The End of Mankind

This pronouncement sounds scary and forbidding, but actually it’s an accounting of a win-win moment for “Humanist” progress, and a symbolic evolutionary triumph for half of us humans. So, don’t worry. This is a very happy story! The telling of this story is even a bit funny, as well, you’ll see, after I describe a few moments of worrisome anxiety!

But, first, let me preface the main theme of this story with a little preamble‚Ķthat of my own experiencing increasing annoyance, over my growing-up years, to find insistence, in spite of continuing inquiries and doubts, that a creator of all the universe and life as we know it, is a man-god. I grieved, picturing him as probably bearded with a booming authoritative voice. But, what about Mother Nature?… I would plead. Mothers are the nurturers, the beings that give birth! And a source of love and protection! It’s through this rejection route, that I had become a NON-believer, resenting all traditional religion as being tribal, contrary to science, and based upon illusion. I hadn’t yet learned that I’m a Humanist. And, what an amazing revelation to accidentally happen-upon the great researched works of Corliss Lamont!

And, even more amazing to be eventually welcomed into the physical presence of this great researcher, philosopher, author of The Philosophy of Humanism, Corliss Lamont, himself!

His works had been based upon extensive historical written evidence, and his own inspired conjecture, but necessarily written in the traditional academic style for accreditation. Upon reading the 7th Edition of The Philosophy of Humanism, I was both inspired and dismayed by the almost obligatory use of that same word that crowds-out a vision of newly empowered womanhood. Sheesh! We’re hardly recognized, and didn’t even get to vote until 1920!

Sister Humanist, Beverly Earles and I converged upon an amiable Corliss Lamont, with our sort-of giggly conspiratorial, but inspirational plot, to point out the book’s currant error. We took turns reading to Corliss from his own work, paragraph after paragraph, and inserting, instead of the traditional mankind, we used the word, very pointedly and with emphasis: WOMANKIND! This went on, without comment from Corliss, for part of a chapter.

We cast worried glances at him. He was sitting with elbows on knees and head in hands, not giving any clue for us to gauge. Are we insulting him? Is this approach un-humanistic? Stop!

Trying to sound brave and cheerful, I asked cautiously: “Well, Corliss, what do you think?”

He looked-up brightly and surprised us both with his nodding approval and his reassuring response: “You know, you’ve got a good point there! This should be changed to Humankind! And so it was! The 8th Edition of The Philosophy of Humanism celebrates Humankind! And our devoted Editor carefully inserted ALL US humans into the new Edition.

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant, and author of Lefties Are In Their Right Minds

Beware the ISM Schizim!

Three little letters of the alphabet, harmless in appearance, are still creating havoc in this bewildered “would be” Democracy!

How on Earth can it be, that these three little letters cause such harm? Does this sound impossible? But, here’s the case in point:

CAPITAL, FOR INSTANCE: Without expenditure or investment of Capital, there can be NO creation of alternative energies for the purpose of countering the impending climate change danger!

Investment in science and technology, is essential, and in food production and businesses, all work… that creates paychecks!

CAPITAL IS IMPORTANT! ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR LIVING! We’re in complete agreement at this point as to definition. OK?

Another truth, regards a beautiful, Human-connectedness word:

SOCIAL! This concept is also essential, and necessary for living!

Let’s start with the meaning of Social. We ARE social beings…our Family, our Friends, our co-workers, our community! And what about all the pluses? SOCIAL SECURITY! Yea! Also, hooray for Franklin D! Our human connectedness, and now, Social Media.

We have new tools in our hands that now give us People Power!

Are we all still on the same page? We’re agreeing Social is good! Capital is good! There you have it! Two important concepts! Two GOOD words! We’re in complete agreement at this point. OK?

Now, add those three scary little letters, creating havoc: “ISM”.

And, now what do we get? Omygod! No! Never! Not Socialism!!!

Some Folks get the knee-jerk reaction: “No, not the Evil Empire!”

And a tumult of Red Scare accusations, and a century of fear and propaganda against the ideals of Karl Marx comes pouring out! The hope of the Russians for Workers of the World to Unite, and to thereby benefit Human conditions, has been thwarted, and now we face even greater danger: a Mushroom-shaped Cloud.

The same switcharooney occurs when you add those same three scary little letters “ISM” to the good word Capital, and now, how shocking, but inevitable, you get a whole different thing! It’s no longer just investment for development, but this word describes the Economic System that’s called Capitalism, a virtual CASINO, the whole point of which is to MAKE PROFIT! This is a market in which there are absolutely no ethical or moral considerations.

A sad fact, that president Eisenhower warned us about, is that WAR is profitable, and unfortunately, for some investors, the making of profit is more important than the well-being of the People and the Planet. This system empowers the wealthy, who might operate without conscience, and dominate politically.

An Essay entitled Code of Ethics for a Corporation follows.

But, the point made here is that these three little letters of the alphabet, and their hapless application to some perfectly good words, turn TRUTH and HUMAN SURVIVAL around completely!

These are my words of caution! Beware the “ISM” SCHIZIM!

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant, and author of Lefties Are In Their Right Minds

Holiday greetings from Beth, who hopes for peace in the world in the New Year.

Thought you might enjoy this short but cute holiday “moosical” animation video clip (running time: 2 minutes 17 seconds).

May the coming New Year be happier!

From Beth and the Webmaster.

Download this video in MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/AAC-LC 244×248 format
(right-click and “Save As…” to download):

MPEG-4 video format.
(MPEG-4 AVC/AAC — 3,567,773 bytes)


A screaming problem with our long-hoped-for Democracy is the unlimited Campaign contributions that gives us the “best democracy that money can buy!” This amounts to, instead, an hypocrisy, that needs to be amended! Just think of that! What we have is an hypocrisy! Not a democracy! And wealthy donors have more power to do their bidding than the rest of us!

Please create a Law that limits political spending, and especially verifiable “receiving” by candidates of any campaign money over a certain fixed, maximum amount. This is most important to a Democracy!

Also, please seriously consider this suggested important change!

There is a GIANT FLAW in the traditional 2-Party System that limits the participation of ALL people to bring their concerns to nation wide attention in the Congress. The 2-Party format is a rigged system!

When, out of our values and our ethical concerns, we Vote for a 3rd party that better represents us, our Vote then detracts from a Major Party. In my case, and with many others, this means having to make a painful choice. It means I may NOT VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE, because they don’t YET represent my Cause. I’m actually “wasting” my Vote, thereby, to SATISFY MY CONSCIENCE, still hoping to make a point.

Or, instead, I can grit my teeth, and cast my vote for a candidate and party that doesn’t yet represent my CONCERN OR CAUSE. OI! What a choice!

Parliamentary systems may have a better chance of representing this need for diversity, whereby the various parties will have the right to enter the ring and to duke-it-out, persuasively, hoping to make their point.

Back to my problem…I wish to Vote for a Democratic Socialist like Bernie Sanders! In the 2016 election, he was respectful, and didn’t run on a 3rd party, because of this detrimental detraction factor. He saw that this was problem. He was ethical, but THEY didn’t support HIM!

So, logically, by Voting my conscience for a 3rd Party, and thereby withholding my Vote from the Democrats, this gives a numerical advantage to the opposition! My vote would actually help the Republicans! That’s how they will always benefit from any 3rd party Vote!

We, logical and ethical Voters are automatically TRUMPED by this strange illogical “either-or” (TweedleDum or TweedleDummer) arrangement!

Rather than diminishing the Democrat’s total, our Democratic Socialist Vote can, and must, feed into the Democrat’s total to give them a numerical advantage.

This will necessitate a change to a 2-PART VOTING SYSTEM, so that we would be able to Vote our first and second choices. I could vote: Social Democrat/(slash) Democrat! This 2-PART VOTE will sure beat the hell out of the counter-productive 2-Party system!

Hopefully, there will come a time when this “feed-into” movement becomes so powerful and overwhelming, that it will have to be recognized and be acknowledged by all, and will eventually STAND ALONE! The Democrats will have become the minority, IF THEY DO NOT MAKE A LEFT TURN! The Social Democrats, with THEIR CONCERNS will then represent the prevailing Party!

Republicans may even favor this new system as well, and approve it, because their own minority voters will wish to have their own causes represented, such as Right to Life/(slash) Republican, for instance.

Who do you think might wish to introduce a bill to initiate this change?

I favor Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren! Thanks for your good work!

Best wishes from Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant, and author of Lefties Are In Their Right Minds

Great article on The American Prospect about Pete Seeger and his controversial performance of Waist Deep in the Big Muddy on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” television show some 50 years ago on February 25, 1968.

Title: Recalling Pete Seeger’s Controversial Performance on the Smothers Brothers Show 50 Years Ago

Author: Peter Dreier

Date: February 28, 2018

Synopsis: Seeger had been blacklisted as a communist and this gutsy defiance of a corporate media giant marked his return to the mainstream cultural scene.


Pete Seeger-Waist Deep In The Big Muddy & War Songs Medleys (1968)

This article was re-published on Portside.

Beth Recommends This…

Harper’s Magazine Presents: An Evening with Senator Bernie Sanders

Monday, August 28, 2017
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT – Doors open at 6:00 PM

An Evening with Senator Bernie Sanders (event poster).

The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
(212) 870-6700

Tickets are available at Eventbrite and are $25 for General Admission and $20 for Students.
Ticket includes admission, a copy of Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution, and a one-year subscription to Harper’s Magazine (current subscribers will receive a one-year extension).

Photo of Senator Bernie Sanders.

I encourage everyone in the New York City area to attend this event!

Beth Recommends This…

Resistance Manual

Tuesday, January 17, 2017:  Today, we launch the Resistance Manual — an open-source platform to collect information/resources to resist Trump’s agenda and to continue making progress towards equity and justice in America. [Link is to an archived copy of the webpage as it existed on June 8, 2019.]

Explore the manual to learn about the policies the incoming administration plans to pursue, how they’ll impact our communities, and what you can do to stop them through federal, state, and local advocacy.

Resistance Manual (logo).

The manual will grow over time as more and more people contribute updates, facts and resources to it. As such, we encourage you to contribute important information for others to read.

Get educated. Get organized. Take Action.


by Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant

I respect Atheists for their good intentions in attempting to free Folks from their superstitions and in helping to create laws that prevent religious domination from continuing to erode our Civil Liberties and our Right to Free Thought and the right of children to not suffer the indignities of coercion, fear and illogic.

I respect the adherents of religion who engage in GOOD WORKS for Humans, Here and Now, doing their best to improve Earthly conditions that are contrary to their own best beliefs in loving, compassionate, forgiving behavior. I do not begrudge them their “interior motives” of a heavenly reward. “Theism” is not the big problem. Resultant power, hypocrisy and greed are the REAL problems.

Because I am naturally optimistically inclined, and my life’s experiences have taught me that “change-for-the-better” can actually be achieved, my cup stays “half full” rather than half empty, and emphasizing the positive is my style.

Therefore, I do not PRESENT myself with a name announcing what I DO NOT BELIEVE! Why should I assume a title describing what I’m AGAINST? This is nonsense! To my way of thinking, it’s a negative and counter-productive stance.

To use the ancient term “A” meaning “absence of” to describe what I do NOT believe, or anything about me, is not helpful. Here’s how I see it! For instance, I believe with all my life experiences and the wisdom that I have amassed in all of these years, that the Capitalist Economic System, under which we suffer, does more harm to more people in this world, presently, than does any theistic belief. Even more, it exacerbates religious divides and causes more blaming.

Shall I then bill myself as an Acapitalist? This is nuts! Why should I focus who I AM, on what I DO NOT believe? My efforts are devoted to doing all I can, same as Atheists are, working toward changing things in the best interest of Humans.

I claim allegiance to the positive belief that guides my lifestance. I’m NOT an A-capitalist! I’m not an A-theist! I AM a HUMANIST!

I believe with all of my heart and mind that we must treat our precious Planet Earth, all Earthlings and other living things with respect; that we must take responsibility to do all that we can to make beneficial changes; to make Peace and live in harmony and promote the opportunities for all to live the Good Life!

In agreement with the Humanist Philosophy espoused by Corliss Lamont in all of his lifetime efforts, I believe that dismantling the war mind-set and its machinery, and protecting our would-be democracy from moneyed special interests is the proper focus for the work of helping to Humanize this war-weary World! Perhaps you agree?

The Long, Slow Death of Religion

Guest Post by James A. Haught

By now, it’s clear that religion is fading in America, as it has done in most advanced Western democracies.

Dozens of surveys find identical evidence: Fewer American adults, especially those under 30, attend church — or even belong to a church. They tell interviewers their religion is “none.” They ignore faith.

Since 1990, the “nones” have exploded rapidly as a sociological phenomenon — from 10 percent of U.S. adults, to 15 percent, to 20 percent. Now they’ve climbed to 25 percent, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.

That makes them the nation’s largest faith category, outstripping Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent). They seem on a trajectory to become an outright majority. America is following the secular path of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other modern places. The Secular Age is snowballing.

Various explanations for the social transformation are postulated: That the Internet exposes young people to a wide array of ideas and practices that undercut old-time beliefs. That family breakdown severs traditional participation in congregations. That the young have grown cynical about authority of all types. That fundamentalist hostility to gays and abortion has soured tolerant-minded Americans. That clergy child-molesting scandals have scuttled church claims to moral superiority. That faith-based suicide bombings and other religious murders horrify normal folks.

All those factors undoubtedly play a role. But I want to offer a simpler explanation: In the scientific 21st century, it’s less plausible to believe in invisible gods, devils, heavens, hells, angels, demons — plus virgin births, resurrections, miracles, messiahs, prophecies, faith-healings, visions, incarnations, divine visitations and other supernatural claims. Magical thinking is suspect, ludicrous. It’s not for intelligent, educated people.

Significantly, the PRRI study found that the foremost reason young people gave for leaving religion is this clincher: They stopped believing miraculous church dogmas.

For decades, tall-steeple mainline Protestant denominations with university-educated ministers tried to downplay supernaturalism — to preach just the compassion of Jesus and the social gospel. It was a noble effort, but disastrous. The mainline collapsed so badly it is dubbed “flatline Protestantism.” It has faded to small fringe of American life.

Now Catholicism and evangelicalism are in the same death spiral. One-tenth of U.S. adults today are ex-Catholics. The Southern Baptist Convention lost 200,000 members in 2014 and 200,000 more in 2015.

I’m a longtime newspaperman in Appalachia’s Bible Belt. I’ve watched the retreat of religion for six decades. Back in the 1950s, church-based laws were powerful:

It was a crime for stores to open on the Sabbath. All public school classes began with mandatory prayer. It was a crime to buy a cocktail, or look at nude photos in magazines, or buy a lottery ticket. It was a crime for an unwed couple to share a bedroom. If a single girl became pregnant, both she and her family were disgraced. Birth control was unmentionable. Evolution was unmentionable.

It was a felony to terminate a pregnancy. It was a felony to be gay. One homosexual in our town killed himself after police filed charges. Even writing about sex was illegal. In 1956, our Republican mayor sent police to raid bookstores selling “Peyton Place.”

Gradually, all those faith-based taboos vanished from society. Religion lost its power — even before the upsurge of “nones.”

Perhaps honesty is a factor in the disappearance of religion. Maybe young people discern that it’s dishonest to claim to know supernatural things that are unknowable.

When I was a cub reporter, my city editor was an H.L. Mencken clone who laughed at Bible-thumping hillbilly preachers. One day, as a young truth-seeker, I asked him: You’re correct that their explanations are fairy tales — but what answer can an honest person give about the deep questions: Why are we here? Why is the universe here? Why do we die? Is there any purpose to life?

He eyed me and replied: “You can say: I don’t know.” That rang a bell in my head that still echoes. It’s honest to admit that you cannot explain the unexplainable.

The church explanation — that Planet Earth is a testing place to screen humans for a future heaven or hell — is a silly conjecture with no evidence of any sort, except ancient scriptures. No wonder that today’s Americans, raised in a scientific-minded era, cannot swallow it.

Occam’s Razor says the simplest explanation is most accurate. Why is religion dying? Because thinking people finally see that it’s untrue, false, dishonest.

White evangelicals tipped the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump, giving an astounding 81 percent of their votes to the crass vulgarian who contradicts church values. But white evangelicals, like most religious groups, face a shrinking future. Their power will dwindle.

It took humanity several millennia to reach the Secular Age. Now it’s blossoming spectacularly.

James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The Long, Slow Death of Religion was first published on CounterPunch December 29, 2016.

Code of Ethics for a Corporation

by Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant and Advocate

We, the undersigned individuals, and as Members of the below designated Corporation, do ascribe to the following considerations in the daily practice of our Business:

  1. We agree with, and strive to uphold, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as described by the United Nations. Respect and Ethical treatment for All of Humankind on Planet Earth is of greatest importance in our business practices.

  2. Respect and protection for our precious gift, Planet Earth, as our one and only Human Habitat, and the home to be inhabited by our own Grand Children and our own offspring for centuries to come, is vitally important! We must be cognizant of the relationship between the activities of our Corporate work and its effect upon the atmosphere and other conditions that had, before industrialization, remained fairly stable and hospitable to life on Earth for many centuries. Climate change must be acknowledged! Scarcity of clean water will be a threat to our lives, and the rising of the Oceans, an immediate concern.

  3. Wherever we do business, in whatever country or community, we promise to respect and uphold all local law. When we have entered into a contract to do business, and those with whom we have made such arrangement find fault or disagreement with the way we are proceeding, their complaints must be considered, and perhaps some compromise or agreement must be found. Local concerns and governments must never be found, by the World Trade Court, of being in “violation of profit making.” We honor local concerns!

  4. We will pay proper local or national taxes in each country where we do business, and never claim that our headquarters is located in a place where no taxes are required.

  5. We will honor local labor needs and prevailing wages in every country where we do business. If we do business in the USA, for instance, we will always hire locally available workers rather than “outsourcing” to another country where the labor is cheaper.

  6. We acknowledge that the “Value” of our Stock on the Market is of great importance to the stability of our corporation, BUT, we also recognize that profit for “investors” is of lesser importance than the survival of our corporation, the good work that it does, and the continuity of its Board of Directors and its Staff. When we avow and prove compliance with all of the above considerations, we then demand that the “Value” of our Stock be enhanced by crediting appropriate points, as to “Compliant Ethical Corporations.” These credit points will be established by a Consumer Corporation Accreditation Committee headed by People’s Advocate Elizabeth Warren in Congress, and will always henceforth be reported to the Public on the “nightly news” as a celebratory acknowledgment of our Corporation’s respect for the People and the Planet, as well as the profit-making.

Undersigned below:   _______________________________________________


Because I’m a wilted Flowerchild from Haight-Ashbury, I advocate making love, not war!

Are we making any progress?

“Open Mic Gypsy” Beth Lamont for Rimes of The Ancient Mariner September 28, 2016 @ Three of Cups Lounge.

Published on YouTube on October 9, 2016 under a Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed) by Phillip Giambri aka “The Ancient Mariner” who is a writer, storyteller, poet, and spoken word performer.

Running time: 2 minutes 8 seconds

Download this video in MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/AAC-LC 640×360 format
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Note: This post was revised and updated on Friday, May 24, 2019.
Please read the new Post 340 instead of this original version.

Beth Lamont and Corliss Lamont.
Beth Lamont and Corliss Lamont


$15. Minimum Wage? Free healthcare? Free education? Equitable income taxation? No longer allowing the US capitalist economic system to dominate the people? Reform the inequitable voting systems? WOW! Bernie! Bless your heart! You have the attention of the distressed American public! We are listening! YES! We, the People, will at last have a say in the governance of our lives! We now have people power! And Bernie is articulating its details! Bernie is feeling our frustration and responding in a marvelously affirmative way!

I would love to see our first woman President, and had long planned to vote for Hillary if she were running. She has been a champion of people’s healthcare even before she was First Lady; I’m proud of her courage. I hear Hillary promoting respect and change for the workers, for education, for health, for all the right things! However both Bernie and Hillary have worrisome baggage to contend with: She, for perhaps being too close to the war machinery and to Wall Street; and He, for inheriting the fearful “Evil Empire” stigma! O my god! Not Socialism! Even prefacing the word with Democratic…hardly lessens the impact to a knee-jerk response!

Come sit by my side and listen to this wise old granny (I’m left-over at 86 because there’s work to be done!) I have a story to tell, and, here’s an innovation! I wish for you good children to check every detail with Google.

I’ll take you way back to a Christmas time in the last century, almost one hundred years ago; it was in 1917. Likely, you’ve never heard this story before. I’m about to describe a pivotal moment in the history of humankind, and the likelihood of your being unaware of its importance, is in itself, part of the problem! You see, at this time, an Earth shaking decision was being made. Humankind has since been the worse-off because of it!

Corliss Lamont, a child of privilege and of Wall Street, can tell you in his own words, the story of a cable announcing his Father’s unexpected return from Europe, by steamship. (No planes in those day, dearies!) This gentleman, Thomas William Lamont, a man of humble upbringing, who put himself through Harvard, and at that time, as a partner of J. Pierpont Morgan, was representing Wall Street in the Reparations Talks that were determining the amount that aggressive Germany would have to pay to it’s victims of World War I. Tom Lamont was not home for Christmas, he was on an urgent errand to see US President Woodrow Wilson.

In as much as war was still raging, talks of Reparations seemed premature. Tattered, freezing Russians were still defending their borders from German assault, and The Red Cross had been bringing life-saving supplies. Tom’s Harvard classmate, William Boyce Thompson, was a deliverer of supplies, and became quite aware of the Russian people’s movement taking place. It became know as the Bolshevik Revolution. He reasoned that more help to them to sustain their defense against German assault would keep German forces divided between Russia and France, and thereby weaken the German war machine. Britain’s Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, agreed that becoming allies would be a good move. He asked Lamont to secure Wilson’s US pledge.

In spite of Winston Churchill’s admonition that we should “strangle the menacing infant of Socialism in its cradle,” Tom attempted to persuade US President Woodrow Wilson that the US should come to the aide of the Bolsheviks. Tom was not allowed to speak with Wilson, however. He apparently was thwarted by Colonel Edward M. House, an aide to Wilson, (who hated those goddamn atheist Commies) and instead, Wilson was persuaded that it was important to send American troops to thwart them. This was, indeed a pivotal moment!

You can even read about our 1918 invasion of Archangel and Vladivostok in a history of the event that was written by General William Graves, entitled “Our Siberian Adventure.” Alas, we made a wrong choice! And, the fact that our US foreign policy chose at that time to make enemies of the Russians, rather than becoming allies, has reverberated ever since, in Earth shaking decisions from which we may not recover. It is still in the balance, and questionable: NATO was created as a bulwark against the USSR. Why was the Ukraine invited to join it? The US practically went ballistic over such an incursion on our Cuban doorstep! Talk about illogic!

Corliss’s father, Thomas W. Lamont, remained adamant in his support of the Russians, and in 1945 both gentlemen appeared on the same Madison Square podium promoting American-Soviet Friendship! Both courageous in their stands, advocating friendship with what had begun to be called “The Evil Empire”, was truly heroic. So, this bit of history from 1917, that is totally unknown to the general public, and was fearfully propagandized ever since, may have a present day gut-level impact upon this Presidential Election.

Perhaps in academic circles these historical issues may have been clinically diagnosed, and if one is already interested they can research these 1917 happenings, especially in a book:” Ambassador From Wall Street” by Edward M. Lamont, the Grandson of Thomas, but the significance of this history hasn’t filtered into the realm of general knowledge by our populace. This is especially worrisome to potential voters. This is my biggest scare!

This history needs to be known! We’ve truly been sold a bill-of-goods about the original ideals of the Socialist philosophy, and how it was intended to respect and honor the workers, the farmers, the soldiers, the sailors, the peasants of Russia, specifically against heinous injustices, years of atrocities perpetrated by mounted Cossacks riding down, and slashing with sabers, the throngs of hungry protestors in the streets. Always to be considered is: compared to what! What was going on in their world? If we still know nothing of the Bolshevik Revolution, we have no right to judge it harshly! It was a justified expression of “People Power! Read John Reed’s “Ten Days That Shook The World.” The biggest fear was that it would catch-on like wildfire right here!

You may be old enough to have experienced the Red Scare right here in the good ol’ US of A? No? You haven’t heard of the Ludlow Massacre? The Palmer Raids? How about the Socialists who we re elected into office by New York voters, and who were refused acceptance by the NY legislature, because of their “foreign” beliefs? They were elected by their New York constituents, expressing Socialist convictions at the ballot box. Imagine! How about tales of the “Evil Empire” and fearsome Communism? Totalitarianism? What about the House Un- American Activities Committee dedicated to rooting out the frightening cancer of Communism right here in our own communities, then even worse, Joseph McCarthy, on his rabid rampage, who saw a “Commie” under every bed? And who, in a sneering and contemptuous manner, demanded of Corliss Lamont, and so many other American patriots: “Are you now, or have you ever been a Communist?” This in the “Land of the Free?”

Come sit by my knee, and let me tell you another story. It began, way back in the late 1800s , when at the time, the compassionate scholarship of some important whistle-blowers of their time, saw from their research that the powerful industrial revolution that was going on, didn’t filter down to the workers. The great potential for human betterment was being short-stopped at the paycheck, and was overflowing the coffers of the investors. WOW! What a shocking assertion! The ideas of Karl Marx were gaining traction! Surplus value? This should be shared? “Pay the Workers more? Ha! Certainly not! Preposterous! We Captains of Industry certainly have no obligation to benefit workers, much less, all of humankind. Workers are necessary, but they are completely expendable, interchangeable tools toward that end, and plenty more where they came from. Workers should be grateful for the job. How dare they ask for more? Strike? O my god! Call the police!”

The whole point of investing money was for building and creating progress, but ultimately, in the end, it had to…guess what? It had to make profit for the investors! If there were any altruistic aspects of their investment, these had to be sacrificed upon the alter of profit-making. Powerful corporations had the upper hand! So, naturally, they prevailed in their own best interests, and the interests of the entire capitalist enterprise, They must oppose at all costs this mistaken conspiracy that they’re abusing and neglecting the workers. Indeed, capitalism has held this power, for more than a century, at horrendous cost to humankind…in pain and blood. Ever since, in one form or another, corporations and management attempt to vilify, propagandize, thwart, oppose, deride, any move by the workers to gain respect, ensure their safety, and to obtain a more equitable share of the profit, and to this day they have succeeded. Labor strikes must be thwarted at all costs, even to murdering the strikers. Please read about a strike activist murdered by firing squad: his name was Joe Hill.

I’ll tell you, the powers that be, have really done a number on the concept of equitable treatment of workers and of human beings in general, even respect for planet Earth, in convincing us that we Earthlings are not worthy of better treatment and humane considerations for our own health and well being, or for the safety and happiness of our families, or for fair treatment of all of us humans regardless of our heritage.

Many workers, to this day, might automatically respond negatively to the word “Socialism” This is almost an unconscious knee-jerk reaction, with head shaking, disapproving of any thought of those foreign ideas. Alas, the workers of the world are in desperate need of the best protection of the socialist economic ideals. Workers of the World Unite! That was the battle cry in the 1900s! We weren’t able to unite then. The battle still rages! Particularly because of the misunderstanding of it’s origin and its true meaning.

Socialism does NOT automatically mean totalitarianism! This is part of the propaganda against it. It does NOT mean government control of everything, as is asserted. Consider “responsibility” as the operant word! To protect the best interests of the people and the planet is a powerful mandate. Let’s consider these apparently opposing ideas? We fear control, but respect the need to take responsibility. Right? These aren’t necessarily two opposing concepts, but a continuum, sort-of an extension of the level of responsibility. First, the ethical consideration of assuming responsibility, but then in execution, becoming necessary or asserted control. A little picture of this could be seen as taking a child’s hand to help her or him to cross the street safely. Clearly, this is taking logical and compassionate responsibility for the child’s protection. But, if instead, a cruel person would angrily snatch a kid around, smack and drag her or him across the street, all the while berating the child for non-obedience, this would clearly have become, instead, a horrible matter of control and punishment!

Taking responsibility to promote one’s best interests and prevent a danger is clearly a concept that is both humanitarian and of benefit to the people. On the other hand, we can readily recognize in the exercise of control, the similarity to police brutality, inequitable incarceration, thwarting of protestors, and even the withholding of health and educational facilities and the badmouthing of those who object to this control. This can even be extended conceptually to include inequitable taxation at home, and promotion of economic and military domination around the world. Do we believe that might makes right?

We’ve been propagandized to fear the control of “The Evil Empire” but it can happen here, as well. It is only when a government is fierce and controlling in protecting ITSELF, and its secret information, rather than protecting the rights of it’s own people, that it BECOMES totalitarian! Why should a would be democracy even HAVE secrets? What is government doing that its people should NOT know? Is the US totalitarian? Horrors!

Because the average American voter, who may not be aware of our own history, or is steeped in the alluring lore of our own oft touted promotion of equality and justice, may therefore not identify with the actual history of the people’s attempt to have a stronger voice in decisions made in this country, we might be vulnerable to a strong backlash surge of militaristic nationalism in an upcoming election, in which the ideals of “America First” might prevail.

This Strangelovian surge could usher us into a world of fascism that could make the Nazi’s look like Boy Scouts in comparison. Never mind dominating Europe; some fanatics in this country envision global domination. There was a US Website that was so shocking and embarrassing that it was eventually removed…called: “US Space”(Google it!) It purported to dominate space; protect the US interests and it’s investments, and..(get this!)..Zap Naughty Nations!

How is it that the US believes itself to be the World’s Policeman? Why does the US have a military finger in every pie on the face of this Earth? Maybe, more truthfully, it’s a finger in the EYE of almost every Human! This is truly a fearful prospect. We need a peaceful Planet Earth; promoting peace should be our aim.

I fear that passionate nationalism with all of its fearful implications will become the official US stance on the world scene, if not properly grounded in some scholarly (and grand motherly) concerned attention to this segment of our United States history.

On this February Day of 2016, amid the televised angry exhortations as to who should lead this land, I’m so painfully aware of the great dichotomy of political opinion regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this great country. We have certainly confused the concepts of democracy and of capitalism. Recognizing that one is a political ideal and the other is an economic system, we are somehow reluctant to consider that they might not even be compatible. Indeed, this incompatibility has give rise to fact that we now have “the best democracy that money can buy.” How shameful! We workers and citizens are realizing that capitalism isn’t what it’s “cracked-up to be: Matter of fact, it has shown to be counter productive to our best interests!

And, of great concern right now, where on Earth does socialism fit in? Regardless s of our heartfelt passions, we might all assert to be “Patriotic Americans.” Of course. Some will point to the “undisputed fact” that “We’re The Good Guys!” Didn’t we defeat the Nazis, and come to the rescue of the world? My own loving son believes that I’m too critical of US foreign policies. I respect and fully understand his point of view, in that he believes in US economic and military power on the world stage, and with his assigned male role as protector, and that role’s perceived extension as protector and defender of the US, he would naturally wish to champion and exercise that power politically. I champion the 3 Rs: Reason, Respect, and Responsibility!

But, from my own assigned alternate female role as nurturer and as a mother, my focus is more on the well being of the whole human family, not just a few sub-segments of it. After all, the United States of America is just one member of this global human family. We assert to be the most powerful, because we hold, and will not relinquish, the power to respond militarily to any asserted threat that our militarily minded leaders may perceive. This literally scares the hell outta me! I favor negotiations! What tha’Hey! Drop Bread not Bombs!

Why is negotiation and seeking non-military solutions considered wimpish and subject to criticism? I am so concerned that, in the absence of, or the ineffective presentation of a coherent model of world power that is non-military, we Americans will fall prey (let-us-prey?) to the “Military Industrial Complex” of which Dwight Eisenhower warned us, and in the din of electoral politics, in this “best democracy that money can buy,” might choose to confront adversity, as-in: “the Christians against the Muslims” with insanity. I’m hearing screams of: “Go Kill ISIS!” with stabbing upraised fists! This totally denies the fact that Isis is certainly a “blowback” product of our “Shock and Awe” intrusion into Iraq, a war based on lies. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, I fear that Dr. Strangelove might be convincingly more powerful. The basic primitive response to perceived aggression is “us against them,” wholly disregarding the truths of our thousands of years of human history and of the sadly earned, but totally ignored, wisdom gained, thereby. We Earthlings All are “us!”

Corliss Lamont, a patriotic champion of civil liberties, wrote in 1952, pamphlets discussing US foreign policies, and titled one pamphlet: “Are We Being Talked Into War?” This man saw , way back then, the dangers of commitment to military “solutions” in response to perceived or imagined threats as insanity!

Let’s consider the progress brought to us by technology. Human creativity and ingenuity have brought us to an amazing never before moment in our human evolution. We now have the power to cause the extinction of this whole human experience! Poof! In a series of nuclear blasts, you know…the “mushroom shaped cloud” bit! Nothing left but, maybe the cockroaches. ON THE OTHER HAND…..tada! We now have, PEOPLE POWER! Thanks to technology, We human beings can communicate with EACH OTHER! Maybe , we can get it together, in the best interest of human survival? If we are truly evolving, and becoming less primitive and more suitably adapted, wouldn’t this be the beautiful and ironic “happily-ever-after” solution to hatred and militarism! YES!

More History: In the 1930s, in Germany, the ideals of socialism and of communism were in opposition, and with adherents of each party competing fiercely, rather than articulating and presenting a coherent and even comprehensive vision, to appeal to the workers and the voters of Germany. They were pretty much rejected as a source of wisdom and power, almost like “You trouble making foreigners go home to the USSR!” It was into this absence of a coherent articulation of the positive ideals of a socialist society, that the powerful surge of German nationalism arose. “Germany Uber Alles!” This led to the promotion and exercise of Nazi power.

It will be coming up soon: Mother’s Day 2016. I worry about all the kids on the face of this Earth who are in danger, and who will benefit from a socialistic and humanistic approach to the complex problems on this planet. Military power will not bring safety, respect, equality, civil liberties, healthcare, education, food and shelter. Our realistic human concerns are more closely aligned with the societal aspects of the all embracing and universal humanist philosophy as promoted by Corliss Lamont and other humanists! The concept, when translated into political terms, is actually pronounced: O my god – Socialism! It must not be feared! We’re very sSocial beings, and we’ve evolved from some of the most compassionate of ancestors: MOTHERS!

If the concept of Social is a good, as in Social Security, then adding those 3 letters…I-S-M…should not be a frightening spectacle! Socialism can mean what we citizens wish for it to mean, by exercising our People Power! Hooray for Bernie Sanders! He is the most courageous man on Earth at this time! His vision and his rousing passion for the plight of the people is the greatest remedy for the woes of the world…for the painful ills of humankind that fear and greed and hate have brought us. May his message prevail and catch fire in the hearts of all American voters! I warily approve of Hillary Clinton and would want for her “negotiating experience” to prevail. I’ve been joking for some time now about him teaching her, and teaming up. This would be powerful!

Here’s my little limerick with that suggestion:
Hey, Hillary! Bernie’s eating your lunch!
You’d better invite him to dinner!
Party at Madison Square!
Discuss issues there!
I have a Hunch………that You’ll BOTH come off Winners!

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain and widow of Corliss Lamont.

Note: This essay was originally published on Portside on February 24, 2016.

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