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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance CompanyExecutive offices, Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Pres. ought never to approve a patent unless the submitter of the patent accompanied the patent requested with a social plan as to the effect it would have on the people who would be directly involved, as well, of course, as on the population as a whole. The onerousness of the work notwithstanding, in my view the Patent Office should never have approved the mechanical cottonpicker, unless the pejorative aspects of displacing the million or so cottonpickers were taken into account. The one thing, it seems to me, that we can sell to the American people is that people are more important than machines; or, if we can’t, then I don’t know where to look for any hope of having any kind of meaningful civilization. Secondly, I submit for your consideration that only 40% of the American electorate went to the polls to elect those who are to determine their destiny. Sixty percent said: “I don’t care what happens.” Or, indicated that it wouldn’t have made any difference anyway who was elected. Almost two-thirds of the electorate thereby rejected the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process. Here is a paragraph from Hans J. Morgenthau article entitled “Power and Powerless DECLINE OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT”: “It has become trivial to say because it is so obvious and has been said so often that the modern technologies of transportation, communication and warfare have made the nation-state, as principle of political organization, as obsolete as the first industrial revolution of the steam engine did feudalism. While the official governments of the nation-states go through the constitutional motions of governing, most of the decisions that affect the vital concerns of the citizens are rendered by those who control these technologies, their production, their distribution, their operation, their price. The official governments can at best marginally influence these controls, but by and large they are, compelled to accommodate themselves to them. They are helpless in the face of steel companies raising the price of steel or a union’s striking for and receiving higher wages. Thus governments, regardless of their individual peculiarities, are helpless in the face of inflation; for the relevant substantive decisions are not made by them but by private governments whom the official governments are unwilling or unable to control. Men achieve dignity and purpose only when they are involved in the decisions that affect them. When those of us in positions of power consider ourselves as “chosen” then we get to the point where sixty percent of the population says: “What’s the use of voting?” When we repose unlimited power, and those in possession of it seek to impose on the rest of the population their concerted opinion of what is best for them, the result is always a disaffected populace. I do not say that everyone needs supplemental health insurance but, likewise, I do not say they shouldn’t have it. Let the people know the facts and the truth, and with this in hand let them make their own decision as to whether they want to buy it or not. I might add that, in these days of economic woe where so many of us are concerned with jobs and unemployment, it would be well to remember that in about a twentyor thirty-year period, say, from about 1935 to 1955, the average labor cost involved in the productive process decreased from $8 to about $4. Now please understand what I am saying, that machines have had more love and care than our concern for people. We do have a right to be disquieted when scientists revel in the magnificence of our technological age. The third concern is BUREAUCRACY. Need I remind you that it was a bureaucratic decision that led to the making of the atom bomb; likewise, a bureaucratic decision that promoted the dropping of the two bombs on Japan. If those decisions had not been made eristically, and had been discussed in a truly dialectical fashion with the American public observing the discussions, I suspect, first, that the atom bomb project would have never been initiated; secondly, I am totally convinced that we would not have permitted it to be used. Government bureaucracy suffers from the same disease that has infected the universities and academicians. There is no interplay among government bureaucrats, just as each academic department seeks to maintain the dominance of its particular discipline. What causes this? Obviously, it is the lust for power. Barry Commoner, author of the book entitled THE CLOSING CIRCLE says that the United States and Russia have followed the same perilous programs of environmental pollution. Commoner sees the root cause of our ecological destruction in the profit system; his arguments are most cogent. Perhaps, however, we need to look into the meaning of this word “profit.” For a capitalist it means money; for a politician it means votes; and for a bureaucrat it means power. I think that perhaps we need to go back and review what some of the old conservative philosophers told us. Their main concern was with FREEDOM. The modern conservative, it seems to me, has been right in many instances but for the wrong reasons. Their concern with the drift of power to Washington and to a monolithic government structure was not because of their concern for their fellowman, but because they were in a position to control or buy-off the local politician. The liberal in his frustration at the neglect of the injustices that permeate our society opted for federal control of everything. My concern today is with fragmenting the power accumulations in our society and to accelerate the acceptance of limitations on growth. I want the emphasis to be on quality of living rather than so-called worship of the non-existent efficiency that has become our god. Technology has given us many things; whether it has increased the state of happiness of people . . . well, I don’t think the answer is positive, or at least not up to this point. It has brought with it a greater impersonalization it requires bigness and almost monopolistic control of capital for its continued acceleration. It requires almost a geometrical progression in the number of people required by the bureaucracy . . . it makes possible the multi-national corporations which are, in effect, governments rather than businesses. As I have said several times, it is making machines win over people. While I favor a National Health Insurance Bill, still, I have a lot of concerns about it. I am concerned about the physical health of the inhabitants of this world, but I am equally sensitive to the state of their mental health. So, even with a national health bill, it doesn’t seem reasonable to me to exclude the selling of supplemental health insurance and thereby dislodge four to six million people into a state of economic insecurity. Before we come to any definitive conclusion, we owe it to the people of this nation to have that meaningful kind of participatory dialectical dialogue, where all the truths are put on the table … where the people themselves are involved in the decision-making process. My own suspicion is that if we follow this course we will have a meaningful government health insurance plan which will be protective of the physical well-being of our populace and concommitantly will be sensitive and considerate of the mental health of the millions of Americans as well. In so doing, we might well avoid the cul de sac that was brought to our attention by one of the Senior Fellows at The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions: … The problem with technology is that it usually gets us to where we don’t want to be when we get there.