Realizing the
New Commonwealth


  Commonwealth Communities  


    Related Essays    


"It is necessary, in the first place, to turn our attention constantly and continuously to the higher ideal which we wish to realise; to the highest ideal we can form of truth, goodness, and beauty. In proportion as we can do this we shall find truth, goodness, and beauty becoming realised in our nature. The practical outcome of an intelligent realisation of the existence of our higher divine Self, is the opening up, as it were, of a channel of communication through which the higher can flow into, and manifest in, the lower. There is an actual structural alteration in the physical body and nerve centres. Every thought conditions a definite physiological change. We shut out the higher possibilities by thought alone, by thinking ourselves separate. Just in proportion as we think of ourselves as divine, in proportion as we realise that the divine is within us, shall we come to a conscious realisation of our divine nature and powers. Nor is there any other path by which this may be accomplished."

William Kingsland, Scientific Idealism

     In a world brimming over with tyranny and war, it's difficult to see how humans will ever be able to develop a commonwealth (a political unit founded in law by agreement of the people for the common good) in which the interests of all the people are served.

     Were we living in fourteenth century Europe, oppressed by the Roman Catholic dictatorship as well as whatever political despot we happened to suffer under, we might have felt that it was hopeless that humans would ever realize a society for the common good. But, by the fifteenth century, the West began to be re-invigorated by the creative dynamic of the Perennial Tradition.

     By 1463, Marsilio Ficino (1433-99 CE) had completed a translation of the Hermetic writings and in 1469 he completed his translation of Plato's dialogues. Plato's writings provided the fundamental bedrock for the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, resulting in such progressive political documents as the American Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and the American Bill of Rights and such liberating movements as the American war for independence. America's struggle for freedom has been long and hard, and has now eventuated in a new form of tyranny under a demonic cabal.

     This essay will examine the foundation principles of a new commonwealth which people must now begin to realize, recognizing that this will involve a difficult and prolonged effort. We'll first investigate America's struggle for freedom, discovering the reasons why the American dream of a representative democracy has resulted in a militaristic, imperialistic police state. We'll conclude by considering the Platonic principles which furnish a realistic blueprint for a commonwealth and outline the personal qualities which such a commonwealth requires for its realization.

The American Experience

"[The Framers of the Constitution] . . . had no wish to usher in democracy in the United States. They were not making war upon the principle of aristocracy and they had no more intention than had the Tories of destroying the tradition of upper-class leadership in the colonies. Although they hoped to turn the Tories out of office, they did not propose to open these lush pastures to the common herd. They did believe, however, that the common people, if properly bridled and reined, might be made allies in the work of freeing the colonies from British rule and that they--the gentry--might reap the benefits without interference. They expected, in other words, to achieve a 'safe and sane' revolution of gentlemen, by gentlemen, and for gentlemen."

John C. Milller. (1943). Origins of the American Revolution

the British House of Commons      A small group of wealthy people in America has always ruled the nation for its own benefit, not for the welfare of the people. The huge land holdings of the British loyalists, for example, was one of the obscenities against which poor soldiers fought in the American "War for Independence." But after the war Lord Fairfax, a friend of George Washington, was allowed to retain his five million acres encompassing twenty-one counties in Virginia.

      The first American revolution resulted only in a change in rulers: from the British elite to an American plutocracy. Sixty-nine percent of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had held colonial office under England.

The Obscenities of Irresponsible Wealth

Kevin Phillips's Wealth and Democracy      Since that time, the rapacious increase in wealth by American plutocrats has been fostered by the U.S. Constitution's plutocratic structure of government. In 1850, 1,000 southern families received about $50 million a year income while all the other 660,000 families combined received about $60 million a year. In 1920s America one-tenth of one percent of the wealthy at the top received as much income as the combined income of 42 percent of the people at the bottom.

In 1995 American corporate CEO salaries increased by 92 percent; corporate profits rose 75 percent, worker layoffs increased 39 percent, consumer prices went up 1 percent. The highest paid CEO received more than $65 million in 1995. The top 1 percent in America own approximately 60 percent of all wealth. Approximately 35 percent of American families are living below the poverty line in 1998. For a current exposé of the widespread corruption spawned by a plutocratic society, I would recommend Kevin Phillips's book, Wealth and Democracy.

Precarious Civil Liberties

Plato and Aristotle      No nation in man's history has ever achieved a true commonwealth. American citizens have historically enjoyed a wider range of liberties than most citizens in other countries. But those American liberties have always been at the sufferance of the rulers. When they have felt it necessary they limited or destroyed American liberties without compunction. Americans have suffered under restrictions to civil liberties throughout our history.

  • The 1780 Riot Act allowed the Boston authorities to keep people in jail without trial

  • The Sedition Act of 1789 made it a crime to say or write anything "false, scandalous and malicious" against the government, Congress, or the President

  • The 1917 Espionage Act led to imprisonment of Americans who spoke or wrote against World War I

  • President Truman's March 22, 1947 Executive Order 9835 initiated a program to search out any "infiltration of disloyal persons" in the U.S. government


  • The 1950 Internal Security Act laid the groundwork for the insane trampling of civil liberties called McCarthyism

  • The 1996 "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act" deprives Americans of our Constitutional protections of habeas corpus review in federal courts.

  • The tyrannous "Patriot" Act instituted by the cabal creates, among other outrages, "roving wiretap" authority, unsubstantiated subpoena of anyone the FBI chooses and arrest of anyone who tells others of these illegal subpoenas, search and seizure of assets as long it is claimed that the search is "related to terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities," etc, ad nauseam.

The Struggle of the Oppressed

1930s anti-Nazi cartoon depicting monopolization of news media      Most of what we hear or read today perpetuates the dangerous delusion that we live in a democracy. Even iconoclasts who strip away the democratic myth to reveal the reality of plutocracy often end their discussions with generalized theories of reform which have no hint of reality to them. A more realistic point of view is to outline the elements of a commonwealth way of life and complete the American Revolution of freeing ourselves from the mental and political restraints of imperialistic capitalism.

     First, we need to realize that we don't live in a democracy, that the politicians who buy their way into office don't work for the good of people but for their own monetary gain. The richest one percent of Americans have gained over a trillion dollars in the past dozen years as a result of tax breaks.

     "The decayed condition of American democracy is difficult to grasp, not because the facts are secret, but because the facts are visible everywhere. American democracy is in much deeper trouble than most people wish to acknowledge. Behind the reassuring facade, the regular election contests and so forth, the substantive meaning of self-government has been hollowed out. What exists behind the formal shell is a systemic breakdown of the shared civic values we call democracy.

     "At the highest levels of government, the power to decide things has instead gravitated from the many to the few, just as ordinary citizens suspect. Instead of popular will, the government now responds more often to narrow webs of power - the interests of major economic organizations and concentrated wealth and the influential elites surrounding them.

     "In place of a meaningful democracy, the political community has embraced a permissive culture of false appearances. Government responds to the public's desires with an artful dance of symbolic gestures - hollow laws that are emptied of serious content in the private bargaining of Washington. Promises are made and never kept. Laws are enacted and never enforced."

William Greider. (1992). Who Will Tell the People?

      With all its shortcomings, the United States still provides its citizens with a wide range of freedom, more than any other country in the world, primarily because of the Bill of Rights that the common people forced on the capitalist class. In our struggle to complete the American Revolution, the people have won some other important partial victories over plutocracy:

  • The women's rights movement

  • The civil rights struggle

  • Vietnam war resistance

  • The growing force of Internet-based news and analysis sources that are exposing the onslaughts of the cabal against our civil rights

A Training Program

"Talk democracy to these men and women. I tell them that they have the vote, and that theirs is the kingdom and the power and the glory. I say to them 'You are supreme: exercise your power.' They say, 'That's right: tell us what to do'; and I tell them. I say 'Exercise your vote intelligently by voting for me.' And they do. That's democracy; and a splendid thing it is too for putting the right men in the right place."

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic
Boanerges, in The Apple Cart, act 1

     We must begin training ourselves to understand that "democracy" is a concept that has been used throughout the world--including in America--as a scam to control the masses. Instead of a democracy--of whatever kind--we must begin working toward a commonwealth: a nation founded on law and united by compact of the people for the common good

     One of the reasons why ignorant and ill-intentioned thinkers have attacked Plato, is because he was forthright enough to reveal the reality of democracy--that it is in actuality the manipulation of the masses by an elite group who fools the common people into thinking they are ruling when they aren't.

"These will be some of the features of democracy. . . it will be, in all likelihood, an agreeable, lawless, parti-colored society, dealing with all alike on a footing of equality, whether they be really equal or not."
Plato, The Commonwealth

     Plato had seen this form of swindle practiced on the citizens of Athens, and had seen the deadly results of such a fraud when a pseudo-democratic group sentenced his teacher and friend Socrates to death on trumped-up charges.

"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."

Henry Louis Mencken

     Plato understood that a society must have either of two basic forms of government:

  • Oligarchy: a government in which a small elite group rules for its own benefit

    • Plutocracy: rule of those with wealth

    • Tyranny: rule of a criminal cabal

  • Commonwealth: a government in which politcal and economic principles and practices accrue to the benefit of all members of society

    • This form of government is ruled by some type of aristocracy, those with some kind of special knowledge and skill.

    • Plato believed that a commonwealth should be ruled by those persons who were seekers of wisdom--philosophers.

     One of Plato's major works was entitled Politeia (Politeia), the Greek word for Commonwealth. The title of this work has been mistranslated as The Republic when its actual title is The Commonwealth.

      Plato saw clearly that the swindle called democracy quickly degenerates into tyranny--as we have seen throughout American history. The current demonic cabal is simply the most recent embodiment of this swindle. You can see this most clearly both domestically and abroad:

  • Within the United States the cabal has stolen the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections and has now set up permanent structures through which they select both Democratic and Republican candidates, to make sure that genuine elections are no longer possible

  • The Bush II puppet junta pretended that the client-state dictatorships it set up in Afghanistan and Iraq were democracies

     Obama and other cabal flunkies use the word "democracy" as a shibboleth to fool the ignorant American masses, pretending that they're spreading this magic form of government to as many nations as possible. "Democracy" has now become the mask for tyranny and imperialism.

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

Winston Churchill

     We must train ourselves in the commonwealth way of life by:
  1. Learning how to think critically

  2. Gaining an awareness of our world, including an empowering historical perspective

  3. Learning the skills of community organizing

  4. Developing group decision-making skills

     Learning to think critically involves examining our own self-delusions and incapacities and recognizing the essential ingredients in the commonwealth way of life. Certain of our delusions and incapacities make a commonwealth impossible.


  • We've allowed ourselves to become consumed by egomania. Ego-obsession is the image we see everywhere, the individual feeling that he or she is the most important thing in the world. Movies, television, music, literature, all encourage us to feel that we are the center of the universe. We haven't learned to discriminate between ego-obsession, self-respect, and servility. Yes, we want to attain a healthy respect for ourselves and avoid a demeaning feeling of servility, but most people have gone to the extreme of ego-mania--literally becoming crazy about themselves. In a general social atmosphere of ego-obsession, a commonwealth life-style is impossible. People are not able to see beyond their own immediate, momentary interests to the good of a larger group interest which ultimately serves their individual wellbeing as well.

  • We have allowed ourselves to become splintered into special interest groups and factions, based on ethnicity, age, gender, or other characteristics. the necessity of united action A commonwealth is only possible when people see the improvement of their society as a common good and are willing to develop a genuine sense of solidarity with others. One of the major difficulties with our present society is the inability and unwillingness of the wealthy rulers to work toward the good of all the people in our society. They act to serve only their own interests, gaining wealth and power. As we train for a commonwealth, we must learn to work toward a society which will serve the interests of all its citizens, rich and poor, old and young, men and women, and people of all ethnic backgrounds and value orientations.

  • We need to develop group decision-making skills as a foundation for the commonwealth way of life. This requires that we learn how to think critically, resolving issues through the use of evidence, not merely what we happen to feel or what some supposed authority has told us.
     There are specific factors required for the commonwealth way of life.
  • First, we must realize that a commonwealth is not an external condition or system but a way of life. As such, it must be pursued, achieved, and then continually maintained. By definition, it requires of its participants certain values, qualities of character, and capacities. Those values, qualities, and capacities must be central to one's whole life and being.

    • This means that it is not possible to practice a commonwealth life-style in one area of life--say on the job or in a civic organization--and yet remain acquiescent to or unmindful of the fascism of a political-economic system, or remain tyrannical in one's personal relationships.

    • This also means that a commonwealth, by its very nature, cannot be given to us by decree, or mandate, or vote, or constitution, or even political revolt. It is a capability for group decision-making which we must achieve for ourselves and which then requires continual effort and vigilance. A commonwealth is not an end to be achieved once-and-for-all and handed from one generation to another. It is a process used by people in ordering their lives toward critical common goals such as constitutional liberties. Each generation's goals change, so a commonwealth life-style is a process which is never completed or achieved, any more than the process of learning is something we get the hang of and then stop doing.

  • A commonwealth can emerge only when certain persons decide to join with others in selecting and fulfilling common goals. To opt for a commonwealth must come out of the understanding that other seemingly simpler and more efficient processes of decision-making lead inevitably to the oppression of one group by another. We gain this understanding by experiencing oppressive forms of decision-making in the family, the workplace, the community, and the nation. By experiencing the oppression and life-destruction which anti-commonwealth regimes entail we gain an intense desire for the commonwealth way of life. We're presently experiencing the oppression of wealth and power under the fascistic cabal regime. Obscenely rich people are using political, economic, and military force to drive America into a society with two classes: the wealthy and the poor.

     Americans have difficulty in understanding what a commonwealth means because we've lived, in the past decades, in a fairly affluent era ruled by a plutocracy masked as democracy. We're only now realizing that the United States isn't a democracy after all--it is a plutocracy controled by an evil cabal.

     It's of importance to recognize the extent to which intelligent independence and self-direction in any realm are an achievement. The ability to be an independent, self-directing personality is present in possibility in original nature; but this possibility is made an actuality only through the proper kind of education. The same is true of a group.
"Independent, self-directing group conduct is . . . an achievement. Merely to offer democracy to a group does not mean that the group is able to conduct itself democratically. Just as individual independence comes gradually, first in more restricted and then in wider areas of life, so independence in a group comes gradually, first in more restricted and then in ever and ever widening areas of conduct. Whether the group be a family, a gang, a class in school, or a nation, it cannot change suddenly with any success from complete autocratic control to entirely independent self-direction." 1

Modern Times

     Now that the conditions of widespread affluence and freedom of mobility are no longer profitable for the American plutocracy, the more unpleasant and inevitable features of their oppressive order are beginning to affect American citizens directly. Perhaps the harsh realities of unemployment, slave wages, tax-slavery, and government harassment will provide the kind of incentive we need to consider deeper values in life beyond mindless, superficial, addictive entertainment and sports--the "circuses" provided by the present rulers. Perhaps now we can begin to ask what a commonwealth is and how we can train for it.

     We must first realize just what led to our present enslavement under a fascist plutocracy, what characteristics in us allowed for our self-delusion, our being controlled by lust for possessions and social acceptance, our willingness to let others rule us as long as we feel we are getting our share. If we can understand what personal qualities lead to enslavement we can then begin to understand their opposite: the positive qualities that make commonwealth self-rule possible.

The Commonwealth Way of Life

      The commonwealth way of life is possible only with people who desire to work toward full human potential. A commonwealth cannot exist in a context where some always say: "I can't do that or I can't understand that, let someone else decide who can do more or who understands more."

     A commonwealth is very difficult to initiate because at almost any moment in time a ruling group is faced with people who've been trained to be and feel incompetent. The ruling group's temptation at that point is to say: "Since the people clearly can't rule themselves, we'll rule them now and continue to rule them."

     A commonwealth can only begin when a small group of persons - having suffered under an oppressive form of rule and having prepared themselves for self-rule - take over the direction of a group or community. This preparation involves, among other things, the close examination of real, as opposed to assumed or imagined capacities, and the development of real competence. Even then there will be some persons in the community who can't yet participate effectively in decision-making. This is one of the major challenges of commonwealth self-rule. Will the leaders of commonwealth reform activate a process whereby others can learn to participate effectively in group decision-making or will they use the undeniable incompetence of others as an excuse for taking more absolute and final control?

     It's hard for us to realize that we lack certain mental and behavioral skills required for a commonwealth way of life. We must train ourselves in the skills and understanding which a commonwealth requires.

     A commonwealth can only come to those who are willing to work for the best and highest in human development for all. At almost any point in a nation's history it can be said: "Yes, there are problems here, but it could be worse. Instead of being a malcontent working for unnecessary change, be thankful for what you have." That has been said to every enslaved or oppressed group in human history. That's what the white owner said to his black slave, the British trying to mollify the oppressed colonists in America and India in the 1770s. The good is often enemy to the best. Today we hear: "What oppression? We never had it so good. Don't rock the boat." For many people, life under this present plutocracy, which they have been fully programmed to experience as a democracy, appears rewarding and complete.

"A [commonwealth] process is the best way to grow men and women. It is he who does the thinking, who faces the problems, who makes the plans, who alone achieves both the growth and the happiness. Our present idea and practice of leadership reserve these supreme values to the leaders. Life has become, for a large number of people, pure drudgery. Men become "robots, " machines for executing other people's desires. The leaders grow, the individuals in the crowd decline." 2

     Mr. Smith doesn't need to go to Washington; he and other American citizens need to complete the American Revolution and learn to fashion a government of, by, and for the people by creating cooperative commonwealth communities.

"Our goal is nothing short of the Ideal Real; that Reality of consciousness in which all things are known as they are, and not as they seem; that Reality in which we grasp a substance, not a shadow; in which we have laid hold of eternal life: a life not subject to the ebb and flow of phenomena, but full, free, immeasurable, triumphant."

William Kingsland, Scientific Idealism


1 Harrison S. Elliott. (1938). The Process of Group Thinking,

NY: Association Press, p. 12
Elliott's conception of democracy is in line with what we are calling in this essay a commonwealth life-style.

2 Harrison S. Elliott. op. cit.., p. 6


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