MORAL POWER, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

How can our earth have such plenitude of life, clean water, and dense forests just 12,000 years ago, but now have become reduced to increasing scarcity of life, unclean water, and diminishing forests along with rising human misery after only a few hundred years? What is the cause or what is to blame? I think that history reveals a clear relation between the choices we make and planetary enhancement or degradation.

We cannot blame technology in and of itself because technologies of whatever kind are merely instruments of human creation and use. Technologies do not have a practical purpose independent of the design given to them by human beings. Technologies are only purposeful when guided by the hand of a human being.

The technologies which are designed, mass produced, and marketed by corporate power elites filter down to billions of people in global markets and into homes worldwide. Then, when used on a mass scale by people who do not understand the harm such technologies do, the harm done to earth grows to immeasurable depths.[1]

The mass use of a single technology like a cellular phone or automobile by billions of human beings on any given day is causing mass irreparable damage to the fabric of our moral lives and to life forms on earth. The fact is that moral depravity and earthly depravity are positively correlated.

The signs of global resource scarcity, environmental imbalance, and rise in human misery point to specific choices which some human beings have been making with cold indifference to other better alternative choices which could have been made by them.  Their choices are ‘moral choices’.  Moral action and its opposite called negligence are the context of all human relations.

Both the Bible and the Holy Quran make the same argument by means of an allegorical story.[2] The first human beings were made guardians of a Garden; imagine that the Garden symbolizes the Earth.  A guardian is a moral overseer. Their prime directive from God was to do no harm and break no promises.  After committing harm and breaking a promise, the first human beings were condemned to physical, emotional, and spiritual degeneration in perpetuity. It is called: the fall from grace. That allegorical story implies the necessity of making moral choices so that we can have healthy social and environemental relations.

In law school, I studied the law of Torts. I studied a branch of Tort called the Tort of Negligence.[3] The central proposition in the law of negligence is simple. It is that ‘every person has a duty of due care so as not to harm another’. When one breaches his or her duty of due care to other persons and harms them, they are defined by law as having been negligent.  They are defined as having breached ‘the social contract.’[4]

Before we act, we should always consider what behavior is the best behavior so that we reduce the chance we will do harm to another including all other animals. Undeniably, the law of Negligence is a moral principle. The law of Negligence is a civil law implicit in all criminal laws; it is a fundamental principle in all human groups. The fact that human groups exist at all makes moral principles self-evident.

When a person is presented with more than one choice of action in a circumstance, the question is: which option is the best choice out of several alternatives? There is always the best choice of action out of several options in every given circumstance.

Some scholars argue that human beings are fundamentally selfish.[5] But the best choice cannot simply be that choice which optimizes what is good or pleasurable for the person making the choice. That would be an act of irrational selfishness.[6] For what is good for one person or even several persons or even a whole nation may be disastrous for billions of other persons in the short and long run.

Evidence exist to support that claim. Look at the last several thousand years of what I call the ‘Empire Game’. The Empire Game has been and is now an unmitigated disaster for all humanity. The Empire Game has even assumed the title of ‘World History’ implying that all other facets of human history are less important than it.

But there is also what are called in law ‘acts of omission’. Sometimes, under some circumstances, even making no choice can be an act of negligence which causes harm to another. Therefore, the argument that ‘some choices are amoral’ meaning morally neutral is a false premise because individuals and groups always make choices they define as good or pleasurable for themselves. And those choices even if it is a choice not to choose any course of action always cause effects. Therefore, there is no such thing as an ‘amoral’ choice because all choices and even decisions not to choose have unintended consequences on other people and the earth.[7]

For that reason, the issue of moral power and its effect on human and other environmental relations is the central problem facing us today. It is a central problem facing descendants of slaves. If that problem is not solved quickly, there will be no hope for mass survival during this age of global dysfunction.[8]

The political, corporate, and religious power elite casts a very long shadow over billions of people on this earth of ours. At the end of the day, their shadows convert to social and spiritual privation for all those living in their shadow. In a sense their shadow blocks rational sunlight from reaching into the lives of many people. It makes us less able to live moral lives because it stresses us to be less cooperative and more irrational and conflictual in relation to our neighbors and earth.

For subordinate people, everywhere, the life of the power elite is the antithesis of the life lived by those in their shadow. The elite, whether they be political, religious, or business elites, live a life of wealth and intellectual supremacy at the biological, economic and social expense of all people subordinate to them. 

What can we do? Can we hypothetically get a grasp of the gravity of our social and economic problems? Let’s imagine some possibilities and follow them through to a conclusion. Let’s do a thought experiment.

Hypothetically speaking, if every descendant of slaves who is incarcerated in State, Federal, County, and City jails were released tomorrow; and

Hypothetically speaking, if every descendant of slaves who is released vowed to never commit another crime; and,

Hypothetically speaking, if no crimes were committed by descendants of slaves released from prison thereafter; and,

Hypothetically speaking, if all other descendants of slaves vowed that they would never break the law; and,

Hypothetically speaking, if all descendants of slaves in fact did not commit felonies ever again in the United States, then what would happen?

First, there would be an extra million and a half descendants of slaves living mainly in cities but also in small towns throughout the United States.

One million and a half more descendants of slaves would immediately add about 2% to the African American unemployment rate which already stands at about 16% or twice that of White unemployment.  That would make the unemployment rate for African Americans about 18%.   What can we compare an 18% unemployment rate to?  For that, we turn to the 20th century.

During the height of the 20th century’s great depression, the percentage of unemployed Americans was 25%. Thus, if there were a 2% rise in unemployment, descendants of slaves would experience an economic depression equivalent to the great depression wherever they lived in the United States in 2017.

Secondly, if no crimes were committed by descendants of slaves, the criminal justice system would collapse unless it seized upon another ethnic group to criminalize. Let’s assume the criminal justice system did not seize upon another ethnic victim. What would happen?

An unintended consequence of mass lawful behavior would be a second wave of unemployment adding to the 2% rise in black unemployment; but this time among whites. The ripple effect would expand far and wide into the economy. Share value in private for profit prisons stock would literally become worthless. Billions of dollars would be lost over night making wealthy white investors poor.

What would happen is that the “1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories” would get significant Federal, State, County, and city budget cuts. That would include cutbacks in criminal courts with district attorneys, public defenders, police officers, and private criminal lawyers becoming unemployed along with everyone who works in the criminal justice system from administrators, correctional officers, to janitors. It would affect over 500, 000 individual employees and their families. In dollar terms, let’s say a cutback of about $85 billion dollars nationwide.  State, Federal governments would lose money because they would no longer have a justification for increased taxation of citizens to support the criminal justice system. Look at the graph below to get a bird’s eye view of the magnitude of economic dependence governments and corporations have on crime and the incarceration of descendants of slaves.

What would all those descendants of slaves choose to do under such circumstances? The economic characteristics of the United States are changing so fast that even the most educated Americans are continually having to retool their skills to keep up with technological change. How can under-educated ex-felon descendants of slaves be expected to do so?

 

Robots at the “Hannover Messe” trade fair in Hanover, Germany, April 2014[9].

The fact is that there would be no jobs for most of them aside from agricultural employment. The reasons that they would have nothing to do center around 1) their general lack of education. Here are the facts: “About 41% of inmates in the Nation’s State and Federal prisons and local jails in 1997 and 31% of probationers had not completed high school or its equivalent. In comparison, 18% of the general population age 18 or older had not finished the 12th grade.”[10] The educational characteristics of incarcerated descendants of slaves change at a glacial pace. The same educational characteristics hold true in 2017.

A second reason is that negative stigmata would be attached to them for having been incarcerated and simply for being ‘black’ in this white supremacist society.

Descendants of slaves have never been able to even minimally compete with the dominate white culture on any level. Some say ‘well what about sports’? I say to them that ‘No descendent of slaves owns a professional sport team in any league or sport.’ That holds true generally in the entertainment industry as well. Some others will argue, ‘well we can restart Black Wall Street such as the one which existed in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1920s.’ I say, “one cannot step twice into the same river.” Times, circumstances, and especially sentiments among Descendants of Slaves completely rule out that possibility. Some others will say: we can join a church or Masjid or Temple. I say that none of those American religious institutions will bite the hand which feeds them. They have become instruments of the banking system debt slavery and therefore of Wall Street.

Furthermore, that kind of change is not likely now because of ethnic integration and the rapidity of technological changes taking place. Add to that the increasing dysfunctional social life of most descendants of slaves particularly those million and a half individuals in our thought experiment now out of prisons and jails.  It leads to one conclusion. The only rational choice, the best choice, for descendants of slaves would be the choice to exercise moral power. Simply obey all laws. 

[1] Include under technology genetically modified organisms.

[2] Genesis Chapter 2, Torah; Holy Quran 2:30

[3] The Tort of Negligence literally means: the harm of negligence

[4] The Social Contract. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

[5] Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1849; Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976

[6] All human beings are intinctual or behaviorally unconsciously driven but we are also conscious and rational when fully developed. Moral decisions arise out of rational deliberation. Out of that kind of deliberation society is made possible. There is initially an imbalance in favor of instinct. But over time conscious rationality more or less increases.

[7] I once heard George Soros say that his decisions are ‘amoral’. Soros is in conscious denial or lying.

[8] William Vogt, Road to Survival; chapter 2, ‘Biotic Limits’, 1944

[9] Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Michael Spence July/August 2014

[10] Education and Correctional Populations, Bureau of Justice Statistics, by Caroline Wolf Harlow, Ph.D., 2003

“GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH”, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Freddie Gray

I watched a video segment of the news in April 2015 which covered the after effects of the Baltimore riot in Sandtown. The video showed black people, with the exception of one person, cleaning out a CVS store which had been burned and looted the day before and sweeping the streets. The people doing it rationalized their volunteer work by claiming that they were helping to keep ‘their city’ clean.

There are several sad things about the news piece. To know and understand that our people living in Sandtown, Baltimore, where the protests occurred, receive no financial return for all the money that they spend in the city belies the heart of the problem.

Those individuals have now cleaned up a section of the city streets in which they do not own title to any of the property despite the fact that they and their families have lived in that area for over 100 years. They are all tenants subject to the will of the landowner.

As they cleaned the veneer of that section of the city I could only think that something toxic remains deep inside the city. That toxicity is such that no amount of street sweeping, painting, and government programs can clean it out. That toxicity will remain deeply embedded in Baltimore because it, like a waterfall of waste, rains down on the mass of dispossessed people from the very centers of political and corporate corruption.

Black people in Baltimore have no vested interests in the city. The African American community has have been set up over the last 2 generations in that post industrial post modern city to be pushed out. Our people cannot read the hand writing on the wall: “get out”.  Black neo-liberals will not read what is written on the wall and communicate it to black people in Baltimore. Nor will they translate what it means to them.  

The political structure of the city is intact because Baltimore black politicians remain loyal to their corporate Democratic National Committee or Republican Party monetary benefactors. The infrastructure of black communities, however, suffer. Black communities are as dysfunctional as social infrastructures in the nation of Haiti. The infrastructure has been the victim of criminal negligence.

But instead of the power elite in the state of Maryland and in the city of Baltimore properly defining the overarching social problems faced by black people there they have resorted to categorizing the black population as a ‘thug’ community. It is clear that white supremacists have a plan.

Sandtown and its surrounding blocks in Baltimore have been allowed to undergo multi-dimensional deterioration over time. That deterioration has been allowed to grow into a multi-dimensional demographic push force making black people in Sandtown Baltimore appear suicidal. The ultimate underlying goal is the reduction of the black population in Balitmore and finally eliminating that population without fanfare or notice. 

We must note and be aware of this supreme manipulation taking place. Having black people in state political roles and having blacks as heads of city bureaucracies has not resulted in a more equitable distribution of wealth. These types of positions given to black people are only a ploy to lull black people into a false sense of security and trust.

police officers Freddie Gray

To understand the nature of the shell game being played on black people in Baltimore we must compare black politicians to the three black police officers. The police officers were hired to ‘protect and serve’, but they were actually accomplices in the murder of Freddie Gray. Analogously, black politicians, who are elected to also protect and serve, are also accomplices to the acts of negligence which have caused the degredation of black lives in the city of Baltimore. This leads to one undeniable fact.

Having black people in positions of state power is not the same as all black people having a vested present and future interest in the economy of the city of Baltimore.

For example, the city’s political structure reveals the following characteristics: the state’s attorney general is black; Baltimore has a black mayor, a black police commissioner, a black superintendent of schools, and 2/3 of the city council members are black.  Whereas the city’s black infrastructure reveals these characteristics: 90% of Baltimore’s jail population is black; 61% of its high school drop outs are black; 25% of blacks are below the poverty line; 41% of those 25 to 54 years of age are unemployed; 38% of those 20-24 years of age are unemployed; 18% of the homes are vacant; and, out of a population of 651,154, 59.2% of families are single parent female headed households. What does this tell us about black people having a vested interest in the city of Baltimore?

It tells us that being born flesh and blood into a city is not necessarily equal to having a vested interest in the present and future economic interests of that city. Just as a fetus carried in the womb of its mother has no vested interest in the body that carries it. For example, thousands of Africans are risking their lives by fleeing their homelands wherein they were born because they have no vested present and future interests in Africa. Why?

The answer is because something more is needed by men and women wherever they live; something which supersedes a mere claim of birth rights based upon citizenship and the civil and human rights which are constitutionally guaranteed to them. Black people must get property rights based upon ownership and no less.

The United States Constitution defines the right of a ‘vested interest’ as the inherent right of a person that cannot be defeated or cancelled by any natural or legal person. Courts of law qualify such a vested interest on a showing of proof of title or ownership.

Thus, property ownership by a person or a people is central to what determines a vested present or future interest in a state, county, or city. What a people own is not just a subject of civil law and individual rights under the law, but what they own adds the value of liberty to civil equality under the law.

It is liberty which will exempt black people from the extraneous control of state police power. It is liberty and only liberty which can free the shackled will of black people so that they can make moral choices beyond the narrow confines of their open air prisons in cities like Baltimore across the nation. Without liberty there are deadly consequences. Freddie Gray’s death is but one example of that.

Black people living in Sandtown Baltimore do not have a present nor a future vested interest in the very ground upon which they stand and upon which previous generations of their families stood. 

Thus, black people’s lives are lived at the whim of the owners of that property; and the owners are non-verbally communicating to black people living in Sandtown and its surrounding blocks these words: ‘Get out’.

For those black people who seek liberty for themselves and their children in the United States they must make a moral choice. They must rise up and take an economic stand; they must rise up and make an economic revolution as was done in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in Rosewood, Florida at the turn of the 20th century.

Poice Van Freddie Gray

Our choices are but two; they are either liberty or death. It is no false dichotomy that I present to you.  Our choices are liberty or death.

 

 

AFRICANS DON’T CARE FOR AFRICANS, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

2014_Ebola_virus_epidemic_in_West_Africa

The world’s attention is fixed on the Ebola outbreak in a number of West African nations.

The nations of Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal have each reported cases of infected persons totaling more than 4,000. That rate of infection will no doubt increase.

The media has sensationalized the symptoms of Ebola as well as infection and death rates. But there is another dimension of the Ebola epidemic which is getting no attention. The devastating lack of a fundamental medical infrastructure in those nations now threatens the whole of Africa and the world.

The nations most afflicted by the Ebola epidemic depend heavily on medical organizations and expertise such as the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders, and an assortment of Christian volunteers. Despite these efforts, none of these organizations have been able to abate the spread of the disease. They have not been able to control the spread of the Ebola virus because the leadership in the aforementioned nations is negligent.

These leaders are criminally negligent in the provision of medical training and services to their people.  This lack of professional training and medical infrastructure has resulted in a set of problems. As a consequence the complexity of the problems is far greater than it has to be.

Ebola chain

These African nations have had to resort to draconian measures in hopes of curbing the spread of Ebola.  Citizens are being quarantined. Those who attempt to escape quarantined areas are being executed.  That is a medieval practice which unmasks the stark incompetence of the leadership structure in each of these African Nations.

The dependence on foreign medical expertise and the implementation of draconian measures of epidemic control point to criminal negligence by the governments of those nations. Indeed, it points to crimes against humanity.

A short study of the history of each of these nations supports the claim of criminal negligence. Regime after regime has mismanaged government policies, national funds, and natural resources. Each regime has profited from the mismanagement of their nations’ wealth.

Each gained their independence from direct colonial rule in the 1960s. Each nation is endowed with natural resources, wealth, and youthful populations.

Each of these nations continues to export resources to Europe and Asia earning over the decades billions of dollars in national revenue. The corrupt leadership of those nations borrowed billions of dollars from the World Bank because they were lead to believe and to fear for their lives that they would get no help unless they borrowed from the West. They then siphoned huge amounts of that money for themselves after which they would deposit that cash into Western banks thus serving their lords’ empires. That chain of events has caused enormous national debt far beyond their national revenue and their peoples’ capacity to pay. Now their people live in perpetual poverty and disease.

The national leaders and regimes neglected to invest in the education of their youth. They neglected to invest resources from national revenue and money borrowed from the World Bank in the training of their youth in the medical sciences. And there has been no accountability warranted from them.

How should we evaluate such glaring criminal negligence? By what standard do we judge? We can judge the African nations by comparing them to Cuba.

The nation of Cuba gained its liberation in 1959. Cuba has been under a trade embargo from the United States since its founding. Cuba is not endowed with vast natural resources and land as are the West African Nations. Compared to Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Cuba is a very poor nation.

Its nation has been the victim of sabotage by the United States and assassination attempts on its leadership. Nevertheless, the leadership of Cuba instituted the best medical infrastructure including medical colleges in all of Latin America.

Cuba has more than 58 doctors per 10,000 people. The average Cuban life expectancy has increased from 59 in 1959 to 78 in 2014 which is greater than the life expectancy in the United States. Cuba’s infant mortality rate is less than both the United States and Canada. Cuba is ranked 125 out of 167 nations for HIV/AIDS adult prevalence.

These indicators establish an undeniable fact: the leadership of Cuba cares for Cuban people. This should be our standard for the duty of due care for post colonial nations.

What of Nigeria? Nigeria is the leading economy in Africa today. Nigeria has 4 Doctors for every 100,000 persons. Nigerians’ life expectancy at birth in 2014 is 53 years. Nigeria has the second largest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world at 3.1 percent of those between 15 and 49 years of age. Its infant mortality rate is 143 per 1000. The maternity death rate is 840 per 100,000 births. We will stop here because it only gets worse for the other Ebola plagued nations. The reason for these conditions is undeniable. The leadership and elite of those nations do not care for their people. The proof of the pudding is in the taste.

The leadership and elite of the African nations where Ebola is spreading out of control are criminally negligent and may in fact be the proximate cause for a global pandemic or at least the death of a large percentage of their own population.

They should be brought to justice at the international court of justice in the Hague, Netherlands. They should be tried and then imprisoned. Their family wealth and international bank accounts should be confiscated and returned to their respective nations to be used to construct modern medical infrastructures. The construction of medical infrastructures should be overseen by the international court of justice at the Hague trustees because Africans don’t care for Africans.