Monday, March 03, 2008

The Second Meditation on Dictatorship

Phil Paine continues his series of meditations on dictatorship and democracy here.

I think anyone with a serious interest in history should think about this statement:

I argue that there are no necessary or predestined “stages” in the organization of human society. Morally good and beneficial democratic social arrangements can be made at any time and in any place, by any group of people, large or small. Language, ethnicity, location, and degree of wealth are not structurally relevant to democratic practice, and democratic practice does not originate with, or “belong to” any particular cultural group. Similarly, dictatorship can occur in any human group. Immoral, diseased societies can be made at any time, in any place, by any group of people, large or small. Both possibilities always co-exist.

And of course there's much more, including a call for action.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Phil Paine's Meditations

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Well, I was wrong -- the children of Lidice

After the last post I read Phil Paine's First Meditation on Dictatorship. Those of you who were tracking Phil's European journey may have wondered why his reports (see tag at the end of the post) abruptly ended. Read the Meditation and find out.

You should know, if you don't already, that Lidice is a Czech village that the Nazis destroyed down to the last house-pet and corpse in the graveyard. And, of course, the last child.

Some excerpts:

Nearly half the world still lives under the boots of dictators. ...You have to keep reminding yourself of the most important and essential fact about these criminals: every one of them has a Lidice. Every one of them. They are all murderers of children. Some of them are responsible for dozens of Lidices, or hundreds of Lidices, or thousands of Lidices. But there is always a Lidice for any dictator.

Dictators only rule because we allow them to. They cannot rule unless they are given legitimacy by the world’s financial and political institutions, and all the world’s political and financial institutions conspire to do exactly that. They are given the power by us to buy the weapons with which they murder, torture, and make war. They are given the power by us to spend the riches that they extort from their victims, and they are allowed by us to bank their stolen goods in banks, and they are allowed by us to flounce around the globe, bragging of their crimes, without fear of ever being arrested, tried, or punished.

Read the rest here.

Image: Monument at Lidice, via Phil Paine.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Suckers for the old con-games

That's what we are, according to a new essay at I am told that we can expect a series of Meditations on Dictatorship, to go along with the Meditations on Democracy.

It might be worth looking at this material while you are at it.

Image: From the site of "Australia's Honest Con Man."

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