I walked for two hours down the middle of the main street of the most working class city in the universe yesterday, carrying a sign saying People Over Profit. Amongst the contingent of 35 or so single-payer advocates in the annual parade, I was the one wearing an IWW shirt and it helped introduce me to a number of interesting folks. Hearing Max Baucus was going to participate in the parade,( I still don't know whether he showed?) a group of activists built a beautiful float showing the Statue of Liberty lying sick in a hospital bed. The crowd reaction was mixed, a lot of blank looks, but showed what I felt was an amazing degree of support for our cause with lots of clapping and cheering and only a couple of small confrontations with Free Market Morons. Butte is a unique place with a history of class struggle and unless you have experienced St.Patricks Day or Evil Knievel Day in this hard living, hard drinking, hard playing town you don't really know Americana.
Afterwards, I drove a young activist back to Missoula, an intelligent, dedicated young lady whose main focus was spreading the virtues of perma-culture. Whenever you get discouraged with the struggle, remember lots of people like her are out there, travelling , learning, helping. From SOA protests in Georgia, to logging sale disruptions in Oregon to small farms high in the Himalayas this young anarchist was connecting it all and I connected her with our Community Union and she connected me with a local Catholic Worker House. That's how it works, folks.
Meanwhile, back in the mosquito infested Big Hole, my old friend Stewart and I talked late into the night about Risk - Reward, what he felt to be the driving motor of human endeavor. Pressing me as to how my "New Society" might incorporate this basic incentivizing device into it's structure, he used the example of an architect-engineer who makes decisions upon which many lives depend and who should therefore (he believed) be rewarded as such. This leads, of course , into that whole discussion on Personal Responsibility and it's general promotion, but fortunately exhaustion finally set in and I was allowed to sleep a few hours. (my friend is hyper-ADD and into self-medication)
Here is my delayed answer, Stew.
Let's just have everybody decide how much one should be rewarded for such onerous tasks as risk-acceptance. But let's also see if we can't reduce such risk or distribute it in such a way that it falls less heavily. Let's see how responsible people are when given the choice between working and fishing. Will you fish all day? Will you think of something else you would like to accomplish instead? I think you will get tired of even such a beautifully idle pursuit as tossing flies at wily trout. I think you will find some work that needs to get done. or the mosquitos will finally drive you to it.