Reclaiming power and refining purpose (Redemption)
“And man prevails through his style, through his elegance, through his control of forces. Not through his power, but through his control. People who confuse art with attack forget that what art is mainly concerned about is with form, and adequate form, and the artist is the first to know when a form is no longer as serviceable as it was. You see? And that’s what innovation is about. He’s trying to keep that form going and he finds it necessary to extend, elaborate it, and refine it; to adjust it to new situations. That’s what innovation is about. It’s not to get rid of something simply to be getting rid of it, or to turn something around. It’s to continue something that is indispensable.” — Albert Murray
Over the course of this essay series, I’ve taken elaborate pains to articulate what I assess to be the subtle roots of our collective difficulties at this historic moment. I’ve shown how the root of power lies in consciousness: the memes we embody, as well as the actions arising from their logics, give us individual, interpersonal, institutional, and political power. I’ve discussed methods for disclosing and reflecting on the oft-invisible memes at play in our consciousness; for discerning malicious memes and cultivating beneficial ones; for the concentrating of memetic power, including how memes can “feed back” and influence not just our external infrastructure, but our inner psychologies; and for the exercise of natural and memetic power at various scales.
At this point, dear reader, you should have some sense of how you could more mindfully wield the power immanent in your individual consciousness—and, by extension, in your environments and relationships—toward prosocial outcomes. In this final essay, I will proceed to explore how we might redeem our innate-yet-deferred powers collectively: in existing conditions of the present day.
Our current gridlock and hesitation to defect toward a different system are defined in large part by our compliance (via coercion) to continue playing their game—the “winners and losers” game, as discussed in a previous essay. We continue to play their game because we perceive that doing so is how we perpetuate our physical survival—that is, we acknowledge that the paycheck we earn is a means to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, etc.—and, of course, in spite of the devil’s bargain this entails that binds us to those “hungry-ghost” elite, we love our lives and will do what it takes to defend them. We continue to play the game because we’re scared of what will happen if we stop.
We may imagine that transparent resistance would generate even more violence and suffering, say, in the form of a repressive, militarized police state. And—in lieu of an inspiring, unifying shared social identity (which, as Erich Fromm writes in Escape from Freedom, is a supportive condition for a functional participatory democracy)—it is not unusual that the defiance of one weak social order can lead to the installment of a more repressive social regime. These fears are reasonable, as history has shown.
But human body-minds are vulnerable to reacting to the perception of barriers—even when that amounts to reacting to the idea or anticipation of a potential barrier—and not a responsive engagement with the barrier itself. As I hope to have shown, ideas are empty of power without our participation in them, and thus are a lot more mutable than we may, on the daily, believe (even, perhaps, magically so). Most barriers are mental projections only; most barriers are illusory—and those that remain firm may be guideposts, or firm ground, by which we can navigate even as the vast majority of our limiting beliefs dissolve.
If you play by their rules, you are forced to acknowledge their power—which is the playing ground on which they WANT to meet any opponents. In the case of gross power imbalances of a technological and organizational nature, resisting the flow of power (or, resisting the people that have power over you) head-on is inadvisable and can waste energy. As a grassroots activist for many years, I’ve seen this dynamic play out far too many times on the streets and in the systems of American institutions. Perhaps because our democracy has been so long-lived, this nation has innovated new ways to repress protestors—witness the sound cannon, first used on the streets of Pittsburgh against citizens in 2008 (I was there), the spread of “free speech zones,” or the military-style tactics used against Standing Rock protesters. If we see street-protesting succeeding in other nations, that is because they are situated in a different non-linear historical time perspective: a time when on-the-streets intervention by the autonomous masses really COULD change political futures.
The U.S., as Slavoj Zizek points out, is a corrupted form of democracy, in which traditional institutional powers have begun seeking to manage their populations, rather than engage them in the political process; meaning they effectively disallow the people from participating meaningfully to structurally reconfigure society (through substantive discourse and democratic decision-making), and instead permit people only certain acceptable channels by which they can modify superficial features on top of an incontrovertible architecture. To parallel this with emergent patterns in the tech world: rather than allow the people to overhaul the code of society (ala Open Source), these neo-fascist elite would rather keep us locked into a platform they profit from, while we develop and use applications on top of that untouchable framework (ala Apple).
Through the lens of memes, narratives, and innate human power, then, what would be some strategic interventions we could undertake?
I believe we need a vast noncooperation movement within and without our government, organized on the Internet and face-to-face in communities. Anyone who is sane, grounded and sensible should consider simply not following Trump’s orders (in an autonomous, self-secure manner, through thoughtful consideration checked against one’s inner ethics and mindful assessments of one’s needs—not as a left-wing “identity” to conform to). When I say “anyone who is sane,” I mean recovering that sense of “I can make adult, deliberate choices; I will not merely follow orders”—like the historic legacy of conscientious objectors who responded defiantly when handed government or military orders to deploy.
We need mass subversion—simple non-cooperation and defection to favorable alternatives. This can look like “opting in” to visions of humanity that you do prefer, the futures you would like to inhabit, by investing your diverse capital in alternative ways. At the individual scale: You can use your dollar-power by tithing or investing in transformative causes. You can use your talent-power to provide worthy initiatives with in-kind support or volunteering. You can use your emotional-power to hold a supportive space for another person to grapple with their own healing process. Or, if you’re yearning to affect action at the institutional level, you can hit em where it hurts by not paying federal taxes. It all depends on your particular circumstances—including your economic precarity and your overall health and wellbeing—and your degree of freedom to reevaluate and reorganize your choices.
When you fully know yourself for your dimensionality as a being, you can better harness your innate life power to devise wonderfully creative options for how you might intervene with your reality, in the present moment. The bottom line is, the choice is yours, and smarter choices = greater outcomes.
At the very least, and this is a subtle but powerful point, you are putting your attention elsewhere—slowly making the mythic schema that thrives on your attention irrelevant. And whether you look inward (reflection in meditation, bodywork, or other healing techniques) or outward (reflection in wilderness) to get back in touch with the real, firm nature underlying all this mess, you will grow stronger and happier, regardless. Participating directly in our own lives, and learning from feedback, drives positive growth. On a collective scale, this could look like building civic engagement opportunities to effect participatory change on a human, manageable scale (such as libertarian municipalism which effectively would decentralize power into place-based, place-aware localities).
Further, you can focus on curating a personal code of ethics that will have resonating effects in all of your interactions. To live your life by moral, ethical, and social laws that are intact—a code whose rules and flows serve people and require human inputs, and for which you need no greater authority beyond the appropriateness (evaluated through feedback loops) to human communities and one’s complex relations—is quite like modeling a healthy ecosystem, as a matter of fact.
The patterns in which life naturally flourishes are the patterns which truly give you life. You can defect from the purported legitimacy of corporatocratic systems by doing better for yourself in non-materially-accumulative ways—by being healthier, happier, more peaceful, more in touch, and overflowing with loving-kindness toward all of your relations. The current system can neither commodify and sell, nor deliver on, these as-yet-unmanifest but tremendously beautiful patterns of life embracing life. Direct, sensitive relationship with other beings and your ecosystem can fulfill these needs far more elegantly than the overlay of global capitalist market dynamics involving the production, transportation, advertising, selling, and waste byproducts wrapped up in consumer goods.
Trump, while so perfectly embodying the shadow side of capitalism and ambitions to power-over, is also a fragile target. If you ask, “what is Trump’s objective at the end of the day?” it seems obvious that his goal, regardless of what decisions were tangibly made, is to feel good about himself. His central purpose in being President is to serve his grandiose mental model of himself—and not to serve anyone else. Well—could we give him the outcome he seeks, without abiding his reprehensible decisions? Could we provide him with the nourishment he craves, in our kindness?
You see, the executive orders he loves proudly slapping his name onto—they don’t have to mean anything. In lieu of manifestly removing the immediate threat, such as through impeachment, we could just begin pretending he’s not there. Like there’s a ghost running the White House. All the executive orders are just ignored, like a “did you hear something?” I’m talking mass consent to a shared delusion—but one that is less dangerous to numerous beings than to keep hallucinating that Trump is a legitimate authority figure (i.e., President).
We could also utilize a nifty innovation of the digital era: we could ghost him. Imagine the entire orchestra of people arranged in the government not grinding to a halt, but instead, going about their daily business—meanwhile, all giving him the cold shoulder. Because Trump thrives on fame and infamy equally, to deprive him of both forms—of any attention at all—might kill his interest in the role, entirely. It’s exactly in such ways that Trump is fragile—and if we, the American people, don’t quickly exploit this weakness to our collective benefit, please don’t kid yourself that another ambitious global force won’t do so just as well.
Here’s an alternative scenario. Let’s imagine we were to approach Trump like he was a feeble, rigid old man in our charge, or a petulant, self-absorbed child, whose emotions—as mature and responsible adults, we are obliged to manage. We set Trump up with the illusion that his initiatives are succeeding. Given Trump’s narrow consumption of media, we could immerse the White House in a holodeck or simulation of sorts, and surround him at every turn with actual fake news and actors portraying White House staffers orchestrated to proclaim a constant stream of stories about his policies’ successful outcomes, and the ways in which the (simulated) world is changing under his fantastic leadership. (O, what grand poetic justice to make a reality show of this incredible debacle—but with Trump getting “punk’d” while the American people laugh along!)
Returning to the seduction wherein human beings tend to crave narratives that affirms their already-existing framework of ideas: I’d be willing to bet everything I own that Trump would absolutely take the bait of putting his faith in a simulation that (unlike the real world and as reported in the real news) served to consistently affirm his self-image. So let him harmlessly live out that fantasy, finally satiated in a customized bubble of a world, in which everyone worships him. Let him write his executive decrees to nowhere, like a dementia patient writing letters to a love lost decades ago, as though they’re really being sent in the mail, as though they are really going to be received. As psychologically fragile as he is: let him have his tiny games, while the rest of us figure out how to live out our lives together.1This may have already begun in fact. I began writing these pieces shortly after Trump was elected last year, when my provisions for undertaking a conscientious response to Trump’s volatile role were mere theories. But check out this brief video from Stephen Colbert reporting that White House aides are now actively engaged in managing the perceptions of Trump through omitting and carefully framing the information presented to him. This practice is a natural emergence over the course of the year Trump has been in office, likely a result of staffers’ witnessing Trump’s extreme and emotional reactions to hearing news stories (and out of self-preservation on the part of the staffers, too, no doubt). The video proceeds to a satirical segment, “Real News Tonight,” which lampoons Trump’s reactionary sensitivity to new stories by the newscasters augmenting exactly what news gets told, keeping their one crucial and powerful viewer in mind: Trump. Besides being funny, the segment worryingly illustrates the influence Trump could indeed be having on news media in terms of how it presents its narratives.Oh, the oft kind and gentle beauty of the little white lie. We let them have their trifling illusion, but they cannot have our lives.
This proposal illuminates the beautiful side to the causes for concern I discussed throughout the earlier essays—how our built-in cognitive biases impair our ability to effectively perceive the world. Since we cannot overcome them overnight, why don’t we leverage perceptual shortcomings to beautiful ends?
We have the power to use the art of illusion against those who seek to delude us for their gain. To transmute what has become a corrosive aspect of proliferating, malicious disinformation in our society—this would amount to a comprehensive redemption of our difficulties—that is, turning the shadow side to the light side. Meeting Trump where he’s at, and accommodating him to heal. The ultimate realization of this “technology” for “good.”
Do we have what it takes?
At this point in the narrative, for the first time, I must hesitate. I am not confident I could, in good faith, endorse the construction of a totally distributed, anarchist order in which all people co-determined how their lives looked, in freedom and love for life.
Why not—and is this in contradiction to earlier arguments made?
Not necessarily. The core reason for my reservations is that no structure (or lack of structure) is neutral. Across the people of United States, at least, and confidently, I can say: we do not yet have the widespread proliferation and utilization of, practice with, or faith in adaptive, life-enhancing and thrive-able memes. Lacking these practices for the selective assessment and adoption of life-enhancing memes, we would only replicate the unconscious patterns (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological) to which we are accustomed. As noted at the end of the Power essay, just wanting to change is not enough. Before an authentically participatory framework could be meaningful (indeed, viable) across human societies, a reconditioning process in which exposure to and practice of different patterns would be necessary. Without livable memes, we cannot make a livable situation.
But—urgently—an intervention of some kind, that meets the needs of today, is needed. We see the elite cult of hungry-ghost capitalists, casting dismissive glares at our rage, laughing at our suffering from behind their self-aggrandized walls, willing to throw the American people and all the world’s people—and heck, all life on Earth, too, for that matter—under a bus in a devil’s bargain for their personal gain?
This. hurts. to. look. at.
But we gather our spirits, and we do look.
In the space of bearing witness to the hurtful actions of those protecting their perceived privilege, let’s breathe and wait for clarity to arise.
How about we let them gleefully run off with the goods, believing they’ve left us disabled. We’ll simply cut a tiny, unnoticed hole in bottom of the goody-sack. By the time they think they’ve reached safety and lustily peer into the bag: all the goods will have slipped out, unseen, and unrecoverable.
Version Control: Strike it & Reboot
This version of U.S. government is corrupted. Systems are fragmented, and are facing likely catastrophic failure. We urgently need to make a copy, like a backup, and reboot from there.
So Trump & company want to corrupt the government that millions of veterans gave their lives for, that millions of citizens fought for rights within…to build a self-serving, insular, fascist, shadow government? OK. Let them. We can build a light government that is once more authentically controlled and directed by the people. One that, like their project to corrupt our democratic systems for consolidated power, is compatible (like an app or plug-in) with existing frameworks, but takes the patterns in a different direction. One that, one morning, looks just like it did a moment ago, but will be subtly shifting the channels through which institutional and collective power flows. (This, in a such a way that is probably even less disruptive than what Trump’s impact on society was, yesterday!)
We simply create a parallel government. “White hat” hackers can and should help with this, by creating parallel, encrypted systems mirroring the ones in existence, for all departments of government to use—only inaccessible by the Commander-in-Chief and his cabal. We would be able to use many of the same processes and structures that are already in place, thus streamlining the transition. Government workers would no longer be actually accountable to Trump & company (er, family, er, cabinet), but would instead by restored to a role where they serve the purposes of people and the Earth to the best of their abilities as individuals and in teams, and are accountable directly to the American people—almost like in a holacratic model. We don’t need a president even, if it’s too scary to think about installing another individual (as a challenge to Trump): just gather a board of trusted, diverse, brilliant, qualified people and a highly effective set of shared governing agreements to fill in as a board in the temporary “executive” role.All of this is proffered to the extent we even want to replicate bureaucratic systems at the federal and state levels—which in many cases may reinforce suboptimal systems. Not to mention better, more democratic models may be out there, waiting for us to engage with them freely.
This plot has various elements to its advantage: mainly, the widespread disgust and discontent of citizens AND government personnel alike, ready to DO SOMETHING that will move humanity in a positive direction as soon as possible. AND we have the potential energy encapsulated in brilliant people who WANT to help but don’t have the social mechanisms through which to channel their energies toward collaborative solutions. Also, though, it has this perk: Trump is quite obviously not interested in facts, nor in understanding complex issues. So, it would be like every government office and personnel is using their traditional role to perform various duties and functions—just like they normally would, drawing no suspicion that anything is any different—however, their work would actually be informed by the light government.
In lieu of crafting a masterful virtual-reality media bubble around Trump, these actual government workers may be tasked to generate fake reports about what they’re accomplishing and how they’re fulfilling on Trump’s objectives, in a manner that satisfies Trump’s currently-impossible-to-placate needs for personal supremacy as President, and that does not draw attention to its artifice. (This might require building a small additional government office, perhaps entitled the Ministry of Presidential Aims Fulfillment, that constructs the fake reports and delivers them to Trump & company. Do you see the potential to invert some of Orwell’s 1984 dystopian elements, and subvert disempowering structures into more light, life-serving forms?) We can use Trump’s weaknesses of perception against him and for us, instead of the reverse scenario, which presently constitutes our reality: this absurd overwrought mass hallucination that Trump’s blatant failings now actually represent the people and interests of the United States, due to his installment in a particular office.
Let’s partition the corrupt system to mitigate its harm, and let’s reclaim the tools and processes of authentic democracy with great compassion, great faith, and an enthusiasm to rival the Americans’ upon Britain’s withdrawing from the Revolutionary War; or to rival slaves and abolitionists when the 13th Amendment was established; or when universal suffrage was won. (Whomever your actual, philosophical or spiritual ancestors—someone in your lineage has tasted the joy of liberation!) More than ever, we have the actual technology: the communication, collaboration, and governance tools; more and more diverse, tech savvy people with high levels of education; and the organizational skills embedded across humankind to coordinate a “light” coup, with general and cooperative training specifically as an essential lynchpin.
Consider it the upgrade our democracy has long needed. A bunch of fascist hooligans and elite buffoons accelerated the process for us. But we can take it beyond their blinding pale.
There is a need for a unifying narrative, a set of memes that could provide the fuel to transform the cooperative actions of many. What might those memes be?
Here’s one potential offering.
There is an incredibly precious, naturally good seed of an idea, buried in the mythos of the United States: our founding fathers had faith in people’s abilities to self-govern. Our founding fathers fought for democracy. They had personally seen and suffered from tyranny, and they desired to design a system that allowed people greater freedoms than ever before. This is the bright and beautiful side to this nation’s origin story, which also contains a horrifically violent legacy. We must integrate these two to come together as a nation. We can, collectively, destroy and compost the horrific sides of this mythos, and reinvigorate the life-affirming side. Like a prayer or aspiration hurtled, like a flag flapping proudly in the breeze, we can proclaim:
We can do better for ourselves than tyrannical social orders would allow.
We know we can.
So: do we dare to take action toward that hopeful horizon?
So, we’ve looked at how we could strike and reboot the extant structures. But how could we freshly reinterpret the purposes of a free and generative society?
There are countless small ways we can reclaim self-governance and refund people’s power to intervene for community resilience. From farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture to “slow money” investing clubs and crowdfunding, to cooperative enterprises and local civic discussion-and-action groups…the list goes on. There are many real, actual, on the ground initiatives that we can tie into a refreshment and improvement of our meta-mythos. The sum total of all these actions could equate to no less than a new American revolution.
At the collective or institutional scales, we can also model a pattern of behavior that sets new realities into potential fruition. Rolling Jubilee in the U.S. is a model for charitable and conscientious peer-to-peer giving, occurring spontaneously between members in the same drowning economic boat. Like a present-day Chataqua exalting basic human dignity and mutual aid in the thick of the debt crisis, Rolling Jubilee is a jubilant celebration of solidarity among “the 99%.” Pia Mancini of Open Collective, in her work with visionary platform startups and her talks about “upgrading democracy for the Internet era,” is calling for a mass restructuring of business, legal, financial, and institutional norms.
Especially relevant to all readers who use social media frequently: we could divest from corporate social media platforms, wherein profiteers sell our attention to advertisers’ interests and increasingly political interests want to manipulate what we see on the same platform we do our social organizing on. We could alternatively invest in cooperative platforms that are designed to democratically serve users’ social and cultural needs (like Social.coop, running on Mastodon, or the one I’m working on, Cosmos.coop).
Technologically, we’ve designed and modeled systems that would produce far better outcomes than what is happening now, making a widespread “upgrade” seem feasible if not imminent. We have: cryptocurrencies; complex computer modeling systems; participatory budgeting; ecologically-attuned business model innovation; an extremely robust field of human centered design and software development practices;platforms and methods for dialogue & democratic decision-making; etc.
As noted in the previous essay, there are diverse streams of thought evolving to create better ways of relating to the world. There is a pattern there, a meta-story (as Paul Hawken tells in Blessed Unrest). If we can see the pattern (of diverse, indigenous initiatives to reclaim power and establish alternative structures, practices, and networks) then we can act deliberately to amplify that pattern and align our lives with the story of the people it represents.
We have the innate capacity to develop what it takes
Let’s revisit that daunting question once more: Do we really have what it takes to govern ourselves?
As I alluded to in my concern above, in terms of the “software” (our brains) on which this new system would run, that might take some careful handling. My reservations about undertaking a “system overhaul” are what drive my prudence in advising that we stick to a familiar system, strive for minimal disruption, enact smooth transitions, and design mindfully so as to effect certain immediately positive benefits for users over the status quo (the status quo being things continuing on as they are today, with Trump effectively acting as President of the United States). Given the upset and disruption Trump is causing, a non-hierarchical conscientious-collective coup in which everything looks just as much like “business as usual” as before Trump took office on its day 1 of roll-out would be inherently appealing to the majority of Americans.
Now, ideologically might be where our biggest barrier exists.
While we have in our favor a general sentiment (zeitgeist) of “I can’t believe we can’t do better than this!” (a rightful dubiousness given our social and intellectual sophistication), still many of us don’t believe that it is possible to self-govern. Some of us would vastly prefer to follow a lunatic authoritarian as he and his squad turn this once-strong democracy into a banana republic, than to trust decentralized distributed rule. Many people rail against the idea that cooperative governance could work—while failing to notice that the technical training in how to meaningfully cooperate has been systematically suppressed in the United States since at least World War II (because it doesn’t conform to predominant myths about ourselves as a competitive, achievement-oriented society).
Thus, to encode a different set of adaptive behaviors in the populace will require cultural evolution, and practice with new models. Employee ownership is on the vanguard of this. Employee ownership seeds microcultures within businesses that follow a different set of rules concerning governance and control. Such alternative systems optimize for alternative outcomes—in this case, wealth and stability for the business’ employees, rather than all profit flowing only to the investment class investors—and yet still succeed in the market. Especially key is that employee-owned businesses can “plug in” to the existing “receptor” systems of the dominant meta-schema (that is, they look and act like businesses in the eyes of the law)—akin to a virus fitting compatibly into a receptor. We need such flexible “plug-ins” (apps/adaptations) to redirect our society’s collective resources in a way that actually serves to benefit the majority of people, not purely the privileged elite.
What we lack is the belief in ourselves, perhaps. What we have lost is the ability to influence the narrative, and thus we very infrequently receive the message that we can do better and be more. But I tell you: It is better to betray the U.S. founding fathers’ systems (especially since they themselves endorsed that citizens undertake a process of refining and revising the government whenever those structures failed to serve people’s purposes) than it is to betray their highest ideal: that humankind was capable and worthy of self-governance.2It is worth reproducing this passage from the beginning of the U.S. Declaration of Independence here: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/
We cannot turn our back on that aspiration—even as we have let ourselves grow intoxicated with greed, sickened by shallow self-indulgence, seduced by flashy wealth, and made meek by bellicose intimidation…and even as we undertake the long-term process to heal from this all. I still strongly believe that we can do it, and I believe that if we tried, we would only see.
Many of my grassroots activist and community organizer friends feel similarly, I believe, because every day, we are building all kinds of better systems, stronger relationships, and more beautiful ways of being. Why couldn’t we scale that up? In fact, like a virus under the right conditions, it could very well spread like wildfire. Beautiful memes have succeeded in suddenly and widely spreading to hearts and minds before, throughout history, and this process is exponentially amplified by the Internet. It has been done before, in times of tyrannical government. It can be done again, and even better, with more innovation, more integration, more artfulness in the execution, and much less violence and destruction…
If we act well, and if we act now.
|This may have already begun in fact. I began writing these pieces shortly after Trump was elected last year, when my provisions for undertaking a conscientious response to Trump’s volatile role were mere theories. But check out this brief video from Stephen Colbert reporting that White House aides are now actively engaged in managing the perceptions of Trump through omitting and carefully framing the information presented to him. This practice is a natural emergence over the course of the year Trump has been in office, likely a result of staffers’ witnessing Trump’s extreme and emotional reactions to hearing news stories (and out of self-preservation on the part of the staffers, too, no doubt). The video proceeds to a satirical segment, “Real News Tonight,” which lampoons Trump’s reactionary sensitivity to new stories by the newscasters augmenting exactly what news gets told, keeping their one crucial and powerful viewer in mind: Trump. Besides being funny, the segment worryingly illustrates the influence Trump could indeed be having on news media in terms of how it presents its narratives.
|It is worth reproducing this passage from the beginning of the U.S. Declaration of Independence here: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/