Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beyond Adversarialism: Further Reflections

Let our conversations continue.

I was most appreciative that friend/community activist collaborator/journalist/author, Mike Corrigan (writing under the name G.M. Corrigan) posted an appreciative and edifying comment to my last blog article. I think this comment important enough, in and of itself, as well as for future referencing, to, also, post it here (below).

Mike, is quite right; I have “taken a shine” to his hypothesis as explicated in this tome. The strength of the appeal is that Mike’s arguments correspond, though not completely, to the theories of my former mentor, Martin G. Groder, M.D. (deceased), and myself.
For right now, I simply want to savor having had Mike on our Possible Society In Motion Show where he spoke, at length, with Jack Slattery, my co-host, and myself about this work in progress – and – to appreciate Mike’s attentiveness to my article.

I will, however, have much more to say on this topic once I have come to better understand Mike’s ideas in a fuller way. His posted comment is copied below.
For now, thank you, Mike, for being on our show and your patience in helping me expand some of my own working perspectives and incorporate them into your's.

From G.M. Corrigan
Journalist G.M. Corrigan,
author of Chasing Chickens:
A Love Story
Thanks for your kind words and interest in my book-in-progress, “Exposing America’s Secret Civil War: Adversarialism, Polarization and the Losing of America.” You seem to have “taken a shine” to my main thesis—that run-amok, constitutional adversarialism is at the heart of American societal problems—and have even added your own refinements to the theory.

I would like to clear up one matter, however. The concept-dynamic “adversarialism” is not necessarily a bad thing. The founders enlisted it (in the form of America’s constitutional separation of powers and bill of rights, especially in its speech freedoms) as an isometric way of diffusing government power and preventing the rise of a monarch or other dictator. It was a “fire fighting fire” provision in our governing praxis, and it was intended to keep the precincts of political power, where corruption was realistically expected, from overwhelming the civic sector’s freedoms to be competitive or cooperative, commercial or artistic, spiritual or worldly, etc., as the individual citizen saw fit.
My thesis is that, as government grew and ultimately penetrated almost all aspects of American social organization, the government’s implicit dynamic—adversarialism—hitchhiked with it, and, along with the commensurate expansion of adversarialist corporate business, came to dominate society’s daily interactions. This produces an unhealthy bias toward competitive, transactional and often hostile human relations, which, with the repression of feelings, cooperation, spirituality and ordinary nurturing friendship that comes with this, invites mental illness, violence, rabid partisanship, government paralysis and, ultimately, autocracy and breakdown. I think we see ample signs of this condition already.

G.M. Corrigan

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