Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Birth of Tomorrow

The Birth of Tomorrow

In this brief note I will attempt to sketch out some of the arguments presented by proponents of liberal nationalism, and contrast them with my own interpretation of the global cultural situation as it exists in the new millennium. So as to find some potential common ground between both the global humanist stance and the concerns and issues raised by liberal Nationalists in relation to the question of culture, and the subsequent flourishing of individuals in the new millennium.

Firstly I would like to explore the concept of “nationhood’ in relation to cultural affinity, so as to better understand exactly what it is that lays behind the traditional drive and import of nationalism.

The modern debate that rages presently, concerns the protagonists of the pro-Nationalist assembly, who vehemently defend Nationalism and have of recent tried to construct defenses that encompass both the more traditional line, with more modern conceptions and understandings. These defenders of nationalism are often referred to as liberal- nationalists, and amongst their number are such notable scholar’s as David Millar, and Yael Tamir. It is to these two defenders of nationalism that I will address my proposition specifically. Rallied against them are the Human Globalists, Jeremy Waldron and Gillian Brock being most notable amongst their number. What I will attempt to show is that due to a misconception upon the part of these two positions they have been talking at cross purposes, and that the concerns of both positions underpinning their arguments, can be in part be resolved by subsuming them under a new definition of the word “nation”, In the hope that the outmoded chaff can be winnowed from the grains of truth that are contained within each position.

What is a nation? This is certainly a core question, and one that evokes many answers, as many in fact as there appear to be people willing to proffer an interpretation. To some a nation is a state or territory , Whilst others talk of culture or ancestry as the defining mandate of nationhood . Still others hearken to even more potential explanations, such as a shared history, or historical pursuit, being religious or otherwise, that project from a traditional past, through the existential present, towards some future goal (Israel being an obvious example). Yet none of the answers proffered, is wholly sufficient in explaining what it is to be a nation.

As Stephen Nathenson so rightly emphasizes:
“While each of them maybe sufficient to ground a sense of Nationhood, none is absolutely necessary”

I would like at this juncture to posit my own interpretation of a nation. A nation is a body of persons, however many, who extend themselves in such a way as to identify there association as an intrinsic expression of who they are, and what they ‘believe’ themselves to be. It is in the extension of the individual that Nationhood arises.

Nationhood is a mutual coextensive concept. One cannot be a Nation of ‘one’, Unless that ‘one’ is the body total of the group membership. Individuals themselves are constructed of individual cells, quite distinct from any of the other cells of the body, yet each functioning in a harmonious accord to create a new entity that is cognizant of it’s own wholeness.

Nationhood arises then, when two or more people mutually recognize enough similarity in the dispositions and belief structures of the significant other/s, and have a common supportive purpose, for there to arise an identity that transcends the self of each of the participants in this newly created entity. I mention a common purpose here as it is an essential criteria of any free association that common aspirations be mutually supported so as to create a sense of belonging. A belonging that itself feeds back into the supportive network of this association. Now it is true that many nations have arisen that have failed to manifest in a prolonged manner this free association and sense of common purpose, But I contend that for any ‘Healthy” progressive association to exist and grow, this common purpose is essential.

Nationhood, thus understood in this light, is a mutually objective extension of subjective ‘beliefs’, such that, each of the participants in this association play a part in creating a new entity that embodies the naturally extending beliefs of the inner self. This new ‘communal self’, is nothing more than the collection of projected inner selves initially, and yet through this projection this new entity takes on a cognizance of it’s own. It is as if the members of the Nation are organs for the body politic, and by way of free association they actively create and support a greater entity than themselves. This will continue unabated, so long as each of the Members are sufficiently supported. At some stage in this growth process the body becomes large enough to begin to support dissenters, or fellow nationals who no longer find themselves or there beliefs concurrent with the prevailing interests of the body. However, if the dissension becomes great enough the body begins to collapse and national crisis usually ensues, as evidenced by such things as sedition, or revolt and rebellion.

No nation or association can afford to so disenfranchise its membership that revolution occurs. The bargain to be struck is that of a balanced and harmonious accord with the wishes of ‘all’ of its membership.

To this end, it is possible within the auspices of this definition to be a nation of ‘two’. Not a Nation in a traditional mould, as will be explained a little later, But rather a nation with a common coextensive belief structure that acts more like an association rather than a traditional nineteenth century body. It may then be somewhat misleading to refer to this body politic as a ‘nation”, for the concept of nation traditionally has been mistakenly construed as a state, often a landed state. Inter- ‘national’ bodies such as the United “Nations” have fostered this perception, and although it functioned well during a growth process in which harmonious accord necessarily took this route, it is in serious jeopardy of overstaying it’s welcome in the burgeoning atmosphere of the twenty first century. For this reason I believe it is more apt to describe this new body politic as an association rather than a ‘Nation”. Yet I will continue to use the term nation loosely throughout this essay and ask the reader to understand this to mean association unless otherwise mentioned. The core of nationhood then is the individual, for a nation is founded upon the mutual association of such individuals. Whether people ‘believe’ themselves to be a part of that nation then is intrinsic to the health of that association, as much as it is important to the flourishing of the Individual concerned. Yet, because the mutual association creates a new communal entity, it is not ‘solely’ upon the belief of the Individual concerned, that a nation can be said to exist. For when a person enters into a free association, the other member’s beliefs are affected so as to encompass the new person into the community, and thus their perception of what and who constitute this nation is altered. It is only by actively disassociating oneself from the entity, and Informing the other members of such an occurrence that the perception of that nation is changed and thus the subsequent belief structures of the membership and the Body itself altered. This educational faculty is also of great importance and is at the heart of the current modern dilemma in the debate between Globalism and nationalism.

I mentioned that it was possible to be a nation of ‘two’, sharing many similarities such as values, history, ancestry, beliefs and many other internal facets of the self. These project into the future, such that the participants of this newly created entity share a will to uphold mutual obligations and coextensive rights, which ensure the flourishing of this conjoined mutuality. The nation then becomes an Identity unto itself, it will flourish or fall wholly at the whim and will of the members behest. It is a relationship, and as with any relationship, is open to the structural dynamics that allow for dysfunction or flourishing alike, this is a point I will talk more about shortly. The possibility of a nation of ‘two’ can be a modern construct unencumbered by the traditional checkpoints that are often cited as an elemental part of most formal traditional interpretations of “nationhood”. Although this may well be the case, it need not be, for one can clearly imagine more historical examples, namely, the last two mori-ori, or the last two Tasmanian Aborigines, being such examples of this type of association. These last two surviving members of a dying culture might very well exhibit all the requisite predisposition’s of their forebear’s, Having undergone the same cultural inculcation that many of more diverse and populous cultures undergo today and which are the foundation stones upon which internal belief structures are constructed. For we are all party to the ongoing education process of our culture. From the earliest age to the latter days of our existence, sources such as language, education, parental nurturing techniques, and a plethora of environmental influences (not least of which are television and other media in the modern age), impinge and imprint upon the developing psyche and help to foster and nurture the world view we develop.

In times past the cave dwellers of hunter-gather times, would have had a core social unit that today is as central to the health and well being of the developing infant as at any other time. Yet as times past, these individual units melded into still larger associations, sept's, clans, tribes, etc. The reasons for this would have been many and various, certainly for genetic breeding purposes, but also for security and diversity of goods. For trade has always been an important factor in the Human story. Hunting and Gathering would have become more efficient, and with the advent of a sufficient number, settlement would have been achievable. The consequent ramifications for this would have been most beneficial to the association of members, lower infant mortality, increased trade and security, along with numerous other advantages.
With the advent of settlement the identity of community became complex, communities needed to create various rules so as to ensure well being for the membership and a functional and harmonious life structure. This life style had to be flexible enough to allow for prior knowledge to be embellished, and sometimes over turned, by the dictates of the present circumstances, whether they be societal, as in the case of population increase, or environmental, as in the case of resource scarcity, and natural calamity. The wisdom gleaned by each successive generation was passed down to the next as a form of code. Culture was born, and along with it, the plumb line of tradition. A tradition upon which each successive generation could map their present development, and project a future path that ensured the continual survival of the communal association and its constituent membership.

Many communities sprung up, and as they grew, interaction occurred between disparate communities, these interactions became more prevalent in time. It is at this juncture that a number of things began to happen, wars occurred between communities for numerous reasons, resource competition being but one example. Yet it is at this juncture that we begin to see the same kind of interaction that marks the internal Interactions within communities. Communities that promoted respect for individual human interaction usually extended this courtesy towards other communities. Whilst communities that ruled by oppressive and authoritarian dictate, more often than not extended this rule of law to all and sundry, wayfaring travelers and neighboring communities alike. Trade became as important between communities as it was within the marketplaces of the communities themselves. Traders of course formed the vanguard, and were often the first outsiders to enter into the inner sanctums of disparate communities.

Jeremy Waldron points out:
“It is no accident that most people live in multicultural societies. There prevalence is witness to the history-the particular history-of human movement and resettlement around the globe”(4)
And furthermore he goes on to say:
“Indeed the beginning of wisdom in multicultural education is the rejection of any simple correlation along the lines of ‘one person-one culture’. Each of us is the embodiment of fragments from a great many cultural traditions and the modes on which they have managed to impinge on us, despite there seeming oppositions and the evident differences in there province, tell us much about what respect for persons is like in a multicultural society as a study of the contents of the various cultures themselves”.

Now I am aware that the mono-cultures and traditions that I have talked about at this stage of human evolutionary history, are not quite the same as the multicultural societies of which Jeremy Waldron speaks. However it is clear that with each new interaction in these earlier times, cultures would often be irrevocably changed. Changed sometimes so much, that new technologies, foods, clothes, etc, would become common place and often replace more culturally traditional forms and items. More often than not it was both the efficacies of the newly acquired item, good, or technology, and its subsequent desirability, in combination with the plasticity of the cultural legislature that dictated whether it was adopted or not. If the culture or community, into which the new technology, custom, or good was to be incorporated, was too rigid to incorporate an evolutionary superior product, then they were unlikely to survive the rigors of a thriving and competitive, often barbarous ancient world. That is of course unless they were of sufficient barbarity to formulate whole societies built upon the premise of ‘might is right’. This of course occurred upon more than one occasion, the Sung dynasty of China, noted for it’s exquisite artistic renditions and artistic communal promotion, was no match for the brutal military machine that was Ghengis Khan and the Mongol hoards. Numerous other conquests by quite often technically superior (but not always) cultures can be cited, such as the Etruscan subjugation by the Romans, or the excesses of the Spanish Conquistadors, to name but a few. It has been noted that the entire colonization of the Globe was an example of this form of military and technological superiority suppressing and in some cases eradicating entire cultures. Yet with the advent of the multicultural melange, that can be seen as the norm in this modern age, we are no longer faced with base hostile takeovers by other cultures, rather more orthodox cultures find they are set upon in far more subtle ways. As was true though of the prior mono cultural community, those cultures that do not adapt to meet the requirements of it membership are doomed to self extinguish. Rigidity rather than plasticity is the death knell of any culture.

I realize that we have moved through a rather large slice of time in the preceding paragraphs, but they are illustrative of the point I have made earlier concerning the initial reasons for the societal construct of the nation. I hoped to show that the cultural justification for nationalism is not so well grounded as many liberal nationalists would have us believe.
Yael Tamir approaches the question of what constitutes a nation in a slightly different manner to many liberal nationalists. She is in accordance with the view that a nation is not a state. Although there is an historical parallel between the two terms, she believes that the misconception has been accentuated by such anomalies as article 27 of the 1947 Human rights charter, drafted by the United Nations, a body who might more properly be described as the United global States. This charter specifically mentions the word, ‘state’, in reference to a person’s inalienable right to choose political representation. Tamir believes that this is just a mistake, and I would have to agree on this point. For to call a nation a state, is to confuse the two quite separate concepts. Given the aforementioned description I have offered concerning the definition of a state, it is just a simple historical accident that any particular nation or association of members happened to inhabit any particular piece of land. Although many cultures point towards some piece of land as being their birthright due to some ancient first settlement, it must be seen within the wider context of the historical flow of people globally. Thus although within the given confines and parameters of modern history it might be feasible to point to some ancient first origin as a landmark so to speak, the actual state of affairs as seen within the modern context has less force.

For Tamir then a nation is a cluster concept fabricated by:
“Cultural communities demarcated by the imaginative power of their members”

Although this Interpretation is somewhat similar to the one I have presented it still falls short of the general proposition I have propounded. Tamir concedes that this rather loose definition doesn’t allow for a sufficient demarcation, such that one would necessarily be able to distinguish between nations and other cultural groups. However what I am proposing here is that Tamir is in fact just confusing her terms of reference. Although her definition of a nation may well be closer to the truth in emphasizing the cultural aspect of collective association, the switch to demarcating nations by way of ‘culture’ is just a mistake. A mistake brought about by limiting her perspective to group associations of a large number, and type, which are commonly understood in traditional nineteenth century terms to be the pinnacle of amalgamation. It may well be said that the cultural heritages of say Iceland and Tonga are clearly demarcated, and that an intuitively obvious difference between the two cultures differentiates the two as separate nations, but this differentiation is chimera, a perspectival trick. For although it might be easy to note the differences that demarcate these two disparate regions and cultures for the liberal nationalist, it is just as easy for the Human globalist to point to the similarities. Both cultures unify male and female so as to procreate and perpetuate their particular group, both cultures breathe the same air, drink water that is formed from one body of cyclical water exchange, and in short both cultures exist within a body of people, who within the modern era are driven more and more into a symbiotic relationship with one another globally through trade, information and the understanding that we are one planet. In fact the similarities are just as endless, for the global humanist to enumerate, as the differences are for the ardent liberal Nationalist. What counts here is from which perspective you are viewing the situation. They are in fact two sides of the same coin. That coin being the Human condition within the closed ecosystem of planet earth. It would not be beyond the pale to go further at this juncture and extend this perspectival anomaly beyond the human condition. Ecologists talk much of the interrelations of a closed Eco system, and it is becoming more apparent that humans are in need of a radical shift in perspective when it comes to such issues, if we are to survive into the later part of the new millennium. This is a point that I would like to address in my closing remarks, concerning the concept of Nationalism and that of Global humanism, however it will suffice at this juncture to stop someway short of this position. The emphasis at this point is upon the conceptual understanding that perception and belief structures are paramount in the adoption of the particular biases of both the nationalist and Human Globalist positions.

Judith Lichtenberg offers 5 quite common defenses that are often touted by liberal Nationalists.
1.The flourishing argument.
2.The self-determination argument.
3.The reparations argument.
4.The pluralism argument.
5.The Intrinsic value argument.
Unfortunately due to brevity, it will not be possible to look at all of these arguments in full, so I would like to take the first of these and look a little more closely at it’s internal justifications.

The flourishing argument is one that states that individuals need to belong to a group outside of themselves or their family in order to fully realize their potentials, and develop themselves fully. This is a self-evident truism. We may conclude that human beings all need some form of personal and communal association. A sense of belonging, which manifests within the person requisite psychological feedback, that allows for both a sense of well-being and personal security, such that the persons sense of self, as an extensive human being is bolstered and flourishes as a result. Needless to say, some of the saddest and most tragic circumstances are when a person is isolated or ostracized. This is in fact a form of punishment, still in use today in modern prisons. Yet isolation can be felt by anyone, at anytime, anywhere. It can be a state of mind, generated by a psyche that withdraws from the throng, by creating imaginary lines of demarcation.

The flourishing that is used as justification by Liberal Nationalists, like David Miller (who even uses it as a wedge for nation states), is still a construct of individual minds. Now I do not deny that a healthy human being will often flourish in circumstances where they believe their own personal lines of demarcation are being mutually regarded and protected, my point is that, just as the Serbian associations believe themselves to be a cultural identity worthy of nation status, so to the association of global philatelists, may see themselves as a cultural entity worthy of the same recognition. Now it may be objected here, there is something altogether different about a group of people interested in stamp collecting, and the Serbian culture. One is a bunch of people, who enjoy a hobby, even if they are a little over zealous in there pursuit, where as the other enjoys hundreds of years of rich history, a language, a social dynamic and a homeland, that is far and away richer and more meaningful than any that could be envisaged by a mere collection of enthusiastic hobbyists. This however is once again a chauvinism, and smacks of cultural bigotry. At its worst, this form of thinking plumbs the depths of racism. It is precisely this form of thinking that brought the world to the brink of destruction toward the middle and latter half of last century. People belong to groups either through an accident of birth, cultural inculcation, or through a volitional exercise. More and more today we are party to a world in which the volitional begins to supersede the accidental, although cultural inculcation is still prevalent and needs to be closely monitored so as not to become an equally as oppressive force as that of patriotic jingoism was in the likes of Nazi Germany. True personal choice can be fashioned according to the beliefs and internal drives of the individual. Yet as I have already mentioned cultural inculcation can have an overbearing influence upon the belief structures of the individual, especially the young, and for this reason much care needs to be taken so as to ensure that those most vulnerable to manipulation by more powerful bodies are not so inculcated that there ability for free choice is compromised irrevocably.

Education and diversification are the hallmarks of the twenty first century. No longer are many bound to narrow circumstances (although those in the third world are still in dire need of basic primary goods and are somewhat left out of this equation) in which they are tied to the cultural mores of their immediate environment. We have begun to see the ‘mongrolization’ of culture. Whether this is good or bad is a mute point. It is already happening, and the flourishing of individuals, who collectively associate themselves with like minded others, is bound to this process. They are the burgeoning offspring of new cultural entities. A new pan Globalist culture has already started to emerge. Associations that restrict this exercise are doomed to suffer the same fate as a thousand other rigid associations before them, that have fallen by the wayside in the evolutionary history of the human species. Rigidity is tantamount to societal and cultural suicide at times of punctuated evolutionary equilibrium, and with the advent of the technological revolution we are witnesses to the dawning of a new age for the human species. I do not wish to decry the all-important position that ‘Tradition” plays within the new emerging world culture. Language is an essential faculty of such tradition, and for the most part is heralded by people as an essential part of who they are, this will continue to occur, even if English begins to emerge as the global linguistic currency. Diversity will always have an indelible part to play in the human make up and for this reason, what we are beginning to see is the adoption of English as the universal language and regional and cultural languages being added and strengthened as either primary or secondary languages. However, Traditional values and structures will only survive if the association that harbors them embraces this new evolutionary process. Cultures must be seen to be plastic enough to incorporate the new education’s, technologies, and movements, so that these previously held traditional mores may enrich rather than impoverish the lives of there membership. In this way true ‘flourishing’ will be seen to have occurred.

Another important point for liberal nationalists who would wish to use the flourishing argument to support there position is that, if one sees oneself as a member of the human species, and that is the personal demarcation point, then anything that falls short of allowing one to join the global membership, and it’s consequent cultural unity will detract from true flourishing. The truth of the matter is that all human beings make subjective value judgments about where and at which point they feel comfortable drawing the line. It is not beyond the realms of possibility to posit that for many these days that demarcation point has more to do with education and practical efficacy, than with any historical rootedness. Education is an obvious tool for the expansion of collective consciousness. Practical efficacy is a two way street in which personal empowerment or dis-empowerment is realized through environmental circumstance, like political governance. Thus an impoverished rustic Ethiopian may not have any sense of cultural identity outside of the family or tribal unit in which the subsistence of existence is gleaned, where as the globalist living in New York, whose personal empowerment is wholly dependent upon a world culture might be more inclined to take a more expansive view of things.

Flourishing then has to do with interpersonal identification of internal belief structures allied with external impingements upon the development of those belief structures. It then falls to the Liberal nationalist to somehow support their view that it is an essential part of a human beings make up to be party to a singular nation, or state in David Millers case, in a world in which global identity is a growing phenomenon. Furthermore, far from being the case that isolationist liberal-nationalism helps the individual to flourish, it may well be the case that the opposite is in fact true. That individuals who see themselves as set upon by small minded others who continue to quash their aspirations to be Global citizens may in fact have there sense of flourishing severely hampered if not damaged.

Gillian Brock makes a good point about the nature of cultural identity and it’s subsequent value:
“In order for ones cultural identity to be freely chosen, or to be able to make cultural choices, one must have ’real’ options”

The point being that in order for true flourishing to take place, one must have real authentic options from which to choose. These options, can only emerge in the modern context by living in a culturally pluralist environment, where one has access to other cultures, and exists within a heterogeneous political community that supports the personal intentions of individualistic choice. It does not appear likely that rigid traditionalism would support such a mode of individual operation, and thus it is hard to see how Nationalism founded upon these traditionalist models, could constitute an atmosphere in which authentic flourishing could take place.

For all this though it must be remembered that each individual even though they believe themselves to be self determining agents is a part of a collective. I have talked much of the sanctity of the Individual, and they’re right to freely choose the associations to which a sense of full flourishing can enrich their lives. It must however be recognized that no person lives in isolation, there make up and character are formed from the well springs of a traditional past, brought to bare in the present and projected into the future. This path which each person leads, is intimately tied to the paths of others, so that no separation can in fact be considered whole. A growing awareness of Humanity as an emergent body of oneness is allied to the individual choices that make up this body. Each individual in choosing their path and free associations allows their own particular and individual talents to bare upon the body in a free and authentic manner. Some are destined to act as brain cells, whilst others see there function as allied to cleansing nature of the liver or kidneys, but in all there is a growing awareness that their individual choices are connected to a growing and emergent entity that supersedes the mere collection and chaotic amalgamation that has to this point been the historical precedent of the human species.

Each individual when they enter a relationship, are in a sense a product of their own unique past, a past that has inculcated them with traditions and belief structures that are as vital to the body of this emergent collective new self as any other. What Liberal Nationalists fail to grasp is not that they may have responsibilities towards others, for it is clear that both the Likes of Yael Tamir and David Miller are as equally vociferous in there collective obligatory regulations as any Human Globalist. Rather it is the failure to recognize that this emergent and growing new consciousness is like a new born baby, requiring all the subsequent attentions so as to ensure it grows in a harmonious and naturally developmental manner. Clinging to outmoded doctrines, that can neither support a feeling of collective association, nor bolster the requisite means for it’s full emergent flourishing will only harm and restrict this emergence. One thing is for sure, once a child is born it can longer go back to the womb from which it emerged. This global consciousness owes much to the historical precedence of traditional cultures and the peculiar histories of the peoples of those cultures. If however those cultures are to survive, then surely it is better that they be incorporated within the diverse body of humanity as it grows into a single entity, functioning as a collective, than being used as some form of historical chain to tie this new entity to a past from which it is emerging.

There must be grave concern as to the particular motivations of those that would insist that people globally restrict there collective action to designated national entities, structured so as to dis-empower and restrict this collective sense of unity. We have seen nationalism raise it’s ugly head more than once in the last century, through wars, and towards the latter half of the century by way of first world negligence towards the basic needs of a vast majority of the worlds population. Nationalism is touted as a means of redistributing goods to those less fortunate nations, yet central to the core of this argument is the fallacy that we are separated from these others, cocooned in our own isolated little spheres of existence. It is exactly this attitude that fundamentally works against the emerging global consciousness. For at its root is the presupposition that we are essentially different from those around us who inhabit this one single sphere.

This separation has more to do with the historical accidents of isolated communities or associations of members, than any tangible separateness of fundamental character. Although it is true that each association brings it’s own unique perspective to this body, as does each individual, it cannot be the case that the ‘we’ that is being created is itself separate. What is required as this emergent collective self is born is an understanding and subtle restructuring so as to incorporate the paradigm shift that is a consequent of any future emergence. Each individual is responsible for the care of this new entity, and we leave ourselves open to dangerous manipulations by those who would control the subsequent power that is humanity, if we allow others to dictate the terms of our emergence. So although we have seen that Nationalism has had its important part to play in fostering a sense of unity amongst disparate communities, it would be ignorant and patently unwise to rest upon the false laurels of Nationalistic desiderata at a time in which the growing Global community, begins to recognize its functioning as a unified and collective whole. For to do so would be to leave ourselves open to the machinations and fickle predisposition’s of those few who have the reigns of power given to them by mere historical accident.

Communication and education begin to transform our world, the Internet offers all first world countries the insight into a possible future, in which people are separated by thoughts and interests by no more than a fraction of a second. We are in short within the grip of a technological revolution, a quiet revolution, and a potentially peaceful evolution. The danger is that in moving forward into this burgeoning new frontier, we leave behind those who are also a vital constituent part of the body of humanity. Nationalism in all of it’s guises, emphasizes at its core a fundamental misconception that has no part in this new emergent self save but to herald the concept that together there is a collective identity.

David Miller charges the Universalist to:
“ Show that in widening the scope of ethical ties, to encompass equally the whole of the human species, he does not also drain them of their binding force”

What Miller fails to recognize is that this statement can be flipped upon its head in the new global situation. For those who recognize that there own existence is intrinsically entwined within the entire tapestry of humanity it falls to the Nationalist to answer the criticism that in perpetuating a sense of isolationism they aren’t diminishing the ethical import of the times, and consequently diminishing and restricting the full flourishing of each constitutive individual and the entity as a whole.

I have tried to posit a slight variation upon the two camps of contention between the Liberal Nationalists and their very real concerns of traditional values, and the Human globalists with their identification of an emergent future. I have attempted to show that they are in fact two sides of the same coin, and that any emergent community must recognize the truth that each brings, not at the expense of the other but in light of the valid concerns and insights that each position harbors. It may well be that ecological necessity and understanding will someday allow Humanity to move beyond the mere human concern and incorporate the entire sphere of this ecosystem we call our home. For ecology is rapidly becoming the focus of our concerns, and it may well be that both Human Globalism and Liberal Nationalism are both too narrow and chauvinistic to incorporate this new understanding, as we begin to recognize, that everything we do to our environment we do to ourselves.

© Richard Michael Parker 2000

Friday, 24 September 2010

Le Mer

Le Mer

Come to me my love
into this sea you have woven within me
the bright and florid depths
filled with salty issues i have wept.

Come to me my love
and sing sirenically
of shores not yet spoken
and dreams not yet broken
of an oceans rhapsody.

Come to me my love
in the sway of each ebbing tide
shot with loves light
the arrows of our sweet delight
illuminating all the world inside.

Come to me my love
leap upon the bow waves of this rolling flame
the ever living play of passions fervent game
two dolphins swept upon each other
to slide in languid motions
through the depths, my silken lover.

Come to me my love
the swirling maelstrom of your grip
born between the tidal constancy and rip
shorn of every tether you have known
blown into the stormy heart that we've sown.

Come to me my love
sway in languid lengths of bliss
the delicate dance of your lovers kiss
to tangle dulces limbs desire
entwined within each other's fire.

Come to me my love
and i will sing to you of sea's
the shanties that do mermaids please
of pirate chests and crackens roar
the dragons rests, and fathoms more
in dulcet tones of evening breeze.

Come to me my love
upon a mirror's surface
and watch the flash of green
disappear into the depths unseen
Apollo in his resting place
and we on sands in sweet embrace.

Come to me my love
and never be apart
gambol in our playful waves
my one immortal heart
then we shall swim eternally
into this loving sea
in elegance and beauty
True Love entwined and free.

© Richard Michael Parker 2010

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

From across the sea

From across the sea

In mists of Autumns echoed grace
unto a warm and hallowed place
a rose both kissed and grown in love
was sent on winged steed above
and carried to a far flung land
to fall into a lovers hand
on dusty shores of earth and blood
reminding her of loves first flood
for though this man is far away
his heart beats in her chest this day
and shows itself in each sweet petal
a silken bliss of raptured fettle
Two lovers yet, both kept apart
did beat with one triumphant heart
in time to be enjoined again
their Sun and Moon united then
for fate would not allow two lovers
to suffer under single covers
or dash upon the rocks their hope
so once betrothed, they would elope.
Remember this in times of sorrow,
each petal silken sings 'tomorrow'
and weaves a scent of sweet design,
recalled within this bloom divine.

© Richard Michael Parker 2010 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010



A sonnet of love, born on wings...
wings that flew,
drew you to me,
enfolded in a rhapsody,
a deep forest of intimacy.
We entered that gate,
of a dark fate in a distant land,
where only the bleeding ground remains,
a land with no sky,
just the crushing earth redoubled,
so when I flew, Love,
into that blue....did you go too?
or sitting on the ground,
did you forget how to fly?
Love waits for you still!
drenched in the warmth of a yellow sun,
will you fly?...will you come?
or will you bleed upon that heartless ground,
and mix your blood with the forgotten.

© Richard Michael Parker 2010 

Malgre Tout

Malgre Tout

One drink,
One more i say!
One more to quash
and wash
the smell away.
The acrid odour
of loves mephitic sway.

-Do i love you?

And i loved you!-
Hanging there,
I care not,
I do care,
all words fallen deaf and lame,
never the same!
-And i loved you!

My Drink?
Poison i think,
or some bitter tasting longing,
that sucks lugubriously
from that festering sore,
where once a heart wept.
-And i loved you!

who bore the semblance of a muse,
and fucked me heart,
me soul-
Till as virgins gush,
the spanking babe was dust,
all hidden,
Blown by loves farce and smitten.
-And i loved you!
I love you.

© Richard Michael Parker 1987