INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
L. Ron Gardner is a mystic-philosopher and devotes his life to living and communicating the Truth. In addition to elaborating on his own Dharma, he enjoys analyzing other ones and presenting his unique and penetrating insights in a clear and engaging manner. Prior to launching his writing career at the age of sixty, he was self-employed in various capacities, including astrologer-counselor, computer consultant, and sportsbetting arbitrager. He has a B.A in sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and studied Marxism under the iconic Herbert Marcuse at UCSD. He is an unabashed Ron Paul Revolution fan and quasi-Objectivist/libertarian, and delights in intellectually carving up statists and “integral” globalists. See: www.electricalspirituality.com
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of Integral World (FV).
Politics of Jesus
Versus the "Integral" Politics of Ken Wilber
L. Ron Gardner
[This is an excerpt from my book Electrical Christianity: A Revolutionary Guide to Jesus' Teachings and Spiritual Enlightenment. More articles are available at my blog: electricalspirituality.com.]
Jesus' Politics and the Federal Reserve
If Jesus were alive today, would he be political or apolitical?
That's a good question, and no one knows for sure. Arguments can be made for either possibility. One could argue that he would be apolitical because his focus was not on this world, but on heaven. As Jesus himself put it: “My kingdom is not of this world.” And as the “Prince of Peace,” some of his actions seem to imply surrender to government authority. For example, when confronted with the question of whether it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Caesar, his response, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21), can be construed as an enjoinder to submit to secular law.
But I'm going to argue that Jesus would be very political if he were alive today. In fact, the more I've contemplated the question of Jesus' politics, the more convinced I've become that he would be outspokenly political if he were spreading his Gospel now.
Would he be a Democrat, as Barack Obama believes?
Hardly. I think the last thing Jesus would support is Big Brother and the Nanny State. In fact, I think he would positively rail at the neo-Marxist fascism of Obama and his Democratic brethren. But the Republican politiciansexcept for Ron Paul and a few othersare no better; in fact, they may be worse because they reek of hypocrisy and thus are wolves in sheep's clothing. Bush Jr. may be the worst president in U.S. history, and he begat Obama, maybe the second worst.
What Biblical support do you have for your thinking?
Let's start with Jesus' “Render unto Caesar” statement. A superficial consideration of this statement would lead one to conclude that Jesus favors capitulation to secular authority, even if it is evil in nature like the Roman Empire. But as sharp analysts point out, Jesus doesn't consider the money or property owned by individuals to belong to the State (Caesar in this case). Consequently, his statement, which is a clever response to a baited question by a Pharisee, is in no way a vote for paying unjust taxes to an evil empire. Given the current immorality and dysfunction of the U.S government, I seriously doubt if Jesus, ŕ la Warren Buffett and Stephen King, would be clamoring for higher taxes on the rich. Instead, I believe, he would be pushing to get rid of the IRS, an abominable “service” if ever there was one.
Even though Jesus promotes non-materialism“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24)his actions and statements throughout the Bible make it clear that he believes in private property and capitalism. In the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), for example, he demonstrates his free-market bias and respect for privately owned businesses. When the last worker who showed up an hour before quitting time was paid the same as those who worked all day, Jesus tells the all-day workers to quit complaining because they were treated fairly according to the terms of their individual contracts.
In addition to being a free-market advocate, Jesus also stumps for honest money, a sound currency. The fact that he threw the thieving moneychangers out of the temple indicates that if he were around now, he would likely direct his bile at the United States Federal Reserve, the biggest scam and largest counterfeiting ring in history. The truth is, the “Federal” Reserve isn't even federal; it's just the private banking cartelthe “Banksters”controlling and manipulating the U.S. and world economy, while enriching themselves and the ruling elite in the process.
So the term “Federal Reserve” is a misnomer, and this agency is just the modern, institutionalized version of the Biblical moneychangers?
Sad but true. By indiscriminately printing money and putting it into circulation, the Federal Reserve increases the money supply, which causes inflation, which devalues the dollar. The only word for this is stealing. The fact is, since the U.S. went off the gold standard in 1971, the U.S. dollar has lost eighty percent of its value against the Swiss franc. Moreover, thanks to the Federal Reserve's oft-ill-timed lowering of interest rates, the U.S. economy has suffered from burst bubbles in the stock and housing markets, and now, as I write this in 2012, it is in critical condition, on life-support in the form of various government stimulus programs.
I do not believe that Jesus would tolerate the current state of U.S. financial affairs. Just as he threw the moneychangers out of the temple, he would likely attempt to do the same to the “Federal” Reserve, the private Banking Cartel in drag. In his book Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, author William Greider details the omnipotence of the Fed. Jesus, never tolerant of corrupt money practices, would likely expose the Fed's shenanigans to the masses, and a revolution on some level would doubtless ensue.
Why isn't the Federal Reserve held accountable for its actions?
They're not even audited, so they can print money as they see fit, distribute it to their banker buds, and even bankrupt the country in the processall without being held accountable. Congress has never held them accountable because ninety percent of its members are too stupid or corrupt to care. If I said what I really think about our federal government, the bastards would probably lock me up in one of America's new, nationwide FEMA camps (Google the term for details), and no one would ever hear from me again. I'm not ready for martyrdom just yet, so I take care to bite my lip and tone down my rhetoric.
Fascism and Marxism, Alive and Well in America
How could the government lock you up for just exercising free speech?
With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2011, the government can now, on a whim, indefinitely detain any U.S. citizen they consider a threat to “national security.” They don't have to prove you're guilty of a “crime,” and you have no right to an attorney or a trial. On top of the NDDA, President Obama, in 2012, signed the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order (NDRP), which builds upon the NDAA and puts the government completely above the law, giving them unchallengeable control of virtually every aspect of American life whenever they deem it “necessary.” With the passage of the NDAA and NDRP Acts on top of the already-in-place Patriot Act, America has “officially” become a fascist state.
But it's unconstitutional for the government to detain citizens without access to legal counsel and a fair trial.
The goal of Obama is to subvert the Constitution and transform America into a quasi-Marxist state. George Bush called the U.S. Constitution “just a piece of paper,” but Obama wants to go an extra step and burn the “piece of paper.” The term “Marxism” is a no-no among Obama Democrats because it, rightfully, has negative connotations. So they euphemistically refer to themselves as Progressives and, disingenuously, disavow any allegiance to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto.
I'm confused. You're labeling Barack Obama both a fascist and a Marxist, but fascism is extreme right-wing while Marxism is extreme left-wing. How can he be both?
You've been bamboozled by political bullshit. But you're hardly alone. In fact, in 1970, when I studied Marxism at UCSD under the iconic neo-Marxist professor Herbert Marcuse, I too was led to believe that fascism was a “right-wing” phenomenon, the polar opposite of “left-wing” Marxism. But many years later, when I finally read Ayn Rand, my political “savior,” I learned that fascism, like Marxism, is left-wing, and statist, in nature. In other words, fascism and Marxism are two closely related variants of collectivism. If you're interested in political truth, you must read Rand. For now, here are a few excerpts from The Ayn Rand Lexicon that will clarify the non-distinction between Marxism (or communism, or socialism) and fascism:
"Fascism and communism are not two opposites, but two rival gangs fighting over the same territory... both are variants of statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is the righteous slave of the state.
A statist systemwhether of a communist, fascist, Nazi, socialist, or “welfare” typeis based on the… government's unlimited power, which means: on the rule of brute force.
The differences among statist systems are only a matter of time and degree; the principle is the same. Under statism, the government is not a policeman, but a legalized criminal that holds the power to use physical force in any manner and for any purpose it pleases against legally disarmed, defenseless victims.
The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of the planned economy crudely into the open.
The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of uses and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance of pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use of disposal.
The dictionary definition of fascism is: “a government system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc.), emphasizing an aggressive nationalism…” (The American College Dictionary, New York: Random House, 1957)."
Let's consider what Rand says. She emphasizes that a statist system (what America has morphed into from an individualist nation) is, like Caesar's Rome, based on “unlimited power” and “brute force.” This is the opposite of what Jesus, the Prince of Peace, stands for. Jesus subscribes to the dictum Do no harm, which means, do not initiate force against a person, or steal their property. This is the libertarian, individualist credo that America was founded on. It is directly, and irreconcilably, contrary to what Obama, a fascist-socialist, stands for and does. And yet, Obama has the audacity to claim Jesus was a Democrat. But given that Obama considers himself, and refers to himself as, a black man when he is really a mulatto, it's not the least surprising that he is also confused about Jesus' political identity.
But the Democrats believe in Christian-type charity, helping the poor and needy.
When a corrupt Robin-Hood type government (which takes out a HUGE middleman's cut) robs Peter to pay Paul that is legalized theft, not charity. Charity is you deciding whom you want to give your money to. Jesus never recommended the government as the answer to anything, least of all charity.
Liberals versus Conservatives
Is this Harvard-Yale domination of the presidency just a coincidence? Not in my book.
You've ragged on the Democrats. How about the Republicans?
You mean the Republicrats. They're actually the flip side of the same coin as the Democans. Whereas the Democrats want to control, actually own, your money, the neocons, the mainstream Republicans, focus on controlling your personal life, on saving you from a life of “sin.” These brainwashed moralists invariably pledge firm allegiance to the Constitution and the ideal of liberty, but yet these two-faced hypocrites want to dictate how you live your personal life.
They champion grossly wasteful, ineffective government programs, even “wars,” against drugs, gambling, pornography, and prostitution without realizing that Jesus would want no part of their social fascism, their obsessive legislation of “morality.” For example, in John, Chapter 8, Jesus intercedes when a prostitute is about to be stoned to death for her sexual “sin.” He challenges the accusers, stating: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” As the accusers slink away, Jesus instructs her to go and “sin no more.” Clearly, as his actions demonstrate, Jesus is anything but a social conservative.
It seems as if Jesus was a libertarian in every way. Do you think he would be a supporter of the Ron Paul Revolution?
Given his ideals and values, I believe he would be. But if Jesus' support seemed to ensure Paul's, or another libertarian's, election as president, the Powers that Be would likely assassinate both of them. There's no way they'd allow a libertarian to rain on their fascist parade. Because they were able to cast Paul as your “crazy uncle,” he was nothing more than a nuisance. But if a libertarian candidate's election seemed imminent, then you'd better believe they'd be thinking about taking him out.
It seems as if there's no real choice between liberals and conservatives. It's like trying to choose between a rock and a hard place.
Here's my analysis of conservatives and liberals: The typical social conservative, such as Rick Santorum or Michele Bachman, is a Bible-thumping idiot. These brain-dead, dark-age moralists oppose readily available contraception because it “leads to sex.” They believe the Earth is six thousand years old, and think wearing a suit and tie to church reflects real religious values and garners God's grace. They believe in Manifest Destiny, that God has chosen the U.S. to rule the world, which justifies massive military spending and an aggressive, imperialist foreign policy.
The typical elite, or “chosen,” liberal, such as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, or Al Gore, is a product of either Harvard or Yale, and as such, is a hubris-filled, left-wing “social engineer” who believes he is uniquely endowed to inject “progressive” socialist programs into the American “bloodstream.” He is a facile pragmatist who thinks he can, like a master chef, combine Marxism, capitalism, and corporatism into an integral brew, and then spread this concoction around the globe in the form of a “New World Order.” But in reality, he is just as brainwashed as Santorum or Bachmanbut in this case it is the academy, the Ivy League “church,” that has “programmed” his brain, filling it with secular dogma that is socialist and statist in nature. The curricula at these elite academies have to be socialist and statist (or essentially neo-Marxist) in nature because these institutions of “higher learning” are producing the “leaders” of the “free world,” and these leaders must lead via a program of “progressive social-engineering.” Why must they lead via such a program? Because the New World Order Ruling Elitethe international banking cartel (the “Banksters) and the giant multinational corporationssay so. They insist on politicians who will partner up with them and help them create the Global Corporate State, a New World Order that reflects just the right combination of Marxism, capitalism, and fascism to meet their totalitarian needs.
Since Ronald Reagan left office, Harvard and Yale have taken over the American presidency. George Bush, Sr., is a Yale graduate, and his successor, Bill Clinton, attended Yale Law School. After Clinton's two terms, George Bush, Jr., another Yale product, defeated, first, John Kerrey, a Yale graduate, in 2000, and then Al Gore, a Harvard man, in 2004. After Bush's two terms, Barack Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate, was elected President in 2008. And the 2012 presidential election pitted Obama against a fellow Harvard product, Mitt Romney.
Is this Harvard-Yale domination of the presidency just a coincidence? Not in my book. I firmly believe that the Global Elite, via their arm, the Bilderberg Group (a network of executives from the leading multinational corporations and top national politicians who meet annually to consider jointly the immediate and long-term problems facing the West), has a special relationship with these schools, and they choose particular individuals from them in order to satisfy their agenda. I believe that Barack Obama was one of these chosen individuals, and that the Bilderberg Group was instrumental in his election as president in 2008.
But the Democrats are supposed to be the party of the common people; they're supposed to protect us against the tyranny of Corporate America.
That's like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop. In reality, the Democrats, just like the non-libertarian Republicans, are fully in bed with Corporate America. The majority of Washington politicians have sold their souls to these special interests, and their real goal is to do their bidding, not to protect the common man. This marriage between government and big business is called “crony capitalism,” a genteel term for fascism. In short, the Republican Party represents conservative fascism, and the Democratic Party liberal fascism. Jesse Ventura's book DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODicans, an entertaining as well as enlightening read, properly exposes the two mainstream political parties as Mafia-like gangs, as giant protection rackets intent on eliminating any upstart political movement that threatens their exclusive power and control.
But the Democrats claim that if a free-market libertarian like Ron Paul became president, the unregulated corporations would run roughshod over the people.
If that's true, then why didn't Corporate America and Wall Street back Ron Paul?
Because Ron Paul didn't offer them special favors, corporate welfare. He was against the bailouts and believes in separation of economy and state as well as separation of church and state. When economy and state are not separate, you no longer have true, or free-market, capitalism; instead, you have crony capitalism: the corporate state, fascism.
If what you're saying is true, why don't the people vote for Ron Paul and other libertarians, and end the tyranny?
The common man has been brainwashed by either, or both, the mainstream Church and the leviathan State (via its public education system). Then, when he gets home from work every day and turns on the TV, all he gets is Corporate Propaganda, in one form or another. Consequently, unless he's a rare independent thinker, he's going to be firmly enmeshed in the Matrix, and be no more than just another programmed human robot (though part of his programming will be to convince him he's a free thinker). Consequently, he won't comprehend that the U.S. Government has effectively been privatized, and is really just the legal Mafia, devoted to enriching and empowering itself at his expense. Unable to think outside the Establishment-imposed box, he'll mindlessly vote for either an establishment Democrat or Republican, and ignorantly dismiss libertarians faithful to the U.S. Constitution as “extreme.”
Democracy Is a Dirty Word
What's the most important political fact that Americans need to learn?
That the American system is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. “Democracy” means unlimited majority rule. An example of democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what they'll have for dinner. Democracy denies individual rights. Simply put, it is a form of totalitarianism, forced submission to the will of a group. Democracy is fine for certain functions, such as electing personnel, but it must be a subordinate system, subsumed under the principles of constitutional republicanism.
But even George W. Bush, a Republican president, constantly referred to America as a democracy, and never as a republic. That's why I call “fascist” neoconservatives like Bush: Republicrats. Bush, like Obama, is a mere puppet or tool of the New World Order gang, which has no interest in awakening the brainwashed masses, the “sheeple,” to the fundamental principle of constitutional republicanism, meaning the principle of inviolable individual rights that the State cannot abrogate. Hence, George W., at the behest of the Powers that Be, devoted his presidency to the imperialist mission of spreading statist, or fascist, democracy around the globe.
The Four Quadrants of Integral Politics
Ken Wilber, the renowned integral philosopher, explains political systems and philosophies via a four-quadrant model and eight-level “spiral dynamics” hierarchy. According to spiral dynamics, the Ayn Rand and libertarian viewpoints that you're espousing are only at level five of the eight-level political-evolutionary hierarchy. What's your response to this?
Ken Wilber is an avant-garde thinker worth reading and considering. But although he unearths fertile new ground, he doesn't dig very deep into the soil; hence, his spiritual and political writings are less than profound and not truly “integral.” I don't want to go off on an involved tangent, since many of you are unfamiliar with Wilber's writings and political philosophy, so I'll just quickly summarize my major criticisms of Wilber's Integral Politics for those of you interested in the subject.
First off, levels seven and eight of the spiral dynamics evolutionary political hierarchy that Wilber subscribes to are a complete joketotally vague and nebulous New Age mumbo jumbo. I won't waste my time or yours attempting to deconstruct this inchoate crap. Second, Wilber and spiral dynamics display their strong left-wing bias in level six. This level includes “postmodernism, egalitarianism, multiculturalism, subjective thinking, and decision-making through consensus.”
Postmodernism is utter drivel. The fact that Wilber gives any credence to this anti-philosophy is a black mark on his work. The placement of some of the other philosophies and/or orientations I've listed from level six bespeaks of a collectivist or liberal-fascist, mindset. For example, “egalitarianism” and “multiculturalism” exemplify reductionism rather than integralism, because instead of emphasizing equal individual rights and opportunity for all citizens, they focus attention on special-interest groups rather than on the wholethe organic “melting pot” that a truly free America would naturally be. Finally, the core description of level six“Sacrifice self-interest now in order to gain acceptance and group harmony”could be the mantra for any communist or fascist state. I'm sure Hitler's Nazi party would have merrily chanted it, because my late father, a German Jew who escaped from Germany in 1936, told me as much. In sum, it is farcical to place the various spiral dynamics “sixth-level” philosophies and orientations above Rand's “fifth-level” Objectivism."
I think you're being unfairly critical of Wilber, who is a very positive New Age influence. He thinks globally and wants to bring about an integral world.
The international banking cartel, the Bilderberg group, and multinational corporations, like Monsanto, have beaten Wilber to the punch when it comes to creating an “integral” New World Order. While Wilber talks the talk, they walk the walk. I just hope he appreciates their Orwellian efforts when they tell him it's time for an “integral” computer chip to be implanted in his brain. The fact that Bill Clinton and Al Gore have displayed an interest in Wilber's writings tells me all I need to know regarding the relationship between the Globalists' and Wilber's “integral” politics. But again, I still think Wilber is worth reading. If you check my Spiritual Reading List, in the appendix, you'll see that he's on it. And if you Google “Ken Wilber and integral politics,” you'll quickly be able to check out the four-quadrant framework and the eight-level spiral dynamics hierarchy that he promotes.
How about Wilber's Four Quadrants?
Wilber's four-quadrant modelInterior-Individual (Intentional), Exterior-Individual (Behavioral), Interior-Collective (Cultural), Exterior-Collective (Social)is a useful tool for understanding the individual-collective dialectic or interplay. But it isn't the ideal framework for understanding sociopolitical reality. The ideal framework for achieving this understanding is Ayn Rand's two pairs of poles: individualism-statism, and capitalism-socialism. And these two pairs of poles, or four isms, provide us with the true “four quadrants” of sociopolitical reality. Let's now consider these poles and see how they apply to democratic and republican political systems.
If you believe in a democratic political system, the primacy of the government or a voting majority over the individual, then you are, by definition, a statist. By subscribing to this statist model of rule, you have, explicitly or implicitly, embraced a lynch-mob mentality, the fascist mindset that an individual is no more than a de facto slave, a government-owned human animal meant to be sacrificed to the dictates or decrees of the State or a voting majority. If, on the other hand, you believe in a republican political system, in inviolable, constitutionally guaranteed individual rights that the State cannot usurp, then you are an individualist. As such, your mentality is that of a sovereign man, an individual whose allegiance is to rationality and freedom rather than to a State that in any way seeks to limit or compromise human sovereignty.
But sovereignty must be limited. Otherwise, individuals and gangs could rape, murder, and pillage with no consequences.
If everyone is guaranteed sovereignty, then no one can legally interfere with anyone else's sovereignty or individual rights, including property rights. Sovereignty does not include the right to initiate force against another person or his property. But the State initiates force against citizens by arresting them for victimless crimes (drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc.) and for not paying taxes (“protection money” to the “Mafia-State”). Moreover, it initiates force (theft) against them when it engages in “quantitative easing,” which devalues their dollars. Jesus, who was against force and violence, would, in my estimation, be an outspoken critic, or even outright enemy, of today's Mafia-State.
Now let's move on to capitalism-socialism. True or laissez-faire capitalism, strictly speaking, is not an economic system; it is a social system based on the trader principle, wherein independent contractors freely exchange goods and services sans the interference of the Mafia-State, the government. Socialism, by contrast, is a social system based on de facto State ownership and control of all goods and services. It is the Mafia model of government fully institutionalized, wherein Big “MoFoBro” owns the fruit of your labor and “gives” you whatever crumbs it wants. In return for your “service to the State,” you receive “protection”from everything but the tyrannical State itself.
Integral Dialectical Politics
You obviously hate socialism, but isn't there a place for collectivism in a free society?
Voluntary socialism or collectivism is fine. In an individualist-capitalist system, individuals can freely form communes or collectives if they so desire. But in a statist-socialist system, you cannot set up a John Galt-type capitalist community that is independent of the State. Big Brother will insist on regulating your town and taxing your townspeople.
I think the best, or most “integral,” way to view this relationship between individualism-capitalism and statism-socialism is as a dialectic, with the former as the thesis and the latter as the antithesis. Because individualism-capitalism subsumes statism-socialism (meaning that the former allows for the latter, but not vice-versa), the synthesis that results is an individualist-capitalist system that sublates (or subordinates but preserves) the State and allows for voluntary collectivism. In other words, in a moral, or “integral,” society, the State still exists, but its function is limited to providing national security and protecting and preserving individual rights. In such a society, man qua man and man qua Son of Man can flourish, creating a terrestrial Shangri-La, “heaven” on earth.
Determining Political Truth
Why should we accept the political picture that you paint? Your ideas seem extreme and radical.
My political ideas or philosophy are no more extreme than the U.S. Constitution. If you think it's a radical document, then you'll probably categorize me as a right-wing nut or ideologue. My invitation to you is to compare and contrast the preeminent “radical” left-wing literature with that of the right wing, and determine political truth for yourself. That's what I've done. My specialized area of study in college was Marxism. And I studied it under the foremost neo-Marxist academic in the world, Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979). By all means read Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man, Marx's The Communist Manifesto, Noam Chomsky's (libertarian socialist) writings, and whatever other left-wing literature appeals to you. Then compare those texts to the seminal right-wing literature. My suggestion is to start with Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto, Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and various essays by Murray Rothbard and other libertarians available online at lewrockwell.com. And if you want to understand the modus operandi of the largest counterfeiting racket in history, read the definitive text on the Federal Reserve, The Creature from Jekyll Island, by G. Edward Griffin, and/or watch his Youtube.com videos (The Creature from Jekyll Island, by G. Edward Griffin, and The Collectivist Conspiracy, by G. Edward Griffin). If you devote yourself to studying and objectively considering the literature and videos I've suggested, you'll not only raise your political IQ, but you just might come to an enlightened conclusion regarding Jesus' politics.