Manifestos and starting a blog

First posted on my facebook site as
 Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 10:12pm
This was written late in a series of notes on Facebook and I have not even corrected the spelling and typos or read it over as I posted it here. I was just starting to get something up to start this blog and it seemed like a note about manifestos and other predecessors of the personal blog might be a place to start. I have just added this first papragraph. However, I may edit the note later. We will have to see.
Perhaps the best literary quality of what might be called successful political manifestos and plans for cultural change would Saint Augustine’s City of God and the collaborative Federalist Papers of America’s founders Jay, Hamilton and especially Madison. Not so long ago in the East Chairman Mao Zhe Dong actually produced a book of some literary interest — the once ubiquitous Little Red Book was a sort of mutlipurpose book which was a reworking of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” , Mao’s own art of war which any cultural conservative with his resume would have to produce having had his experiences and on the other hand it was a radical experimentation with making Marxian and Hegelian theory and the Communist Manifesto into something Chinese. It is a sign of Mao’s talents that he could create a brief and readable book which largely accomplished these goals.

I have never read Hitler’s My Struggle or Mein Kampf and the fact that I mention it is probably more than I am normaly inclined to do in writing. I have not read The Turner Diaries although I believe that the author is still alive and is my fellow American. These I think are manifestos which resemble mine in being personal although the Turner Diaires are unique in actually being a novel. I do not despise all anger and violence and the sense of an urgent need to do something. My disdain for these books comes from another place and embodies other criticisms.Hitler was a socialist who is somehow lumped with the right like Mao he killed a lot of people in his own country. Mao admired George Washington far more than most foreigners of his stature ever have and maintained that admiration his whole life. Hitler imitated some of the American experiment but I have always despised Hitler and yes I have always admired Mao. I visited his tomb in Beijing with great respect and bought mementos as gifts. However, I could certainly have schemed against him and shot him if we had been fated to meet as adversaries. I simply would have done it with respect.

The relatively right wing manifesto which I relate to the most easily is not a manifesto. It is a retrosepective document written by a man who I think wished he had written a manifesto but was swept along by history too swiftly to do it. That is Jefferson Davis’s Rise and Fall of the Confederate Nation. I visited his shrine Beauvoir on the Mississippi Gulf Coast several times with my new bride on my honeymoon. But manifestos written after you give up cannpt really be counted.

A manifesto seeks to set out something about the writer’s view of the future and his understanding of how he could manage it. Manage to make it different. I am in this very brief note seeking to create a kind of manifesto. Perhaps in a sense to cast a manifestoesque quality over the rest of these notes. For something as brief as one of these notes to be any kind of manifesto it would have to bring in other infromation and restate it within itself somehow or other.

Usually a manifesto is written in the context of some kind of major crisis. Usually it comes from a sense of not so quiet desperation although it may also come from many more elegant and noble parts of human nature as well. I am reflecting in this 50 of my intended 52 notes before my birthday and some things that make me feel some feelings approaching desperation. After my divorce I came to two conclusions if llife were ever going to become what I considered to be really tolerable on this planet then it would require me to take a bigger role in the transformation than I had ever wanted to take in any serious way. The second was that I was not likely to ever play such a role. I have had the realization for a very long time that no matter what I do I can certainly fail at meeting any given difficult challenge. So this is a manifesto about what things I might do.

The future is harder to study than the past. Letting go of any illusion of certainty however, we can attempt to understand the future a bit after all. Facebook is particularly well populated with people who do take an interest in predicting and understanding the future in various limited and organizedways which many people would recognize as yielding some good results. I have already written the future specificaly in a note relating the future to science fiction. I have decided that in this note I will discuss the future as I might try to make it. I suppose that in a small way this is a manifesto. Perhaps not as challenging and directly confrontational as a manifesto ought to be but a manifesto nonetheless.

I just want to make clear that I am going to disclose a bit of myself in this note. As the countdown to end this series of Notes draws down I an ready to put out some more information about myself which I have usually guarded. I have gotten closer to the point where there are no options competing with disclosure.One thing about me is that I have an enormous capacity for animosity. I have never found the right way to work that into typical sexual banter, a job interview, a curriculum vitae or ai first encounter with someone from a culture which is knew to me.

As I disclose these things about myself I am more able to address certain social and technical questions to which my personal experiences are relevant. In many ways I think that my foray into Facebook came at a very good time for me to find a little closure and focus in my life and experience. It has enabled me to bring together in one electronic place a fairly wide range and broad sampling of my interests, ideas and associates. Of course the vast majority of my friends and associates, acquaintances and enemies are not on my Facebook Friends List. But there is still a great deal that is representative about this list.

Besides self revelation which is alway a bit uncomfortable and dangerous for any one at certain points I am further discomfited by having to say that describea quality of mine which is named by a term which is either a technical term or a tleast a term of art. But it is a term I have grown up hearing and using throughout childhood and adolescence and which As an adult I once took some pains to understand. The term is “ego” a term by which Siegmund Freud did some linguistic remaking of the Latin word which translates as “I” into something related but different. I am also neither a licensed psycologist nor a trained Freudian scholar but I am willing to state that I have a strong personality with a strong “id”, a strong ‘super-ego” and a strong “ego”. But that strength of personality is not what I am singling out here, rather it is strength of ego.

I think that some people who read this might already know it but I want to make clear a point of relevance. Whatever many are few things separate me from measurably politicaly successful leaders like Mao Zhe Dong, Stalin, Napoleon, William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, Lenin, Ghengis Khan or others you can imagine the difference is not that my ego is smaller. Whatever separates me from moderate successes measured by that standard like Jefferson Davis, Prince Meternich, the Marquis De Lafayette of the the several revolutions, Che Guevarra or Davy Crockett — the difference is not that my ego is smaller. Whatever separates me from apparent total loser lunatics like Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Blackbeard the Pirate, or any of several of the captains of Free-lances and white companies who mostly destroyed themselves and all around them — the difference is not that my ego is smaller. I really do not think that very many people alive or recorded in history have or have had a larger ego. A handful have and I thinksome are well camouflaged. I suspect that Shakespeare had a huge ego but was well hidden from such observation by the nature of his life and work. The facts of my life might not seem to bear out that claim. But it is the kind of claim where correct measurements are hard to come by and bad ones are easily found.

I am a relatively broken man perhaps. Not so strong or bold as I once was. But there is still a union and identity between the dimensions of my commitments and the dimensions of my resources. In other words, there is still a kind of devoted egomania in me. There are many things that come together to create a personality with this trait I find in myself. One factor is that I never really remember feeling that things were OK. As I have often said in thse notes, my life is and has been a nightmare. I give humanity D and F grades on the important stuff most of the time. Of course that in itself is a complex phenomenon and also one that is found in people who are not posessed of enormous egos.

Part of my manifesto would be that I do not espouse or advocate any program to turn all of civilization into a machine for destroying the human ego. Ayn Rand’s books ‘The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” are both recent manifestos which defend and propound the right to have an ego. They are more than that of course they are celebrations of capitalism. Other books related to really understanding ego are Machiaveli’s “The Prince”, Castiglione’s “The Courtier” and retrospectively the excellent book by Barbara Tuchman “A Distant Mirror”. I have read these three books. The largest ego in history I believe was that of the meek Jesus of Nazareth. For me he is an almost inexhustible source of both insight and understanding of paradox.

Along with ego and animosity I value kindness and generosity. I have performed many acts of generosity which are rarely performed and performed them repeatedly. However, unlike the ego thing there are more generous people around and there are much more generous ones in the historical record.
But I am pretty generous, I have seen it modeled and have learned how to do it. I had a knack for it anyway. I think that generosity should be supported and fostered.

I believe in creating a balance in life and person. I think that given what has been available to me I have done that fairly well. I tend to respect people who have some breadth. I value being well read and reading well. I believe that all people should know something about sex, fighting, food and childcare in proportion to their total knowledge and in accord with their state in life. I do not think that we can become full and complete human beings by accident. On the other hand I believe we all inherit some basic rights to life, liberty and property. We do not earn this set of rights mostly by becoming decent and mature people although our behavior can affect these rights.

I think that I should work to produce a society which rewards this ancient kind of balance so highly valued by many of the most accomplished and prosperous cultures of history. I believe that the person is very important. I believe that it ought to be understood that full personal development is a major part of the obligation or program of a full society. However, it is not the only program and obligation of a society. Societies somehow or another have to discharge duties relating to habitat and environmental preservation and the enhancement of the environment and expansion of human habitat. They have to deal with defense, security and war with all the issues which they bring. They have to deal with economic growth and issues of prosperity. part of my political manifesto woulld be that I believe that we must support the people who are actually engaged in dealing with the realities of what society is about and for and supposed to be doing.

Eventually if I ever really emerged into a public life again it would be clear that I am not afraid of leadership, inequality,aristocracies or rank. Also it would come out that in some models I have sketched in various composition books, discussion groups and other venues I have not shied away from taking on both the trappings and the perquesites of leadership. Anything that I write about politics and policies always comes with a kind of admission that in a last resort at leat I would take as much power and responsibility as necessary to make those policies real — in theory at least. There are exceptions:
1. I am never up for total war.
2. I am never up for abolishing the institution of marriage.
3. I am not up for the abolition of all private property.
4. I am not up for the destruction of all protocol and parliamentary procedure.
5. I am not up for hurting the innocent whom I love deliberately.

That covers a lot of ground really. By historic standards it is pretty limiting. But I just want to make it clear that while I spend a lot of time feeding animals, washing dishes and taking out trash and can see numerous paths ito the future in which I end up sleeping under an overpass or living in some other ignominous position I really am willing to go just about to the limits. Everyone has some limits. Some totally commiteed people are never kind or merciful that is also a limit. Many of my limits are moral and procedural but I choose them. As GK Chesterton said of Shakespeare’s Macbeth “He shows us that a good man can be as bad as he chooses to be.” I am not claiming to be a good man nor that I could be purely bad but the Chesterton line has a certain relevance.

I no longer belong to a political party. It has been years since I really pretended to have politicaly oriented carreer or anything approaching it. I never have felt a great attraction for just screaming at whatever ” the establishment” was nearby. However, I have never write any social criticism or propose any ideas just as a way of inspiring others. Everything I write I do with a sense of how it can all connect to fists, wallets and ballots. I have taken quite a few things to the point where I thought it would probably end my life. I am serious about that. Most political systems in recent centuries have become greater and greater subtractions.

On of the parts of my political philosophy which is most important is that I believe we must try to undertake cost effective and large scale space colonization as soon as possible. That would be real expansion and requires a more expansive point of view. I wrote earlier in this Facebook Note that a manifesto that is written after you have given up does not really count as a manifesto. For me I think that means that even if this Note were not so rambling and were otherwise a perfect manifesto you could discount its significance as such. You could discount it by about 85 %. I have gotten about 85% of the way to giving up. But of course this is really a rambling personal and impressionistic Note like the others. Therefore perhaps even with the help of all the other notes it does not really constitute a manifesto discounted or not.

But, for what it’s worth I am actually propsing the things I propose. When I say I think something ought to be done I actually maen that I probably have tried and would try again to do it. Complexity is a ctually a value I cherish. Multiple branches of governement, federalism and many other things. I have also valued experimentation. One day when I have enough to lose someone will possibly dig up a speech or notebook addressed to avery limited audience that says some things most people are not able to relate to very much right now. I know that if I had enough to lose this could be discomfiting. But I want to make clear that I have never said I was just an average guy with average aspirations.


One response to “Manifestos and starting a blog

  1. Pingback: Presidential Politics and the Current American Mindset | Franksummers3ba's Blog

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