The Tahoma Activist

"Changing the Media, One Story at a Time"

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

The creator of Good Times gives us a "Blueprint for Peace"

"The human race sits at the crossroads of annihilation or greatness..."

This quote comes from our Recommended Read for the month of August, Eric Monte's "Blueprint for Peace", copyright 2004, AW Publisher. In this unique and inspiring book, Eric Monte, the co-creator of the classic television show, "Good Times", lays out an ambitious vision for how we as citizens can bring about a new age of peace and prosperity for all the world's 6 billion children.

He opens by outlining our most serious challenges, from hunger:

"In a world where more than half the people go to bed hungry every night, the United States pays farmers not to grow food,"

to violence:

"Between the United States, Russia and Red China, there are enough nuclear arms to destrou the world 50 times over."

Yet despite all the challenges we face, Monte clearly believes that we have the power to solve all these problems and more, simply by taking concrete steps to radically alter the fundamental structure of our society.

In Chapter One, the Proclamation, Monte makes this bold claim:

"I know how to achieve World Peace!"

And the funny thing about it is, you get the feeling he may in fact be right, if only we humans have the courage to implement his solutions.

"Peace doesn't just mean to end war and violence, it also means to end the threat of war and violence...Peace doesn't mean that people won't disagree; it means they won't settle their disagreements with war and violence. They will find another method."

Sounds pretty good, right? Of course, in a nation full of skeptics, a statement like that hardly merits attention. "Oh sure," the cynic is thinking, "like that's ever gonna happen..."

The beauty of Monte's approach is that no matter how unlikely it might be in today's society that even one of his prescriptions could ever be implemented, it's his overwhelming optimism that hits you, like a sudden glimpse into a parallel universe where the good live forever and only the wicked die young.

Monte's work is punctuated throughout with common-sense notions of how people should be treated, and how governments should serve the peoples' interests above all else. You almost get the feeling that Monte doesn't care how many evil, greedy bastards currently command the world's governments, as if he honestly believes that if only the good people among us were to rally together and move forward in this direction, we could truly save the world.

It's pretty inspiring stuff.

"To accomplish anything, regardless of how basic or fundamental, you need three things: the tools, the desire, and the oppurtunity...everything to establish and maintain world peace is already in place...Yes, we are the cause of all our problems and for the first time in history we have the power to solve them."

In case you're thinking that Monte is just totally out there, a dreamer with no sense of the radical nature of his ideas, he lets you know it's okay to be skeptical.

"I must warn you, when you first read the SEVEN STEPS TO WORLD PEACE they will be so foreign to the things you have been taught all your life. Your first reaction may be to dismiss them as the ravings of a madman and not read any further. If that happens you will do yourself a great disservice."

Monte covers a lot of ground in just under 300 pages, from ending the production of weapons of war to ending the practice of inheritance of land, from reforming public education to transforming our prison system to incentivize rehabilitation. Some of Monte's ideas are more fully explored than others, but for me no single idea has more promise than his global vision for education.

"To create the kinds of citizens capable of maintaining a stable and peaceful culture, society can't wait until people are grown to try and indoctrinate them with those qualities. The society must start teaching people at birth those qualities necessary for the maintenance of peace and it must do so by rewarding people for displaying those traits that are peaceful and productive and punishing people displaying those traits that are destructive and violent."

Many commentators have said as much, but Monte really makes you feel like it could be achieved. Of course, those of us in the "real" world know that such a Utopian vision can never be realized as long as the same corrupt and brutal elites continue to rule our world.

And this is the fundamental flaw in Monte's argument. He never addresses the challenges that conservatives, "realists", and other party poopers would undoubtedly have with his utopian policies. Legalizing drugs would cost police officers their jobs, outlawing war would kill the booming defense industry, abolishing national borders would be opposed by every right-wing crank from Colorado to Baghdad and everywhere in between.

And yet, as you read Monte's words, they lull you into the sense that resistance to these policies, though it would be inevitable, would not win out in the end, and you are left with the sensation that a world of lasting and beautiful peace is not only possible, it's a sure thing.

"Blueprint for Peace" is a twenty-first century Sermon on the Mount, inspiring us to demand more from our government and to demand more of ourselves. This book lays out a vision of a glorious future, in which every child has value, in which any who wish to work can do so, and all who give their best to society will be rewarded with universal joy and a peace to last a thousand years.

Eric Monte is a dreamer, a visionary, a man with a love for humanity so intense he was willing to spend every dime he had in the world to do it, to publish a book that, in his mind, could very likely lead his people out of the darkness of war forever.

So now the choice is ours. We can ignore this prescription for lasting social change, file it away as just one more Utopian fantasy, a product of a disordered mind, and go about our workaday lives, oblivious to our own limitless potential, unwilling and unable to see the bright and shining future that awaits us just beyond that next blind ridge, or we can take up his challenge and carry this message forward to all who will listen. The choice is in our hands.

I leave you with the complete version of the quote that that began this review:

"The human race sits at the crossroads of annihilation of greatness - the choice is ours, the planet is ours."

Copies of "Blueprint for Peace" are available online at - buy one today!

Categories: Recommended Reads

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