I want to express my appreciation to OpEdNews for publishing Bruce Toien's article in which he mentioned the book, "Honeybee Democracy," and its implications for the Occupy Movement. It brews a type of thinking, the "tea" from which is an excellent catalyst for deeper reflection on what Democracy is (or should be) about.
It's interesting to note that those in opposition to such elemental concepts of Democracy (we won't mention names...like Neocon or 1%) seem to be blindfolded with the image of a John Wayne-type model of what a "real" American is, or should be. Undoubtedly, they have a visceral hankering for society to return to the "Good Old Days"...probably even as far back as when we once lived in tribes; themselves, of course, being chiefs.
But I think these people are misinformed about the nature of leadership, how people in tribes become leaders. I'll bet they think a person became a chief through strong-arm tactics, intimidating folks into obedience via coercion, accruing material wealth by simply taking what they want from others. They're not aware that capitalism -- at least how it relates to private ownership of common assets and natural resources -- did not exist (and does not exist) in tribal societies; and that real "wealth" which accrued to chiefs (if any) came to them as gifts, not as "earned income."
People became chiefs because of being
naturally gifted with certain skills, and using those skills for the common
benefit of the tribe. One who is clever in the arts of warfare, inspiring young
"braves" to fight well, leading them in combat, and teaching clever tactics in
the defense of their village is definitely rewarded with the recognition of
being a chief. He who has studied nature and is familiar with the secrets of
plants, knowing their medicinal properties and curing people of common disease,
saving them (and animals) from dying when, without his knowledge, they would
certainly die -- he too becomes respected as a chief.
He (for brevity's sake I include the feminine within the masculine pronoun) with agricultural knowledge, teaching how to fertilize crops, minimize insect infestation, grow hardier vegetables, juicier fruit, and how to increase harvests; he too is a person awarded the respect of a chief. The same goes -- maybe to a lesser extent, maybe not -- for a person who works in leather, how to "tan" it properly and make durable, fine-looking clothing or cover a tee-pee frame with hides that don't leak. The same for someone making handsome jewelry, fancy weapons, or tools. Those with superior hunting or fishing skills, bringing extra meat and fish home shared it with others, such as widows with children, invalids, or, for whatever reason, with anyone who didn't have enough to eat. Such giving was not done with a political-corporate mindset such as it is done today -- what's in it for me? -- but simply from the natural human tendency to help one another, which, sadly to say, has all but evaporated in modern societies.
There are those today who will argue that if refrigerators existed in tribal societies, those who brought home extra game would put it in the fridge -- "to hell" with his neighbors! -- and save it for himself and his family. Such thinking is not only alien to the "tribal" mind, but serves as a reminder of how we got in this financial/economic mess we find ourselves in today. Such thinking explains our spiritual poverty, as well, and answers the question why don't 1%-ers want to share their wealth? (Who needs hundreds of millions of dollars anyway? What kind of person stands by doing nothing while their neighbors starve, or silently shriek in pain and terror of losing all they have?)
To wrap this up, there is a vital need today for wealthy selfish people in America to be informed that if they want to be respected as chiefs, they need to start giving things away; for it is obvious that people across the land are waking up to the fact they no longer appreciate "chiefs" taking things away from them.