The God Fetish, the God Phobia, and the Fetish of Words: Or, The Idolatry of Ideology

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2021 by jtoddring

There are some who will read my writing and think – he’s a dangerous right-winger! But if they read more, they will realize that is obviously untrue. Others will decide I am a dangerous leftist extremist; but if they read on, they will understand that I advocate non-violence, freedom, democracy and constitutional rights – and if that makes me a dangerous extremist in the minds of some, then I would say they are dangerously delusional.

Others will read my writing and declare that, while they may agree with some of it, or maybe most of it, they lose me when I venture into the realm of spirituality or religion. To them I would say, keep an open mind. “There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy.”

And then there are the religious fundamentalists, the sectarians, and the religious ultra-conservatives, who will feel that I am dangerously open to foreign, exotic influences. To them I say, I don’t think God has a fetish of names, and He, or She, cares little for our cherished ideologies, dogmas or sects. She is far beyond such narrow confines of little minds.

As the Tao Te Ching says, “Naming is the mother of the ten thousand things.” “The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.”

Keep your cherished ideologies, philosophies, dogmas, theories or beliefs, clubs and sects, if you wish, but hold them lightly, or you will see nothing at all.

As always, “There is more day yet to dawn.”

JTR,
January 10, 2021

Primary Influences

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 10, 2021 by jtoddring

What are my primary influences? Among them I would list these: Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Buddhism, Taoism, the perennial philosophy, Joanna Macy, Thomas Merton, Joseph Campbell, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Thoreau, along with the values of the Enlightenment: liberty, equality, solidarity – which I would like to see both defended and preserved, and lived up to, and the sooner the better.

In short, we are our brother’s keeper. But if we fall either to callousness, or to authoritarianism and illusions of control, then there will be hell to pay, for we will make a living hell on Earth. That is the crux of what I believe, and what I have to say. The power is in our hands, as always. It is up to us how or whether we will use it.

There are myriad other influences; I’ve cited them in extensive footnotes and references, bibliographies and reading lists. But these are some of the primary ones. A quick search of my blog for “reading”, “philosophy”, and the like, or the short article, Flash-Drive Revolution, will provide a great many resources, along with my first two published books: Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite.

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“I fear no truth, and fear no falsehood.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
– Thomas Paine

JTR,
January 10, 2021

The Definition Of A Warrior

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2021 by jtoddring

Here is a good working definition of a warrior. Chogyam Trungpa or the 13th Dalai Lama can explain it better. (See, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, and The Bodhisattva Warrior.) I am only a student of the sages, even if, as a scholar, my writing frankly has few peers. Nevertheless, I think the following thoughts are worthy of reflection.

A true warrior commits to compassionate action, for the benefit of all sentient beings, and commits to pursuing the truth, and speaking the truth, to that end. There is no other summary or definition of what it means to be a warrior that I feel has any merit, or at least, any real depth. That includes speaking the truth even when it is unpopular, even when it is dangerous to do so. To do otherwise means that you are not a warrior, nor even, a decent human being, but a hollow shell, a sham, morally bankrupt, and a coward.

When Chomsky said, quite rightly, “If the Nuremberg Trials were held today, every US President since World War II would be hung”, that was an unpopular thing to say, but it needed to be said. The same is true for the covid hysteria. The crisis is real, but widely misunderstood. Worse, the crisis is being cynically used by elites to advance their own agenda, and as always, it revolves around greater power and wealth for themselves – and a good 70-80% of the people are silently acquiescing to the new gospel narrative and the power grab which it covers, or are actively, though unwittingly, aiding and abetting it.

A few people question the official narrative, but not many. Most are either subjugated into unthinking obedience by indoctrination and propaganda, or are cowed into silence, fearing to raise their voices, lest they incur the wrath of the obedient herd. They are cowards, and they are endangering us all, far more than would ever dare to imagine.

Speak the truth. Seek the truth, and speak the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular that may be; or else surrender to the new normal, of vacuous obedience to power, and docile conformity, even at the expense of your own sanity and capacity for rational thought – even at the expense of your freedom, your dignity, and your soul.

The majority of people are motivated by ego and the pursuit of comfort. They imagine themselves to be moral and decent, but, at least in this decadent age, it is largely a ruse, and a self-deception. They have basically decent impulses, as Chomsky said, but no courage. When their conscience or compassion conflict with their desire for comfort, or to be liked, they choose the latter. But as Gandhi said, “Cowards can never be moral.”

They herd are terrified of being driven out of the herd. The herd instinct makes them strong, in that they naturally tend towards compassion, empathy, solidarity, cooperation and mutual aid; but it also makes the majority cowardly, because they are afraid to risk losing the perceived safety of the herd.

This is why all significant positive change in human society has always come, and will always come, from a small, dissident minority. It was the small minority that led the movements for democratic revolution in America and France, the movement to abolish slavery, to gain universal suffrage, to end child labour and racial segregation, and on and on the list goes. Only when the brave minority, through tireless action, and tirelessly speaking the truth, reach a tipping point in terms of getting their message across to the broader society, do the majority decide, and usually rather quickly, that they are now on the side of the right and the truth, and they join in, as late-comers, in the drive for positive social change.

So, keep up the fight. Non-violently of course. Seek the truth, and speak the truth. There is more day yet to dawn. The revolution has only begun; and so too, the new renaissance.

Freedom and compassion must be united, just as the people must be united, or our future is dark. This is the central principle upon which an enlightened democracy is founded. But in order to achieve that end, we must speak up. We must question more, think for ourselves, and speak the truth, as best we understand it. This will lead us to a better world. Nothing else will – certainly not technocratic plutocracy and fascism, which is what we have now.

J. Todd Ring,

January 10, 2021

#covid, #covid-19, #coronavirus, #propaganda, #Warrior

Rescuing Plato, Rescuing Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2021 by jtoddring

Despite the fact that Western civilization (sic) has greatly venerated and virtually worshipped the ancients of Greece and Rome, in reality, they had little to offer in terms of philosophy. (I will qualify and elaborate on this broad statement in a moment.) That being said, modern philosophy, from Descartes through to the currently fashionable fascism and post-modernism – both of them being based in dangerous nihilistic delusions – is in general a dung hole, and should be suitably flushed, or at least, set aside for a couple of hundred years, until we can see it with fresh eyes.

In that context, it would be most helpful to rescue Plato and the ancients from the memory hole. Though the ancient Greeks and Romans have been overly emphasized, as well as dimly understood, they still have important things to teach us – if we have ears to hear, eyes to see, and, an ability to think critically, and do not simply worship at someone’s feet, or alternately, glibly reject them out of hand.

(I like rigour of thought; but I am not a fan of the narrow-minded and blinkered, authority-worshipping, pseudo-intellectual, prickly scholasticism that has come over Western society in these past few centuries since the Council of Nicaea, particularly within academia and “intellectual culture”, and which gilds the mind-forged manacles, as Blake so aptly called them, which we have come to worship in the place of knowledge, wisdom and truth, or any other sensible values. There are glowing exceptions to the general decline in Western philosophy since the Renaissance. Let Montaigne and Etienne de La Boite, rather than Newton, Bacon and Descartes, be considered the foundations of the modern world from hence forth, and we will be on far better and more sure footing. If you insist on a canon, which is always a risky thing to do, but valid enough, and useful, if done with intelligence, let these bright lights be among them: Spinoza, Hume, Emerson, Thoreau, Kropotkin, Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Erich Fromm, Joseph Campbell, Allan Wallace, Joanna Macy, Ken Wilber, Rianne Eisler, Murray Bookchin, Noam Chomsky, Morris Berman, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and the writings and speeches of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Is there room for democracy, freedom, constitutional rule, human rights, tolerance and diversity, and science and spirituality both, along with philosophy? Naturally, and these things should be considered to be fundamental – which they are. Maybe with a fresh perspective, in this new millennium, we can actually begin to live up to calling ourselves a civilization.)

Aside from Socrates, who asserted little of his own views, but instead urged us to question everything, and Plotinus, who was the last of the ancient philosophers, and the best, there is no single philosophy from ancient Greece or Rome that can, or should, be taken off the shelf and accepted as a complete, ready-to-use philosophy, on its own. Aside from Plotinus, all of them offered defective and confused philosophies, and the best we can do with them, is to take what is valuable from each, and leave the rest behind. That includes Plato and Aristotle, the two most influential of all.

Plato was rabidly anti-democratic, and urged a totalitarian elite rule, by what he called philosopher kings. This should strike any sane person as an extremely dangerous idea, destined to create tyranny and a nightmare society. (My first essay in philosophy, in year one of university, was to rebut Plato’s philosophy of benevolent dictatorship by philosopher kings.) But this idea of wise and benign dictatorship has been glowingly and eagerly embraced by generations of self-deluding elites, for centuries and millennia; just as it is again today, with the Davos/Bilderberg billionaire oligarchs, who literally call themselves the masters of the universe, insanely, thinking themselves to be on a messianic mission to save us from ourselves, through bringing in a benign, highly scientific, technocratic fascism (which Huxley warned us about) – ruled by themselves, of course.

The Western power elite seem clearly to be ruled by a set of delusions elaborated by a bastard hybridization of Plato – the idea that the wise and benevolent ruling elite, as philosopher kings, should rule; Machiavelli – power is the only value, and any means are valid to achieve it; Hobbes – centralization of power is is necessary and good, or, more delusions of self-justifying and self-serving elite rule), Neitzsche – yes, he fell into nihilism, and yes, the elite are nihilists, as well as egomaniacs and sociopaths, as all power-mongers are; post-modernism – polysyllabic psychobabble based in nihilism and relativism), Malthus (yes, the elite are neo-Malthusian, with all the grim horrors that implies), and above all, Spencer (the godfather of Social Darwinism, who put forward the view most beloved by elites ever since: the view that extreme inequality, and extreme concentrations of wealth and power, are natural, normal, and good – the view that the might makes right, and the powerful are justified in devouring the planet, the poor, and everyone else.

*

Aristotle was more sane, with regards to political philosophy, arguing for democracy and equality. But Aristotle leaned toward a materialist reductionist worldview, and hence, was also partially crippled in mind, and not at all to be embraced uncritically.

If, however, we approach philosophy, not as a canon, but as a body of thought, then we can perhaps think critically, and look at what is valuable, if anything, in various works of philosophy, and not be so naive, or unduly deferential and mousy, as to believe that it is impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, or, heaven forbid, to synthesize and combine the best elements from various philosophies and thinkers.

For example, and chiefly, perhaps, we need to look at Plato and Aristotle more critically, and not simply embrace or reject them, but embrace and reject what is suitable to be embraced or rejected.

If we take Plato’s metaphysics, or ontology, if you prefer the term – which assert a unity of being, echoing the perennial philosophy, to use the phrase of Leibniz, or, the mono-myth, as Joseph Campbell called it – and reject his elitist call for totalitarianism; and we take Aristotle’s very sensible and prescient observations asserting that democracy is best, despite its flaws; but reject his materialist reductionism; and instead, combine Aristotle’s sensible love of democracy with Plato’s metaphysics of the unity of being: then we have an intelligent philosophy, based in the ancients, but not blindly bound to their mistakes, which can guide us well through the 21st century and beyond.

Aristotle, we should note, had the good sense to recognize that both wealth and economic power (which of course inevitably follows from wealth) tend to concentrate in a market-based economy: and if this trend is not checked, and policies put in place to redistribute wealth, then the rich will take over, and it will be a plutocracy, an oligarchy, not a democracy – and democracy will collapse, be eaten alive by the rising oligarchy (then as now), or alternatively, implode under the weight of civil unrest.

Aristotle presaged FDR. Roosevelt understood that if some measure of redistribution of wealth, and some measure of aid and protection for the poor, some degree of intelligent responsiveness to inequality, are not undertaken, then revolution would be the result. He was right. As JFK said, Those who make non-violent revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. For those who fear or are averse to revolution (I am not one) this sage advice cannot be ignored.

In 2020 we were beset by a new problem, which is really an old problem, in a new form. A crisis is being cynically used by powerful individuals for personal gain. Hardly anything new. (See The Shock Doctrine.)Powerful elites are seeking more power. This is also hardly anything new, but as dangerous as ever – and more dangerous than ever before, because the power of the global elite is now far greater than that of the Nazis, the fascists of the 1930s and ’40s, or any of the kings or emperors of the past 5,000 years. If we cannot learn from history now, at this critical juncture in time, and learn from philosophy as well, then we are indeed headed, and in fact plunging, into an extremely dark and dystopian world.

*

The Stoics deserve a brief mention only, and only because there is a growing new fetish for that grim philosophy of complacency. Stoicism is indeed a grim philosophy. It is the valuing of silent acquiescence and servility as the highest value. How dismal and pathetic. It echoes Confucianism in the East – which is the still-reigning religion, in truth, of modern 21st century China: “Know your place. Shut up and do what you’re told.”

No wonder the Taoists have mocked the Confucianists for over two thousand years – as they should. Stoicism, old or new, as with Confucianism – or the neo-Confucian/Maoist/Leninist/neo-feudal corporatism of contemporary China – deserves to be mocked, and to be rejected entirely.

Of course, even in a sewage pit, you can sometimes find little treasures. It is no different with regards to philosophy. There are elements of Stoic philosophy which are valuable, though the whole is a stinking bog, and a cesspool of the mind. The valuing of inner calm and composure, resilience and inner peace, are of course appealing to many people. But the Buddha offered a sure path to these goals, without the self-castration or self-evisceration entailed in Stoic deference to power and the status quo – whatever that happens to be; and without the perverse worshipping of repression as a pinnacle value, or the deranged notion that anything good can come through the staunch refusal to feel either pain or pleasure, sorrow or joy, or any human feelings at all. No, if you want inner strength, inner peace, inner calm, composure and resilience, there are better places to look, and better approaches to take, than to submit to the eye-gauging and soul crushing philosophy of the Stoics. Buddhism is just one option which infinitely supersedes this dismal quagmire. (Taoism and Liberation Theology are two more, among many.)

Post-modernism, and the ever-fashionable fetish among elites which is fascism – both of which being forms of nihilism – have resurrected the rotting corpse of ancient Sophism. Let’s just say that if nothing matters, in our deluded minds, then the holocaust, and the killing of millions of people, was a perfectly acceptable act, and not a crime of any kind. Of course, most people have a basic sanity, and therefore, they recognize that mass murder is not an acceptable thing, but a horrific and despicable act by deranged and dangerous people who should never be allowed to wield power. The lesson has not yet been learned, however – either by the delusional elite, nor by the masses, who allow them to rule, and allow them to repeat the horrors of history, in ever new and more dangerous forms.

If we, the people, are at all sane – and I am convinced that, despite the mass propaganda and the mass indoctrination, most people still possess common sense and basic sanity – then we will remove the power-hunger elite from power, and restore democracy and freedom, and constitutional rights for all, and immediately.

If we are not so lucid or so wise, then we will simply repeat the worst mistakes of history, all over again, and the bloodshed, and the horror, will be on our hands, and on our conscience, forever.

“The greatest of philosophers have found answers to life’s problems,

not just in theory, but in practice.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Act now.

J. Todd Ring,

January 3, 2021

Further Reading:

(A very short and incomplete list, naturally)

C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, Year 501, and Class Warfare

Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

John Perkins, The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman,

and, A Game As Old As Empire

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

Allan Wallace, Choosing Reality

Rianne Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade

Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom

Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom

Bertrand Russel, Roads To Freedom

and my own first two books:

Enlightened Democracy

and

The People vs The Elite

Knowledge Is Power. Panic Is Death. Reconnection Is Resilience

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Amidst the current global pandemic of fear, what is most urgently needed is perspective.

What must be done? In sum, we must disconnect from a dying system which is sucking the life out of us, out of humanity, and out of the planet, and thereby stop supporting it, stop feeding it, and stop giving it our energy and our power. Power structures only have power when the people give them their power. When the people stop giving them their power, they collapse, as we saw in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Remember that. That is the key. We must disconnect and decouple from dying, life-destroying systems, patterns and structures of power, and reconnect with community, nature, and our deeper selves. That will radically empower the people, while removing power from the system which feeds off the people and keeps them subjugated and in virtual chains. Only then can we begin to truly heal our world, and heal our communities and ourselves in the process.

Here are some thoughts on how we can make that shift, with the results being greater awareness, greater aliveness and empowerment, greater resilience, and a healing of ourselves, our families, our communities, our society, and the beautiful, fragile, highly resilient planet that is our home.

Belief in technology as salvation, or worse, technocracy as salvation, is a thought pattern stemming from poverty consciousness, scarcity consciousness, inner impoverishment, weakness, delusion, alienation and fear – and the belief that either technology or technocracy will be our saviour, will, I assure you, lead us into slavery, dystopia, and the slow and painful death of our species.

Knowledge is power. Bacon was right about one thing, at least.

People are afraid of wolves, coyotes, snakes, bugs, bears…the flu. Our ability to assess danger rationally in our modern, coroporate ruled, media manipulated, techno-entranced, deeply alienated society, is near zero, it would seem.

In terms of modern man’s fear of nature, it is, by and large, utterly unwarranted. Respect and alertness are needed – not fear. Nature is far safer than “civilization.”

Despite delusional and misplaced fears, which are pandemic, unless you do something stupid: like keeping food or toothpaste in your tent (bears will investigate anything with a scent that just may conceivably mean edible items), or feeding bears, or trying to pet bear cubs; or unless you’re in grizzly country, rattlesnake country, or polar bear territory, in the desert, British Columbia, the jungle or the far north; your chances of being attacked by dangerous creatures are nearly zero – in the wilderness, that is. 

The city is far more dangerous than the wilderness. Bad drivers can kill you. Even if you’re just crossing the street. Or the smog and pesticides will give you with cancer, or the stress will give you a heart attack. 

Get out of the city. Read Thoreau. Don’t follow the lost herd. Definitely don’t follow the media, the government, the technocrats or bureaucrats, the elite, or the “authorities”.

Think for yourself. Eat organic, lower your stress, exercise, and don’t believe the hype.

Most dangerous of all, statistically, are obesity and poor diets, along with poverty and malnutrition, pharmaceuticals, and cars. Covid is no more dangerous than the flu, the figures now confirm.

0.26% mortality rate for covid-19, compared to 0.1% typically for the flu, so it is slightly higher for covid-19, but still miniscule compared to cancer, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, obesity, death by pharmaceuticals, junk food, or cars. Even bathtub drownings killed more people in Japan than covid-19. Check and verify the figures for yourself. Look at the Italian government study, for a start. (See Trends Journal and GreenMedInfo for further evidence-based information and analysis.) 

Yet the lemmings panic on cue, like Pavolv’s dogs, and stay rigidly in denial of the really big dangers: growing environmental disaster, pollution, war, poverty, obesity, fast food, junk food, pesticides, and fascism.

(See my essays: Importing From China, Any Enemy Will Do, Geopolitics 2020, Trump Says Up, You Say Down… Reality Check, and, Danger & Delusion From ISIS To Ebola)

Don’t be manipulated by fear-mongering media, or elites who cynically use fear to their advantage.

Remember:

Divide and conquer is the oldest and most essential maxim and strategy of control, used by all empires, including the latest: the global neofeudal empire of technocratic corporate fascist oligarchy.

And as we also know, in terms of the corporate-state media and the elite:

If it bleeds it leads.

Necessary Illusions are good for plutocrats.

Manufacturing Consent is the basis of elite-ruled pseudo-democracy.

And any crisis will do for Shock Therapy.

Stay calm, boost your immune system naturally, with real food, omega-3s and vitamins C and D, exercise, sunlight, love and joy – and question everything.

Above all, it’s what you put in your mouth, as in, “food-like substances” which really should not be ingested, along with certain pharmaceuticals and injections, which are the biggest danger.

Get outdoors. Do your own research. And embrace your power.

Real power comes from within – and it is quiet confidence, energy and strength, that does not need to be showy or to boast.

After inner power and inner resilience, comes the power of community, and the power of nature. Build your connections on these three levels, along with a healthy body, mind and spirit, and your empowerment and resilience will grow.

Read, reflect, make time for solitude and nature, build networks of mutual aid, and we will, in the process, heal ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

Disconnect first. Then only can you truly connect to others, to the natural world, to your deeper self, or even to reality. Dissociation from reality is the great plague of the modern 21st century world. We are enmeshed and entangled in webs of illusion, and in systems and patterns which alienate us from one another, from nature, and from ourselves. We must, therefore, disconnect from human systems that are, to a high degree, based in delusion and dissociation from reality, in order to better connect to the real world, to ourselves, and to one another.

If you have not yet, then begin now: learn to love books, reading, reflection, solitude and nature; and the nourishing of your body, your spirit, and your mind.

Rediscover your love for others, for community, for the natural world, for humanity, for the Earth, for learning, for creativity, free expression, and for yourself. We all had these things naturally as small children. We have been socially conditioned to lose them, to deny them, and to suppress them. But they can and must be rediscovered – especially now, when our world is in crisis. These are the core things which will heal our world, our communities, and ourselves. Not technocracy, not Big Brother, not plutocratic elites posing as saviours, not technology, not drugs: it is love and wisdom which will heal us and our world. That requires that we disconnect from certain things, and reconnect with others.

Disconnect, listen, observe, read, reflect – these things are critical. Make the time. Nourish your body, and also your mind and your spirit. Then you can reconnect with life in deeper, healthier, more joyful, empowering, and more meaningful ways.

We must disconnect and decouple from the systems, patterns, thinking, organizations, groups and substances which drain our energy, deplete us, divide us, further alienate us, exploit us, degrade us, or make us sick. That generally comes in small steps; although, many have taken great leaps, as have I, many times, and that works too. Sometimes small steps are all that is possible. Sometimes a great leap is required to save our sanity, our soul, or our very lives.

We must examine things for ourselves, question everything, and decide for ourselves what is truly life-supporting, nourishing, or life-enhancing, and what things merely give the illusion of being life-supporting, nourishing or life-enhancing, but in truth degrade, disempower, alienate, exploit or impoverish us, drain us or enslave us. We must unplug, pause, and reflect deeply, in order to even begin to think clearly, or to see what is going on.

Excessive time spent staring into electronic screens, excessive time spent in buildings or cars, the mainstream media in general, the corporate world and corporate culture in general, the fiat money system, the myriad “food-like substances” which are in truth more poison than nourishment, along with the fundamental, root poisons, which are ignorance, greed and hate: these are among the things we must disconnect from, and which literally and figuratively drag us down.

Some things require a complete disavowal and refusal, such as crack cocaine or hillbilly heroine, or other dangerous drugs and other addictions, for people who have succumb to them. I would place the major media and the Fortune 1000 biggest corporations in that category, as well: they are poison, and they are life-destroyers. They must be boycotted and renounced.

Other things, like the internet, the phone or the TV, simply require a more balanced approach, and frequent disconnection, rather than permanent disconnection. (Although, I respect people who choose to eliminate them entirely from their lives, especially TV, and there are good reasons for such a response.)

But I leave it to you to decide what we must disconnect from, either completely or periodically, for greater well-being, quality of life, health, healing, ethical standards, empowerment, fulfillment, the healing of ourselves and our world, and simply for greater aliveness and joy.

There is much entanglement and much debris in our minds and our lives. Clearing our minds and our lives of entanglements and debris, and clearing away physical and mental toxins, is vital now.

Disconnect: We must first disconnect in order to reconnect; and thereby, live and love more fully, and with greater empowerment and joy. Then only, come the revolutionary changes and the regeneration we urgently need.

Reconnect: with others, with nature, and above all, with your deeper self. That is where our true power, liberation and resilience lie. Not in drugs, not in money, not in material things; and certainly not in cynical elites posing as the protectors and saviours of humanity.

A global awakening of humanity is underway, and is growing with accelerating speed. Remember that. The people will triumph. The oligarchs of East and West will fall. Our world will be healed, and regenerated, and the people will be free.

J. Todd Ring,

September 9, 2020

Further reading:

My first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium

And

The People vs The Elite: A Manifesto For A Democratic Revolution, Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

And see my other recent essays:

Flash Drive Revolution

The Death and Rebirth of Freedom and Democracy

Covid Update

Any Enemy Will Do

Importing From China

Sinking All Ships (But Our Own)

Geopolitics 2020

Global Overview 2020

The Certainty Of Death, Or The Death Of Certainties

Also critically important:

The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Choosing Reality – Allan Wallace

The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit Of Capitalism – Max Weber

The Pathology Of Normalcy – Eric Fromm

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley

Roads To Freedom – Bertrand Russell

Mutual Aid – Peter Kropotkin

The Empathic Civilization – Jeremy Rifkin

The Ecology Of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Chalice & The Blade – Rianne Eisler

Wisdom of the Elders – David Suzuki

The Wayfinders – Wade Davis

Stolen Continents – Ronald Wright

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

A Short History Of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed – Jared Diamond

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Class Warfare – Noam Chomsky

The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman – John Perkins

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil & The Attack On American Democracy – Peter Dale Scott

Iron Heel – Jack London

1984 – George Orwell

Giants: The Global Power Elite – Peter Phillips

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The New Rulers of the World – John Pilger

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

Escape From Freedom – Eric Fromm

Shambhala: The Sacred Path Of The Warrior – Chogyam Trungpa

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boitie

Walden, and, On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Plague: Then & Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Europe did not respond well to the biggest plague in its history, in 1347-1351, to put it mildly – with anti-semitism, pogroms, scapegoating, witch trials, burning heretics at the stake, torture, self-flagellation, misanthropy, self-loathing, death cults, cultural morbidity and dark obsessions, paranoia, highly dubious medical practices, xenophobia, soaring cultural and religious intolerance, dogma, conformity and group-think, etc.

But, to be fair, the Black Death did kill 30% of the population. Many people were sadly but understandably panicked. We have panicked, in 2020, over what amounts, statistically, to the common flu.

(Nerves of steel, I tell you. Clear-mindedness under pressure – to astounding degrees.)

By comparison, fewer than 300,000 have died globally from covid-19, which is comparable in death rates to the annual flu – with 300,000-700,000 deaths per year. That’s fewer than *one death per ten thousand people* from covid-19, versus *one in three dead* from the Plague.

We have utterly lost all perspective. The people have broadly lost their minds. Mass hysteria reigns.

“The study of contemporary archives suggests a mortality varying in the different regions between one-eighth and two-thirds of the population, and the French chronicler Jean Froissart’s statement that about one-third of Europe’s population died in the epidemic may be fairly accurate. The population in England in 1400 was perhaps half what it had been 100 years earlier; in that country alone, the Black Death certainly caused the depopulation or total disappearance of about 1,000 villages. A rough estimate is that 25 million people in Europe died from plague during the Black Death. The population of western Europe did not again reach its pre-1348 level until the beginning of the 16th century.” – Britannica

One in three dead, vs one in 10,000, or less. Yes, we have lost our minds. The response has no sane or rational connection to the reality.

Orwell would understand, as would Huxley. This is not complicated; but it does require a willingness to fact-check, to question authority, the media, the elite, and the standard narrative.

It requires a willingness to deal with reality. So far, that has been lost by the vast majority. That is the real plague: a plague of the mind. And Blake, as well, would understand that.

Everywhere, “The mind-forged manacles.”

Covid-19 is literally one ten-thousandth as deadly as the Plague – and about as dangerous as the common flu. And yet, people have lost their minds to hysteria, panic and fear. Why? Because they are easily manipulated by fear-mongering governments, elites, and the media.

And they are not only losing their minds and their perspective, but also their democracy and their freedoms, as a result.

Pretty poor showing so far. We have definitely returned to the dark ages.

Witch burning, anyone? How about a nice burning of the heretics, hmm?

Worse, we have all that, in essence, along with a modern technocratic, highly Orwellian police state.

Yes, we are in grave danger. But it is not due to a germ.

In the 1930s, the first wave of fascism arose; and the people recognized it, resisted it, and defeated it. In 2020, we have the culmination of a slow motion global corporate fascist coup – and the people see it not.

Their minds have been high-jacked. The psyops propaganda war has been perfected. And this time, the fascists are winning, while the masses are lost in panic and delusion, over an “invisible enemy” – over a germ.

But it ain’t over ’till it’s over. The people are awakening.

JTR,

May 9, 2020

Moral bankruptcy in a time of “plague”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2020 by jtoddring

 

20,000 children die a day of hunger, and nobody notices, nobody makes a peep: outcry is basically zero. But a new strain of the flu (statistically less dangerous than the typical annual flu) scares people into thinking THEY themselves are in danger, and everyone loses their mind. Clearly, we are a morally bankrupt society.

We’ve had an international social, political, and economic order based on mass looting, conquest, rape and pillage for thousands of years – and nobody raises an eyebrow. But a germ comes along that might affect the privileged, affluent regions of the world, and everyone goes insane. 

Again, we are a morally bankrupt society, without question. All pretence of caring for the sick, and ending unnecessary suffering and death, is a joke and a deceit. If we were serious about such things we would end war and poverty. Clearly, we are not serious in the slightest.

6.5% of global GDP, according to the IMF, or five trillion dollars a year, goes to subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Another two trillion, at least, goes to war, militarism, and the growing global police state. If we were serious about human health and well-being, we would end this mass subsidy to slaughter, planetary destruction, plunder and the police state, and end poverty and war. Clearly we are not serious.

As Chomsky has said, This is a business-run society, whose cardinal value is deceit. That is the problem. Anyone who cares about human health or well-being must first start by dealing with reality.

You who scream your venomous, hate-filled attacks on anyone who questions the new global police state, and in effect beg for your chains: your moral arguments are hollow. You surely, secretly know this, in your heart of hearts; which is why the venom and the screams are so extreme, and extremely insane.

JTR,

May 8, 2020

Flash-Drive Revolution – and – Who To Trust?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2020 by jtoddring

An idea for strategy is presented here in extremely concise form – an idea which could be decisive, and critical, to our survival, and our success.

Plus: Who To Trust?

Amidst Protests, Uprisings, Simmering Revolt and Revolution, and A New Renaissance Emerging,

vs

Reactionary Efforts of The Establishment Powers of Entrenched Global Neo-Feudal Corporate Oligarchy To Resist Change, and To Consolidate Their Power, The Question Arises:

Who Can We Trust, Who Is Worthy of Support, and Who Can Put Things Into Perspective?

*

Humanity is experiencing a global awakening, and the birth of a new renaissance, along with the birth pangs of a new, global wave of popular protests, uprisings, and democratic revolutions.

At the same time, and deeply inter-related, there is a deep and growing crisis of legitimacy facing the world’s business and political “leaders” – the elite – along with the media, political and economic institutions, and social systems, structures, institutions and powers broadly.

We are now, in 2020, entering the global showdown phase of that most central conflict: between a global awakening of consciousness and culture, an emerging new renaissance, and a new wave of global uprisings and democratic revolutions; and the elite powers and oligarchies that wish to halt them, and to retain their stratospheric power and privilege, their oligarchy, and their de facto global rule.

It is, in short, a global showdown between the people and the oligarchy – between the people, and the ruling elite.

Public trust in political and business elites has crashed through the floor, and are at historically low levels. Public trust in the media has likewise collapsed.

Pundits, academics and “experts” are now routinely called into question as well – and not surprisingly, when we repeatedly discover hidden motives, blind spots, outright lies or delusions, and frequent alliances with vested interests.

Everywhere, icons are toppling, people are questioning more and more – as they should, and must.

Everywhere, people are re-assessing basic questions, including, who can we trust? Who can be relied upon for generally reliable, as well as honest, thoughtful, and accurate information, and informed commentary and analysis?

Furthermore, who is truly worthy of support, and who is not?

In short, whom to trust, has become one of the central issues of our time, as old orders crumble and slowly die, yet fight to hold on; and a new world is not yet born.

For myself, as a Canadian, and after 35 years and more than 50,000 hours of intensive research, studies and reflection, I can offer a very short and incomplete list of some of the groups and organizations that I feel are most worthy of support, along with the sources of news and analysis that I hold to be most reliable. Remember, though: Think for yourself – and question everything.

Remember also, that good sources and worthwhile groups can be corrupted, co-opted, high-jacked, taken over, simply become lost, or positively go off the rails.

I don’t expect that to happen with any of my most trusted groups or sources, but we do live in strange and unpredictable times – so I would urge we take nothing for granted.

Question everything, and everyone. Trust is good, when it is warranted. It is good to have confidence in something, and in at least some few, as well as in the people and the Earth broadly.

So too, are vigilance, fact-checking, and above all, thinking for ourselves, very good, and essential, things.

*

Groups I feel are most worthy of support:

A very short and incomplete list, focused primarily on Canadian groups and organizations

Idle No More

The Canadian indigenous rights group that has transformed the environmental movement, positively fused the indigenous rights movement to the environmental movement, and brought non-violent direct action into the mainstream – where it belongs, and must remain, until the job is done, and we live in a just and free, clean and green world.

The Council of Canadians

Canada’s leading citizen organization: building grassroots activism for a clean, green, just and free, peaceful, democratic society

The Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Canada’s leading progressive-left think tank, and one of the best in the world

Publishes the journal, The Monitor

The David Suzuki Foundation

The leading environmental group in Canada, along with Idle No More and others

Founded by the most trusted person in Canada, according to a nation-wide poll: environmental scientist David Suzuki

News and Analysis:

Trends Journal

Not even the best of the alternative media compares to Trends Journal for trend forecasting, trend analysis, and weekly news and analysis – and of course the major state and corporate media don’t remotely compare, being the propaganda systems for the ruling elite, as Chomsky has said, and thus, utterly unreliable.

Z Magazine & Z Net

News and analysis, in-depth commentary, activism, networking and solidarity for social change: Z Net is a giant David, or army of Davids, in the global movement for a better world. It’s now being censored and suppressed, like many other sources and individuals that speak the truth, but it is alive and strong, and you can find them. And you should.

The Monitor

In-depth analysis from the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives

Canadian Perspectives

News and analysis from the front lines of the grassroots movements for democracy, justice, sustainability and peace – from the Council of Canadians

Geopolitics & Empire Podcast

Quality varies with the guest, but generally excellent, in-depth global analysis here.

New Internationalist

Clarifying the real story on the biggest issues in the world for many decades now, NI is a rare gem, both as a journal, and as a grassroots networking organization, and also, as a publishing house

The American Herald Tribune

An independent media source that offers fiercely honest investigative journalism, news and analysis

(Watch for Anthony (Tony) Hall, Robert David Steele, Caitlin Johnstone, Philip Giraldi, Piers Robinson and Barbara Honeger in particular)

The Corbett Report

Another excellent source of independent research, news and analysis

The Centre For Research On Globalization

Also generally excellent for independent research, news and analysis

21st Century Wire

This source is new to me, but a recent episode of the weekly podcast was so exceptionally insightful, to such a rare level or degree, that I feel I have to list it here, among the best of the best. The host Patrick Henningsen has a level of understanding of global issues and power dynamics, and media manipulations, which is very rare. If one episode can impress me this much, like rare few sources ever do, then I am sure he must do a very good job of cutting through the fog on a regular basis.

John Pilger

Veteran investigative journalist and documentary film-maker John Pilger is a one-man media army. When the world is filled with the sound and fury of all-pervasive propaganda, lies, half-truths and illusions, and the echochamber of elite-spun narratives, which is the major media, seems to drown out all possibility for truth, or even basic sanity, you can count on John Pilger to cut through the fog and the lies and the convenient self-deceptions, to get to the truth, and the real story behind “the news”.

The Empire Files, with Abby Martin

A fiercely independent source of news and analysis, Abby Martin is what an investigative journalist looks like – along with John Pilger, Caitlin Johnstone, James Corbett, Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and a handful of others left in the world.

GreenMedInfo

The most reliable, truly evidence-based source on health that I know of – in fact, the only reliable source remaining that I know of, now that most health information sources have fallen for the lies and hysteria that are broadcast and paraded, very much like a plague in fact, by the new axis of evil: Big Government, Big Media, and the Big Money powers that rule them both.

*

There are many other groups, movements and organizations in the world that are worthy of our support, of course. And there are a few other sources of news and analysis that are reliable – although, they are now extremely few, and increasingly rare, as well as increasingly censored and suppressed. But with even these few sources, and these few groups, and others like them, there is hope.

Everything is possible, and the future truly is in our hands.

What we do with that power, is entirely up to us.

Please be sure to read the important notes below, as well: sources for big picture perspective, and Flash-Drive Revolution.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

Post-Script:

Sources for big-picture perspective:

To compliment the short list of groups and news sources that I would consider worthy of our trust as well as our support, I would like to add a very short and incomplete list of authors and thinkers that I feel are extremely helpful in gaining clarity in terms of the big picture, and/or, in terms of in-depth analysis.

Again, there are millions and billions of voices out there, but only a handful rise to the level, in my mind, of being generally reliable sources of information, much less understanding and perspective. (Remember, few people are omniscient, to put it mildly. Let’s not expect infallibility. Question everything.)

These, to my mind, are among the best of the best, in terms of voices for big picture perspective, or in-depth analysis, or sometimes, rarely, both. Other people would present a different list. Here is mine. (In no particular order – and again, very incomplete.)

Henry David Thoreau

Etienne de La Boetie

Noam Chomsky

Peter Kropotkin

Bertrand Russell

Murray Bookchin

Rianne Eisler

Howard Zinn

C. Wright Mills

Peter Phillips

George Orwell

Aldous Huxley

Erich Fromm

Max Weber

Alan Watts

Allan Wallace

Joseph Campbell

Joanna Macy

Helena Norberg-Hodge

Vandana Shiva

Jeremy Rifkin

Naomi Klein

John Pilger

Gerald Celente

Michel Chossudovsky

Michael Hudson

Ellen Brown

Max Keiser

Yanis Varoufakis

James Corbett

Caitlin Johnstone

Abby Martin

Matt Taibbi

David C. Korten

David Suzuki

Arundhati Roy

Margaret Atwood

Ronald Wright

Maude Barlow

Paul Craig Roberts

Morris Berman

Stephen Toulmin

EF Schumacher

Gandhi

Martin Luther King Jr.

Peter Dale Scott

Anthony Hall

John McMurtry

Michael Albert

Chris Hedges

Cornell West

Piers Robinson

And my own writings, I would humbly submit:

my essays, here on my blog, along with my first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium

and,

The People vs The Elite:

A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution,

Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

Both are available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon (though we should boycott the latter)

*

Flash-Drive Revolution:

As I have said before, and others have begun to say as well: censorship is increasing. The elite are scared – scared of change, scared of losing power. They are cracking down – especially on freedom of speech, and on dissent, as well as freedom of travel and freedom of assembly. (“Papers please.”)

I would urge people to begin backing up important texts, images, posters, data sets, videos, films, art and music that can be used in the fight for a better, freer, more just and clean, green, democratic world – and now.

Many of the best and most important writings, for example, are in the public domain. Others, like myself, are offering their work for free distribution.

Like most writers, I feel I am spiritually, intellectually, and culturally rich, but I am financially poor. Naturally I would like people to buy my books. But I certainly did not become a writer or a philosopher for the money. So, whether you do or not, and I ask that you do buy my books (mainly for my childrens’ sake); what is far more important to me is that the ideas and the writing be shared.

So, buy one copy, then share a digital copy with everyone you know, please. Hard copies, ebooks and audiobooks will be available for purchase, and I will also make electronic copies available for free, via Project Gutenberg, Librivox, my youtube channel and my blog.

Please take this document above, and my first two books, if you find them useful, and save them to a USB flash drive, along with other public domain writings you feel are  valuable or important  -Henry David Thoreau’s essay, On Civil Disobedience, for example, along with the UN Charter of Human Rights – or whatever you find relevant to the task at hand: and share them widely, everywhere.

These essays in particular I would encourage you to share, among others, from my blog:

Six Founding Principles Of Good Government

The Myth Of Progress – Pricking The Bubble

The Decline, Decay, Death and Rebirth of Democracy and Freedom

The Maxims of Empire (And the Maxims of Liberation)

The Failure of Propaganda

Decentralization & Localization, Or Collapse

Paradigm Shift

From Bankers Ruling The World, To The People Ruling The Bankers

along with several essays on mass digital addiction, the media, renaissance, enlightenment, and freedom of speech

If freedom of speech and dissent continue their current trend towards being censored and shut down, we will need alternative means of communicating. A Flash-Drive Revolution, sharing information and ideas freely, hand to hand, world-wide, by-passing the internet completely, could circumvent the oligarchs, and beat them. I think it is important, and it could imperative, and decisive. And I think we should begin right away – right now.

250 MB or even 1 terabyte USB flash-drives are becoming cheap. Use them. Bypass the closing down of society and free speech – while we still can.

Vive la revolution! For a just and free, clean, green, democratic society, and a better world for all.

And remember, We, the people, are the world’s other superpower – the greatest superpower.

Embrace your power now.

Let’s go.

Consider that the revolution has begun.

JTR,
March 26, 2020

With minor additions made in April 2021 – and an important note:

Some of the journals, organizations, individuals and media outlets listed above as being among the best, are no longer reliable, or have frankly become either addle-minded, or corrupted and co-opted – though it is hard to tell which it is – as was confirmed in 2020/2021: and that includes some of the vanguards of the progressives and the left. Where is the left in 2021? Largely lost, deeply befuddled, deluded, and profoundly confused. Question everything – and everyone. It is more imperative than ever.

Shatter the illusions of division, embrace diversity, and unity in diversity, and transcend the old partisan battle lines of conformity, hostility and group-think which divide us. Prioritize! Separate long term ideals from short term necessities – and uniting the people is the greatest and most urgent necessity of all. If we do not unite the people now, or very soon, we will all be slaves – make no mistake. Forget or at least temporarily set aside old notions of right and left. It is now the people vs the oligarchy. If we fail to understand that, we fail to understand everything. Do not be fooled by confused or deceitful narratives that divide us. Don’t succumb to fear, paranoia, or mistrust. But do question everything, and think for yourself. Above all, trust yourself. We build from there, or from nowhere.

The Certainty Of Death, Or The Death Of Certainties

Posted in philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 1, 2020 by jtoddring

 

It’s amazing to me, to see, even in thoughtful writings, even in exceptionally thoughtful writing, which is as far above the norm as the moon is from the bottom of the ocean, that even there, certain cultural constructs of the mind, certain prejudices or pre-formed and unquestioned assumptions, certain axiomatic, ideological presumptions and certitudes, are passed along without thought – as if the author were merely remarking on the sky being blue, and everyone knew it, of course, so such notions need no argument or support, but are taken as fact. These ideological constructs and presumptions are castles made of sand, but the authors, including most of the better thinkers and scholars, and virtually all people at all times, assume them to be as certain as the law of gravity. The blind, unconscious, unquestioning assumption of ideological constructs is almost shocking – at least when it is seen in otherwise intelligent people and otherwise intelligent writings. Concepts such as progress, development, civilization and civilized, freedom and liberty, democracy, evolution, or “evolved”, are tossed about with utter casual manner, with no rigour, no questioning of their actual meaning: meaning, in practice, their meaning has no meaning; or worse, and more commonly, their meaning means precisely the opposite to what it is presumed to mean. Orwell understood these things well. The fact that the vast majority, including the vast majority of intellectuals, do not, is very dangerous indeed, to say it mildly.

Fascism, war, slavery, cultural arrogance, and a culture of blindness, ignorance and shared delusion, the death of democracy and freedom, ecological holocaust, and the collapse of civilization (sic), are the likely results, the almost certain and inevitable results, and soon, if we do not begin to question far more, and assume far less.

Fortunately, all such concepts, ideological constructs and cultural certitudes are now being called into question. And none too soon. Our certainties are quite literally killing us. They are also a prison, and shackles and chains, of our own making. Let us shatter them now. It is time.

JTR,

February 1, 2020

 

Post-Script:

See my essay, Fundamentalism and Relativism, in my first book, Enlightened Democracy, for further reflections on the middle way between extremes, which represents basic sanity. Also, watch for my new book, The People vs The Elite, which is being released now.

Get ready for some exciting, but possibly quite turbulent times. The proverbial shit is about to hit the fan. And as usual, that will have both positive as well as negative consequences and implications around the world.

Population Growth & The Environment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2021 by jtoddring

There has been a debate going on for over 50 years as to whether the primary cause of the growing environmental crisis is over-population or over-consumption. The debate still continues, even though the facts have been known conclusively for decades. Consider what we know to be the established facts.

60% of pollution and waste and 80% of resource consumption is caused by the richest 20% of the world’s population. There is your answer. It is very simple math. Over-consumption is the overwhelmingly central issue. Does that mean we can ignore population growth? No, clearly not. It just shows us vividly that over-consumption by the industrialized nations is the primary problem – and not that we have too many poor people in the world.

The next thing to realize is that the population growth problem has been solved decades ago. Kerala state in southern India proved it long ago. If you provide education for girls and women, and eliminate poverty, population growth halts in just 3-5 years. We know the answer, we just don’t want to do it.

25 years ago I was at an international development conference in the Netherlands, and the conference title was, Minder Mensen of Minder Wensen? “Fewer people or fewer wants?” That is, is the primary environmental issue over-population or over-consumption? The virtually unanimous answer given by everyone in the international development community was that it is overwhelmingly an issue of over-consumption by the affluent minority that is the central problem. And they cited the example of Kerala as the answer to population growth, which can be halted in under five years if we simply have the will to eliminate poverty and provide universal education for women and girls.

There is a simple sociological explanation for this. Among affluent families, children are a blessing, but also a great expense. Among poor families, children are not only a blessing – they are the only retirement plan, unemployment insurance, or safety net, that poor families have. And, if half of your children die before they reach adulthood, and children are your only safety net, you are going to have a lot of children. Eliminate poverty and educate women, and population growth quickly halts.

Of course, neither the ruling plutocrats nor the affluent middle class want to redistribute wealth, so the real answer to both global poverty and population growth is blocked – and it is blocked by the same richest 20% of the world’s population who are the main cause of the ever-worsening environmental crisis.

(See Tainter on vested interests, and how civilizations collapse.)

The situation is actually even worse than that, because the billionaire oligarchs are neo-Malthusians. They believe there are too many people on Earth, and many people will just have to die. The poor, of course. And billions of them. Their plan is genocide. It has happened before, and it will happen again, if we do not remove the sociopaths at Davos from their current position as the de facto rulers of the Earth.

Basically there are two answers to the environmental crisis. One is to redistribute wealth, power, and land, in order to eminate poverty and halt population growth, while restoring democracy and freedom, and cutting our consumption levels among the affluent 20% very dramatically. The other is genocide: eliminate a few billion people, so that the middle class can continue over-consuming, and the super-rich can continue to live as gluttonous god-kings. We know what side the business elite are on. Which side are you on?

The last I checked there was over $20 trillion sitting in the offshore bank accounts of the super-rich. International development organizations have estimated it would take 3/4 of a trillon dollars to eliminate poverty world-wide – less than what the US spends on wars and the military every year. If we were serious about stopping population growth, halting climate change, transitioning rapidly to a green, sustainable and regenerative society, or ending poverty and world hunger, we would immediately implement a wealth tax of 90% of the richest 0.1%, use $1trillion of that vast pool to eliminate global poverty and hunger, and use the other $17 trillion to fund the rapid shift to a sustainable and regenerative society.

A Green New Deal is vitally needed in order to seriously address the intertwined issues of the environment, poverty, real economic stimulus, and jobs. But it must be based in democracy and freedom, and it must be very bold, and very swift. We have no time left for mousey half-measures, tokenism or hollow gestures. The reality is that a Green New Deal requires a major redistribution of wealth and power, and land, from the richest 1% to the 99%, and now. That, of course, will require a revolution.

The question is not how to stop population growth. That has been answered. The question is whether we have the guts to do what is neccessary, which is to immediately launch a global wave of non-violent democratic revolutions – which is the only way we will quickly raise the trillions of dollars needed to answer the two most pressing problems on Earth in our time, which are global poverty, and the by now truly dire ecological crisis.

Well, do we?

What are we waiting for?

It is now too late for pettitioning the government. We tried that for over 50 years. It failed. There is only one recourse left: revolution.

As I have said before, it is now a matter of revolution, or slow and painful death. Which do you prefer? Only fantasy offers a third choice.

Revolution now.

J. Todd Ring,

June 18, 2021

See also:

Views From The South, by Sarah Anderson

Oneness vs The 1%, by Vandana Shiva

And my own books:

Enlightened Democracy

The People vs The Elite

And, comng soon:

All Hell Breaks Loose: Global Geopolitics 1945-2045

The death and rebirth of Pelagius, and the (still unfolding) history of Christianity: A New Renaissance, or Hell On Earth?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2021 by jtoddring

Pelagius: it’s a soft g, as in germane, not a hard g, as in gorilla, but otherwise the discussion here in this podcast below is good. Here are a few thoughts, after four decades of study, research and meditation, on the still-unfolding history of Christianity.

Know your history.

The Emperor of Rome, the bishops and the Popes decided what Jesus meant and what He did not. Some might call this false pride, the original sin. However you view it, it was decisive, and it was decisive at several moments in the early history of the new Christian church, where a fork occurred. One fork was the selection of who was to be the leading, founding figure of the new church. (This choice was made in the 3rd and 4th centuries.) Jesus, of course, some will say. But Augustine’s views became orthodoxy, over and above, and in contradiction to the teaching of Jesus, many will say. And this decision, to canonize Augustine as preeminent scholar and guiding father-figure of the church, and to declare Pelagius heretical, could have gone the opposite way. That fork, and that choice, has shaped the Western Christian churches and Christianity (“”) ever since.

It probably influenced the all-influential emperor, who definitively swayed the choice, that the bishop of Hippo, Augustine, made a gift of 70 extremely expensive and sought-after Arabian horses to the emporer, when the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deciding on who was to be effectively sainted, and who was to be condemned.

It also surely swayed the emperor’s decision that Pelagius taught that all people are born free and equal. The Roman Empire was based on conquest and slavery. Ideas of freedom and equality were viewed as extremely dangerous and subversive to the empire. A doctrine of original wickedness and the futility of predestination, taught by Augustine, were not. In short: The church followed the emperor, and the emperor followed his love of worldly power.

This was the bifurcation point, the fork in the road, where Christianity became extremely dark and pessimistic, obsessed with the doctrine of original sin (Augustine’s dark invention) and viewing nature and humanity as fundamentally and hopelessly sinful. Hopelessly, because Augustine preached his view (not His view) of predestination, which meant we have no free will, and can never be redeemed from our innate wickedness.

The chosen few who are to be saved are predestined that way, and the rest are doomed. Celtic Christianity and Eastern Orthodox Christianity did not agree with Augustine, and never adopted the doctrine of original sin, which became the central doctrine of the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant churches.

*

Who was the true heretic here? Pelagius, or Augustine? I’ll leave that for readers to decide – and not the emperors, bishops or popes, all of whom, by the way, are equally human, and equally fallible, and at times, simply corrupted by worldly interests, power and greed. But I will say this:

The broad movement across humanity in the 21st century is a reclaiming and rediscovery of a sense of respect, compassion, and reverence for nature, as something that is basically good, not basically evil, even as something infused with the sacred; and a corresponding reclaiming or rediscovery of basic human dignity, since we are one with nature; and a view of nature and humanity not only being one, but also being undivided from the sacred or the divine. That was the view that inspired the first Renaissance, and it will also inspire the new Renaissance, that is emerging now. That view, which is the strongest and widest current that is now emerging in human culture globally, has far more affinity with Celtic Christianity, as well as the Christian mystics, and the mystics of the world, and also with Pelagius, than with Augustine’s dark and sordid, jaundiced vision.

Does that mean sin or error do not exist? Whatever terms you choose, clearly human beings are capable of error, or sin, if you prefer that word. I prefer the terms of Buddhism: there are three root poisons, and they are ignorance, greed and hate, and all evil arises from these three roots. But nowhere in Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu/yogic philosophy, or Celtic Christianity, or Eastern Orthodox Christianity, is there an idea of original sin, or a basic badness of nature or humanity. Only in Europe and in Manicheanism (which shaped Augustine’s thought more than Jesus) did this dark ideology arise and take predominance over the minds of the people. And maybe, that ideology is dying now. All the evidence indicates that it is. Thank heavens.

We are born free and equal, and nature and humanity are one, and infused with the sacred. Whether we turn this world into a paradise or a living hell, is entirely up to us. That is what the gift of freedom means. It is inseparable from responsibility, and from power. Pathetic fatalism and the widespread illusions of powrrlessness, and jaded, jaundiced views, must be overcome. We must now learn to use the gift of freedom wisely, and with humility, as well as with a renewed confidence, and unshakable dignity. We err, but we are not our errors. We can move on. Change is the only permanent thing in existence.

*

Some people will say, “I’m not religious – what do I care about religion?” They do not understand history, sociology, or psychology. You may not be religious, but your subconscious is. Western civilization is steeped in Judeao-Christian mythology. We either understand it and come to terms with it, or it will rule us as a blind impulse we neither see nor understand. Whether we truly believe in freedom, or merely pay lip service to it, will decide our fate.

*

What we make of the future, and the present, is up to us. God doesn’t want us to remain infantile or adolescent forever.

We can count on assistance, but it is also true that we must learn to clean up our own mess. You don’t ask God to wash your dishes, or to clean up your house.

Why should we passively sit and wait for help, when we are responsible for the mess we have created?

Why would you sit idly and ask God to clean up our ecological mess? We soiled our own bed. We need to clean it up.

*

Moreover, not only is this shift in consciousness occurring now, but I would argue that it must – if we are to survive.

If we do not shake off the doctrine of predestination, then the illusions of powerlessness, and the hopelessness and apathy that it spawns, will remain our prison. And that means that humanity will remain paralyzed, at a time when decisive action is needed. That means, humanity dies. We must now shed the illusions of powerlessness, or we are quite simply doomed.

Second, if we do not jettison the dark notion of original wickedness, the view that nature and humanity are inherently depraved by nature, then the hopelessness and despair this dark view creates, will continue to paralyze us, when we need decisive action – and thus, the dark vision will indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we will annihilate ourselves, in a spree of self-hatred (alternately oscillating with a projected self-hate onto others). We either drop the dark vision of Augustine and original wickedness, or we are simply doomed.

Thirdly, if we continue to view ourselves and nature as fallen, wicked and basically bad, then we will continue to believe that authoritarianism, domination and conquest – the conquest and domination of nature, or of one group over another – will continue: and the genocide and ecocide will continue – and we will be doomed to extinction.

In short, we either embrace this shift in consciousness, and regain our sense of dignity, confidence, and power, balanced with a true sense of humility, and regain a sense of the sacred pervading all of nature and all of life, or our future is very dark, and bleak.

*

The first rule of every empire is to employ the strategy of divide and conquer. The second is to demoralize your enemy. Whenever empire is concerned, the enemy is the people. You keep the people divided, and demoralize them, by making them feel powerless, and by undermining their confidence. That is precisely what we must overcome now. And that is what is beginning to happen.

The awakening of humanity continues, and continues to grow, like light rays penetrating dark, sooty clouds at dawn.

Let the new renaissance be born. We have a world to heal – and the future is truly in our hands.

J. Todd Ring,

June 12, 2012

See Original Blessing, by Mathew Fox, along with The Gospel of Thomas, Marvin Meyers translation, The Book by Alan Watts, The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley, The Spirit of Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic, by Max Weber, and The Hero With A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, for further reading.

See also, the truly excellent films:

Stigmata, and, King Arthur (recent version, where the young Arthur takes Pelagius as his teacher)

Rebooting Canada, eh!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2021 by jtoddring

Tax the rich. That would be a good start. Close the loopholes, implement capital flight controls, tax financial speculation, tax the richest 1% and the large, profitable corporations, along with the heavy polluting industries, and put a reasonable royalty fee on oil, gas, water and forestry product exports. That would fund value-added industries and green business development, boosting jobs and creating full employment, while creating a thriving economy, protecting the environment, and fully funding social programs, such as health care, education, pensions, elder care, affordable housing, child care and pharma care. This is not rocket science. We just need the will, and the courage, to do it.

See the David Suzuki Foundation, the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Broadbent Institute, and my first three books, for a roadmap, and all the tools and workable ideas we need to retool, reboot and renew our Canadian society, and to transition to a just and free, sovereign and democratic, clean, green and sustainable, regenerative society.

My first three books can be found on Barnes & Noble or Amazon:

Enlightened Democracy

The People vs The Elite

And, coming soon,

All Hell Breaks Loose: 

Global Geopolitics 1945-2045

J. Todd Ring,

June 6, 2021

Rethinking Education

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Chomsky is right: in the Western world, what we call our “education” system, is in practice a system of indoctrination. This is its primary result, regardless of good intentions or pious beliefs.

The same is true for the media: the corporate and state media primarily function as a system of indoctrination for elite rule. Likewise, our democracy is primarily in name only, in theory and in rhetoric, in fanciful beliefs, devoid of substance. Our “democracy” means that we anoint a new set of local figureheads for the ruling global corporate elite and the billionaire plutocrats. And our vaunted freedom is also disappearing, unsurprisingly, under the weight of global corporate oligarchy, and the corporate/billionaire assault on democracy and freedom, as authoritarianism becomes “the new normal”. We have a lot of re-thinking to do, with regards to education, the media, democracy and freedom. We either rethink them, or they will functionally die.

What we call in the West our education system, functions above all as obedience training school. Whatever the good intentions of teachers, child care workers, professors, governments and educators, the results are a system of training in obedience to authority, above all else. We are trained to obey authority in mind, speech and physical action. But training in obedience to authority in thought and mind is foremost.

We are systematically taught to obey authority in our thinking – we are taught, above all, to believe what the authorities say. Only secondarily are we then taught to obey authority in our speech, writing, self-expression, and physical actions. The mind-forged manacles, as Blake called them, are forged first.

We believe we are the children of the Enlightenment. But that is a conceit born of self-deception. We are medieval and scholastic, to the bone. It is the minority who question authority, while the masses behave like well-trained Pavlov’s dogs. And that is not accidental, nor an in-born trait. We are trained into obedience of thought, speech and bodily action, and it takes 12 or more years to bludgeon the people into that kind of submission of mind and atrophy of mental faculties and heart, so that outward obedience to authority and conformity can be, and remain, the norm.

We may say, and believe, that our schools, colleges and universities provide education, and there is some truth to this, of course; but the overwhelming function, or at least, the overwhelming effect, the results of our “education” system, are, first and foremost, in training to believe what authorities say is true – to obey authority in thought and mind; then to obey authority in speech, writing and self-expression; then to obey authority in physical action, ways of doing things, and ways of living; and finally, and consecutively, we are taught what to believe – that is, we are indoctrinated. First we are trained in obedience of thought and action, then we are indoctrinated. These are the two primary functions – if we are to look at actual results, and not just rhetoric, theory of intentions – of our vaunted “education” system.

Our education system functions primarily as a system of obedience training and indoctrination, and this is true from preschool through to college and university levels, up to and including PhD and post-graduate studies. We are more medieval than Renaissance Italy – by a very wide margin – and we are moving from medieval, into a new and very Orwellian dark age, and very rapidly.

There is real education that manages to squeeze through the cracks in our school system, but it is a minor part of what schools do – no matter how well-intentioned the teachers, professors, child care workers, bureaucrats or educators may be, and generally are.

Above all, our education system does not educate, so much as it indoctrinates – and even that is secondary to a systematic and thorough training in obedience to authority, which is its primary function, or at least its primary result, regardless of good intentions or pious beliefs.

How do we resolve this? How do we fix this broken system? Let’s start with freedom and democracy, because if we fail to address and resolve that, if we continue to allow elites and billionaires and giant corporations to effectively rule the nations and the world, there is very little chance of resolving anything else – including the environmental crisis, our myriad social crises, or the broken health care and education systems.

Fixing democracy and freedom means that we, the people, insist that constitutional law be obeyed by all – including governments, big corporations, and business and political elites. It also requires that we wrest power back from the billionaire oligarchs, and the giant multi-national corporations and banks, that have us by the balls. That means, by this late hour, nothing short of a global wave of non-violent, grassroots, democratic revolutions is required. The billionaire elite and the giant corporations are not going to hand back power to the people willingly. We must take the power back.

Beyond that most essential act of reclaiming our power, our democracy, our constitutions and our freedom, and building the democracy movements, and the revolutions, that will accomplish this most vital and urgent of tasks, there are some things that we can do while we are building momentum, that can go a considerable way to rethinking, re-inventing, and fixing our broken education, health care, media, and other systems.

We need to know first what we are aiming for. We need a vision, in order to proceed, in order to have a sense of direction, and in order to inspire, and empower, and embolden, first ourselves, and then millions of others. What vision can or should we aim for? I would say the groundwork of such a vision for a better set of systems and a better society lies in the two cardinal founding values of any sane, decent, or just society: they are freedom and compassion – or freedom and solidarity, or freedom and community, if you prefer to say it that way.

If we value freedom and compassion in practice, that means we must also value authentic democracy, sovereignty, constitutional rule, solidarity, cooperation and mutual aid. And of course, if we are at all sane, we must value ecology and peace as core values as well, otherwise, we will end up rapidly destroying ourselves – as we are in the process of doing now.

Now that we have core values clearly in mind, we can go on to create a vision for rethinking, redesigning and renewing our broken systems of food and agriculture, urban and community design, transportation, energy, resource management, industry, communications, the media, the health care system, the elder care system, the child care system, or lack of it, the political system, which most clearly and obviously broken, and the education system.

As to education, what we need is a system that does not only school, but educates – and avoids the terrible results that are the norm in our current “education” system: which are obedience training, indoctrination, conformity and group-think.

Some level of conformity and group-think are going to be inevitable in any society, because that is the dark side of the impulse to be social creatures. We are herd animals by nature. That does not mean we are stupid. It means we are innately social creatures – and social creatures of high intelligence.

The positive side of our deeply human instinct to be social creatures is the impulse toward cooperation and mutual aid, solidarity, reciprocity, empathy and compassion. Those are our greatest strengths, along with our intelligence, imagination, creativity, adaptability and resilience. With these most precious human traits in mind, we can nurture these traits, while discouraging the dark side of the social impulse: which is the impulse to conformity, group-think, and obedience to strongmen and authority figures.

Presently, and historically, for 5,000 years (a very recent aberration, but long enough, to be sure) we have reinforced our worst impulses: towards conformity, group-think, dominance and submission patterns, passive-aggressive behaviour, and obedience to authority. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When we become aware of our greatest strengths, and also our greatest weaknesses, then we can nurture the former and discourage the latter. That will tip the balance, away from our present norm: which is a civilization based in radical inequality, elite rule, a hollow pretense of democracy and freedom, rabid predation, exploitation, wealth extraction, and destruction of peoples, nations, and nature; along with the conformity, indoctrination, group-think and obedience to authority which uphold this suicidal system of global economic apartheid and neofeudal elite rule.

We must cultivate confidence, dignity, creativity, imagination, self-expression, problem-solving and critical thinking in our schools, at all levels. But it is important to realize, and vital to realize, that while we can nurture and cultivate such essential traits in children, youth and adults, what is more important, by far, is that we simply stop crushing them. That is what we are doing now, and have done for generations. It is amazing that any critical thought, innovation, creativity, imagination, or ability to think at all, is left among a minority of adults who have survived the onslaught that is the “education” system. That is a testament to the power of the human spirit, that any minds survive it at all!

Like good gardeners, the best approach is to follow nature, and support the natural growth and self-expression of plants and ecosystems. No gardener has to tell a rose how to grow, or teach it how to grow – we simply respect it as it is, and nurture its own innate intelligence in expressing itself naturally. The rose grows on its own, by its own innate intelligence and self-unfolding: we simply try not to get in the way, but instead, support its natural growth and self-expression. The same is true of children, youth, and adults. We are all born with basic dignity, confidence, curiosity, imagination, an impulse to self-expression and creativity, and a natural inclination to question everything. We have to be deeply indoctrinated, and regimented in obedience training, for 12 to 20 years, in order to smash these natural traits into submission and atrophy – and we do that very well.

The primary thing that educators, teachers, professors and child care workers must do, therefore, from preshool and infancies, through to college, university, PhDs and adult education, is to safeguard, protect, nurture and defend the natural curiosity, creativity, imagination, self-expression, and questioning – which is the entire basis of critical thinking -of children, youth and adults, and not let them be trampled, crushed, suppressed or destroyed, by any force, organization or institution, whether deliberately or unintentionally.

The primary role, therefore, of all teachers, professors, child care workers and educators, is not to dispense knowledge or to “educate”, but to preserve the natural qualities we are all born with, and which makes us human, in the best possible senses of the word.

That means that teachers, child care workers, professors and educators must be guardians of democracy, constitutional rule, freedom, sovereignty, nature and the Earth; and it means they must be guardians also, and more directly, of the natural empathy, compassion, sensitivity, curiosity, imagination, expressiveness, enthusiasm, ebullience, confidence, dignity, critical thinking, and willingness – and eagerness – to question everything.

If educators fail at that, they have failed at everything. This is their core task. All else is secondary. In fact, all else – everything we consider to be indispensable to a good education – will flow from that; and can only flow from that basis. It is that, or we return to the dark ages.

Which will it be? Renaissance, or dark age ahead: that is our choice, and it is entirely in our hands.

J. Todd Ring,

June 5, 2021

Oh, Canada

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 5, 2021 by jtoddring

Loyal subjects: that is what we have been trained to be – first to the British Empire, then to the American Empire, and now, to Beijing and the global coporate empire. But Canadians have another side: we are often witty, piercingly perceptive, compassionate, welcoming, valient and brave. It is the latter set of impulses which will guide us best now.

We must throw off the yoke of the colonial mindset. We must cease to be loyal subjects of one or another empire, and become, for the first time, the True north, strong and free.

Or do we simply stand on guard for Starbucks and Tim Hortons?

What will it be, Canada? Can we find our spine again?

Will we?

We can, and we must – and we will.

J. Todd Ring,

June 5, 2021

Land Reform and The Birth of A Revolution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2021 by jtoddring

“The greatest philosophers have found answers to life’s problems,

not just in theory, but in practice.”

– Henry David Thoreau

“Never doubt that a small group of dedicated individuals can change the world.

In fact, it is all that ever has.”

– Margaret Meade

Relocalization, community-building and regenerative agriculture are the keys to weathering the growing storm that we are facing now, as a confluence of crises come to a head. We can feed humanity and heal the planet with regenerative agriculture. We either make relocalization, community self-reliance and regenerative agriculture our foundation, or we have no foundation. That is most important to understand. That requires land reform, and land redistribution, and now. Not in 10 or 20 years, but now. If you want to understand the key elements in any sane or workable plan for mitigation and adaptation, this is it. Understand this, or wait for the tsunami to hit.

In the longer term, but nevertheless very soon, if we want either a stable society, a just society, or a free and democratic society, we will have to ban fractional reserve banking and usury, along with fiat currency. This unholy trinity impels and requires infinite growth on a finite planet, which makes it utterly unsustainable; and it also produces accelerating hyper-concentration of wealth and power, which undermines justice and equality, and which will furthermore be the death knell to freedom and democracy, if we let it. But I am not talking here about longer term actions that we must take, but instead, what we must do immediately, if we are to survive the onslaught we have created for ourselves, in terms of the confluence of the growing financial/economic, food and environmental crises.

In the immediate term, we must reclaim and renew democracy and freedom, and make a bold move to relocalization, combined with intelligent mutual aid and cooperation, and most critically, with regenerative agriculture, as our primary strategy, to avoid global cataclysm. All of that will require a very large investment in making the transition to a truly green, sustainable, just and regenerative society. That will require that we tax the richest 1% and the large profitable corporations, tax pollution (collected by municipalities, not global elites), and put a tax on great concentrations of wealth. We need to redesign our infrastructure, and with all speed, or we will race off the cliff we are fast approaching. These actions will be necessary to fund that shift. They are by now immediately required and unavoidable. But what is even more fundamental and more urgent is the low-tech solutions offered by small-scale regenerative agriculture. And that requires land reform, and a redistribution of land. That is priority one, as I will explain and make clear.

Many people will say, these changes you propose may make sense, and may even be critically and urgently needed, but they are impossible. But I say to them, we have done the impossible many times before. Defeating the fascists in WWII seemed impossible, but we did it. Surviving the last ice age was very nearly impossible, and must have seemed impossible to our ancestors, but we did it. We do well in a pinch. It is when we are challenged the most, that we rise to our greatness. And we will rise to the challenge once again.

We simply have no choice. We either rise to the occasion, or we admit that we are cowards, and morally bankrupt at that. There is no time left for fatalism. We either rise to the occasion now, and take the necessary actions now, or we admit that our humanity is forfeit, and we have become the hollow men.

We rise now. There is no other way.

We can no longer wait on governments, corporations and business elites to take the necessary actions. In fact, they are the major roadblocks to change. We must take the necessary steps ourselves. We start small, and build exponentially – and that, fortunately, is what is already happening now.

As Geoff Lawton puts it, “Nail it. Then scale it.”

Exactly.

As Alice Walker said,

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

*

Covid in perspective

In 2020, the peak year, to date, of the covid crisis, just under two million people died from covid world-wide, by official figures. Every preventable death is tragic, but we also need to put things into perspective. Every year, 1.3 million people die globally from auto accidents, seven million people die from air pollution, 25 million die from hunger, and 25 million die from obesity and unhealthful diets. If we truly want to reduce preventable deaths, and we are willing to invoke authoritarian measures – which I would argue are never justified, and always cause more harm than good in the end – we would save many more lives, a total of 10-20 million a year, by banning private automobiles, fast food and junk food. If we were truly serious about health and reducing preventable deaths, we would immediately invoke a 90% wealth tax on the richest 0.1%, and take $18 trillion from the $ 20 trillion that sits in the offshore bank accounts of the super-rich, and with it, use $1 trillion to end world hunger and poverty world-wide, and use the other $17 trillion to usher in a great transition to a truly sustainable and regenerative society. If we continue doing what we are doing now, we will not have only have two million people dying a year from covid: we will have a 90-98% die-off of humanity, and the death of 6-7 billion people – within this century, and possibly in less than 30 years. Covid is serious enough. The environmental crisis dwarfs it in scale. And so far, we have no seriousness about it at all. Nor do we have the slightest seriousness about ending world poverty or world hunger – despite the fact that five billion people now live in poverty, and 20,000 children die every day of hunger. Land reform and regenerative agriculture are the primary solutions to both the environmental crisis, and to global poverty and hunger. It is time we got serious, and now.

*

The big picture

There are now more than five billion people in the world living in poverty, and hundreds of millions more living precarious existences on the edge of poverty. We have the power to heal and regenerate our world, and quickly, in a matter of a few years, as well as the power to end poverty and to feed the world; but, we must be aware, we are going to be facing global crop failure due to global warming in less than 20 years if we fail to act. Clearly, there is zero time for hesitation, avoidance, denial or delay. That is the context, and that is our timeline.

Dmitry Orlov, Richard Heinberg and James Howard Kunstler are generally excellent in terms of analyzing what peak oil and the energy cliff we are now passing, combined with economic/financial and ecological crises, when interwoven, as they are, entails for our very near future. Note that we passed peak oil globally between 2005-2008. Plummeting oil industry profits confirm the other industry figures clearly and undeniably – Big Oil is now insolvent. Oil shocks are coming fast, and the decline will not be smooth, as previously believed, but very sharp and steep.

However, most people analyzing peak oil and fossil fuel dependency implications do not realize that, as Vandana Shiva says, small-scale, locally-based, regenerative agriculture can produce ten times more food per acre, or square, meter than the collapsing system of petrochemical industrial agriculture – not less food, but ten times more food.

Thus, the global famine and global die-off of human populations that have been predicted are only inevitable if we fail to take the right steps immediately, which are: abandon petrochemical industrial agriculture, slash our fossil fuel use, decentralize and relocalize economies, and especially food production, and shift to community-based regenerative agriculture en mass.

The bad news is, many nations, communities and regions will likely remain in denial, and will suffer terribly for it. The good news is that millions of communities are already making this shift, and the relocalization and regenerative agriculture movements are growing exponentially.

What does it all mean? It means some communities, regions and nations will fare relatively well, while others are hit by a perfect storm, of unprecedented magnitude, that was to a great extent perfectly avoidable. This is what Tainter, the great historian, calls the runaway train scenario – where we stubbornly refuse to make a change – combined with the suicidal behaviour of elites who erroneously believe their wealth will protect them, and therefore prop up the existing system rather than supporting or leading positive change.

The other misunderstanding is that we will all be slavish peasant farmers in the near future. But Dmitry Orlov is right here, when he says that if you want endless gadgets and a society that produces a growing number of billionaires, then you have to work 40 hours plus per week; but if you want a community that simply meets its basic needs, we can work just 15-20 hours a week.

The benefits post-collapse will be sizable. It is the transition that will be painful. And of course, we should do everything we can to mitigate the destruction and the suffering, lest we lose our very humanity and our sanity in the bargain.

Relocalization, community self-reliance in food, water and energy, along with mutual aid and cooperation, regenerative agriculture, and a redistribution of land, will be critical – and are critical, not in the future, but right now. This is in stark contrast to the publicly-announced plans of the Davos set of global billionaire elites, however. Their plan is 180 degrees in the wrong direction, as well as being frankly fascist. We need to be perfectly clear about this. The one thing above all that we can no longer afford, is comforting delusions.

*

Global economic apartheid must end now – or we are doomed

It is not widely recognized, and in fact, there is nearly universal denial about it, but we now live under a global system of economic apartheid. There are of course major elements of race, gender and xenophobia, along with negative forms of nationalism (there are also positive forms of nationalism, of course) mixed into this global regime; but it is class division which primarily holds it in place. And there is a separation between humans and nature which is also foundational to this deeply destructive and mutually degrading wealth-extraction machine. Either we end the system of apartheid, and restore a more integrated and equitable balance within human society, and between humans and the rest of nature, of which we are an inseparable part, or our future will be a nightmare beyond our imaginings.

From Thomas Hobbes to Klaus Schwab and Bill Gates, the elite always want to convince us that they are indispensable, that they are our protectors, benefactors, and saviours. We are taught not to trust ourselves or one another, but to look to the state and the elite for our safety, our protection, our guidance and our well-being. But there is another view. People like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., taught us to trust ourselves, to trust that freedom works better than elitism or authoritarianism, and to be wary of great powers. Furthermore, we have seen from the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom that the management of the commons is better done, and with better results, by local communities, than by distant elites. The answer to our social and ecological crises is not more elite rule, more authoritarianism, more colonialism, imperialism and technocracy, and more centralization and hyper-concentration of power and wealth, but a rebirth of freedom and democracy. The positive changes will come from below, as they always have, and not from above. And that means, among other things, that land, and the redistribution of land, is the key.

Malcolm X was right: revolution is about land – it is about the landed and the landless. (He was wrong about violence being necessary, but he was right about land being central. And he later renounced violence, it should be noted as well. Violent revolution now would result, not only in a bloodbath, but in a long and bloody stalemate. We have no time to waste on a long and protracted stalemate, therefore we have no time for violent digressions.) It is increasingly undeniable that what we now need and cannot avoid, is a new wave of non-violent, grassroots democratic revolutions to sweep the planet, and to sweep away the decaying and collapsing, socially and ecologically destructive system of predatory and vampiric, global crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy. That revolution hinges upon land.

Climate change is real, accelerating, and will spell global crop failure and mass famine in less than 20 years if we do not greatly and immediately intensify our efforts to halt and reverse it. The majority of people globally now know the issue is real, urgent and severe. What most people do not know is this:

If we stopped all burning of fossil fuels tomorrow, 100% globally, climate change would continue – because of soil degradation and desertification. That means the we must immediately abandon petrochemical industrial agriculture and factory farming, which together are degrading the world’s soils, leading to desertification, and massively fuelling climate change. Industrial agriculture is the primary cause of soil degradation, desertification and climate change. The 75 year old experiment in petrochemical industrial agriculture has been a catastrophic failure – in terms of human health, in terms of social impact, in terms of global destabilization, and in terms of environmental destruction and climate change. That is by now an undeniable fact. That means we need to shift, not only off of fossil fuels, but even more importantly and more urgently, we must shift to regenerative, organic, holistic agriculture. And we cannot afford to take another 50 years, or even 20, or 10, to accept the fact, and make the transition.

Regenerative agriculture is priority one for halting climate change, since it is the most effective and fastest way known to sequester and remove carbon from the atmosphere, in addition to being the number one way to cut greenhouse gas and carbon emissions. Of course we need to plant trees and new forests, stop deforestation and factory farming, and get off of our fossil fossil fuel addiction; but regenerative agriculture is also a priority, and an even more urgent one. That also means land, and land reform, are the central issues of our time, as I will presently explain.

Small scale, local, community based, regenerative organic agriculture, permaculture, and holistic management and systems design – built from the bottom up, based in freedom and radical democracy – are the primary tools that will heal our world, because, among other reasons, this is the most effective and fastest way to remove carbon from the atmosphere – and together, they form a global movement that is growing fast, and at an exponential rate. There are now over 100,000 ecovillages in more than 167 countries, and there are millions of small scale regenerative organic farms. These are the working models that we need to build upon, and scale up globally, with all speed.

(See Vandana Shiva, Murray Bookchin, Peter Kropotkin, Rianne Eisler, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russell, Noam Chomsky, Michael Albert, Allan Savory, Geoff Lawton, Gar Alperovitz, Helena Norberg-Hodge, and the Global Ecovillage Network, for vision, strategy, tools, methods and systems design – and for proven, working models and inspiring examples.)

Petrochemical industrial agriculture and our addiction to fossil fuels have been a Faustian bargain. It is a deal with the devil. It has been nothing less than a catastrophe, and it is destroying us. It is time for a new deal: a Green New Deal, based in democracy and freedom, not technocracy; and based in land reform and regenerative agriculture, as its foundation.

There is definitely hope. We have the power now, to either renew the world, or to destroy it. And the next 20 years will be the critical, deciding moment for humanity. We have no time to lose, and no time left for avoidance, denial, apathy, complacency, half measures, or the succumbing to numbness, cynicism or despair. Moral courage, sheer survival, common sense and basic sanity, all require that we act now, with boldness and speed.

We have a choice now as human beings: either to continue with a system and a culture of global apartheid, based in domination, exploitation, extraction, extreme and growing inequality, degradation and destruction – a system which is racing towards ecological holocaust, fascism and collapse; or to abolish and transcend that system, to re-integrate and reconnect, to find a new balance, and to become the guardians and healers of nature, ourselves, and one another, and of our world. That shift hinges upon two things above all: attitude, vision, or our view of the world; and land.

*

The greatest of dangers

The greatest dangers facing humanity in the 21st century are five: nuclear, chemical or biological warfare; the rapidly growing environmental crisis, which threatens food system collapse and global famine within 20 years; corporate fascism, which is already well advanced; economic collapse, due to money printing addiction; and the peak oil energy crisis, which has the power to grind our fossil fuel dependent industrial civilization to a halt in short order. All of these immediate grave dangers require: 1. a rebirth of democracy and freedom, 2. a global shift to decentralization, and 3. a redistribution, not only of wealth and power, but most critically, of land. We can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic all we like, but if we do not swiftly and boldly take all three of these steps, it is systems collapse ahead, and it is coming soon.

People should be concerned about geopolitics, economics and ecology, and about the extremely fragile state of our energy and food distribution systems, among other pressing concerns; but while truly existential threats loom near on the horizon, the majority have lost their minds over the latest variant of the flu.

We are succeeding valiantly in one thing, at least: training in unthinking, irrational obedience to authority – we are succeeding marvelously in that. But if that trend continues, our species is finished.

A little more critical thought, and a little less blind obedience, are the only things that can save us now.

*

The real solutions

Half of the world’s people live in the countryside. Three quarters of the people living in poverty live in the countryside. Two-thirds of the income of the rural poor comes from small-scale farms and peasant agriculture. Meanwhile, peasant farmers and the rural poor produce two-thirds of the world’s food. Something is deeply wrong with this picture, and it is getting worse, not better. And we have not even mentioned the issue of indigenous land rights, which have profound implications, and which it is our moral obligation to address, and speedily, honestly, ethically and forthrightly, without hesitation, obfuscation, evasion or delay.

The richest few, the new landed aristocracy of billionaires, are taking over. Bill Gates alone has bought up over a quarter million acres, and the billionaire/corporate land-grab is accelerating. This is the enclosure of the commons, and the theft of the commons, on a new, global scale. This is the issue which will determine the fate of humanity and the Earth. Land is the key issue, above all: who has access to it, who does not, how it is used, and how is it shared – or not shared, but horded by the richest few. This is the pivotal issue of our time, and it is the fight of our lives.

The billionaires who meet annually at Davos, at the World Economic Forum, have made their plan clear. They want to drive the people off the land, and into “smart cities”, where total surveillance and authoritarianism are proclaimed as “the new normal”. But this is the opposite of what justice, freedom, democracy, human well-being, and ecological regeneration require.

Global inequality continues to soar to historically unprecedented levels, while the concentration of wealth, power, and control of land, becomes ever greater. The the ruling 1% – the billionaire class and their loyal minions – are devouring humanity and the Earth, and are vying to gather all wealth, land ownership, and power in their hands.

While roughly three and a half billion people live in rural poverty or are struggling to survive, another billion and a half people, at very conservative estimates, are part of the rapidly growing sea of the urban poor, or are economically struggling. Land reform and agrarian reform is thus essential and urgently needed, if we care about justice, health, poverty reduction, or humanity, in the least.

What will help the five billion rural and urban poor or struggling the most, is a combination of four things: land and freedom, above all, along with organic, non-hybridized heritage seeds, and micro-capital – micro-credit, or small loans of under $5,000.

We need a new wave of land reform and agrarian reform now, and urgently. That will end poverty, greatly reduce inequality, end hunger and greatly improve human health (far more than experimental genetic engineering drugs labelled as vaccines), and greatly increase world peace and stability. We need to bring the people back to the land in large numbers, in millions of small communities, and we need to boldly redistribute the land to make that possible en mass. Furthermore, as Vandana Shiva, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Allan Savory and Geoff Lawton have shown: through organic, holistic, decentralized, small-holding, locally-based regenerative agriculture, mass scale land reform and land redistribution, putting people as well as animals back on the land, is the only thing now that will heal the Earth – and feed humanity.

Not GMOs, not petrochemical industrial agriculture, not factory farms or lab grown meat – it is permaculture, regenerative, holistic, organic, small-scale agriculture, and putting people and animals back on the land, which are the key ingredients needed, to both heal our world, and feed the people.

*

Everything in nature is an ebb and flow, a balanced flow between gathering and dispersion. Every empire, however, seeks to concentrate power and wealth in a few hands: they seek to gather, and to withold from dispersion. But you cannot have day without night, arising without falling, or gathering without dispersion.

This attempt to concentrate and hold onto all power and wealth, which all empires try to do – to gather without dispersion – upsets the natural balance of life, until the extreme is reached, and we have, as the Taoists have pointed out, the “inversion of opposites”, and the dispersion must then come, and the empire collapses – either suddenly, through revolution, or slowly, through decay.

In either case, the empire falls due to over-concentration of power and wealth, if not due to ecological collapse. And in either case, the balance was lost, through hubris, power-lust and greed, which are the driving forces of all empires.

The extremes of imbalance and inequality, both social and ecological, are reaching their maximum limits. Collapse is imminent – that means, of course, in historical time, which could be decades until collapse, or less, but quite possibly, very soon. This newest of empires, the global corporate empire, will fall. Whether it is through ecological collapse, or through social collapse and revolution, the fall is inevitable now, because no system based on extreme imbalance can last in nature, or in history.

Wealth and power have been vastly over-concentrated, and the hyper-concentration of wealth and power continues to accelerate. The dispersion, or redistribution, of wealth and power, and a more equal, or at least more equitable, sharing of wealth and power, both socially and ecologically, is not only imperative, and essential for justice, human health, and human well-being, along with ecological sustainability and regeneration – by now, it is a necessity, if we are not going to have systems failure, and the collapse of modern civilization.

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Land is, and has always been, the primary basis of wealth, and of power. Justice, sustainability, stability, peace and regeneration, and the healing of our world, require that land be shared more widely and more equitably now. It is going to happen one way or another, as it must. Let’s get on with it.

Tax the rich? That is a good idea. Invoke a wealth tax on the richest 1%? Also a good idea. In fact, these two steps are critical and absolutely necessary if we are to solve humanity’s two greatest challenges: to eliminate poverty, and to fund the transition to a truly green, sustainable, regenerative, thriving and stable society. But it is the redistribution of power that is most critical. That means two further steps are essential, at a minimum: democracy and freedom must be reborn; and the land must be shared more widely, more equitably, and more fairly.

As the ancient Greeks knew, hubris precedes a fall; and gluttony, including gorging oneself on power and wealth, always comes at a price. The party’s over. It is time to pay the bar tab. The orgy of extraction and hording of wealth and power by the super-rich cannot, and will not last. The reversal – the dispersion – has begun.

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A few of the most important facts about our 21st century world are these – and they are proven and well understood, at least by the few who have either dug deep enough in research, or have stepped back enough to reflect, to gain a clear perspective; however, the level of denial is deep and pervasive, including among environmentalists, labour, NGOs, most academics, social justice activists, business and political elites, and the general public.

  1. The single best way to reduce and eliminate poverty is to give the people the primary source of wealth and empowerment – which is, and has always been, land. With over five billion people living in poverty and many more living precariously, this alone makes land reform an urgent moral imperative. And if we value peace over violence, chaos or civil war, it is also a pragmatic imperative.
  2. The single most powerful way to slow, then halt, then reverse climate change and global warming, is to heal and regenerate the soil – particularly on the grasslands and dry lands which cover two thirds of the Earth’s landmass – since only healthy soils can sequester enough carbon now to avert a cataclysm. And the only way to accomplish that effectively and at the rapid pace we need, is with small scale, local, community-based, holistic, regenerative organic agriculture and permaculture. That requires large numbers of both people and animals working with the land and living on the land, in carefully designed regenerative agriculture systems. That makes land reform a survival imperative for humanity. It is that, or it is runaway global warming, followed rapidly by global crop failure, famine, civilization collapse, and extinction.
  3. Urbanization is not inevitable, just as globalization and corporate rule are not inevitable. Over the past 100 years we went from 12% urbanization of human population globally, to over 50% – and over 80% in the “developed” world. But big cities require long supply chains. Long supply chains mean food and other necessities and consumer items travel thousands of miles, requiring vast amounts of energy, almost all of it fossil fuels, and emitting vast amounts of carbon and other greenhouse gases. Long supply chains are therefore utterly unsustainable. (They are also increasingly fragile and unreliable.) That means large cities are utterly unsustainable. Getting serious about climate change or the environmental crisis more broadly requires that we get serious about buying local, and slashing shipping miles by 90% or more. (It is the next logical steps which elude the vast majority of people, including most environmentalists, academics, NGOs and elites.) That means we must produce most of what we need at the local level. That means economic decentralization is a survival imperative. *And economic decentralization necessitates demographic and population decentralization.* That means that relocalization, re-ruralization, demographic and population decentralization, and an enormous shift toward small-scale, sustainable and regenerative communities, is a survival imperative. Again, that means land reform is, quite simply, a survival imperative.

These are the unassailable facts. We ignore them at our peril.

Fortunately, the necessary awakening has begun, and is accelerating rapidly.

*

We now need an alliance between the environmental movement – or at least, the majority part of it which is not crypto-fascist – and indigenous movements the world over, along with peasants movements, the more alert elements among the labour movement, ethical business leaders and entrepreneurs, the organic, permaculture and regenerative agriculture movements, small scale farmers, and yes, an alliance that includes both the grassroots right and the left: anyone and everyone who values freedom and democracy and the regeneration of the Earth, as the three principle pillars of any decent or even viable society, and who prefers this to the increasingly authoritarian rule by corporate oligarchs, and to the collective suicide, fascism and ecocide which it entails and is driving us towards. This unity amidst diversity is building and growing now. An awakening, and a new renaissance, is emerging now and being born. And it hinges upon a shift in consciousness; it hinges upon our unity – across, and despite, and within our rich diversity; and it hinges upon land.

Know your enemy. The enemy of the people and the Earth is the wealth-extracting, killing machine, which is the corporate industrial empire. We have been grinded on the wine press much too long. Rebel. We either abandon and transcend the global apartheid system of neoliberal and neofeudal corporate rule, or we will not only be serfs and slaves – we will have no future at all.

As I argued in my recent book, it is indeed, now, a matter of The People vs The Elite. The 99%, or the greater majority of us, at least, must unite to defeat and dethrone this latest, and last of empires, and to restore and renew both freedom and democracy, and equally critically, to heal and regenerate our world. And once again, I would argue, that hinges upon land.

A new renaissance has already begun. And sharing the land more equitably will be at the very centre of it.

Vive Zapata!

Tierra y libertad! Land and freedom!

It is time.

Let this mark the beginning of a new global movement: for land and freedom for all, and for the healing of our world.

*

We now have fire tornadoes in Australia. Fire tornadoes. The wildfires have been so severe and so intense, that the massive updrafts of rising hot air creates tornadoes in the midst of the wildfire, creating fire tornadoes. If that’s not apocalyptic-sounding, I don’t know what is. How many alarm bells do we need? Are we all collectively deaf?

The entire Southern US will be uninhabitable due to severe heat, while the mid-west has dust storms and severe drought, forcing people to abandon it en mass; the western and northern US states will burn with uncontrollable wildfires, making them uninhabitable, and the Eastern seaboard will be unlivable due to the frequency and severity of storms and hurricanes, that make Sandy and Katrina look mild by comparison. That is just one nation. And that is the future if we do not immediately increase our seriousness, and our effectiveness, in battling climate change.

Activism is high and rising, but a deadly complacency still grips our politicians, business “leaders”, and the majority of the people on Earth. And complacency, in this case, means we are playing Russian roulette. Do we really want to play that game?

Action is urgently needed – and not just from governments and business, but from all of us.

Building soil and healing the soil is the key, along with transitioning rapidly off of fossil fuels, and halting deforestation and factory farming. Ban the sale of flush toilets, which effectively flush our topsoil down the drain, give every family an odourless composting toilet, and, give every family at least one acre of land for gardening (roughly 1,000 square meters) – as family garden plots and building lots, or in community gardens, or collectively shared in land trusts, in ecovillages of 15-150 people, or in rural or rural organic co-op farms, and with these simple steps, we will more than double the effectiveness of our efforts to combat climate change. The solutions are in truth quite simple – but we human beings have a very self-defeating habit of over-complicating everything. And you can bet that almost every instance of human beings over-complicating things is profit driven. Simplicity will save the world, not grandiose over-complexity. Remember Tainter. Civilizations fall, in large, by becoming overly complex, to the point of accidental suicide. And we are headstrong, and racing full bore along that same track, yet again.

Nature thrives based on mutual reciprocity, interdependence, diversity, and simplicity. Modern civilization is steeped in models of behaviour and attitudes of short-term, narrow self-interest, illusions of separateness, homogeneity and monocrops – of our minds, culture, and farming practices, and in vast over-complication. Guess which party must change. It’s us. Nature bats last.

*

The Earth has 36 billion acres of total landmass. Grasslands and deserts make up roughly two thirds of that total land area, or roughly 20 billion acres. These are the lands that must be healed with greatest speed, through regenerative agriculture and permaculture. Of that 20+ billion acres, I am urging that we give at least two billion acres back to the people, to radically intensify our efforts to halt climate change and heal our world. That should be seen, not as a radical proposal, nor an impossible one, but a modest proposal, considering our very survival is at stake, and one we simply must implement, and immediately, if we are to survive.

The one requirement for families to receive and retain the usufructory rights to their allotment of land (the only kind of land rights that should exist, and the only ones that truly exist in practice) is they regenerate and improve the fertility, health and diversity of the land and the soil, or else pay someone or some group to do it, or entrust the land to a person or group, to ensure the land and soil are healed. The results would be – will be – a rapid greening, cleaning, and healing of the Earth, along with a sharp drop in poverty and hunger, and a radical increase in our effectiveness in dealing with species loss, desertification, and climate change.

20% of the Earth’s land is snow-covered, 20% is mountains, 20% is good land for farming – though this is shrinking and being degraded rapidly; 10% is desert or lands without soil – and this is rising fast; and 30% is marginal or degraded land. It is the marginal, degraded farmlands and grasslands (and vacant urban wasted land) which we must focus on first, and heal and regenerate as our top priority. This is something only regenerative agriculture, combined with serious and bold land reform, can accomplish.

We need to preserve and regenerate wetlands, and protect and preserve old growth forests and mature forests. It is the marginal and degraded lands that we need to farm with regenerative agriculture, in order to most rapidly heal our world.

If, and only if, we very quickly abandon petrochemical industrial agriculture, and make a giant leap into regenerative, holistic, organic agriculture and permaculture, while slashing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, can we avert catastrophic, runaway global warming. We need to do both, and now, immediately. That requires land reform, if we are at all serious, and a redistribution of land – not from the poorest half of humanity to the richest 1%, as is happening now, but the other way around.

Remember that all great changes have started small. The American Revolution was launched by just a handful of people. At Valley Forge there were just 77 men. And yet, the revolution succeeded. We have many more than a handful who are actively regenerating the soil, right now, and millions more who are dedicated to actively protecting and healing the Earth. Surely we can accomplish this task of reclaiming a fairer share of the land, so that the healing of our world can begin in earnest. We can, and we must, and so we will.

*

Regenerative, holistic, organic agriculture and permaculture, which necessitates putting large numbers of people and animals back on the land to repair and heal the soil, can sequester and remove 100 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Nothing else that we can do can match the ability of healthy, healed soils, to draw down carbon out of the atmosphere. Carbon reductions are not enough. Reducing our carbon footprint is not enough. Carbon sequestration, the removal of carbon from the atmosphere, is now equally critical, if not even more urgent. And only healthy soil can do that.

We are at 420ppm of carbon in the atmosphere now, in June of 2021, and rising. We need to bring that down to 350ppm as rapidly as possible, and within ten years, or else the carbon and methane released from melting permafrost will trigger a positive feedback loop, causing out of control global warming, resulting in global crop failure, and the extinction of humanity and many other species. This is our time to shine, or to wither and die, with a collective whimper. Let us hope that we are not that foolish as to allow the latter option to be our fate.

The race is on. Get gardening.

Stop driving. Go organic. And plant.

Plant like your life depends upon it. It does.

*

“I’ve always been impressed that we’re here surviving because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds.”

– JRR Tolkien

40% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by industrial agriculture – and that is without fully considering the degradation and destruction of soils by industrial agriculture, which are turning two thirds of the Earth’s land into desert, and in the process, blocking and precluding our ability to heal the soils, in order to sequester the carbon, which is absolutely essential and urgently needed if we are to halt climate change. In addition to killing the planet’s ecosystems, industrial agriculture is poisoning humanity and wiping out the farmers. Giant corporate industrial farms are taking over. The big four agribusiness giants receive a billion dollars a day in subsidies globally, so that they can accelerate the mass extinction that is underway, accelerate climate change, desertification, species loss, and the global bankruptcy of small scale farmers, and accelerate our race to human extinction. The game is rigged, and the money machine, is a killing machine. We need to understand this, or we are finished as a species. But we also need to realize that the greater power is in the hands of the people.

What we are battling is simply the newest, and if we are wise, the last empire: the empire of corporate billionaire power lust and greed. The people, not technology or the ruling power elite, are the answer.

Small farms, based in biodiversity, have been proven to be ten times more productive than large, monocrop industrial agriculture farms – and small farms are shown by the Food and Agriculture Organization to be currently providing 80% of the world’s food. Why then are we massively subsidizing giant petrochemical industrial agriculture? A single word explains it. Profit. Actually, a better word is control. Power. Food has been weaponized, starting in the Vietnam War. Control the world’s food, and you can rule the world. The industrial agriculture system is designed for corporate elites’ profit, and more importantly, for billionaire elites’ power and control, not to feed humanity. It is the small scale farmers and gardeners who feed humanity, and who will heal the Earth. This is absolutely critical for us to understand now.

250,000 farmers in India recently went on strike, in the biggest strike in human history, to protest the neoliberal deregulation, corporate globalization, and petrochemical industrial agriculture policies that are literally killing the farmers, while poisoning humanity and destroying the planet. This is the power of the people, and we have only seen the beginning.

What ended the Great Depression in the 1930s? It was massive public works projects which gave jobs to millions of people and rebooted the economy. That is, it was millions of hands that saved us from a dire economic situation. What stopped the fascists would were literally trying to take over the world in the 1930s? (And remember, the big chemical and pharmaceutical giants all have their roots in Nazi Germany.) Again, it was millions of hands joined together to defend freedom and democracy, and to defeat the (first wave) of fascists. What ended the Dust Bowl of the 1930s? Once again, it was millions of hands, working with the land, to heal the land, that rescued us from that great calamity. And so too, today, it will not be the billionaires, the giant corporations, the political elite, the bureaucrats or technocrats, nor Big Tech or high technology which will save us from global warming, species loss, poverty, global hunger or mass extinction. It will be the people, once again. Once again, it will be millions of hands that save us. We truly are the answer we have been waiting for.

If, and only if, we abandon the failed experiments in petrochemical industrial agriculture and fossil fuel addiction, and we put enough hands, people, and animals, back on the land, with the right knowledge of regenerative agriculture, which anyone can quickly learn to understand, then we can heal our lands and soils and ecosystems, and halt and reverse climate change, in as little as five years. If we fail to do that, then we are all dead.

We need a Green New Deal alright, as I outlined in my first published book in 2014, Enlightened Democracy, before the term “Green New Deal” was coined. But the Green New Deal must not be based in technocracy and crypto-fascist, neofeudal, global corporate rule, which of course is the agenda of the Davos billionaire elite. It must be based in freedom, democracy, constitutional rule, justice, and, equally critically, in regenerative agriculture, and a fairer redistribution, not just of wealth, but of power, and of land.

The environmental crisis, the global health crisis, and the global food crisis, are all rooted in a viscious class war. Vandana Shiva is right: it is a matter now of Oneness vs The 1%, or as I titled my last book, it is now, above all, The People vs The Elite. And land – its use or misuse, and its distribution – is at the very heart of all of these deeply interconnected crises. We either share the land more equitably, and heal the soil and the planet by that means, and that means only, or we will be driven rapidly into a darkly Orwellian world of neo-feudalism and global corporate rule that results in the death of the human species.

Our choices are clear. It is revolution or death.

Land and freedom now!

J. Todd Ring,
May 28, 2021

Post-Script:

Imagine a world that is clean, green, sustainable, regenerative, resilient, equitable, fair, inclusive, stable and abundant – and that is furthermore fire-resistant, flood-proof and drought-proof, with food security for all. That is now proven to be attainable. Regenerative, holistic, organic agriculture and permaculture is a major part of how we do it. Democracy, freedom, unity in diversity, cooperation, and land reform, are some of the other vital, key components.

Order these three books today from your local independent bookstore, I would urge:

Oneness vs The 1%, by Vandana Shiva

Biodiversity, Agroecology, Regenerative Organic Agriculture: Sustainable Solutions For World Hunger, Poverty and Climate Change, by Vandana Shiva and Andre Leu

And my own recent book,

The People vs The Elite: A Manifesto For Democratic Revolution, Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

Further resources:

If you watch only one thing this year, or for the rest of your life, make it this. Vandana Shiva perfectly summarizes the big picture in under 30 minutes.

Vandana Shiva: We Must Fight Back Against the 1 Percent to Stop the Sixth Mass Extinction

https://youtu.be/GwxOxQ1AOEg via @YouTube

If you watch two things in the rest of your life, make this the second:

Dr. Vandana Shiva on India’s🇮🇳 Farmers’ Protests: Indian Farmers Are a Victim of Food Imperialism 

https://youtu.be/rgaHIoceQ88 via @YouTube

Must-watch:

(3 minute eloquent video summary)

Vandana Shiva: “We are nothing without living soil” 

https://youtu.be/3EAVbQNBpq4 via @YouTube

Vandana Shiva On the Real Cause of World Hunger:

https://youtu.be/jEqS6rnoyYc via @YouTube

Also a must-watch:

TEDxMasala – Dr Vandana Shiva – Solutions to the food and ecological crisis

https://youtu.be/ER5ZZk5atlE via @YouTube

And watch this. The shift to organic food and community-managed organic agriculture is accelerating. Our health, our planet’s health and our future depend on us all supporting that shift, and growing and eating organic.

Poison on our Plate | Ramanjaneyulu GV | TEDxHyderabad 

https://youtu.be/64RLBgD-Cck via @YouTube

Also:

The most important environmental film yet – and the most empowering and inspiring.
Kiss The Ground https://youtu.be/39akrHEIDBM via @YouTube

Dmitry Orlov on collapse:

And note my comments near the top of this essay: famine is inevitable only if we fail to take the right steps now. Otherwise Orlov is perfectly lucid, and right.

David C. Korten on The Great Turning:

And here is something small and concrete that we can do immediately: plant a garden – either on your own land or back yard, or in a community garden.

Here is leading permaculture teacher and designer Geoff Lawton on how to make an instant garden. Well not quite instant – it will take you 45 minutes. Yes, it matters, and it matters greatly. Every journey begins with a single step. This is one of the most important.

Libertarian Socialism & The Rebirth of Freedom & Democracy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2021 by jtoddring

What is libertarian socialism, and why should we be interested?

Libertarian socialism is a long term goal, I would say, agreeing with Chomsky, who is the most prominent libertarian socialist alive. That’s point one. Although, history is full of surprises, so it may be closer and more attainable in the near term than we imagine. 

If Thoreau were alive now, considering his strong views on liberty, equality and justice, I would say that he would no doubt be a libertarian socialist. As he said in his most influential essay, On Civil Disobedience:

“I heartily agree with the motto, “That government is best which governs the least”… and I would extend it to say, That government is best which governs not at all.” And that is precisely the kind of government men shall have when they are ready for it.” But, Thoreau then goes on to distinguish long term objectives from short term goals, and says, “But I do not count myself among the “no government” men. Rather than no government, let us first, and at once, have a better government.” 

Thoreau, like Chomsky and myself, clearly distinguishes long term goals from short term necessities, and I think that is both practical and wise. Educate, inspire, empower, and build working models, while defending and advancing the cause of freedom, equality, solidarity and justice for all. The ideal society will not be built overnight.

Two: we need to sow a shift in consciousness before a society based in greater liberty, equality and solidarity, which are the core values of libertarian socialism, can arise; and further, we must build working models to show that it does work, and works better than the corporatism which we now have. 

Three, as Chomsky has also said, we need to strengthen the state temporarily, and strengthen democracy at all levels, so that we can dethrone the ruling corporate billionaire oligarchs. Afterwards, when the billionaires and the giant corporations are reigned in and no longer rule, we can begin to decentralize political power. 

Four, libertarian socialism does not mean there is no federal government: it means that government and power are primarily at the local level, as Thomas Jefferson intended and urged. 

Five, libertarian socialism emphasises the need to question, oppose, resist, challenge, and dismantle ALL illegitimate forms of authority or excessively concentrated or over-centralized power – and that means instituting economic democracy, as well as taking freedom and political democracy to a higher level of evolution. 

Six, libertarian socialism does not mean there are no laws or no rules or regulations. We need to put checks and balances, and strict limits, on great concentrations of economic power, for example, just as we did with political power, so that liberty, equality, solidarity and democracy can survive, and thrive. 

Seven, there are examples of libertarian socialism in modern industrial societies, and they have worked extremely well. The Spanish Revolution, the Mondragon Co-Op and the Zapatista movement are three examples. 

Eight: libertarian socialism is not opposed to leadership: it is opposed to domination, elitism, demagoguery, cults of personality, and tyranny in any form over the minds of women and men. Leadership is natural and useful, and in fact essential. But leadership should be radically democratic, pluralistic, inclusive, accountable, transparent and recallable; and it should be leadership which uplifts, inspires and empowers all, and not the false leadership which we have typically today, which tends to be careerist, self-serving, and benefits an elite, while robbing the great majority of both wealth and power.

Nine: libertarian socialists reject elitism, vanguardism and statism, and reject the notion that all good ideas and positive change comes from above. They are more in agreement with people like Thomas Jefferson, who sought radical democracy, federated and decentralized, and who said, “I am not among those who fear the people.” A power elite of any kind is far more dangerous than the people ruling themselves. The greatest danger, as the Taoists have said, is the excessive use of force. And that means that the greatest danger is the excessive concentration of power. Furthermore, throughout history, in almost all cases, positive change has come from below, not from above. Therefore, libertarian socialism seeks to empower the people, not rob them of their power, as is our present norm.

Ten: libertarian socialists are people who simply take the founding values of the Enlightenment, which are liberty, equality and solidarity, seriously. Given that, why would any thinking person be anything but a libertarian socialist?

The central axioms or principles of libertarian socialism, in my view, are that: 1. liberty, equality and solidarity are values worth preserving, and worth advancing; and 2. as Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”; therefore, we should distribute power widely, keep the power close to the people, avoid and shun elitism, minimize hierarchy, and guard against any form of tyranny, or any form of excessive concentrations of power, whether they are political power, economic power, or any other form of over-centralization of power. This, to me, should be considered a matter of common sense.

J. Todd Ring,

May 29, 2021

Post-Script:

Who are some of the key figures who have advocated libertarian socialism?

Noam Chomsky – You can find many talks he has given on libertarian socialism on YouTube

Murray Bookchin – His major work, The Ecology of Freedom, is arguably the most important work in anthropology, history, political-economy or political philosophy ever written.

Peter Kropotkin – His major work, Mutual Aid, shows that cooperation is every bit as present in nature as competition, and is predominant among social animals, including human beings.

Bertrand Russell – His work, Roads To Freedom, is one of the best and most important texts in political philosophy ever written.

This is just an introductory list, of course, covering four of the most influential figures in libertarian socialism. We should also mention Bakunin, Rudolph Rocker, Emma Goldman, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and Michael Albert here, as major figures of the libertarian left.

To that I would add my own writing: Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite, and my new book, coming soon: All Hell Breaks Loose: Global Geopolitics 1945-2045.

The New Renaissance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2021 by jtoddring

There is a renaissance emerging now across humanity, as well as a paradigm shift in science; and a spiritual awakening is occurring, along with a political and cultural awakening. How do we best understand this historically pivotal shift?

The trends are toward: 

1. a non-dualist view of the interconnectedness, interdependence, and sacredness, of all life, nature and the cosmos; 

2. a more inclusive, and less sectarian, more tolerant and pluralistic, cosmopolitan world view, approach to life, approach to scholarship, and approach to spirituality; 

3. an emphasis on experience, radical empiricism, and the mystical dimensions of daily life, science, scholarship and spirituality; and what corresponds with it is a more humble and open-minded approach to life, science, scholarship, politics and spirituality; which, paradoxically, allows for, and nourishes and supports, 

4. a rebirth of human dignity, confidence, and mutual empowerment; along with, 

5. a rebirth, renewal, and resurgence of the local, in a spirit of federated, networked, and decentralized unity in diversity. 

I may be forgetting major elements here, but these seem to me to be the core five, in terms of the renaissance that is emerging now across the world.

The primary obstacles to the new renaissance which is unfolding now, are not, generally speaking, coming from dogmatic religious orthodoxy, which is waning, but from two major areas or sociological groups. 

First, it is no longer religion which is the bastion of absolutist dogmatism, but materialist science, and other forms of secular fundamentalism. Religion has begun to reclaim its core, which is experiential, and thus, radically empirical; and has begun to remember the mystery at the heart of being, which is also the heart of all religious doctrine or orthodoxies. (Certainly in the big seven: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and indigenous spirituality.) Mainstream science, however, having been confronted for over a century by an emerging paradigm shift, has dug in its heels, and become fanatically unscientific, even anti-scientific, anti-empirical, quasi-religious and deeply dogmatic, in its strident defence of the dying ideology of materialist reductionism.

To this we can add the other secular fundamentalists, which include the entire economics profession, and most of the political class, who are both stridently and dogmatically committed to the quasi-religious orthodoxy of corporate globalization, technocracy and neoliberalism. And of course, the business elite share this messianic faith, because it serves their interests; since all three of these strands of the new Holy Trinity are summed up in its essence, which is the merger of the business elite and the state – which as Mussolini said, is the definition of corporatism, which itself is the proper term for fascism.

These are the enemies and the roadblocks to the new renaissance which is being born now – not the clergy, but the new secular clergy of the corporate-state empire, and the Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Agra, and Big Banks who control it; along with the scientists, academics, the medical-industrial complex, the bureaucrats and the technocrats and the media who support it, whether wittingly, or more commonly, unwittingly.

We should remember, however, that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time is come. And the heart of the new renaissance is a new set of ideas, all constellating around the central realization of, or reawakening to, the basic and fundamental interconnectedness, oneness, and sacredness, of all life and all living beings. That reawakening can be slowed, to some degree, it can be fought against, and it is being fought against, viciously and rabidly, but it cannot be stopped. And it will result, in the end, not just in a greater level and quality of awareness, but in a transformation of our world – including, a rebirth of democracy and freedom, and a sweeping away of the dying age of empires.

Nourish the light. We are winning. Even though things look dark, and will get darker yet before the dawn, the awakening will not be stopped, but will triumph.

J. Todd Ring,

May 26, 2021

See also, for critical texts and essential reading:

Oneness vs The 1%, by Vandana Shiva

The Ecology of Freedom, by Murray Bookchin

World As Lover, World As Self, by Joanna Macy

And my own writings:

Enlightened Democracy

The People vs The Elite

And coming soon:

All Hell Breaks Loose: Global Geopolitics 1945-2045

I Have A Dream

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2021 by jtoddring

I Have A Dream: surely, and unquestionably, that great speech by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is one of the most important, and most beautiful, uplifting, empowering, ennobling, visionary and inspiring speeches ever given. Listen again to these words. These words were never more relevant than now. 

Unity and love, unity amidst diversity, confidence and dignity for all, and yes, non-violent direct action: these are the things we most need now – and, I would say, more than ever. If we do not come to understand these words now, we are quite simply doomed. But if we do come now, to finally, truly understand them, and apply them, not just hear them, or mouth them, but apply them in our lives, our communities, our nations, and our shared, beautiful, fragile, yet deeply resilient world, then all things are possible, and we SHALL be free – truly free – and we SHALL see, and build, and create, a better world for all. 

This is a dream worth having. This is a dream worth sharing. And this is a dream worth BUILDING, worth fighting for, and worth turning into a reality, for the benefit, and liberation, of us all. Keep the dream alive. Keep your spirit, your heart, and your mind alive. Share the dream of freedom, and of justice, of a clean and vibrant, sustainable, peaceful, democratic and deeply green, flourishing world, based in equality, and based in dignity for all.

La lucha continua. La revolution no hay terminado. Y, el pueblo, unido, jamas sera vencido!

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Fight the good fight. Never surrender.

We SHALL overcome!

JTR,

May 8, 2021

Chomsky: Corporate Fascism Clarified

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2021 by jtoddring

Exactly as I said this spring, in an essay titled, Sinking All Ships (Except Our Own), Chomsky is saying, as well, what by now should be obvious to all: the business elite are using a virus scare to vastly increase their already stratospheric wealth, and much more ominously, their already dangerously excessive power.

Never under-estimate the power-hungry few.

Yet, the people keep making the same mistake – they underestimate their own power, while simultaneously underestimating the ruthlessness of the power-hungry. The results are always disastrous, and grim.

This is a warning.

(See my essay, Importing From China, for an important update.)

Chomsky further clarifies fascism, as well.

I prefer my definition of fascism, I have to say, which is based on Mussolini’s definition – and he should know, since he invented it: fascism, he said, should properly be called corporatism, because it is the merger of the business elite and the state. And of course, that is exactly what has happened over the past 50 years, culminating in 2020: the business elite and the political elite, the corporate oligarchy and the state, have merged.

That is fascism. We no longer live in a democracy. We live under a new global empire of neo-feudal, crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy – an empire of the super-rich billionaire class, which is giddily and greedily devouring the poor, the middle class, and the planet, while proclaiming themselves the saviours of humanity, and the great benefactors of human health and wellbeing. The obscenity of their narcissism, egomania, infantile grandiosity, their self-deceit and their lies, and sheer sociopathic behaviour, should be shocking, and intolerable to all.

(Read my other recent essay, What Is Fascism?)

Chomsky says fascism is where the political elite control everything, including the business elite. That’s not what Mussolini said, to my knowledge. In any case, Mussolini’s definition is more useful, it seems to me. If you have authoritarianism (and we do in most nations now in 2020), and you have a merger of the business elite and the state (also unquestionably a fact in most nations today), then you have fascism.

Who has the upper hand in the marriage between political elites and business elites, I think, is of secondary concern. It is the merger of business and the state, combined with authoritarianism, which defines the essence of fascism. And only someone who is steeped in deep denial, or who has been living under a rock for the past 40 years, could fail to spot it.

Under fascist Italy or Germany, the political elite ruled an authoritarian regime, with the tight merger and full support of the business elite. It is very similar to China today: in the merger of business and the state, the political elite are in charge, with the full support of both the Western and Eastern business elite, of course. In the West today, it is the mirror image: in the merger of business and the state, the business elite are in charge. To me, it is worse than splitting hairs to say that these are radically different systems. They are not. They are mirrored systems, deeply wedded to each other, though in dangerous competition simultaneously; and they are both authoritarian, anti-democratic, elite-ruled neo-feudal societies. I prefer the short hand term of fascism for both, though it is clear they represent two different versions of essentially the same thing: which is, authoritarian elite rule, moving swiftly into totalitarian oligarchy.

Frankly I don’t think you or anybody is likely to be quibbling over whether “the new normal” should be better called fascism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism or oligarchy, when you are taken to a labour camp, and a jackboot is stomping on your face.

This is not a US problem. This is a global problem. It must be re-asserted. Trump is a tin pot dictator. The problem is much bigger than Trump. He is a pawn of the billionaire crypto-fascist oligarchy, which is now the global empire ruling the world – the same corporate oligarchy which rules most nations, most governments, all the major political parties, the global economy and financial system, and virtually all the major media today – including of course the Big Tech “social media”, since the Silicon Valley oligarchs are equally gleeful in their new-found power.

Until we unseat, dethrone, and remove from power the billionaire corporate elite, we can forget about any real change being possible. We can forget about things like justice, freedom, constitutional rights, peace, environmental sanity, or a future, for that matter, to say nothing of health, until we remove the billionaire oligarchs from power.

We must understand this, or kiss our future, our health and wellbeing, our democracy, our rights and our freedoms goodbye.

JTR,

August 4, 2020

PS:

Chomsky looks very different with a beard. And he has aged dramatically this year – maybe because, as he said in an interview earlier this year, he is haunted by the memories of the first wave of fascism, during his childhood: which is being echoed now.

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