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For overview of issues discussed at this sight, see hppub paradigm.


Not only every business but also ever person should have a mission statement, a little manifesto of goals and dreams, the kind that Jerry McGuire Kinko-copies and hands out to all his colleagues before he gets axed for blowing whistles and speaking out of turn.

High Productivity Publishing will provide working persons of average means a vehicle to join policy debate as individuals rather than just as members of a politician's constituency.

Policy debate today centers around a cultural war, which expresses a tension between freedom and responsibility. Associated with this tension are other edgy problems which counter-weigh public goods. These include free personal speech v. loyalty, intellectual honesty v. adversarialism, career identification v. family intimacy, selectivity v. aesthetic realism, choice v. commitment. All rights and associated responsibilities have both an individual component and a group or community component.

In almost any representative democracy, government, though set up with the best of intentions to protect and uplift the citizenry, tends to become a facility through which organized political blocks gain advantages or privileges for their constituencies at the expense (backed up by the legal police powers of the state) of outsiders. Democracy, though the best possible form of government, ultimately yields to a bit of collectivistic tribalism, the "us" v. "them." In general, individual citizens have not enjoyed access to government except through supporting politicians with money and votes to speak for them, and the speaking, from a moral point of view, is often grossly oversimplified leaving out facts in a way that used to get us points off on college history tests as well as adversarial. People feel that events that can greatly uproot them (and their loved ones) necessarily come from regions beyond their control, except for their foot-soldierly participation in voting or other pressure blocks (such as labor unions).

This degree of one's empowerment over one's life is connected to one's sense of independent personal identity. Most people believe they are supposed to achieve expression of adult personhood through the intimacies family life (as depicted in Richard Strauss's Sinfonia Domestica) but feel conflicted about expressing themselves individually, often starting with the workplace. Conventional society has, until relatively recently, held steadfast to the notion that certain ideas, particularly those that challenge conventional notions of sexual identity and associated obligations, should not be brought to the dinner table. To speak of certain things made people (especially young men) too uncomfortable with themselves to continue functioning effectively in the community, particularly through marriage. Notions of truth and right, of honor and courage, of basic integrity and morality were supposed to remain simple and unquestionable; the universe (inasmuch as we were allowed to understand it) was to be a simple place, as revealed in the Bible or other religious writings. This way, life seemed somehow controllable and justifiable, even when horrible things happened to good people. Furthermore, people did not have to question their own sense of personal adequacy. "Normal" people could hide behind the assumption that traditional family socialization was a minimal prerequisite for meaningful participation in society, and "queers" could excuse themselves that they were just born that way. Grains of truth became whole wisdom.

Our observable world, as we can know it from science, is an orderly but unbelievably rich place, as we discover deeper layers of truth. We face the real possibility of culture shock from learning that we are not alone on this planet in growing life, even within the next ten years. At the same time, information technology, largely as a result of a few entrepreneurs, is giving people of ordinary income the resources to delve into these things for themselves and express themselves publicly. Anybody with a big mouth, a laser printer and modem can become his own publisher or town crier. I'm one of those people. I'd like to help others with like intentions. For now we have the opportunity to present truth and debate issues as individuals, rather than let hired guns water the truth down for us to the point it is misrepresented.

There are formidable legal, political and ethical obstacles, however, to the political participation that I am advocating. People generally owe their peers and families a lot of loyalty, and many people who make workplace decisions affecting subordinates or customers may not speak their minds without jeopardizing their business relationships. We are faced with the reality that a capitalist system governed under representative democracy must necessarily exist as an adversarial system that values loyalty almost to the extent it values individual speech and expression. Socialistic systems are even more adversarial unless they predicate themselves on cultural simplicity and conformity. The downside of all this is that people look to government to resolve moral questions (such as helping the poor) that they should resolve through their own families and communities, and that, more important, government remains a vehicle for playing cultural Robin Hood.

We have a political mentality focused on who wins the next election. Will there be a better way? I hope so.

Bill Boushka

copyright 1997, by Bill Boushka. All rights reserved

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