Observations on Ellen LaConte's book, initially titled Critical Mass, that was re-titled to what happens when the Critical Mass of problems overwhelms Earth Life Rules.
This essay deals with the overriding theme of Ellen LaConte's book: Are we approaching a critical mass where life as we the comfortable -- have known it, will be replaced by the Rules of Life?
"Critical Mass" has a history with several meanings. Lemon and Fonda's film, China Syndrome, popularized it as how hidden human mistakes around nuclear fuel rods are the quickest way to tunnel to China"
In the "70's, Ralph Nader and his Raiders held annual D.C. "Critical Mass" Conferences, to which activists from across the nation came to protest against the media and corporate portrayal that the pell-mell development of nuclear power would produce "energy that would be too cheap to meter."
Back then, Critical Mass activists were not having much success in stopping the spread of expensive, complicated, and dangerous nuclear power plant development, insured by taxpayers under the Price Anderson Act. Then Nader's Raiders invited Edwin Koupal, founder of California based People's Lobby Inc. (PLI), whose Political Reform Initiative became California law by garnering 70% of California's electorate in 1974, to speak at one of their conferences. On the podium, in front of a throng of citizen activists, former bandleader Ed played his music.
He plucked the chords that belittled protesting and griping that went nowhere. He played the melodies activists wanted to hear about how government and people should dance together. They were moved by his lyrics that showed how citizens could make laws without concurrence from lobbyist-controlled legislatures. He pounded home PLI's heart felt words:
"This country runs on laws. If you want to change the country, write its laws."
From that point forward, Nader no longer avoided the person the media and some of his staff referred to as that "Crazy Koupal." The Critical Mass Conference changed from being a protesters' confab to People's Lobby's 18 states Western Bloc Initiative factory. Long before "reframing," meant anything on the political landscape, PLI reframed the 18 state anti-nuke campaigns to the Safe Energy Campaigns.
Nonetheless, each of the 18 state grassroots initiative campaigns lost to REALLY BIG MONEY.
Why was involving Critical Mass conference attendees in losing citizen law-making a success?
Yes, BIG MONEY beat citizen-initiated grassroots initiatives again, just as it had done in defeating two of People's Lobby's Clean Environment Initiatives prior to passing California's Political Reform Act, which established California's Fair Political Practices Commission.
But, from the fallout of waging Safe Energy campaigns in 18 states, America got educated. No longer did the fallacies or falsehoods of "nuclear power too cheap to meter" win the day without factual scrutiny. People became better informed. From the conclusion of those Safe Energy campaigns until late in the Bush II administration, not one new nuclear power plant license was issued. Pretty good work for a used car salesman and his band of "long haired People's Lobby hippies," wouldn't you say?
Instead of griping, protesting, and talking to fellows in the choir about what they read, this bandleader involved citizens in making the law that builds responsible environments and healthy communities.
Theactivists who worked in those campaigns served their country. They went well beyond the bloviating talk show hostsor the sedentary citizens, who read or watch TV and thenonly complain. They stemmed the critical massing of dangerous fission nuclear power and its wastes.
Ellen LaConte's book recounts how a critical mass of problems has spread across our environmental and economic spectrum. Hopefully, those who read Life Rules will help craft or mould the laws that will address the well-crafted warnings in Ellen's book. Hopefully, her book helps more grow smart enough to live within Life's Rules so as not to Silent Spring.
Reading excellent books, however, is not enough. American and world citizens must do more than read, write, and express disdain about the state of community and world. They need to serve in correcting what is wrong with the state of community and world, which is why People's Lobby's American World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposals should be the action part of insuring that Life Rules humanely.