A New Ton of Progress

A New Ton of Progress
by Lisa Massaciuccoli

After Newton, Renaissance thinkers could no longer argue that ancients knew more than contemporaries. What Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, among others, put on the table for consideration, Sir Isaac used to cook up a delicious, irresistible (and, apparently, addictive) soup.

Slurp by slurp the Renaissance assumptions slipped away for good, their (approximately) 400 years of glorious accomplishments notwithstanding. Following Newton, it was undeniable that most areas of human activity and achievement were the beneficiaries of steady and decisive advance.

That’s the fundamental premise behind our notion of PROGRESS.

Cut to the CREDIT CRISIS:

What do you think are the figures for today’s ownership of U.S. wealth? What do you think the change has been in that regard over the last decade? For the top 1% of our population.

For 1998?
For 2003?
For 2008?

Answers: 37%, 57% and 70% respectively. As per www.michael-hudson.com.

That’s not progress. That’s momentum that our oligarchy intends to keep rolling.

And our democracy has rolled over to accommodate a full blown OLIGARCHY, in part, because even our alternative media outlets keep reinforcing the notion that there’s a significant difference between the two major parties. That third party candidates can contribute some worthwhile pressure in the name of desired change. Overcome the stranglehold of elites.

That’s one fundamental premise behind our notion of PROGRESSIVE POLITICS.

There’s a constant drumbeat of incessant talk about the pros and cons of this and that candidate, when the fact is that — even without the seemingly insurmountable issues of voter purging and machine-based machinations* — our electoral arena does not — will never? — welcome healthy discussion.

*See http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/9/greg_palast_on_vote_rigging_and, http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/9/ohio_secretary_of_state_jennifer _brunner, http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/9/report_voter_purging_process_is_ shrouded. However, please beware of the false hope notes that are festooned throughout such pieces and (otherwise) worthy sites such as http://www.witnesstoacrime.com/.

Throughout the Renaissance, those in-between years, the “Middle” Ages, had been condemned for their blinkered abandonment of the glorious values of the ancient world. Not only were the medieval institutions such as the papacy denounced as corrupt and unworthy but even medieval art was dismissed as barbaric, or “Gothic.” No good word was allowed for the rib vaulting, the flying buttresses, the elaborately carved portals, or the glowing windows that were the culprits responsible for the disappearance of the domes, the curved walls, and the rounded arches of Roman architecture.

If popes, cathedrals, and a theology devoted to minutiae had no merit, why should one pay heed to the era that they represented?

Well, the drawbacks of 1997 notwithstanding (See the reference to 1998 above) it’s time to return to… an earlier time.

To a time that even precedes the infamous (?) back-to-the-land movement of the sixties.

Perhaps to OUR MIDDLE AGES. When 1% of the population didn’t come close to owning even 37% of our country’s wealth. That period in our history had some value.

There are new lessons to learn from our past (YOU choose any point you like)… if we can drop our obeisance to so-called progress. And reject rote repetition in the so-called alternative media. Turn away, in any way possible, from our present momentum on most fronts.

Tons of new instruction to be had.

But our Renaissance men and women — so enamored of their own (dated) insights, efforts and accomplishments — must first acknowledge that a New Age beckons.

Lisa Massaciuccoli — that’s me! — can be reached at massaciu@yahoo.com
P.S. DiMaggio’s http://www.counterpunch.org/dimaggio10092008.html is an example of what I’m talking about when I complain about the alternative media perpetuating outworn notions… such as the idea that a lot of heartbeats should be devoted to delineating differences between the two parties. What is the point of pointing out that Obama is more polite than McCain — a no-brainer — when Obama is complicit in murder and mayhem? That our only alternative is to embrace less murder and mayhem in certain areas? Please, spare me your cynical resignation, your lack of lifeblood. Your sad wisdom. Mainstream media offerings, of course, should be relegated to realm of… Pre-history.