Occupy 2.0

Occupy 2.0Many have cleared out. Good. It is a thinning of the less dedicated so that our cause consists only of the core competencies of adherents and activists. Now we are a stronger group, and at this rate those of the highest caliber and merit will lead us. The initial phase was that of the introduction and initial burst of our cause, as we became awakened, energized, inspired. To many, it was a movement to support silently—those who “liked the idea” but made no contribution. To others, it was a life calling to revise our system desperately in need of a renovation, of a reboot. Today there is no more novelty. Many have gone back to their lives; our movement is “old news”. This, my friends, is the evolution of something much greater, as now a formerly leaderless movement will begin to see that direction and practical change will be the impetus for a real fight.

Thomas Paine, an American patriot, wrote “Common Sense” during the Revolutionary War. This pamphlet roused Americans to discover the philosophical case for revolution and freedom. Jean-Jacques Rousseau laid out principles in his “Social Contract” of the ideal society and how we could achieve governance that best suited the needs of the entire populace. The “Declaration of the Rights of Man” was laid out prior to the French Revolution and specified exactly what was expected to result after the tyrannical monarchies were abolished. Isn’t it time for a 21st century manifesto that follows in the footsteps of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man”, of “Common Sense”, and of the “Declaration of Independence”? Isn’t it time for a second Enlightenment?

Every couple of decades, a cause arises to stir the people in the ever perpetuating battle of tyrants over freedom, and every couple of generations a cause emerges so large that entire paradigm shifts are brought about by the people, and led by those with drive, creativity, and vision. Today, those tyrants are the perpetuators of our faux-democracy and their economic tyrant counterparts—the banking elite, both inexorably and perpetually advancing no agenda other than the entrenchment of an ever-growing disparity of power and wealth. Slowly but surely, and ever more quickly, they erode all progress made by the revolutionaries of the past who fought to overthrow the aristocracies, monarchies, and religious oppressors of the time.

We are still part of the constant struggle of the General Will of society—a drive to advance the well-being of all of society—against the Particular Will—the drive to progress one’s own well-being, even at the expense of others, and of society as a whole. Today, the vast majority of our politicians are driven not by the sincere need to better society, based on a value system of rationality, but by their hypocritical allegiance to their selective constituents at the expense of society’s welfare. The banks—the financial circulatory system of our economy—are run not by those who wish to create an economy most conducive to the nation’s well-being, but by those who run private industries that wield the power to manipulate the movement of money. When selfish people are in an industry that allows a concerted funneling of money into their pockets, what outcome do you expect? And no less, when these same institutions are backed by the very government that was founded to be run by the people and for the people, you have nothing less than absolute proof that all manner of corruption has utterly destroyed the visions of the freedom fighters of our ancestors’ time. Society may always evolve towards higher and higher ends, but only when there are ample counter-points to the aspects of the society that are flawed. The more embedded the problem, the greater the counter-force necessary to root it out. But do we have even close to the momentum needed to effect true change? Without the possibility for debate, we certainly do not. So, at what point are we in this movement?

We are in the point in time when only the most dedicated are left, and at the point where the synergy of our most meritorious will effectively culminate into the next phase—the phase of leadership, of vision, of philosophy, of change—the phase of the movement!

Thus far, we have been successful at creating awareness of the general problem, and have inspired an entire generation to realize that our society is built to benefit the absurdly small minority of the population, and that this must be changed for the sake of the advancement of civilization itself. We have been experiencing none other than a devolution into the aristocracies and despotic governance of the past—the very forces we transcended to arise into the Enlightenment.

Now, Phase 2!

Like Thomas Paine, Robespierre, Thomas Jefferson and the other brave freedom fighters of revolutions past, we must look not only to changing a regime (or a president), but also to the future, to grander heights, to a greater fulfillment of humanity’s potential—by assessing the flaws of the status quo—and through a dialectical debate, philosophy, and creativity devise a new system, one more perfect than the last. Don’t fall prey to the psychological manipulation that our elections provide the sufficient change we need. It is the very system whereon our elections are built that must be changed. We must transform the fundamentals.

I can provide some ideas to begin; but what needs to happen is that this “leaderless movement” needs to develop not a single leader, but an entire collective of leaders. A movement of followers raises awareness. A movement of leaders changes everything. How can we become a movement of leaders? Write more pamphlets. Don’t just say “Down with X!” or espouse blind revolution. Let’s utilize the most potent force for change—the dissemination of ideas. Let’s do the most daring thing of all, and not just elect representatives in our system, but actually change the system itself. Which of you reading this is a Rousseau or a Jefferson? Who of you will rise as a hero and change history?

Let’s discover what works based on a value system of rationality and the General Will, effective in bringing change to technology and academia, Meritocratic change that has never been applied to governance and economics.

Capitalism brought us great prosperity by empowering individual entrepreneurs to utilize their hard work and creativity to create solutions to needs, which generated jobs and progressed technology. While these positive traits allow the fulfillment of entrepreneurs and incentive system for effective production, this ideology in pure, blind form has no impetus to treat people as human beings, but merely as commodities. Completely unfettered, the impetus for few to enrich their power disproportionately leads to a highly stratified society of a rich upper-elite and the working masses, with the exponential function of money begetting more money, as eventually all wealth is funneled upwards. (For more on the impossibility of capitalism to allow equal opportunities, see “Capitalism and Equality”, by Prabhat Patnaik, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130212/jsp/opinion/story_16542097.jsp#.UUYocVuqJe5 .)

The counter-point—communism—was devised by Marx as an ideology directly concerned with addressing these issues and providing the so-called remedy. The outrageous fallacy in this ideology is that by denouncing capitalism outright, society would rise to higher fulfillment of humanity’s potential. Reversing the aspects of capitalism that are negative is absolutely necessary, but by denouncing it utterly, the positive parts become casualties: the freedom of entrepreneurs to empower themselves to invent, produce, create, and trade. Consequently, communism is plagued by cronyism and stagnancy, eventually succumbing to the arbitrary whim of tyrants and an almost religious zealotry toward the State (which in this case is in the same category as monarchies, aristocracies, oligarchies and oppressive religion as enemies of freedom).

Therefore, we see in history the dialectic. Thesis-Antithesis. The answer lies not in nuanced changes in either, but in an entirely new model outright: a Synthesis. The best, most effectively run and legitimate government is a government of Meritocracy. Cronyism, nepotism, and faux-elections are all enemies of legitimate government.

The markets consist of businesses and individuals providing goods and services that fill a need in society. When the economy itself is hijacked by money manipulators under the guise of “Free-Markets”, we are being well and truly psychologically manipulated by language. It is an Orwellian attempt to induce a masochistic support of this system by the 99% who suffer from it. There is nothing free about allowing an elite minority of selfish individuals to wield power over the economic well-being of an entire society. What do these money-managers create? What are their innovations? How have they improved society? Their only creations and innovations are craftier and craftier techniques to move money around (into their own hands). Invariably, the consequence is a systematic transfer of wealth upwards. In the most blatant example of double-speak, trickle-up economics was labeled as “trickle-down”. The implicit feeling that something isn’t right with these people and this system is ripe in all of us. But what many of us have thus far failed to do is diagnose the disease; all we have done is address the symptoms.

In our collective unconscious, in our culture, a pernicious construct is at work: that money in and of itself is the outright measure of success, such that the richer you are, the more successful you necessarily are. It is this ingrained culture that empowers the oligarchs and banksters of Washington and Wall St. to control society. When we subscribe to the mainstream-media endorsed precept that an overpaid money-manipulator on Wall St. making $20 million is somehow more successful than a scientist who makes a breakthrough discovery, yet earns a modest $150,000 a year, we subscribe to a game rigged against society for the welfare of the elite few. Let’s change our culture. Let’s change our standards. Let’s change our minds.

In 2008, we faced a dilemma. The chosen solution was to bail out the perpetrators of the collapse under the pretext that if they were left to fail then our system as a whole would fail. Does this not indicate in a painfully obvious way that the system itself is doomed in due time? A truly legitimate system would never need a bailout to maintain itself in perpetuity. Are we going to wait for the biggest economic crash in history before we realize this?

Just as the scientific revolution and philosophy of the Enlightenment broke the shackles of religious persecution and monarchic control, it is time for a similar process of discarding what doesn’t work while devising, perpetuating, and promoting what does, in our governance and for our society.

Do not merely nod your head if you agree. Write your own Meritocratic pamphlet. Create your own philosophical idea. Disseminate the message. Debate. Get inspired by the brave revolutionaries of past. Bring forth Meritocratic Democracy.

The Occupy movement is completing its first phase. Now, the phase of leaders, ideas, vision, and true change will come. We will either die in oblivion, and the history of mankind will be told as a triumph of tyranny over enlightenment, or we will continue to fight tooth and nail. Don’t be a bystander, and don’t be a follower who claims to be inspired by your heroes. Be a hero yourself, inspire others, and make history.

Let us explode with intellectual energy, promoting and refining Meritocratic ideas that completely overhaul the status quo, and that take precedence in our actions and our consciousness, for a second Enlightenment.

What is your Meritocratic idea to eliminate the monetary system that enslaves you? How will you create the Meritocratic system of government? How will you disseminate the message of Meritocratic Democracy? How will you contribute to economic theory towards the betterment of humankind via Meritocratic Democracy? What roles will you play in raising human achievement to its pinnacle?

Disseminate. Add. Improve. Perfect.

By Phoenix Goodman

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