Some individuals still believe that a sustainable global society with “freedom and justice for all’ is attainable with an integrated global economy underpinned by the rule of law. And this is our only way to sustainably maximize all of humanities freedom and security.
Some are now suggesting that the arc of history may soon turn back onto a democratic pathway where a majority of humanity champions ‘liberty and justice for all’, and call for a new and accountable global political system that puts the protection of human rights that former generations championed and acknowledged with Universal Declaration of Human Rights, superior to the rights of nations, which is now supreme to anything else. While this future is not likely — it is possible. And it may now be in its birthing stage in the protests sparking up around the world. Could this be a backlash to the nationalism, anti-globalism, and populist politics that the world has been spiraling down into for more than three decades?
By Chuck “Trilemmaman” Woolery
Two Washington Post articles (one Sunday and one today) may be evidence of this backlash.
And, governments should pay very close attention to demands these people are making. Why?
Because governments should rightfully fear “People Power”! It is no longer just a democratic slogan. With technology in the hands of disgruntled citizen it’s increasingly a physical threat. A serious threat that those in control of a corrupt, repressive, or dysfunctional government should rightfully fear. They would be better off providing and paying attention to the ballot box.
But the people need to be aware that ‘democracy’ alone is often the cause of problems.It can rightfully be blamed for bringing us nationalism, populism, and even anti-globalism.For democracy to work in a progressive direction (global governance prioritizing the protection of human rights and the environment) an educated populace is required.Relatively comfortable citizens who cast ballots based on logic and long-term self-interest…instead of emotions and short term interests which is the past and current norm, is simply unworkable.
What is workable is the fact that every technology is now weaponizable by individual people as well as their governments. The global outbreaks of people power in mass protests are not new. But the exponential growth, affordability, and power of technology is. And, this year’s outbreak of unrest is a result of its relatively non-violent use, so far. Combined with the growing mass discontent that anti-globalism, populism, and nationalism can never solve, or prevent, a new politics of ‘liberty and justice for all’ may await. Or, Armageddon, if governments continue to ignore the fundamental needs of all their people.
Why now? Global poverty is declining! But with it, economic comforts of the middle class and optimism about the future are also in decline.
Bottom line: Governments are failing their primary function of protecting human freedom and security. Street protestors see them as unacceptably corrupt, repressive, and/or dysfunctional. And, most important, unresponsive. Discontented youth have been empowered and emboldened by their savvy use of social media platforms. It’s a small jump and affordable jump to weaponize anything from computers, to drones, to chemicals in our garden sheds.
Technology has empowered motivated youth to mobilize mass action in angry response to small issues. Issues which quickly connected to a mass of discontent on other issues that had remained unexpressed.
Government’s are taking notice of the epidemic of protests but any government that responds with abusive force would be making a huge mistake.
The evolution of technology, which can always be weaponizable, combined with its ubiquitousness, increasing affordability, and anonymity…means that governments are no longer immune to the use of force by its angered and motivated citizens.
Computer hacking, drones, and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are prohibitively hard and expensive to defend against. The US continues to learn this the hard way.
Somehow our ” Christian” nation never got the memo to follow the Golden Rule.
About the Author
Chuck Woolery (not the Game show host) Chuck’s professional grassroots organizing and advocacy successes on global health issues led to his elected position on the respected Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals). Later he was then elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans). His focus has been connecting local and global issues to US national security interests and using non-partisan fundamental principles to advance public thinking and US policy on vital systems and structures essential to forming a more perfect union.
Chuck credits much of his successes to his mother’s love and his background in Biology and wrestling. He qualified for the Olympic Trials only to find out he was seriously not qualified – but was honored to make it that far coming from a childhood of obesity and sloth. “We are all”, he says “always wrestling with issues and concerns our entire lives. Or we should be — given the persistent changes in our bodies and the world.” “Loving persistence” and “ruthless compassion” are two qualities his mentors offered him. Perhaps to his detriment he usually offers what people need to hear instead of what they want to hear. Chuck is an avid quote collector… one of his many favorites — “Science is my passion, politics my duty.” Thomas Jefferson
To better understand the inner workings and problems with the U.N. system, we asked a few poignant questions of “The Other” Chuck Woolery. The one who was elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans) and the Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals). He had spent three decades working with non-profits and other NGO’s advocating for a stronger United Nations for addressing global issues.
Many people have put hope on the U.N. systems to solve our ongoing crises. Why is this not a good idea, and how and why is the U.N. platform ineffective?
Ideas can be hopeful. The U.N. was a good idea. The prevention of problems is something everyone knows needs to happen. But that requires long-term thinking and effective action. Unfortunately, the U.N. was never given any power other than providing a peaceful gathering of nationals to work on problems they agreed on. Any UN solution depended on the voluntary action and funding of those nations. The UN can help coordinate practical efforts but then takes the blame when things go wrong.
The UN lead the global campaign that eradicated Smallpox. It succeeded because of truly universal cooperation, coordination, and adequate volunteer funding. I believe the most recent UN success story was in 2015. Back then stakeholders on many issues at every government level from every nation came together and worked out a plan to maximize preventive efforts that could get humanity to the year 2030 with minimum difficulties/crisis. The bad news on these 17 Sustainable Development Goals is that few people in the U.S. have ever heard of them. If they have, they fall into four basic categories.
Those who favor their particular goal believing it is the most important of the 17. Unfortunately, each of these 17 goals requires equal, sustained, and urgent efforts. And each is underfunded.
Those who don’t believe they are sufficient.
Those who don’t believe they will ever happen.
And some who are suggesting the only rational means of achieving them. These rapidly hit mental constructs in other’s minds that make effective action unlikely if not impossible.
Year after year progressive advocates focus on one sector or another. Climate, water, peace, human rights, democracy, health, etc.
Why are these ineffective? What would you do to create an effective system that could detect problems before they start and invest in efforts that prevent it from occurring?
From a U.S. perspective…Events are ineffective even if they are large. Ultimately, they are competing for limited resources with other movements for media attention, donations, access to policymakers or other influential people.
This strategy cannot effectively generate sufficient political within a majority of U.S. Congressional Districts and states.
Do egos get in the way of effective coordinated actions? I think it’s more a paycheck or cognitive dissonance issue. Leaders are hired to produce results in a particular arena. They can make a big splash. But what is urgently needed is a movement that brings other movements together into one. A movement of all movements. Otherwise singularly grand impacts by one movement (like Climate Change) will continue to distract from the importance and urgency of other vital movements. Note how quickly the emergence of COVID19 muted every other movement (pro-democracy, regional wars, the evolution of weaponry, US debt…) or quickly exposed our failures in others (health care, infrastructure, pay gaps, supply chains). Now the increasing urgency on vital action to address increasing climate emergencies are muting those.
We need a comprehensive, holistic, and global approach to human, environmental, economic, and political health. And sustainability.
What is the U.N. good at accomplishing? Bringing together interested parties focused on global concerns/issues.
What is your greatest dissatisfaction through what you have experienced in organizing? Your biggest satisfactions?
The greatest dissatisfaction is knowing that all of the comprehensive studies that have been done by bi-partisan Presidential/congressional commissions, prestige entities like the National Academy of Sciences, and intellectual think tanks from multiple nations have always given us wise recommendations. Humanity knows what to do. But we don’t do it. Short term thinking, national interests, political partisanship, and flawed political systems won’t allow it.
My personal awakening and satisfaction came from discovering how open our political system actually is. Citizens simply don’t grasp the fact that a well-organized, informed, and lovingly persistent movement can create political will to achieve specific ends. My hopes are that Mobilized can spark such a movement. That enough progressives, moderates, libertarians, and even conservatives will finally grasp the reality that things are going to get much worse…unless we unite under the realization that everything is interconnected! Everything is interdependent! And everything, including all of us, are vulnerable.
How would you title the editorial we are creating here with your words in a way that would lead people into concerted actions?
“Connecting the Dots. See the web of life. Doing what’s needed. Or prepare for catastrophic consequences.”
Disobeying he Laws of Nature and Nature’s God will not end well.
We face a Trilemma: Freedom, Security, and Independence. Which two do you want?
Human Rights and the environment vs national sovereignty.
Government openness and accountability. Or oblivion.
Our U.S. Constitution has not formed a perfect union.
Instead, it has created an increasingly dysfunctional and stubbornly divided people within a collection of 50 unique and troubled states. With the continued contempt on Capitol Hill, it would be hard to find any U.S. citizen with the opinion that our government is doing what’s needed to “insure domestic tranquility.” Covid19 crushed the intent to “provide for the common defense.” And our cognitive divisions make it impossible to “promote” our “general welfare.” Our Constitution has allowed our military to enter into endless wars because we have valued the law of force instead of the force of law to end violent extremism. These efforts to preempt attacks instead of preventing them are at the core of our Constitution’s failure to secure the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” The absence of justice in our laws combined with our 4th Amendment (our unyielding desire for privacy) makes our Constitution a virtual suicide pact.
By “The Other” Chuck Woolery
How will we stop corruption from undermining our economic system, a white supremist engineering a bioweapon targeting Blacks or Jews, a cyberattack on our nation’s critical infrastructure, or a spy from exposing any other vulnerable aspects of any system vital to our nation’s security? Can we drone strike suspects? We do this in other countries.
Do we really believe that will make us sustainably safe?
Trust is the glue that holds any relationship, civilization, or democracy together. It depends on truths we can all agree on. Today, however, we believe firmly in different realities. Facts about our political party, religion, economic philosophy…that we are willing to kill and die for. And there appears to be no means of reversing this polarization. It may even be growing as gun sales have skyrocketed and bullets are now hard to find.
“We the people” have never been more divided since our civil war. The consequences already include a drop in life expectancy approaching that of World War II. This was mainly due to an elected President that could have prevented it. And he still believes (along with millions of followers) that the election was rigged, and he should still be President.
But it’s worse than that. Even before Trump’s presidency, our nation’s top national security experts ranked our own government’s dysfunction as our nation’s second most significant security threat (terrorism was #1). And before Trump, the U.S. Surgeon General stated that our nation’s most significant health risk was “loneliness.” This suggests there is something even more dysfunctional than our Constitution.
Understanding the fundamental cause of each of these problems (and others) is now more valuable than winning any partisan debate, tweaking any budget lines, or changing any particular law among the thousands that our Constitutional process has codified in the last 70 years.
Something needs to change fast, given the escalation of domestic and international threats. We need systemic change. A comprehensive change. A transformational change in the very fundamental operating principles of our Constitution and what we believe in.
This question keeps coming to mind. How free, secure, or healthy can we be if we are well adjusted to a profoundly dysfunctional political system and nationalist culture?
No sane individual would now wager we will make the needed changes anytime soon. Buckle up, buttercup! Things are going to continue to get worse. Much worse before we fix it.
A catastrophic collapse of our economy or our 245-year-old political system is no longer unthinkable. It is as predictable as a pandemic had been. Both, inevitable. Given both the structural and systemic flaws in our Constitution and its persistent failure to abide by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” – another pandemic and our systems collapse are both inevitable.
How many people would ride on an airplane that they knew was engineered by a committee that understood the forces of gravity yet failed to abide by it during the aircraft’s construction? Our founding fathers understood the forces of nature and nature’s God. They all signed the document based on such self-evident truths found in the Declaration of Independence. Then they engineered a government that ignored them.
According to most former U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln is the most popular U.S. President. This is because he presided over the correction of a fundamental flaw in our Constitution’s original design. A design flaw resulted in more dead Americans than all the wars our nation has fought in since then—Combined! Now a virus has killed even more than that in less than two years. Why? Because “we the people’ believed our powerful military, our economic system, our wealth would keep us safe. And we ignored history, science, the fundamentals of the faith (do unto others), and the flag pledge…” liberty and justice for all” that every American has said out loud hundreds of times with their hand over their heart.
Abraham Lincoln once wrote, our ‘Declaration of Independence is our “Apple of Gold.” Our Constitution is its “frame of Silver.”
Yet our elected officials, public servants, and military personal swear an oath to protect the Constitution. Not us. Not the environment on which we all depend. But on a fundamentally flawed document. A document that frames the codification of unjust laws and the protection of God-given inalienable rights. But only for U.S. citizens. And we wonder why tens of thousands if not millions of people in the world hate us enough to want to kill us. Murder us in large numbers.
Our only way forward as a united nation in this troubled world is to accept the pain and suffering our country has caused. We are asking forgiveness for our crimes against humanity. Slavery. We are not keeping our word “40 acres and a mule”. Stealing the land of ‘first Americans,’ breaking our treaties with them, then systematically destroying their cultures and heritage. Our interventionist wars are intended to protect our interests or preempt other nations without sufficient evidence, resulting in millions of civilian deaths in dozens of countries. Then, we re-engineered our Constitution to codify new laws. Laws and codes that effectively mirror those laws based on the “Truths” that ‘we hold to be self-evident.
Erase a few words from our political vocabulary. Words like independence, terrorism, and happiness. Replace them with “separation, mass murder, health. Imagine how different our culture and nation would be today if our Declaration of Independence had been called our Declaration of Separation. The concept of independence is so ingrained into our brains we believe it’s real. Yet, it exists nowhere in the known universe. Yet our Constitution considers our 50 states some level of ‘independence’ on some issues. And every nation in the world has a right to their ‘national sovereignty’ (independence) unless our Constitution is used to justify our nation violating it.
Then imagine what things would be like if Thomas Jefferson had listened to his friend Dr. Benjamin Rush (also a signer of the Declaration). Rush suggested that he change “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to the pursuit of “Health.”
We have thoroughly abused the word ‘happiness’ as it was meant in previous times. Those alive at this nation’s creation believed ‘happiness’ to be ‘finding one’s purpose in serving the community as ‘finding one’s bliss.
And what if the founders had followed Thomas Paine’s assertion that the only legitimate use of government is protecting human “freedom and security.” Our Constitution would have never allowed the slaughter of innocent people anywhere.
And the word we have worshipped yet butchered most is ‘freedom.’ We persist in ignoring the dozens of quotes that the founders and those before them they had thoroughly studied, that stress the importance of being responsible with one’s freedom – or it would be lost. Surprisingly, another word mentioned in their archived documents (over 120,000) said ‘virtue’ 6000 times. More times than freedom! Then, it implied that good men were needed to maintain God’s given freedoms.
Here’s another self-evident truth. We cannot stop the accelerating global forces that now penetrate our national borders effortlessly without breaking ourselves economically. No amount of money in the world can prevent the consequences of biological, cyber, environmental, criminal, or economic contagion from crossing our borders as if they were not there. In reality, our borders are political lines drawn on maps. But, unfortunately, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God do not recognize map lines.
The exponential growth of technology – combined with its increasing affordability, availability, power, multi-use capacity, dependence building, norm busting, and unavoidable globally disrupting influences cannot be stopped militarily or with walls. And most are an inevitable and unstoppable assault on human privacy.
Our mind’s illusion that globalization on steroids can be stopped with hyper-nationalism will fail. And fail catastrophically. No nation can effectively address the escalating battery of globalized threats humanity now faces.
Our current global governance system ensures failure. And the costs in blood and treasure are nearly unimaginable. If we fail to reduce these risks, they will continue to relieve us. Instead, it will vastly increase us as refugees.
It is possible that our so-called ‘independent nations’ could rally and address the most popular environmental threat these days, global warming. But it’s not possible to stop pandemics, the evolution of weapons, and war – without every nation, village, and individual in the world being held accountable for any injustices or overt violations of inalienable human rights.
Since we have ignored or refused to codify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our only reliable path is to work as diligently as possible to fund and comprehensively achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This is quite possible if most progressive groups in the U.S. and around joined into one single movement. For example, a movement of movements as Naomi Klein called for in 2014 during the Climate March in N.Y. city and hundreds of cities worldwide. Together such a movement could convince most of the world’s governments to freeze and then seize much of the illicit funds stashed in offshore accounts exposed by the Pandora papers.
A 2014 study estimated that as much as $32 trillion had been stashed there by kleptocrats, oligarchs, crime cartels, extremist groups, and ultra-rich capitalists avoiding taxes. Corruption and privacy in those – and now in cryptocurrencies – undermine every aspect of humanity’s freedom, security, prosperity, and sustainability.
Connect the dots. See the web of life. Work for justice for all. Or prepare for the consequences. Know that no matter how much we invest in resilience – it will not be enough.
It is past time we shed the 400-year-old dysfunctional global governance system of national sovereignty. And put in place an international rule of law where the protection of human rights (freedom and security) and the environment is above the rights of nations and corporations to do as they please.
Mission impossible…yes. What else are you going to do? Build a bunker?
“The Other” Chuck Woolery (not the Game show host)
Chuck’s professional grassroots organizing and advocacy successes on global health issues led to his elected position on the respected Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals). Later he was then elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans). His focus has been connecting local and global issues to US national security interests and using non-partisan fundamental principles to advance public thinking and US policy on vital systems and structures essential to forming a more perfect union and sustainable environment.
Chuck credits much of his successes to his mother’s love, father’s violence, the study of Biology and wrestling (having qualified for the 1972 Olympic Trials only to find out he was seriously not qualified – but was honored to make it that far after a childhood of obesity and sloth.) “We are all”, he says “always wrestling with issues and concerns our entire life. Or we should be — given the persistent changes in our bodies and the world.” “Loving persistence” and “ruthless compassion” are two qualities his mentors offered him. Admittedly to his detriment he usually offers people what they need to know instead of what they want to hear. Chuck is an avid quote collector… one of his many favorites — “Science is my passion, politics my duty.” Thomas Jefferson
What did 9-11, Covid19, the Covid variants, the end of our 20-year war in Afghanistan, recent extreme weather events globally, and a decline in democracy in many nations all have in common? First, they were all predictable, predicted, and preventable. Second, more costly blood and treasure consequences are yet to come – unless we understand the root cause and urgently act on it.
By “The Other” Chuck Woolery
Everyone who was conscious on September 11, 2001, recalls the events of that day. But understanding both the origins and the results of 9/11 is far more important than any acts of remembrance that we might perform. If we truly care to honor those who died and suffered on that unforgettable day, we must use our powers of understanding to develop sustainable strategies for preventing the next terrorizing event that might occur. Understanding must matter more than body counts.
The Post’s lead editorial of 9/11 cites Abraham Lincoln’s statement that, when combating danger “the best defense (against the dangers of his time) …lay in cultivating robust ‘reverence for the Constitution and laws,’ ” as well as his hopes that doing so “would inspire and sustain the people’s commitment to liberty and equality.”
In his writings, Lincoln also described the Declaration of Independence as “our apple of gold” and the Constitution as its “frame of silver.” To my mind, these analogies reflect our foundational goal of equality for all people, as invoked in the Declaration. But our “rule of law, as detailed in the Constitution ignores both the concept of justice and humanities inalienable rights. The Constitution’s reliance on the proposition of independence — a deeply flawed concept rooted deeply in our minds has not delivered justice or consistently protected human rights since its creation. From the start it was engineered into every level of our nation’s government.
Many Americans today proclaim their allegiance to individual liberty at the freedom to infect others in their communities. For a significant portion US citizens “independence” has come to denote the license to act irresponsibly without regard for the medical, environmental, or economic consequences their actions on others (rejecting masks, refusing vaccinations, or denying climate change).
This prevalent fusion of “freedom” with “self-gratification” has long consequences for rest of the world too. For many decades our foreign and military policies have disparaged other cultures as unworthy of the respect and privilege that we ourselves take for granted; we’ve dismissed foreign casualties as “collateral damage”, communist or terrorist sympathizers, or humans irrelevant to our nation’s interests.
My studies as a biologist and student of the natural world have made the fundamental flaws in our Constitution to be “self-evident”. They consistently ignore the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” expressed in the first paragraph of our “Apple of Gold” the Declaration of Independence. Interdependence is at the heart of nature’s laws. Chief Seattle (1780-1866), the head of the Duwamish and Suquamish nations, saw this clearly: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Yet most of us ignore our irreversible global interdependence environmentally, economically, militarily, and health wise. Without being responsible with our freedoms abroad we cannot expect to sustainably preserve our freedom, security, or prosperity here.
Until we grasp the wisdom and survival value of putting the global protection of human rights and the environment above the protection of national sovereignty and corporate power, our vulnerability to the kind of dangers inflicted on 9/11 will grow. Sustaining what quality of life that remains and improving it for ourselves and our children we must abandon the illusion of independence.
Our interdependence within this nation and on this planet is accelerating and irreversible. Nearly every troubling trend we are experiencing today is a symptom of our delusion of separation. There is a medical term for this mental condition – anosognosia. It is when someone is unaware of their own mental health condition. In a world with the accelerating evolution of weapons, pathogens, failing democracies, and civil strife It’s time for a wake-up call.
Our human-created construct of independence is responsible for our persistent failure to understand and respond effectively to nearly every danger we face (pandemics, pollution, terrorism, cyber security, economic stability, drug trade, refugee flows, food insecurity, extreme weather events…), each with lethal and unfavorable consequences for all — both here and abroad.
We can no longer simply react when disaster strikes. We can no longer build back to what we had before. It’s imperative now that we build forward in ways that prevent dangers and conserve limited resources. It is our only means of maximizing any sustainable prospects of freedom, security, and prosperity for ourselves and our posterity. Most nations have agreed to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030. It is the only comprehensive set of solutions we have, and humanity is not on track to meet them. Time is not on our side…and e may not get another chance.
The truth of our interdependence can set us free. Ignoring it will only have more unfavorable consequences.
“Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.” -Albert Einstein. As quoted in Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics, p. 250.