“1984” is Here and It is Us
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
We seem to be living in George Orwell’s dystopian science-fiction nightmare of “1984” where the citizens have been taught that war is peace and that lies are the only truth. The scary thing is that so few people can even conceive of this as a possibility in America today (because we have been taught that we are free). The Tea Partiers are like the citizens in “1984” who fought back, but they seem to have no constructive alternative and may suffer the same fate of irrelevance.
Where are the Tea Partiers who want to perfect our institutions of money and credit so they will promote broader and even universal individual ownership of the trillions of dollars of future wealth in America. Where are the Tea Partiers who recognize that whoever owns the means of production owns the government? Where are the Tea Partiers who have even read the Capital Homestead Act of 2012 and researched it at http://www.cesj.org?
Two hundred years ago, Jefferson said that broadly based land ownership is the key to freedom, and Abraham Lincoln followed up by introducing the Homestead Act, because back then land was the principal source of wealth and power. Today it is ownership of capital, namely, the tools, processes, and know-how that produce wealth. As pointed out in my recent writings, entitled “Is the U.S. System Rigged for the Rich” and “Serving Two Masters”, the rapidly growing concentration of economic capital ownership in America and the attendant wealth gap is unsurpassed anywhere on earth. This inevitably produces similarly concentrated political power, where the term representative government means little more than “one dollar, one vote”. Yet, as in 1984, we live under the illusion that we live in a free and just society.
Equally scary is that most of the Muslims in the world are still caught in their own “1984”. This began six hundred years ago when the spiritual wisdom that informs the universal normative law of human responsibilities and human rights in the form of the maqasid al shari’ah was pushed aside in favor of the fiqh or regulations. The fiqh is meaningful only to the extent that it fulfills the higher purposes of enlightened jurisprudence evident in the coherence of the Qur’an and Sunnah and in the maqasid as guidance for translating these sources for the lives of every person and every community.
This split between transcendent justice and positivist law began in America only 150 years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that positivist law is the only law and declared that the universal natural law in all religions is unconstitutional. Justice Joseph Story, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court for most of the first half of the 19th century, lost out to Austinian jurisprudence, and the moral decline of America has proceeded uninterruptedly ever since.
This hi-jacking of America’s founding wisdom, the perversion of its institutions, and the substitution subliminally of an ideological straight-jacket based on the legitimacy of all power to the elite is the essence of “1984”. What is the solution? The answer was introduced online in http://www.theamericanmuslim.org on September 28, 2010, in an article with the deliberately shocking title, “Shari’ah Compliance in America: Strategies for Common Ground”.