All posts by adruidway

Writing about spirituality, Druidry, the Green World, imagination, creativity, magic, surprise and inspiration.

First Official Royal Speech, Other News

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Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 3, No. 1
21 November 2019

“Vogvo ker duvago ker kurpa anit!” promised the King in his first and brief address yesterday outside the Sovermian Embassy. His Majesty’s first words pleased Sovermian speakers uncertain of the status of their beloved language under the new monarchy. “I vow that I will keep the body [of state] breathing!”

“A strong monarch can be one effective stay against the present and widespread corruption of democratic ideals”, continued King Emery. “He or she cannot be bought by lobbyists. He can repeal ill-conceived and destructive laws, necessitating a revisiting of their premises and provision for their improvement. In a small nation like Sovermia, he can make the processes of government accessible to the people in the way no other single governmental official can. As the corporate face of the people, the monarch can represent the interests of a micronation to its vastly larger neighbors. Finally, he can provide a spearhead for progress by personal and visible advocacy. ‘Let us take arms against a sea of troubles and — by opposing — end them'” His Majesty said, turning to a literary reference which an audience member subsequently identified as lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

“Thank you all for coming. Suvita!” the King closed, using the traditional Sovermian word for goodbye to those departing, from one staying.

“What ‘progress’ means concretely in His Majesty’s conception, we don’t yet know,” observed journalist Jasna Sonupa, who also fielded comments and reactions from those present:

Troja Spuma laughed. “That must be the shortest speech ever from a politician! And I’ve heard of a bully pulpit. Now it looks like we may just have a bully throne”. She hastened to add: “I mean that in a good way, of course”.

Ifa Mezuva remarked, “King Emery’s first speech? I’d give it a B+”.

Raja Gorba said, “People who fear too sharp a break with Sovermia’s past as a radical democracy have nothing to fear with this new constitutional monarchy. Having a single principal leader just gives us a welcome focus for who to blame when things aren’t going well”.

Five year old Alja Sinkuna perhaps summed up the reactions of many when she said, “Our King talks funny. I don’t understand all his words, but I like these cookies. Mmm!”

• Opinions and Letters 

Borka Ima writes:

We need to see progress on the new Constitution. Can The Sovermian Week publish a copy of the draft so far? And if not, why not? King Emery has promised “ongoing access” — let’s see some!

Dalva Inunka, former secretary under the previous administration, and a member of the Constitutional Emending Syndicate charged with a first draft, writes:

Much of what was good in our previous constitution will remain in the draft of the new one. As soon as a draft is in presentable form, all Sovermians will have ample opportunity for input.

• Weather •

After the unseasonal cold that launched the winter season, Sovermia can expect more usual November weather for the next week, with temperatures ranging from 40s F/5 C in the daytime to 20s F / -5 C at night. Expect more snow on Sunday, 24 November.

A month till Gimei Solastata/Winter Solstice!


 

Best of the Sovermian Week 19 June 2019

Read more in the latest issue of Sovermia’s newspaper!

Speaker Easton enjoys the spotlight at a nearby cultural performance.

Raja Gorba continues in his drive for reforms to our language.

And agitator Ifa Mezuva writes,

For some reason, American majority leader and senator Mitch McConnell now calls full enfranchisement for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia “full-bore socialism”, if we’re to accept his recent remarks on Fox News. Curious. Full statehood for both has long been a Republican position. Apparently McConnell “was for it until he was against it”. Could it have anything to do with the Democratic-voting majorities in either region? Maybe if the Republicans made them states, they’d swing Republican. And what, I have to ask, does statehood have to do with socialism? Voting rights are now socialist? Do we need to change the name of our Sovermian Republic to the Socialist Heaven of Sovermia, because each of us enjoys full democratic participation, including the right to appear and speak before any syndicate, and indeed to call for a syndicate in the first place?

Read more in the latest issue of our paper!

Making America Wait Again

[Updated 22 March 2019]

The problems both parties keep ignoring won’t go away: climate change, increasing wealth disparity, crumbling infra-structure, white supremacist thinking, widespread indoctrination and misinformation on both the right and left. Yet neither party has tackled them head-on, in spite of a long history of campaign promises on both sides. We’ll pick on Trump here, simply because he’s the most recent occupant of the White House. Where’s the improved health care system and infrastructure spending Trump promised? How has he drained the political swamp of Washington? Is America any greater now than it was in 2016?

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Sovermians ask, because they live with this floundering, troubled, and very large neighbor surrounding them on all sides.

Make America White Again? Jews won’t “replace” Whites — that absurdly ignorant chant of the Charlottesville protesters. A quick look at the numbers of Jews and “Whites” shows what a pathetically foolish fear this is. How does race-baiting and a right-ward surge politically address the actual as opposed to imaginary problems confronting not just America but much of the West? The issues aren’t right-left, liberal or conservative, but top and bottom, the empowered and the disenfranchised. The political paradigms of the past no longer capture the reality of 21st century life.

Make America Hate Again? By splitting and pitting minorities against each other, pols play Americans yet again, because at the core, politicians simply cannot address the real issues within current political structures. Instead, more and more are out to line their own pockets, democracy and the common good be damned. Both parties have forsaken their ideals; conservatives have conserved almost nothing substantive except their own privilege, and liberals likewise haven’t liberated so much as consolidated the hold on power of the 1%. The painful part is that this isn’t news, yet Americans still seem too paralyzed to effect real change.

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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a particular post.

IMAGE: Pexels.com


 

“Rigging”, Markets, Democracy & Civilization

In a December 2018 opinion article, conservative columnist Bret Stephens observes of 2020 Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren that she

presumably believes that various forms of rigging are required to un-rig past rigging. Affirmative action in college admissions and aggressive minority recruitment in corporations are also forms of “rigging.”

Of course, Stephens seems to ignore the awkward fact that ALL systems favor certain outcomes. That’s why we institute them in the first place. Any kind of human craft or art, weaving or painting, religion or politics, is “rigged” in the sense that it is structured, sometimes quite elaborately, to bring about a desired outcome and not merely chaos or disorder. We only disparage such structuring when it happens not to favor us but rather “the other guy”. And we also often forget that human civilizations themselves are whole systems “rigged” on our behalf. If they weren’t rigged, fixed, slanted, biased, etc., why on earth (or anywhere else) would we pursue them? We put our energies where we see or hope for results. In spite of our hopes, fears, and superstitions, most of us, even if we buy a lottery ticket, still keep working till we win.

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terracing — an ancient example of a human system cooperating with natural ones, “rigged” to favor increased production

Likewise, so-called natural systems like regional and local ecologies, including the microbiomes each of us carry around in our guts, favor certain results over others. Evolution and genetic adaptation are forms of “rigging”: natural selection favors behaviors, traits and capacities responsive to the environment. We just tend not to perceive these as “rigging” because — we claim — no “intelligence” backs them, manipulating them for its advantage. But we could just as easily assert that life itself is intelligent — it adapts itself to new situations, to changing contexts —  in short, to the environment. If it fails to do so, it dies. Humans and human institutions are no different. (To the extent that artificial intelligence masters the ability to adapt to its environment, we may eventually call it “conscious”, which is only another name for “REALLY good at adapting”.)

What both Trump and Warren have pointed out is that every form of government attempts to advance its particular variety of rigging, and suppress others. (This is not to say there are no differences between Trump and Warren, but rather that a study of  the differences and the projected outcomes of their particular rigging is a different issue than the existence of rigging in the first place.) Further, a nominally “free market” is simply a system we have rigged to remove obstacles to certain kinds of economic activity, in order to favor specific outcomes we have chosen. We structure or “rig” such a market to be free of limits to competition, though of course there are always limits. Such a market never occurs “by itself”, but requires human law, political support, and consensus on the part of those involved if it is to work as intended. A market of any kind is a set of agreements, a system, and is rigged by its very nature. It is certainly not “free” in the sense of “naturally occurring” — a pleasant but deeply deceptive fiction: economics as it would happen “without human interference”. For of course any human economy is a system, a rigging, as are language, culture, dynamics between the sexes, etc.

In sum, rigging of some kind is a necessity — it’s what makes human life possible. The challenge we face is to make particular forms of rigging work for us, and — if we desire a functioning democracy — to work for as many of us as fairly as possible.

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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a particular post.

IMAGE: Pexels.com


 

Disenfranchisement for Democracy!

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pexels.com

In an astonishing opening paragraph yesterday (9 March 2019), David Masciotra writes in Salon:

The religious devotion of the Trump base to their secular god demonstrates that between 30 and 40 percent of Americans are unfit for participation in Democratic society. For the sake of job preservation, the overwhelming majority of Republicans in Congress have become equally as zealous as their voters in their insistence on ignorance, delusion and racism as criteria for political judgment. Given that polite people across the political spectrum can agree that disenfranchisement is not a legal or moral option, the most relevant question of contemporary debate is, “how do we deal with these people?”

Polite people agree? Is politeness — supposed liberal restraint and good manners — all that saves us from a vast political neutering of the 30% — of “these people”? And how might this be achieved — impolitely?

Dear Deplorables, please report for your updated identity chip to the nearest police station. If you have not yet received your involuntary sterilization before you begin Liberal Democratic Socialist Re-education, please see your local Commandant immediately to avoid further penalties. Note that required attendance at our weekly Political Executions is not waived for any other reason.

“Ignorance” and “delusion” — because two outta three ain’t bad! (In place of the racism Masciotra cites as the third distinguishing criterion of Republican political judgment, substitute instead the vast liberal arrogance on display here.)

How do we deal with “these” people?

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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a particular post.


 

In at least one regard, micronations do not differ from macronations: they exist because people have learned from experience they can do more, and do it better, together than they can alone, as individuals.

And therein, says “New Atheist” Sam Harris, lies a problem. As a recent (16 Feb 2019)  Guardian article on Harris puts it,

… if we want to converge on what’s fair we must “step outside of our identities”. He [Harris] believes that it’s when identity forms the basis for political activism that society suffers. “That’s guaranteed to amplify almost everything we don’t want,” he says.

Really? Is there any truth to this idea that runs directly counter to much contemporary Progressive political thought, at least in the U.S? Or is this statement an instance of the worst of white privilege and patriarchy? Is there a strong tendency in identity politics to continually subdivide into smaller and smaller factions, each angling for inclusion? Do any gains by the identity group outweigh the polarization that often ensures? And is “equality” really what we seek? Or is it more accurately respect for uniqueness, which applies to everyone, accommodates variations in individual difference better than mere “equality” — everyone lumped into the same democratic stew — and promotes each individual as more than a collection of characteristics that mark them as member of one often faceless group or another litigating for equality with every other faceless group? And after one group achieves its goals, does it labor to extend those same gains to other beleaguered groups?

I don’t have answers, or at least any good ones (yet), to these questions. But it feels important for me to raise them, and others to consider them, if they haven’t before.

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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated. Well-crafted rebuttals and original posts, not exceeding 1000 words, written by non-Sovermians and sent to sovermia AT gmail DOT com, may be published from time to time at the discretion of the editors.


 

Micronations as Celebrities: Another View

If a measure of celebrity status proves effective as a way to launch a micronation and seize the imagination of a group of people, then it’s not inherently more problematic than access to deep pockets or the appeal of long traditions of culture as a basis for a nation. We don’t criticize angel investors who still hope to make a return on their investment. We cherish traditions, especially if they persist in monetizable festivals, art, and tourism. Why criticize publicity, which if well-managed can achieve results? We’re looking for MASER — micronational attention, sympathy, engagement and results.

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Scaffolding our way to effective change and positive influence. Image: Pexels.com

The previous post decried celebrity as something negative, a kind of selling out to vulgar and transient fame. This stance ignores pragmatism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with celebrity, so long as it’s not pursued for its own sake. In other words, a “Kardashian micronation” we’re not. We can deploy fame — even modest notoriety when available — in order to generate positive influence. However original, moving, delightful and inspiring our culture, if no one knows about it, it dies on the vine with the passing of those who initiated it. Celebrity is a tool suited to today, with its media platforms and quick response to attention.

“Seize the means of production”? So old school, so 19th century.  Economies take time to build. But seize the attention of the public skillfully, and run with it, and you have an instant market.

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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a particular post.