The Form and Content of the Good: Towards Utopia

23 Aug The Form and Content of the Good: Towards Utopia

The New Municipalist Agenda


Political and Economic Ethics:


The political economic and social good is not merely its most minimal dimensions of what a maximal program is. The political economic social good is constituted by a developmental political realm of lesser and greater goods within the developmental limits of minimal dimensions of a maximal program of good political economics and social relations–and the means thereof– adapting to new relevant conditions. The realm of the good has a form and a content that is bounded by the political economic and social minimal dimensions of a maximal program of good political economics and social relations.


Such a program is many sided rather than something explainable according to one principle in reduction of others. That is the minimal dimensions of a good political economic program and good social relations are a gestalt that is more than the sum total of its parts. Such a gestalt–and the application thereof– should adapt to all relevant conditions rather than be a static non-historical prescription. Such a gestalt of the minimal aspects of the political economic and social good should be informed by ecological phenomena and various naturalistic metrics of ethics such as volition, subjectivity, non-hierarchy, and unity in diversity. However, such aspects need to be infused with institutions–something that is uniquely human on planet Earth (so far).

The realm of permissibly created by the gestalt of a minimal program of a maximal program of good political economic and social relations is a realm of freedom where collective and individual forms of volition make choices about anything within what should be the most minimal standards of treatment towards persons (as in individuals and collectives) and ecosystems. The Geshi–short for gestalt of what ought to be the minimal political economic and social relations of a maximal program of a good society and the means thereof given relevant conditions– creates a realm for social and public freedom defined by participation in the public sphere within egalitarian relations. Participation in the public sphere infused with an egalitarian form and content is good. There are means constitutive of such ends. Those means themselves ought also be ends if the developmental nature of such means is necessary for egalitarian participation in the public sphere. Such means need to be developmental for the ends of egalitarian participation in the public sphere. Therefore the entire gestalt of what is needed for egalitarian participation in the public sphere must be looked as constitutive of the good–and as a gestalt, as ends in themselves intertwined with the goal of political and social freedom.


The Geshi–and the means thereof– would create a realm where other dimensions of the good are augmented because of the way that such political economic and social relations affect other aspects of the good such as flourishing of persons, self-actualization, webs of virtues, good consequences (such as pleasure, virtues, volition), to good intentions, to an ethics of care, to the means of the practical imperative, to the means of universalistic minimal standards of treatment towards persons if sufficiently relevant conditions are equivalent (not to be confused with treating persons identically and a categorical imperative for particular action). The Geshi becomes a keystone ethical dimension that catalyzes various normative ethical metrics which might be goods–or at least desirable– even if they are not the only good. The good itself ought to be viewed as a gestalt of multiple aspects rather than one particular metric that is the good, even though theories of a good place/society/political sphere/economic sphere and the means thereof ought to take precedence due to the fact that 1. It is a good in itself of the highest order and 2. actuating that and the means thereof help to catalyze other aspects of the good directly and indirectly.


Dimensions of the Geshi:


Direct democracy is a collective decision making process where people directly make decisions rather than voting on rulers. If collectives cannot make decisions then decisions are effectively privatized. Non-hierarchy is against all forms of ruling class relations and other forms of ruling strata. Hierarchical relations are shown to be associated with negative social health impacts across the board. Horizontalism seeks to not only create non hierarchy, but the active presence of horizontalist and cooperative institutions, that have the means, ends, form, and content of egalitarian people power. Participatory relations between persons and collectives is rooted in freedom of/from/within associations bounded by the rights of others to freedom of/from/within associations. Being against arbitrary rule provides us with a framework for being against that which would arbitrarily limit freedom of persons. Communes should have the rights to Communal Self Management which makes it so the means of political economic life are placed in the hands of communal assemblies and embedded councils rather than in hierarchical and privatized institutions.. Co-Federalism and decentralization allows communal assemblies to make decisions together and allows them to pool skills, tools, resources, needs, and abilities on many scales to create greater degrees of post scarcity and to manage the commons on different scales. Inter-municipalism is a commitment to a global anti nationalist and anti xenophobic politics that strives towards intermunicipal cooperation.


The rights of all to the means of existence, production, and politics ought to be part of an irreducible minimum. Distribution ought to be according to needs and volition rather than rooted in market and deeds based economics–for when needs and abilities are pooled on various scales combined with good relations and automation there is more than enough for all. Liberatory and ecological technology ought to be used to minimize toil and extend human intentions and volition to create a realm of participatory art and post scarcity. A constitution enshrining formal non hierarchical rights and responsibilities and minimal standards of treatment towards persons ought to exist to hold persons and collectives and the limits of politics, economics, and society accountable. Restorative and transformative justice ought to exist rather than punitive justice because restorative justice has lower recidivism rates and higher victim satisfaction and transformative justice seeks to transform underlying conditions of social problems.The right of all to Self defense and defense of others ought to exist rather than a centralization and monopolization of the use of violence and arbitrary standards of violence (such a right ought not to be conflated with punitive justice). Social Ecology–the notion that ecological problems and solutions are caused by hierarchical social relations– and Ecological Stewardship ought to to be intertwined with practice so as to inform our actions in order to catalyze mutualistic interactions with ecosystems that enable human and non-human flourishing as well as ecological resilience. Universalism of minimal standards of treatment towards persons if all relevant conditions are present ought to be a guiding factor behind rights so that organization of relations is imbued with reason.


The above creates a gestalt of principles that would create a realm of greater and lesser goods to the degree that it is actuated, but do not sufficiently explain the means thereof. Such political, economic social prescriptions–rooted in non hierarchy and not arbitrarily limiting people’s freedom as well as substantive horizontal communal decision making processes– also require the means thereof. The means thereof would include the means of revolution–which includes but is not limited to everything from communal assemblies, workers’ assemblies, radical unionism, alternative institution building, direct action networks, periodic direct action, mutual aid networks, cooperative institution building, and popular education.  The means thereof would also include a developmental general strategy of applying developmental general principles to particular conditions. The means thereof would include building loving and rational relationships with one another, building communities of communities, and treating each other in ways that enable the flourishing of each other. Furthermore, the means thereof would include theoretical and cultural shifts towards the highest egalitarian aspirations of feminism, anti racism, disability justice, and anti nationalism as well as of other egalitarian cultural shifts. Revolutionary institutional shifts require a living content to be developmental.


Rather than merely being a static social contract or list of constituent parts of a potential good gestalt, the Geshi prescribes means and ends of good political, economic, and social life. The means of the Geshi are constitutive of the ends of the Geshi rather than something purely instrumentalized. In this sense, a developmental Geshi must embody its own principles as it develops.


Further Notes on the Geshi:


Such minimal dimensions of the good should interact with one another in a complementary way. They should create forms, be a filter for content, and become an internalized ethos and be applied to particular contexts in different ways, and they should adapt to new relevant conditions. However, such a minimal gestalt of political, economic, and social ethics leaves a lot missing from the good, and the rest of the good–as well as an actually existing geshi– needs to be fleshed out, applied to particular contexts, and co-created through collective and individual volition. For example, we should go above and beyond the most minimal ways we ought to treat eachother and the means thereof through fostering a sense of philia towards others and a wish for others to flourish as well as prudent reason and intellectual virtues given the way that false premises can lead to terrible consequences even with the best intentions. Furthermore, an entire web of virtues should develop that helps persons who have them flourish and treat others in a way conducive to the flourishing of persons. Just because an actually existing Geshi would create a political economic realm of lesser and greater goods to the degree that it exists and develops does not mean that it is a cure for permissible action that is nonetheless not living up to what good interpersonal and intrapersonal relations could and should be– even though living up to that is beyond the call of duty at least some people going above and beyond the most minimal ways we ought to treat eachother sometimes is necessary to produce and reproduce a developmental Geshi (however, we should go above and beyond that). A political economic Geshi would be able to foster the arrival of supererogatory dimensions of the interpersonal and intrapersonal good–given the way that political and economic relations have an effect on social relations more broadly. It is also important to note that the building of good social and interpersonal relations has an important consequential effect at building the kinds of organizations that are able to institute good political economic relations.


The political economic and social good should not be limited and restricted to its bare minimum skeleton– as important as its minimal skeleton is. At the very least a developmental geshi reproduces its own most minimal aspects as a form and a content. But that minimal reproduction of the Geshi–and adaptation to new variables– does not exhaustively explain the qualitative and quantitative differentiation and optimization that can exist within it and should exist within it (without being obligatory).


If the Geshi is the only metric one is looking at for the good, then there would be no good content but the geshi itself–rather than a realm of freedom with the form and content of the Geshi– and there would be no way of evaluating different content filtered through the Geshi. A focus on the Geshi–creating the realm of good political, economic, and social relations– creates a keystone primary dimension of the good to be arrived at and developed while preserving a plurality of actions and aspects of the good that are beyond mere minimal standards of treatment towards persons, while preserving volition and subjectivity in regards to action that does not violate the minimal rights persons and communes ought to have.


As germs of the Geshi exist in motion, not all of its dimensions will be able to be actuated at once: For example, the highest stages of communistic dimensions and post-scarcity dimensions will likely exist after a mere libertarian socialist politics exists rather than absolutely immediately post revolution. The geshi ought to be looked at as a developmental dimension of the good rather than something that needs to be actuated all at once in some immediate instance. Instead, people should develop dimensions of the Geshi that are not yet possible in particular contexts as the conditions for their possibility emerge– which should not be used as an excuse to not actuate aspects of the Geshi when people can.

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