Political Manifesto for the 21st Century

January 7, 2010 by

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (Declaration of Independence, 1776)

We affirm these self-evident truths, and declare that it is time to abolish our form of government, not by armed revolution, but by the election of representatives who will change it.

The Constitution of the United States allows for the people to elect their representatives every two years, and to elect every senator every six, and to elect the president every four. Each state constitution allows the citizens of that state a similar power to choose their government. Through electing representatives that represent our desire to preserve our government solely to protect the individual rights of everyone, we propose the following changes be made.

  1. Limited government. Our governments are limited by the constitutions that form them. We need to enact a common understanding among the people of what those limits are and impose them on our governments. We need also to strengthen the already existing limits, overturning bad interpretations by our courts, legislators, and executives, and impose new and stronger limits on our governments which will forever ensure our individual liberty.
  2. Dramatic cuts to spending. Our governments should spend our money procuring only those goods and services that will protect our rights.
  3. An end to government charity. It is the role of our churches and the individual to supply charity to the poor, not the state. If the individual and churches cannot supply the charity, government could only do worse. Having government provide charity absolved the conscience and duty of the people from their proper role to love their neighbor.
  4. An end to unfunded legislation. Any program that congress enacts must be completely and fully funded at the time of its creation. We will not enslave future generations to programs that we create but do not fully fund. Existing programs that are unfunded should be canceled or modified until they can be funded.
  5. Dramatic cuts to taxation. Our governments should collect far less taxes than the people can bear. The people should be free to pursue whatever economic matter they wish without burden or undue influence due to taxes. Taxes should not be used to punish the rich or to mold society’s behavior. They should only be used to raise the necessary money to meet the spending requirements of a government that protects the rights of the individual. Any surpluses should be immediately refunded to the people in proportion to taxes paid, or used to pay off debts. Taxes should never be raised to meet spending; rather, spending should be cut to meet tax revenue.
  6. An end to government debt. Our people have become more prosperous than any other people in the world. We do not need to borrow money anymore to provide for the needs of government. Paying interest on our government debts is slavery, not freedom. We are not free until we have paid off all of our debts. Any debt that we must incur should be paid off within a very short time frame, so that our debts are not repaid by our children.
  7. An end to bureaucratic regulation. Any kind of regulation must be debated and passed by the legislatures of our governments, and no other way. No public official should be allowed to set policy that governs the life of anyone but their own employees. No court should dictate legislation. No executive should issue orders except to his troops and employees. Anyone exceeding these limits should immediately be removed from office by impeachment because they are a threat to our liberty.
  8. An end to over-litigation. The laws of our country are unjust, in that they are used to punish those who have done no wrong with tort laws and allow the criminal to go free. Let our laws be simple and just so that we no longer have need of lawyers. Do not allow our constitution to be interpreted as giving shelter to the guilty or limiting the freedoms of the individual.

We boldly declare that freedom and liberty are dramatically different than tyranny and slavery. In a free society, government works differently than in an enslaved society. Our governments should be eternally fearful of the will of the people, forever locked in by the limits of the constitution which creates them, and ever subservient to the people, both the individual and as a whole.

We emphatically reject the tenets of communism, socialism, fascism, totalitarianism, colonialism, and every other form of government or political idea that sets one person above another, that limits the freedom of the individual for the “greater good”, or attempts to convince any individual that they have no rights or fewer rights than the rights man is endowed with by their Creator.

We boldly declare that in our society, the checks and balances in our government includes the individual, private organizations such as businesses or churches or political groups, and federated governments such as the local, state, and federal governments. By distributing the power to govern among these people, organizations, and governments, no one person or group of people is able to obtain much power over the rest.

We also declare that there is enough in this world, and to spare, if the individual is freed from the constraints of government to seek his own fortune in life. We also declare that the man who has obtained wealth is capable of providing charity to the poor, jobs to those who want them, and also to pursue the critical role of participating in politics to keep government constrained. We encourage all men, everywhere, to embrace their freedom, seek their own fortunes, and once having obtained it, spend their time and resources as they see fit in service to their fellowman, without the entanglement of government.

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We’re Still in Reconstruction

July 16, 2018 by

The Civil War purportedly ended in 1865. Note that it was a Civil War, not a rebellion, as it was the governments that revolted, not just the discontented masses. We had a full-blown war between two governments with armies and generals and all that.

The era that followed is rightly dubbed “Reconstruction.” During this time, the devastated South was purported “reconstructed”. What really happened, however, was the North imposed their will on the South, in a vindictive and fascist style.

There were four battles being fought, wars if you will, after the Civil War ended.

  • Congress v. the Presidency
  • North v. South
  • Black v. White
  • Republican Party v. Democratic Party

The first battle is still unresolved today. The question is “Who ultimately controls domestic affairs?” Or rather, “Who should take the lead?” Thanks to President Johnson’s ineptitude, the republicans took control of congress, with a significant number of radicals, and for most of the reconstruction, at least the latter part of it, congress did whatever it pleased, damn the constitution or the opinions of the president.

This showed that congress, ultimately, carries the torch when it comes to domestic affairs. They are virtually unstoppable when they are united.

Since then, we’ve had several strong presidents try to reassert control over domestic affairs.

If I had to pick a side, I would choose congress. However, it requires that the voters understand how important it is to elect the right sort of person to office in congress. You need battle-hardened warriors who want to take the fight to the government, not mealy-mouthed sponges who see their job as acting as a buffer between the will of the people and the Deep State.

On the battle front of North v. South, the question was “Which trade policy should we have?” The North, thanks to its heavy manufacturing core, preferred high tariffs and no income taxes. This would all but force Americans to “Buy American” but at the same time, keep the workers out of the purview of the federal government. The South, on the other hand, relied more in farms and farming, so they were looking for more mouths to feed. They wanted low tariffs, expecting other countries to reciprocate. At the very least, they wanted cheap machines to work their soil.

This war is still being waged today. We cannot seem to make up our mind on what our trade policy should be. I believe the “no tariff” crowd is going to lose, as the only excuse that made any sense was we needed to strengthen the countries on the frontline of the Soviet threat. Now that threat is gone, and so it makes no sense to give preference to our “trade allies”, if there ever could be such a thing.

Yes, according to free market economics, tariffs are a bad idea. But so are any taxes. Tariffs are the least bad tax because they’re optional, and there is a strong incentive to keep them as low as possible. On the one hand, you raise less funds with high tariffs, and on the other hand, there are always going to be people looking to buy cheap foreign goods.

The Black v. White battle is raging even today. Really, this is a battle not of skin colors, but of ideas. On one side is the idea that whether or not black people are functionally different, politically speaking, from whites, that it is not just to give them different treatment. On the other side is the idea that unless two people are exactly the same, they should not have the same political power.

I draw your attention to the actual message of the Alt-Right. Note that they are not saying, “Fewer rights for blacks!” Instead, they are saying, “Preserve our rights; preserve their rights.” They want to maximize political power of whites and blacks alike by allowing people to form political bands based on the attributes they feel are important. One does not need American citizenship to enjoy their rights, after all. (They can form their own governments made of people who think like they do.) Thus, we do not need to grant citizenship to every inhabitant of planet earth.

I would hope that this debate would draw to a close soon, but democrats insist that because blacks have some differences with white, they should not have the same political power, so it keeps coming up time and again.

Finally, the war between Republican and Democrat. This is an ancient war, started long before the first shots of the Civil War were fired. It rages on today.

My take on this war is it is stupid and counter-productive.

The Democratic Party was wrong time and again, and why anyone would want to call themselves a democrat is beyond me. To me, calling yourself a democrat is like calling yourself a Stalinist or a Nazi. Sure, you might not agree with everything those political philosophies endorsed, but that doesn’t excuse preserving their name. At least modern Nazi sympathizers are smart enough not to call themselves Nazis!

The Republican Party, however, was also wrong. The two parties are reverse sides of the same coin: Government control. The Whigs were right, and it’s high time we went back to Whiggism.

What does Whiggism look like?

  • Minimal government.
  • Goverment by the wise, experienced and able, not the well-connected or wealthy.
  • Maximize the rights of the individual.
  • Maximize the powers of the smaller governments.

Whiggism would almost look foreign today. Imagine walking into a town where certain federal laws were of no force. Or moving to a state only to realize that they acknowledge a different set of rights than the state you came from. No one would think of appealing a matter to the federal government, since the federal government would only care about issues that crossed state boundaries or affected the federal government.

It would be a return to state politics, where each state carefully examined itself every 2 and 4 years to see how they were doing protecting the rights of their own citizens. If they had a bad report card, there would be no appeal to the Supreme Court, there would be no federal army to save them. Thus, the states would be the last line of defense against tyranny.

This is not a bad thing: Tyrannical states would be quickly depopulated. States that can’t manage their own economy would become poor. States that did protect rights would attract new immigrants from other states, and would have strong economies. By their fruits ye shall know them, as the Bible says.

Now that Janus has been decided, next on my political wishlist is the abolishment of the 14th, 17th, and 19th amendments. Yes, these are not federal matters, but state matters. Consigning them to the federal government turns our federal system into an imperial one. The abolition of these amendments would see the virtual elimination of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, as each state’s politics would be completely independent of the others.

The other three wars being waged today, I believe, would resolve themselves if we could fix this critical issue.

 

 

Janus is Huge: It Disrupts the Democrat Machine

July 16, 2018 by

A long time ago, if I made a list of things that I would wish could happen, but probably never will, “Eliminate all public sector unions” would be near the top.

The public sector unions are one of the most important cogs in the Democratic Party machine. It means that democrats don’t have to worry what the voters think, because they can virtually raise infinite funds to run a media campaign to change the way they think.

The way the public sector unions work is as follows:

  • The government pays its employees salaries and benefits.
  • The employees pay their union dues.
  • The unions use some of that money to elect favorable politicians (always democrats).
  • The elected politicians negotiate salary and benefits with the unions.
  • Repeat ad nauseum.

If you could disrupt this process, you could eliminate billions from politics. Without a steady flow of union dues, and without the money being injected into politics from the public sector unions, democrats would have a hard time running their billion-dollar ad campaigns before elections.

Note on some terminology here, because the last thing the government unions want is for the public to understand what is really going on here.

  • “Public sector” means “government”. That is, police, firefighters, government-owned utilities, as well as the army of bureaucrats that make and enforce government policy.
  • “Union” is any sort of organization that purports to represent workers, and negotiates with their employers in their behalf.
  • “Political spending” includes overt donations to political campaigns or political organizations, but also includes any sort of spending meant to influence others, such as ads or signs. It also includes the money that unions spend to hire protestors.

You can read the decision at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1466_2b3j.pdf

#walkaway — but to where?

June 29, 2018 by

As the democratic party implodes upon itself, and as their key supporters are walking away, let me take a moment to ask those walking away where they want to walk away to, and what they want to accomplish?

For so many years, democrats have lead by angering their base. They get votes by getting people angry, and the angrier they are the more often they will vote. This strategy works in the short term, but it has long-term consequences.

For starters, when your entire party platform is anger, you attract angry people to be your spokespeople and leaders. Anger, by itself, is nothing. Anger must lead to action, and what sort of action do angry people take? If you thought angry people make competent, wise decisions, with plenty of forethought and careful consideration, you would be wrong. And so the angry people leading the angry party make a lot of mistakes.

Sometimes these mistakes have violent consequences. It’s nice to have angry people vote for you, but when they start shooting at people and start talking about civil war, then you know you’re in the danger zone. See, violence isn’t the answer, especially in a society like ours where people shoot back. Well, violence is the answer, but it’s the answer to violence. So initial violence is never the right answer.

As a lifelong democrat, ask yourself: What is it you truly want? What would the ideal government look like? What would the laws actually say? When you consider these questions in quiet contemplation, outside of the anger and bitterness of your party leaders, you might find that your answers are so very different than their answers.

Now, you might find some things that agree with conservatives. I’m more than happy to work with you to accomplish these things in our society. But I’m going to assume that you’re not finding very many or these things, if any at all.

Regardless, this is the first step to any sort of political action: What do you believe in? What do you really want? What is the end goal?

Once you’ve spelled those out, then think about what it would take to get there. Take anger out of the equation, and you see that you have a lot of convincing to do. You need an army of convincers and the convinced. You, by yourself, are really powerless to change much in terms of government. But together, with a few hundred million others, you would be an unstoppable force.

So once you’ve got your goals in mind, start forming those alliances. That’s what a political party should be: a clearinghouse of political alliances. Sure, you’re not going to agree with everything the party stands for, nor are you going to follow lock-step with the party leaders into every issue. But you are going to seek out those people within the party who agree with you, champion the causes you believe in, and who knows? Maybe one day you and your people will be the party leaders.

Can the democratic party be that party? I would say no. Not simply because I really don’t like the history of the democratic party, but because it is bankrupt and has been bought and sold too many times. No, that brand is dead and gone. It’s time to find a new name, a new group, a new set of leaders and a new brand.

These changes will take time, during which conservatives will eat your lunch and laugh about it. See, there was a political war, and the conservatives won. We get to celebrate and we get to take the spoils of war for a season. Your new party will take time to put together and to form, and to become effective. One day, if your ideas are good and you’re persuasive, you too can take the spoils of war won through political victory. That day, of course, is not today.

Split the State?

May 4, 2018 by

Rep. Matt Shea is stumping for splitting Washington State into two states, separating Eastern Washington from Western Washington. http://www.dailysunnews.com/news/2018/may/02/51st-state-rallies-coming-zillah-benton-city-and-w/

I think this is a great idea.

States should, ideally, be about 1 million people. This is about the minimum number of people needed to form an autonomous unit. Anything less, and there’s not enough diversity to fill all the roles necessary to make a healthy society. Any more, and there’s too many people and it’s too easy to corrupt.

This would mean that there would be about 350 states in the United States for our roughly 350 million people.

Each state would have 2 senators in the federal government, making a senate with 700 members. If we went back to 1 representative per 30k, then we’d have roughly 12,000 representatives. Presidents would need about 6,350 electoral votes to get elected.

Now, some geographic areas are densely populated, and breaking them up into states would not be reasonable. But when you look at larger cities, and how they rightfully divide up their city into different governing districts, to better represent the people and handle issues locally, I don’t see a big problem with it. We’re already seeing cities blend together, often across state lines.

Imagine the freedom you’d have by having a state government represent you on a smaller scale. You’d have your own laws, your own tax code, your own regulations.

Here in Washington State, Eastern Washington is usually in disagreement with Western Washington on all sorts of issue. Eastern Washington doesn’t want to invest in an expensive commuter rail system. They don’t want higher taxes and more police. They don’t want stricter controls on how property can be developed.

Indeed, rural states should be free to develop as they see fit, while more urban states should adapt to their burgeoning population with more controls on how land can be used, with deeper investments in infrastructure projects.

Real Marriage

May 1, 2018 by

In a previous post, I talked about the logical foundation of marriage, why it is the most reasonable solution to the problem of how to protect the rights of children with minimal invasion.

In this post, I want to talk about what marriage should be, and why.

Traditionally, marriage was the only place where expression of sexual activity was encouraged. It was expected that a couple would produce children, and not a few.

While societies tolerated violations of this basic principle, the norm throughout history was to have laws expressly forbidding sexual relations outside of marriage. The punishment varied according to time and the people, but usually it was death.

I look up to the original Mosaic Law, that God gave Moses via revelation, as the ultimate guide to what God’s law looks like. In it, God punishes adultery with death, both man and woman. Remember that adultery is having relations as a married man with a married woman who is not your wife.

Other sexual infractions would include fornication, which is having relations with someone who is not married. The punishment for that is that you either die or marry the person — what we call a “shotgun marriage” today. If you can’t satisfy your wife, and she wants a divorce, then you are killed when she divorces you.

These seem especially harsh in today’s world, and rightly so (death is a severe punishment), but honestly, it wasn’t so long ago that our laws read similarly. It wasn’t until the 70s that “no-fault divorce” became common. Up until that point, it would take acts of the state legislature or more to get a divorce.

I can’t help but think how our society would be different if we went back the traditional view of marriage.

  • The only single mothers would be widows. Widows get special treatment by the extended family and community.
  • Every mother and child would have claim on the income of a man. Thus, there would be no need for a social safety net. Men are expected to be able to provide, and those that can’t aren’t ready for marriage.
  • Every man would have a sexual claim on a woman, and every woman on a man. If they don’t like their sexual partner, their choices are to wait until they die or to build them up. IE, if your wife is fat and ugly, and you don’t like sleeping with fat and ugly, then it’s up to you to make your wife skinny and beautiful. Compare this to today, when if your wife gets fat and ugly, you can just walk away and find a skinny and beautiful wife to replace her with, throwing her away like yesterday’s newspaper.
  • A strong network, enforced by violent law, would develop. No longer would a marriage be a temporary union of two people and two families, but an unseverable, eternal binding. When two houses marry, they cannot ever be divided.
  • I believe men would become much more loyal to their family and their wife and children. They don’t get to walk away anymore, and if they want a better life, it would have to be through making his wife and children better. The same for the wife: She cannot improve her station in life without improving her husband and her children. But the children as well would be invested in their parents. If they are to have any inheritance, it is through helping to build the family business. This is the sort of loyalty we sorely lack today.

How would we go about changing the law?

First, we need to call out the horrible situation people who don’t live by such a law find themselves in. I think we already have plenty of scientific evidence that stable marriages are the source of mental stability, financial security, and more. Being born in a stable married couple means you get all the advantages in life, while being born to a single parent means you are doomed. Compare the two at every chance you get, and let people see what an important difference there is.

Second, we need to teach people to live by the higher law of marriage. Don’t marry out of love — marry out of commitment, to yourself, your spouse, your children. We need to help people who find themselves wondering whether they should move on find a better way to fix their marriage. The internet should be flooded with messages telling people how to find sexual satisfaction with their married spouse, how to build a long-term relationship, how to handle all the ins and outs and daily struggles of marriage and make it work.

As people begin to devote their lives to their marriages, we can change the laws to make marriage contracts binding. Change divorce laws, eliminating “no-fault” divorce. Make divorces require a special dispensation from the legislature or the governor. You’re going to hear sad stories about how women feel trapped in their dead marriage. Turn those stories on their heads: “Isn’t it your fault the marriage died?” If the husband is abusive, then punish abuse — but don’t sever the marriage. Hold him accountable in rendering his duty to his wife and children, even if he has to live behind bars because he is violent. Make women realize their “golden ticket” is in staying married, not alimony. Make men realize they have a lot to lose if they leave the marriage.

Once we have eliminated divorce, we can turn our attention to the deviants who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage. If the are able to do it without anyone knowing — how can we catch them and punish them? That’s not the purpose of such a law, and there’s no need for hiring an army of secret police to spy on people’s bedrooms. No, we should be focused on those who openly mock their marriage covenant, and hold them accountable, not just for breaking that covenant, but infringing on the rights of the spouse and children, and assaulting the moral sense of the community. Had they kept it secret enough that neither spouse nor children nor society could discover it — what harm have they really done?

The purpose of the death penalty is not to create mountains of corpses. No, it is to impress upon the minds of the marriage partners the depth of their covenant. It is to allow the other spouse the freedom to seek the death of their partner should they violate that covenant (and imagine how bad a spouse must be to have death wished upon them!) or the general institution of marriage (for when society feels like an individual has gone too far.) There is no lighter penalty because people should not seek it except for the most exceptional cases with the most obvious of evidences. We do not want to consume the court’s time with allegations that so-and-so spent too long looking at someone, or they speak to each other too intimately, or they seem to have had a few moments alone in a secluded space. I do not expect that many people will be killed for the crime of adultery, just like we hardly solve all the murders nor do we punish the murderers very often. It is only for when the crime is so horrible that either the spouse cannot tolerate it or society feels it is being insulted that we would even consider it.

A few years ago, I wondered to myself if we would ever reach a point where even talking about having strongly enforced marriage laws would be a possibility. It seems we are at that point. The whole homosexual marriage issue has compelled conservatives to question marriage as an institution, to understand what it is really about. It has caused men to question what it means to be a man, and women to question what it means to be a woman. Rather than moved us away from our past, our traditions, our heritage, and our religion, it has brought us closer.

I don’t see it as a crazy probability that in the future men and women alike will demand real marriage. I don’t see it as strange that we would punish sexual behavior outside of marriage. I don’t see it as far-fetched that we wold return to our traditional values anymore. We were told that we did these things in the past because we were ill-informed and naive, or just bigoted and full of hate. But as we examine the truth, we find our ancestors knew more than they told us, or rather, knew more than we were willing to believe.

Which “Us” versus which “Them”?

April 27, 2018 by

I had a good think about this on the bus ride to work watching this video:

It’s not Republican vs. Democrat. It hasn’t been that way for a long time.

I watched republicans take power in 1994 after many, many decades out of power. What did they do with it? They merely switched the guard. Watching what the republicans did after 2000 with complete control of the House, Senate, and the presidency awakened me to the awful fact that republicans are running a vote plantation just like the democrats are.

Now, I believe that the real difference between the two parties is seen at the local scale. Republican leaders can’t control the local elections, but they still control the national elections (Donald Trump being an exception.)

What’s really going on is we have a rogue federal government that is accountable only to themselves. We, the people, continue the farce by voting for one of two approved candidates. The ones that are likely to win get a lot more approval than the ones that aren’t.

We send these guys up to DC, with the vain imagination that they, unlike all the others, will actually do something. And every two years, we hold another election, where the same process is repeated.

How do you fix it?

Donald Trump is a start. Here’s a guy who is truly shaking things up, exposing the Deep State, calling out the true enemies of the American people, making them appear exactly as they are. But this is only a start, and when Trump leaves office in 2 or 6 more years, it will be back to business as usual.

Maybe we can change how we elect and who we elect. The idea that term limits will change anything is laughable. There are enough of them to keep cycling through the various elections, and it’s not like the elected congressmen are in control of the process.

The Founding Fathers had an idea on how to prevent this sort of corruption. It worked like this:

  • Groups of 30,000 or so elected a representative. The representative went to DC and composed the House of Representatives, the stronger half of the strongest branch of government, with oversight of the administration and the judiciary and complete control of the budget. By having so many representatives, it is virtually impossible to organize a national party that could dominate these elections: There are too many elections and too few voters per election. The local political leaders would have too much power. (For a city the size of Federal Way, we would have 2 or 3 federal representatives.)
  • States elected two senators, composing the Senate. Thus, the senate would be composed of the political elite. It’s far easier to control state legislatures as politically connected people, and so the senate would be the natural center of focus for the Deep State.
  • The president was elected by the states, making him the elite of the elite, the one member of the Deep State with the deepest connections. Rather, the president was elected by electors appointed by the states, not the people. This meant that the senate and the president would always align, more or less.

This arrangement meant that the House of Representatives would always be the outsider, looking in. The Senate and the president would naturally form a partnership in their eliteness, but the the House would have to be controlled by them, which the House would resist because they would be genuinely elected by the people and not by the Deep State.

The House would always have a fresh supply of fireballs, people willing to put everything on the line to keep government sane. Because the Senate and the president would have to beg the House for money, the House would be able to demand accountability before each budget process, and so the elite would have to invite a majority of the House into the “inner circle”. But these members would have to go back to their people every 2 years and re-earn their vote, and if they didn’t vote in ways that made the people happy, there would be a new batch of fireballs the senate and the president would have to deal with.

Thus, the House would be where the real business got done, where comprises between the needs of the Deep State and the needs of the people would be hammered out. If the elite couldn’t keep the people happy, they would be continually frustrated with the new batch of fireballs that made things messy, while they could have smooth sailing if they figured out how to tame the masses.

This was the true divide between the parties, and for most of our history, up until the 1900s, this was how it worked. The 1900s changed all that because now senators were elected, and that meant that the Deep State had to learn how to become popular, and were forced to manipulate all the elections.

Today, we’re living in an era where the Deep State has run amok, where it has grossly violated the will of the people, where the people are searching, desperately, for a way to put the federal government back under control. Trump is the beginning. This election in 2018 will show how it will play out over the next decade. Which parties are going to allow the people more victories, and which will not? How is Trump going to respond to a win or a loss, but more importantly: How will the people respond?

In short, the true divide in America has always been the people vs. the political elite. It has never been about one party vs. another, or one policy vs. another. Look back in time, you’ll see that one party always stood for the elite, while another stood for the people. When a party shifts from being the minority to the majority, their roles reverse as well.

Marriage is an institution of government (and other things)

April 16, 2018 by

A lot of lies about what marriage is, and what it can be, are spread in popular culture. Let me explain what marriage really is by imagining a world where there is no marriage.

Suppose you lived in a world where marriage didn’t even exist as a concept. Suppose also that in this world, you believed, as our Declaration of Independence says, that governments exist solely to protect individual rights.

You notice a few facts of this world, which are born out of biology:

  • Males and females copulate, impregnating females.
  • Copulation comes with emotional baggage, and jealousy, and all sorts of things.
  • After nine months (in the ideal case), the female delivers a child.
  • There is a profound emotional connection between the natural father, mother and child, such that the mother and father have an intense desire to protect and rear the child.

Going from this alone, you realize that little humans are humans too, and government has a job to protect their rights. How is this to be done, particularly because the children are so incompetent?

In the world of adults, we expect adults to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves, and to advocate for their rights and thus maintain the semblance of freedom. You expect the government to step in when one adult tramples on the rights of another, to set laws and procedures and appoint people to certain positions to ensure that this is minimized.

But what of the children, who cannot think, act, or even voice their concerns?

Perhaps you might be tempted to do the obvious: Let’s appoint a state actor to represent the child, a sort of guardian that can watch the child and advocate on his behalf. This seems reasonable, but you’ll soon find a problem: There are a lot of children, and it takes time to find someone competent to stand in as guardian. But you also notice that this is a big job, more than one person can handle, and so you might be tempted to appoint two or three, but they are ever in short supply, and it is an administrative nightmare, what with courts packed with people filing petitions to gain guardianship or transfer guardianship and whatnot.

But wait — you have an idea. Let’s take advantage of the natural affection that a child has with his natural parents and appoint the parents as the guardians. Now we have a real system in place, in fact, a minimal system. The law reads as follows:

Let every child have claim on their natural parents for protection under the law. Parents who fail in this duty will be held accountable and punished accordingly.

This would go swimmingly, except for one problem: It seems that the humans keep trading sexual partners. Thus, one female may have several children, each with different fathers. And so things get confusing, especially in cases where it’s not clear who the father is. Not to mention, when people fall out of sexual favor, there is a tremendous amount of animosity and bitterness, and it makes the whole business of raising children difficult. Very well, let’s write a new law:

You shall have only one sexual partner your whole life. You may not ever be separated from that sexual partner. Any children born out of that partnership, no matter who the natural father is, has claim on your sexual partner. To prevent this, the males are allowed to exert their privilege by keeping other males away from their female sexual partner.

Almost done. Now we have some disagreements over who the lifetime sexual partner of a female is, particularly when these partnerships are new. Let’s simplify things further with a new law:

You shall declare your sexual partnership before engaging in sexual relations. Your name will be recorded by the government. You will make it public so everyone knows who your sexual partner is.

And that’s how you get marriage, naturally, when all you have is what biology gave us.

You could say that marriage “evolved”.

Now, granted, the above rules are very strict. At various times throughout history, the punishment for sexual relations before or outside of marriage were harsh. You can see why societies would naturally do this: Imagine being forced, as a man, to raise a child who was fathered by someone else.

I want to close on this note: There are religious and societal and familial impacts of marriage beyond the government aspects I describe above.

  • The church is interested in marriage because there is tremendous guilt and emotional pain from having multiple sexual partners. The church knows that a married couple is far happier and productive than an unmarried couple. (Some people say that church created sin; but ask people who live without church whether they still feel guilt or emotional pain — indeed, they see psychiatrists too!)
  • Society is interested in marriage because it brings together different parts of society. IE, Rome and Juliet could’ve been the union of two powerful clans, to the peace of the entire town, had they been married through proper channels. Indeed, how many feuds have been solved with marriage?
  • Families are interested in marriage because it expands upon the power and influence, and wealth, of the family.

In short, marriage is what turns a people built on the ideals of individual rights into a cohesive society of powerful families and a unified government with a singular purpose of protecting its people’s rights.

A Universal Faith

April 12, 2018 by

As I study history and philosophy, I notice that a lot of things I already believe in and practice are found throughout the world, scattered through various times and places.

The 13th Article of Faith reads: “If there is anything … of good report … we seek after these things.” The point being, we don’t claim to have a monopoly on knowledge or morality or religion. Yes, we have some very specific things, things which we received under strict oath to share it with the world, but we were never given everything.

One of those philosophies is stoicism. Before I go to far, let me be clear: Certain aspects of stoicism I find to be repugnant. Particularly, it has no hope built in to it. Granted, it builds a very good world view, things that I have already embraced in my life, but there are parts that I can’t adopt as I don’t see them as good.

But to continue, what I find awesome in stoicism is the idea that you can’t control the world. At best, you can learn to control yourself and your reaction to the world, but you can’t control other people and the elements and so you’d best get used to it.

Another aspect is the practice of morning reflection. In order to maintain control of your mind, you have to sharpen it each day, by pondering on the most important things in life. Don’t skip a day. Keep a journal. You’ll find your mind will sharpen, your senses will heighten, and you’ll find hidden powers unlocked.

Something that most Christians should embrace is the stoick’s attitude towards death and disaster. No matter what is going on, things can get violently worse. Live each moment as if it is your last, because eventually, that will be true. As the Christians would say, “Repent, for the end is nigh.” Nigh indeed, particularly as death is always a breath away.

Anyway, this is just what I’ve found to like in stoicism.

As I’ve read Nietzsche, I’ve found a lot I can liken to my own life. Granted, Nietzsche had a lot of harsh things to say about Christianity, but I find his criticisms of my faith hollow and shallow, since I simply do not identify with much of what Christians claim to believe.

Regardless, the key point is this: There is, I believe, a One True Philosophy that unites all philosophies, or at least, the truth of each philosophy that has truth, into one united whole.

And I believe we should all be looking for that. Part of it is found in religion, my religion, the mormon religion, or Christianity as a whole. Part is found in life. Part is found in stoicism, or Nietzsche, or a thousand other sages and philosophers from all times and places.

Seek it out, find it, treasure it.

Kierkegaard: Knight of Faith

April 12, 2018 by

I haven’t read anything by Kierkegaard yet, but one thing caught my attention when watching various videos about his philosophy.

The idea is simple. If you want to find true faith, you have to find someone willing to kill and die for what he believes in, not merely debate or preach, but to actually draw a sword and stab someone over it, or put himself in the field of battle with only his faith to protect him.

A good example from the scriptures is Abraham. When God called on him to sacrifice Isaac, he didn’t hesitate. He went up to murder his son. (Obviously, the angel stopped him, but only after it became clear that Abraham would follow through.)

Is religion a thought-exercise for you? Or are you willing to bet your entire life over it?

Are you willing to die for your religion?

Are you willing to kill for it?

That is the question.

If you can’t answer “yes” to both questions, then religion is nothing more than a game for you.

You atheists — you who stand on the sideline mocking those who are challenged by their faith, what do you have to offer? If you are so certain that religion is a great disease, come, face us in mortal combat, and show me that you are not just playing word games.

Or be quiet while those of us who have bet our lives on it continue our holy crusade.

One thing that Christians often challenge my faith with: As you know, we latter-day saints believe in living prophets. My Christian friends ask me, “What if the prophet asks you to do something contrary to scriptures?” My polite response is, “That will never happen.” If pressed, I will explain that I’d follow a living prophet over a dead one. To drive this point home, I would ask them, “Suppose you were living in the time of Jesus, and he told you to do something you believed was contrary to the law found in the Bible. Would you do it?”

Trade Wars

April 7, 2018 by

It looks like China is trying to flex its muscles in the trade war with America. It’s not that the trade war is new, it’s just now being recognized for what it is.

Trade Wars are what you do before you start shooting each other. It’s what happens when two countries don’t like each other and the direction they are going but they can’t find a good excuse to blow each other up yet. Trade Wars end up with one country giving up and acquiescing to the other, or open warfare.

The US policy for a very long time now has been to import as much as possible, all the time, with no or little tariffs. The reason was simple: We needed other countries to be strong to combat the Communist threat that the USSR and China and other countries posed. After the collapse of the USSR, and the liberalization of the Chinese economy, and the complete evaporation of the Communist threat in the world, it no longer makes sense to give foreign countries an advantage in trade. In fact, we don’t really care what the rest of the world has anymore, as we have everything we need in our own borders.

True, it can be argued that limiting trade only hurts those who do the limiting, but none of the other countries in the world know how to take advantage of this.  Well, Bermuda, maybe. And Singapore. Is the US going to engage in a trade war with them? There is no reason to — they already respect our trading rights in exchange for our protection.

There’s only two things a country can do in a trade war:

  • Limit exports, which is basically declaring that you lost the trade war and feel mad about it.
  • Limit imports, which forces the other country to move their manufacturing to within your borders.

Trump is choosing to do the latter with tariffs. China can’t do it, since no one wants to move their investments inside China.

This trade war was lost by China the moment Trump decided to fight it.

The only reasonable resolution is going to be the following:

  • China forces North Korea to give up all their nukes.
  • China obeys international law regarding trade secrets.
  • China does pretty much whatever the US asks of it from now on, no questions asked.
  • China allows foreign investment, honest foreign investment, meaning, they go full capitalist.
  • China no longer puts a tariff on anything made in the USA.
  • The USA has no tariffs on Chinese exports either, as long as they keep all of the above.

In short, China will become yet another vassal in the American empire.

With China under control by the US, the number of countries not under America’s thumb will be countable on one hand.

America is what you get when you have a trade republic with actual resources behind it. No country has ever defeated a trade republic without taking its land first.