Politics Information


From Democracy to Omniocracy


Clint Eastwood recently plunged into the murky political pond with his statement, "Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right, you meet the same idiots coming around from the left."

Is it easy to be an extremist, and is the political scale truly circular, so that the "far right" clasps hands with the "far left"? Does the left-right continuum serve as a constructive paradigm upon which society can be structured?

Today's "extremists" are in good company: Jesus, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Baruch Spinoza all bore this label at one time. Jan De Witt and his brother Cornelius-17th Century Dutch politicians-were hacked to death by the populace, largely due to their "radical" and "unsavory" political perspective. Their crime? They were proponents of democracy. Their body parts were displayed in storefronts all over town.

Who shall we call extreme? The vigilantes who did the lynching? The shopkeepers who showcased the body parts? Or the De Witts with their pro-democracy stance?

Do "extreme" beliefs emanate from a mechanical thought process, as Eastwood suggests, rather than an intense philosophical journey? It arguably requires reflection and hypercritical analysis to defend ones theories against the cloned, echoed and mass produced opinion of the common folk; it requires conviction to risk social ostracism and other forms of retaliation.

The "approved" or popular view is more likely to be perfunctory. Why think when one can plagiarize? Why go out on a limb when one can cling onto the tree or never climb in the first place?

Eastwood may view those on the "far right" and "far left" as moralistically shrill, as manifesting a tone level of fear and anger. Perhaps this is how the "right" and "left" overlap or come full circle in his mind. But this is a gross generalization, since the "extremes" are subjective and the political continuum fallacious.

Suppose we accept the commonly accepted paradigm of a left to right political continuum, as Eastwood offers. If we define the "left" as the group that protects the voiceless, the powerless, and the forgotten, then the natural progression would be to protect the truly voiceless - animals and nature.

Nonhumans are excluded from our political system, without representation. They have no standing in court; yet corporations do. In fact, nonhumans are virtually omitted from the conversation in our anthropocentric and speciesist society.

A move "left" arguably means to move away from Democracy--which is really just a rule by the elite (humans)--to an Omniocracy (which I describe as a government of, by and for all living beings). The European Union has added nonhumans to their Constitution, as have Switzerland and Germany. New Zealand, India and Reggio Emilio, Italy have outlawed using animals in ways we normally think acceptable in the U.S. (boiling lobsters alive, keeping fish in small bowls, vivisection, etc.).

We are trailing behind other nations, but it would be difficult to sell a Constitutional amendment to our "What's the Matter With Kansas?" country at this time. It would be easier to convince certain states. You may be thinking what would stuffing a few extra words in a state Constitution really do. Well, words are a powerful tool and an important start.

Lastly, does this move to the left spit us out on right? Probably. One could argue that traditional "right" politics prompts a gap between the rich and poor, thus culminates in the rule by a few, such as corporations. To implement policies that foster the idea that nonhuman species have value "in and of themselves," a "top down" government or rule by a few (although not corporations) again seems required.

People are self-interested (as are all species) thus cannot be expected to vote against their desires. Legislators, however, are different (or should be) because they attain self-worth from helping others, being fair and inclusive, and consulting the "big picture." There will naturally be conflicts of interest between species and individuals; but government's job-in an omniocracy as in our current system-- will be to mediate and arbitrate these "disputes."

We are taught democracy is the most inclusive, just and beneficent political system in the world. It is time to re-evaluate. Successful ideas advance through three stages: first ridicule, then discussion, finally adoption. I say we begin the discussion to which Eastwood's words have provided a starting point.

The Clint Eastwood quote is posted on Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's blog and is taken from Feb 28, 2005 issue of Time Magazine. Charlotte Laws explores this topic in greater depth on the blog.

Charlotte Laws, Ph.D. is a member of the Greater Valley Glen Council and the President of the League for Earth and Animal Protection (LEAP). Her website is http://www.CharlotteLaws.org


MORE RESOURCES:
On Politics With Lisa Lerer: The Kamala Harris Factor  The New York Times

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I'm Lisa Lerer, your host. When people talk about the emerging 2020 Democratic primary ...


Green Politics and Global Instability  Wall Street Journal

How 'Occupied,' a Netflix show about Norway, could presage civil strife in Canada.


On Politics: Kamala Harris Is Running  The New York Times

Ms. Harris, the Democratic senator from California, announced her candidacy for the presidency on the holiday of Martin Luther King's Birthday.


Supreme Court mostly sidesteps politics, but conservatives tee up big disputes for next year  CNN

Washington (CNN) The Supreme Court moved gingerly on Tuesday, seeking to at least postpone some hot button issues like the future of DACA, LGBT ...


The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: In the Cross-Harris  The Atlantic

California Senator Kamala Harris is positioning herself as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who can put together the winning coalition.


AOC, Beto: The 7 letters disrupting politics  Axios

AOC and Beto are disrupting Democratic politics ahead of 2020.


Opinion | Politics and the Catholic Church shouldn't mix  The Washington Post

Regarding Michael Gerson's Jan. 18 op-ed, “Anti-Catholic bigotry is alive in the U.S. Senate”: I found it ironic that Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) chose to attack ...


Why 'Staying Out of Politics' Could Be Bad for Your Brand  Inc.

It can be tough to take a strong stance on a divisive issue. Here's why it's worth it.


Op-Ed: Get Politics Out of Our Parks  Outside Magazine

As both political parties trade shots amid the government shutdown, America's national parks are caught in the crossfire.


'So what' moments in politics  CNN

... © 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Terms of *service* | Privacy ...


Brexit Demands a New British Politics | by Guy Verhofstadt  Project Syndicate

Now that British Prime Minister Theresa May's negotiated Brexit agreement has been soundly rejected by the House of Commons, the United Kingdom finds ...


Qatar Says Lebanese Bond Buy Was Good Politics, Sound Economics  Bloomberg

Qatar decided to buy $500 million of Lebanese government bonds to stabilize an important Middle East country and secure a good investment, according to the ...


POLITICS: Trump's wall might be his biggest climate project  E&E News

President Trump likely would scoff at any suggestion that his desire for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has anything to do with climate change.


The Mueller intervention and Democrats’ intransigence bode ill for American politics  The Washington Post

Two recent events say a lot about the state of American politics. Neither say anything good. First, what I call the “Mueller intervention” has held us back from the ...


Rep. Meeks: Trump is 'playing politics' while shutdown negotiations progress  Yahoo Finance

Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday that negotiations on the government shutdown are progressing but will not result in ...


Martin Luther King's Powerful Defense of Identity Politics From Birmingham Jail  The Daily Beast

The goal of identity politics, King wrote in 1963, was through suffering to more easily recognize and identify with others similarly oppressed.


Dallas politics is becoming a money game we could all lose  Dallas News

Larry Casto was a good candidate for Dallas mayor, exactly the sort of candidate you would want to see in a race to lead the city.He dedicated his...


Political Points: Property tax problems, Beto O'Rourke's 'funk,' shutdown fallout  Dallas News

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Dallas, Washington and the campaign trail.Points from Austin1. In the opening days...


Athens Politics Nerd YouTube channel hopes to present local government in more engaging manner  Red and Black

Long-time Athens activist Chris Dowd launched a local politics YouTube channel, Athens Politics Nerd, in early January with a goal to motivate more people to ...


Cardi B and Tomi Lahren feud and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez steps in  ABC News

Tomi Lahren insulted Cardi B's intelligence and then it went as south as you might expect, promoting a subsequent feud between Lahren and Rep. Alexandria ...


Nancy Pelosi’s Political Flex  The New York Times

In the On Politics newsletter, Nancy Pelosi has been showing her political muscle, provoking the president, penalizing the politicians who crossed her and ...


Michael Knowles: Covington kids can teach a lot to 'adults' in media, politics who condemned before facts  Fox News

Falsehood flew on Friday as pundits, politicians, priests, and the press joined together to smear a group of boys from Covington Catholic High School in ...


The 'zombified' state of British politics, explained  CNN

For as remarkable a week as this was in American politics, it was even more wild on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.


Politics of fear to blame for shutdown  AL.com

All that is needed to end this shutdown is for each side to allow the other a win.


WH Spox on Shutdown: Dems Are 'Playing Politics With People's Lives'  Fox News Insider

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley slammed Democrats for "playing politics with people's lives" as the partial government shutdown, the longest ...


Political shifts, sales slump cast shadow over gun industry  ABC News

When gunmakers and dealers gather this week in Las Vegas for the industry's largest annual conference, they will be grappling with slumping sales and a shift ...


DACA program that protects young undocumented immigrants not likely to get Supreme Court review this term  The Washington Post

The Supreme Court is not likely to review during its current term the program that shields young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as ...


Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government.  Florida Politics

Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling for an end to the waitlist for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, which offers private school scholarships to low-income K-12 ...


On Politics: G.O.P. Turns on Steve King  The New York Times

After a history of racist remarks, it was an interview with The Times that led Republicans to strip the Iowan of seats on powerful House committees.


The Political Benefits of Shutting It Down  The New York Times

In the On Politics newsletter, a look at why both sides may be hesitant to reach a deal on the shutdown. Plus, fact-checking the president's border talk and an ...


The Gender Politics of Fasting  The New York Times

Both Cesar Chavez and Simone Weil starved their bodies for spiritual and political reasons. Why is only one of them remembered as anorexic?


As Howard Dean's 'scream' turns 15, its impact on American politics lives on  NBC News

Howard Dean's energetic reaction to his 2004 Iowa caucus loss, which became one of the first viral events in politics, turns 15 on Saturday.


Politicians mark holiday with words of praise for King and appeals to black voters  The Washington Post

Democratic presidential aspirants fanned out across the country on Monday to praise the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and offer direct appeals to ...


UNC, Michigan State show how partisan politics is infiltrating university governance  Inside Higher Ed

As disputes at North Carolina and Michigan State take partisan overtones, can boards, leaders, faculty members and lawmakers back away from polarization to ...


Politics Podcast: Kirsten Gillibrand’s Path To The 2020 Nomination  FiveThirtyEight

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Tuesday on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that she is running for president. The FiveThirtyEight Politics ...


Ancient Maya Tomb Reveals Political Intrigue  Forbes

The excavation of Burial 7 at the Maya city of Cahal Pech, Belize, has provided a new window into the world of ancient Maya politics.


'That's Some Slave Sh*t': In a Rare Political Moment, Offset Talks Government Shutdown  Esquire.com

It's the 31st day of the longest government shutdown in American history—and also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—and Offset sits in a dimly lit room in Midtown ...


Emergency Politics Podcast: What If Trump Told Cohen To Lie To Congress?  FiveThirtyEight

In this emergency installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew reacts to a BuzzFeed News report that “President Donald Trump directed his ...


Identity Politics, and the Divisible Nation for Which It Stands  RealClearPolitics

I was halfway through the preparation for this essay on identity politics when Procter & Gamble handed me my free promotional gift — an online ad for Gillette ...


Raw Politics in full: Bolsonaro, Davos disrupters, and space  Euronews English

Brazil's new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took centre stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The populist leader's presentation was reminiscent of ...


The New York Times politics editor is building trust by tweeting context around political stories  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

You can guess the kinds of complaints The New York Times gets about its political coverage. It's too biased, too liberal. Too much coverage of the horserace, not ...


Political Punch: Cannabis reform is no joke for Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee  San Francisco Chronicle

For Rep. Barbara Lee, the fight for justice runs through the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The Oakland Democrat was recently named co-chair of the ...


World Economy Wobbles on Eve of Davos With Politics to Blame  Bloomberg

High in the Alps, the global elite will be feeling low about the economic outlook. The ski resort of Davos, Switzerland, will again play host next week to the World ...


Bay Area political events: Rep. Jackie Speier, Women’s Marches  San Francisco Chronicle

Upcoming political events in the Bay Area. FRIDAY Rep. Jackie Speier: The San Mateo Democrat will discuss politics and her new book, “Undaunted.” $6.


Mueller's office disputes BuzzFeed report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress  CNN

Special counsel Robert Mueller's office disputed an explosive story from BuzzFeed News as "not accurate" Friday night, after the news outlet reported the ...


Trump prepares two versions of State of the Union address as shutdown tensions escalate  The Washington Post

The White House is forging ahead with State of the Union preparations despite no commitment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to hold the annual ...


The digital activist taking politicians out of Madrid politics  BBC News

One file-sharing developer turned politician wants to hand decisions over to the people of Madrid.


Mills reverses LePage push for Medicaid work requirements  Bangor Daily News

Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday pulled Maine out of a waiver championed by her Republican predecessor that would have made most Medicaid recipients conform ...


Facebook tracks everything from your politics to ethnicity — here’s how to stop it  MarketWatch

Facebook has promised more transparency about ads on its platform, but the majority of users are still in the dark about the kind of information that's been ...


Breaking India: Quota politics turns shriller, veering away from emancipation towards division  Times of India

Signs of the reservation system running aground are coming into plain sight with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's outlandish and unworkable suggestion ...


Bangkok’s First Biennale: Politics, Temples and Sex  The New York Times

BANGKOK — In the waning weeks of this city's first biennale, original artwork continues to grace riversides, temples and shopping malls where tourists might not ...


Consumers Say Brands Shouldn’t Bring Politics to the Super Bowl  The Wall Street Journal

Two-thirds of consumers call the Super Bowl an inappropriate place for advertisers to make political statements, according to a poll conducted by Morning ...


Socialism rising: Universities and 'radical' profs helping steer leftward shift in politics, critics say  Fox News

Socialism is on the rise, as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez carry the torch in Congress and polls show young people and Democrats ...


There Is No More Loathsome Creature Walking Our Political Landscape Than Mitch McConnell  Esquire

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog's Favourite Living Canadian). As its first act in the new Congress, the equally ...


Politics Podcast: Will Trump Face A Primary Challenge?  FiveThirtyEight

While President Trump's approval rating among self-identified Republicans is sky-high, it's hard to ignore his political vulnerabilities. In this installment of…


Voting Issues and Gerrymanders Are Now Key Political Battlegrounds  The New York Times

The fairness of elections and voting have become political flash points in key states like Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and ...


We did the #10yearchallenge for these politicians so they don't have to  CNN

Washington (CNN) The #10yearchallenge is the hottest trend sweeping Instagram, where users posts photos of themselves 10 years apart. Politicians aren't ...


On Politics: Trump Rejects Shutdown Compromise  The New York Times

President Trump told Democratic leaders he would look “foolish” if he agreed to reopen the government while the two sides iron out their differences.


On Politics: Elizabeth Warren Is Running for President  The New York Times

The Massachusetts senator is forming a presidential exploratory committee, making her the first major candidate in what is likely to be a crowded Democratic ...


Tell us: have you applied for dual citizenship due to Brexit?  The Guardian

We would like to find out more about readers who have started the process or are considering applying for new or dual nationality. Guardian readers. Tue 22 Jan ...


Chattanooga politicians react to record number of women running for president in 2020  WTVC

A record-breaking number of women plan to run for president in 2020. Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California made her formal announcement on Good ...


The Politics of Roma: Alfonso Cuaron Revisits Mexico's Turbulent History  Hollywood Reporter

Director Alfonso Cuaron and star Yalitza Aparicio guide The Hollywood Reporter through the city's Roma neighborhood as they break down how the political ...


Farage ally said black men are violent due to high testosterone  The Guardian

A former Ukip activist who is partnering with Nigel Farage in launching a new pro-Brexit political party has argued crime and fatherlessness among black men ...


Departing senators warn: There's a problem with the current state of politics  CNN

As departing senators said their goodbyes to Washington, a number of Democrats and Republicans took the opportunity to express concern about the state of ...


Corey Stewart, the firebrand Virginia Republican, will leave politics in December  The Washington Post

Stewart won't seek a fourth term as Prince William board chairman and says he'll stay out of state politics “for the foreseeable future.”


Brexit: Theresa May's deal is voted down in historic Commons defeat  BBC News

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history. MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to ...


Marais says returning to politics at request of minority groups  EWN

The party on Tuesday announced that 70-year-old Peter Marais, a former premier and Cape Town mayor, has officially joined the party.


Trump's Nominee For Kavanaugh's Old Seat Tarred For Eschewing Identity Politics  The Federalist

If you are uninitiated about Neomi Rao, chances are you'll get to hear her name quite often very soon. Rao, the Republican pick to replace the old seat of ...


On the border, Trump turns political in making case for his wall  NBC News

Wearing a MAGA hat and harshly criticizing Democrats, President Donald Trump made the case for a border wall near the U.S.-Mexico line Thursday.


Senate votes to extend federal welfare program through June amid shutdown  The Washington Post

The Senate on Tuesday passed a measure that would temporarily extend a key federal welfare program, days after a group of governors warned that states ...


Pre-existing conditions bill may see amendments before Assembly vote Tuesday  Madison.com

Wisconsin elected officials' ability to compromise will face an early test on Tuesday when the state Assembly considers a bill to protect insurance coverage for ...


The political trends that will define 2019  CNN

The New Year is only a few hours old, but the political forces that are likely to shape a turbulent 2019 are already in play.


Fact-free politics  The Citizen.com

In this era when there has been more information available to more people than at any time in the past, it is also true that there has been more misinformation ...


The Point Awards: The best and worst of politics in 2018  CNN

2018 is almost over! We're going to make it to 2019! Hooray for us -- or something.


North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong: 'The time for political posturing is over'  CNN

The 116th Congress was sworn in on January 3. Since then, The Point newsletter has been conducting a series of interviews with some of its *fresh* new faces.


Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro denounces leftist politics in South America  The Irish Times

Davos 2019: new premier promises to press ahead with reforms.


Tucker Carlson has sparked the most interesting debate in conservative politics  Vox.com

Last Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson started a fire on the right after airing a prolonged monologue on his show that was, in essence, ...


Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics  The New York Times

The Iowa congressman, who has used racist language and been denounced as a white supremacist, wrote the playbook on white identity politics and many of ...


Trump Confronts the Prospect of a ‘Nonstop Political War’ for Survival  The New York Times

WASHINGTON — So it has come to this: The president of the United States was asked over the weekend whether he is a Russian agent. And he refused to ...


“We Did Not Come to Play”: Politics’ New Power Players Are Ready for a Fight  Vanity Fair

As the most diverse class of freshman lawmakers in history settles in, Washington is preparing for war. Intra-party rifts are deepening. The executive branch is ...


Treasury yields drop as economic fears resurface amid political concerns  CNBC

U.S. government debt yieldsfell on Tuesday as the U.S. government shutdown and trade fears between Washington and Beijing stoked fears of slower economic ...


Nancy Pelosi hands Donald Trump a lesson in the art of politics  The Guardian

Trump delights in inventing nicknames for political adversaries but he refers to the House speaker as 'Nancy', a sign he may have met his match.


Trump’s Border Wall Is a Political MacGuffin  National Review

The government-funding impasse is what happens when all involved treat politics like a movie.


How a Teen’s Death Has Become a Political Weapon  The New Yorker

When a refugee killed a fourteen-year-old girl, Germany's far right saw opportunity in tragedy, Yascha Mounk writes.


2018 Notable Deaths In Politics  NPR

This year, we've said goodbye to political icons, such as George H.W. and Barbara Bush. Also Sen. John McCain. But there were other noteworthy politicians ...


MPs on parental leave to be allowed proxy vote  The Guardian

Announcement follows outcry after MP delayed birth of her son to vote on Brexit deal.


The 11 most consequential political trends of 2018  The Washington Post

In 2018, President Trump again dominated politics, but the year was also noteworthy for what happened, what didn't happen and what it could mean for 2019.


The FBI is playing politics with Donald Trump: Today's talker  USA TODAY

The New York Times reported Friday that after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the bureau began to investigate whether Trump was ...


Week In Politics: The Shutdown Continues  NPR

Amid the ongoing government shutdown, a new era of divided government kicked off in Washington as Democrats formally took control of the House of ...


Angelina Jolie hints at move into politics  BBC News

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has hinted that she is considering a move into politics in the future. In an interview on the BBC's Today programme, she said ...


Trump administration asks Supreme Court to quickly take up census citizenship question  The Washington Post

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to bypass its normal procedures and decide quickly whether a question about citizenship can ...


Sen. Mark Warner introduces ‘Stop STUPIDITY Act’ aimed at preventing future shutdowns  The Washington Post

The Virginia Democrat announced the measure as the partial government shutdown entered its second month.


Why No Deal Is the Real Deal: Brexit and the Politics of the Interregnum  The Nation

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May reacts after she won a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons, London, January 16, 2019. (Jessica Taylor, UK ...


VERIFY: Is it unconstitutional for politicians to block you on social media?  FirstCoastNews.com WTLV-WJXX

Garrett Dennis, Jacksonville city councilman says it's unconstitutional for politicians at city hall to block users on social media, and wants the general counsel to ...


Black Voters, a Force in Democratic Politics, Are Ready to Make Themselves Heard  The New York Times

BALTIMORE — The first “Amen!” rang out after a couple of minutes, as Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking to an almost all-black audience at Morgan State ...


Politics Lookahead: A New Congressional Class  NPR

With the new year comes a whole new power dynamic in Washington as Democrats prepare to take power in the House.


Five Political Predictions for 2019  RealClearPolitics

The stock market is a roller coaster. There's a partial government shutdown. The president has taken to tweeting in ALL CAPS. Not even Nostradamus could ...


The Worst Political Predictions of 2018  POLITICO

If you guess at the outcome of anything, you're bound to be wrong a lot. There are certain things that it's fairly easy to predict far in advance, because they ...


Trump seeks to enlist a key surrogate in political fight over his wall — Border Patrol agents  The Washington Post

In his political fight for a border wall, President Trump has enlisted a new group of surrogates to join conservative talk show hosts and Republican allies in ...


President Trump’s extravagant, $3,000, 300-sandwich celebration of Clemson University  The Washington Post

In an administration overstuffed with bizarre moments and unusual events, Monday night's celebration of the Clemson University Tigers at the White House ...


home | site map
© 2007