New Ideas, Old Ideals

A collection of readings on politics and culture

One of the articles in Reclaiming Politics (IC#30)
Originally published in Fall/Winter 1991 on page 18
Copyright (c)1991, 1996 by Context Institute

Since Plato first set pen to paper and produced his Republic, there has been an exponential growth in writing about our political problems and their possible solutions. The following selections are by no means a complete survey of contemporary political thinking – they are simply some of the most interesting bits of analysis to cross our desk in the past few months. Their topics range from the power of community to the tyranny of the global economy, and from political taboos to political witchcraft. Read, ponder – and act.


A Question Of Locus: Sovereignty And Community

Daniel Kemmis

Daniel Kemmis is the mayor of Missoula, Montana and the author of Community and the Politics of Place (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1990). This article first appeared in The Responsive Community, Summer 1991; write 2300 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 282, Washington, DC 20006 for subscription information.

The conversation about community deserves our best attention because of what is at stake in it, which seems to me to be roughly the fate of democracy. I mean democracy, not as a slogan, but as a lived human reality. And since humans, if they actually were in charge, would will that the earth should be able to sustain us, I will go further and say that what is at stake in the conversation about community is not only the fate of democracy, but therein also the fate of the earth.

How might things be arranged so that a sovereign self may stand in a democratic relationship to a sovereign world? Only by attending to what actually nurtures democratic citizenship, which means attending to people. Statistics tell us that democracy is ailing, and surely it is; however I am equally sure that democracy can never be measured in statistics nor in any other abstraction, but only in the way that human beings embody themselves in relation to one another. It is here that community presents its democratic credentials.

Unlike our prevailing politics, the politics of community feels human; it feels like something a real person could engage in without apology. There is risk here to be sure, because a community might decide to do something truly dreadful. To minimize this risk, we appeal readily to something beyond community, something abstracted from it, against which its decisions might be judged. This resort to abstraction springs from sound human motives, but the result is and must be to undermine the crucial democratic potential for face-to-face problem-solving. Yes, community is risky. In fact, I would argue that community is precisely a risk-taking: a gamble that if we let people be real with each other and hold each other responsible, the democratic payoff will far exceed the occasional human lapse. Community is that risk, and resorting to "extrinsic standards" in an effort to minimize the risk undermines both community and democracy.

This resort to extrinsic standards also has a name: it is called "the nation." The dialogue about community must not only come to grips with our prevailing fear of particularity and our fascination with abstraction, but, by the same token, it must address a question which has essentially remained unasked in this country since the Civil War: the question of where democratic sovereignty can and should reside.

In this country, we have posited sovereignty in the nation, treating all other polities (states, localities, and the "international" polity) as derivative from this fundamental sovereignty. Yet the abstract nature of the nation-state guarantees that it cannot nurture, but must indeed undermine, a lived democracy.

The great strength of community, in contrast to our prevailing politics, is that it cuts with, not against, the human grain. But central as humans are to democracy, they are not all of it. Part of the communitarian appeal is that it takes people in context, recognizing that they cannot be abstracted from their various forms of connectedness. The truly democratic stance is firmly planted on earth, and a genuine democratic confidence realizes that people are sufficient to the problems of inhabitation only if their politics and their polities incorporate not only human dimensions, but the organic dimensions of the earth itself. So community, if it is to make the sovereign self and a sovereign world democratically present to one another, must recapture some of the richness of the old ideas of the embodied community (as in "body politic") or of the res publica, the "public thing". We should invite the old republicans into our conversation and ask them why they were so insistent on human scale and locus as essential features of a humanly satisfying public life.


American Indians: The Original Democrats

Jack Weatherford

Many people believe that our democratic tradition evolved primarily from the Greeks and the English. But those political cultures, steeped in slavery, aristocracy, and property-power, provided only a counterpoint to the more significant source of our federal democracy – the American Indians. In the following condensed selection from his book Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World, Jack Weatherford looks into the historic record to correct the mythology we have been raised with. (Copyright © 1988 by Jack McIver Weatherford, reprinted by permission of Crown Publishers, Inc.)

The most consistent theme in the descriptions penned about the New World was amazement at the Indians’ personal liberty, in particular their freedom from rulers and from social classes based on ownership of property. For the first time the French and the British became aware of the possibility of living in social harmony and prosperity without the rule of a king.

As the first reports of this new place filtered into Europe, they provoked much philosophical and political writing. Sir Thomas More incorporated into his 1516 book Utopia those characteristics then being reported by the first travelers to America. More’s work was translated into all the major European languages.

Louis Armand de Lom d’Arce, Baron de Lahontan, wrote several short books on the Huron Indians of Canada based on his stay with them from 1683 to 1694 during which he found an orderly society, but one lacking a formal government that compelled such order. Soon thereafter, Lahontan became an international celebrity fêted in all the liberal circles. The playwright Delisle de la Drevetiere adapted these ideas to the stage in a play about an American Indian’s visit to Paris, Arlequin Sauvage, which had a major impact on a young man named Jean Jacques Rousseau and eventually led to the publication of his best-known work, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, in 1754.

During this era the thinkers of Europe forged the ideas that became known as the European Enlightenment, and much of its light came from the torch of Indian liberty.

When the American Revolution started, Thomas Paine served as secretary to the commissioners sent to negotiate with the Iroquois. Paine sought to learn their language and throughout the remainder of his political and writing career he used the Indians as models of how society might be organized.

Reportedly, the first person to propose a union of all the colonies and to propose a federal model for it was the Iroquois chief Canassatego, speaking at an Indian-British assembly in Pennsylvania in July 1744. He suggested that they do as his people had done and form a union like the League of the Iroquois.

Benjamin Franklin was Indian commissioner during the 1750s and became intimately familiar with the intricacies of Indian political culture and in particular with the League of the Iroquois. Speaking to the Albany Congress in 1754, Franklin called on the delegates of the various English colonies to unite and emulate the Iroquois League. This model of several sovereign units united into one government presented precisely the solution to the problem confronting the writers of the United States Constitution. Today we call this a "federal" system in which each state retains power over internal affairs and the national government regulates affairs common to all.

The Americans followed the Iroquois precedents of always providing for ways to remove leaders when necessary, admitting new states as members rather than keeping them as colonies, and allowing only one person to speak at a time in political meetings. One of the most important political institutions they borrowed from the Indians was the caucus, a word that comes from the Algonquin languages. The caucus became a mainstay of American democracy both in the Congress and in political and community groups all over the country.


Men, Therapy, And Politics

James Hillman

James Hillman is a Jungian analyst who has emerged as a leading critic of psychoanalysis and a proponent, with Robert Bly and others, of what is now known as the "mythopoetic men’s movement." In this excerpt from an interview with Forrest Craver, he explains his views on how psychotherapy has contributed to political disempowerment, especially for men. The interview first appeared in Wingspan: Journal of the Male Spirit, Oct-Dec 1991, available free (donation suggested) from PO Box 1491, Manchester, MA 01944. Hillman is currently working on a book with writer Michael Ventura called We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World Is Getting Worse, to be published by HarperCollins in 1992.

Psychotherapy emphasizes the private self and the kind of men who are sensitive, intelligent, and educated. These men for the last forty years have been developing their inner lives. They have been engaged in inner work, a process of growth and self-development, focusing on their feelings and memories. The ideology of therapy has led them away from the questions of public relationships.

Men need the value of being together. They are discovering the benefits of taking part in recovery groups for such problems as overeating, alcohol addiction, going through a divorce, and so on. As we know, they get very bonded in these twelve-step programs. They share a "polis feeling" as a group, a community feeling. A flow. The root of the Greek word "polis" means flow.

Unfortunately, the focus is not on the polis or the world out there, or on the social and cultural factors that have brought about their wounding. Instead the focus is on "me" curing my problem and you curing your problem. Recovery groups, instead of turning only inward to explore their members’ pasts and their childhoods, their problems with mothers and fathers and so on, could also look outward at the social, political and economic reasons that make work and life unsatisfactory.

What I do in my work is to question traditional therapy, which says the self must first be reconstituted, that the people must first have strong egos to handle the problems of their pasts. Only then, the theory goes, can they enter the political world. Without an intact ego, you are going to have half-baked, neurotic, disturbed, dysfunctional people running around. And the world already has too much of that. Therefore it is much better that everybody go into therapy, come out of it, and then enter the political world. The prevailing notion is that first we have to do this consciousness-raising job with the self.

I challenge that idea. For centuries men have entered the political world without having been in therapy. They entered with their sense of social justice, their sense of wrong, their sense of morality and outrage, their sense of idealism towards the future. Those motives are deeply rooted in a man’s soul.

Another aspect [of my challenge] is that political awareness [or] sophistication is not something you learn in therapy at all. You learn that from experience – from being on committees and sitting in meetings, from the careful reading of propaganda, and from participating.

The kind of consciousness you get in therapy is a consciousness of relationships and differentiating internal feelings, memories and projections. This perspective is very valuable, but it has nothing to do with politics and action in the world. So the fantasy that you can do therapy first, become conscious, and then enter the world does not mean you are going to enter the world any more politically conscious. You may be the same political dope you were when you first entered therapy.


Women, Politics, And The Environment

Suzanne Tedesko

Since Rachel Carson first published Silent Spring in 1962 and awakened the world to the dangers of pollution, millions of women have embraced the environmental movement. Some have supported environmental issues not because the scientific data was conclusive, but because they felt in their bones that the cause was right. Mother Earth was being "raped," her natural resources "exploited." Such charges struck a feminist chord.

In its early days, the environmental movement focused mainly on the preservation of nature, and many environmental organizations were dominated by men. But the late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed the emergence of "ecofeminism" as a grass-roots political movement making the connections between the subjugation of women and the domination and exploitation of non-human nature. Although ecofeminism as a movement includes a range of agendas, ecofeminists share a common perspective and a feminine organizing style.

Today, as ecological damage escalates, environmental activists of all stripes realize their task has grown immeasurably. They are no longer saving scenery; they are preserving life-support systems.

MS Magazine, on the cover of its Sept/Oct 1991 edition, has issued an appeal: "Earth to Women: HELP!" And Women Of Power magazine devoted its entire spring 1991 issue to "The Living Earth." Both magazines recognize that a growing number of women are entering the political arena for the first time through their work to protect the environment. Environmental activism connects the personal to the political, and women are taking on issues that directly affect their health and well-being.

Many of these health and quality of life concerns cut across race and class. Political scientist Cynthia Hamilton writes of the two-year battle in South Central Los Angeles to prevent a 13-acre solid waste incinerator from being built in a poor Hispanic and Black residential neighborhood. When concerned citizens organized to oppose the incinerator, women were in the majority. Having neither political nor organizing experience, these women responded to protect their children. "Women often play a primary part in community action because it is about the things they know best," writes Hamilton. "These individuals are not responding to nature in the abstract, but to their homes and the health of their children."

Similarly, in the developing world, women are taking action to protect the earth. After all, in many regions, women interact most closely with the land: they plant, harvest and prepare the food, carry water, and gather wood for fuel. According to a UN estimate, women account for more than three-fourths of the food supply in Africa. They increasingly make decisions regarding food production, land use, fertilizers and pesticides. Recognizing this connection to the land, environmental activists like Wangari Maathai in Kenya and Vandana Shiva in India have successfully mobilized women at the grass-roots level to combat deforestation in their respective countries.

Nonetheless, while women’s participation at the local level has surged, gaining political power to affect global policy has proven more elusive. Former New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug deplores the scarcity of women in international leadership positions. "Women have been almost invisible in policy-making on environmental and development issues. They’re present in large numbers at the grass-roots, but at the top of most important non-governmental organizations, we find only male leadership.

Still, Abzug herself, and other women like German Green Party founder Petra Kelly and Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland (who headed the UN Commission on Environment and Development) attest to the fact that women with political clout can focus world attention on the fate of the earth. As special advisor to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Abzug and others are preparing a Women’s Environmental Action Agenda to present to UNCED this June in Brazil. In addition, they are pressing nations to include up to fifty percent women in their UNCED delegations. [For more on UNCED, see page 8.]

If the rallying cry for women in the 1960s was "the personal is political," perhaps the watchword for the 1990s should be "the personal is environmental." But if women are to ensure that environmental concerns become priorities in the decades ahead, they need to take over governmental and international leadership positions and begin not only to "think globally," but to "act globally" as well.

Suzanne Tedesko is an IN CONTEXT volunteer. Her other hats include being a film and video producer, festival producer, ESL teacher, and mother.


Green Rights Are Inalienable

Nelson Mandela

In a speech honoring the publication of a book on environmental struggles in South Africa, Nelson Mandela committed the African National Congress to far-reaching green policies. The following excerpt of that speech first appeared in the Weekly Mail. The book is called Going Green: People, Politics and the Environment in South Africa, edited by Jacklyn Cock and Eddie Koch (Oxford University Press). Reprinted by arrangement with Pacific News Service.

South Africa has a strong reputation internationally for conservation. But the concern for the flora, fauna, and wildlife never extended to the well-being of the majority of the population, an objective which must surely be the purpose of our concern for the environment. Rather, the indigenous people have been perceived as the "problem," the "obstacles," and even the "threat" in environmental management.

This is in keeping with the colonial and apartheid ethic. Intrinsic in apartheid is environmental degradation. The ethic of South Africa’s rulers respects neither nature nor humankind. We do not need experts to point to the consequences: they are visible in the geography of our country and in what we see around us.

* Contrast the swimming pools of the white suburbs of Johannesburg with the absence of indoor plumbing and sanitation in the townships and squatter camps.

* Witness the consequences of increases of 400 to 500 percent in population density over a decade in some of the areas created by the establishment of bantustans and forced removals: our land stripped bare, the soil eroded, as people have struggled against poverty and deprivation.

* Look at the black townships built downwind, and white suburbs located to protect residents from the poisonous matter that spews forth from the chimneys of industrial plants, while inadequate pollution regulations add to the profits of companies.

* Consider the coal stoves polluting the townships, and in the rural areas the soil eroded and the land barren as trees are cut down for fuel and women have to walk 9 to 10 kilometers a day in search of wood. Yet our power stations operate under capacity.

* We have a nuclear power station constructed on a geological fault, in an area where wind patterns can create a hazardous situation and with a population density higher than would be considered safe in other countries. The decision was motivated by strategic considerations rather than energy needs, and any debate on questions of safety was muzzled by legislation prohibiting discussion of such issues. And what are we to do with nuclear waste?

Plans are now under way to build more nuclear power stations in our country. Can we allow this program to go ahead? Should such decisions not await a democratic government and a society in which there can be free and informed debate?

The list of examples where people have been ignored is endless, and it is these images which we need to consider, even as we debate how to protect national parks and South African wildlife.

The lesson apartheid South Africa has yet to learn, hopefully before we have a major catastrophe, is that noxious fumes, the destruction of natural resources, nuclear emissions and pollution of water do not respect racial boundaries. The clouds of smoke affect black people in the townships first, but they also drift into white suburbs.

The uncontrolled storage of toxic waste will affect the air we breathe and the water we drink, regardless of which racial group we belong to.

Traditionally our people lived in harmony with and respected their habitat. Traditional customs and taboos protected the environment and the concept of sustainable development was implicit in our practices. Our ancestors knew that the preservation of the fertility of the land and the non-destructive uses of resources were necessary for survival. This is the environmental ethic we have to rediscover and promote.

It is also the ethic we have to promote in our relations with our neighbors. The South African Defense Force, which is, incidentally, one of the largest land owners in South Africa, has left a terrible legacy in southern Africa: defoliation and destruction of the land and natural resources of Angola and Namibia; the war that still continues in Mozambique; military involvement in poaching and ivory smuggling.

The well-being of all the people of South Africa is going to depend in large measure on how we manage our environment. Economic growth, however rapid, will not suffice, unless that development is sustainable and our resources are conserved for future generations.

For the majority of South Africans, the major environmental issues are: availability of land, so that it does not have to be stripped bare in order to provide food and fuel; providing adequate sanitation and clean non-toxic water for irrigation and for the health of our people; ensuring that the air we breathe is free of pollution. These issues cannot be resolved without the participation of those most concerned.

The African National Congress sees the preservation and the rehabilitation of the environment as part of our liberation struggle. This is why what are called third generation rights – or more popularly, green rights – are included in our proposed Bill of Rights.

Like all other human rights, they are inalienable.


The Tyranny Of The Unregulated Global Economy

David C. Korten

David Korten is a contributing editor to IC and president of the People-Centered Development Forum, a network of nongovernmental leaders and organizations promoting the concept of development as complete transformation of the economic and political order. The author of Getting to the 20th Century: Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda (Kumarian Press, 1990), he was interviewed in IC #28.

Traditionally, discussions about citizen political participation have centered on the relationship between state power and the democratic rights and voice of the citizen. For years this has also been the focus of my own concerns in relation to people’s participation in development. Only during the past year have I become conscious of the extent to which the issues of democratic participation must now be fundamentally redefined as a consequence of relatively new forces that became prominent during the 1980s.

During this period there has been a strong push by the institutions that dominate global economic policy, particularly the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to remove national barriers to the free international flow of trade and capital. With the strong commitment of the Bush administration, the press toward globalization of the world economy has been picked up in the current Uruguay round of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In 1992 the final steps will be taken toward the complete integration of the European economy. Meanwhile the governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico are moving rapidly to integrate the North American economy.

As national economies have become increasingly integrated into a single global economy, the power of transnational corporations has grown accordingly. We find that the largest global corporations now command more economic power than all but a few of the largest and wealthiest countries. With goods and capital flowing freely across their borders governments have ever less ability to regulate their own economies or to advance those many public interests that are not served by market forces.

Corporations now roam the world looking for places to site their production facilities, favoring those that offer the lowest cost labor, the least constraining environmental and health standards, the lowest taxes, and the most attractive government subsidized infrastructure to produce goods for export to the most affluent markets. Market competition is being eroded through mergers and acquisitions that consolidate corporate power in massive oligopolies that themselves function as centrally planned economies, managing international movements of goods and capital beyond the discipline of market forces. Those localities that seek to preserve the values of community and ecology through regulations that exceed international norms find themselves the subject of unfair trade practice suits.

The concept of market competition is being fundamentally redefined. Increasingly the most intense competition is not between corporations fighting for market share, but rather between the governments that compete with one another to attract prospective investors by offering the cheapest and most docile labor, the least regulation, the lowest taxes, and the most heavily subsidized infrastructure. Many governments find themselves pressed to increase their foreign debts by borrowing on international financial markets to provide such investors with subsidized infrastructure. Often the borrowing is from official institutions, but the major benefits are reaped by investors who eventually take their profits abroad, leaving their underpaid workers behind to absorb the burdens of repaying an international debt.

The issues are taking on new immediacy for the United States. The Bush administration is moving rapidly to merge the US national economy with the economy of Mexico – where effective environmental regulation is almost non-existent, democracy is a sham, and millions of workers compete for jobs at bare subsistence wages. Who will be the beneficiaries of such an action? Surely not American workers, small businesses, the environment, or our democratic institutions. American consumers are told they will enjoy lower prices – largely the result of a significant downward pressure on wages. The only clear winners will be the transnational corporations that avoid US environmental regulations, shift jobs to low-paid Mexican workers, and increase their market shares at the expense of smaller national producers to increase investor profits and the salaries of top managers.

Given the implications of such an agreement, it is truly astonishing that there has been almost no public debate in the US media, and that the US Congress has essentially agreed to accept whatever agreement the administration negotiates, without amendment. This demonstrates the power that transnational capital has acquired, both within and over the US political system. It also demonstrates the extent to which the mainstream media, which depends on the advertising budgets of the same corporations that finance politicians, has all but abandoned its role as public watchdog and public educator in areas of essential public concern.

The free trade ideologues would have us believe that the weakening of the state in the face of the globalization of the world economy is a victory for the forces of freedom and democracy. To the contrary, these forces are undermining the essential institutional foundations of democracy by eroding market competition and government accountability.

The restoration of the institutional pluralism that is the backbone of any free society depends increasingly on the melding of a globalized civil society into a powerful countervailing force able to bring the forces of free-floating, unaccountable capital back under control. Such a melding is occurring. We may hope that the massive gathering of citizen organizations in Brazil on the occasion of the 1992 Earth Summit will serve to advance this movement and set the stage for citizens throughout the world to regain control of their political institutions and their local economies.


The Power Taboo

Margo Adair & Sharon Howell

The following is excerpted from "The Subjective Side of Politics," one of several provocative publications available from Tools for Change, 349 Church Street, San Francisco, CA 94114, Tel. 415/861-6838.

Nobody talks about power. Those who have it spend a great deal of effort keeping it hidden. Those who don’t rarely risk raising the question.

Power is about the control of resources. It is the ability to do what one chooses. The more power one has, the more options one has. Prior to World War II the vast majority of Americans knew who had power and who didn’t. With the expansion of the affluent society and its mass media image of two cars in every driveway, power became mystified. Political and institutional power were hidden by an ideology that stressed individual capabilities and achievements. Those without power came to regard this as a personal failing, those with it as a sign of personal success.

Like power, freedom is defined as doing what one individually chooses. This concept of freedom is the very thing that keeps all of us from being able to have it, for it creates a mindset in which the last thing we look at is the way in which resources are viewed, distributed and controlled. This emphasis on individual freedom hides the fact that the options available to some are only made possible at the expense of others and the earth. When freedom and power are the same thing, it is no coincidence that freedom is the only word we hear. Naming power is taboo. To raise the question of power is to threaten the freedom of those who have it.

We have established a culture in which the measuring stick for normalcy is white, male, Protestant, middle class, heterosexual, able-bodied and serious. These are the ones who are assumed to be okay and best able to make policy. Those of us who do not fit these categories must, of necessity, prove our competence to be allowed into the club. Proving our capacity means we each must show we are just the same as the white, male, Protestant, middle class, heterosexual, able-bodied, serious person. We have to trivialize or hide the particular aspects of who we are that don’t fit the yardstick. The narrowness of this measure gives most of us the uncomfortable feeling that we never quite belong. "Passing," which usually refers to people of color pretending to be white, is something we must all do to have access to privilege. The price is the pain of fragmenting ourselves.

We live in a mass culture that makes invisible, "abnormal" or "illegitimate" the experience of everyone except the white, male, Protestant, middle class, heterosexual, able-bodied, serious person. This is why claiming the power to define one’s self is always the beginning of liberation.


Politics As Magic

Starhawk

Starhawk, also known as Miriam Simos, is a practicing witch and political thinker on the faculty of the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality. She is the author of Truth or Dare (Harper & Row, 1987), from which the following is excerpted.

Politics is a form of magic, and we work magic by directing energy through a vision. We need to envision the society we want to create, so that we can embody aspects of it in each act we take to challenge domination.

The edifice of war and domination is supported on three main pillars: our obedience, the construct of the enemy, and the enormous resources we devote to war. Each of these footings can be undermined. When our vision of what we want is clear, each act we take against an aspect of domination can become a positive act for the alternative we create.

A society that could heal the dismembered world would recognize the inherent value of each person and of the plant, animal, and elemental life that makes up the earth’s living body; it would offer real protection, encourage free expression, and reestablish an ecological balance to be biologically and economically sustainable. Its underlying metaphor would be mystery, the sense of wonder at all that is beyond us and around us, at the forces that sustain our lives and the intricate complexity and beauty of their dance.


The Big Question

Vaclav Havel, formerly an obscure dissident playwright and now the president of Czechoslovakia, has emerged as one of the leading political thinkers of our time. His ideas, expressed in such writings as Living in Truth and The Power of the Powerless, are now undergoing testing in the laboratory of Czechoslovakian freedom – but the country faces grave difficulties in healing the trauma of forty years under totalitarian rule. This question, excerpted from his essay "Politics and Conscience," is one that all those in political life – which includes everyone – would do well to ponder.

The question is … whether we shall, by whatever means, succeed in reconstituting the natural world as the true terrain of politics; in rehabilitating the personal experience of human beings as the initial measure of things; in placing morality above politics and responsibility above our desires; in making human community meaningful; in returning content to human speaking; in reconstituting, as the focus of all social action, the autonomous, integral, and dignified human "I", responsible for ourselves because we are bound to something higher, and capable of sacrificing something, in extreme cases even everything … for the sake of that which gives life meaning.

– Vaclav Havel


A Political Fable

In the beginning was the plan, and then came the assumptions, and the assumptions were without form, and darkness was upon the face of the workers, and they spake among themselves saying, "It is a bucket of bullshit and it stinketh," and the workers went to their Supervisors and sayeth, "It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof," and the Supervisors went unto their Managers and sayeth unto them, "It is a container of excrement and it is very strong and none can abide by it."

Then the Managers went unto their Vice-Presidents and sayeth, "It is a vessel of compost and none may abide by its strength." And the Vice-Presidents spake among themselves saying one to another, "It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong." And the Vice-Presidents went unto the President and sayeth unto him: "The plan promotes growth and is very powerful." And the President went to the Board and proclaimed: "This new plan will actively promote the growth and efficiency of the company," and the Board looked upon the plan, saw that it was good, and were pleased to adopt it.

– Anonymous

 

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