New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Archive for the ‘Stephanie N. Van Hook’

Corporations Are Not People

October 17, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Michael N. Nagler, Politics, Stephanie N. Van Hook

We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident…

by Michael N. Nagler and Stephanie N. Van Hook

When is a person not a person? Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PSR) recently answered this absurd question with the obvious and embarrassing answer: when it’s a corporation. According to PSR’s statement, in case anyone is confused, a human being

“is a complex organism with capacities for joy and pain, reflection, and the compassionate appreciation of others. Mature persons are expected to display reasoned judgment, and are personally responsible for their own actions (our emphasis).  Human beings live, breath, think, experience emotions, and internalize values such as empathy and caring for others. Like all sentient beings, they suffer, and die.”

Corporations possess none of these functions, which make being human sacred, valuable and worthy of dignity. As the Occupy movements grow in remarkably inspiring ways, they have a unique opportunity to raise the human image from the slander and propaganda of the corporate media — where our capacity for consumption defines us and our desire for wealth drives us — to a more promising, and far more accurate conception of what makes us truly human: our capacity for nonviolence, motivated by our most precious desire for freedom. As Gandhi put it, “Non-violence is the law of the humans…” (more…)

Lessons from San Quentin

June 07, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Michael N. Nagler, Politics, Stephanie N. Van Hook

A Nonviolent Approach to ‘Criminal Justice’

by Michael N. Nagler, with Stephanie N. Van Hook

“San Quentin may you rot and burn in hell, may your walls fall and may I live to tell; May all the world forget you ever stood, may all the world regret you did no good.”Johnny Cash

In Camus’s The Stranger his main character, Meursault, has murdered another man in cold blood on the beach one hot summer day for no evident reason.  Days before his execution, gazing at the sky in his cell, Meursault suddenly realizes that freedom is still possible, still immanent, even with his body in chains. On the exact nature of this realization Camus makes no comment, but as the gates of San Quentin penitentiary closed behind me on May 27, 2011, the scene came to mind and gave me perhaps a similar notion of the absurd, and of truth not served, and the horrible secret of our “democracy”: that there is no such thing as criminal justice. (more…)

A More Perfect Union

May 25, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Stephanie N. Van Hook

Nonviolence Is the Essence of Democracy

by Stephanie N. Van Hook

“The voice of the people should be the voice of God.” — M.K. Gandhi

The prophetic proclamation of the death of God by Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘madman with a lantern’ continues to stir the imaginations of Western society over a century and a half later: “God is dead. God is dead and we killed him.”

I probably first read this scrawled on a building in Paris, and later, sitting in a circle in a room of eager philosophy students in Virginia. This ‘revelation’ from a madman ostensibly conjures the end of religion or the end of morality as immanent, given the trajectory of a society growing new roots in the rocky soil of the machine: destitute, desacralized, and alienated. (more…)