Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How the Libertarians lost Liberty: John Fund, Justin Raimondo, and the history of the Libertarian Party


In Justin Raimondo's article titled, John Fund vs. the Truth, online yesterday morning at antiwar.com, Justin illuminates the many failings of Fund, former WSJ editorial page editor and now columnist for that increasingly questionable publication. If you examine the publications that have been used as tools for planting opinion and values useful to NeoCons for the past 50 years the WSJ will always be high on the list.

In the first paragraph of his article Justin links to an article by John Connelly titled, Sex, Lies, and the Tape, from 2001 which recounts the story of Fund's involvement with my daughter, Morgan Pillsbury and includes a transcript of the tape Morgan made to persuade me that she was telling the truth about their relationship in autumn of 1999. I had refused to believe her since her own veracity had proven to be questionable. I thought I could trust John, at least personally. I also thought that both Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo were my friends. Wrong on all counts.

The tape proved that everything Morgan said about Fund was true. So while I was caring for my son, still recovering from two near fatal brain injuries, I had to deal with John Fund. Life does not stop while you deal with more crises.

Morgan was having problems recovering from the abortion. Fund refused to help her. He refused to take my calls and bounced my e-mails. I faxed him a letter since I knew the WSJ had only one central fax number. The letter was probably copied several times before it reached his office. He unblocked. Fund then told me his behavior had been wrong and he intended to marry Morgan after the 2000 election. It could not be before then because They, meaning the Clintons, were out to get him. What he wanted was to shut me up. Their relationship continued and generated a stack of e-mails about 15 inches thick. Morgan printed them out to show me and read me some of them. It was a strange relationship, no doubt. Try telling your child, once grown, what they should and should not do.

The article Connelly wrote in 2001 had originally been intended for Talk Magazine. It ended up on Weasel Search because of threats from Fund's attorney. Over the next years Fund persuaded such journalistic giants as Eric Alterman, Gail Heriot, Wendy Mac Elroy, and then the Gimpy Jogger from Sacramento to support him by attacking Morgan and myself with articles written without ever calling to check a fact. Fund has been working his way down the food chain of the world of journalism. Given the present long term prospects of the NeoCons I expect the next attacks to come from his local Aryan Brotherhood Chapter's newsletter. One of Fund's childhood idols was Adolph Hitler according to one of his oldest friends. That is another interest Fund shares with many NeoCons. To be fair, Fund also has a life long interest in Star Trek and Star Wars. His first job was organizing those conventions. That was probably his most relevant training for his future career.

Fund has also used both the carrot and stick treatment to kill other articles set to appear in such magazines as Elle. The journalists involved received far better paid positions as soon as the stories were killed, one at the WSJ; amazing coincidence!

Fund's behavior launched a chain of events that would eventually cause him to be fired by the Wall Street Journal. I have never turned tail on a fight over principle or for the people I love and I never will. It began because of Morgan but later I realized much more was involved.

The WSJ knew the truth about Fund even as they ran interference for him over the years. They had their reasons.

I had met and dated Fund while I was Southern California Vice Chairman for the LPC in the early 1980s. He had met Morgan and my other children while she was still a small girl. The romantic aspect of our relationship had ended in the mid 80s; I married someone else but I thought we were friends.

This is where the personal story becomes useful for understanding both the NeoCons and the problems we face in evicting them from power. Writing about these events would be pointless if there were not lessons still to be learned.

All human activity provides invaluable insights into the character of those with whom we live and must work. Overlooking these insights extracts future costs. But it is vital that we know the truth about those with whom we deal. I have long since stopped expecting anyone to help; but neither do I ignore the obvious.

This is what forces me to take both Justin Raimondo and Eric Garris to task for their own judgment in covering for John Fund, for their questionable journalism, and for their lack of personal ethics. I have known both of them for a long time.

I met Eric at the LPC convention in Burlingame in 1975. We discovered we had both graduated from Venice High School. I met Justin Raimondo at the 1981 National Libertarian Convention in Denver, Colorado when Eric introduced him to me. Over the years I watched their activities. It was clear that they had some things in common with John Fund. In the tiny world of Libertarianism they were living out their desire to relive the protests of the 60s. They always wanted to be the most radical. Their internal caucus to the LP was, in fact, the Radical Caucus. But that should raise the question of what 'radical' actually means.

Is 'radical' just loud and obnoxious or is radical effective change in the desired direction?

They had cut their teeth on the Anti War Movement back when Eric was a teenager. But to be anti war is not necessarily to be for peace and the methods they used politically within the LP created far more chaos that consensus. Their endeavors spun off factions like a rabbit breeds. What nourishes the ego rarely nurtures liberty; they are clearly living out an early fantasy at antiwar.com. For me the point is a society that uses honest persuasion, not deceit and manipulation. I am convinced you can not use deceit, manipulation and violence to achieve that goal. I never agreed with their tactics though I believed them to be friends.

Towards the end of his article Justin retails a story on Fund that reveals that Fund lied about his candidacy for the school board in Sacramento in the late 1970s. During the campaign period Fund gave reports on his campaign's progress at a local Libertarian meeting. Fund pointed to it as a model for Libertarian campaigns and tried to claim credit when the two way race was lost, telling other Libertarians he had gotten 46% of the vote. He had never filed papers. Garris discovered this and confronted Fund, who cried.

Presumably, out of sympathy, Garris kept the story quiet and failed to make this known in Libertarian Party circles. I was a state officer then and had never heard the story until yesterday morning. In fact, Fund told me about his 'successful candidacy' in the first conversation we had in 1981. The next year Fund was hired as Executive Director for the LPC. Eric evidently failed to disclose these facts to those hiring Fund, either.

That was 1982. Later that year, using his augmented resume, Fund moved to the East Coast to work for Evans and Novak and to increase his income he began ghost writing for the Star. Fund first told me and then, obviously worried, asked me not to tell anyone. In the same conversation Fund urged me to register to vote multiple times, telling me he did this himself, since this allowed him to claim membership both as a Republican and as a Libertarian. Fund had already started his investigative endeavors in the area of ballot fraud.

John Fund has used lies all of his life and is expert in persuading others and presenting a slightly pathetic front when it is useful. He also has learned other forms of deceitful behavior to get his way and formulated a consistent strategic approach to enable him to cover up his own bizarre behavior.

Consider the effect Fund's success must have had on Eric and Justin. When Fund was climbing his way to the top both Eric and Justin were scratching to made ends meet in their attempts to be professional, and compensated, activists. The whiny little dweeb had out done them.

Justin styles himself as a journalist. But this article does not adhere to journalist standards.
Justin noted that Fund spent much of the '90s rolling in the muck of Monica-gate but the link goes not to the many attacks orchestrated by Fund on the White House, beginning with the attacks on Vince Foster through White Water and Monica to the articles accusing Blumenthal of spousal abuse, but to another article about Fund's relationship with my daughter. This one, written by Lloyd Grove, appeared in the Washington Post in early 2002.

Two questions came to mind. Why would Raimondo have used this link instead reporting on Fund's work as a political operative with the Wall Street Journal? Why would he use an irrelevant link that points to me and my daughter? For the record when this erupted I contacted many old friends in the Movement asking for advice. I also contacted Eric for advise. He told he he sympathized with Fund.

Eric Garris is editor of antiwar.com. Justin Raimondo is that journal's most prominent writer. Presumably, Garris read this article in advance of its posting. The article by Justin Raimondo is the first 'outing' of Fund by two Libertarian Insiders who also admit to knowing he was a NeoCon as early as the mid 1990s except for what I have written myself. That has been a lot.

If Fund was to be outed, why did they wait until it is clear that the whole NeoCon Cabal is in serious trouble? As you read Justin's article you can put several possible constructions on the content and timing. Either Raimondo equates Monica's clearly consensual relationship with Clinton, however inappropriate, with a case of domestic violence, or they have decided that because of the development of events their early knowledge is best used now. Morgan and I are thrown in as convenient color, useful to titillate but ideologically irrelevant. After all, what do women matter?

Why would two men, presumably concerned for the rights of all individuals do this? Why if they had belatedly decided to note I was right would they fail to contact me? Perhaps it is the culture of the LP itself. Perhaps it is the characters of the two individuals involved.

The Freedom Movement is curiously schizophrenic on a variety of topics, and women and their rights are among those issues. If you examine the list of Libertarian heroes who have worked for the emancipation of individuals notably absent are such women as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul. All of these women were effective. Alice Paul originated the practices of civil disobedience later used by Mohandas K. Gandhi and is so credited in his autobiography. Paul's organizational genius gave women the right to vote in 1921.

But present and accounted on Libertarian Hero lists are such NeoCon flacks as Wendy Mac Elroy. Mac Elroy positions herself as a feminist but, by definition is actually a masculinist. Mac Elroy owes her gig at Fox to her article slamming both Morgan and myself, again without checking with either of us. I have known Mac Elroy as long as I have known Eric and Justin. The hope of profit is a powerful motivator.

The definition for 'feminist' is one who works for equality between the genders. If you endorse the use of the State in its present form this leads you to the use of legislation to enforce outcomes. If you endorse the original mission statement written by Jefferson you believe that the State should have made no laws relating to personal behavior or individual rights. That interpretation would have freed slaves and given women equal standing at the time of the Constitution. If you are a Libertarian, presumably, you want everyone to have the same standing under law.

But never expect slave-owners to voluntarily accept the emancipation of 'their' property without kicking up a fuss.

It is well known by those in the Freedom Movement that women are very scarce in their ranks. Most activists complain about this both because they want them around to work, though be quiet, and to date. Why would women join an organization that ignores their right to equal standing under the Constitution?

Justin, and Eric, missed several points; having, until the War in Iraq, made their livings as professional activists of a movement that has disconnected ideology from reality, that is not difficult.

There is plenty to say about what Fund did during the Clinton Administration, and if Justin meant to use my insights, presumably routine journalistic protocols would necessitate his getting in touch with me directly. He did not, even though through my own blog, How the NeoCons Stole Freedom, I am readily available. If Justin had communicated with me I would have been delighted. I have forgiven their behavior many times before. I would have shared the many insights I have gained and shown him interesting documents that were formerly the property of John Fund. I would have told him about my conversations with William Bennett's dominatrix. We could have talked about NeoCon tactics, of which I know much. None of that happened. No e-mail appeared; the phone did not ring. As indicated, this is not the first time Eric and Justin have disappointed such ordinary expectations. I was not surprised when Lew Rockwell, a longtime Libertarian friend, sent Justin's article on to me.

I started studying organizational dynamics and the strategies of war as applied to politics when I formally left the LP in 1988. The NeoCons can all be identified by the observable fact that they use the same strategies over and over again. What is true for Rove is also true for Fund. When you understand their organization you see how they have learned from each other.

Justin is wrong about Fund's importance. I would once have agreed with Justin, but I changed my mind, having studied the indicators. Working as an independent political operative and entrusted with writing the book explaining the strange outcomes of the elections in 2000 and 2004 Fund, is a real insider in the same league as William Bennett. But I see no indication that Bennett 'runs' a string of other operatives, which is what Fund clearly does. Fund and Matt Drudge invented out of whole cloth the rumor that Blumenthal beat his wife having found an article about another Blumenthal who did.

John got drunk one night and confided this in Morgan when the law suit settled. All in all the NeoCons had done well out of the attack. Many well intentioned Republicans and Libertarians contributed to the Drudge Defense Fund. The NeoCons understand about making it pay.

Fund learned directly from Karl Rove if the similarity in tactics means anything.

In Fund's case he uses virulent attacks, invented 'facts,' planted stories that are manufactured, and when caught either 'confesses' with teary eyes or finds someone to blame. Failing that he engages in covert personal attacks made in 'confidence' and with many sighs and tears. Those to whom the 'confessions' are made tend to be sympathetic. This obviously worked well on Garris in the late 1970s. I suspect, but I cannot know, that Garris's unhelpful position when I called for help came from the hope he still might profit from his 'friendship' with Fund. Garris is very pragmatic. Perhaps Garris felt that Fund 'owed' him for his silence on the matter of the election. The timing of this article does not change my opinion on any of the parties; the NeoCons, including Fund, are in trouble and now is the time to talk if there is profit to be made from that material.

Fund is a political operative working independently and at will. He is routinely briefed by the White House.

In the first years of the Clinton Presidency Fund called me up several times to plant stories. One was about the black love child Clinton refused to acknowledge. Later, Fund called me up to tell me about the tattoo Paula Jones could identify on the Presidential genitals. None of those stories turned out to be true. But Fund clearly wanted them repeated, and, at the time, I was living in Santa Barbara and active in the National Federation of Republican Women; any such rumor repeated, by me, would have been circulating nationally in a matter of hours.

I had by then begun to wonder about Fund. His unwillingness to examine the scandals involving Hillsdale College about which I informed him while my youngest daughter, Ayn, was a student there from 1993 – 1997 were of grave concern.

Fund, by his own report to myself and Morgan, privately claimed credit for Vince Foster's suicide and engaged in barrage after barrage against the Clinton White House. This was clearly part of a strategy to burnish the NeoCon political position; Fund had been closely involved with planning for the Contract with America in 1994. You can track the attacks Media Matters article dated Thu, Jun 2, 2005 here on some issues. Even after Clinton was out of office the attacks continued. On January 15th 2001, an article commenting on the virulence of a WSJ editorial of January 5th 2001, demanding an indictment of Clinton, appears in the World Socialist Web Site.

Those are the links that should have been in Justin's article.

The reasons the attacks continued are personal for Fund. He does not like to lose and that I know well.

No one ever called and asked me to confirm or deny any fact or comment before publishing. I hope that changes. I am not expecting it. After so many years of having Fund use any means to destroy my credibility I have come to see people's motivations far more clearly and dispassionately. A is still A.

I have always offered to document what I say, many records, including the letter proving when Fund was fired from the Wall Street Journal, exist. Fund left that letter on the floor of Morgan's apartment in New York in the winter of 2002. She had then left him; he hunted her down and moved in with her. Morgan has reams of papers and other tape recordings.

For the record, if called to testify regarding the domestic violence, I would testify under oath tothe following: I saw Morgan's injuries, bruises and blood, and twice heard her being battered over the phone. Fund bellows when he batters. Eric was not interested in the police reports.

What each of us do, and fail to do, has consequences. The consistency of behavior over time, something we think of as modus operandi, are like finger prints of the soul.

When Fund sought the job of Executive Director for the Libertarian Party of California Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo knew about his having lied. It was then in the immediate past. For any other organization this would have disqualified the potential employee. Presumably, they wanted the LP to have the best possible Executive Director. Why then did they remain silent? That is a question they should answer.

Let us consider what the Libertarian Party was in 1982 and what it is today.

Today, the Libertarian Party is as dead as a door knob as a tool for political change. What happened to the LP has happened to other movements and organizations with the potential for change over the last century. Some of it was done to them; some they did themselves. Over and over again movements for change and reform have been extinguished or misdirected. The means through which such organizations are marginalized bear close examination.

Always follow the money and power because greed does not lie.

The potential and power the LP represented in the late 70s and early 80s was sucked into the service of the then still unidentified NeoCon Cabal. Not surprisingly, John Fund was one of the political operatives who made that conversion possible. I suspect from his excited phone calls through that period that his potential was recognized by Novak, leading to his placement at the WSJ and then his apprenticeship to Rove. Along with serving as a political operative he also worked as a recruiter, finding eager and talented Libertarians who could be hired on and converted.

Fund was not working alone. The Freedom Movement began with ideas intended to return control to individuals. Those ideas, including privatization, deregulation, outsourcing and others, were intended to allow individuals more choice and ensure accountability for all of us. Instead, accountability and profit were decoupled and the resulting policies, garbed in the original rhetoric, were sold to Congress through such outlets as Cato Institute.

Edward H. Crane, III told fellow Libertarians at the National Convention in 1977 he was going to D. C. to get rich. He meant it. He found someone interested spending hard cash to redirect the power of Libertarianism, Koch Industries. Koch Industries remains the prime funder for that think tank still today and has been a partner for Halliburton since Vietnam. Today it continues to profit, providing substandard contracting to both Federal and State governments on a basis that marks them as very special providers.

This was a very conscious venture and exactly parallels previous take overs by the same interests in the early days of the United Nations, the Environmental Movement, and in early libertarian ventures such as the John Birch Society.

Fredrick Koch, then owner of Koch Industries, was on the board for the JBS and in that generation William F. Buckley did the dirty work of marginalizing that organization. Koch's role has never been examined but should be. Koch had had questionable dealings with the Soviet Union during WW II and his focus was far more on profit than on ideology.

Buckley also launched attacks against two other major forces then formulating opinion in the Conservative Movement, Murray Rothbard, an eminent Austrian Economist, and Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged. Both of these thinkers would become foundational influences in the new wave of libertarianism that flowed out of the failed Goldwater Campaign.


Rothbard, a founder for Cato, was illegally fired from that position in 1981. Today he is not even mentioned in their history.

At the time those of us involved in the Movement assumed this arose from a personality conflict. Many people conflicted with Ed Crane. What has emerged since tells a very different story. The principles of Austrian Economics as enunciated by Rothbard, made his work the worst possible tool to carry out their plans. Instead, you see the public rise in stature of Milton Friedman, whose ideas allowed the manipulation of the economy through policy.

If the clerk always shorts your change you had better conclude it is not an accident.

The Libertarian Party became vulnerable because its message was no longer backed by the gold of action but its rhetoric held a promise for which Americans still hunger today. But then it was only rhetoric and so the LP was vulnerable to the host of parasites who flooded in to live off the twitching corpse that had held such promise. Such 'activists' as Michael Emerling Cloud and a host of others made a living while freedom died.

No human organization can expect to be immune from causality. If there is profit and power to be had without accountability then the least ethical will show up and hire on. While Libertarian leaders claimed they could live productive lives without government they failed to install Discernment 101 and Justice 100 in their own organization, refusing to see the chain of events that made the present failure inevitable.

Ignoring history, they have recycled failure.

Stupidity will always be its own reward. Today the LP is a social club rattling around in the structure of a political party and most Libertarians, like deer-in-the-headlights, have no idea what went wrong.

Directly, you can thank Ed Crane and John Fund, who sold out for straight profit and power, and the host of hired hands who turned off their discernment in the service of their 401Ks. Indirectly you can thank such as Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo who have historically been very willing to ignore the inconvenient facts when it looked like there might be profit from power in the offing.

Freedom is the one thing you can not have until you give it to everyone. If you really believe that government is not the answer then stop talking and build a real alternative.

Get off the Grids. Organize Locally. Build Coalition.

As Susan B. said, "Failure is Impossible." She took the long view and so do I.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire: What one man saw and learned




On April 18, 2006, San Francisco will commemorate the centennial of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, an event that leveled that city. The number of people who died has never been more than estimated. The other loses of various kinds ran into what today would be billions of dollars.

On that first day this photo was taken from the St. Francis Hotel, showing the city in flames. Less than 24 hours later the St. Francis would also have been gutted.

Behind that crumbling facade of human invention stood a man with an active, analytical mind. One man taking action would change what others refused to see because of those tragic days. Arthur C. Pillsbury would capture in film a lesson that would change all of our lives. The sound and sight of a city burning awakened him to a human truth.

The accompanying photo went out around the globe, carrying the enormity of the event to human eyes. As catastrophic as that event was it vanishes into nothingness compared to the specter we face today from our own government.

Some disasters are natural; some happen because of what we fail to understand.
The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire was an event that began as a natural disaster. The plates of the Earth slipped, readjusting themselves and for hundreds of miles the resultant impact was felt. But that devastation and loss passed the boundaries of what is natural, multiplied by the corruption of San Francisco's government.

San Francisco had no disaster plan because the corrupt city administration was far more interested in continuing to enjoy the graft and privileges that come with power. Emergency workers were untrained; the preparations that had long been asked for had never been enacted. Many buildings blown up to create fire breaks simply burst into flame, spreading the conflagration and destruction. Both looters and the innocent were gunned down by the military contingent that would never be held accountable. The corrupt officials also evaded liability.
Accountability is something government learned to avoid early on.

San Francisco survived. Eventually sanity returned and the people came together to rebuild. Sometimes even in the face of completely incompetent care the patient lives.
The image above was taken by Arthur C, Pillsbury on that first day. It was a day that changed his life's focus.

Pillsbury had just left his job as the photojournalist at the San Francisco Examiner to start his own photography business, the Pillsbury Picture Company, a month before. For the next weeks he caught the immediacy of events as people struggled to survive and save what they could from the consuming flames. His developing facility, located in Oakland, was the only one functioning. Orders poured in from across the globe.

Later the same year he used the profits from the San Francisco photos to achieve a long time goal and bought the Studio of the Three Arrows in Yosemite.

Pillsbury was an engineer who majored in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford He had invented a specimen slicer for the microscope and circuit panorama camera before leaving college. He was not the kind of guy to settle for systems and tools that did not work as expected.
In Yosemite he found other systems that were failing to do their jobs.

The Cavalry, then in charge of the Park, had long made a practice of mowing the meadows to provide fodder for their horses. Pillsbury noticed that the number of wild flower species was decreasing every year in those areas and also that the Cavalry was not concerned. So, applying his skills as an inventor he built the first lapse-time camera to be used with plants, producing the first motion picture image of a wild flower gracefully raising its head to the sun. By than he had been showing and narrating nature films for two years.

Now the wild flowers could speak for themselves.

That first lapse-time movie was made to persuade those in power to do the right thing and stop the mowing and move towards conservation.

Arthur C. Pillsbury believed that all people need is the truth. If they saw the reality, he believed, they will choose to do the right thing voluntarily. He was right about most people, most of the time.

After seeing the film those in power stopped the mowing the same day. The year was 1912.
Most of us do the right thing if we know what that is. But sometimes failing to do the right thing is not a mistake; sometimes there is another agenda. Pillsbury assumed that when those in power must be mistaken or lack understanding or simply be too lazy to care. Those were possibilities that made sense to him; but that was an incomplete understanding. When those in power are acting on another agenda they cannot be changed with the truth.

The photo Pillsbury took that you see here, one of hundreds, shows both the power of nature unleashed on a city and the power of corruption by government unchecked. Most people did not understand the risk they faced, having delegated that work to the city government.

Pillsbury learned one essential lesson from what he observed. He decided to make sure that the people themselves had direct access to the information they needed. In 1912 he invented the lapse-time camera to connect people to the world of wild flowers, which had been overlooked even by such conservationists as John Muir. Muir's energies were focused on saving the Hetch Hetchy, a battle he lost.

Pillsbury kept working. He began lecturing and showing his motion pictures. Eventually he would speak at every major town forum and every university of note, including MIT. He expanded his lectures every year, adding new films and insights. He was determined that the miracles of the natural world be understood, that their truth be accessible to everyone.
In 1927 Arthur Pillsbury completed the invention of the microscopic motion picture camera. Seeing the world beyond the scope of the human eye awakened people to another aspect of nature. After that time there was an explosion in related research.

Pillsbury went on to build the first X-ray motion picture camera and the underwater motion picture camera opening up more new vistas. Pillsbury refused to patent his inventions. He wanted their use to become common to all of us. He had solved the problem he identified during those hideous days when San Francisco burned.

Arthur C. Pillsbury died in Oakland in 1946. The scope of human vision had expanded, thanks to his inventions and tireless lecturing. He had made nature visible as it had never been before but that was not enough. He had not calculated for the impact of those greedy for money and power.
Government had not changed; it continued an upward trend for control coupled with the corruption. Those who profited through generations came to accept this as their prerogative.
We need to see government for what it is; a system that has been converted from service provider to wealth source for those who control it.

Disaster is endemic to all politics and for the same reasons. Coupling a lack of accountability with the temptation to take always draws those inclined to steal.

Katrina has illustrated just how bad it can be within our own shores; Iraq has demonstrated how bad America can be when the tools of corruption are applied internationally. These are not examples of incompetence, rather they illustrate sophisticated schemes for converting the institutions of government into profit centers for those holding power.

Government is efficiently doing exactly what those in power want it to do.

Our Founders did not expect this government to last 20 years. They viewed the government they established as a kind of model needing beta testing, expecting it to operate within a set of defined and limiting principles.

Government is not supposed to be doing anything we can do ourselves. In the Bill of Rights Numbers 9 and 10 make that clear. So why did government steadily take over jobs being handled privately?

For the same reason bank robbers rob banks. That is where the money is.
We are unused to the idea that we can examine government and change the tools we use to carry out what we want done. But that right is ours whenever we choose; that is enunciated in the Declaration of Independence.

The present state of government would have shocked our Founders.

Consider what life looked like to Founders at the turn of that century.

Our Founders lived and died in a world of small shop owners, farmers, and craftspeople. Homes and businesses provided for their own needs. Innovation came with its own rewards and problems and people learned by seeing what worked and what didn't. That is the classical form for the transmission of human wisdom, used even by chimps with no governmental intervention.

The tools for government the Founders assembled assumed a population that controlled most of the infrastructure directly through town government and through the people's power of purchase. Corporations did not exist in their present form. Our Founders failed to see the ramifications of allowing legislation that brought the actions of individuals under the control of government. They were imperfect as are all of us. They did not hand us a finished product but one that needed to be tested and repaired.

But some things they did right.

Until the end of the Nineteenth Century all school children studied the Bill of Rights and read the Federalist Papers. They knew, therefore, what their rights were supposed to be. Understanding the operating principles, as we can see, is a critical factor.
When people know it is much harder to delude them. But politicians were persistent. They had a lot to gain.

Katrina illustrated a lot of things about government today. It took a week from the time the storm hit to announce plans for redevelopment; people were still awaiting emergency help but 'gentrification' of the area was already planned. Today families who have tried to return have been refused access to their homes and property. If you watch what those in power do, instead of believing their rhetoric the truth seeps through. Government consumed through taxes the resources that should have protected New Orleans.

What has been proved is that Americans would have been better served to keep the FEMA money within local areas to fund local emergency services. Because every level of government above the local was more corrupt in New Orleans last year there was none of the oversight residents expected and believed they had paid for. Those funds went into other pockets.
Big government did not come into existence because the people could not find ways to handle their problems as the country grew and the complexity of their society increased. It came into existence because those in government were greedy and the citizens were both too trusting and did not understand that government is just a contracting service center; that knowledge had been withdrawn.

So what can we do to clean up this mess?

Their system has been designed to create our perpetual and inescapable dependence. We can change that.

Get off the Grids – there are a lot of them and they include energy, oil, credit, the monetary morass, our health needs and so on. The good news is that this can be done. The means are out there, waiting our use. Despite the persistent and devious attempts to keep us nailed in place human innovation has made the exits available and affordable.

That is probably hard to believe, but it is true. The depth and scope of human innovation and our ability to work together can solve problems that would destroy lesser species. That points us back to a world that would have made more sense to our Founders, one where community and conscience are central.

Organize Locally – Many of the organizational tools we need already exist and have been in place for generations.
The original plan was built on the idea of communities working together to ensure their needs were met. In the last 200 years Americans have learned how to work together on the local level. They can apply those skills to new tasks.

Most of us spend far more time working in the Little League, Lions Club, Elks, Rotary, Soroptomists, churches, and other groups that spend their time doing good than we do paying attention to government anyway. You often see this criticized as a cause of the problem. Actually, it shows that most of us know what really matters by voting with our own time and resources when confronted with the morass of government.

The same organizations that help the homeless, funded locally and staffed with volunteers, can undertake the other work we need done to ensure the continuation of the social safety nets we all want in place.

Build Coalition – When you look at the distrust and resistance that came with the team mentality of politics you have to wonder why it mattered in the first place. People registered as Democrats, Republicans, Green, or Libertarian who focus on making their communities better have more in common with each other than they do with those in positions of power within their political parties. All politicians, with just enough exceptions to prove the point, are more vested in acquiring power and cash than in eliminating the means by which power and cash are accumulated.

The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire shattered lives, destroyed property, and raised a challenge to the people of San Francisco that they heard and answered. We need to remember that. Today's challenge is far greater but despite the predations of government and their core constituency, mega corporations, we have many more resources in the battle we face that did our Founders. Generations of American innovation is there, like a vast and untapped bank account, ready to work.

The greedy already know what the real game is. It has been going on for a long time. The rest of us need to get busy making sure that alternatives are available.
Once you see the Emperor's new clothes there is no going back.

Disasters of the natural kind happen. But we don't have to accept human government as an act of God, we can change course.

The American Revolution has taken a hiatus. Ours started in 1775 with the Shot Heard Round the World on April 19th.. That revolution, intended to replace government by monarchy by governance through the tools chosen and controlled directly by the people, remains to be finished.

We, the people, retain the right to change government to secure our inherent rights and together, moving past the chasms that divide us, it can be so. That was the original vision for America. It is time to finish what well intended people began.

Arthur C. Pillsbury would be glad we figured it out.

One copy of the photo above has been donated to The Community Resource Project, an organization presently forming to ensure that off grid alternatives become available to mainstream Americans. You can view that auction on e-bay. For further information contact: thecommunitysite@yahoo.com