A better way for Pope Francis

I just wrote a long response to a friend on FB about this meme.

It was too long for that venue, so reposting here for everyone; who knows, maybe you’ll like it too…

So about the Pope’s recent encyclical on Climate Change and other screwed up stuff about this world

I read most of it. It was long as hell, so forgive me if I go on a bit too – I’ll still be much briefer then the good pontiff ūüėȬ† I agree with 90% of what he says, maybe more. It’s his solutions and views of the root causes of the problems I see playing into the hands of the self-styled “Elite.” For example, at 129 he talks about the need to use Civil authorities to restrain massive monoculture and favor sustainable approaches like Permaculture (though he doesn’t call it by that name) because the little guys can’t compete. I agree with him Big Agro is bloody awful and Permaculture one of the major keys to a positive future. But the solution is not to pass more laws. Big agro is massively subsidized by government in lots of ways – just remove that. Also,¬†the little guys didn’t used to know how to do things right –¬† the farmers who got squeezed out were not practicing permaculture, they were using misguided agro techniques, turning over the soil, thereby destroying it’s vitality, creating the dust bowl, desertification, etc. Look at the work of people like Sepp Holzer, Geoff Lawton, and Masanobu Fukuoka. People like that hold the key to beautiful, sustainable, diverse, restorative, small scale food production, and they are phenomenally successful. In the case of Holzer, the government has been his biggest opponent in creating abundance and healing the land. Re fossil fuels (also massively subsidized – how about we stop that?) Tesla invented the means to harness the earth’s electrical field and provide free energy on demand to all of humanity in the early 1900s. That was¬†derailed by JP Morgan, and¬†when Tesla died, his notes and other intellectual property were seized and classified by J Edgar Hoover, a representative of what? The US Government.¬† Countless other patents are held secret because they would likely disrupt the current strangle-hold paradigm. Wall street’s fueling of an unsustainable, rampant, soulless, consumer “culture” got you down? Here¬†is a 1912 cartoon predicting what would happen under the Aldrich Plan, which we now know as the Federal Reserve. Look at it and tell me this¬†is not exactly what we’ve seen. So again, it is the centralization of power in (quasi) government, and inevitable use to benefit the “elite” that’s at the root of the problem. Don’t like the genocide of the Native Americans? Who did it? Federal Troops. Don’t like the Holocaust? Who did it?¬† Government troops. And so on and so on – the list is endless.¬† But now in Chapter 5 of his missive, the Pope suggests we save ourselves by again further consolidating power in the hands of a “true world political authority” which is “empowered to impose sanctions.”

Who would¬†control that power? How would they wield it? What comes next, if sanctions prove insufficient to enforce¬†compliance? I will answer those rhetorical questions: 1) The “Elite”would control it – aka the people who want to rule the world and pretty much do. 2) For their own¬† benefit. 3) Military enforcement (aka violence) is the objective. Just like every time before.¬†

None of that¬†is needed. If we believe in people, in the net positivity of humans, it is clear that now, with the internet (a successful government infrastructure program of military origin I’m grateful for) Permaculture, projects like the Civilization Starter Kit, Direct local production (ex. amazing rapid advances in 3D printing like this, and this) we have the tools to diffuse power and self-evolve a positive future from the ground up without further empowering “new” overlords under the pleasant illusion that they will gift it to us.¬†¬†


2 thoughts on “A better way for Pope Francis

  1. Eric, I know you want to see government as the root of all evil. But it is simply not that simple. It is not governments that are cutting down our rainforests, polluting our water and air, draining our resources, and promoting a culture of excessive consumption, distraction, and superficiality. Here the Pope makes it clear that he thinks the wealthy, acting through corporations, and enabled by governments are the problem and I agree: “In the meantime, economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment. Here we see how environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked. Many people will deny doing anything wrong because distractions constantly dull our consciousness of just how limited and finite our world really is. As a result, ‚Äúwhatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule‚ÄĚ”. And when he’s talking about solutions, he talks over and over about “the whole human family together” and “We need a conversation which includes everyone” and “We require a new and universal solidarity.” And he says, “There are too many special interests, and economic interests which easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.” And I’m pretty sure again he is talking about private interests enabled by government here: “Yet it must also be recognized that nuclear energy, biotechnology, information technology, knowledge of our DNA, and many other abilities which we have acquired, have given us tremendous power. More precisely, they have given those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources to use them, an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world.” I’m not saying and the Pope is not saying that government is not part of the problem. But it is not the whole problem. The problem is government that is co-opted by private industry or self-serving narcissists, such that it no longer serves the common good, but only special interests. And here the idea that small local solutions are important and should be protected: “A consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today‚Äôs globalized economy, has a levelling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity. Attempts to resolve all problems through uniform regulations or technical interventions can lead to overlooking the complexities of local problems which demand the active participation of all members of the community. New processes taking shape cannot always fit into frameworks imported from outside…” Just because bad guys use the same language as good guys doesn’t mean there aren’t good guys. When the pope uses the term “for the common good” that is exactly what he means – he means everybody – especially the poor and powerless. That is very different than when Mao used it and what he meant was his own ruthless quest for unlimited power. The Pope is absolutely not in favor of empowering government or special interests. He wants the rest of us to wrest back power from them so it is serving the actual common good.

    • Speaking of your conclusion, that “He wants the rest of us to wrest back power
      from them so it is serving the actual common good.” and (leaving aside for the moment the critical definition of “common good”) in that case, I couldn’t agree more.
      To clarify, I don’t want, nor do I see, government as the root of all evil.
      Rather, I see the concentration of power as the most alluring, sought after, and effective TOOL of evil. And Government is the ultimate expression of such power, because its power is a codified monopoly on the use of violence. So when you say
      “Here the Pope makes it clear that he thinks the wealthy, acting through corporations, and enabled by governments are the problem” I agree. But it’s not simply “the wealthy.” It is the wealthiest. Forget the 1%. We’re really talking about the .00001 who sit at the highest points of the global hierarchy. Such people want to 100% rule the world with 100% certainty and 100% safety, as opposed to the ~95% values they currently have in those categories. The way they expect to get there is through ever greater consolidation of power, which means to transcend nation states and control ever more things from the global level via banking/sovereign debt, treaties, and “world political authorities.” So my contention is that when the Pope, or anyone, advocates a ‚Äútrue world political authority‚ÄĚ they are knowingly or unknowingly serving that nefarious end, because there is zero chance that any such authority would or could be controlled by, or serve, any people other than the very ones it would ostensibly be created to save us from. It is a course absolutely antithetical and destructive to any hope of dispersing power into local hands. What I’m advocating is to seek solutions that place power in local hands by actually placing power in local hands, minimizing, dissolving, and eschewing greater consolidations that can, by their nature, only ever do the opposite.

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