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Friday, June 11, 2010

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling wrote a very strong and stirring poem that is the basis of a new book The Overton Window

The Overton Window is a public policy theory that describes all the possible policies that could be enacted, and how only a certian few can actually be accepted  at any one time by the electorate.  Politicians don't have the power to move the window, only citizens can move the window.  However, by suggesting policies that are far outside the current window and creating backlash, the public moves the window a small amount and then politicians are able to pass a policy that was previously unacceptable.

More background before reading:
A Copybook is the book children use to learn writing and cursive.  With a heading sentence and blank dotted lines following it where they copy the heading over and over.  So the "Gods of the Copybook Headings" are the people who decide what the headings will say. 

Also, while reading think about what the state of the geopolitical world, and specifically Europe, in 1919.  

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by: Rudyard Kipling - 1919

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


The poem and the theory are the basis for Glenn Beck's new Book The Overton Window.  Which I have already pre-ordered Here.

They also made a very powerful trailer for the book that can be found Here.

Whatever you think of Glenn Beck, this book looks like it is going to be good.  And by the way, he had a ghost writer.

Again, pre-order now, it comes out June 15th:


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