Success, Failure, and Rationality
Earth Manifesto Insights
Tiffany B. Twain
"A better world has gotta start somewhere. Why not with you and me?"
Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker
becomes increasingly important for humanity to make better decisions, and to
plan more wisely as the world becomes more crowded and challenges intensify. Americans should take inspiration from the
Finnish National Project, which was an effort that involves much of Finland,
and nearly all of the elites in its society.
The goal of this project is to improve public education, to make the
teaching profession more prestigious, to make their economy more agile and
adaptive, to invest in research and innovation, and to become a ‘greener’, fairer
and more competitive nation.
goals have made Finland one of the most competitive countries in the world,
according to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Finland also ranks first in a
"sustainability index" that measures a country's ability to protect
the natural environment over the next several decades, and it is perceived as
the least corrupt country in the world, while the United States is tied for
17th, according to a survey by Transparency International, the leading global
non-governmental organization devoted to combating corruption.
conservative leaders, in pathetic contrast to those of Finland, support social
program cuts and private education to the detriment of public education. They represent rigidity of doctrine and
inflexibility of privilege. They are
effectively anti-egalitarian, and their policies are corruptly oriented towards
cronyism, corporate welfare, wasteful resource consumption, war profiteering,
aggressive intervention in the affairs of other nations, religious
fundamentalism, and abuses of power. This
is a far cry from embracing fair competition, social well-being, peaceful
cooperation, distinct separations of Church and State, and strong environmental
are many reasons that people fail to act in socially and environmentally
responsible ways. Some are rational --
and some are not. Jared Diamond
analyzes this topic with in-depth considerations and illuminating insights in
Chapter 14 of his valuable book entitled Collapse
--- How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
of interest are the primary rational reasons that narrow interests
dominate decision-making. Small and
selfish elites who lust for wealth and power often collaborate to create
conditions where corporate shortsightedness and monopolies facilitate the
irresponsible overexploitation of resources in what is known as "the
tragedy of the commons." Also,
selfish short-term motives and greed and pandering to narrow constituencies
seem to be far more powerful influences than broadminded considerations and
saner long-term motivations.
for disastrous behavior include confusion, ignorance, cultivated denial,
unreasonable fears, clashes of values, persistence in error, closed-mindedness,
ideological inflexibility, and stubborn resistance to progressive adaptation as
societal needs change. Shared
delusions, psychological denial, and the madness of crowd psychology and
"groupthink" also contribute to socially irrational public policies.
decision-making involves critical thinking, honest assessment, and respectful
consideration of dissenting perspectives. Poor strategies like the steamrolling of dissent, deceiving the
public, and pandering to vested interests until a crisis occurs effectively
create increased probabilities that problems will become extremely expensive to
remedy, or insurmountable to fix. The
disaster of Hurricane Katrina in the South confirms this.
"Plans are one thing and fate another. When
they coincide, success results. Yet
success mustn't be considered the absolute. It is questionable, for that matter, whether success is an
adequate response to life. Success can
eliminate as many options as failure. "
--- Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
great risk in America today is that right-wing extremism is
all-too-successfully dominating politics without reasonable consideration to
more enlightened ideas. The right wing
gets it wrong, failing our country, for nine principal reasons:
1. They willingly use any means to justify
their power-obsessed ends, no matter how adverse or unfair these means may be
to the general welfare. Narrow-minded
convictions assert that their ends are supremely good, but this disguises
opposing perspectives that reveal that their ends are negative to public health
2. They eagerly embrace socially unacceptable
public policies, reducing the separation of Church and State and attacking our
government's valuable Constitutional checks and balances. They do this to strengthen the Executive
branch and give power and bigger subsidies and greater benefits to cronies,
giant corporations, and small elites that are out of touch with mainstream
needs and values.
3. Right-wing certitudes hold that economic and
military domination are necessary to protect American interests in the world. This results in ruthless competition and war,
rather than cooperative problem solving. Embracing preemptive warfare and prisoner torture in a world that
is growing increasingly dangerous is a serious mistake, when in truth we need
stronger commitments to mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.
4. The right wing champions economic policies
that favor corporate welfare, irresponsible growth, suburban sprawl, reduced
regulation, unsustainable development, increased inequities, more tax breaks
for the wealthy, more intrusive government, and increased corporate privileges
at the expense of workers and of a healthy environment and of future
generations. Abuses of our low-income
assistance and Medicare programs, like those externalized onto society by
corporate giant Wal-Mart, tend to do great harm to communities and workers. The compulsion of radical ‘conservatives’ to
stack the Supreme Court with justices that oppose progressive change
exacerbates these social, fiscal, and environmental problems.
5. Neoconservatives promote the unsustainable
expediency of enormous and systemic deficit spending in order to advance their
causes, foisting costs upon future taxpayers instead of courageously addressing
the competing interests and conflicting priorities of balanced policy-making
6. They promote divisiveness in order to
control and manipulate people. They do
this instead of striving to unite Americans, to respect individual rights, and
to make our nation fairer, healthier, stronger, and more responsible to its
7. They crusade against reason and objectivity,
embracing unethical campaign strategies and clever Karl Rovian smear tactics,
as well as anti-democratic secrecy, deceptive propaganda, suppression of
dissenting opinions, distortions of scientific understandings,
anti-environmental initiatives, unchristian religious extremism, and amoral abuses
of power that harm people and society.
8. The right wing blatantly opposes responsible
family planning, sex education, contraception, safe sex initiatives, women's
equality, and civil rights for gay people.
9. They corruptly sacrifice truth, integrity,
true justice, and fairness in order to implement these socially detrimental and
radical neoconservative policies.
must stop allowing the control of our government by crony capitalists who
corruptly abuse power and pander to Big Money and giant corporations. We cannot let politicians remain in power who
obsessively pursue world domination and the promotion of preemptive warfare
against other countries. Nor can we
accept the government's condoning of prisoner torture or any such amoral
manipulation of society in extremely unchristian and anti-egalitarian ways. We must restore the effective checks and
balances of government that limit the abuse of power by federal officials. We must get Big Money out of the political
driver's seat. We must demand that
politicians be more fair, honest, honorable, visionary and diplomatic. And we must keep the judiciary progressive,
rather than ideologically reactionary!
cabal of Neoconservatives must fall! We
must begin to right the ship of state. The Neoconservatives are proving to be a
colossal catastrophe, and an unacceptable failure for the United States in
terms of social, fiscal, diplomatic and environmental policies. They are
arrogant, militarily aggressive, vindictive, and socially regressive --- just the
opposite of what intelligent planning dictates for the good of society. Their hypocritical religious righteousness
and their false patriotism are perversely contrary to the principles upon which
the United States was founded.
clear thinking, broadmindedness, and far-sightedness must prevail over
deceptive spin, propaganda, lies, ignorance, denial, dogmatic doctrine,
corporate pandering, and blind religious extremism.
would be wise to impeach the regime of Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and Bush. We must stimulate American objectivity,
reason, insight, courage, trust, integrity, fairness, social justice,
environmental protection, sustainable activities, ecological awareness, and
true caring for the general welfare of the people. We must stand up and reject right wing Neoconservatism and its
desire to embrace homophobic discrimination and macho male authoritarianism
that is detrimental to women's equality and reproductive freedom.
few people will read these words; or
millions may. Some might regard them as
transcendent; others will chuckle at
their naivety. But the Muses are
insistent that these ideas be committed to the public discourse, and their
feminine wisdom appeals passionately to the deeper good in all people to leave
a better world than the one we have inherited.
--- Dr. Tiffany