new frontier is inward. We have very little time to produce a tactical network of collaborators for implementation by end of 2030. Running into the woods or the wilderness will not work.”Rex L. Curry
The 13th and the 19th Amendment
In 2016 two parts of the American body of values became serious problems. Originally defined by Jefferson, they were exposed more sharply by Seymour Lipset’s five pillars. Not many people can rattle them off, but people will recognize them as American’s belief in liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissez-faire capitalism. The first three are firm, repeatable values experienced and repeated in many ways. The last two remain a challenge regarding the purpose of each in a Democracy.
You might say this is all John Locke’s problem. He’s the one John Dunn, the political theorist described as forming the ideology of governance found in the secular principles of “the founding” of the U.S. Constitution. Briefly, these are unprecedented freedom of the individual, unlimited opportunity to acquire material goods, and strong limitations on the power of government to inspect or rule over the individual initiative.
Getting to an effective collaboration will require an understanding of populism and laissez-faire capitalism. On one side of the populism coin, we can look at how the Thirteenth Amendment allowed the continued imprisonment of African-Americans for the crime of being black. The ability of ordinary people to sustain the freedom for effective resistance to oppression was not produced. It was threatened. The 13th Amendment is over 150 years into its clumsy implementation. It is a failure only partially admitted to by Congress as recently as 2019.
The second concern in building an effective collaboration recognizes the 2020 Centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment as it marks the failure to sustain the power of the vote. This is the realm of what people believe can be correct or incorrect but always thought of as correct, even when challenged. This true of what is seen and heard or read. This characteristic of human perception requires measures of balance from leaders to prevent the use of a strongly held belief as a means for demonizing others.
An ordinary person like myself has an understanding of populism as a force capable of meeting my needs. I also know if it is effective, it requires some direct pressure or spins out of control. That balance is not provided by American laissez-faire capitalism. The flow of money builds heavily on self-interests and not ideas as the true actors.
They need to recognize the actors and forces that theoretically lead to economic equilibrium are defined, in part, by the flag that reads “don’t tread on me.” The sentiment for retribution speaks loudly to the first three values (liberty, egalitarianism, and individualism), but if they are challenged, government and regulation are either the solution or the problem. This is when it is important to know your placement on the populist data spectrum. A sense of perspective of who, what, and how you got where you there is the prerequisite value needed to proceed toward the collaboration that will stop us from running for the woods and beating our drums. We need to be better than that.
The American values spectrum needs some fixing. So here is how I think a way forward from local to global is possible. I think of it as the time I made some new friends on a golf course in Brooklyn. All of us were struggling on a long par 5 with missed shots amidst mild cursing when I said, “Well guys, at least, I understand white privilege.” The response from the two African-Americans who befriended me was an enduring trust in my self-awareness and honesty, two values that power the game.