Whatever kind of economic system one favors–Capitalism or Socialism–the first and most important social objective, or social End, is the satisfaction of basic needs for everyone. The National Safety Net (NSN), with its Seven Point Agenda that clearly defines and demands a minimum level of quality living for all members of a given society, is an independent moral requirement that governs, or should govern, all considerations and claims concerning the “best” society. In other words, NSN is the essential standard by which we can and should measure a society’s claim to be the “best” in the world. It is “better” for any society to have achieved a basic threshold of good living for everyone than for citizens to live in a society in which some people have too much while others have too little. American-style gross inequality, with no strong safety net, creates more jealousy, resentment, unhappiness, and unrest than can be compensated for by any amount of material goods and services. Primitive societies, arguably, that have not reached a stage of material development where they can secure and sustain all the members of their respective societies are still better off, better places to live, than modern societies that have reached a high level of development but refuse or decline to provide adequately for everyone. Modern societies that accept and adopt NSN as the independent criterion for the Good Life are optimal–I believe.
It turns out that BP spent little to no money on safety concerns about deep water drilling. It seems that they are overwhelmingly focused on profits, so now we need congressional committees and hearings to fully reveal just how selfish and irresponsible they have been, and continue to be. What A Surprise that a big corporation would care a whole lot more about making money than it does about everything else! How sad that the American people do not understand the consequences of an economic system that legally mandates money-making as the bottom line. This is the reason The National Safety Net (NSN) does not enter into the debate between Socialism and Capitalism–namely, the country is not willing and ready to accept the logical outcome of this debate because it is ideologically bound to Capitalism. Instead, NSN simply clarifies and demands a minimum threshold of quality life for everyone. If Capitalism provides this for all citizens, which of course it will not and cannot, then let it do so, or try to do so. NSN refuses to define its strategy and goals in terms of Capitalist possibilities and propaganda. It begins with the obvious self-evident truth that America is rich enough for everyone to have a decent and dignified lifestyle, and that everyone deserves at least as much. The National Safety Net is a bold, new, visionary political line that is very different from the major “Progressive” organizations and websites, which have become next to useless because people need and deserved a clealy outlined ( by the NSN Seven Point plan) good life NOW, but they are unwilling to say so, let alone actively push for it.
The National Safety Net (NSN) Seven Point Plan would provide a decent lifestyle for all Americans, but the major Progressive Organizations and Websites must think that this is too much to ask for, or work for, because at least thirty of the top groups (that I contacted–CommonDreams, TruthDig, The Nation, TomDispatch, PDA, for examples) refuse to post or even link with NSN, which just goes to show how out of touch they are with what really matters to Americans–namely, the substantive elements or ingredients of everyday life. Progressives are so busy cutting the heads off the Hydra of American Empire, and analyzing and strategizing politics to death, especially electoral politics, that they have forgotten or turned their backs on the obvious self-evident truth that there is more than enough wealth in this country to take basic care of everyone, and that it is perfectly rational and just that we as a country do this, and that the political leadership should demand it NOW. Unfortunately, Progressives ignore, shy away, or run away from this simple moral calling. They would rather stay negative, or point in the direction of abstract alternatives such as Jeffersonian Democracy, than support a concrete political plan for a quality life for all US citizens. Since Progressives are unwilling or unable ( for whatever reasons) to recognize and support such a modest, yet fundamentally important social objective, then we need a new visionary movement (beginning with NSN) that is committed to the clear common good, and not afraid to say so and act so (unlike modern-day Progressivism that is lost in sophisticated arguments and strategies not focused on the basic goods and services of daily life).
The National Safety Net (NSN) proposes that each and every American has a basic right to a dignified and decent lifestyle in virtue of citizenship alone, and it entails a Seven Point Plan that concretely defines what this means. Universal healthcare, free education, ect., are among the elements of a minimum threshold of quality life that this very rich country can easily afford in many ways–for example, America spends more money on advertisement (in which people are persuaded and manipulated to buy things that they mostly don’t need or enjoy) than the entire cost of implementing and administering NSN. Despite the obvious need for a strong national safety net in this country, given the historical and inevitable ups and downs of the American economy, especially for lower and middle class families, the so-called “progressive” political organizations overwhelmingly think and act on the false assumption that Americans are not ready for big and sweeping changes in their everyday lives. These well-known organizations have become so cowardly and timid in their goals and expectations that they can no longer be counted on to lead people to a qualitatively better social life, and they, taken together, now define and own the meaning of progressive politics in this country, and unfortunately they have turned it into a dead or dying sociopolitical movement (which is not at all what it was when it arose and lived under men like Theodore Rossevelt and Eugene Debs). Therefore, NSN cannot and should not be considered part of the progressive movement in America, but rather the beginning of a new, bold, and visionary politics that comprehends the great hunger in this country for real change, and offers people what they need and deserve, even if many of them do not yet conceptually or fully understand what this is. In other words, NSN leads people to a genuinely satisfying life by clearly and loudly articulating and demanding the fundamentals of such a life, instead of pandering to people for votes, money, and support for weak and fragmented goals that would not substantially alter everyday life for all Americans even if they were successfully achieved tomorrow.
A Progressive in America is someone who places so much emphasis on strategy that really significant goals are never discussed and achieved. This strategy is dictated by the belief that “the people” (or at least enough people) are not willing and ready for major changes in their lives, therefore they must be fed small, incremental, piecemeal changes that don’t upset or irritate them too much. This is the fatal flaw of American-style Progressivism, and why it needs to be replaced by a bold, new, political strategy that is not afraid to call openly and confidently for what “the people” need and deserve. The National Safety Net (NSN) is such a strategic proposal that begins and ends with the creation and implementation of a Seven Point Agenda that brings about major change in everyday life for common people, now and completely. It is not to be expected that Progressive organizations, groups and individuals, will adopt or support NSN because NSN gives priority to goals over strategy, substance over process, rather than the other way around. It’s time for politically enlightened folks to understand that Visionaries, instead of Progressives, are the future, if there is to be a future (worth living) in this country. Progressivism is sucking the time and energy out of many of the best and brightest political people in America. Visionaries, on the other hand, work with anyone and everyone who is not afraid to honestly articulate and embrace NSN’s Seven Point Program, which provides an absolute minimum standard of living for all. Real politics begins with the minimum, and builds on it, because anything less than this is not worth pursuing.
Fear and hatred in Arizona are spreading across the country on a variety of issues, and they will continue to grow and strengthen so long as the economy turns downward, or more accurately, so long as the economy divides people into the super-rich and everyone else who hangs by a thread or soon will be hanging by a thread. The National Safety Net (NSN) will significantly reduce the fear and hatred in America by providing everyone with the basics of life. However, the articulation, promotion, and passage into law of NSN is blocked by the selfishness and greed of too many Americans, which means that the country is caught between fear and hatred on the one hand, and selfish and greed on the other hand. It’s up to politically aware people to lead the population as a whole out of this socio-economic trap, but unfortunately even the best and brightest folks are not meeting the challenge, preferring instead to pander to the American people by offering them everything but the blunt truth, which is that we need compassion and generosity in this country more than anything else (even above justice and fairness). Fear and hatred are the flip side of selfishness and greed.
According to recent, reliable polls only about one-half of Americans like Capitalism, and young people are evenly spit between Capitalism or Socialism. It’s good to see that more and more people, especially young people, are realizing that a money-driven economy is not the panacea it has claimed to be for the last 200 plus years on this Continent. On the contrary, Capitalism has created an ecological crisis, as well as a socio-political crisis that together have put everyone in a state of dangerous insecurity. The National Safety Net (NSN) is the beginning of an alternative economic system in America, and once it is up and running , then it will demonstrate/prove to more and more people that the human qualities of cooperation, sharing, and generosity are superior to competition, selfishness, and greed in all areas of life. NSN opens the door for a qualitatively better human existence, and it is time for intelligent and sensitive individuals to take the essential first step of supporting it. The major so-called progressive organizations and groups are not going to do it; they have become far too traditional, conformist, piecemeal, dependent, and afraid to alienate or lose the people, and they are actually moving contrary to the latest polls showing that more and more people want something completely other than Capitalism, something like NSN to begin with.