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Personalized Democracy


By admin - Posted on 12 February 2011

Nanook (italics) is talking to Ben (& ), Father Vincent (+), and George (%). From Escape to Insanity ch. 34.

Organizations should be created by society for the benefit of individuals

Section intro

& "OK. Let’s talk about commandment number two. This is also a big change. You said every organization should be organized for the primary benefit of the individuals in the society, and held accountable for the social welfare. Does this mean what I think it means?”

+ "Ben. Who is ever sure what you think you mean? But, what this does mean is that society needs to wake up from their denial that the tables have been turned upside down from the goals of the founding fathers. What has happened is exactly opposite to what the founding fathers wanted and exactly what the founding fathers were afraid would happen. This is especially so for governing organizations. Let me read something from Waiting for the Barbarians by Lewis Latham. Page 4.”

“Public transportation and the public school, public housing, public health, the public statue and the public park - all were once synonymous with the highest hopes of the American enterprise. Not now. Not under the terms of the Contract with America. These days the mention of anything public brings with it the suggestion of slums, disease, theft, ignorance, sullen foreigners and shoving crowds. The connotations signifying bright and beautiful have been reassigned to the word "private"- private schools and private police, private clubs, private trout streams, private hospitals, private planes.”

+ "And Latham is clear about where he places the blame for this.”

“The founders of the American republic thought it incumbent upon a free and freedom-loving people, especially those among them who owned property, not only to practice but also to honor the arts of government. The inheritors of their political estate prefer to leave what they have come to regard as a tiresome chore to the hired help - the speech writers, the bagmen, the media consultants and the lawyers.”

+"So what I’m prescribing here is to get the horse in front of the cart again. Society has to force responsibility into the elite structures.”

"And why can’t private industry do this? You just said that all these private things were the new rage.”

+ "Because they are only the new rage in comparison to a failed government, and they only cater to the rich. Ultimately, a free market leads to a Lord of the Flies model. So, Ben, summarize for us how you think it can be done?”

& "First off, let me categorize the main organizational groups that dominate our culture: government, military, industry and education. Do you agree?

"Well, I guess so?”

& "Well, you guessed wrong just like most people in the world. This list should be: the individual people in the society, the environment, government, military, industry, education and religion. And because the government - military - industrial - education - religion complex dominates and enslaves the individuals and the environment, our society has become a trash pile. This is what needs to be fixed.

Government structure
& So, let me start with the government. High school social studies would first break this down into the: executive, legislative and judicial branches, correct?”

"Sure. Simple.”

& "This is actually still a good way to start. What we need to change is the role each one plays.

Executive branch

& Because we use an approach called the ‘spoils system’, the President, or executive branch, has become a power position which is expected to directly create policy and change the way the society runs. That’s got to stop. That’s the role of the legislature. So, the new role that the President should have is the same role a president SHOULD have in industry. That is, making sure the policies set by the board of directors get implemented. The President’s job should be managing the legislative process, and the processes of the government agencies, to make them honest and efficient. Presidential orders should be restricted to running the government, not affecting the lives of individuals. This, in effect, makes the General Accounting Office (GAO) one of the President’s key tools. It should be renamed the General Information Office. (GIO) They are his eyes and ears to gather information about what is going on. Their power should be substantially expanded.

The president also has a cabinet of advisors. With the new presidential role as governmental operations manager, the advisors would take on a whole new role as well. They would essentially become heads of GIO departments, as well as focusing on major subjects like defense.”

"But, running the government agencies is what I thought the president was supposed to do. Are you saying that isn’t how it works?”

& "Hello Nanook. Where have you been? Because of how corrupt and argumentative our government has become, the legislature has pretty much become useless. So, during every Presidential election, the public is stirred up about fixing things that are wrong. That means the people expect each President to wade into the arena like a gladiator and smash a lot of heads.”

"Well? Isn’t that what Presidents do?”

& "Of course! But that’s NOT what they are supposed to do, according to the Constitution. That’s the point. Our government is screwed up! Changes are needed.

Legislative branch

& The changes in the executive branch have to be balanced by changes in the legislature. The first major change is to eliminate the Senate. Why? The Senate is a throwback to an authoritarian structure for protecting wealthy land owners. With a focus on the individual, all representation should be strictly based on population.”

"But what about the issue of states rights?”

& "The issue of ‘states rights’ is a throw back to practices from our rural agricultural past. It perpetuates the concept of governors sent out to rule land in the name of a king. It’s a throw back to groups of wealthy land owners in an aristocracy who want to control everything that goes on in their domain. It’s a throwback to large groups of immigrants who want to bring their old culture with them and isolate themselves from the rest of the world. It’s all about authoritarianism and power. In a modern civilization, and using Personalized ideas, ‘states rights’ no longer makes sense. Why?

The primary issue would be if the federal government attempted to control a limited group of people on a state geography basis. Under Personalism, that no longer happens. The people choose for themselves. The issue of ‘states rights’ comes up again if state governments attempt to control people in their states in an authoritarian way based on state boarders. Under a Personalism, that no longer happens either. So, special provisions to protect the states through a Senate are no longer needed.”

"But won’t the state governments complain they have lost their rights?”

& "Sure. Big time! In fact, every power broker in the system will be screaming big time. That’s why I’ve said, these principles can never be implemented in the U.S. They belong to new nations that will become leaders in the world when the U.S. and the other traditional systems fall apart.

So, the new legislature won’t have a split Senate – Congress structure. Furthermore, the new role of the legislature will no longer be voting on bills. Gone. Done that. The system always fails because it gets hung up with near 50-50 votes, which means 50% of the people get the short straw.”

Political party polarizing process that produces 50-50 split in the country

"Yeah! Why does it always seem to come so close to 50 - 50? I always wondered about that.”

& "Because the political party process is structured to allow the parties to adjust their platforms.”

"Yeah? But that seems obvious.”

& "Single Sentence Logic! When a party loses an election, obviously, they have to adjust their platform to get more voters the next time. The pressure often forces them to make radical changes. They keep doing that until they win. Then they stop changing. The other guys then become the losers and do the same thing. On a system basis, this results in both parties capturing about half the voters. ”

"But why doesn’t one party try to get most of the voters? Why don’t they just grab all the best issues?”

& "You know, on the surface, that sounds like a completely stupid question. But it’s more subtle than you think. The fact is, both parties try to do this. But there’s no law, like patents, that says anyone can own an issue. So the word BEST is what is fooling you. What both parties do is focus on issues that stir up the public. Abortion is a perfect case. They then find emotional Single Sentence Logic to polarize and attract voters to improve their position. No party will hang on to an issue that looses elections. Their idealistic principles are just window dressing. It is only the history of the pendulum swinging back and forth that determines what side of an issue any party will be on at a given time. I’ll come back to this.

Legislature continued - plural structure
& So, the continuous jockeying for position ends up creating a polarized position with close to a 50-50 split. Then, through the process of voting, the typical result is that half the people in the country are controlled by a tyranny of the other half. Personalism will end that.

The new role of the legislature will not be voting on one bill vs. another. It will be to develop bills that produce systems that give as MANY individuals what they want as possible. The legislative vote then becomes one of deciding if enough work has been done on the bill to implement a new system, or if more work is needed.”

"Now I’m really confused. Don’t they do that now? I mean, with committees and all that?”

Political Parties - platforms and elections

& "Let go of the current model. In the new system, there would be a lot of political parties. But they would not be based on developing a power base. They would be aligned with the primary social moral goals. For example: Sustainability, Efficiency, Equality, and Harmony with nature. The action of these parties retain some of the characters of existing parties. They would be focused on finding and promoting candidates. They would be focused on developing a platform of issues. But neither of these would be done in an authoritarian sense. The Sustainability Party’s job, for example, would be to find candidates to lead and fill Sustainability slots in the Congress. The other three parties would do the same.

They would also have the job of ARTICULATING a party platform. But in this case, it is not to get people to vote for their point over the points of view of the other parties. The goal is communicating options to the public. For example, using the abortion issue, the Sustainability Party’s job would be to explain the factors in the abortion question that relate to population sustainability.”

"And you say, this isn’t being done to get the people to vote for them? WHAT?”

& "Look Nanook. You’ve got to really open your thinking. The whole authoritarian house of cards is coming down. The new party’s job is to do their best to sort out social needs within their subject area. Let me keep going. When it comes time to vote, the voters are no longer going to just pick candidates. They are going to ‘vote’ for individual issues, and in fact, different versions of issues. But the votes are NOT being cast to PICK a result. The votes are being cast to determine the distribution of opinions on an issue. It’s another form of what I called the National Opinion Census. Again, let me use the abortion issue again. Let’s say there are four factors identified, just as an example: 1. the latest time during a pregnancy when an abortion should be allowed; 2. what happens to a baby that is born, but the mother doesn’t want it, maybe due to severe medical problems, but she delivered it due to social reasons; 3. what happens if the pregnancy occurred due to rape; 4. how is the abortion to be performed? During the voting, people would express their opinions. Let’s just choose one as an example; say number one. The results come in something like: never-30%, 1 month - 30%; 2 months - 20%; 3 months - 10%; anytime - 10%. The purpose of this ‘vote’ would be to instruct the legislature that the public has this distribution of views, after being presented with all the facts by every faction during the pre-election process.”

"Ah HA! Now I see where you’re going. So, it then becomes the legislature’s job to design our national medical system to allow and meet ALL of these needs! WOW. NEAT!”

& "Bingo! Each person get’s their own way.”

% "But do you see that designing such a system is still a huge job?”

"Sure. It’s not just about the abortion itself. It’s caring for the mother both medically and psychologically.”

% "Exactly. And in the case of the 10% of the people who said they’d like it optional at any time, this may result in society saying no to abortions during the period from 4 months to 9 months for significant medical reasons, but offering that person the financial and medical support for her to carry the child to birth during that period and take and care for the child after that.”

"But what about those people who say abortion is murder?”

& "They get to have their way. But ONLY about THEMSELVES. That is, if they believe it’s wrong, they shouldn’t do it. But they have no right to force their opinion on others.”

"But I’m sure there would be some limitations on that kind of logic, right?”

& "Sure. But not for authoritarian reasons. That is, no religion would be allowed to force its views on people outside of its own believers.”

Political issues - gun control

"So, the role of a new legislature would be creating programs for all the issues voted on based on the distribution of votes. But let me pick an example that doesn’t seem to fit this model. Let’s take gun control. People have to vote to either have guns or not, don’t they? If each person can have their choice, the criminals will vote to keep their guns while the others would turn them in? How can that work?”

& "Totally wrong. You’ve been so brainwashed. There are a lot of elements to the gun control debate. Until these are all presented to the public, and the public get’s to weigh in on each of them separately, just a yes / no decision only polarizes people. For example, what are some of the reasons people want to own guns?”

"OK. 1. to protect themselves from robbers. 2. to protect themselves from the government. 3. to go hunting. 4. to do target shooting.”

& "Good examples. So, how does a shot gun help people protect themselves against the government? This is the problem that the Bill of Rights presents. Military coups happen around the world all the time. So shot guns aren’t going to do the job. The state militia’s are going to need advanced weapons. They would also need training to use them. So, how do the states train for this? Do they practice attacking each other? Do they join up and attack Washington D.C.? This is all nonsense. The days of farmer soldier’s are over.

The primary concern of the average person about guns right now is the high number of civilian deaths, not from crimes, but from gun accidents. In the new society, when a program like gun control get’s formed, it has to include all the issues. So, it would need to include cost, safety, social stability and environmental considerations. Add in the living situations: cities, suburbs, rural areas. Then add the gun type issues: hand guns, rifles, shot guns, automatic weapons. And then ask the ‘denial defense’ question. What answer do you get?”

"By denial defense you mean, if we can’t think up a simple solution that solves every problem, we throw the whole solution away.”

& "Bingo! And that’s what applies here. What if people in cities, for example, who said they needed hand guns for defense, were given alternatives instead? What if they could trade their guns for portable security systems? Maybe they could carry tear gas guns instead of hand guns? But we don’t even get started with our current approach.

Legislature - maximize citizen diversity

& Let me summarize this by saying, the new goal of government should be to develop methods for society to enjoy a maximum range of interests. This cannot be done with the singular programs we have now.

Elections - congress

& I didn’t finish up talking about the election process. We will still have to elect people for congress. This would be done in a fashion similar to how it is done now. Candidates would be selected and the people would vote for them. BUT, the motives will be very different. It will not be about Republicans and Democrats. It will be about judging how well the person does gathering the opinions of the constituents and turning them into national policy. That is, each person in congress has a process management role similar to the new role I presented for the President.”

Elimination of transfer of money to the states

"You mean, these people would NOT be voting for bills to bring money back to their states?”

& "Correct. In fact, the transfer of federal money back to the states should be almost completely stopped. This is a big charade on the public. The states can’t raise enough money with their own tax system, so they let the federal government do it for them and bring it in through the back door where the citizens don’t have an open view of it. And then, the congressmen present it as a big prize from Uncle Sam, as if the money was simply printed in Washington. It’s a big LIE.

New position - National Provost - leader character asymmetry

& Now, let me discuss a new position in the government. This, I call, the National Provost. This would be an elected position at the same level as the President. The role of this person is to be the ‘national PHILOSOPHER’. This person is the spokes person for the country concerning what we believe. The audience is both the citizens of the country, but also to all other nations.”

"So, isn’t this like the Secretary of State?”

& “Sure, in a way. The importance of the function, however, is elevated to be on the same level as the President. So, why is this needed? I’ll tell you why.

With our current system, there is a huge asymmetry built into the character of leaders. Due to how we run elections, winning is based on personality. These leaders win a beauty contest using emotional issues. This is great for general diplomacy and developing cooperation to deal with home issues. But it means they lack the strength to force tough issues through congress and deal with foreign powers. So, in the new government, the Provost is the good guy; the President is the tough guy. And they work as a team.”

"Sort of like the President and Vice President, right?”

& "NO. Equals! They both have top prestige. They both have ‘vice’ officers to take their place if something happens to them.”

"So, they are effectively competing all the time, right?”

& "NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. They are ALLIES all the time. They don’t have different objectives. The objectives are set by the public. They are a team, that uses different strategies to reach the same objective. The Provost position does not have day to day authority over the operation of the nation. The role is more like a thought leader, an organizer and a spokesperson. Let’s say, the congress is dragging its feet on the budget. The Provost works with ‘velvet gloves’ to get them together. If he fails, everyone knows the next person they will face is the President. AND, it won’t be a pretty picture.”

"But the President doesn’t really have any power over the legislature, right? All he can do is veto bills, right?”

& "That’s the way it is now, under the U.S. Constitution. But the Constitution was written for an agricultural, untamed country of plantation owners 200 years ago. It took two weeks at best to communicate between the states. The Constitution doesn’t work anymore. In the new Personalism, the President would have a lot of power to guide the legislature. The same cooperation between the Provost and President, along with the Secretary of State, would be used with foreign diplomacy.”

"Go back to the idea of ‘national Philosopher’. Why did you use that term?”

& "Plato talked about a nation with a Philosopher King. Both functions Plato talked about are needed. But they are not easily found in a single person. The Provost’s job is to help the citizens understand the complexity related to current issues. Take the abortion issue again. The Provost has to help the people understand and reconcile all the competing issues. He, or she, has to help the ‘country’ understand that there is NOT just one opinion. He, or she, has to explain the variation of opinions and how the new laws will help people express their own beliefs with the new system. The President’s job is to hammer the details into legal words.”

"OK. I’m finally getting all of this. What you’ve done is find a way to disable the tyranny of the majority.”

Democracy is replaced by freedom

& "Bingo! Let me read a statement from Ebenstein about this. Page 41. He was talking about how our society struggles to implement democracy in the face of the tyranny of the majority.”

“Where is democracy in all of this? In a democracy, the government stimulates certain economic activities indirectly by means of the budget, taxation, interest rates, and other policies of planning by INDUCEMENT, thus avoiding the two main defects of planning by direction: bureaucratic centralization and economic inefficiency.”

& "This is the magic of Personalism. With Personalism, there IS no majority. The whole concept of majority is replaced by individual FREEDOM, which was the primary objective of democracy in the first place, that democracy was not able to achieve.”

Legal System - Civil Rights branchLegal system - supreme court

"OK. You redesigned the executive branch and the legislature. There have to be repercussions for the judicial branch as well?”

& "Yeah, BIG TIME. But first, I want to break the legal system into two parts. There would still be a third branch of government, which operates on the level of the President and the Congress. I call that the Civil Rights branch. But it would NOT be a legal branch. The national legal system would be an entirely separate government agency. Let me explain.

The big problems with the Supreme Court are its name and process. The President and Congress work on bills at the same time. If the President doesn’t like what the Congress passes, he can veto it and they can keep working on it. But the Supreme Court’s role gets pushed downstream for months or years. And they deal with things using the process of a court trial brought by the citizens. Totally archaic and inconsistent. So, we would replace the Supreme Court by an executive level Philosophy branch that we would call the CIVIL RIGHTS branch. Their function is to double check the details of the Congressional Work to insure that it doesn’t infringe on any human rights already guaranteed by the law. They would act as advisors to the Congress during preparation of a bill. They essentially would have veto power like the President.”

"And they would exercise that right at the same time the President does?”

& "Correct. And we call it the Philosophy branch because it will be linked to a whole new structure for the University system in the country whereby the Universities are involved in this decision.”

"OK. I’m sure we’ll get to that. So, what about the Supreme Court?”

& "The Supreme Court just get’s shoved out into the regular court system. They still exist, and still do pretty much what they do now. That is, if all three executive branches manage to screw up a bill so it still compromises a human right, then the Supreme Court can come around at a later time and clean up the mess. The three part checks and balances system becomes a four part checks and balances system.

Legal System - held back by lawyers through forced redundancy

& Under the supreme court is the entire legal system. This has to be totally overhauled to throw off the yoke of oppression our whole society is suffering under the lawyers. Our entire structure of laws and the court system is a major failure because they are primarily operated to maintain the wealth of the lawyers. And the way they do this is by totally suppressing efficiency. And I’m not just talking about automation to improve record handling. That’s just smoke and mirrors. What is needed, as a new goal and direction, is to eliminate ALL REDUNDANCY and to eliminate ALL CRIME.”

"You don’t shy away from tough problems, do you?”

Redundant legal agreements

& "So, let’s start with the redundancy problem. What I mean by this is that a lawyer should not be needed to do again, what has already been done. For example, in most states in the country, to sell a house, you have to have a real estate lawyer involved to go over the ‘legal’ records. TOTAL WASTE! California has proven that lawyers aren’t required. So why do the other states keep their old systems? Because the lawyers have us all by the throats. As computers become less costly, every municipality in the country should be required to automate all their records. They should be held responsible for the accuracy of those records.

And, beyond real estate, every type of transaction that now requires a lawyer, that can be done without them, should be done without them. Some examples are: wills, non-disclosure agreements, taxes and incorporation papers for small business. But more important, EVERY legal agreement that consumers REGULARLY encounter in daily life - like phone contracts, apartment and rental car agreements, should be made statutory. Consumers should NEVER see these things. They should be designed as universal agreements to protect the CONSUMER, not the corporations.”

"You mean like the long pages of agreements that come with life insurance?”

& "Bingo!”

"But I don’t see how that can be eliminated.”

Ben looked at me with a heavy scowl. He stood up as if he were going to make a big speech.

+ "Ughhh! Ben! Don’t say it! We may be just sitting on the sidelines here, but we’re still listening.”

& "OK! I’ll stuff the boots down my own mouth.”

He sat down again.

& "Look Nanook. Our whole society has been brainwashed by these guys. I’m sure you’ve heard the term BUYER BEWARE.”

"Yeah. Sure.”

& "So, why does it have to be BUYER beware? Why can’t it be BUSINESS BEWARE? I’ll tell you why. Because the whole concept of anyone ‘bewaring’ came about long before 2000BC when money was invented. Human society is still suffering from it. And the lawyers have a vested interest in keeping it that way. So, in keeping with the overall concept of our current discussion, in the new society, every organization should be organized for the primary benefit of INDIVIDUALS. Every ‘organization’ here includes EVERY BUSINESS. That means, instead of every business having a raft of expensive lawyers developing specialized agreements to protect their business, a large number of standard rules should be created in the law. These should be universally applied. AND, they should be structured to place the burden of execution ON THE BUSINESSES for the CONVENIENCE of the individual. As things are now, we have a ‘persecution, OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE BUSINESSES and for the lawyers.’ There is actually a precedent like this. It’s called the Uniform Commercial Code. Have you ever heard of it?”

"NO.”

& "Of course not. It should be required that every student in high school study this. Why don’t we? Because the lawyers don’t want people to know the law. Fixing the law is a big topic that requires a lot of work. Let me just briefly describe two more parts of it.

Local Arbitration Centers

& As I mentioned to you, the basic role of law as a philosophy is to achieve social harmony; to avoid social conflict. So, there should be much simpler methods to achieve this than going to court. Small claims court is a good example of a good try. No lawyers needed. But it is still way under used because it has not been designed for the benefit of the users. So a whole new system needs to be set up that I call LOCAL ARBITRATION CENTERS. There should be a local arbitration center in every bank, in every shopping mall, in every drivers license bureau. Even the primitive tribes in the world figured that out. And it would run like an arbitration process rather than a court case.

Role of legal colleges

& Furthermore, it would be a primary role of the legal colleges in the country to reduce the cost of justice and crime in the country. I’ll come back to that.

Law enforcement - prisons

& The second aspect of the legal process that has to be fixed is LAW ENFORCEMENT. Part one is the prison system. As I discussed with you, the current concept of prison is based on authoritarianism and physical PUNISHMENT. The bleeding heart restraints that we now apply to prisons renders physical punishment mute. The fall back is LOSS OF FREEDOM. This ignores how the human mind works. So, the whole freedom argument is also moot. In other words, the current implementation of prisons has NO theoretical basis upon which to work.

Law enforcement - as a system

& So why does this go on? I’ll tell you why. There is money to be made. The lawyers, who control the laws, that control the police, don’t want their revenue stream to dry up. Let’s take a concrete example: auto theft. This is a trivial problem to solve. The technology exists. So, why isn’t it done? Because huge amounts of revenue related to running the auto theft business would disappear. There is money to be made running prisons. There is money in prostitution, in drugs, in illegal immigrants. The problems don’t get solved because the government, driven by special interests, is blocking the solutions.”

"So, are you saying there’s a big conspiracy in the government to support all of these scams?”

& "NO, NO, NO, NO! I’ve explained this before. If you go to any individual in the process and ask them if they support it, they will say no. But when actions are proposed that would achieve the results, then up come the defenses: our privacy would be invaded, we’d have to reduce the number of police etc. This is denial. And this is the definition of corruption! Personal benefit before social responsibility.”

% "But there is also the denial problem that is based on religious denial. Today the South has the highest murder rate, one per 12,500 people per annum, compared to one per 16,667 people west of the Rockies and one per 25,000 in the Northeast. Note that the regions with more murder tend to vote conservative and claim to be more religious. Those with less murder tend to vote liberal and are tolerant of widely varying religions. Fewer births to teens is also a factor in the crime decline, as boys born to unwed teens are far more likely to commit crimes in later life than boys born to married mothers over the age of twenty, a rule that applies to all races. And while religious people will state that reduction in teen births is a primary goal for them, the statistics show that their approach to achieving this is a failure.”

+ "Do you remember our discussion about this. In the Netherlands, where they start sex ed from first grade, they have a factor of 7 lower teen pregnancy rate than we do in the U.S. It’s clear we are following a defective model.”

% "So, in the new society, THE PRISON WILL BE REPLACED BY THE SCHOOL.”

Government agencies

& "After the major government branches, there are a thousand government agencies. In our current society, they operate a lot like businesses. In the new world, they would also act a lot like the businesses of the new world. So, let’s hold off on talking about them till later.