Thursday, February 21, 2013

Demanding Action

Demanding “Action”
P. Schultz
February 21, 2013

            Below is a link to the blog, Landdestroyer, a blog I like to read every so often for its perspective on imperialism and other matters political. Many would say that this guy is “way over the top,” and perhaps, at least from a conventional point of view, they would be right. Nonetheless, and probably because I have been reading some Machiavelli of late, perhaps “over the top” does not always mean “off the mark.”

            In the blog linked below, the argument is that demanding action from a government, that is, the national government, that is controlled by and represents quite well corporate interests, is futile. To wit:

“We all desire cleaner air, healthier food, safer water, and greener parks. Waiting for a corporate-financier establishment to give it to us, when they themselves are the ones that have denied us of these essentials is the height of both naivety and futility.“ 

            As this quote illustrates, the blog deals with climate change and a “rally” that occurred attended by some 40,000 people, all demanding that the national government take action in order to do something, anything apparently, about climate change. But I am not so interested in that peg as I am in the more general argument put forward that

“In fact, when you think about it, almost all of these real solutions involve real community and local action, not placard-waving trips to Washington. These are not solutions that involve policies, taxes, and regulations, but rather technology, education, constructive, pragmatic, technical solutions that not only would make our environment more livable, but make our local economies and communities more viable and self-sufficient. The catch is, and the reason why this isn't being done, you will notice that none of these activities require WWF sponsors like Walmart, Nike, IBM, Toyota, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, HSBC, Citi, IKEA, Nokia, etc.”

That is, I am more interested in the argument that action, real or meaningful action by real people, should and must happen at the local level.

            One question is: What happens to “action” taken at the national level? For example, what happens to “gun legislation reform” at the national level as opposed to the local level? And I am not arguing that national legislation is always less useful than local legislation. Rather, I am just raising a question about politics, about national politics versus local politics. We have been educated to think, “Hey, big problem? Well, we need to turn to BIG GOVERNMENT.” But our central government is not just “big,” it is also “national” and “bureaucratic.” What does this mean in terms of “action?” 

            And this question leads to others, such as: Is a national government or a national mindset always preferable to local governments or a “local mindset?” What is or would be a “local mindset?” What might these words reveal or obscure, just as the words “national government” reveal and obscure at the same time.

            And, lastly, at least here, I like this blog because it leads to an argument that our “problems” are more political than anything else. That is, we have the “problems” we have and which continue to plague us because of how we have arranged “things,” because of how we think politically and how we have institutionalized our world. If BIG GOVERNMENT and BIG CORPORATIONS go hand in hand, and if these BIG CORPORATIONS are not interested in genuine solutions to “our problems,” then  in order to “solve” these “problems” we need a different arrangement. Or as another of my favored commentators has put it, we have reached the limits of what we call “civilization.” [Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael and other writings.]

No comments:

Post a Comment