Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 18, 2021

MLK & The Art of Ahimsa

Martin Luther King Jr was a student of Ahimsa and the Principles of Non-Violence and his work is infused by them…

Because in order to effectively fight modern injustices — we would be best served if we were to use the techniques of those who have effectively done so before us, as Mahatma Gandhi and many others who followed the precepts of Ahimsa have successfully changed their Societies and the lives of all the people around them through the exercise of peaceful civil disobedience and non violent protestation of injustice, hatred and inequity, in front of the eyes of society & the law.

Indeed, these days that civic reconciliation has become the major theme in our political discourse, and rightfully so — we need to seed the seeds of Love, Co-Existence, Respect and Dialogue.

Because for those of us who love our country and its foundations, bringing down the temperature of the nation and quelling partisan divisiveness is of paramount concern.

Yet while much has been said about the need for peace — far less has been done to achieve it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “”True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” And in order for this country to truly find its way back to the “domestic tranquility” promised in the US Constitution, there is much injustice to be reckoned with.

The symptoms of our civilization’s sickness are visible all around us. Over the past year, citizens across the political spectrum (and in various countries) resorted to violence to call attention to the abuses of government. During the Black Lives Matter protests, rioters burned businesses and whole city blocks. Lockdown protestors set off bombs in Germany and brawled with police in Australia. And recently, a mob of angry people stormed our nation’s capitol building under the belief that an election had been stolen, some with the intention to harm elected officials.

But if we see that Dr Martin Luther King was an eternal optimist, because in order to be able to do this work consistently, optimism is an essential outlook — then we realize that his gift was just that. A firm belief that what is right will come to pass in this world. And that Right makes Might and not the other way around.

There is of course room for debate about the real and perceived injustices in these stories, but, many of the people who used violent means to make their voices heard, brough real abuse to their own people by those in power.

Seeing as the Black Lives Matter protests were based on outrage over police brutality, extrajudicial killings, racial disparities in our justice system, and a lack of accountability for law enforcement — the riots furtther exacerbated the issues that we were facing and placed many more people in harm’s way.

Today, all those pushing back on the lockdowns — are fighting for their ability to work and meet their basic needs, and although I strongly reject most of the claims of the Capitol insurgents — I also understand and accept that in their minds, they are fighting for what they believe to be right as patriots fighting for their liberty, for their rights and for their country; against corrupt tyrants.

But when citizens employ violence to fight wrongdoing, they often amplify the original problem, create new victims in their wake, empower government forces to enact draconian responses, and lose the sympathy of those they need to persuade in order to effect change.

As one example, the Black Lives Matter movement enjoyed 67 percent approval ratings in June, before violence ensued. By September, that number fell to 55 percent. The decline was particularly drastic among white and Hispanic adults. On top of that, many black-owned properties were among the businesses destroyed—contributing to wealth inequality in these communities. And in response to the riots, police employed aggressive tactics that created new victims in their wake.

And the siege of the Capitol backfired in many ways, both in terms of public perception and the resulting crackdowns.

So what should be done about injustice? We cannot merely accept it. How can we effectively fight back? The answers can be found by examining those who have successfully challenged injustice before us, and won. In honor of one such man and the day set aside to remember him, let’s study Martin Luther King Jr.’s theory of change.

It’s important to note that MLK also studied those who came before him. He first discovered Gandhi and his teachings on non-violence while he was in seminary. As a Christian, King noticed many parallels between these teachings and his own worldview, which instructs followers to love their enemies, pray for those who persecute them, and turn the other cheek.

King later wrote, “I came to see for the first time that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”

The nonviolent resister refuses to physically harm his opponent, but they also refuse to hate them. 

Thinkers like Henry David Thoreau, who ascribed to the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience, also influenced King’s thinking. But it wasn’t until he embarked on his year-long journey of the Montgomery bus boycott that he began to assimilate all of these influences into his principles of non-violence. He laid these principles out in his 1958 book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, and what follows is a short summary of each.

Practicing non-violence takes strength and resolve. It is not a pathway for those who seek to avoid conflict, as there is nothing passive about it. Rather this is an active stance, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Those who practice are always looking for ways to persuade their opponents and looking for methods to effect change. They are in community with those suffering, building bridges of influence to those in power, and seeking to build support for their cause.

Is it not true that those who commit evil are also victims of its power? King knew that the true battle for justice lies between good and evil, darkness and light. He saw those who would oppress him as also being victims of systemic injustice. Seeing one’s enemies in this light helps us to view them sympathetically and focus on the root cause of the problem. King again echoed the Bible when he said that our struggle is ultimately not against particular people but systems – “the principalities and powers.”

A wise man knows that you do not change a person by mocking or humiliating them. On this topic, King wrote, “Nonviolence does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win friendship and understanding…The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. … The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.”

Perhaps the most important principle under the theory of non-violence is the power of undeserved suffering. The nonviolent resister is willing to accept violence if necessary, but not to inflict it, knowing that the suffering they endure has great power to change hearts and minds.

King paraphrased Gandhi when he wrote: “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children; send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities and drag us out on some wayside road, beating us and leaving us half dead, and we will still love you. But we will soon wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And in winning our freedom we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process.”

Think of the Civil Rights movement. The pictures of young men and women being spit on for sitting at lunch counters, burned with cigarettes, kicked in the head by police. These images woke white America up and spurred outrage and outcry against segregation. Had these young people burned the lunch counters or thrown a punch, we would understand it in hindsight. But it would have backfired on their cause, played into racist segregationists’ hands, and allowed them to be painted as criminals. Instead, their ability to endure unjust suffering was redeemed in the overthrow of Jim Crow.

The nonviolent resister refuses to physically harm his opponent, but they also refuse to hate them. At the base of a nonviolent philosophy is the principle of love. For King, love (specifically the “agape” kind of love discussed by Plato) is proof of the power of God working within us, enabling us to care for those who would seek to harm us. Nonviolent love is in a way a weapon, it disarms your opponent and shields you from becoming them.

King was an eternal optimist. And to do this work consistently, optimism is an essential outlook. “The believer in nonviolence has deep faith in the future,” King wrote. “He knows that in his struggle for justice he has cosmic companionship. There is a creative force in this universe that works to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole.”

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Yet in order to be practical and effective when practising Civil Disobedience and Peaceful Revolt — we must be able to follow this method that MLK laid out for us, because Dr martin Luther King, chose to give good counsel in order to assist all of us, in plotting the pathway of change in our Societies through the exercise of non-violence:

  1. Gather information: learn as much as you can about the problems around you and talk to those directly impacted.
  2. Educate others: it is your duty to help those around you better understand the problems in society.
  3. Remain committed: knowing you will face obstacles and blowback, work to inspire others.
  4. Peacefully negotiate: talk to both sides, use humor, grace, and intelligence to foster solutions between the oppressed and the oppressors.
  5. Take action peacefully: rely on peaceful demonstrations, letter-writing, and civil disobedience.
  6. Reconcile: keep all actions peaceful and constructive.

PPS:

As we move forward as Americans, we face great challenges.

Our fellow countrymen are hurting, our systems are broken, and there is despair all around us.

We are in need of spiritual giants and strong leaders.

May we rise up to follow in Dr Martin Luther King’s footsteps, and continue to grow through the great work that he began.

May God Bless us all and may his memory remain eternal…

And may the Good God bless our much maligned and suffering country and all of our people, and may he give us the Unity and the Strength we need in order to face the headwinds, the storms and the cahnging tides up ahead.

Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 13, 2021

Censorship is Evil anyway you cut it.

And now many world leaders join the global outcry & outrage over the censorship of U.S. President Donald Trump… by the wealthy and powerful technocrats of Silicon Valley and their political minders.

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), 2 in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel, 3 that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him— 4 when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.

5 And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Shushan the citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. 6There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. 7 And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king. 8 In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had ordered all the officers of his household, that they should do according to each man’s pleasure.

Esther, Chapter 1:1-8

Leaders from across the globe have spoken out against Big Tech’s censorship of President Donald Trump as freedom of speech online has become a rare, unifying issue for some of Trump’s international counterparts, some of whom have been rivals at times.

Twitter targeted the president Friday amid a massive purge of conservatives which peaked over the weekend. Thousands were permanently banned from the platform, which cited safety issues as its rationale for the unprecedented assault on the First Amendment. Facebook, Instagram and Google-owned YouTube are also undercutting free expression for those who do not align with the politics of the left.

Twitter’s excuse for banning Trump was that he risked inciting further violence with his presence online following the Capitol incursion last Wednesday. Of course, Trump did not directly incite any violence, and never has, which is an inconvenient fact for those who now support the suppression of dissenting speech and ideas.

At the very least President Donald J. Trump, if anything, is a vitriolic demagogue, who pressurized the resistance to the Deep State and to the prevailing silliness and sloppiness of political correctness for the hundreds of millions of Americans who feel the effects of the political correctness silly dogma on their lives daily.

Because of that overall silliness that the Twitter jerks and all the other “know better than though” twits of Silicon valley have imposed upon the people their totalitarian view of the World by engaging on Orwellian style CENSORSHIP of FREE SPEECH — they are prevented from hearing from the President of the United States on Twitter and all the other Tech communication and Social media platforms.

But while the American left and the establishment media might be too blinded by hatred and politics to see the hugely detrimental issues arising out of the banishment of a sitting US president from speaking over the internet — those of us who have not been desensitized, deranged or mentally diminished by the triple tsunami of negativity arising out of the Covid19, the solitary confinement lockdowns, and the country’s constant political and ideological infighting — saw the social media purge for the dangerous spectacle it is, but they also saw the looming danger from the “pressurized masses” that are being “kettled” coming to an explosive head, that will usher a new era of an undeclared Civil War.

And this is seen all over the world as a greater danger to Democracy than whatever President Trump might have said or not said over his Social Media twits and announcements. Take for example the leaders of Mexico, where they have had a changeable relationship with Trump since before he was elected in 2016 — and yet the permanent suspension online of the president was roundly criticized by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as a NAZI method of suppression of free speech.

“How can you censor someone? Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful?” he stated after the Twitter banishment, The Washington Examiner reported.

“Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government. This is not an issue for private companies” is what the President of Mexico declared.

Obrador’s spokesman, Jesus Ramirez, also issued his own statement, adding: “Facebook’s decision to silence the current leader of the United States calls for a debate on freedom of expression, the free exchange of information on the web, democracy and the role of the companies that administer [social] networks.”

In Europe, where Trump’s America First policies have not always endeared him to some of the continent’s socially liberal leaders, many had harsh words for Silicon Valley’s suppression of free expression.

Whether you think that the federal government should break up the Big Tech monopolies or not — you simply cannot be silent in the face of Orwellian NAZI censorship of Free Speech in America.

Through a spokesman on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the social media bans “problematic” and her comments were reported immediately by Reuters and other journalistic entities.

“The right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement to Reuters. “Given that — the chancellor considers it problematic that the president’s accounts have been permanently suspended.”

In Norway, leader of the country’s liberal Labour Party Jonas Gahr Støre criticized Trump, but also Big Tech in a statement.

“I understand that Trump’s statements are problematic, dangerous, and encourage hate, but there is a very high threshold to block people out, so I am skeptical of that”, Støre told the outlet NRK. “This is a line where freedom of expression is also at stake. If Twitter starts with this sort of thing, it means that they have to go around the world and look at other people completely astray, and shut them out.”

Elsewhere in Europe, where leaders have not directly commented on social media’s targeting of conservatives, the companies have been under the gun since the November election over the censorship of Trump.

The UK Daily Mail previously reported that in the weeks after the election that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lashed out at those who hold the keys to online discourse. He was particularly incensed by Twitter’s putting warning labels on Trump’s tweets.

Johnson has reportedly floated a bill amendment to “limit the ability of a bunch of woke Californians to interfere in the UK.”

“Boris did not like what he saw in the US election and has asked for more time to consider how to avoid the same thing happening to him in future,” a source in the government told the Mail.

Meanwhile, French Junior Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune told Bloomberg he was “shocked” after Twitter banned Trump.

“This should be decided by citizens, not by the puny CEO of a tech company … There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called for regulating social media, referring to it as “the digital oligarchy,” and also as “one of the threats” to democracy, Bloomberg also reported.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party in the European Union’s European Parliament, hit at Big Tech in a Twitter post two days after Trump was banned online.

“We cannot leave it to American Big Tech to decide how we can or cannot discuss online. Todays mechanisms destroy the compromise searching and consensus building that are crucial in free and democratic societies. We need a stricter regulatory approach,” Weber tweeted.

SBS News in Australia also received comments against the censorship of Trump from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and other officials.

“I’m not in favour of censorship — I think if people don’t like what they see on Twitter — well don’t go onto that social media platform,” McCormack said.

The international response to Big Tech’s all-out assault on Trump and other conservatives tells us the world is, as usual, paying close attention to American politics. But in a world where Big Tech’s influence is global, there is cause for concern over how far Friday’s historic censorship might reach.

America once set a standard for free speech not previously seen in world history — yet now, our Silicon Valley Tech oligarchs have set a precedent for unilaterally suppressing Free Speech, starting form whatever “Speech” they do not like, and moving on to police all speech and curtail the basic freedoms of all Americans.

This is not a tree falling in the forest quietly. It is not like nobody got hurt. This is evil censorship and anyone asleep or awake — has heard it and ought to resist its effects, and all the Plebs are now rising and plotting the overthrow of the Censors at large tech and their brethren in government.

As for now, this NAZI termination of Free Speech in America portends the rise of fascism with this blatant abuse of power that is the equivalent of a blast from a nuclear bomb whose fallout emanating from Silicon Valley, threatens to blanket the whole wide world of the internet and beyond.

Beware the days ahead … because the plebs, the peasants and the dissatisfied masses, are busy sharpening their scythes, readying the guillotines and oiling the axles of the tumbrils because they plan to descend upon the woke Tech Titans like the locust sent by God to devour the Egyptians’ crops…

And because hubris is the main failure point of the Tech Titans — we are in for another turning of the wheel of history that will be remembered as the rising of the Plebs running forth to efface the woke Aristos…

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

There are some unique things about the book of Esther; the name of God is never mentioned in it, but we can certainly see the hand of God in it. This book covers events that happen during the reign of Ahasuerus, and events that happened beginning around 483-482 BC, concluding in about 473 BC. The book covers about 10 years; Ahasuerus reigned from 486-465 BC, so this covers about half of his reign. This is one of the ‘feel-good’ stories of the Bible where the ‘bad guy’ gets his just desserts and the ‘good guy’ gets his reward. As well, there are not many stories in the Bible where there is a woman hero, so this is a really popular book with the ladies, as is the book of Ruth.

Of course Esther was a babe…

As we open the book, we are met by a party – a very large party. Often, when we think of the eras that are described to us in the Bible, we do not understand the depth of the wealth that many people had. We, as Bible people, are familiar with King Solomon; he had great wealth, and no one else in the world has ever had that kind of wealth. Yes, not even our modern-day billionaires are as wealthy as Solomon was; let that sink in. Nonetheless, Ahasuerus was very wealthy, and the Persian Empire at the time of the book of Esther was very wealthy.

And the wine flowed in gold cups and all manner of debauchery continued in the party.

Persia represents modern-day Iran. As you can see from the description of the size of the territory in verse 1, the landmass that Persia controlled was huge. If you take out a map and take a look, you will see that the kingdom covered 4,310 kilometers ‘as the crow flies’ from Ethiopia to India, but as a landmass, it covered modern-day Yemen, Oman, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and a lot of lands. This was a huge empire to rule over, and as such, generated a lot of wealth. We get to see a display of wealth in the opening verses of this book.

And yet all that came crushing down and disappeared from history, and because of that we ought to be mindful and humble today; because the fate of the rich and powerful is not going to be any different than that of those thousands of empires, kings and people — all lost in the sands of history.

By the way — the only reason why anyone remembers King Ahasuerus is because his story of extravagance and foly came into the Good Book.

Let us be mindful of that today…

Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 10, 2021

Barbarians within…

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

      The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

      Because the barbarians are coming today.
      What’s the point of senators making laws now?
      Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?

      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.
      He’s even got a scroll to give him,
      loaded with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?

      Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come.
      And some of our men just in from the border say
      there are no barbarians any longer.

Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.

–C. P. Cavafy, “Waiting for the Barbarians”

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/play/77064

Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 7, 2021

When has life stopped ?

Be yourself and keep o n moving with the last amount of drama, even though it all seems so pointless…

Yet I want to remind you that in then midst of this disaster of epic proportions that we are threading our way through, in this epidemic — we must always hope for new life to appear and keep this “Hope” burning like a candle in the midst of darkness.

Let us keep the Faith and know that we are living in Grace, because the new dawn of life — unbidden, unseen and yet all powerful, will soon appear.

After all, when has life stopped?

Never.

When has a new thing not happened ?

Not ever — in our memory…

And when has it been so difficult to carry on?

Many many times, in our history…

Remember the Holocaust?

As our life comes a halt, or even to an end — there is some distant ray ofnhope.

Because even inside Auschwitz, same as inside all of the death camps, there was already a new life somewhere out there — to carry the struggle.

And that is why the struggle for Justice and Peace is still going on.

Life flows on..

It always continues its inner workings even and especially when we are dead.

Not a single atom stops regenerating inside us or outside of us.

So, let us be a part of this drama of Job’s trials and tribulations, for as long as the Almighty has planned for each one of us, and let’s do this willingly.

So, let us play this game with gratitude — because only then — individually and collectively, we can go back to the source of our soul.

And perhaps go home happily – when it’s our time to go.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

And let us carry on the struggle happily — if at all possible — because we all need to roll with the punches and learn to carve out a new way of living for the future.

And don’t forget to be brave; because that too shall pass.

So, please be yourself because as Oskar Wilde used to say:

“Everyone else is taken.”

Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 2, 2021

The Plain Truth & Common Sense from an Independent…

Happy New Year friends, and this time around a simple drop of wisdom, plain truth and common sense, for all of you.

This is what my New Year’s resolution is … because I am at the point of NOT giving a “Fvck” about what people think of me, so you can STOP with your private messages right now, and simply learn to love the plain truth of common sense that booms like a bomb in these quiet times…

Mind you — I am NOT left or right, because I’ve grown beyond the Division and Stupidity of the blood sport called Politics of the two big parties and I am a real Independent like my grandfather always were…

And I indeed much like Winston — have also played the two party system for many years, and have come to realize that regardless of labels — we are all ONE — and therefore I have no choice but to speak out and share the plain truth borne out of Common Sense and Love for All and sundry.

Indeed it seems to me that the name of the game our powerful “minders” play today, is the old “Divide & Rule” children’s game of psychopaths and sociopaths, and we are falling for that causing the division of our people, into red and blues.

And this is what I’m disgusted about, because it makes the lightly brained people start attacking each other because apparently — if you have a thought and or opinion outside the “proper narrative” you are quickly labeled and called a nasty name and then quickly vilified and crucified in public.

Yet, you already know that this is gaslighting — and that it is used as a way to STOP critical thinking. And it only serves to stop us from having a healthy conversation. And yet so many of you have written to me … overly concerned over my posts — like I’ve lost my mind.

Look, seriously now — I’ve never wavered on government dictated whole population solitary confinements, on needless lockdowns, on mandatory masked faces, on required vaccines, and on all the government overreach — because I have learned the hard way to question authority.

So please do not act surprised if I am against an overreaching government, against the endless lockdowns and the destruction of all of our people, or that I want to decide what is injected into my body or that of my loved ones.

Sure enough, all of the talking heads of my old party scream all day on TV and internet: “my body my choice” and “believe all women” but for some strange reason this doesn’t apply to vaccines or to my Mother, my daughter, or to any honest person, telling you that their child was injured by a vaccine.

I have watched people I love and respect, post the most hateful things about anyone who questions the narrative … and these are the same people who shame others and tell them to stay home (virtue signaling) and then post on Facebook, all of their photos from Mexico & Hawai, traveling and staying in a mobbed resort town, where having a great big party every night is what all the Gringo guests go over there for.

Yet, we all harken for a bit of Liberty, and we shimmy over South of the border — yet methinks that we must look at the whole picture in our home country, and not just spend our days in the US hiding behind the XL screens of our TVs, and living the sheltered lives of the well heeled few, or bicker in public like the Dallas housewives and the Kardashians — but we must also look deeply into the eyes of the people whose lives are being destroyed with these never-ending lockdowns, and ask their opinion about life too.

Remember lockdowns? You know the two weeks, that turned into ten and then into ten months, and now we are cowering waiting for whenever “they” might want to set us free.

Folks — we are all in Solitary Confinement and waiting like the Concentration camp members of the Jewish tribes of Israel for the gas to be turned on, while we are taking a shower.

Yet, we’ve come to understand that this is what happens when the ones in charge keep moving the goalposts, and when the propaganda consumes the lives of the people.

Now, I am not exactly sure of what happened or how we got here, but I care about the whole of our people and not just about the fat cats and the well to do. And I am really really sad, that the deadly drug overdoses, the suicides, the depression, and all the substance abuse and violence are all up to record levels.

And, if having a heart for the whole gets me labeled in the so many nasty hearts — so be it.

Sure — I think it’s great you are happy to get the Covid vaccine, but your selfies and posts about “we” is not going to change my mind about this vaccine, because I will not be shamed into anything and will not take a vaccine for the team, any more than I would, knowing that I did this with my child and she struggled and suffered mightily because of that, as it contributed to her passing.

Yours,

Dr CHurchill

PS:

As for all else and for your “Game of Division” — you can stuff all of it because once we lose our civil liberties … there is NO turning back.

So, if your Covid vaccine works … you don’t need me to comply to make your immunity system work.

After all, this is not how science works.

Eat healthy, exercise, be energetic and optimistic, take your vitamins, and help your immunity system every day, but don’t expect me to live the same lifestyle as you, or shame you for not following my path … because I will continue to fight for civil liberties and continue to have an open-mind to explore new information and or possibilities.

And please keep in mind that as of — thinking independent, is not yet a crime…

And please remember — when the concentration camp and the solitary confinement of vast lockdowns turns the whole country and the whole world into a vast prison camp — it might too late for you to wake up and ask for freedom.

Love & Peace to All.

Happy 2021 my friends.

This first day of the New Year — I trust you had a blast last night with bonfires, fireworks, and friendly gatherings full of libations, food & cheer that led you to close the meaningful season of the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving, then the long and quiet Christmas, and now with the end of this current Calendar Year, that we all agree to term “Annus Horribilis” that shall never be repeated ever again.  

Indeed the past year of 2020 was a rather sobering travail full of trials and tribulations for all of us, in many ways. Yet, it was also a quiet time for introspection, reflection and serenity, and that is why I am going to take a stand about what I believe the year ahead will bring forth.

Why prognosticate?

Well — I often do that, because for nearly 30 years now that I have championed the causes of progress, innovation (tech, medical & political), equity, social justice, inclusion, human rights, and civil rights as well as “finance for all” — by promoting a modern civil rights agenda inclusive of all. And that besides the big things like access to Clean Air, Clean Water, Food and Health Care — it also means giving our people, a real access to development finance, and the tools of business development for women, minorities and for all entrepreneurial people across our globe. And we have done this many times and have served millions of people, via the “American Angels” network of early stage innovation investments, via Green Capital, via Advance life Science VC, and of course, through all of my work with “People’s Health International” saving countless lives by combating Tuberculosis, and working within the Life Science field of innovations for all mankind, all of my life, without fail.

And yet when I look back to see why I do this, I must admit that I do it because I enjoy it, & also because it is a great exercise in seeing the true trends by talking and serving the people and thus I always find it useful to think and speak about what we are facing and need to “cure” in the immediate future — and also how to visualize the looming, coming and arrived trends that will surely disrupt or stress our lives in ways that can be good, bad, or irrelevant… yet always consequential.

Naturally I do this not only because it helps me define my new path for the future, but because it defines the future for all of the World’s People, as well as it lights up the path for my colleagues and for all the people dependent on my wisdom and visionary leadership.

Have no fear — I am no prophetic swami or fakir of any kind, but just an intelligent person trained in the art of pattern recognition and leadership that demands hard executive decisions that affect people’s lives, because I have been blessed with many gifts and a Special Light that I need to share.

Same as in the past, I will get some of these predictions, prognostications and visualizations of the future, totally right on spot, yet I shall also get a few of them off the mark by a hairbreadth, and some of them awfully close to be considered as statistically erring, only because they fell beyond the target, by the date they arrive in our lives, or by the longevity by which they persist.

Yet generally You shall find comfort in my prescient positions because my epistemology of studying the future as a scientific endeavor — has always been proven right to a great degree.

Yet even if my total score of a 97% accuracy of predictions based on Human Intelligence is impressive — it is also important to remember that having a strongly worded point of view is very helpful when operating in a world that is full of fears, doubts & uncertainties.

And this is the way that You too can structure your plans for the future by thinking about it, because at the outset of each new year — all humanity sets out to better itself. And we do this by resolving to improve, by eradicating our unhealthy habits and by cultivating healthy ones.

Yet, while the most typical New Year’s resolutions tend to be about physical health, wealth and well-being — the most meaningful resolutions aim at a deeper kind of health through the refinement of our mental, spiritual, and emotional habits, which often dictate our physical ones.

This level of introspection of course requires a bit of contemplation away form Youtube, Netflix, Mobile phones and internet in general — and is best done when we take a walk on the woods or in the greens, the forest, the beach or the city parks, as your life allows and as you choose to be quietly lost in contemplation.

Yet, silent meditation, prayer and the art of sitting still works marvelously for perfection the Art of Contemplation that unites you with God & the Divine Spirit as well as with the Cosmos and the Universe in such a way that the lines between past, present & future are getting blurry and the elements of existence become unitary, so that the future is nothin but a reading of the trending patterns of events past present & future combined in a collage of functionality…

Contemplate my friends, contemplate. Contemplate, and thus in silence and stillness — the future will become visible to you too, because what are we “doing” when we do nothing but think?

Contemplate this: Where are we when we are surrounded by our fellow-men, and are habitually “together” with no one but ourselves?

And in my case, thinking while walking, makes me far more present to the reality and the future embedded within; so much so, that I have little doubt about what will transpire next.

And as Henry David Thoreau eloquently describes the process of “walking” in his easy to read essay about his walk in the woods, by proclaiming that “every walk is a sort of crusade,” Thoreau laments (150 years ago) our growing sameness, which has possessed us to cease undertaking “persevering, never-ending enterprises” so that even “our expeditions are nothing but tours,” and with his characteristically dramatic flair; he lays out the spiritual conditions required of the true walker:

“If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again — if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man — then you are ready for a walk. … No wealth can buy the requisite leisure, freedom, and independence which are the capital in this profession… It requires a direct dispensation from Heaven to become a walker.” –Henry David Thoreau

Still for me the art of “sitting” in contemplative meditation is also a boon for my mental acuity of divining the future, but it is a far more elaborate exercise, because it requires a different set of skills than those found amongst the fidgety people of today, preoccupied with receiving and reading the latest pings on our devises. Yet some of us, have succeeded in mastering this lost art as well.

Certainly all of us are able to take a walk in the woods with no electronic devises on, but a simple pair of sturdy shoes, and an assistive stick.

And that’s how we read the tea leaves that foretell the future.

So let us start with the elephant in the room.


“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it…

Life is long if you know how to use it.” –Seneca

Take the Covid Pandemic as an example that has bedeviled our lives and yet now that has come to its end — we will surely open up the whole world within the first half of 2021 — yet some dark pockets of its malign influence will remain and will bedevil the Global South for this year’s couple of quarters.

In our country — we will see the end of the Covid Pandemic in the United States early in this quarter, because we will work out the challenges we face as we vaccinate at least 40mm people a month amongst all states within the first quarter’s 3 months.

That is what will turn the tide of this pandemic disease away from the downhill spiral we have already faced, because when you add that 120mm vaccinated people to the 90mm people in the US that the CDC believes have already been infected and fully asymptomatic or recovered — we will have well over 200mm people in the US who already process a strong background immunity protection from the virus by the end of March.

Certainly, by the end of the first quarter in the US, anyone who wants to be vaccinated will have been able to do so. All of this will be aided by at least two additional approved vaccines in the US coming on line within the month of January, along with new and improved protocols, like emphasizing the first dose over the second one, and also having the one dose vaccinations — and we shall be well on our way towards full recovery of our Healthcare, personally and system wide…

The second half of 2021 will be marked by two major conflicting trends — where we shall see first, our people returning to offices, restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms, stadiums, concerts, parties, travel, theaters, and anywhere that they can be social with others. Ideally many people will fall in love again, and will share their antibodies and antigens in the strong embraces and even those instances where love entails the exchange of bodily fluids. And that is a good thing…

So, my advise to You is to go ahead and Love each other — even if you do that in the interest of Medical & Life Science and even for the Health & Longevity of our Species.

I personally cannot wait to do all of that again right about now as the New Year excites all passions and the Spring blossoms start arriving…

“There is a growing apprehension that existence is a rat-race in a trap: living organisms, including people, are merely tubes which put things in at one end and let them out at the other, which both keeps them doing it and in the long run wears them out.” — Allan Watts

Yet — I digress.

I digress, because ironically, this mass socializing trend will not materially and/or permanently change many behaviors we adopted in the Covid Pandemic, since I believe that we will continue to want to work from home, exercise from home, shop from home, watch first run movies from home, order in, livestream, and all of the other new behaviors we learned to suffer through, or enjoy and soldier on during this sobering year that just ended and hopefully has taken both the Demons and its Angels with it towards its retreating habitat.

Where all of this shakes out will be the big reveal of 2021 and will impact many tech companies and many tech stocks. As I wrote yesterday, I think the trends that were accelerated in 2020 will not reverse in 2021, although the slope of the adoption curves will likely flatten a fair bit.

While we are out mass socializing, we will also be picking up the pieces of our world that was shattered by the pandemic. In the US, we have racial equity issues that are longstanding, real and demanding to be addressed. We also have an economy that is in tatters. And we have sectors of our economy like retail, commercial real estate, carbon based energy, and more that will never be the same. The restructuring of our economy and government and corporate balance sheets and income statements that have been blown wide open will take a decade or more to work out.

Sitting above all of this is our atmosphere that due to the greenhouse effect — is getting warmer by the day, and because of that — the looming climate crisis will be to this next half century, what the two world wars were to the previous one.

Indeed, this global crisis will require people, communities, countries and all global Intergovernmental Organizations & Institutions to focus on the Climate Defenses, to Re-allocate capital from other endeavors to the existential fight against a warming planet, and to begin that reallocation of capital, in order to address the mitigation and adaptation for all of our People, and for the Ecosystems, by shifting our investment attention towards trends, companies and technologies that can help the world address this penultimate challenge.

Of course this existential threat shall not be the only one, since now we have discovered this alien world of deadly viruses that will bedevil our existence for many years to come — but climate change has got to be addressed soonest, lest we all wake up and find ourselves drowning in a new era of Noah’s floods.

Personally — I believe that many of our colleagues in the policy advocacy as well as in the policy delivery world and in the future investment community of venture capital & PE — will do the same because not only does the world need these types of investments, but they will also generate fantastic returns too.

Climate will be to this decade what cloud computing, A.I. and infrastructure built outs, were to the last one…

The twin terrors of the Covid Pandemic and the Climate Crisis will drive the great US migration of the 21st century as we are already experiencing and as we will see accelerate in 2021, because of what we really learned in the Covid Pandemic. We learned that attending the needs of a corporation, the lifestyle choices or a good job — no longer requires someone to live in a massively gentrified, low lying flood-prone city like Miami LA or NYC or even a beautiful city that is always smelling like smoke because all the contiguous forests are burning … like what happens in San Francisco, Portland or Los Angeles for most of the year, and thus we will see many people in the US choosing to up stakes and leaving those places and adopting to new homes in cities towns and counties that are less impacted by the planetary warming climate crisis.

We call this “adapting to the climate crisis” and I forecast that it will be a huge investable trend for many years to come.

I believe that governments will respond to all of these economic challenges by continuing to provide liquidity through surface money easing, without restraint or concern, and thereby taxing and regulating innovative new companies to protect old and dying companies.

This will lead investors to continue to allocate capital to new forms of money (digital, crypto, stable currencies) and new ways of creating and financing innovation through decentralized projects and organizations, that serve the unbanked like the DOT that I have created more than a decade ago and that it now has globalized the early stage investment landscape of American Angels and all of our young green shoots, startups and entrepreneurs.

And because we are already seeing that incredible growth happen in the finance sector, with breakout projects in decentralized finance in 2020 like our new project to offer help to all of the unbanked segments of our population — we invite you to once again come play in my sandlot because we are now building the next Big Thing in the world of the “Unbanked” bottom of the pyramid people.

And because, we shall surely see this approach to serve the “unbanked” accelerate in 2021 and expand into areas beyond the financial sector — I invite all of you who are interested to send me your resume herewith and to partner up with me to win this race against time and culture of division, hate & discord.

The idea of financing and executing innovation inside of a global decentralized autonomous organization is such a powerful idea and one whose time has come.

Join the Revolution that I lead forth and you shall enjoy the spoils of Victory alongside me.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Indeed, all the trends that will define 2021 have been building and ramping up for many years and are finally coming of age, because all of the insecurities that have been revealed in the past year and beyond.

At least 2020 gave us the time to think things through, and in any case, 2021 will be a year of returning to normal, but it will be a new normal and not like anything that we have experienced before.

Therefore, adapting to change is our new mantra for 2021.

Happy New Year everyone.

PPS:

And as a way to keep ourselves honest to goodness Truth-tellers, we ought to delve deep into what Carl Sagan shared as his secret to upholding the rites of scientific reason, in the face of society’s most shameless untruths and outrageous propaganda.

A few months before his death in 1996, in a book titled “The Demon-Haunted World — Science as a Candle in the Dark” and specifically in a chapter titled, “Art of Baloney Detection;” Carl Sagan reflects on the many types of deception, untruth, fakery and misdirection, to which we’re all susceptible since we receive this type of communication 24/7/365 from all directions in the Marketing & Advertising Age of constant bombardment and attention deficit disorder.

Starting from the politicians, to the high street charlatans & the Madison Avenue crowd of silly mavens coupled with the Technology Trolls (Tities) of Silicon valley, along with the San Francisco pantomimes of neural empathy degrees of separation and depression social networks, coupled with our telephone, internet and Facebook psychics, minority reports, prescient pre-cogs, religious zealots, prophets, and paid product endorsement scientists — all betraying their contempt for the intelligence of the populace at large, their customers, and American people in general, by introducing an insidious level of corruption of popular attitudes without a smidgeon of scientific objectivity.

But rather than preaching from the ivory tower of self-righteousness — Carl Sagan approaches the subject from the most vulnerable of places — having just lost both of his parents, he reflects on the all too human allure of promises of supernatural reunions in the afterlife, reminding us that falling for such fictions doesn’t make us stupid or bad people, but simply means that we need to equip ourselves with the right tools against them.

Through their training, scientists are equipped with what Sagan calls a “baloney detection kit” — a set, a “kit” of cognitive tools and techniques that fortify the mind against penetration by falsehoods:

Carl Sagan argues, that the “Truth Kit” isn’t merely a tool of science, because it contains valuable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as aptly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation.

To that end, Carl Sagan shares nine of these “truth serum” tools:

  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
  6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
  9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.

So as I bid goodbye to the past year and welcome the new one — I must offer a polite goodbye to this troublesome child that unleashed more Demons than Angels in our life and that brought more curses rather than dreams to our world…

So as 2020 sails on to the sunset, we bid her well…

Posted by: Dr Churchill | December 28, 2020

Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau, (born July 12, 1817, Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.—died May 6, 1862, Concord), American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher renowned for having lived the doctrines of Transcendentalism as recorded in his masterwork, Walden (1854), and for having been a vigorous advocate of civil liberties, as evidenced in the essay “Civil Disobedience” (1849).

Resistance to Civil Government” also called “Civil Disobedience” (for short), is an essay by Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War (1846–1848).

In 1848, Thoreau gave lectures at the Concord Lyceum entitled “The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government”. This formed the basis for his essay, which was first published under the title Resistance to Civil Government in an 1849 anthology by Elizabeth Peabody called Æsthetic Papers. The latter title distinguished Thoreau’s program from that of the “non-resistants” (anarcho-pacifists) who were expressing similar views. Resistance also served as part of Thoreau’s metaphor comparing the government to a machine: when the machine was producing injustice, it was the duty of conscientious citizens to be “a counter friction” (i.e., a resistance) “to stop the machine”.

In 1866, four years after Thoreau’s death, the essay was reprinted in a collection of Thoreau’s work (A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers) under the title Civil Disobedience. Today, the essay also appears under the title On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, perhaps to contrast it with William Paley’s Of the Duty of Civil Obedience to which Thoreau was in part responding. For instance, the 1960 New American Library Signet Classics edition of Walden included a version with this title. On Civil Disobedience is another common title.

The word civil has several definitions. The one that is intended in this case is “relating to citizens and their interrelations with one another or with the state”, and so civil disobedience means “disobedience to the state”. Sometimes people assume that civil in this case means “observing accepted social forms; polite” which would make civil disobedience something like polite, orderly disobedience. Although this is an acceptable dictionary definition of the word civil, it is not what is intended here. This misinterpretation is one reason the essay is sometimes considered to be an argument for pacifism or for exclusively nonviolent resistance. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi used this interpretation to suggest an equivalence between Thoreau’s civil disobedience and his own satyagraha.

The slavery crisis inflamed New England in the 1840s and 1850s. The environment became especially tense after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. A lifelong abolitionist, Thoreau delivered an impassioned speech which would later become Civil Disobediencein 1848, just months after leaving Walden Pond. The speech dealt with slavery and at the same time excoriated American imperialism, particularly the Mexican–American War.

Thoreau asserts that because governments are typically more harmful than helpful, they therefore cannot be justified. Democracy is no cure for this, as majorities simply by virtue of being majorities do not also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice. The judgment of an individual’s conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so “it is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right…. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.” He adds, “I cannot for an instant recognize as my government [that] which is the slave’s government also.”

The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice. Because of this, it is “not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize”.

Political philosophers have counseled caution about revolution because the upheaval of revolution typically causes a lot of expense and suffering. Thoreau contends that such a cost/benefit analysis is inappropriate when the government is actively facilitating an injustice as extreme as slavery. Such a fundamental immorality justifies any difficulty or expense to bring it to an end. “This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.”

Thoreau tells his audience that they cannot blame this problem solely on pro-slavery Southern politicians, but must put the blame on those in, for instance, Massachusetts, “who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may… There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them.” (See also: Thoreau’s Slavery in Massachusetts which also advances this argument.)

He exhorts people not to just wait passively for an opportunity to vote for justice, because voting for justice is as ineffective as wishing for justice; what you need to do is to actually be just. This is not to say that you have an obligation to devote your life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.

Paying taxes is one way in which otherwise well-meaning people collaborate in injustice. People who proclaim that the war in Mexico is wrong and that it is wrong to enforce slavery contradict themselves if they fund both things by paying taxes. Thoreau points out that the same people who applaud soldiers for refusing to fight an unjust war are not themselves willing to refuse to fund the government that started the war.

In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation. Abolitionists, in Thoreau’s opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxes, even if this means courting imprisonment, or even violence.

“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison…. where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,—the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor…. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. […] But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.”

Because the government will retaliate, Thoreau says he prefers living simply because he therefore has less to lose. “I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts…. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case.”

He was briefly imprisoned for refusing to pay the poll tax, but even in jail felt freer than the people outside. He considered it an interesting experience and came out of it with a new perspective on his relationship to the government and its citizens.

He was however released the next day when “someone interfered, and paid that tax”.

Thoreau said he was willing to pay the highway tax, which went to pay for something of benefit to his neighbors, but that he was opposed to taxes that went to support the government itself—even if he could not tell if his particular contribution would eventually be spent on an unjust project or a beneficial one. “I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.”

Because government is man-made, not an element of nature or an act of God, Thoreau hoped that its makers could be reasoned with. As governments go, he felt, the U.S. government, with all its faults, was not the worst and even had some admirable qualities. But he felt we could and should insist on better. “The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual…. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”

An aphorism often erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “That government is best which governs least…”, was actually found in Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.

Thoreau was apparently paraphrasing the motto of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review: “The best government is that which governs least” which might also be inspired from the 17th verse of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Zu: “The best rulers are scarcely known by their subjects.” 

Thoreau expanded it significantly:

“I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe: “That government is best which governs not at all,” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.

— Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

– Thoreau

Thoreau’s philosophy, combined civil rights, his sentiment for reform and equal justice in all of his speeches, writings and ways of living Life…

He always celebrated the individual rather than the masses.

Thoreau saw emotion rather than reason, and chose nature over man.

Thoreau’s American transcendentalism pursued the principle that there were two ways of knowing:

One is through the senses and the second way of knowledge is through intuition.

Yet, Henry David Thoreau asserted that intuition transcended tuition (education).

Similarly, he acknowledged that matter and spirit both existed simultaneously — however, the reality of the Spirit transcended the reality of the Matter.

Thoreau’s transcendentalism stated that man, Nature and the Universe — all militated, acted and strove for reform — yet he insisted that this type of Reform ought to begin with the individual, and not with the group or with any type of coercion from schools, society, or from any organized form of government dictum, police action or normative peer & social influence.

Thoreau’s careful observations and devastating conclusions have rippled into time, becoming stronger as the weaknesses Thoreau noted have become more pronounced in our unnecessarily complex societies…

Events that seem to be completely unrelated to his stay at Walden Pond have been influenced by it, including the national park system, the British labor movement, the creation of India, the civil rights movement, the hippie revolution, the environmental movement, and the wilderness movement.

Today, Thoreau’s words are quoted with feeling by liberals, socialists, anarchists, libertarians, and conservatives alike.

Thoreau’s political writings had little impact during his lifetime, as “his contemporaries did not see him as a theorist or as a radical”, viewing him instead as a naturalist — they either dismissed or ignored his political essays, including Civil Disobedience.

The only two complete books (as opposed to essays) published in his lifetime, “Walden” and “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers” (1849), both dealt with nature, in which he “loved to wander”. 

His obituary was lumped in with others rather than as a separate article in an 1862 yearbook.

Nevertheless, Thoreau’s writings went on to influence many public figures. Political leaders and reformers like Mohandas Gandhi, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, and Russian author Leo Tolstoy — all spoke of being strongly affected by Thoreau’s work, particularly his essay “Civil Disobedience” as did political theorist Frank Chodorov who devoted an entire issue of his monthly magazine titled “Analysis” to an appreciation of The Philosophy of Henry David Thoreau.

Martin Luther King Jr. noted in his autobiography that his first encounter with the idea of nonviolent resistance was reading “On Civil Disobedience” in 1944 while attending Morehouse College. He wrote in his autobiography that it was:

“Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery’s territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times. I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau’s insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.”

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Live simply, act civilly and always — yes always — refuse unjust authority.

Always.

Posted by: Dr Churchill | December 26, 2020

This Christmas God — Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death.

Today is offered for the Truth and the light that made me never to fear the fight…

Am glad that truth’s mightier child leaps above the future’s heart.

Yet, so does the Evil’s mighty spawn…

And the choice goes on forever “twixt that darkness and the light.”

Hast thou … 

Now life shows the choice momentous till the judgment passeth by… 

God Bless

Today, during these sad and messed up times — we all celebrate Christmas diminished, separated and lonesome…

And yet during these dismal times — I declare that I don’t miss much…

I might miss speaking in public — yet nor my speeches in the famed Public halls, nor my sojourn at the Cooper Union in New York, nor my talks at the community theaters, at the rallies for Justice and Equity, nor at the junctions of public places after George Floyd’s lynching, nor my speaking at the BLM walkabouts all over the country, nor my disable voice heard at the halls of academia and at the oldest parliaments across the globe — make me lustful for the past year that has runneth its course…

I don’t miss any of that.

Truly I say to you that I miss the joy of fiends trooping together to hear me speak, and I do miss the flights, the hotels, the new faces, the travels to the far distant places, the less visible parts of this Earth, and my beloved secret roads and byways leading to places of the heart, where serene wine dark seas and azure waters always await me…

I miss all of that but not in such way that I cry, nor do I miss the chatter of the High street Cafes, the homilies and the high mass at the Great Cathedrals, any more than I miss the holding of my lover in my arms and her soft kisses on my back…

Yes, I do miss the opera, the theater, the music halls, and I do miss the arts and the culture, yet I don’t really miss all of that any more than I miss my worn shoe leather and my pained feet from the political campaigns that I have run, till I dropped exhausted and could walk no more.

And I certainly miss all of my fans and followers — but what I truly miss the most is the loves of my life, my sainted Mother and my errant Father and of course I still miss my child who rests in heaven… and my other children who are afar in body and spirit.

I miss that.

And I still miss the impetus of my youth harkening inside of me to escape in the wilderness of the World at large, and I certainly miss the risks taken on a life worth living, where I get to suck the marrow out of Life, the jumping as high as can be to reach the sky, the outburst of my lungs signing Hallelujah with my friend Leonard sailing from Hydra’s archipelago, into the sky born Aegean, and I miss loving the beauty lying next to me and miss the kissing her soft neck as if living that last moment of Love and Lust was the music tone of life.

I miss the Poetry that we sang when exhausted we played with or toes and fingers intertwined as if we want to tie up the knots of our body lest we get separated from the stickiness of our Life force emanating in our breast bellies, on this day and every day I shall live upon this Earth of joy and surrender to the Spirit of man.

I miss the fact that I always believed that this Love, this one, will be my last, and always believed in the hope that Life is a game to be played as little children set out on a journey to the unknown and the unknowable, with the full conviction that our Joy is large, and our road is strewn with roses, “my vie en rose” as I was always that little child who’s starting out escaping school on the very first day of my young grammar school life by going out with my friend Ari who lend me his grandma’s donkey, and thus I set off on my first major adventure of the traveling Life to walk with God and find my self while discovering the world…

I miss the adventure and the love of the road, so soon enough my first four legged friend, was to be followed by riding my horse away from the towns, cities, stables and yards, into the wilds of our world, and taking my feet in sturdy walking shoes, rides in carriages, trains and buses — going off to Far East with companions or not, and leading myself well out of the beaten path, in places where the trains don’t run, and the rails don’t reach, so I got to Samarkand, Persepolis, Bishek and and Tibet, before it was possible for a teenager to get that far ahead of all other life’s adventures.

Soon had to graduate to sailing to the far off isles of the East and the West, making landfall in strange lands like Ulysses, and savoring the pleasures and the foibles of all men that wrote history and made the world known to all.

Finding the Greco-Buddhist art of the hidden Buddhas of Bamian, the Hindu-Kush, the Pamirs, the pilars off Ashoka, the deserts of Taklamakan, the Almaty and the Tashkent palaces of worship, the Indies of the legend of the many many Gods and the moon over the Punjab plateau and the Kashmir of legend.

Soon it dawned on me that taking to the skies and flying over the seven seas in experimental planes all over the world, was all I wanted to do, all the while wishing to sail over the moon and meet the Gods resting some place there in the great blue yonder up above… and in the firmament of the eternal space of our galaxy where Andromeda always awaits my arrival…

I miss the wish to exist larger than life and smaller than infinity…

I miss all that and above all else, I miss…

The Freedom to dream and then to do.

I miss that.

And I miss the liberty to assemble, to debate and declare, the issues of the day with my betters and lessers, all plebs and aristos together, in conversation for our common good, for our governance, and for our fate…

Miss that…

I miss the Liberty to go out into the World unbidden and with an understanding heart — to meet my Destiny.

I miss leading our people of the Lincoln party in marches and demos and in protests against injustice, and inequity.

I miss all that…

And I miss the signing of our anthem and that is the sharing of our blood spilled in the defense of Liberty in order to water the Tree of Life itself.

I miss that.

The free at last free at last, hallelujiah … free at last prayer for a decent life for all our people…

I miss that and I miss the Hope that springs eternal … but not ephemeral.

I miss that.

I miss Lincoln’s words of praise…

And above all else — I miss the freedom to pray to our Gods amongst my people, the wish to worship the temples of our ancestors in community, and the openness to contemplate at the graves where their ashes and their bones still lay beneath our feet… in both ekklesia and demos as in age immemorial living as Gods and Immortals for even one day more.

That is all that I miss.

This pandemic has been a once-in-a-century catastrophic event that pushed a billion people into poverty and shattered all of our clumsily constructed livelihoods — yet this crisis need not be wasted. 

The sheer scale of the human suffering, the death & destruction from covid-19, along with the resultant injustices, the human rights abuses, the still unfolding massive poverty growth, the vast inequities, and the unforeseen looming dangers that this Wuhan coronavirus attack against the world, has revealed — is that a bloody carnage and the unprecedented human toll as well as the painful sacrifice — has got to be put right.

That is my promise.

We need to apportion Justice for the perpetrators of this crime against Humanity and then announce the ways that we will change, in order to fix our world, our societies, and our civilization, towards a better standing, all over again.

We need to have a goal to become a great hopeful People once again and to stop dwelling in misery.

Our victimization must end and the era of the resumption of normal life must be ushered once again.

Participating in a candle lit Christmas service yesterday and singing the eternal songs of praise, love & hope has given me the promise of our Good God that we will be reborn in the light of Life.

And for that we need the lights of innovation, which mean that this year 2020 best be remembered as the year when everything changed.

Indeed, since this SARS-2 virus, has caused more than 1.6m recorded deaths, while many hundreds of thousands more loses of life might have gone unrecorded, and the poverty across the world has grown by 35% while the global economic output is at least 25% lower than it would have been — this era of the Chinese pandemic represents the biggest Civilization slump since the hundred years ago nasty effects of the First World War, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and the second world war combined.

Mainly because this pandemic has not only highlighted all the existing inequities, injustices and instabilities, but it has generated the most severe poverty, health crises and human rights abuses as well as a vastly more serious side effect of the injustice — which is the massive culling of the weaker ones amongst us.

And it has amply proven that our severe discrepancies of wealth distribution are a source of death in and of themselves. This disease is an economic disease as well, targeting and killing the poorest and the least protected amongst us, and that is a making of our own…

The World Bank organization, the U.S. and the United Nations all estimate that this pandemic has forced more that a Billion more people into extreme poverty, and has caused more than a few million needless deaths from the associated lack of medical care for anything else than the thinly stretched medical resources for the reflective defense against Covid-19.

How’s that for a great Chinese virus gift this season?  

A Chinese attack on all of our Liberties and on all that we hold sacred worldwide.

An attack on our religion and on our faith.

An attack on the simple Civil Liberties and on our Human Rights.

All Human Rights around the Globe has been trashed because of this Chinese biological warfare.

All the governments across the globe have taken their cues from China and usurped all of our basic Freeborn Human Rights and have turned our societies willy-nilly into vast concentration camps of self isolated confined human being relegated to Solitary Confinement, ad infinitum.

What a bloody shame…

It is awful that it has come to that. And it is further awful that we have fallen for it, and swallowed the bait whole — hook line & sinker.

We’ve been had my friends, because under the guise of this pandemic — all of our God given Human Rights have been dismissed while we were not watching, and we are fast becoming like an obedient and all totalitarian ant colony.

The Mass Society ordered by the Evil Empire is upon us and if you don’t believe me — just take a trip to Tibet…

That ought to school you.

Yet, awful as the situation might be — there’s still time to change things.

And there might even be something good that can come out of it.

Because there might be a gift in the offing from the misery of the 2020 plague.

And that is what has been brought into my mind as a gift of Grace since it presents a rather stark contrast to the popular narrative of Gloom & Doom, that pervades our world, around this Christmas time of 2020.

And as an eternal sunshine optimist — I always believe that there has got to be a silver lining in that awful dark cloud that rains above our head, and maybe there is a rainbow waiting for all of us, at the end of this pandemic that has unleashed the torrential rains, the deluge and the floods that flooded our hastily constructed tents, our tipis, and our simple dwellings — we call HOME.

And it is my Vision, that this rainbow will come and shine the sky for all of us.

And in the right Celtic tradition of the AngloSaxon people — it should come with a pot of gold at the foot of it…

And my prayerful wish this Christmas, is that this pot of gold has got to be distributed amongst the poorest of the poor — in order to our wealth to be shared equitably — since this is the least we can do to apologize and repair the damage done.

And that should certainly be a new social contract between our People and our Governments, and that agreement ought to be called simply “A NEW POLICY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.”

A New Contract with the World.

A new Economic Contract with fixed guarantees for all the people and all the Peoples living in the 21st century…

This past year, I built a campaign for the presidential election of 2020 in America — centered around Economic Equity, Human Rights, Public Health, Social Cohesion, Justice and Unity.

And that was my appeal to all Americans to forget the divisions, the hate and the bipolar Civil War mood, and instead turn back to the certainties of the pioneering Spirit of American Dream that always pushes us for hard work, innovation, frontier & forward-looking expansion, growth, risk-taking, social support, justice for all, industrial, political and scientific progress as it befits a progressive liberal Democratic Republic that the United States of America has always been since its inception.

Averting Civil War in my country, has been my main mission, and yet now we recognize the urgency of our mission, because we need to focus on rebuilding the Peace.

A new era of Reconstruction must follow this pandemic and the resultant injustices, and we need to understand that only by growing the American Spirit as the spirit that will endow the 2020s, with HOPE, PEACE & LOVE, for the whole World — we might be able to turn the sad tide around and built an Arc that will include all Humanity in its saving Grace…

We need to do that because that is the only way that we can alleviate both the suffering resulting from covid-19, as well as the injustices, the poverty, and all too real issue, dangers and catastrophes that this Chinese born, and bred pandemic, has unleashed as a wholesale attack on our Civilization.

We need to deliver the American Dream and the Hope for Great tidings to come our way, for all the people of this Earth, today.

Because as of now it has indeed been revealed, that the promise of political, economic, social and scientific innovation — only means something, if we can turn this thing around.

And if…

And only if…

If we can turn this thing around…

Then that would then mean that this catastrophe will be remembered as the spark of change — when everything in our Civilization, changed for the better…

And further if…

If…

If you want to stand against the tides of the looming darkness…

And if you want to maybe fight…

An appeal to Heaven above might be all that you can do.

Or you can pray devoutly and also choose to fight…

And fight stoutly we shall.

And we will win this no matter how long the struggle might be.

And if you want to support the New Era of Human Rights — please share this far & wide, because first of all — we need to Free our people from the bondage of the perpetrators of injustice, cruelty and hate.

And let us not forget that the Slave masters of Tibet are the same tyrants that demand to subjugate the rest of the world as well.

LET US NOW BE VIGILANT AND FIGHT FOR OUR HUMAN RIGHTS ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE.

Because if we allow these tyrants to continue their march to the Supremacy all over the world …

And if we allow this to happen — then I am afraid that all of our voices, along with our bodies and even our very souls will disappear for ever… in the pit of darkness.

And that would signal the end of our Civilization and its replacement with a thousand years of darkness…

So,

If you don’t want a jackbooted thug kicking you forever in the throat — maybe you would want to join the Lincoln party and fight for Freedom everywhere in our world, because the fight against the Evil Empire has already begun.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

Merry Christmas

Posted by: Dr Churchill | December 21, 2020

Clash of Civilizations


“It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this instilled in Sparta, that made war inevitable.”
–General Thucydides’s Trap

Thucydides (/θjuːˈsɪdɪdiːz/; Ancient Greek: Θουκυδίδης Thoukūdídēs [tʰuːkyːdídɛːs]; c.  460 – c.  400 BC) was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of “scientific history” by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work.
He also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest. His text is still studied at universities and military colleges worldwide. The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles’ Funeral Oration is widely studied by political theorists, historians, and students of the classics.
More generally, Thucydides developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plagues, massacres, and civil war.

Today amongst the Cognoscenti of Strategic Intelligence and Statecraft, as well as Military Intelligence, it is almost universally believed that the United States and China are locked in a strategic competition of epic proportions. This “clash of civilizations” is a competition of wide-ranging proportions, covering politics, military power, geo strategic interests, trade routes, economic strength, national and international security, global alliances and spheres of influence, as well as politics.

The operating assumption of this multitude of strategic analysts, plentitude of talking heads and plethora of Chiefs of Staff commentary — is that the US and China are competing to be the World’s supreme and perhaps sole Super-Power and therefore, the two contestants are destined for war.

A REALPOLITIK pursuit of national interest and Empire building.

Indeed the issue of National Interest, often referred to by the French expression raison d’État, is a rationality of governing referring to a sovereign state’s goals and ambitions, be they economic, military, cultural, or otherwise. “Raison d’etat” is an integral concept within the field of international relations, as its emergence saw the development of various ways to manage state-to-state relations, as well as of ” political arithmetic.”

The pursuit of national interest is the foundation of the realist school in international relations, and thus based on the ancient Athenian general’s writings, is always the case that when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling one, the most likely outcome is war. One hundred percent of the cases of ascending and incumbent powers, studied over the last two and a half millennia, proved this political science theorem.

That is the famed “Thucydides Trap” or rather the age old dilemma of conflict arising from the ascendancy of tribes, nations and empires or alliances, to the Supremacy of power, at the expense of another, This phenomenon of political science was first described in practical terms by the ancient historian, soldier of the Peloponnesian wars, and Athenian statesman, General Thucydides.

Thucydides [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
Thucydides (/θjuːˈsɪdɪdiːz/Ancient Geek: Θουκυδίδης Thoukūdídēs [tʰuːkyːdídɛːs]; c.  460 – c.  400 BC) was an Athenianhistorian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athensuntil the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of “scientific history” by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work.[3][4][5]
He also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest.[6] His text is still studied at universities and military colleges worldwide.[7] The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles’ Funeral Oration is widely studied by political theorists, historians, and students of the classics.
More generally, Thucydides developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plaguesmassacres, and civil war.
In spite of his stature as a historian, modern historians know relatively little about Thucydides’s life. The most reliable information comes from his own History of the Peloponnesian War, in which he mentions his nationality, paternity, and birthplace. Thucydides says that he fought in the war, contracted the plague, and was exiled by the democracy. He may have also been involved in quelling the Samian Revolt.[8]
Evidence from the Classical period[edit]
Thucydides identifies himself as an Athenian, telling us that his father’s name was Olorus and that he was from the Athenian deme of Halimous.[9] A somewhat doubtful anecdote of his early life still exists. While still a youth of 10-12 years, he and his father were supposed to have gone to the agora of Athens where the young Thucydides heard a lecture by the historian Herodotus. According to some accounts the young Thucydides wept with joy after hearing the lecture, deciding that writing history would be his life’s calling. The same account also claims that after the lecture, Herodotus spoke with the youth and his father, stating: Oloros your son yearns for knowledge. In all essence, the episode is most likely from a later Greek or Roman account of his life. [10] He survived the Plague of Athens,[11] which killed Pericles and many other Athenians. He also records that he owned gold mines at Scapte Hyle (literally “Dug Woodland”), a coastal area in Thrace, opposite the island of Thasos.[12]
Because of his influence in the Thracian region, Thucydides wrote, he was sent as a strategos (general) to Thasos in 424 BC. During the winter of 424–423 BC, the Spartan general Brasidas attacked Amphipolis, a half-day’s sail west from Thasos on the Thracian coast, sparking the Battle of AmphipolisEucles, the Athenian commander at Amphipolis, sent to Thucydides for help.[13]Brasidas, aware of the presence of Thucydides on Thasos and his influence with the people of Amphipolis, and afraid of help arriving by sea, acted quickly to offer moderate terms to the Amphipolitans for their surrender, which they accepted. Thus, when Thucydides arrived, Amphipolis was already under Spartan control.[14]
Amphipolis was of considerable strategic importance, and news of its fall caused great consternation in Athens.[15] It was blamed on Thucydides, although he claimed that it was not his fault and that he had simply been unable to reach it in time. Because of his failure to save Amphipolis, he was exiled:[16]
I lived through the whole of it, being of an age to comprehend events, and giving my attention to them in order to know the exact truth about them. It was also my fate to be an exile from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; and being present with both parties, and more especially with the Peloponnesians by reason of my exile, I had leisure to observe affairs somewhat particularly.
Using his status as an exile from Athens to travel freely among the Peloponnesian allies, he was able to view the war from the perspective of both sides. Thucydides claimed that he began writing his history as soon as the war broke out, because he thought it would be one of the greatest wars waged among the Greeks in terms of scale:
Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it broke out, and believing that it would be a great war, and more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it.[17]
This is all that Thucydides wrote about his own life, but a few other facts are available from reliable contemporary sources. Herodotus wrote that the name Olorus, Thucydides’s father’s name, was connected with Thrace and Thracian royalty.[18] Thucydides was probably connected through family to the Athenian statesman and general Miltiades and his son Cimon, leaders of the old aristocracy supplanted by the Radical Democrats. Cimon’s maternal grandfather’s name also was Olorus, making the connection quite likely. Another Thucydides lived before the historian and was also linked with Thrace, making a family connection between them very likely as well. 
Thucydides Mosaic from Jerash, Jordan, Roman, 3rd century AD at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin
Combining all the fragmentary evidence available, it seems that his family had owned a large estate in Thrace, one that even contained gold mines, and which allowed the family considerable and lasting affluence. The security and continued prosperity of the wealthy estate must have necessitated formal ties with local kings or chieftains, which explains the adoption of the distinctly Thracian royal name Óloros into the family. Once exiled, Thucydides took permanent residence in the estate and, given his ample income from the gold mines, he was able to dedicate himself to full-time history writing and research, including many fact-finding trips. In essence, he was a well-connected gentleman of considerable resources who, after involuntarily retiring from the political and military spheres, decided to fund his own historical investigations.
The remaining evidence for Thucydides’ life comes from later and rather less reliable ancient sources; Marcellinus wrote Thucydides’ biography about a thousand years after his death. According to Pausanias, someone named Oenobius had a law passed allowing Thucydides to return to Athens, presumably shortly after the city’s surrender and the end of the war in 404 BC. Pausanias goes on to say that Thucydides was murdered on his way back to Athens, placing his tomb near the Melite gate.[19] Many doubt this account, seeing evidence to suggest he lived as late as 397 BC, or perhaps slightly later. Plutarch preserves a tradition that he was murdered in Skaptē Hulē and that his remains were returned to Athens, where a monument to him was erected in Cimon‘s family plot.[20] There are problems with this, since this was outside Thucydides’ deme and the tradition goes back to Polemon, who asserted he had discovered just such a memorial.[21] Didymus mentions another tomb in Thrace.[22]
Thucydides’ narrative breaks off in the middle of the year 411 BC, and this abrupt end has traditionally been explained as due to his death while writing the book, although other explanations have been put forward.
Inferences about Thucydides’ character can be drawn (with due caution) only from his book. His sardonic sense of humor is evident throughout, as when, during his description of the Athenian plague, he remarks that old Athenians seemed to remember a rhyme which said that with the Dorian War would come a “great death”. Some claimed that the rhyme originally mentioned a [death by] “famine” or “starvation” (λιμός, limos[23]), and was only remembered later as [death by] “pestilence” (λοιμός, loimos[24]) due to the current plague. Thucydides then remarks that should another Dorian War come, this time attended with a great famine (λιμός), the rhyme will be remembered as “famine”, and any mention of “plague” (λοιμός) forgotten.[25][26]
Thucydides admired Pericles, approving of his power over the people and showing a marked distaste for the demagogues who followed him. He did not approve of the democratic commoners nor of the radical democracy that Pericles ushered in, but considered democracy acceptable when guided by a good leader.[27] Thucydides’ presentation of events is generally even-handed; for example, he does not minimize the negative effect of his own failure at Amphipolis. Occasionally, however, strong passions break through, as in his scathing appraisals of the democratic leaders Cleon[28][29] and Hyperbolus.[30] Sometimes, Cleon has been connected with Thucydides’ exile.[31]
It has been argued that Thucydides was moved by the suffering inherent in war and concerned about the excesses to which human nature is prone in such circumstances, as in his analysis of the atrocities committed during the civil conflict on Corcyra,[32] which includes the phrase “war is a violent teacher” (πόλεμος βίαιος διδάσκαλος).
The History of the Peloponnesian War
Thucydides believed that the Peloponnesian War represented an event of unmatched importance.[33] As such, he began to write the History at the onset of the war in 431 BC.[34][35] He declared his intention was to write an account which would serve as “a possession for all time”.[36] The History breaks off near the end of the twenty-first year of the war (411 BC), in the wake of the Athenian defeat at Syracuse, and so does not elaborate on the final seven years of the conflict.
The History of the Peloponnesian War continued to be modified well beyond the end of the war in 404 BC, as exemplified by a reference at Book I.1.13[37] to the conclusion of the war.[38] After his death, Thucydides’s History was subdivided into eight books: its modern title is the History of the Peloponnesian War. This subdivision was most likely made by librarians and archivists, themselves being historians and scholars, most likely working in the Library of Alexandria.[citation needed]
Thucydides is generally regarded as one of the first true historians. Like his predecessor Herodotus, known as “the father of history”, Thucydides places a high value on eyewitness testimony and writes about events in which he probably took part. He also assiduously consulted written documents and interviewed participants about the events that he recorded. Unlike Herodotus, whose stories often teach that a hubris invites the wrath of the deities, Thucydides does not acknowledge divine intervention in human affairs.[39]
Thucydides exerted wide historiographical influence on subsequent Hellenistic and Roman historians, although the exact description of his style in relation to many successive historians remains unclear.[40] Readers in antiquity often placed the continuation of the stylistic legacy of the History in the writings of Thucydides’ putative intellectual successor Xenophon. Such readings often described Xenophon’s treatises as attempts to “finish” Thucydides’s History. Many of these interpretations, however, have garnered significant scepticism among modern scholars, such as Dillery, who spurn the view of interpreting Xenophon qua Thucydides, arguing that the latter’s “modern” history (defined as constructed based on literary and historical themes) is antithetical to the former’s account in the Hellenica, which diverges from the Hellenic historiographical tradition in its absence of a preface or introduction to the text and the associated lack of an “overarching concept” unifying the history.[41]
A noteworthy difference between Thucydides’s method of writing history and that of modern historians is Thucydides’s inclusion of lengthy formal speeches that, as he states, were literary reconstructions rather than quotations of what was said—or, perhaps, what he believed ought to have been said. Arguably, had he not done this, the gist of what was said would not otherwise be known at all—whereas today there is a plethora of documentation—written records, archives, and recording technology for historians to consult. Therefore, Thucydides’s method served to rescue his mostly oral sources from oblivion. We do not know how these historical figures spoke. Thucydides’s recreation uses a heroic stylistic register. A celebrated example is Pericles’ funeral oration, which heaps honour on the dead and includes a defence of democracy:
The whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; they are honoured not only by columns and inscriptions in their own land, but in foreign nations on memorials graven not on stone but in the hearts and minds of men. (2:43)
Stylistically, the placement of this passage also serves to heighten the contrast with the description of the plague in Athens immediately following it, which graphically emphasizes the horror of human mortality, thereby conveying a powerful sense of verisimilitude:
Though many lay unburied, birds and beasts would not touch them, or died after tasting them […]. The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and half-dead creatures reeled about the streets and gathered round all the fountains in their longing for water. The sacred places also in which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons who had died there, just as they were; for, as the disaster passed all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them, became equally contemptuous of the property of and the dues to the deities. All the burial rites before in use were entirely upset, and they buried the bodies as best they could. Many from want of the proper appliances, through so many of their friends having died already, had recourse to the most shameless sepultures: sometimes getting the start of those who had raised a pile, they threw their own dead body upon the stranger’s pyre and ignited it; sometimes they tossed the corpse which they were carrying on the top of another that was burning, and so went off. (2:52)
Thucydides omits discussion of the arts, literature, or the social milieu in which the events in his book take place and in which he grew up. He saw himself as recording an event, not a period, and went to considerable lengths to exclude what he deemed frivolous or extraneous.
Philosophical outlook and influences[edit]
Paul Shorey calls Thucydides “a cynic devoid of moral sensibility”.[42] In addition, he notes that Thucydides conceived of human nature as strictly determined by one’s physical and social environments, alongside basic desires.[43] Francis Cornford was more nuanced: Thucydides’ political vision was informed by a tragic ethical vision, in which:
Man, isolated from, and opposed to, Nature, moves along a narrow path, unrelated to what lies beyond and lighted only by a few dim rays of human ‘foresight'(γνώμη/gnome), or by the false, wandering fires of Hope. He bears within him, self-contained, his destiny in his own character: and this, with the purposes which arise out of it, shapes his course. That is all, in Thucydides’ view, that we can say: except that, now and again, out of the surrounding darkness comes the blinding strokes of Fortune, unaccountable and unforeseen.’[44]
Thucydides’ work indicates an influence from the teachings of the Sophists that contributes substantially to the thinking and character of his History.[45] Possible evidence includes his skeptical ideas concerning justice and morality.[46] There are also elements within the History—such as his views on nature revolving around the factual, empirical, and the non-anthropomorphic—which suggest that he was at least aware of the views of philosophers such as Anaxagoras and Democritus. There is also evidence of his knowledge concerning some of the corpus of Hippocratic medical writings.[47]
Thucydides was especially interested in the relationship between human intelligence and judgment,[48] Fortune and Necessity,[49] and the idea that history is too irrational and incalculable to predict.[50]
Scholars traditionally view Thucydides as recognizing and teaching the lesson that democracies need leadership, but that leadership can be dangerous to democracy. Leo Strauss (in The City and Man) locates the problem in the nature of Athenian democracy itself, about which, he argued, Thucydides had a deeply ambivalent view: on one hand, Thucydides’s own “wisdom was made possible” by the Periclean democracy, which had the effect of liberating individual daring, enterprise, and questioning spirit; but this same liberation, by permitting the growth of limitless political ambition, led to imperialism and, eventually, civic strife.[51]
For Canadian historian Charles Norris Cochrane (1889–1945), Thucydides’s fastidious devotion to observable phenomena, focus on cause and effect, and strict exclusion of other factors anticipates twentieth-century scientific positivism. Cochrane, the son of a physician, speculated that Thucydides generally (and especially in describing the plague in Athens) was influenced by the methods and thinking of early medical writers such as Hippocrates of Kos.[3]
After World War IIclassical scholar Jacqueline de Romilly pointed out that the problem of Athenian imperialism was one of Thucydides’s central preoccupations and situated his history in the context of Greek thinking about international politics. Since the appearance of her study, other scholars further examined Thucydides’s treatment of realpolitik.
More recently, scholars have questioned the perception of Thucydides as simply “the father of realpolitik”. Instead they have brought to the fore the literary qualities of the History, which they see as belonging to the narrative tradition of Homer and Hesiod and as concerned with the concepts of justice and suffering found in Plato and Aristotle and problematized in Aeschylus and Sophocles.[52] Richard Ned Lebow terms Thucydides “the last of the tragedians”, stating that “Thucydides drew heavily on epic poetry and tragedy to construct his history, which not surprisingly is also constructed as a narrative.”[53] In this view, the blind and immoderate behaviour of the Athenians (and indeed of all the other actors)—although perhaps intrinsic to human nature—ultimately leads to their downfall. Thus his History could serve as a warning to future leaders to be more prudent, by putting them on notice that someone would be scrutinizing their actions with a historian’s objectivity rather than a chronicler’s flattery.[54]
The historian J. B. Bury writes that the work of Thucydides “marks the longest and most decisive step that has ever been taken by a single man towards making history what it is today”.[55]
Historian H. D. Kitto feels that Thucydides wrote about the Peloponnesian War, not because it was the most significant war in antiquity, but because it caused the most suffering. Indeed, several passages of Thucydides’s book are written “with an intensity of feeling hardly exceeded by Sappho herself”.[56]
In his book The Open Society and Its EnemiesKarl Popper writes that Thucydides was the “greatest historian, perhaps, who ever lived”. Thucydides’s work, however, Popper goes on to say, represents “an interpretation, a point of view; and in this we need not agree with him”. In the war between Athenian democracy and the “arrested oligarchic tribalism of Sparta”, we must never forget Thucydides’s “involuntary bias”, and that “his heart was not with Athens, his native city”:
Although he apparently did not belong to the extreme wing of the Athenian oligarchic clubs who conspired throughout the war with the enemy, he was certainly a member of the oligarchic party, and a friend neither of the Athenian people, the demos, who had exiled him, nor of its imperialist policy.[57]
Thucydides and his immediate predecessor, Herodotus, both exerted a significant influence on Western historiography. Thucydides does not mention his counterpart by name, but his famous introductory statement is thought to refer to him:[58][59]
To hear this history rehearsed, for that there be inserted in it no fables, shall be perhaps not delightful. But he that desires to look into the truth of things done, and which (according to the condition of humanity) may be done again, or at least their like, shall find enough herein to make him think it profitable. And it is compiled rather for an everlasting possession than to be rehearsed for a prize. (1:22)
Herodotus records in his Histories not only the events of the Persian Wars, but also geographical and ethnographical information, as well as the fables related to him during his extensive travels. Typically, he passes no definitive judgment on what he has heard. In the case of conflicting or unlikely accounts, he presents both sides, says what he believes and then invites readers to decide for themselves.[60] Of course, modern historians would generally leave out their personal beliefs, which is a form of passing judgment upon the events and people about which the historian is reporting. The work of Herodotus is reported to have been recited at festivals, where prizes were awarded, as for example, during the games at Olympia.[61]
Herodotus views history as a source of moral lessons, with conflicts and wars as misfortunes flowing from initial acts of injustice perpetuated through cycles of revenge.[62]In contrast, Thucydides claims to confine himself to factual reports of contemporary political and military events, based on unambiguous, first-hand, eye-witness accounts,[63] although, unlike Herodotus, he does not reveal his sources. Thucydides views life exclusively as political life, and history in terms of political history. Conventional moral considerations play no role in his analysis of political events while geographic and ethnographic aspects are omitted or, at best, of secondary importance. Subsequent Greek historians—such as CtesiasDiodorusStraboPolybius and Plutarch—held up Thucydides’s writings as a model of truthful history. Lucian[64] refers to Thucydides as having given Greek historians their law, requiring them to say what had been done (ὡς ἐπράχθη). Greek historians of the fourth century BC accepted that history was political and that contemporary history was the proper domain of a historian.[65] Cicero calls Herodotus the “father of history”;[66] yet the Greek writer Plutarch, in his Moralia (Ethics) denigrated Herodotus, notably calling him a philobarbaros, a “barbarian lover”, to the detriment of the Greeks.[67] Unlike Thucydides, however, these authors all continued to view history as a source of moral lessons, thereby infusing their works with personal biases generally missing from Thucydides’ clear-eyed, non-judgmental writings focused on reporting events in a non-biased manner.
Due to the loss of the ability to read Greek, Thucydides and Herodotus were largely forgotten during the Middle Ages in Western Europe, although their influence continued in the Byzantine world. In Europe, Herodotus become known and highly respected only in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century as an ethnographer, in part due to the discovery of America, where customs and animals were encountered that were even more surprising than what he had related. During the Reformation, moreover, information about Middle Eastern countries in the Histories provided a basis for establishing Biblical chronology as advocated by Isaac Newton.
The first European translation of Thucydides (into Latin) was made by the humanist Lorenzo Valla between 1448 and 1452, and the first Greek edition was published by Aldo Manuzio in 1502. During the Renaissance, however, Thucydides attracted less interest among Western European historians as a political philosopher than his successor, Polybius,[68] although Poggio Bracciolini claimed to have been influenced by him. There is much evidence of Thucydides’s influence in Niccolò Machiavelli‘s The Prince (1513), which held that the chief aim of a new prince must be to “maintain his state” [i.e., his power] and that in so doing he is often compelled to act against faith, humanity, and religion. Later historians, such as J. B. Bury, have noted parallels between them:
If, instead of a history, Thucydides had written an analytical treatise on politics, with particular reference to the Athenian empire, it is probable that … he could have forestalled Machiavelli … [since] the whole innuendo of the Thucydidean treatment of history agrees with the fundamental postulate of Machiavelli, the supremacy of reason of state. To maintain a state, said the Florentine thinker, “a statesman is often compelled to act against faith, humanity and religion”. … But … the true Machiavelli, not the Machiavelli of fable … entertained an ideal: Italy for the Italians, Italy freed from the stranger: and in the service of this ideal he desired to see his speculative science of politics applied.
However, Thucydides has no political aim in view: he was purely a historian. But it was part of the method of both alike to eliminate conventional sentiment and morality.[69]
Thomas Hobbes translated Thucydides directly from Greek into English back in the seventeenth century, because the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, whose Leviathan advocated absolute monarchy, admired Thucydides and in 1628 was the first to translate his writings into English directly from Greek. Thucydides, Hobbes, and Machiavelli are together considered the founding fathers of political realism, according to which, state policy must primarily or solely focus on the need to maintain military and economic power rather than on ideals or ethics.
Nineteenth-century positivist historians stressed what they saw as Thucydides’s seriousness, his scientific objectivity and his advanced handling of evidence. A virtual cult following developed among such German philosophers as Friedrich SchellingFriedrich Schlegel, and Friedrich Nietzsche, who claimed that, “[in Thucydides], the portrayer of Man, that culture of the most impartial knowledge of the world finds its last glorious flower.” The late-eighteenth-century Swiss historian Johannes von Müller described Thucydides as “the favourite author of the greatest and noblest men, and one of the best teachers of the wisdom of human life”.[70] For Eduard MeyerThomas Babington Macaulay and Leopold von Ranke, who initiated modern source-based history writing,[71] Thucydides was again the model historian.[72][73]
Generals and statesmen loved him: the world he drew was theirs, an exclusive power-brokers’ club.
It is no accident that even today Thucydides turns up as a guiding spirit in military academies, neocon think tanks and the writings of men like Henry Kissinger; whereas Herodotus has been the choice of imaginative novelists (Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient and the film based on it boosted the sale of the Histories to a wholly unforeseen degree) and—as food for a starved soul—of an equally imaginative foreign correspondent from Iron Curtain Poland, Ryszard Kapuscinski.[74]
These historians also admired Herodotus, however, as social and ethnographic history increasingly came to be recognized as complementary to political history.[75] In the twentieth century, this trend gave rise to the works of Johan HuizingaMarc Bloch, and Fernand Braudel, who pioneered the study of long-term cultural and economic developments and the patterns of everyday life. The Annales School, which exemplifies this direction, has been viewed as extending the tradition of Herodotus.[76]
At the same time, Thucydides’s influence was increasingly important in the area of international relations during the Cold War, through the work of Hans MorgenthauLeo Strauss,[77] and Edward Carr.[78]
The tension between the Thucydidean and Herodotean traditions extends beyond historical research. According to Irving Kristol, self-described founder of American neoconservatism, Thucydides wrote “the favorite neoconservative text on foreign affairs”;[79] and Thucydides is a required text at the Naval War College, an American institution located in Rhode Island. On the other hand, Daniel Mendelsohn, in a review of a recent edition of Herodotus, suggests that, at least in his graduate school days during the Cold War, professing admiration of Thucydides served as a form of self-presentation:
To be an admirer of Thucydides’ History, with its deep cynicism about political, rhetorical and ideological hypocrisy, with its all too recognizable protagonists—a liberal yet imperialistic democracy and an authoritarian oligarchy, engaged in a war of attrition fought by proxy at the remote fringes of empire—was to advertise yourself as a hardheaded connoisseur of global Realpolitik.[80]
Another author, Thomas Geoghegan, whose speciality is labour rights, comes down on the side of Herodotus when it comes to drawing lessons relevant to Americans, who, he notes, tend to be rather isolationist in their habits (if not in their political theorizing): “We should also spend more funds to get our young people out of the library where they’re reading Thucydides and get them to start living like Herodotus—going out and seeing the world.”[81]
Another contemporary historian believes that,[82] while it is true that critical history “began with Thucydides, one may also argue that Herodotus’ looking at the past as a reason why the present is the way it is, and to search for causality for events beyond the realms of “Tyche” and the Gods, was a much larger step.”

So this is the trap we are facing today:

To War or Not.

And that, just might be beyond our power and control, because at this point war seems inevitable and a “fait-accompli.”

Can it be avoided?

I would defer to the two Chief Executives of our contesting countries on this question, and of course I would agree with the old soldier/general Thucydides, in that war may be the case when the competition is narrowly framed around the issues of raw power, for military domination, for economic growth, scale and location in global supply chains, as well as for the competition for the supremacy in technological innovation, military sophistication, and military force projection capabilities — yet it can be avoided when intelligent statecraft is deployed and the willingness for parlay outperforms the need for drawing our swords and disemboweling each other.

Yet, as it happens these are the base metrics in which the US and China are on parity right now, and actually our “frenemies” across the Pacific outperform us, or are improving faster than ourselves could ever do, because today, an irresistible rising China is on course to collide with an immovable America. The likely result of this competition was identified by the great historian Thucydides, who wrote: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

But the point of our discourse is not to predict the future but rather to “prevent” its seeming inevitability, since escaping Thucydides’s Trap is also a possibility.

And of course this remains only a minor possibility, because an examination over the last five hundred years, gave us four out of the more than twenty-one real war scenario cases, (including three from the 20th century) where imaginative statecraft averted war.

Now, the question remains: Can Washington and Beijing steer their ships of state through today’s treacherous shoals?

Answer is: Only if they learn and apply the lessons of history.

Will Washington and Beijing follow in the tragic footsteps of France, Britain, Germany and Russia a century ago, when they jumped into the First World War?

Or will they find a way to avoid war as effectively as the US did in crafting a Cold War strategy to meet the challenge posed by the Soviet Union?



For the Leaders of our country and for all the Military heads and the serious students of Foreign Policy, Realpolitik, and Political Science — Thucydides’s Trap axiom, is the best algorithm for understanding the most critical foreign policy issue of our time, and the need to go to war at the slightest provocation, or not.
 
As for the debate about Supremacy — we need to reframe that one also, because in many areas of significance, strength and national security, neither the US nor China are number one.

Far from it. Indeed, both contestants often find themselves way down the list when compared to other countries.

Therefor, we need not lose sight of the fact that in many areas of life – from governance to healthcare to crime to the environment – the two countries have a lot of catching up to do. 
 
First is our attempt to collect as many cross-national indicators as possible to show where the US and China are doing well – and where they are not. One can quibble with the specific components included in our list, but not with the ultimate conclusion: the US and China are far from number-one in many aspects that are critically important to successful, well functioning societies.
 
There are several reasons why it is important for the United States and China to not place all other goals beneath the pursuit of power. First, as important as power is, it is far from everything. Many of the typical kinds of power metrics do not easily translate into tangible benefits for ordinary citizens. To oversimplify, you can’t eat a nuclear weapon. A strong military deters aggression from others, but much more is needed once a society is made safe from external threats. It is critical that as a society we set goals to achieve a high quality of life, and that means targeting areas that do not easily translate into metrics of power. 
 
Happiness is not the be all end all of life, but it’s not irrelevant either. And on this score the US and China do not fare particularly well, ranking 18 and 94, respectively, far behind even the depressive cold & dark Finland, and certainly behind Bhutan where almost every other person is a monk or a nun, and even behind Denmark where every other person is behaving like a sexual deviant. (And that probably explains why the Danish people have a big smile on their faces. Its not the cheese danish that they consume with their weak-ass coffee my friends. Its that they behave like barnyard animals during their cold dark wintry seasons, and I salute them for that, since they are totally sexually liberated).

My hat is off to the Great Danes….

Back in the jungle — the US ranks higher than China on metrics of democracy and freedom, but even there the US is far from preeminent, something we’ve witnessed in vivid terms during the last few years. 
 
Now, if Americans and Chinese only focus on being better than the other country, then that would mean still being ranked behind many other countries in a wide range of categories. The US having wider broadband access than China is less impressive when one realizes that at least 20 other countries outperform America. 
 
Of course, progress in some areas is largely a zero-sum competition, but in most areas one’s own performance benefits from the high performance of others. Where things are more clearly defined as positive-sum, improving life in the US in many respects depends on improving the situation in China, not to mention in many other countries. That certainly appears to be the case in issue areas that depend heavily on the provision of public goods, such as public health and the environment. 
 
And then we have soft power, which is hard to describe, but it tends to accrue to those countries who do well in those areas outside the confines of hard power, such as the ability to share your culture, to bring others to your side, in order to become your trusted ally, partner or customer, and in essence to be emulated. This type of power is only shaped by a country’s attractiveness. Better alliances, for America will raise our performance on metrics concerning governance, health, tolerance, and the environment, and this in turn will raise our soft power, thus provide a foundation for strengthening our hard power.

In summary, the US can become even more powerful precisely by not focusing solely on military power, or at least by not making the Arms race the be-all-end-all game, that the current Chiefs frame this competition for Supremacy, as being. 
 
Below we elaborate on three areas where the United States and China are both lagging behind many other countries and these are opportunities for vast improvement, where both countries could do much better.  



Technology Innovation and Diffusion of its Benefits throughout Society and the World:
 
The United States and China have become global competitors when it comes to technological innovation. The two countries sit at the forefront of cyber power and supercomputer technology, and they file the highest volume of patent applications annually. But despite their leadership in many areas of technology, comprehensive innovation rankings expose weaknesses in vital areas, revealing the Achilles’ heel of both countries’ innovation capacity. 
 
The 2020 Global Innovation Index (GII), which is maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), ranks the United States as the third most innovative country, behind only Switzerland and Sweden. Meanwhile at 14thplace, China is the only middle-income economy to break into the top 30. However, their strong overall scores mask weaknesses in specific sub-sectors. For the United States, education (45) and ecological sustainability (59) are major vulnerabilities to America’s innovation prowess. China also suffers from poor performance in tertiary education (83) and environmental sustainability (54), but the dismal condition of its regulatory environment (102) serves as an even greater hurdle for the country to become a top global innovator. 
 
The IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking this year shows a similar pattern. The United States has held the top position in this index for three consecutive years (2018-2020). China has risen rapidly, advancing from 30th in 2018 to 22nd in 2019 and to 16th this year. But taking a closer look, the United States still underperforms in employee training programs (40), STEM education (54), and immigration laws (63). Meanwhile, China is still a laggard in intellectual property rights protection (42), financial services for technology development (43), public expenditure on education (51), and internet penetration (56).
 
Much of the technology and innovation strength of the two stems from the sheer scale of their economies. But smaller competitors, such as Switzerland, have remained just as relevant by being efficient and inclusive. Despite fierce competition in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, internet penetration in the United States and China remains at 87.3 percent and 54.3 percent (ranking 31 and 54, respectively), whereas smaller countries like Iceland, Qatar, and South Korea have reached 95 percent or higher. Both the United States and China must address these weaknesses – education and ecological sustainability in both countries and the regulatory environment most urgently for China – if they intend to strengthen their innovation leadership.
 
Social Stratification locally and internationally:
 
Despite the United States and China’s high-powered economies and military strength, both countries lag globally when it pertains to key social indicators and metrics. According to the 2016 World Bank’s poverty headcount ratio at $5.50 per day, the United States and China ranked 21st and 53rd, respectively. Although the Xi administration recently claimed victory on eliminating poverty, China’s self-defined poverty line of $2.20 per day is too low and masks the reality of continued extensive poverty and rising inequality. 
 
The Gini coefficient, one of the most widely used metrics of inequality, shows that in 2019 the United States (0.481) and China (0.465) both still have highly unequal income distributions in absolute terms and relative to other countries. By contrast, the World Bank estimates in 2017 that Slovenia has the world’s lowest Gini coefficient, at 0.242. Similarly, according to the World Inequality Database (WID), the per-tax national income of the top 10 percent in China and the United States is 41 percent and 45 percent, ranking 65th and 91st, respectively, indicating a very unequal distribution of wealth. 
 
Inequality was far lower in China in the late 1970s, but then soared following the launch of the “reform and opening” policies. Marketization succeeded in delivering decades of high overall growth, but a number of factors – among them corruption, credit policies favoring a shift of wealth from households to companies, privatization of SOEs, and an insufficient availability of welfare services – have raised inequality far higher than would otherwise be the case. It likely resulted in the share of public wealth (as a portion of national wealth) to drop from about 70 percent in 1978 to 35 percent by 2015. 
 
Meanwhile, trends in the United States are similarly concerning. The bottom 50 percent of wage earners experienced a collapse in their share of the nation’s wealth between 1978 and 2015, from 20 percent to 12 percent of total income, while the top one-percent’s income share rose from 11 percent to 20 percent. Inequality was exacerbated by educational and wage policy failures, resulting in insufficient support for the underprivileged. In addition to this, as in China, the United States lacks a well-funded welfare state when compared with other advanced industrialized economies.
 
Public Health as an Issue of National Security:
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in the provision of public health in both the United States and China. Even though the US had the highest ranking in the 2019 Global Health Security Index, it still has struggled mightily at responding to the pandemic, with currently over 200,000 new cases per day. The total number of cases in China has been far lower, but there was significant mismanagement in late 2019 and early 2020, and China’s fatality rate of 5 percent per case ranks 10th worst globally, much higher than the 1.9 percent in the United States and the world average of 2.3 percent. To improve pandemic preparedness, the two countries should invest more in healthcare infrastructure, both physical and institutional, and provide greater leadership for international collaboration. 
 
Aside from pandemic preparedness, neither country ranks well in life expectancy. According to the UN’s 2019 Human Development Report, Americans have an average life expectancy of 78.9 years, whereas for mainland Chinese the figure is 76.7 years, ranking 37 and 62, respectively, and far behind Hong Kong at 84.7 years. One reason may be lifestyle-related diseases in both countries. In 2016, over two-thirds of Americans were considered overweight and 36.2 percent obese, significantly higher than in any other developed country. In China, the most common cause of death for the past three decades has been stroke, commonly associated with unhealthy diets and smoking. With nearly two million stroke-related deaths per year, China has the highest level of stroke risk, at 39.3 percent, of any country in the world.
 
Another key indicator of a strong public health sector is their citizens’ access to quality healthcare, and both China and the United States struggle in this regard. In the 2016 Healthcare Quality Index (HAQ), researchers studied 32 causes from which death should not occur when citizens have sufficient access to healthcare.

On a scale of 0-100, the United States scored 88.7 and China scored 77.9, ranking 29 and 48, respectively.

Subnational levels of healthcare access and quality in China show wide variation, with HAQ performance ranging from 91.5 in Beijing to below 50 in some western provinces.

Similar disparities are seen in the United States, albeit with smaller gaps: the top decile of 2016 HAQ Index performance (above 90) is found only in some parts of New England, Minnesota, and Washington state.

The results emphasize the need to improve healthcare access and quality throughout localities in both countries, and this pandemic has proven that nobody can boast as having the best Public health system, which is the ultimate measure of National Strength.
 
Yours,
Dr Churchill

PS:

Methinks,
we’ve got some work to do…

And that is for real.

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