061130 – Thursday – Correspondence


Your latest email suggested that your pessimism is deepening. How can that be in light of the fact that the Bushies apparently were unable to use Diebold’s machines to win? A small victory, but one nonetheless.




Sorry for my slow response. I’ve been a busy boy since I arrived here in New Zealand two weeks ago.

Well, you pose an interesting question. And, if I judged the world’s probable future solely through the lens of US politics, I think it would, indeed, indicate misplaced pessimism on my part. The current turn away from Bush’s policies is a good sign. I wish, however, that I felt that the change of direction was due to the Democrats offering up a new and persuasive visions for the country’s future but, I fear instead, that it was due more to a series of serious misadventures on the Republican side which pushed the electorate in the Democrat’s direction.

I recently read a book named, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics by Zuniga and Armstrong (review) which analyzes why the Republicans have so badly out maneuvered the Democrats over the last 15 years and what has and continues to be wrong with the machinery on the Democratic side. The book is written from the POV of a new and vibrant thread on the Democratic side – that is those young and technical types who have collectively joined forces to influence politics through the Internet. If you’ll recall, we first heard of these folks when Howard Dean’s campaign surged ahead so strongly due to their organizing via the Internet.

So, until people like Zuniga and Armstrong capture the control mechanisms of the Democratic Party Machinery, I think we’ll continue to see more of the same tired strategies which the Republicans have long since learned to organize around and bulldoze through.

But, in a fundamental way, all of that is peripheral to my concerns for the world’s probable future. The wells springs of why the world is on a collision course with disaster have much more to do with our inborn biological imperatives than with which country is currently sitting atop the dog pile.

I don’t know if you and I have discussed the concept of Biological Imperatives before or not. The idea is that all biological forms here on earth, from very near the beginning of biological evolution until the present, share deep inborn imperatives to propagate their genes forward in time and to create and protect spaces within which their progeny can grow to maturity so that they can, in their turn, propagate their genes forward as well. It is a strategy which has served all of biology well up until now. But now, one species, us, has become so powerful that we’ve broken free of all the checks and balances of the natural world and we’ve grown until we’ve covered the planet and now, with no more frontiers to conquer and no more spaces to fill, this strategy has finally, after billions of years, come to the place where its applicability has run out and a new strategy that acknowledges limits has to be implemented or we are going to self destruct and take much of the biosphere with us.

So, if you buy this hypothesis, then what’s going on with global politics is of only marginal importance. I tend to think of the Democrats and the Republicans these days as Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Neither of them seems to have even the faintest grasp of what’s going on and what the stakes are.

Dennis Gallagher
in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Comments are closed.