A Better Form of Government

Nothing serves us better to demonstrate the inadequacies of our capitalist democracies than the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the most powerful nation on Earth. His unsuitability for the job, any job above that of an unskilled laborer, is abundantly clear from what he says and how he says it, yet he was elected in a free and fair process.

Nothing serves us better to demonstrate the inadequacies of our capitalist democracies than the corralling of 90% of a nation’s money into the coffers of 1% of the population. The function of currency is to facilitate trade in goods and services yet it is openly used to distort the media services, and corrupt politicians, judges and law enforcement agencies.

The fact these two failings of democracy were foretold by the Greek philosophers 2,500 years ago has done nothing to prevent the bloody evolution of nations under the rule of monarchs, dictators, and religious leaders of various hues, from becoming our history. We have reached this point with first, second, and third world nations administered variously by democracies and dictatorships only to find the most advanced in terms of military might and highest living standards has, at its masthead, an incompetent who abjures science and holds his electorate in complete disregard.

The temptation to look back to see what went wrong, is strong, but let’s resist. Let’s look forward; let’s see how we can put the obviously wrong to rights and make the world a better place. Two words come to mind: sortition and assets. The first, sortition, to prevent misrule; the second, assets, to prevent misappropriations.

Sortition

Simply defined sortition is the choosing of officials by lot. Rather than have our officials elected through the ballot box, engendering the circus that is the media feast in which false promises and corrupt practices thrive, we draw straws. Using a process similar to that of the British and American jury selection, a diverse group of people are notified of their impending duty to serve in the administration of the nation. The larger the group the greater the diversity; the greater the diversity, it has been established, the greater the intelligence. In her paper “Democratic Reason: the Mechanisms of Collective Intelligence in Politics,” Hélène Landemore, Assistant Professor at Yale, pulls together a collection of works on the subject of democracy and the benefits of collective reason. Following the arguments presented by other worthies from Aristotle’s Rhetoric, to Scot Page’s How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, it appears that Intelligent Diversity has proved to be a far better way to solve problems than the collective intelligence of experts. Collectively experts bring little value over that of the one because experts are similar – they are similarly educated and similarly experienced and are, in effect, more of the same. A group drawn by lot on the other hand can be as dissimilar as sheep shearers to cardinals. Each member brings a differing perspective thus collectively forming a wider view. It is this wide view – this diverse intelligence – that best serves to make the wisest decisions.

Assets

A nation’s assets are in the land it encompasses and the people who live there. The value of the land increases with infrastructure, water management, and the extraction of minerals, while the value of the people increases with education and the maintenance of good health. Its currency is used to facilitate the exchange of goods and services the products of which, along with foreign reserves, add to the nation’s wealth.

Should any of a nation’s assets fall into disuse it becomes a poorer place. For this reason we must keep our roads and ports, and our health and education, in good repair. Failure to repair our roads results in potholes, slowing the traffic, allowing other nations to overtake us. Failure to maintain good health and improving education slows our mobility of labour, allowing other nations to take over the markets. Money, too, must remain in good use to lubricate the processes upon which the nation thrives. Should the money seep away from general circulation the machine slows, much as an engine overheats and slows when there’s an oil leak, and keeps slowing while the money decreases until it seizes solid, making it very difficult to restart. Recent austerity policies adopted by some administration to limit the loss of oil merely overheats the little that remains. Engines, like national economies, require a very precise level of lubricant: too much it spills into the wrong places; too little it dries the bearings and slows the wheels.

The management of currency then is vital to the health of the nation. It has to be circulating. It serves no purpose locked in empty buildings or unused land or vaults or under mattresses. Money has to be out there, working, or it is of no value to the nation. It perhaps needs to be remembered that money belongs to the nation that created it. It is not for the sole use of an individual or an institution or a company that accumulated it: it belongs to the nation to be used by that nation. Money not in use must therefore be brought back into use to prevent overheating.

A better way to govern then is to harness the intelligence of cognizant diversity to manage a nations assets to ensure they remain in use. Sortition goes a long way towards achieving diversity by the selection of groups to decide policy. This works only if the groups are informed by experts, much as a jury is presented with information by advocates in the courtroom. A group drawn by lots presented with the pros and cons of various economic policies are less likely to decide to adopt austerity in the face of a shrinking economy than a political party seeking re-election. Similarly a group encompassing a wide range of ages and incomes is more likely to adopt a health program for the common good than that of ministers subjected to the overtures of drug company lobbyists.

The management of money revolves around taxation so policies adopted here have profound effects on all aspects of life within a nation. Modern thinking is moving away from taxing income, which inhibits spending, seeking instead to tax assets, which discourages all forms of hoarding. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century advocates such policies but the chances of a ballot box dependent government adopting such radical changes seem slim. A group drawn by lot on the other hand would have no such inhibitions when presented with all we have learned in 300 years of the ever changing backdrop of our economies.

The actual management of government departments must of course remain in the hands of those best suited to the job. In Donald Trump we have a mind blowing example of the result of poor selection from the ballot box. Democracy, that is government of the people by the people, ought to be better served by the majority vote than it is but, term limits, media manipulation, and money, all distort the process. Let’s by all means choose from volunteers those best suited to administer government but let them be chosen by juries isolated from external influences. Government can then continue, much as it does now, by well informed civil servants, overseen by an executive best suited for the job, doing the daily work but in a manner dictated by policy determined by intelligent diversity.

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Meira III – The Gilgamesh Syndrome

sandLMeira III has become long overdue due, in part, to distractions in world events but more so to the increasingly obvious need for radical change to the capitalist democracies predominate in first world nations. Why should that effect a work fiction? Because Meira is our paragon of common sense unhindered by preconceptions and conformity. From the time Christopher Jordan first realised that the Ancients had good working knowledge of solar energy he knew established historians would never accept his conclusions. Rather than combat the existing order he decided to by-pass it with credible fiction which we centred around an heroine with exceptional powers – Meira.

Unlike the unbelievable sock, bam, pow, of the American superheroes Meira is a work in progress – she grows in skills and wisdom as her adventures carry her ever nearer to her destiny. She grew from the angry young woman in Book I, Looking for Father, to the adventuress harnessing the power of the oceans in Book II, The Seahorse.Tablet_V_of_the_Epic_of_Gligamesh

In Book III, The Gilgamesh Syndrome she progresses to the heiress proper – ultimately fulfilling her role and accepting the huge responsibility descending upon her.

While looking for answers in the ancient city of Aleppo is she caught up in terrorist activity but rescued by agents of her old enemy The Federation of Fossil Fuel Purveyors – FFFP. She returns to Mesopotamia, this time to Damascus, becomes entangled in the war raging there and is whisked away to southern Iran where a hidden city has been revealed by a commercial mining group. It is a staggering find of far greater value than of the city she visited in the Karakorum Mountains in Book I, and harnessing more power than the Sea Horse of Book II.

With her old friends, Ben and Peter, to help her, and her old enemy Commander Conway to protect them, she studies the architecture of the living city and the recorded texts only she can understand.

In Part II of Book III Meira is armed with knowledge of the Ancients stretching back to 100,000 BCE.

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Atlantis

[one_half]

sandLThe road trip was, as Israel stated, just a little journey in a half track troop carrier that seemed to meander all over the place. The ascent by foot though, up steep trails and along barely passable trails, seemed long and arduous. She was glad when they rested, but subsequently amazed to see that even after a continuously steady climb that was, in reality, of a mere twenty minutes or so, they were now overlooking a long, sheer, drop – the bottom of which her eyes could not reach. “Careful,” Ben warned her. “You won’t be able to see the bottom, no matter how far you hang out.” She retreated to safety.

They continued for another five or six minutes until they reached what appeared to be the entrance to a cave. She followed Israel and Ben as they stepped in then stopped. It was cold and, to her surprise, a little windy. Flashlights came on as men nervously took stock of their surroundings. She felt comfortable though; she knew where she was. Breathing deep and slow she advanced into the opening without fear or hindrance from the rest of the party. With Ben beside her she lead the way to where she knew there would be a stairway. In fact they came to a sizable open area with light filtering down from openings high, very high, over galleries stretching up and around. She stopped to take it all in. No one spoke.

No one spoke until she broke the silence. “Have you ventured on the steps?”

“They found bodies, Meira,” Ben told her. “They found three men dead but no indication of what killed them.”

“Where are they now?’

“At the bottom of the drop.”

“Young, old? Modern, western dress?”

“Young. Turbans – Taliban style. No sign of violence. They were strong and well fed.”

“So?”

“Fear. These guys want the water, they don’t want authorities here, but they are scared of what might have killed them.”

Martin Keene/PA

Martin Keene/PA

Inwardly she smiled. Perfect: An ancient solar city hidden by fear. Perfect. “What about the water?”

Ben signalled her to follow to the end of the hall where a short flight of steps opened out onto a gallery over what appeared to be a lake: only it wasn’t. It had stone sides, of maybe two metres, and stretched as far as she could see. It was cold – colder than the other place. She started to walk. “It’s about twenty minutes to the far end,” Ben said as if to stop her.

She looked back. “So?”

“There isn’t time.”

“Why?”

“We have to go back.”

She thought for a second or two then conceded. “Okay,” and followed him back to the others. Once outside the heat and sunlight hit them like a furnace door. “I need time here,” she said. “I need days and nights here.” The men’s faces said they were uncertain, anxious; that they wanted to leave. They weren’t just anxious, she realised; they were scared and they wanted to leave now – this very instant.

Ben said, “I’ll bring food and water.”

“No,” she said. “I’ll come back on my own when I know more about this place.” She turned back inside. The men left.[one_half][/one_half]

[one_half_last]

Inside Atlantis

She went quickly to the main hall then up the steps, all the steps, all the steps she could find until she reached the top. She thought she knew what she would find here and she was right, there it was, but not one, but five – five chambers each with its own huge, jet black, obsidian stone dusty from millennia of disuse and stained from previous millennia of continual use. She gasped at her discovery. This, she decided, must be the heart of the mother and father of all solar cities. This is Atlantis? It could be. If Atlantis is not just a place, if it’s a state of mind, then this could be Atlantis. She sat in the centre chamber and gazed at the huge doors to the outside world and wondered when last they were opened. In no time Catherine was with her.

This had been a successful community. There had been many, long, generations here. This place was built during the last Matriarchy, before the sea levels rose, before the catastrophic volcanic irruptions, and long, long before the religions stole the hearts and minds of frightened men.

Amina had been here. She had long memories from years in this city right up to the volcanic dust that covered everything killing most of the people and all of the animals. Amina had seen the floods, the falling mountainsides, and the freezing winds. She had seen all of this and survived long enough to continue the line but her daughters were frail. The climate and the pollution stunted their growth, shortening their lives to not more than sixty years, and their children’s children’s lives not much longer. This was the beginning of the long descent back to the survival of the fittest. Here, in Anima’s memory, was the end of the Matriarchy and the new dawn for the Alpha Male.

There followed the millenniums of the law of the strong: the taking and the killing; the deception and lies and desperate thrusting to prove that strength, and prowess, could overpower knowledge, truth, and reason. Gods were invented, religions born, wars proliferated and millions upon millions died almost as fast as they could reproduce. How sad. How sad that we are still there.

With the exception of the sealed, upper, chambers volcanic ash must have covered everything at one time: Its chemical content would have dissolved all animal and vegetable content and eaten into the floors and walls but she knew where to look. Beneath the thinner coatings on the upper walls she could make out the murals – not the reliefs and engravings of later artists – these were ceramic murals on a vast scale. This was the legacy of the Matriarchy at the apogee of its of it grandeur. She gathered some of the larger pieces of debris and broken pieces of staircases together to form a mound so she could climb higher, to the top of the walls where rich colours could be seen peeking through the grime.

In the lower chamber she explored the artificial lake. It was, she estimated, four thousand metres in length, about one thousand wide, and two metres deep. It could hold up to eight billion litres. There wasn’t that much water there now; now there was not more than a couple of hundred thousand – still, that was a lot of water, and from where had it come? She was tempted to climb in, test it for depth and temperature, but her instincts warned her against that. She needed tools, pumps, hoses, solvents . . . she needed a team of helpers and, above all, she needed secrecy because once the heavy mob arrived it would be impossible to care for, and preserve, this wonderful find.

Back at the camp she found Ben in an intense game of chess with Bill. Neither looked up when, hot and dusty from walking and climbing, she pulled a chair to the table and sat. All the others in the room were clearly alarmed, and giving her their full attention. “You walked? How did you know where we were?” Israel was clearly annoyed.

“Driving that half track around in circles is not likely to fool anyone Israel. Even in the bullet proof rear cabin one can see sunlight and shadows.” She sat down.

Israel recovered. “Yes, yes, I’m sorry. My manners, I’m sorry. So water?”

“Thank you. Do you have facilities here . . . showers, toilets, places to eat and sleep?”

Bill looked up as if from a coma. “First impressions?”

“It’s an important find. I will need help, tools, logistical support.”

“And the water?” Israel was watching her carefully.

“There is a lot there, but as to how old it is, or how it came to be there, needs analysis and testing.”

“Did you think to bring samples on your walk?”

“Think, yes; bring, no. Secrecy is vital. Only our own people, only our own, most trusted, people should know of this.”

“Indeed,” Ben piped up. “I will bring Peter. No one should leave.”

Bill stood. “I will have Peter brought here, and whoever, and whatever, else you need. You are correct Ben: no one should leave. Especially not you or I.”[/one_half_last]

Posted in Ancient Solar, Meira, The Gilgamesh Syndrome | Leave a comment