The Ideal American Society

In this essay the author discusses seven divergent political and religious groups. In the second essay the focus is on why and how we should revise Article V, the part of the U.S. Constitution that tells how the constitution can be amended. Then in a third and final essay, the author shares his vision of the ideal U.S. constitution, which shows how 26 changes can be implemented to create the ideal American society and world. The author’s proposed constitution is called the Third Constitution of the United States, created after the Articles of Confederation and the current Constitution.

There are many dystopian naysayers in the world who have given up on delimiting or changing the powers-that-be who are leading the world to destruction. But if enough people start sharing and promoting a precisely defined vision, these ideals will become a reality and not a utopian dream. Some of these ideals are already valued by others. The following three essays are an expression of a sustainable worldview that can save the world.

With such a vast diversity of worldviews in America, how can there be any kind of unity? One major way is to radically decentralize the public schools by allowing the residents who live within the boundaries of every public elementary, middle, and high school to determine their own school philosophy and curriculum using public funds. This will bring back the long lost sense of neighborhood togetherness.

People who share the same worldviews will seek likeminded individuals as neighbors, and it will also cause diverse people to develop common dreams, as they live and work together. This and 25 other major changes will be elaborated on in the Third Constitution . But to make all these radical changes that can transform our society, it will be necessary to revise Article V, so that we can more easily amend the Constitution and more easily abolish the Constitution through an orderly and fair Constitutional Convention.

Many average Americans across the political spectrum can be convinced that we must level the political playing field and take all money out of politics. Our Constitution is extremely difficult to amend, and it does not tell how to properly abolish it, which was a big mistake our founding fathers made. This means that lovers of democracy, who oppose oligarchy, will continue to be shackled by the Constitution; and if a violent revolution does not ultimately occur—the discontent, alienation, and hostility toward the system will only mount.

What is now happening is the working class is increasingly getting a smaller share of the pie, the middle class is disappearing, and the rich keep getting richer. World crises and environmental degradation keep getting worse. Eventually something is going to give. But we can actually reverse this course of destruction if we revise Article V as proposed. And we can develop a much better national constitution, which will be discussed in the third document. The founding fathers wanted an entrenched system that is virtually impossible to change, and that is what they got.

Accomplishing all of the goals proposed here may seem impossible to achieve, but as Americans increasingly see how to maximize democracy, create tribal neighborhood school districts and a tangible world peace—they will join the movement to make this vision a reality. Readers are encouraged to think about all the things people said would never be achieved that were achieved in time.

The first political group consists of the paleoconservatives; many of its adherents may not even use this long word to describe themselves. Like the founding fathers who said our nation should not get entangled in the affairs of foreign governments, paleoconservatives are against the interventionist foreign policy of the neoconservative Republicans. Members of the Constitution Party are probably the best representatives of paleoconservatism in today’s world. The Constitution Party endorses 7 principles: life, liberty, family, property, Bill of Rights, states’ rights, and American sovereignty.

Neoconservatives, on the other hand, believe that our government has a right, even a moral obligation, to police the world. Though Republicans and Democrats have well-known, definable differences regarding taxes, general spending, and social policies, many individuals from both parties favor a neoconservative foreign policy. And, by the way, the neoliberal foreign policy of the Democrats is roughly the same as the neoconservative foreign policy of Republicans. Both are imperialistic. It’s okay for the United States to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign nations, they reason, because we’re the “good” guys.

For those who view the world as a place where dog eats dog, the neoconservatives are right. But Buddhists, yogis, mystics within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and other peace-practicing groups would say that, if we take the initiative in showing compassion and benevolence, other individuals and nations will reciprocate with corresponding sentiments, sooner or later. Love conquers all.

Paleoconservatives are socially conservative, so they are less likely to support gay and abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana. They are usually against putting more restrictions on gun owners.

Paleoconservatives are quick to argue that our government is a republic with guaranteed individual rights, and it is not a democracy, they say. They will inform you that the word “democracy” is not in the constitution because our founding fathers feared the “mob rule” of a democracy. Democracy, or rule by the majority, is what you have when two foxes and a chicken decide what’s for dinner. Paleoconservatives will argue that our constitution was not meant to be a “living” document that changes with the times. They fear a democracy that can take away their God-given rights by the decisions of a majority.

The Libertarians are the second political group. They are socially liberal, but economically they are conservative. They are more likely to support gay and abortion rights, and the legalization of recreational drugs. But economically, they are apt to recommend laissez-faire capitalism. They want a small government with the fewest number of government regulations. Libertarians may want the liberty to become millionaires and billionaires through the free market. Libertarians, however, oppose crony capitalism, which occurs when there is a collusion of private companies that get subsidies and special benefits from the government. Libertarians, like paleoconservatives, are against the interventionist foreign policy of the Neoconservatives.

Fundamentalist and evangelical Christians are two religious groups that are combined as one group here, referred to as the third group. The fundamentalist churches interpret the Bible in the most literal way, even more so than the evangelical churches do. But both have a pre-seventeenth century, or pre-Enlightenment Age, viewpoint of the Bible—believing in a fiery, eternal hell for the lost who refuse to take Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They believe that abortion, in most cases, and homosexuality, are sinful practices. Evolution is wrong, because it contradicts the first few chapters in the Book of Genesis. Biblical professor and former United Methodist pastor Ernie Bringas, author of Jesusgate: A History of Concealment Unraveled provides an excellent survey of the latest biblical scholarship for laypeople from a liberal Christian worldview. To hear a thought-provoking podcast interview of Ernie Bringas, click on this link: http://www.strategiesforliving.com/podcast.php?p=2206

The problem that pastors often have, according to Ernie Bringas, is that if they tell their congregation everything they learned in seminary (that is, if it was a liberal seminary) about the latest scientific research on the Bible, many of the laypeople would stop attending and go somewhere else for reassurance, if their entrenched beliefs were challenged. Not wanting to be without a congregation or a livelihood, many pastors don’t tell the full truth that there is flimsy evidence for Jesus’ virgin birth, his literal resurrection, and the trinity. For many people it is, or was, difficult to face the truth and give up certain childhood Christian beliefs. But even after the initial shock and inner turmoil that results when Christians learn what scientific Bible scholars say about the Bible, self-identifying Christians can still grow spiritually. And they can become better citizens with broader political views when they stop believing that their religion is the one and only way.

Given the way most conservative Christians interpret the Bible, Israel plays an important role in the events leading up to the so-called Battle of Armageddon, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. For this reason, conservative Christians often reflexively support Zionism and military assistance to Israel. Conservative Christians are often Republicans who advocate a neoconservative foreign policy.

The fourth group is the Tea Party movement, which is primarily concerned about deficit spending. Every year that our government spends more money than it earns from tax revenues, it creates an annual deficit. Since our government has borrowed and spent more money than it has earned year after year, it has caused our national debt to skyrocket out of control. This is why Tea Partiers want to reduce government spending and taxes, even though many people might benefit if the government spent money to create jobs that are unavailable in the private sector. Of course, the budget could be balanced every year, and the enormous national debt would not even exist, if Americans had spent less money over the years on the military and on foolish, immoral, and costly wars.

According to www.WarResisters.org/pages/piechart.htm, 36% of the federal budget goes to the current military, and18% for past military spending, making a total of 54% of the federal budget spent on the military (and this does not include the $200 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan war spending). Reducing military spending is not an option for many Tea Partiers since many of them believe that a very strong military should be a top priority. Before he died, foreign policy expert Chalmers Johnson said that about 30 percent of military spending is secretive, unknown even to members of Congress.

Based on the history of our military and the covert operations of the CIA since the end of World War II, according to foreign policy expert William Blum, the American people would be appalled and ashamed (or at least they should be) if they learned the details about how our undercover CIA has bullied and intimidated democratically elected leaders of sovereign countries who have the audacity to believe they are free to do government differently than the way U.S. transnational corporations prefer. As the saying goes, “Do as we say, or we will bring ‘democracy’ to your country.” In the past, we believed we had to stop the sinister and exaggerated “international communist conspiracy.” Now the new bogeyman is “the war on terrorism.”

As a result, socialism or communism, since it first began in Russia in 1917, has never been allowed to rise or fall on its own merits because the U.S. government has had the power to undermine it in extremely unfair ways—using disinformation, sabotage, torture, assassination, election tampering, whatever it takes, whenever it, or a semblance of it, erupts in some remote corner of the world. This is your taxes at work! Now we know that it was not just the Russians who were getting a lot of propaganda during the Cold War. We Americans were too, maybe even more. Totalitarian socialism is not true socialism, which can only be implemented through a democratic process. Perhaps the former Soviet Union, China, and North Vietnam would have become less totalitarian if they had not been so viciously attacked and undermined by the U.S. military and CIA.

Another group, (the fifth group) which I personally endorse, consists of the New Age movement. New Agers often talk about the importance of making a paradigm shift in consciousness. That is, they believe we each can experience a higher state of consciousness called the Universal Mind, which makes the ordinary and usual state of mind seem less real, or even illusory in comparison. Meditation helps one achieve a calm, objective, detached, and nonjudgmental awareness which enables a person to identify with this Universal Mind.

Actually experiencing this Universal Oneness is like coming home to the true Self that had been there all along. And we can return to that consciousness whenever we let go of our selfishness and prideful ego. By always trying to get more or be more than everyone else, this ego creates duality, separateness, and suffering.

This Universal Oneness is identical to the perennial philosophy of Aldous Huxley, the Atman and Brahman of the Hindus, the samadhi of yogis, the nirvana of Buddhists, and the inner Kingdom of God of Christian mystics. These sublime states are supported by the findings of quantum physics and the growing scientific research on Near Death Experiences and parapsychology.

Moreover, in recent months there has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelic drugs such as peyote and ayahuasca, which can provide a foretaste of this Cosmic Consciousness. Such drugs have been used as an effective treatment for alcoholism and physical drug addiction, and these plant-derived drugs often help people overcome the fear of dying. But in order for these treatments to be successful, a proper mental set in a therapeutic setting is necessary. Unfortunately, those conditions are difficult to meet in the United States, since the drugs and the treatments are illegal here.

Many advocates of the New Age movement are apolitical, and unfortunately, without remorse. Some refuse to learn about current events because they do not want to incorporate any “negativity” into their lives. In the book Mindful Politics: A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place, edited by Melvin McLeod, these words are found at the beginning of section one:

We are all equal, says the Dalai Lama (I learned recently that the Dalai Lama advocates a synthesis of Marxian economics and Buddhism), in seeking happiness and peace. Yet as individuals and as nations, we value our own happiness over all others’. This is called “ego” in Buddhism and it is the root of our suffering, both personal and collective. He proposes a new approach to global politics based on taking responsibility for the happiness of all people.

In the Introduction of the book described above, Melvin McLeod said, “It’s not treaties that will really bring peace in the Middle East. It’s not legislation that will really change the lives of those who live in poverty and misery. It is only forgiveness, generosity, awareness, kindness, and selflessness that will really make a difference.” A few pages back, in the Introduction on page 11, McLeod writes, “We have to recognize that we can’t really change the world. We can’t really change who others are and what they think. We can only work with our own heart and mind. But the transformative power of that is extraordinary.”

If I were one of the writers in the above described book, I would put a much greater emphasis on the fact that we should still, nevertheless, keep working to create better governments, constitutions, laws, and treaties. Individuals need to be transformed inwardly to grow spiritually, and outer structures and institutions need to be transformed as well. The inner affects the outer, and the outer affects the inner. Both are important. Thus, if apolitical, New Age individuals stay calm, detached, objective, and centered in serenity, they should be able to cope with current events and engage in political thinking and activism more.

The sixth group consists of the progressives and leftists of various Socialist, Communist, and Green Parties. The author has a kinship with this group also. Its concern for ecological sustainability, social justice, egalitarianism, and a non-interventionist foreign policy is urgently needed. Probably most leftists do not practice meditation and prayer, nor believe in a higher Self and in reincarnation. But as secular humanists, agnostics, and atheists, leftists can be just as moral and ethical as other groups that engage in various spiritual practices.

With so much diversity and so many different worldviews within the United States, it is no wonder why the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, or the wealthiest one percent, can easily manipulate and maintain control of the disparate masses. Based on current trends, some would argue that the world is becoming a prison for the 99 percent. They point to the passage of laws that increasingly restrict our free speech, and to the increase in surveillance and Homeland “Security.” Meanwhile, third world nations are being plundered and exploited, and corporate capitalism is destroying the planet’s environment.

The seventh group is what I would call the reductive materialists or naturalists who believe there is nothing supernatural in the universe. However, others would argue to the contrary that if one accepts the Big Bang cosmology, then whatever caused the big bang was a supernatural event. When some New Agers talk of the channeling of spirits or of alien abductions, conservative Christians argue that this is all satanic. Conservative Christians believe the so-called alien abductions are not by beings from other planets but are actually extra-dimensional spiritual experiences created by Satan and demonic spirits.

When individuals have an experience of unconditional love, joy, and rapture through the drug-induced, spirit of Ayahuasca, conservative Christians would again say this is all part of a satanic deception because Satan can create a counterfeit of everything that is of God. Reductive materialists, however, would say that both groups, the pantheists, or monists, and the Christian theists, are deluded. The website www.rationalwiki.org is an expression of the reductive materialist worldview. Reductive materialists have differing political beliefs that span the political spectrum, from libertarians on the right to socialists on the left.

Readers who want to understand how biblical literalists typically believe the End Times will unfold are encouraged to watch these comprehensive youtube videos: The Real and Only Truth About This World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvApvRL-LCE and its sequel The Real and Only Truth About This World 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JUKy—nNFg. These videos discuss how ancient and modern alchemists and secret societies with New Age beliefs will play a part in the Last Days in the context of futurist developments involving genetics, robotics, information technology, and nanotechnology. These beliefs should be investigated and understood since large numbers of Americans think this way.

Creating Unity With So Much Diversity

What else is needed? Average Americans must realize the importance of democracy, especially consensus and participatory democracy, whenever possible. Somewhere—if not at home, then at school—everyone should learn conflict resolution skills. Our government must become both a democracy and a republic, that is, a democratic republic. It must be a democracy that provides guaranteed human rights that the so-called “mob” cannot deprive individuals of, and it must be a republic in which our leaders, who represent larger groups of people, will actually represent all the people, and not just the wealthiest.

The American people must realize that there are “blowback” repercussions if their government polices the world and exploits the labor and resources of other countries for the benefit of its transnational corporations. If by using a black budget, the CIA is sabotaging democratically elected governments of developing countries that refuse to be client states of the United States, we the citizens, who allow our government to do this, may be the ones who reap the consequences. Would we want a foreign government to have large military bases on our land? Of course not! So why do we think the people of other nations welcome our bases on theirs? Both individuals and nations should remember the Golden Rule.

Moreover, Americans must strive to achieve gender equality and develop toleration and respect for alternative sexual preferences. To reduce the forces of domination and hierarchy, our institutions and organizations can be built from the bottom-up, not the top-down, whenever possible.

What is the one branch of government that is most responsible for our plight, but potentially is the most powerful branch of government that can actually rectify most of our social, economic, and moral problems? It is the national legislative branch or the U.S. Congress. Currently only ten percent of Americans approve of Congress, which is quite pathetic.

We have to take responsibility for allowing the wealthiest one percent to control us. We need to recognize that although the members of Congress enjoy the pay, prestige, and perks of the job, they need financial contributions in order to get reelected. The one percent is able to donate the most money, which they do as long as members of Congress do their bidding. So the American people must realize the importance of taking all money out of politics, so that Congress can fulfill its rightful role of meeting the needs of the many groups in our society. In short, the best political remedy for our local communities, our nation, and the world is to demand that the U.S. Congress does all the necessary things to maximize democracy and promote world peace.

It has been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Well, that journey need not seem impossible. Consider that, for the first time, the American people recently expressed in the polls that they don’t believe the current lies and disinformation about why the U.S. should bomb Syria. The current crisis of thousands of Yazidis stranded on a mountain near the Iraqi-Syrian border since they fled from the militant group ISIS that has terrorized the entire region is something that all member nations of the United Nations should vote on and deal with. The United States should not act alone.

As more and more Americans wake up and stop relying on the mainstream media in the formation of their opinions, there is greater opportunity to reach the masses, especially the millions of Americans who don’t have jobs, or who work at jobs that don’t pay living wages. The working class of America can be educated and energized to demand that their members of Congress make these radical changes, or be voted out of office.

The U.S. Congress, with its approval rating of 10 percent, does not have to be permanently despised. Instead, an educated and empowered citizenry can help it become the ideal of the world. The Occupy Wall Street movement failed, at least in part, because it could not agree on specific demands to make of Congress. We have to be united in our common dreams and short term objectives.

As the gap between the rich and poor widens exponentially within a country and between countries— national and world problems increase accordingly. This is why it is extremely important to reduce the economic gap even more than what current socialists and communists might advocate. But the democratic voice of the people, after the 7 largest national political parties are empowered through proportional representation (as discussed later), may not be willing, initially, to reduce the gap to this extent.

We can create a classless society in which citizens enjoy academic study, philosophical thinking, meditation, and voluntary simplicity over conspicuous consumption and mindless TV watching. The new society could be accompanied by local, economic self reliance and local self-determination, undergirded by a modern type of tribalism. But the democratic voice of the people may choose a more regulated type of capitalism with a greater focus on individualism—even after the empowerment of the seven largest national political parties.

Advocating neighborhood control of neighborhood schools, to the extent the author has advocated it, is unprecedented. No other educational philosopher has ever recommended it. Even the first public schools had elements of top-down control. But just because it has never been tried does not mean it can never work.

With so much diversity, can there be unity and peace in the world? There can be unity and peace, and even happiness in the world, in spite of all the diversity. But, to achieve it—we each must find a way—through meditation, prayer, daily attitude, selfless service, or a combination of these things—to be inwardly joyful and also loving and kind in our interpersonal relationships.

But more than this is required: As responsible citizens, we must consider it our civic duty to maximize democracy within our society and do the things that promote world peace and ecological wisdom. It is better to think of what is best for the world and the planet than only what is best for one’s self and country. Democracy, of course, can only work if the citizens are well educated.

At different times in the author’s life, he has identified with the Christian fundamentalists, New Agers, and the reductive materialists. To this day, the irreconcilable worldviews of these three groups have fascinated him. This is why the author advocates a live-and-let-live philosophy that would create decentralized public schools and tribal neighborhood school districts.