I did not intend it but my life has been a living dialectic. Raised in a family of both academic and political background, I sustained myself with academic work for a half century but interspersed that livelihood with what I felt were necessary forays into the real world of politics. Overeducated, with both a J.D. and a Ph.D. in political science, I found myself teaching politics in such a way that almost forced me to go before the public to promote the ideas I espoused behind the ivy.
In 1977, for example, my Anti-Authoritarian Personality completed the principal model that linked psychology with politics by extending the variables found in the classic Authoritarian Personality across the ideological range. The need for power and order, for example, rise and decline as one dances across ideologies. Does the American political system favor certain personalities along that continuum?
In 1980, taking LWOP, I entered a U. S. Senate race to discuss the imbalances of American politics and propose needed remedies. That campaign was covered by The Christian Science Monitor, the TRB column in The New Republic, The Washington Post, and other journals. I called for a bicentennial review of the American constitutional order, that call leading to the formation of the prestigious Committee on the Constitutional System which presented its findings and recommendations to the president and congressional leadership in 1987. Neither corporate party responded.
Taking LWOP again, I campaigned in selected presidential primaries in 1984, and again in 1992, speaking to the dysfunctionality and inequity of the political system while expanding on the importance of psychology to political ideology in books like Relativism and the Natural Left (1984), and Psychology, Relativism, and Politics (1992), both published by NYU Press.
Also troubled by what I saw happening to the middle class, I wrote America’s Middle Class – From Subsidy to Abandonment in 1997, three years before Professor, now Senator, Elizabeth Warren’s work on the middle class, she citing me generously in her work.
I entered but one presidential primary in the year 2000, engaging in civil disobedience by intentionally violating several F.E.C. regulations and being written about by Molly Ivins for doing so. I sought a legal battle to challenge the infamous Buckley v. Valeo campaign finance case that I saw underpinning an inexorable drift into oligarchy that unlimited campaign expenditures were leading to. The F. E. C. did not bite. In 2007, I published The Twenty-First Century Left – Cognitions in the Constitution and Why Buckley is Wrong. Three years later, the Supreme Court issued its odious opinion in F. E. C. versus Citizens United, an utterly predictable case.
In sum, I know of no political figure, in the Green Party or any political party, that has anticipated, may I immodestly say acted as a first responder, respecting three core public issues, a) governmental gridlock, b) the decline of the middle class and c) the prostitution of our electoral system, in both writings and political activity.
To 2016. Approaching age 75, I weighed carefully whether to become a Green Party presidential candidate. Surely, the energy level has declined. Memory sometimes fails. Yet, buoyed by the open mindedness of so many Green Party members, I chose to take one more turn at bat, espousing four levels of understanding that I believe to be foundational if this country is to pull itself back from the oligarchy that academic studies and prominent political figures now say engulfs us. I shall be brief, pointing out that just as all knowledge is not of the same order of importance, so too political issues import a hierarchy of concerns. I candidly disclose that my campaign is primarily concerned with the first two of the four levels. I do this because I feel them to be the most important, and because I agree with other candidates in large measure at the third level, the fourth level being small in size.
First, I submit that the very paradigm of political ideology is changing, rapidly. My half century of ideologically-centered writings, along with the new realities of something like voting behavior, point to the fact that the principal ideological variable is now subjective rather than objective, a matter of the mind rather than matter. In the year 2000, the principal correlate for voting right or left switched from income, or SES, to whether or not one regularly attended religious services. That is a significant change. Let us build on the research that demonstrates the superior complexity of the progressive mind and its attention to a greater number, and more sophisticated, variables.
Second, I submit that the same structural and procedural difficulties that were cited in the CCS report mentioned above have only worsened. Simply put, centrifugal forces have overwhelmed centripetal forces, providing even more vulnerable access points for powerful interest groups to unduly influence legislation and regulation in ways that further imbalance income and wealth distributions. We must make constitutional level changes that lead to something closer to the functioning European parliamentary systems.
Third, contemporary or topical issues, still have importance. As above, I do not have significant differences with, say, Jill Stein, a leading presidential candidate. Where I find need for expansion of our view is in the matter of the so-called Middle East. I have long suggested that problems in that area will be solved only by the residents of the Levant, and that the patriotic position for our country is to unwrap the divided loyalty hands of groups like the Israeli Lobby that have contributed to our unwise involvement in other people’s wars. We are still in the grip of the Military-Industrial-Religious complex. Disclosure: I am a Taoist, with no theocratic linkage to this seemingly everlasting arena of conflict.
Finally, I suggest that the Green Party reconsider one Key Value, that being the value of decentralization at the national level. We are shooting ourselves in the foot. The most decentralized government on the planet no longer works.
Bill Kreml – Green Party Presidential Candidate