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Letter to the Editor: “Thrive” Filmmakers Foster & Kimberly Gamble Respond

On August 21, YES! published an article by John Robbins about the film called “Thrive.” The article described the reasons why ten progressives interviewed in the film, including himself, had dissociated themselves from it. In the letter below, “Thrive” filmmakers Foster and Kimberly Gamble respond.

4. Thrive Offers a three-stage solution strategy that includes the primary progressive ethic.

Thrive’s “3-Stage Solutions Strategy” begins by empowering the core of the liberal/progressive /democrat approach—taking care of those most in need while transitioning to prosperous self-sufficiency. This phase is funded by cutting the bloated military budget, by stopping wars of aggression, and by ending the unnecessary and destructive interest paid by taxpayers to the Federal Reserve—instead of by creating new violations by taking more hard-earned wages from already-struggling people. (See the solutions section of our website where we spell out this “3-Stage Strategy” in every major sector of human endeavor.) 

To achieve this phase, we need to have elected officials who are accountable, so campaign finance reform is a key first step—as is getting accurate news and stopping the poisoning of people through geo-engineering. Those are among the top 10 actions we propose. 

John Robbins writes:

In my view, the deregulation of the economy and the demolition of government programs that Thrive proposes would take us even further in the direction of a winner-take-all economy in which wealth would concentrate even more in the hands of the financial elites. This is something that I and the other signers of the statement repudiating Thrive find deeply abhorrent.

This is a drastic misunderstanding of the Thrive perspective.

We believe there should be strict regulations on financial transactions that enforce contracts, and prosecute fraud, counterfeit, theft, or coercion, thereby protecting individual rights as primary and enforcing integrity. So such rackets as “fractional reserve” (lending money you don’t have), bailouts, subsidies, fake currency, derivatives, credit default swaps, and involuntary withholding of wages would disappear. Pollution would be prosecuted as the violation of our individual right to clean air and water. The banks that helped cause the global financial collapse would be out of business and the individuals responsible, as in Iceland, would be prosecuted.

It is just the opposite of a “winner take all” scheme, which is precisely what we have now. It is a win/win world where everyone is free from coercion, violators have to make reconciliation and people would be so prosperous that they could easily take care of those who ran on hard times.

Political and economic freedom lead to increased prosperity and security. The Economic Freedom of the World Report consistently reveals that the more economic and political freedom a society has the healthier, safer, and more prosperous they are.

Robbins also confuses the Thrive freedom approach with traditional libertarian politics and totally misrepresents our proposals as lacking compassion. This link will help dispel those myths.

Our allegiance is to freedom for everyone and for integrity in all our dealings with one another. Those are the regulations that we believe deserve standing and that align with a “universal morality” of non-aggression to create a sustainable, thriving civilization.

5. Thrive provides informed, strategic, and nonviolent solutions

We are thrilled to report that in just the last three months, over 300 self-creating action groups from over 40 countries have signed up on our Thrive Solutions Hub. Far from being “disempowered and undermined in our accountability” by Thrive, as Robbins seems to fear, thousands of “solutionaries” are tackling dozens of key issues in grounded, practical, collaborative and nonviolent ways. In every city we have visited, Thrive audiences are relieved and invigorated to move on to reality-based and morality-based strategies. Finally we can transcend the impotent two-party polarity—the coercion-based political platforms (the most pervasive “us vs. them” game) about who gets to control other people and their money. This is one of the reasons the Thrive movement's Solutions Hub has been approved as an action by Occupy Los Angeles's Affinity Outreach Group.

Shortly after Robbins’s letter was published, a Thrive enthusiast sent us this quote: “Those who don’t think it is possible would do well to stay out of the way of those who are making it happen.” Check out what Thrive–inspired “solutionaries” are doing all over the world.

Our lethal predicament presents an existential challenge for each of us—where we could be having the difficult, innovative conversations that allow us to learn from one another as we go. We once again extend an invitation to John Robbins and other dissociates to engage with us—at any time—in an open, constructive public discussion of these critical issues.

We talk about what what the experience of dissociation was like in this video.

Fortunately, after all our research and experience, we both agree that the authoritarian state will be seen historically as just a temporary, though lethal, concept and the fundamental force of freedom will prove to be unstoppable.

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