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Author Topic: THE GREENING OF AMERICA by CHARLES A. REICH  (Read 14677 times)
islandboy
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« on: November 26, 2009, 09:52:09 AM »

This book has nothing to do with climate change, but everything to do with understanding the basic principles of the thought patterns of conservative, liberal, and a newer generation of thought. When I first started reading this book I thought it spelled out the goodness of America very well. That was until it tore it all apart. Then I thought it was a book by and for liberalism and the progressive movement. That was until it tore that thought process apart as well. So then what is this newer generation thought process about....??  Well, in the coming days I will be adding sections of this book and maybe we can figure it out together as to whether it is a good thing or not.
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2009, 10:11:25 AM »

The  Coming  American  Revolution

America is dealing with death, not only to people in other lands, but to its own people.
We think of ourselves as an incredibly rich country, but we are also a desperately poor country---poor in most of the things that throughout the history of mankind have been cherished as riches.
There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence. It is now spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws, institutions and social structure are changing in consequence. It promises a higher reason, a more human community, and a new and liberated individual. Its ultimate creation will be a new and enduring wholeness and beauty---a renewed relationship of man to himself, to other men, to society, to nature, and to the land.
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2009, 10:32:45 AM »

This is the revolution of the new generation. Their protest and rebellion, their culture, clothes, music, drugs, ways of thought, and liberated life-style are not a passing fad or a form of dissent and refusal, nor are they in any sense irrational. The whole emerging pattern, from ideals to campus demonstrations to beads and bell-bottoms to the Woodstock Festival, makes sense and is a part of a consistent philosophy. It is both necessary and inevitable, and in time it will include not only youth, but all people in America.
The logic and necessity of the new generation--and what they are so furiously opposed to---must be seen against a background of what has gone wrong in America. It must be understood in the light of the betrayal and loss of the American dream, the rise of the Corporate State of the 1960's, and the way in which that State dominates, exploits, and ultimately destroys both nature and man. Its rationality must be measured against the insanity of existing "reason"----reason that makes impoverishment, dehumanization, and even war appear to be logical and necessary. Its logic must be read from the fact that Americans have lost control of the machinery of their society, and only new values and a new culture can restore control. Its emotions and spirit can be comprehended only by seeing contemporary America through the eyes of the new generation.
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 10:57:48 AM »

The meaning and the future of the revolution emerge from this historical perspective. The revolution is a movement to bring man's thinking, his society, and his life to terms with the revolution of technology and science that has already taken place. Technology demands of man a new mind--a higher, transcendent reason---if it is to be controlled and guided rather than become an unthinking monster. It demands a new individual responsibility for values, or it will dictate all values. And it promises a life that is more liberated and more beautiful than any man has known, if man has the courage and the imagination to seize that life.
The transformation that is coming invites us to reexamine our own lives. It confronts us with how we have lived; how would we live differently? It offers us a recovery of self. It faces us with the fact that this choice cannot be evaded, for as the freedom is already there, so must the responsibility be there.
At the heart of everything is what we shall call a change of consciousness. This means a "new head"-----a new way of living----a new man. This is what the new generation has been searching for, and what it has started achieving. Industrialism produced a new man, too---one adapted to the demands of the machine. In contrast, today's emerging consciousness seeks a new knowledge of what it means to be human, in order that the machine, having been built, may now be turned to human ends; in order that man once more can become a creative force, renewing and creating his own life and thus giving life back to his society.
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 11:12:38 AM »

It is essential to place the American crisis and this change within individuals in a philosophic perspective, showing how we got to where we are, and where we are going. Current events are so overwhelming that we only see from day to day, merely responding to each crisis as it comes, seeing only immediate evils, and seeking inadequate solutions such as merely ending a war, or merely changing our domestic priorities. A longer-range view is necessary.
What is the nature of the present American crisis? Most of us see it as a collection of problems, not necessarily related to each other, and, although profoundly troubling, nevertheless within the reach of reason and reform. But if we list these problems, not according to topic, but as elements of larger issues concerning the structure of our society itself, we can see that the present crisis is an organic one, that it arises out of the basic premises by which we live and no mere reform can touch it.
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2009, 11:39:19 AM »

1.  Disorder, Corruption, Hypocrisy, War.

The front pages of newspapers tell of the disintegration of the social fabric, and the resulting atmosphere of anxiety and terror in which we all live. Lawlessness is most often associated with crime and riots, but there is lawlessness and corruption in all the major institutions of our society---matched by indifference to responsibility and consequences, and a pervasive hypocrisy that refuses to acknowledge the facts that are everywhere visible. Both lawlessness and evasion found expression in the Vietnam War, with its unprincipled destruction of everything human, and its random, indifferent, technological cruelty.

(My note): This reference to the Vietnam War, it was a war we never should have gotten into, but once we were there we never should have left as we did, in leaving all those people to die. War always has consequences, both good and evil, but if the commanders in the field of battle were left to run the war, not politicians in Washington, D.C., most wars would have more favorable outcomes.
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 12:04:35 PM »

2. Poverty, Distorted Priorities, and Law-making by private power.

America presents a picture of drastic poverty amid affluence, an extremity of contrast unknown in other industrial nations. Likewise there is a superabundance of some goods, services, and activities such as defense manufacture, while other needs, such as education and medical care, are at a starvation level for many. these closely related kinds of inequality are not the accidents of a free economy, they are intentionally and rigidly built into the laws of our society by those with powerful influence; an example is the tax structure which subsidizes private wealth and production of luxuries and weapons at the direct expense of impoverished people and impoverished services. The nation has a planned economy, and the planning is done by the exercise of private power without concern for the general good.

(My Note): America needs to invest in defense of the nation. However, we have all heard the stories of government wastefulness in many areas and branches of government.
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2009, 08:17:32 PM »

3. Uncontrolled technology and the Destruction of environment

Technology and production can be great benefactors of man, but they are mindless instruments; if undirected they career along with a momentum of their own. In our country they pulverize everything in their path: the landscape, the natural environment, history and tradition, the amenities and civilities, the privacy and spaciousness of life, beauty, and the fragile, slow-growing social structures which bind us together. Organization and bureaucracy, which are applications of technology to social institutions, increasingly dictate how we shall live our lives, with the logic of organization taking precedence over any other values.
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2009, 08:33:50 PM »

4. Decline of Democracy and Liberty; Powerlessness.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights have been weakened, imperceptibly but steadily. The nation has gradually become a rigid managerial hierarchy, with a small elite and a great mass of the disenfranchised. Democracy has rapidly lost ground as power is increasingly captured by giant managerial institutions and corporations, and decisions are made by experts, specialists, and professionals safely insulated from the feelings of the people. Most governmental power has shifted from Congress to administrative agencies, and corporate power is free to ignore both stockholders and consumers. As regulation and administration have grown, liberty has been eroded and bureaucratic discretion has taken the place of the rule of law. Today both dissent and efforts at change are dealt with by repression. The pervasiveness of police, security men, the military, and compulsory military service show the changed character of American liberty.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 09:43:43 AM »

it was a war we never should have gotten into, but once we were there we never should have left as we did, in leaving all those people to die.

There are many that have come to think like this. The U.S. was involved within Viet Nam long before the war started. We were there as agents to prevent a ruthless dictator that killed many of his own people from taking over an entire nation. We worked for many years to keep peace within Viet Nam, to prevent millions of deaths and aided in the formation of North and South Viet Nam in order to aid in that peace keeping mission.

The leader of North Viet Nam was not happy with this situation and with the aid of several other nations took action to gain control over the South. Viet Nam failed when due to pressure of an ongoing revolution within our own borders Congress decided to withdraw funding to South Viet Nam.

After the withdrawal of our Troops the largest mass killing ever in Viet Nam took place. Those killed at this time were the targets of North Viet Nam from the start. Our participation in the Viet Nam war only served to delay these killings.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2009, 12:40:22 PM »

Pastor Roger,  Thank you for the background information as far as the history of why we were there in the first place. The vets I spoke with were upset about the war, but deeply  felt sadness and regret in being pulled out of Viet Nam, and then hearing of the massive loss of life that occurred. Not only were they humbled by that experience, but then to be treated so badly upon arriving home was a double insult. War is not a pretty site, men and women die in wars to protect the lives of those at home and abroad. They stand for freedom and deserve respect and our thanks for a job well done. When government pulls the funding for a war or change the rules of the game, it is not the men and women serving who are at fault.
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2009, 12:55:45 PM »

When government pulls the funding for a war or change the rules of the game, it is not the men and women serving who are at fault.

This is a fact. I myself was there and I also personally went through the humiliation that certain people poured out on us. I do blame our government for the ending results of Viet Nam. They were there to protect the Vietnamese from an oppressive communist takeover yet within our own borders they gave in to a small yet very outspoken and naive group that supported communism. Yes, we did lose a lot of American lives in Viet Nam, mostly due to the politics at that time. We are again seeing this same thing take place today in Afghanistan.

If our government had let the Generals and Admirals do their job there would have been a lot less loss of life in Viet Nam. Our governments hesitation in complying with our Generals in Afghanistan are again resulting in more needless deaths and I doubt that we will see any favorable results in the future either.

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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2009, 01:20:28 PM »

5.  The Artificiality of Work and Culture.

Work and living have become more and more pointless and empty. There is no lack of meaningful projects that cry out to be done, but our working days are used up in work that lacks meaning: making useless or harmful projects, or serving the bureaucratic structures. For most Americans, work is mindless, exhausting, boring, servile, and hateful, something to be endured while "life" is confined to "time off." At the same time our culture has been reduced to the grossly commercial; all cultural values are for sale, and those that fail to make a profit are not preserved. Our life activities have become plastic, vicarious, and false to our genuine needs, activities fabricated by others and forced upon us.
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2009, 01:33:18 PM »

6.  Absence of Community

America is one vast, terrifying anti-community. The great organizations to which most people give their working day, and the apartments and suburbs to which they return each night, are equally places of loneliness and alienation. Modern living has obliterated place, locality, and neighborhood, and given us the anonymous separateness of our existence. The family, the most basic social system, has been ruthlessly stripped to its functional essentials. Friendship has been coated over with a layer of impenetrable artificiality as men strive to live roles designed for them. Protocol, competition, hostility, and fear have replaced the warmth of the circle of affection which might sustain man against a hostile universe.
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2009, 01:51:56 PM »

7.  Loss of Self.

Of all the forms of impoverishment that can be seen or felt in America, loss of self, or death in life, is surely the most devastating. It is, even more than the draft and the Vietnam War, (any war), the source of discontent and rage in the new generation. Beginning with school, if not before, an individual is systematically stripped of his imagination, his creativity, his heritage, his dreams, and his personal uniqueness, in order to style him into a productive unit for a mass, technological society. Instinct, feeling, and spontaneity are repressed by overwhelming forces. As the individual is drawn into the meritocracy, his working life is split from his home life, and both suffer from a lack of wholeness. Eventually, people virally become their professions, roles, or occupations, and are thenceforth strangers to themselves. Blacks long ago felt their deprivation of identity and potential for life. But white "soul" and blues are just beginning. Only a segment of youth is articulately aware that they too suffer an enforced loss of self----they too are losing the lives that could be theirs.
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