Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The person out of all of history with whom I identify the most is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. IMHO, she was as great a genius as has ever lived for her ability to think outside the box. Immediately after her is Thomas Paine.

Elizabeth (November 12, 1815 to October 26, 1902) was a 32 year old housewife when she altered history at the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights held July 19-20, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York. Against the argument of some of the other powerful women who were there, that demanding women’s right to vote was so extreme it would cause their efforts to lose credibility, she argued that all of their other demands were meaningless if women’s right to vote was not recognized. That’s where and when the movement for women's suffrage began.

Her tragedy was that women’s right to vote could only be made law within the existing structure of power, namely the Congress of the United States initiating an Amendment to the Constitution, and followed by ratification in three fourths of the states. She did not live long enough to see on August 18, 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment prohibiting denial of the right to vote based on sex. She was never able to exercise her right to vote.

How can it happen for the collective will of humanity to become the highest expression of political power on planet Earth? It might help if at the beginning we agreed that this collective will has to work within certain boundaries. Those boundaries can be defined as the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter. That definition might remove the fear of the tyranny of the masses.

Still, the question remains of how exactly to measure the collective will of humanity. The means of the measure might influence how this collective will is then observed.

The Preamble of the Universal Declaration includes the phrase “recognition and observance” immediately after the phrase “universal and effective.” The Preamble does not include the word “enforce.” This is interesting because one of the questions/objections people frequently pose when hearing of the idea of a global direct democracy is, “How will it be enforced?”

Let’s focus first on recognition and observance. Recognition means we know what we are looking at. We have some idea in our minds of what the world looks like when our rights are being observed. That allows us to recognize it when we actually do see it. We have to know what we are looking for.

This knowledge means we also then have the ability to recognize when our rights are being violated. Our rights are being violated right now.

So really, the question is what kind of force is used by the existing hierarchical system to maintain itself. That force includes arrest and imprisonment. It also includes power over employment and income, which is necessary in a monetary economy. It also includes the force of most of the mass media, and the ability to manipulate popular opinion.

Formidable. The system is tough. Some people think that you can’t beat the system. There is only one way to find out.

I’m betting on the truth. The truth is going to filter through the lies and the manipulation. The truth is that the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter really present an opportunity to radically improve the well being of all of humanity. We just need to recognize it, and then observe it.

There are parts of the existing structure that can help us do that. The local police exist to enforce the law, and we are recognizing that the principles of the Universal Declaration and the Earth Charter have the force of supreme law for all of humanity. This means that enforcing these principles is part of the job description for the local police. The same applies to the state and the national police. Police officers are humans, and they will recognize the truth, also.

There is also the court system. The court system includes juries, and juries are vital in court decisions. The court system can be found at the local, state, and national levels already, and even in the international realm as well.

The next is a little futuristic. Not too futuristic because we can see it taking shape already. This is in the form of the digital agents we have in our personal communications and Internet devices. I expect to be able to talk with my digital agent by the end of 2019, and to describe what I see as violations of our rights, and for the agent to put my description into proper legal format so it can be processed through the court system.

Measures of the collective will of humanity will be possible through our digital agents. There are a number of actions people will be able to take to confirm the measures reported by global machine intelligence: vote in a global referendum on paper ballots at local polling places, take a global work stoppage day, participate in worldwide marches on the offices of local governments, wear pink or green armbands as a show of support, other expressions of human creativity.

For now, we're waiting for this tidal wave of machine intelligence to arrive. We need to be watching and preparing in order to catch it, and ride it for all it's worth. After we've done it, we'll look back, and wonder how there had ever been a time when there had not been the universal and effective recognition and observance of the principles in those two documents, just like we are surprised today to think that there ever was a time when women's right to vote was not recognized and observed.  

BTW, this vision of a global direct democracy is kind of like an adopted daughter. I found her about thirty years ago when it looked like no one else was caring for her.  She is precious to me.  

John Kintree

September 22, 2018

The next article in this series is The Census.