Friday, February 12, 2010

ar: Why Americans don't contribute to communities

John Michael Greer writes about "This Presupposition of Passivity" in his Archdruid's Report.

Greer argues that community isn't being taken from Americans, that Americans walked away from the concept of a cooperative, supportive community. He gives that as the reason Americans talk about organizing communities to prepare for an economic upheaval as the forces of history - dissolution of the stuctures keep an elite minority in power - and peak oil combine to move America down the road to becomeing a Third World nation, not even necessarily a Third World Power.

Some thoughts on what happened, to take people out of community. The same pressures and events also took farm kids and rural town children away from their homes, their families, and communities.

I think that forming a family, that is adults coming together to share lives and fortunes, is an act of culture, an atom of culture. The determination of what is right and expected, the selection of traditions and rituals, are unique to the family. If the family members respect their parent families, they will draw on and honor those cultures. Likewise, if they respect and honor their community, they will incorporate from there as well. If they respect their parent cultures, they will also be drawn to procreate, to express their respect and honor by passing their culture, their ethics, traditions, and rituals, onto the next generation.

It is the culture of the families that come together, to make up the culture of the community, and of the extended family. I don’t think you can have real community without the generational span of family as an atomic, key parameter. Without adding members, no community is sustained for long. The community must manage assimilating new members, whether raising children or indoctrinating adoptees.

The challenge of community in America stems from consumerism in marketing and governance, and liberalism/indoctrination in the schools. Americans didn’t just walk away from communities. For generations we have been giving our children away.

You cannot give your child to the state or the nation to learn ethics, and expect to get them back to build family and community. It won't happen.

I have seen children engaged in Transition projects, but not a direct description of taking charge of their children's education. This simple fact, incorporating community into education of the young, I think, is a big part of the durability of Quaker and Amish communities. The information given isn't the biggest part of the problem, the problem is the filters that either denigrate all family and community ethics in favor of government agendas, as against the private school's opportunity to indoctrinate children in the community culture.

After WWII, veterans were greeted with a variety of opportunities. Industry had expanded, and new openings were easy to develop for the returning GI. Communities still demanded adults marry. Communities understood and acted on a need to assimilate those within its bounds. Thus, GIs found jobs, and wives, and families, and community strengths were maintained.

Vietnam saw a general turmoil, where distrust of the government at all levels from community draft boards to the office of the President of the United States (When LBJ admitted not knowing what to do about Vietnam). Vietnam vets were *blamed* for serving a war they were drafted to fight – and ostracized. The nation was taught a strict lesson by those hating, spitting, flower-wielding long-haired hippies on TV - that serving the community or nation was hateful, something only cowards did. And communities were less active, in assimilating and accommodating returning vets.

Honoring service in the military hasn't been a national priority since. Many communities never recovered from the antagonism to local draft boards. Not to mention lingering antipathy from the friends and children of those hippies.

There were many pressures created since the 1950's to focus Americans on individual aspirations, to the exclusion of the community. One was the nationalization of education that now included desegregation and affirmative action in race relations - and a whole host of other individualist, liberal agenda items. Another was marketing, the whole "keeping up with the Joneses" thing introduced an element of actively striving against members of the community. Businesses hired individuals, often from across the nation. This pulled people from their community, then plunked them down in new-built "housing developments" without the resources to *be* a community, just a collection of houses.

At one time, communities invested heavily in families and, probably, Christian, behavior. That has been coming unraveled since the 1950's explosion of "Everyone to college, for fun and (bed) games" to all classes of Americans. Even before the "summer of love" (there seemed to be a lot more sex than love) and women's liberation challenged the notion of family, let alone community.

Any attempt to plan for the future is going to have to take the children away from the Federal Government, as a first step. Whatever else is planned, stopping the indoctrination of our children to be ambition-drive drones, irreverent of their parent's faith and culture - that has to come first, or there will be no one to come after the "community".

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