David Bean, author of Your Constitution, lives in Portland Oregon, is a citizen of senior years and is often amused with absurdity. Which is to say he is often amused. Imagine for an instant, referring to yourself as a “consumer”. But I digress. Just call yourself “The Mouth”. Or as Lewis Hyde author of Trickster Makes this World writes about Coyote: the Mouth at both ends… aka appetite. Friend, I know you would not refer to yourself this way, but we are spoken about like this daily in the press, radio and TV and other sponsored media. We listen to programs and are programmed. Not you, for you are reading this blog, but Them. What are we to do about them?
It makes me a Grouchoist. You know: the Marxist. Groucho said: ” Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” To paraphrase him again: ” If I were any closer to you, I would be on the other side.” And we are all like that. We are, after the fall, all Marxists now. It amuses me.
Who am I? I am the carpenter-economist. That means I am a systems thinker with sixteen penny common sense. I am a Scot and Viking mix with a lot of spice thrown in, which is to say that I am not enamored with the timid. OK there is a little Welsh in me too; so expect to be confused from time to time.
My name is David Bean, and during the Viet Nam War I won a constitutional case against the US Navy. In response to my suit, the Navy dodged behind the Department of Defense, and they in turn dodged behind You, the People of the United States. The case was called David Bean v The People of the United States, and I am happy to report: y’all backed down. This is to say that I won, with the help of one good lawyer (Stanley Pred) and the US Constitution, which made of me a Great fan. I read it every year, and I recommend the practice. It Never gets old.
After being honorably discharged from the Navy, I developed and graduated with an independent major linking the study of M.K. Gandhi, environmental and monetary economics, and information systems,with three mentors, two of which were in academia. Paul Kashap, Oxford educated philosopher, had worked with Gandhi in his youth, and gave me an inspiring glimpse of Satyagraha, or ‘Soul Force’, ahimsa, or what was loosely translated here to be non-violence. Gregory Bateson, a profound intellect, and beyond that a very wise and innovative man, guided me in the realm of epistemology, or how we come to know. I managed to mix that all up in a thesis that inquired of our work relations as modeled by our monetary system by chasing the question: “If Nature had a cost, what would be the unit of its measure, and how would that be found in price?” That was in 1978 at UC Santa Cruz. The third mentor was Gordon Robinson, artist and head forester for Southern Pacific Railroad, and author of “The Forest and the Trees”. He wisely used fire to discipline and refine the forest, he did not clear cut, and produced a larger cut and more wood standing for each of the 27 years he controlled that great forest. Timber companies listen: that means more money in your pocket, more money in the bank, Every year. His plan was that would continue for a minimum of 175 years, without clear cutting, and ‘big timber’ would populate our forests which would be used by fish, wildlife and mankind alike. Ah, but not all plans come to fruit, some are subject to… takeover and greed.
I have done many, many things, my biggest victory was the suit with the Navy mentioned above, and my biggest setback.. so far was my battle to Save the Salmon, for they are still trending toward extinction. In 1991 I founded the Wild Salmon Nation an all volunteer public awareness art group. I discovered that year that one (1) sockeye salmon made it to the Redfish lake. Redfish lake is at the top of the Salmon River in Idaho, a thousand miles from the mouth of the Columbia River, and up the Snake and Salmon rivers. In the past, the lake turned red with salmon, and in 1991, one male salmon successfully navigated the 8 dams to get to his spawning ground for…… no party. As a carpenter and a gardener and fisherman I know well the link between salmon runs, the hundreds of tons of ‘fish meal” that naturally deposit biological wealth and trace minerals to the roots of trees throughout the Great Northwest with the help of eagle, raccoon and bear. I know too, the ravages of fire (a clearcut is a simulated fire in current “forestry theory”) that sick forests suffer, that have had their regular fertilizer stream shut down by the successive dams halting the spawning route for salmon despersing their riches throughout the Columbia Basin, an area the size of France. What used to be an exciting thousand mile, two week, tail-first ride to the mouth of the river and the sea for salmon smolt, is now at two month slog through 350 miles of slack water behind 8 dams, that must be navigated head first, or in a barge. Is there any wonder salmon can no longer find their way home. The are expected to return to their spawning bed on reputation alone.
Maybe I will tell you about salmon sometime. The best food in the world. Did I say I like food. Ah, it is all part of “The Knot”. but enough rambling. Let’s get to it…. shall we?