The American Conscience: None

Photo: Burton Historical Collection/Detroit Public Library. Wikimedia.

What is The Measure of a People? The measure of a people is not:

  1. How much they build.
  2. How large their population.
  3. How great their technology or fine their art.

The measure of a people is:

  1. How much they leave and preserve.
  2. How equitably they respect all life.
  3. How much they are willing to give up to right wrongs.

American culture is obsessed about bigger, faster, cheaper. Americans have become spoiled and cocky because our 240 year old nation rests upon a continent that the Native American’s had preserved for 10,000 years at full resource levels in maximum biodiversity heath.

Europeans inhabit a continent exhausted from 6,000 years of exploitation. In Eastern Europe and around the Mediterranean it is difficult to walk up the rocky hills because the forests and topsoil have been gone for 3,000 years. Civilization leaves deserts in its footprints. Ancient middle eastern capitals are ecological wastelands. European emigrants were fleeing shattered cultures such as the Irish potato famine and had no qualms about coming to America and shattering someone else’s culture.

Europeans landed in the Americans and began the worst pillaging, exploitation and murder in human history. In a little less than 150 years, North and South American nations have destroyed the legacy we have stolen from the 50+ million Native Americans our forefathers murdered. That is not a typo. Europeans are responsible for the largest genocide in human history. Probably larger than all other genocides combined. Europeans invaded and nearly wiped out all the people on two entire continents in a few hundred years.

The U.S. Military, railroads and ranchers waged a war against the defenseless American buffalo killing 60 million, leaving a population of only 300 bison by 1900. If taking their land, rounding them up onto prison lands and poisoning Native Americans with smallpox was not enough, The United States had to destroy their food supply and make room for cows. To this day, the U.S. government still rounds up by helicopter the last remaining wild horses each year to make more room for cattle grazing.

The American Conscience

The measure of American is that we will stop at nothing including genocide, war and extinction for the sake of immediate gratification and profit. They saying is, “McDonald’s grows where McDonnell Douglas goes.” In fact, the American way is to even make a profit waging war.

We are not the land of the free and home of the brave. We are the land of the most ruthless exploiters since the Roman Empire. In fact, Washington D.C. architecture is a modern mimic of Roman imperial temples and forums.

America has little remorse for crimes to humanity or the Earth. It is our chemicals that pollute the world. Our agricultural companies are cutting the last Amazon rainforests. Our nuclear power plants will never be decommissioned and will be marked with skull and crossbones for the next 250,000 years as they slowly leak radiation.

Here is the kicker, our consumer culture that now pervades the world could care less for any moment except the present, “Be here now.” Americans especially take and ignore the external costs today and in the future.

Where is the segment of our population that is supposed to have the highest values, Christians? Where are the Christians standing in front of logging trucks with crosses held up high saying, “We are here to protect all life in the forest, you shall not pass.” This whole modern religious thing is the mother of all double standards.

Here is another interesting comparison. The Nazi German government responsible for much of World War II was dismantled and its leaders prosecuted. The United States government responsible for a larger genocide, ecological destruction and land theft flies its flag today. What should be made of that? Decide for yourself. Let’s just say at minimum, it’s complicated.

Righting Our Wrongs

Europeans should worship the ground Native Americans walk on.

When Columbus as found lost at sea, he stumbled on to an enormous Neolithic time capsule with as many as 100 million people living in harmony with nature. Forests of 400 to 2000 year old trees. Bison herds and passenger pigeon flocks in the millions. Every river and lake crystal clear. Thousands of culturally diverse tribes and languages.

The biblical garden of eden was America and we grabbed our plows, chainsaws and bulldozers and started ripping it up and fencing it off. What irritates me the most is that the people who logged the forests and tore up the prairies for a buck are dead and we the future generations are stuck with the grandest pages of nature and culture ripped out of the book.

How do you make amends for the mother of all genocides and continued exploitation? Saying you are sorry, handing out some checks and building a monument is not going to cut it. Sorry, not even close.

We have to start running history backwards preserving some of what we have gained. Here is what it is going to take to truly right our wrongs, heal and allow earth to regenerate to support us all:

  1. One child families. Modern society has to start peacefully rolling population backwards. This will reduce human population to one million in 100 years. We have to get out of nature’s way to heal herself. Stop interrupting nature’s succession with our agriculture and forestry.
  2. Teach about the Great Destruction and Great Turning in school. Teach permaculture and Native American skills throughout K-12. Every child graduating from high school must know how to sustainably wild craft and grow their own food, build shelter for their family and when appropriate heal using wild medicinal herbs. This is all probably a lot more useful than algebra.
  3. End government monopoly and taxation. Allow people to stay plugged in if they wish and anyone to opt out and form their own social organizational systems. Government has no need to tax because it can mint it own money.
  4. Bring the legions home, shut down the military, convert it to the permaculture core regenerating the perennial garden of eden.
  5. Dump money.

That is a good start. Anyone who wants to stay in the modern world and continue the destruction can, its their karma. But for those who want to evolve on, end the monopoly let us free.

Is this going to happen anytime soon? No, westerners are too dependent on the system for their life support and cannot relax their grasp to even pretend to make up for the past or improve for the future. They are too insecure to relax the monopoly just a little. Those wanting a better future are just going to have to squeeze through the cracks and get together in the mean time.

A fascinating book to read is Daniel Quinn’s, The Man Who Grew Young. Read it, it will give you a new view of the world.

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Chuck Burr is author of Culturequake: The Restoration Revolution. Revised Fourth Edition. 10th Anniversary.