A Small Medium@Large

Still Flopping on the Bank- Part One.  The movement to restore moral alignment to human society’s back in the news. After millennia of high-expectation efforts to gain control over “such moral alignment as what still exists,” the cost/benefit tally for this effort was quietly delivered to a Key Congressional Subcommittee some 10 days ago.

While the contents of the monumental Summary Report remain unknown, it’s clear that no official ever dreamed there’d be an actual audit of their performance.  “Didn’t see it coming – all the barf bags are out,” insiders said.  “But, to be fair, we won’t know for sure until it’s downloaded.”

Spokes-chimes for the Feudal-Age were quick to release a statement: “Moral alignment in human society’s the mother’s milk of all big spending programs. We categorically reject all claims that ‘nothing’s been restored’ to date. Nothing’s farther than the truth.”  

Critics point out that status quo investors have “everything to lose if this report gets out.” The listing of potentially liable mega-businesses includes the law, most churches, and education. Reparations to the “little people” could be staggering. 

But hold on to your excitement. “Don’t expect a joint bipartisan finding anytime soon,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday. “Classified information’s protected for national security reasons. Baseless investigations might be involved, possibly for years.” Folks are urged to keep water, flashlights and a three-day supply of integrity on hand “until a highly redacted version puts the matter to rest once and for all.”  

Not to worry. American voters expect their leaders to slam dunk the most intractable and obscure of problems, if only enough time, people and financial incentives are thrown into the fray. Recognizing the obvious takes far longer.  

Lawmakers are deadlocked over the meaning of the Summary Report’s opening sentence: “When will we return ownership of the food supply to “We, the People” as the top priority for salvaging our democracy?”   

“The whole system breaks down,” a chimera for House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “when ordinary people start asking ‘for whom is this entire racket being orchestrated? It’s all about the implacable resistance to reality. People who refuse to look into the mirror need to ask themselves this.”

The bombshell Summary Report is all the more astonishing because restoring moral alignment only means taking personal responsibility for maintaining harmony with the planet. It’s the only requirement: Just love all creatures great and small and stick to weeding your own garden.

Food security begins with taking stock of our threefold levels of individual, communal, and cosmic responsibility. Keeping these things in balance is what earns the appellation “Adult.”  That is, someone who takes the commonwealth of future generations into positive accounts and extends this courtesy to all species.

On the flip side, the formula for generating a culture of raw political polarization, as we have come to enjoy it, is called “divide and rule.”  James Madison wrote about this to Thomas Jefferson saying “Dīvide et imperā, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain (some) qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles.” Summary of The Federalist #10 (1787).

In this expression, Madison definitively foresaw how to keep our political class employed even when administering “on just principles” won’t fly. In Perpetual Peace: A Philosophic Sketch (1796), Immanuel Kant wrote that dīvide et imperā is the third of political maxims, the others being fac et excusa (Act Now and make excuses later), and Si feuisti,nega (When you commit a crime, deny it).

But on the other side – and often overlooked – is that the “divide and rule” concept is a positive strategy for diversifying market place actions at all levels of free-exchange economics.  The practice of fair business, has a benign (even altruistic) upside when it inspires the most out of players in a competitive market, and people begin to spend their money as locally as possible.  

In Part II of the Summary Report, Blunt As It Gets, we’re asked:  “What if the same financial toolkit, which is bleeding the Ozarks dry, got into the hands of local populations? What if watershed communities decided to locally self-manage their own wealth and heritage? What if they took over from the middlemen?”  

For one thing, resolving the rural-urban divide would be a priority.  Imagine a citizen-generated “Marshall Plan” for restoring food security, one that identifies how food ownership can be systematically and rapidly decentralized on a bioregional template. The sole purpose would be to restore ownership of the food supply to America’s rural producers.

Small town economies would swell.  Revenue streams would flow from producer-owned distributor systems, and from people working in profit-sharing, employee-owned processing facilities.  Resettlement equals a new bottom-line for labor equity and would end the off-shoring our strategic food supplies.   

The central truth of politics does not change:   Civilization is three meals deep.  The take-over of our food supply by unelected global corporations is a national embarrassment.  It’s unconscionable.  Our political parties have abdicated the most basic requirement for keeping our trust.  We’re flying high without a parachute.

This Day in History:  American Food Security.

100 years ago – By 1919, the population was around 106 million people and the American people privately owned their own food supply.  The nation had just crossed the tipping point into urban majority status. Half of all people lived on farms and many in the cities were raised on them. People knew where their food came from and the soil was not sterile and poisoned.  The American Farm Bureau was organized in November.  

80 years ago – By 1939, the population was 132 million and the people had lost control of the food supply system. The government’s New Deal policies began when millions of farmers fled the land during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. The urban to rural ratio was 57%- 43%.

60 years ago – By 1959 the population was 179 million and the government had taken control of the food supply.  The WWII model of German corporate/state ownership dominated US State Department policy. The urban-rural ratio was 63% – 37%.  The Baby Boomers were now two generations removed from food production ownership and independent small ag was doomed.

40 years ago – By 1979 the population was 226 million and corporations had taken ownership of the food supply. The takeover of American Land Grant was coordinated and secret. The urban-rural ratio 74% – 26% and three generations had passed since the American population knew how to feed itself.

20 years ago – By 1999 the population was 281 million and mega corporations were consolidating global food supplies.  The urban-rural ratio was 80% – 20% and in just four generations over 97% of heirloom seed stock had gone extinct. The cardinal requirement for democratic self-government was dead.

Today, the population is over 340 million and monopoly capitalism will determine who eats and starves.  Just two companies, Cargill and ADA control some 4/5ths of the global grain supply.  “Educated” urbanites – now climbing above 84%- assume that food just magically appears in the back rooms of grocery stores, an example of hypnotic mass trance.

The Farm Resettlement’s 20-Year Plan is a model of healthy living based upon bioregionalism.The Plan defines the elements necessary to restore food freedom (hence, ‘independent farms’), to each watershed population (hence, ‘congress’), and offers incentives for those ready to dedicate themselves to regenerative farming (hence resettlement) in the Ozarks.  

To live “sustainably” means to divorce ourselves completely, yet responsibly, from the powers and technologies destroying our planet.  If not, we’ll exit the hard way.