Casey Bowman commented on Christina Tobin's status...

Dear All,

It took me a while to fathom what the quote below from Vaclav Havel was trying to say, but I think it is saying societies construct parallel universes, each supported by its own set of assumptions. Thus we have the Libertarian Party and the Democrat Party. Interesting.


"Your motto reminds me of what Vaclav Havel calls the 'parallel polis'. "When those who have decided to live within the truth have been denied any direct influence on the existing social structures, not to mention the opportunity to participate in them, and when these people begin to create what I have called the independent life of society, this independent life begins, of itself, to become structured in a certain way.... These parallel structures, it may be said, represent the most articulated expressions so far of 'living within the truth'. One of the most important tasks the 'dissident movements' have set themselves is to support and develop them."

Chapter 18 of Vaclav Havel's "The Power of the Powerless" (1985) pp. 78-79. "


  Vaclav Havel's book sounds interesting. Without having read it, my best take on this quote is that he is saying that in a system built on injustice, and consequently (at least in the present-day-earth context, where tyrants are concerned with public relations) on lies, the informal economy, black markets, and so on, which are of necessity based primarily on honest, consensual cooperation amongst their participants, represent the nucleus of the larger society as it *ought* to be organized; therefore political dissidents (for our purposes, read: libertarians) should not simply take refuge in informal economic structures when we have need, but to actively support, promote, and develop these structures.

  A good example of this I think is undocumented migration. Such migrants to the U.S. are generally "living within the truth" of seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Because they are criminalized and marginalized, they are largely denied direct influence on the main existing social structures (the law). So within immigrant communities, things like business licenses, drivers licenses, enforcement of wage control laws, and other mechanisms of government control are less common -- i.e. their lives include less State aggression. Meanwhile, the larger society lives a lie regarding these undocumented people in various ways -- ignoring the issue of taxation without representation, broadly pretending that "we're all equal" when in reality some people are legally second-class citizens, not asking impolitic questions about peoples' immigration status, etc.

  Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays, and have a merry Christmas if you celebrate it!

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Hi Starchild,

Excellent observations. Thank you. I now admit that my interpretation of the quote was slanted to my way of thinking (everything is a point of view, there is no right or wrong only consequences, do not do onto others..., and other rather non-judgmental stuff). But the interesting part to me is still so, that two or more parallel universes can exist. I keep wanting to say two "parallel truths", but as you point out, that is not what the author is saying, that is what *I* am saying!

Well, I am working on Christmas Eve, but tomorrow Christmas Day there will be a family dinner. Starchild, and everybody, my very best wishes!!!