A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, January 4, 2011



On April 15, 2011, The Coalition for Capital Homesteading will hold its annual demonstration in front of the Federal Reserve. Why the Fed?

Last year, when the Tea Party Movement emerged in the national media, there was a demonstration at the Mall where a series of speakers railed on and on that the Federal Reserve is a corrupt institution that needs to be abolished. Anger at the Fed was at a fever pitch in Washington following a bailout for billionaires. A few blocks away, the Coalition for Capital Homesteading was quietly holding its annual demonstration in front of the Federal Reserve, with several members dressed up in Abraham Lincoln costumes. Why Lincoln stovepipe hats?
Click on the link above for a detailed explanation of why the Fed and why the Lincoln stovepipe hats. Rather than abolishing the Federal Reserve, the Coalition for Capital Homesteading hopes to redefine its mission and unleash its existing powers to grow the economy in non-inflationary ways in accordance with principles of economic and social justice. The Coalition hopes to pass the Capital Homestead Act on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Homestead Act of 1861. The buzz from this year's April 15th event is generating an interesting convergence of talent.
Perhaps the main goal of Poetic License (my blog) is to generate conversation, to be provocative and to encourage responses from readers in a light-hearted way. Through the web of connections that I hope to tap into, develop, and extend this year, I'm also hoping to unlock opportunities to do meaningful work for the rest of my life.

Through my father, who has developed world class connections in over 50 years as a soldier of justice in what he calls "the Happy Revolution," I was introduced to Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg, who invited me to a conference at Harvard University on School Climate and Governance in the mid 1980's. At age 23, I simply wasn't ready to follow up on the opportunity to collaborate with a world class intellectual; hopefully my attitudes as a representative of a famous employee-owned company did not thoroughly disappoint Dr. Kohlberg to the point of despair. Dr. Kohlberg invited me to stay in his home, where I met Dr. Ann Gilligan, who was famously refuting the basis of Dr. Kohlberg's thesis about Moral Stages based on the population sample of Kohlberg's original research: like Piaget, Kohlberg had only included boys in his original study, and Dr. Gilligan argued that girls might think differently than boys. Here I was at Harvard University conversing with Harvard professors, Principals and teachers of inner city schools from New York and Boston, and street children from Columbia (the country) regarding the nitty gritty process of teaching students through the use of moral dilemmas and student-led judicial proceedings. At 23, sadly, I was more interested in celebrating my 5.0 Mustang with its fat tires and kick-ass sound system, which I had paid for in its entirety with my first bonus check as an employee-owner. Moreover, I had arrived at Dr. Kohlberg's house well after midnight, because I had gone West instead of East on the New York State Through Way, and I never was able to catch up on the reading.

24 years later, having come full circle, having become a teacher, my father has recently opened up an opportunity to engage in dialog with Max Weissman, a co-founder along with Mortimer Adler of The Great Books Academy. As I prepare my application for a Master's in Education program at a local university, my father is in conversations with a world famous children's illustrator, with hopes of developing a curriculum for Justice University in collaboration with the Great Books Academy and an association of teacher's colleges located in the Northeast. While breaking bread on New Year's Day, a few of us were joking somewhat seriously about developing cartoons to communicate ideas of social and economic justice to children. No alcohol was involved, I promise. My lighthearted banter was inspired by animated conversations I've been having with my son Joe about The Far Side cartoons by Gary Larsen. The genius of Gary Larsen is how he communicates big ideas using simple line drawings and a powerful caption. Not to throw religion into the mix, but Jesus employed a similar strategy.

Tonight, my dad and I were talking about the possibility of developing a new genre of children's books, based on old favorites. Hopefully, these discussions might lead to a collaboration with my father's new illustrator friend on a major project down South.