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The word radical, whether noun or verb, usually refers to the extreme wings of the familiar bell curve. In politics, the far Left is just as radical as the far Right, for example. Extremes in any endeavor--be it religion, industry management, social system, or plain old politics, are rarely best for the societies within which they are embedded.

Something must be done or Mother Nature will do iti for us. We destroy wantonly because, collectively, we do not understand nature nor do we understand ourselves.

Why else would humanity be traveling a course of self destruction?

The pendulum of history swings back and forth. Occasionally, it swings too far before finding correction. Those times are known for their extreme behaviors. We seem to be in such a time in several ways. Genocide is the order of the day in many places. The three great monotheisms are clawing at each other. Banking barons take home hundreds of millions while they drive their banks to ruin. The extremes between the rich and poor on earth continue to widen. World population is approaching its sustainable level. Humanity is bringing about a new geological age; that is a bio-thermal age is upon us with a rise in seal level now inevitable. The carbon balance equilibrium established by nature some 330 million years ago is being tilted badly out of balance.

A human feature to note is that extremism, is a behavior, with both psychological and genetic components. Human personalities concern us here, for it is the sum of our individual psyches that add up to our society.

Will the most innovative and strongest society survive?
Or will it trip over its own misconceptions of the world?

We live in radical times that cry out for fixing. Radical ideas are not only badly needed, but deserve early implementation.

Radical Idea: Limit and normalize World population.

Idea: Positives

  • Limit world population to one half the sustainable limit.
  • Normalize total population such that local populations and resources normally relied upon are in balance with enough reserve to last through local famines. One useful criterion could be for populations not to exceed, say 1/2 of what the local land would support. World population is roughly that value now, but it varies locally to both high and low extremes. It will not normalize very soon.
  • Employ equitable means for balancing access to natural resources. They are not uniform anywhere.
  • Enhances ability of humanity to survive natural disasters.
  • Reduces conflicts over resources.
  • Reduces economic gaps arising from non-uniform distribution of natural resources and wealth. Alleviates of poverty.
  • Distributes economic power more equitably.
  • The idea of peaceful living becoming politically correct is enabled everywhere. We share and share alike.

Radical Idea: Decriminalize Substance Abuse

Idea: Positives

  • Cut off drug cartels by drying up the markets.
  • Allow farmers to cultivate drug producing crops under federal license.
  • License establishments to sell addictive drugs to addicts at reasonable prices.
  • Tax their revenues.
  • Maintain punishment of those selling drugs without a license to do so.
  • Make individuals responsible for their own behavior.
  • Provide rehabilitation centers for drug uses. K12 curricula: Add dangers of drug, alcohol, and tobacco misuse (substance abuse).
  • Denies revenues to drug lords who use it against us.
  • Reduces crime perpetrated by drug users to pay for the next fix.
  • Cuts the prison population in half while augmenting the work force and the human capital it represents.
  • Increases nation’s human capital.
  • Eliminates costs of drug interdiction.
  • Reduces the physical and emotional damage done to individuals who abuse drugs.
  • Eliminates cost to society for imported drugs.
  • Eliminates costs of drug-related burglaries and gang violence.
  • Reduces corruption, mafia-like groups, and policing of same.
  • Makes society a safer place.
  • Allows police departments to focus on more important things.
  • Improves the economic fitness and viability of America.

Radical Idea: Gun Control

Idea: Positives

  • Allow only US citizens with clean records of violence to own guns. Ex-service people who meet that criterion, must have been honorably discharged. All citizens who have not served in an armed service must pass a gun-safety proficiency test in order to qualify for gun ownership.
  • Allow attack weapons to be purchased and owned only by those who have honorably served at least four years in a national armed service.
  • Require gun-license holders to enlist in the state militia or National Guard. Require a week of training annually in said services for gun owners aged 20-35.
  • For gun owners over 35 years of age, require gun-safety competency testing every four years equivalent to driver licensing. Said competency to include physical-strength and mental-fitness standards.
  • All owned guns must be stored securely under lock and key by local sheriff or police agencies. Said agencies must allow use on a check-out-for-purpose basis for a stated time. Said purposes may only be: practice, sporting activities, augmenting law enforcement agencies in keeping public order, or national defense in cases of emergency.
  • Except for the preceding situation, limit the number of guns checked out at any given time to 30%.
  • All newly-purchased guns must be delivered to said sheriff or police agency by the seller. Gun sellers must be licensed and registered with the state within which they do business and provide security for unsold guns. Each gun is delivered with a slug certified by manufacturer as having been fired from that gun.
  • Except for the requirements of proficiency, armed service requirement, and clean record, gun ownership shall not be denied on the basis of ethnicity, gender, national origin, or political affiliation.
  • Penalties for unreasonable noncompliance of the above to be set.
  • Reduces accidental shootings.
  • Makes streets safer at all times of day. Reduces drive-by and school shootings along with mall shooting rampages.
  • Maintains reasonable level of militia membership acknowledged by founding fathers.
  • Augments national defense or keeping the peace in cases of severe social dislocation.
  • Reduces murder rates by family and gang members of society.
  • Satisfies any possible interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Reduces armed robberies.
  • Makes solving violent crimes easier if committed by guns.
  • Allows police departments to focus on more important things.
  • Improves public safety not only by taking guns off the streets, off school grounds and out the closets. Accomplish this by providing an actual militia that in fact could serve as the Founding Fathers intended in the Constitution.
  • Allows law-enforcement agencies to focus more on known terrorists groups and sociopaths. Also allows more focus on crime prevention.
  • Reduces the glaring disparity in violenct crime rates between Washington DC and Tokyo for example.
  • Improves the fitness and safety of America.
  • Enhances America's prestige in a world that has too little of it.

    Giving a militia the profile suggested in the left column runs some risk. Could the militia ever get out of control? Very, very unlikely, even for one unit. But if there is worry about that, safeguards can be built in, such as making them part of the National Guard or even part of an armed service, perhaps as a reserve behind the enlisted reserve.

Radical Idea: Decriminalize Victimless-Crime

Idea: Positives

  • Require licensing of each establishment.
  • Require each establishment to meet OSHA and any other suitable regulations.
  • Require annual renewal of business license. Said license to hinge upon well-established standards for guarding health and safety of providers and clients alike.
  • Require licensing of each provider. Said provider must have a valid US-issued work permit or be American by birth.
  • Require regular medical check-ups of each prostitute on a regular per-client basis.
  • Said check ups may be done by medical assistants, or nurses with the needed proficiencies.
  • Tax revenues on reasonable basis, including both individuals and establishment.
  • Provide rehabilitation services to licensees who request it.
  • Provide penalties for those who operate outside the foregoing rules. Provide double penalties for any establishment using women or children against their will.
  • Removes pimps and organized crime from the system.
  • Emancipates women held against their will by coercive criminals or organizations. Reduces slavery.
  • Reduces rates of sexually transmitted and other diseases born of intimate contact in the populace. Improves health of practitioners.
  • License and Tax moneys will support K12 education in health protection.
  • Returns revenues to society that otherwise goes to pimps and organized crime.
  • Pulls another tooth supporting organized crime. Related crime rates and the national economy can only improve.
  • Allows police departments to focus on more important matters.
  • Improves the fitness, health and safety of America.

Radical Idea: Provide Resources for the Gambling Addicts

Idea: Positives

  • When gambling can be treated as entertainment, it does little harm.
  • Gambling becomes a compulsion for some people.
  • Compulsions are beyond control by their owners.
  • Gambling has deep psychological origins that only psychology can treat.
  • So let's get on with it.
  • Families torn asunder can be saved by proper psychological intervention.
  • Money poorly spent could then be used for better things, education for example.
  • Crimes committed by gambling addicts would decrease.
  • The psychological well-being of the nation as a whole would increase.

Radical Ideas Discussed:

See Population Pressure and the Biosphere for a more detailed analysis of this radical idea. We give you a prime example here"

      The allegory of the wine bottle is appropriate. First, you squeeze the grape juice into a vat; then you add yeast and sugar; microbes multiply exponentially consuming sugar and producing alcohol at proportionate rate. Eventually all microbes die in their own effluent— they are not smart enough to eat each other. Malthus was not so wrong. The biosphere is not so vast that the wine-bottle allegory could never happen.

Note added 14 Mar 2009: The Guardian Weekly reports on the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy:

"We are today farther than ever from the goal of eradicating drugs. ...The power of drug cartels is leading to the criminaslization of politics and ther politicization of crime." Cesar Govinia co chair of LACDC & Ex president of Columbia.

The front-page article continues:

The commission is urging a paradigm shift from repression to a public health approach, including decriminalization of marijuana. Dismal statistics about coca cultivation, cocaine exports, and murder rates have amplified calls to replace a policy that dates back to President Nixon with one that focuses on curbing demand.

"The strategy of the US here, in Coumbia and Peru, was to attack the raw material and it has not worked." Colonel Rene Sanabria, head of Bolivia's anti-narcotic police force.
"Organized crime could destroy us all if we do not come together to fight it." Alvaro Uribe. President of Columbia.

"Narco traffickers can't have that size of market unless they are payig big protection money. ...All along I knew we weren't making any progress. Burt I was just a field commander. The big shots in Washington with their triple PhDs just told me to shut up." Terry Nelson, co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, LEAP, has 32 years of fighting drugs behind him.

These folks are on the ground. Their task is hopeless. As soon as one drug lord is put away, two take his place, in new areas, new avenues, new connections.

Let's look at the market: The US and Europe are the largest markets. What all the hard drugs have to offer in common is a high. And people who are susceptible personalities seek highs as ends in themselves. Many, if not most most of them end up addicted. Drugs are ingested in a variety of ways. Many users abuse more than one drug. In many cases, drugs alone, or in combination, can cause severe emotional or physical illness.

Both short- and long-term behavioral patterns occur. Inhibitions are lowered so that a drug abuser is more likely to behave in anti-social ways--often aggravated by poor nurturing and opportunity. When addictions are strong and the individual is disadvantaged economically and cannot support his/her habit, a life a crime commonly results. Burglary and sexual services become common sources of income for addicts--male and female alike. There are differences between the genders and among the drugs in types and levels of offense. But all the various hard drugs debilitate users and degrade their societies.

Liquor is only occasionally abused and Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, exists for that very reason. A Drugs Anonymous, could provide similar support. Getting the next fix, whether it be drugs or a gambling hall, is a daily compulsion for every addict.

It is only when drugs are illegal and the addict can’t afford a fix that he will rob, or she will prostitute herself. That next fix drives the compulsion. We have known a few of each gender. We do not condone drug use or demeaning women. Neither do we condone current methods of controlling these behaviors which most sociologists agree are ineffective and may in fact be counter productive. A new paradigm is sorely needed.

Humanity has guns because we are violent.
After Kris Rosenberg

This brings us to gun control. The NRA will be vocal about this radical idea. But read the detail carefully. Several elements the NRA considers sacred are built in as requirements in the proposed laws. Yet the final and formal result of gun control should reduce our murder rates by multiples, judging from the experience of other jurisdictions. The benefits far outweigh the downside. If the NRA doesn’t want a "Militia Ready” society then we would have to question their logic, if not their sanity.

That most controversial of issues, prostitution, has been with us since all of recorded history. Criminalizing it is ineffective. If it is OK for a man to seek sexual relief, as our society largely seems to believe, then it should be OK for a woman, if she chooses, to do likewise. If one gender is allowed to pay, the other should e allowed to provide. This is only logical. If it can be controlled by better-than-current means, then we are for that. Legalizing and controlling such behavior seems like a step forward. Punishment has not worked for millennia. If there is a better way than decriminalizing, we would like to see the evidence.

Not every person is free of the hang-ups that seem to drive illicit behavior in either gender. Until they are, we rest judgment on their behavior. Children are excepted, of course. (Penalties already exist for victimizing children.) Only a mature person can be assumed to be mature enough to make such a choice for him/herself.

Gambling addictions differ from drugs in origin, the former being strictly psychological. But each responds to therapeutic intervention. They can be deterred by early nurturing in ways that produce individuals with fewer hang-ups and other psychological afflictions arising from environment. At present, there is little or no interest by society in treating gambling addiction. There needs to be. Like the drug addict, a gambling addict resorts to crime to support his/her habit. We have known a few. We witnessed one addicted gambler in action. He lost his entire week’s pay on one roll of the dice--here's how. He entered the casino, and cashed his just-received check from his employer at the cashier's window. Visibly shaking, money clenched in his fist, not bothering to purchase chips, he rushed to the nearest crap table. The dice were already rolling when he threw all his money down on a number. When the dice stopped rolling, no more than a second later, the croupier raked in his haul with a quizzical look on his face. This anecdote is extreme for sure, but this gambler certainly needed help with his all-consuming compulsion. He has many brothers and sisters.

Aside from its somewhat dubious entertainment value, gambling is a hopeless enterprise--for the gambler. The house sets the odds, so they win often and in the end--always. Especially do they win when the gambler is compulsive about it, as so many are. Gambling is even less than that. like drugs, it produces nothing of value to the capital of a society. What it essentially does is redistribute capital--to either the plutocratic owners or native tribes either of which may or may not use the proceeds wisely. Either way, gambling produces no net gain in our national capital.

Where From Here?

Education is the one, perhaps the best, antidote we can think of that can lead us out of temptation. Religion is not enough. Psychology is the problem, not philosophy nor religion. Neither are stable people the problem; they are self actualized and know themselves.

For many of us, especially those of us who experienced less-than-the-best nurturing, knowing ourselves requires educating ourselves in ways foreign to most Americans. Nuclear families need to be aware of the issues in child development to get through the earliest years. Psychological education, can and should be taught forally through K12.

The barrier to this thinking seems to be fear, fear of knowing ourselves. Are we hostage to our inner aggressive selves? Or what? There really is nothing to fear when the subject is taught right. Nature gave us an animal side. Recognizing that should be easy. So what is the problem?

Many folks we know have confessed being in denial about that; they fear the consequences if their "inner ape" ever sees the light of day. Our most-inner thoughts can be animalistic. Many of us fear having our minds read if we are too transparent. We fear being rejected by family, friends, society. We fear losing face and self-esteem. We fear being left alone.

This little flight in revelation does not fit all, for sure, but many folks have analogous fears. Whatever our fears or denials, it may be some time before society can develop enough where we all feel open enough to discuss our innermost thoughts. Why can we not laugh at ourselves? We might even take pride in our basic natures!

The most important thing to realize is that for the most part, our fears are unfounded! When that point is reached, the door to true mental health opens. Compulsions understood is compulsions on the way out, or better yet, prevented in the first place. We change easily as children; it is much more difficult as adults. And that is the key: Prevention, by proper nurturing!

Certainly many will object, on any of several grounds, to part or all of these radical ideas. We think addressing our obsessions for what they are, openly, would discourage the national obsession to suppress them. As it is, they have us in their grips. Seen in this light, legalizing certain vices could make us stronger, not weaker. The next “fix,” for example could be had legally at reasonable cost--no crime needed. Moreover, crime during "high" periods would be recognized as the psychological component it really is. For these reasons, education and proper rearing are indicated.

If children can learn about how hang-ups (defense mechanisms) arise, they have better chances as adults to handle their own inner impulses. Compulsions (which may be super-strong defense mechanisms; they also may indicate true psychosis) are, at least in part, artifacts of nurturing. They seem to be beyond instinct. In fact, dogs, and even fleas, can be taught what they cannot do at an early age. And taught so well, they never try it once they attain adulthood--by which time they could if they tried! So also for children. For better or worse, children usually follow their parent’s examples. They are really caught when the parents reinforce illicit behavior. These are not absolutes, just tendencies. But tendencies, on a society scale, are enough to compromise it’s integrity.


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