Dear Readers: About Building Communities
By The Editors (1/22/14)
This site draws substantial traffic and we very much appreciate that fact. For some reason, however, very few individuals choose to leave comments. As we say in our comments section, "we find truth via contention." If you're devoted to the pursuit of truth and want to see it prevail, then posting comments and engaging in the lively back and forth that could happen here would contribute to that endeavor.
When so very much of what passes for the public discourse today involves active efforts to mislead and deflect from the truth, and where immoral and unscientific arguments and policies characterize so much of public policy, imperiling the very fate of the planet, forming a community of people who regularly leave comments and engage in conversation with one another is something that could serve as a rallying point for everyone who wants a different present and radically different future. If you look at the comments section at The New York Times, for example, you will find a lot of very well-informed and thoughtful people who frequently leave interesting and illuminating comments, but the center of gravity of most of those discussions inevitably revolves around the parameters of the NYT articles themselves, limiting how deeply and comprehensively the collective discussion can be.
We would like this site's comments sections to be alive with discussion and debate. The goal of our site is to probe all of the numerous arenas of life - politics, science, economics, sports, art, movies, literature, music, and so on - and to push at the envelope of people's imaginations and courage, to collectively pool what we can each bring to the table and raise ourselves and the society up through that process. As with all other things, even as small a number as one individual who chooses to step forward and set an example helps to bring into being what would otherwise remain an unrealized and untapped reservoir of ideas, experience, enthusiasm, and spirit. If you find that you benefit from reading the articles posted here, then think how much better it would be if you directly joined into conversation with the authors and other readers here. Think what a great salon we could create! Whether people answer this call sooner or later, eventually it will happen and a thriving community of regulars plus irregulars will come into being; but think how much better it would be if it began now rather than somewhere down the road. Why wait? The world is dying for something far better than what passes for the status quo. Whatever your level of knowledge and experience, even if you are a complete novice, if you have the attitude of wanting to learn and contributing to the collective pursuit of knowledge, then do speak up! You'll be glad you did, as will everyone else.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)