I've just published over on Medium "What We Need to Truly Thrive: Democracy and Unconditional Basic Income". It's actually the text of the speech I wrote for my keynote at DemCon 2018 in Ireland.
I've also posted the slide presentation I created for this speech as well to SlideShare.
Here's an excerpt:
Fear… About a century ago, the world witnessed what happens when fear takes hold of the minds of the citizenry of nations. Fear of poverty, fear of the other, fear of change… these fears led to the rise of leaders who promised total control because fear often emerges from the lack of control. From that seed fascism was born, and from fascism came a level of devastation that was unprecedented in human history. War engulfed the planet.
When FDR declared there’s nothing to fear but fear itself, he was expressing another response to fear, which is to not be afraid. Fascism feeds on fear. It requires it. It makes a false promise to solve it by exerting control over everything, but control does not end fear. Control uses fear parasitically. Totalitarian control is a Faustian Bargain, where the Devil makes the unknown less scary by collapsing an infinity of options down to one — the one you’re told.
The year is now 2018, and I am afraid. As an American who has studied history, I am afraid that fascism is on the rise again, and this time, it’s even in my own country, which happens to be the most powerful country on Earth, fully capable of single-handedly destroying it.
How did we get here once again, and what can we do about it to stop it and to also prevent it from ever happening again? I believe the answer lies in two ideas which need each other and reinforce each other: democracy, and unconditional basic income.
Democracy is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. I firmly believe that. I consider myself among the luckiest of humans to have ever existed, to have been born after the divine right of kings had perished from this earth. That my forefathers had something to do with a nation born in independence from royalty, and who believed in the right and the ability of self-rule by the people, fills me with great pride.
But democracy is not something that is created, and just continues existing forever. Democracy is not a physical object. It has no inertia. Every day we must wake up and together create democracy. I can’t help but feel that in the US, we’ve been letting it fade, partly because of the simple fact that like vaccination against disease, it works. When something’s working, it’s easier to take it for granted.
We also haven’t sufficiently scaled our representative democracy to account for a vastly larger population than we had in the 18th century, nor have we sufficiently protected our democracy from the overpowering influence of money. But most of all I think democracy has been fading because of our original sin as a nation.
That original sin was slavery...
To read it in its entirety, head on over to Medium, and please "applaud" it by holding down the clap button so as to improve its visibility to share it more widely. Thanks!
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