Op-Ed; Opinion

OPINION: The Answer is Blowin´ in the Wind

Every time I read about the lives lost in the wars of Vietnam and Iraq, in the repression against movements pro-democratization in many Arabian countries, in the recurring conflicts at the borders of Israel and Palestine, in lamentable episodes that killed Chico Mendes, Sister Dorothy Stang, and the couple José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo – defenders of the forests – and in the violence that occur in the outskirts of our metropolis, the beautiful lyrics of Bob Dylan, who turned 70 on Tuesday, May 24th, come to my mind, especially “Blowin’ in the Wind”, written in 1962.

Then, the Vietnam War was spreading absurdly. It seemed that mankind, including Chiefs of State of powerful nations, was hardly listening to the people who called the attention to the absurd of the wars and to how it would be better to solve great divergences among people and nations through the non-violence. There were great examples of this attitude as Leon Tolstoi, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., the latter always remembered for his beautiful words in “I Have a Dream”, of August 28th, 1963, when he claimed for the approval of laws assuring equality in civil rights among all the peoples as well as the Universal Suffrage:

This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism…This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality… Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of those who built the conscience of the peoples of the world in a way to put an end to the long and suffered Vietnam War. In big cities, on the streets, in public squares, crowds decided to sing, many times led by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the group Peter, Paul and Marie and other great interpreters.

“How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
How many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they´re forever banned?
How many years can a mountain exist
Before it´s washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist (as the Brazilian people, I think)
Before they´re allowed to be free?
How many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn´t see?
How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin´ in the wind
The answer is blowin´ in the wind.”

This is a matter of common sense, totally within our reach to accomplish, even with much effort and determination. It is obvious that, in order to reach the conditions for living with less violence in our society, in order to end the need for wars to solve the fundamental mankind problems, we must put into practice the tools of economic and social policies that mean the use of principles of justice, as the ones elaborated by philosopher John Rawls, in The Principles of Justice (1971).

Thus, we could realize a shared feeling of fraternity, which effectively would be recognized by the society, resulting in a much higher level of civility.

So, to create a civilized and fair society, we must take into consideration values that are not only the search of self interest, to take advantages in everything. It´s clear that all of us want to develop and we also want the progress of our beloved ones. I teach my sons and pupils to consider the value of ethics, of the search for truth, of fraternity, of solidarity, of freedom and of democracy. And what are the tools consistent with these values? One example would be extension of good opportunities in education to every child, every youth and every adult who did not have good opportunities of education. A good public health service for all. The accomplishment of an agrarian reform, in a country still unequal in its land property conditions. The incentive to the cooperative forms of production and to the participation of the workers in companies’ profits. The expansion of micro credit opportunities. And the implementation of social inclusion programs that may bring a higher level of freedom and dignity to all the human beings.

According to the conclusion reached by a growing number of economists and philosophers of the five continents at the 13th International Congress of Basic Income Earth Network, Bien, held at USP in 2010, the tool that would contribute for this objective in a high level is a Citizen´s Basic Income, regardless the person’s origin, race, age, gender, civil, social or economic condition.

Fortunately the National Congress approved and President Lula sanctioned, in 2004, the Law 10.835/2004, to institute the Citizen´s Basic Income step by step, under the criterion of the Executive Power, starting with those who need most, like the Bolsa Familia does, until the day when everybody, including foreigners living in Brazil for five years or more, has the right to receive an income, as enough as possible, to meet the vital needs of everyone.

It will be great if President Dilma Rousseff announce this upcoming November the implementation of the Citizen´s Basic Income, during her term until 2014, as approved by consensus by the IV Nation Congress of the Workers’ Party, in February, 2010. We will sing with much joy and significance: “The answer is blowin´ in the wind”.

About Yannick Vanderborght

has written 305 articles.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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