You want to know something? There's good magic, too. Venezuela's decision to print and distribute a million free copies of Don Quixote strikes me just that way: a banishing ritual of beautiful dreams that are only said to be impossible.
"To some extent, we are followers of Quixote," said President Hugo Chavez, as he encouraged Venezuelans to "feed ourselves once again with that spirit of a fighter who went out to undo injustices and fix the world."
I'm awaiting now Donald Rumsfeld to weigh in, as he did a couple of weeks ago regarding Venezuela's recent arms purchases, and say "I'm just asking, what in the world is the threat that Venezuela sees that makes them want to have all those books?"
One of the most heartening things of the Venezuelan miracle - and let's call it that - has been the symbology of the 1999 constitution. The sight of a mobilized populace, largely dark-skinned and underclass, waving copies of their own constitution, must make the hearts of oligarchs quail. It's easy to forget that history's most celebrated constitutions are revolutionary documents, but it's easy to see that the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is making living history.
Dawn Gable writes:
Article 132 states that everyone has the duty to fulfill his or her social responsibilities through participation in the political, civic, and community life of the country with the goal of promoting and protecting human rights as the foundation of democratic coexistence and social peace. Article 133 repeals forcible recruitment into the armed forces, but recognizes everyone’s duty to perform civilian or military service as may be necessary for the defense, preservation, and development of the country.
Article 135 says that the state’s obligation to the general welfare of society does not preclude the obligation of private individuals to participate according to their abilities. These duties describe participation much beyond the electoral process. They compel the public to see themselves as not so much the governed masses, but as active builders of their own society.
Meanwhile, the multi-generational campaign of intentionally dumbing down the populace, of encouraging public disengagement with the processes of governance, continues apace in the United States. There's something about a literate and educated citizenry that frightens tyrants even more than the right to bear arms. And when an informed and mobilized people compose a militia, it's the inclination of tyrants to back down.
Americans retreating from the public square and inhabiting purely private space has been called "cocooning." But cocoons are temporary utilities of metamorphosis. If you never come out to unfold new wings, and dry them in the sun, it's not a cocoon. It's your tomb.
By the way, to whoever purchased a copy of TechGnosis off my Amazon wishlist, thank you very much. It just arrived, totally unexpected. I wish I could thank you personally, but I hope you know that I am surprised, delighted and grateful.