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

BLACK PEOPLE: THEIR ESTATE IN AMERICA, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Congo White Supremacist

The horror! The horror! Those are the exclamations expressed by one of the characters in Joseph Conrad’s novel: The Heart of Darkness.

‘The Heart of Darkness’ is the story of a man who sails the river Congo on a steamboat. He witnesses the demoralized Congolese people.

The Congolese people were enslaved and made to work until they literally dropped dead. All of this occurred on their own land spearheaded by King Leopold of Belgium and corporate plunderers.

‘Horrible’ and ‘savage’ were the colonial descriptions of African people. This denigration happened at a time when the whole of the African continent was up for grabs and taken by those European nations with the biggest guns and most ruthless ambitions.

congos-holocaust-120708-by-khalil-bendib

At the end of Conrad’s novel one of the central and most psychotic characters in the book wrote in a corporate memorandum: ‘Kill all the brutes’ meaning ‘kill all the black people because they’re animals’.

But you may ask, if you are concerned at all: ‘what relevance is a 19th century story to our lives here in the United States today?’

How can our lives as African people in the United States be reasonably compared to the lives of African people living along the winding river Congo in the latter part of the 19th century?

cake-colonization

Would it be an unreasonable stretch of analogy to compare our inner city streets to the winding rivers of Congo?

Would it be an unreasonable stretch of analogy to compare our popular costumes to the nakedness of native Africans of that time?

Would it be an unreasonable stretch of analogy to compare black Americans’ estate to the misfortune of African people living within the Belgium colony resting its hand on Congolese land?

Would it be an unreasonable stretch of analogy to imagine passersby as perceiving black people as savages when lined along the inner city street curbs as did the white characters in ‘The Heart of Darkness’?

Would it be an unreasonable stretch of analogy to compare our lifestyles and employments today to the lowly status and slave drudgery of Congolese natives of that time?

Or, would our not being able to see a strong analogy between the Congolese estate at that time and black Americans’ estate at this time be indicative of a kind of psychological denial by African Americans of the fact that we African Americans live a cosmeticized life?

And if so, would we not be missing the ambiguous message of the relation between cosmetic makeup and the face which lies below it?

If so, would we fail to comprehend the simple implied proposition that the two are unequal in relation to one another; that more cosmetic makeup does not equal more time, but rather only more disgrace at the end of one’s time?

The United States is a cosmetic society because it is forever hiding its true face from the world. America does so to get a higher measure of appraisal from other nations and to deceive them. But the appraisal of America’s value from other nations is a misrepresentation of facts. Instead, the truth is that the American appraisal is a fiction.

But instead of seeing the unreasonable relation between America’s true value and its cosmetic makeup, black Americans have rushed into the makeup room and powdered up their faces too and in so doing have brought disgrace upon themselves.

We disgrace ourselves because we too hide the horror which lies beneath the surface of our cosmetic given to us by white supremacists.  There are many examples.

For example, professional basketball players have no useful skills in the arts and sciences of survival. Yet, they are projected by media as spokespersons for millions of black people.

Another example is thespians. Actors and actresses have no practical skills. They bring nothing but pantomime to the table. Yet today, they are projected to black America as spokespersons for African Americans.

In the struggle for survival, we do not need functionally illiterate ball dribblers and script readers. We need scholars, scientists, and black people with practical survival skills. Those black people chosen by white supremacists must not be allowed to define the content of black people’s world view.

In America, the black man and woman’s subconscious mind has been made into a chamber of horrors. It is analogous to a medieval dungeon full of self effacing images, mind distorting beliefs, illogical ramblings, loud crowding sounds, and missing time in unknown places. But what shall we do? A thinker once said: “To measure is to know”; we must somehow appraise what ails us.

But to get even an estimate of the vast dimension of subconscious content we must position ourselves to observe the reflection of the subconscious in the mirror of black people’s social life; we can only view it one frame at a time. We cannot get a panoramic view.

Laura Nelson was lynched on May 23, 1911 In Oklahoma

 

Thus, we can never get a full measure of how horrific the experience of the ‘essential self’ of black Americans is. How trapped it is in a timeless and space-less chamber of horrors.

I remember what a sociologist once wrote in his book ‘Who Needs The Negro’ about the process of dehumanization of Native Americans.

He said that once the white people had concluded that Native Americans were no longer of use to them they linguistically demoted them from the ‘Noble Savage’ to ‘Bucks and Squaws’.

Later, they were linguistically demoted to the status of ‘savage animals’; after that the extermination began because white people had internalized the new subconscious images of what whites called the ‘Red Man’. That subconscious content initiated the rationalization for the genocide of them.

There is power in words; the sounds and images they convey to the mind and the behavior which they provoke can cause psychopathology. It is the same psychopathology which happened in the Congo in 1899.

The same psychopathology is happening to black Americans now in the United States.

You can see it on television and on YouTube. You can hear it on radio.

You can hear it in the demeaning words used by black boys and girls to describe each other.

You can hear it in the popular hip-hop lyrics. You can see it in the sexual lifestyle of young black girls and boys who have virtually no sexual self-discipline.

You can see it in the disgraceful behavior of young black adolescents fighting and killing one another and never comprehending that what drives their self hatred was implanted into their subconscious minds by white supremacists. Given that parallel, what should we expect?

The final solution must not be far off or it is happening right before our eyes…just as it was for Native Americans and just as it was suggested for the Congolese people: “Kill the brutes.”

In this historical hinge period, is there anything that we can do to stop it? I believe there is.

We need a day of self focus and self inventory.

We need to take out paper and pencils and with them list in order what we benefit by the current lifestyles we live.

On the other side of that same sheet of paper we need to list all the deficits which our current predicament is costing us.

And then we need to objectively evaluate the bottom line which will spell out in no uncertain terms that our personal and collective deficits far outweigh the benefits we get from the culture we participate. Now we need to take action.

From the east coast to the west coast and from the north to the south, we need to reduce the negatives in our lives by any means necessary. Alternatively, we need to increase the benefits by all means available.

We need to smile at each other in public places; shake hands; say Mr. and Mrs. or Miss. when we greet one another.

We need to be fathers and mothers as best we can and to never be afraid to ask for advice from those wiser than us.

We need to encourage one another in all positive pursuits.

We need to heal the pain we have suffered and which we have caused others to suffer. If you have harmed another brother or sister simply say to them face to face: ‘I am sorry for the harm I have caused you, and I will never do it again.’

We need to redefine moral boundaries. We need to admit that just because the law says we can do an act or just because everyone else seems to be doing an act does not mean we should condone it nor do it. We can say to all: “You go your way and I will go my way.”

We need to do that because there is right and there is wrong. We need to do it because there are life affirming acts and there are life denying acts. We need to affirm the reality of that dichotomy in our minds and change our lifestyles.

We need to affirm that every seed planted in the womb of a black woman is precious. And we need to defend that life with our very lives.

We can be ‘born again’. We can be born again out of the chamber of subconscious horrors into the Light of liberty and equality because that is what our Creator intended for us no less than for any other people on this Earth and in the great chain of life in the Universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to EarthColoney.Net: “…IF ONLY THEY KNEW THEY WERE SLAVES”, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

 Book Cover Earthcolony

Traceable through the history of western and middle-eastern intellectual work  is a particular line of reasoning about humanity based upon race.  That line of reasoning stems from a set of assumptions about humanity and social hierarchy. They have been and are destructive to the inherent dignity and rights of all human beings.

In this book I will, in the following order, cover its ancient historical roots in Torah mythology, Platonic mythology and philosophy, Aristotelian anthropology and philosophy, and Enlightenment anthropology.

All four of those sources and the hinge assumptions they turn on have turned into powerful modern theories which have become inextricably embedded into our modern social structures, statutes, court decisions, social policies, and individual and collective subconscious.  Indeed, those assumptions are the skeletal system of our society while government is the muscle.

harriet tubman

More specifically that particular line of reasoning has been both intentionally and collaterally expressed throughout our social  institutions because that particular line of reasoning was institutionalized as the ‘law of the land’ from the inception of the United States in its Constitution.[1]  It filters down all institutions and to every individual. Harriet Tubman once shared for us an insight of hers about the psychology of a slave. She said: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Therein lies the problem at the heart of the issue.

 

Through educational and religious establishments the slave mentality has  been correspondingly embedded in the deepest recesses of our subconscious as a set of assumptions that are unquestionably valid. As such those assumptions have also served as a psychological defense mechanism used by Euro-Americans to effectively preempt human social inclusion and justice on a national scale.

 

That line of reasoning in fact describes a 2,400 year old downward spiral in relation to the quality of human reasoning about social justice. This is so because the few who do benefit from such a line of reasoning cannot benefit from it in the absence of extreme social injustice and its consequent unequal distribution of wealth.  Further, the few who benefit must also establish and maintain conditions of oppression to further  their world order.  It is like nuclear radioactive fall-out. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t touch it, but it permeates everything and destroys all living creatures.

 

The ‘fall-out’ from their line of reasoning describes a global canopy of  assumptions  above and beyond which few are able, daring enough, or willing to rise up to challenge.  As such, it has caused a narrowing of the mindscape and thus our field of vision. It even causes African-Americans to frame their social justice movements upon the same set of assumptions which are used to maintain social injustice.  So, the vernacular of our civil rights movements has not been truly antithetical to the white supremacist assumptions which cause injustice.

 Malcolm X

The welding together of such glaring contrarieties as the appeal for justice in the language of injustice has doomed every social justice movement from the turn of the 20th century to the civil rights movement of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. That is why the socio-economic conditions of African Americans are worse today than they were 60 years ago.  That is echoed in what Malcolm X said:     

“It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a radical conflict of black against white or as purely [an] American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.”

White supremacist assumptions about race gird up a definition which is today the dominant force shaping what we know about the origin, history, statuses, roles, social rights and obligations expected by and of every person on earth.  It also serves the manifest function of maintaining the economic status quo.

“As a man thinketh, so shall it be”

Our language frames our  thoughts. Pictures are embedded in the words as metaphors.  Language is also laden with metaphorical assumptions about other people. Most of us never dig deeply into the etiology or nature of the words we use in everyday speech to help us comprehend those assumptions. We are casual in our use of such words, in our reasoning with them, and on the sentences we make up by such words. That means we’re ignorant about how words work on our collective sentiment and the collective sentiment of all.

Words and sentences merge with the natural world and have a powerful descriptive effect on our mindscape and social relations. They are forms and sound embedded with assumptions.  They are linked together and  through categorizations are welded together into real actions. They come alive such that we participate a social construction foundationally set to make us closer to or farther from  ethnic groups different from our own. We pass that meaning on from one generation to another usually subconsciously but also consciously. That is the purpose of culture.  It engenders casual habitual behaviors.

We are verbally casual in our interpersonal interactions but we can also be very logically fallacious in our reasoning, too, because we don’t scrutinize the nature of what we say. Neither do we scrutinize the classical literature which still makes up our popular  religious and liberal arts education and which shapes our world view.

Further, those same religious and liberal arts world views  dominate our substantive and procedural law as well as scientific bodies of knowledge. If we were to become more conscious and critical of our language, then we would discover those bedrock assumptions which drive both the rationalizations of oppressors as well as oppressed persons as they are actively and or passively concretized into political policy, social classes, castes, roles, rights, obligations, and statuses.

 digging into the mind

CAN YOU DIG IT?

Whether or not we do ‘dig deeply’ into our subconscious to question those bedrock assumptions, which trigger our social responses to others who are ethnically different, depends in part upon the amount of advantage one gains in society or our lack of competing on a level playing field.  The assumptions I  explore do give advantage to some groups and do make other groups socially disadvantaged.

 

The ruling classes or castes never question the ‘bed-rock’ assumptions as long as those assumptions as applied in society have worked to get them a disproportionate share of social benefits. For them it’s the proverbial saying which rings true: ‘if it works, don’t fix it.’ In the Americas, it works for ‘White’ people, so they don’t fix it and as long as it does work for them they don’t intend to fix it.  The white supremacist’ world view has been and is very effective on maintaining the order they want.

 

During the twentieth century circa 1930, a sociologist by the name of Emory Bogardus did a study called the ‘Social Distance Scale’. His bipolar questionnaire asked persons specific questions about how they would feel working with, living near, or marrying into other ethnic groups. What resulted from his study was a ranking of social distance determined by individual’s preferences and between different ethnic groups. In short, most persons ranked English and American ‘Whites’ as the most acceptable groups to work with, be ‘near’ socially and marry within while at the bottom were conspicuously non-Caucasian ethnic groups such as Indians (India) and Africans.

 

I posit in this book that the subconscious assumptions for making social distance real is an ‘offense’ mechanism as well as defense mechanism for plutocrats.  Whether one is offensive or defensive depends upon the circumstances. For example, the institution of slavery was purely offensive in nature whereas affirmative action law instigated defensive reactions to subconscious assumptions held by racist Caucasians.

 

Some persons are true believers in the ideology of race and so rationalize ‘racism’. In that case those persons evaluate and judge according to their assumptions about others and in so doing convert their beliefs into a ‘state of mind’  which is then acted out as discrimination.

 

That discrimination is the social distance in real space and time between one person or group and another. Persons acting affirmatively on their prejudice and by the distance they cause by their prejudice they stigmatize and criminalize, i.e., discriminate (krima: to condemn-Greek) other persons and ethnic groups. Such is what we mean by social marginalization, segregation isolation, and poverty.

 

All of these mental mechanisms condition a knee-jerk reflex by individuals and  have both the psychological and social effect of lowering the esteem of some persons in society at large.  By these mental mechanisms, the bedrock subconscious assumptions are consciously rationalized as cult, ideology, or belief and even ‘pseudo-science’.

 

One of my other premises is that no understanding of the ‘race’ problem can be had without a knowledge of the history of its development in Western culture.  Exactly, what is ‘Race’? In order to answer that question I shall critically examine that idea and how it has been rationalized as ideology and ‘pseudo-science’.  Furthermore, I shall examine how the idea of race was intended to be used as a social construct to further the aims of economic, cultic, and political repression and exploitation.

 

Another premise of my book is that no solution to the so-called ‘race’ problem can be had through conversation using the very categorical concepts and words which carry stigmata and krimata onto other groups and which are the cutting edge of fallacious racial assumptions.  What simply happens during intellectual discussions which employ terms like ‘black people’ and ‘white people’ is that everyone is reinforced in their ideology of race.  In such circles, the expectation of a race premised conversation to end the disastrous effects of racism on our society is a logical reduction to absurdity.

 

 

 

 


[1] United States Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3