Political Manifesto for the 21st Century

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.

37 Responses to “Political Manifesto for the 21st Century”

  1. KCJ Says:

    Hear! Hear! That’s the way things are supposed to be, Mr. Gardner. BTW, LOVED your comments about Robert Park on OFK.
    Johnny aka KCJ

  2. Sunflower Ranch Says:

    Fantastic post!! You are doing a fabulous job and I always enjoy reading your material. Keep up the great work helping us to restore our nation! :D

  3. Nima Says:

    If the government can get away with mass murder with complete impunity, do you seriously in your heart of hearts find it possible for them to move one iota in your direction on something like “over-litigation” or “bureaucratic regulation”? You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. It would be an easy world if you could :)

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Having a government is a deal with the devil. I understand that. But it’s a necessary evil. We need something like the government to raise armies, fight wars, enforce borders and write a common law. It is inevitable for every government to try and grow beyond its initial role, and it’s up to the people to throw off governments that have done so and replace them anew.

      I understand the tight spot we are in. Either we have no government, and our people fall to the first aggressor who is able to subjugate us piece-meal. Or we do, and risk having a government that oppresses the people.

      I choose limited government. Just a bit more than no government at all, and significantly less than what government wishes it could be.

  4. Nima Says:

    OK, help me understand:

    Wouldn’t you say that the American Republic, when it was founded, was a pretty good, albeit imperfect, attempt, probably the best attempt ever in the history of mankind, to establishing a small limited government?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      If you’re going to compare the US government with every other government in recorded history, you have to include the Anglo-Saxon system that existed before the Norman invasion, along with the Mosaic system recorded in the Bible. There is a lot I love in these two systems. Indeed, they mirror each other in a lot of ways. These systems valued individual liberties above all else. The core of their justice system was simply justice. No one person could gain control over the entire people, except for limited periods of mortal peril.

      I admit, proudly, that the US system of government was imperfect and is still imperfect. You don’t have to look very hard to find examples where our government is doing things wrong. However, when you compare our government with existing governments, there’s really no comparison since we are far and away a better system than any other in practice today. Yes, some other governments do certain things better, but as a whole, they are very lacking.

      You are right that the goal is a system of government that will forever be small and limited. We have long ago, as a people, abandoned that goal and embraced big government. I hope today enough of us are reminded of the importance of putting government in its place by keeping it small and limited. Our legal code and constitutions are certainly in our favor, even if the officials are not.

  5. Nima Says:

    OK, I guess what I am trying to say is this:

    I used to believe in limited government and in the necessity of “eternal vigilance of a watchful public to ensure lasting checks and balances and bla bla bla …”

    I wish it was possible. But to me one of the clinchers was this: The USA was without a doubt one of the closest and best attempts to approach the minarchist ideal of small government, certainly THE SMALLEST GOVERNMENT OF ITS TIME.

    It took one generation and we had a fiat currency and a civil war, it took another generation and we had a national bank, compulsory conscription and federal tax withholding to fund wars. It took another generation and we are where we are today. Not just a big federal government, but THE BIGGEST AND MOST HEAVILY ARMED AND MURDEROUS government in the whole world.

    I don’t know about you, but to me there can almost be no more beautiful and perfect experiment to prove the impossibility of a sustainable limited government.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      (1) What in the world are you talking about the US being “murderous”? Murder is a crime where innocents are killed. Where in the world have we been responsible for that? If you are going to blame us for the wars we were involved in, how exactly did we start those wars? The blame for all of the innocents killed in those wars lies squarely on the antagonists.

      (2) It is not a bad thing to be the biggest and baddest government around. I feel safer having the means to defend myself than having to worry that at any moment, some other nation could have their way with us.

      I think I understand what you’re trying to prove, but your premises are all wrong. You would like there to be some form of government that can govern even the least virtuous among us. Such a thing cannot exist. When the American people were motivated by their higher calling (such as helping each other, building prosperity, etc…), then that is when our government was most appropriate. When we’ve been motivated by our baser desires (money, power, greed, etc…), then that is when our government was least appropriate.

      The fact that we’ve been able to bounce back from our darkest hours (Alien and Sedition Act, Slavery and the Civil War, the popular big-government political elements, etc…) is a sign that our government is more resilient than our own virtue.

      One of the thing that fascinates me about the honest anarchist, which you seem to be, is their inability to understand that without any government, some government will be created. You think people are somehow wise and honest and generally good, when experience clearly dictates that this is simply not true.

      Were men angels, we would need no government. But we aren’t, and so we have to, from time to time, electrocute some people, shoot others in the head without any due process at all, throw others in prison (whether guilty or innocent, we can’t tell), raise armies and burn entire cities to the ground, children and all, and steal tax revenue to fund things like courts and lawyers and bigger bombs than the guys over there.

      I am eagerly anticipating the day when we can all beat our swords into plowshares, and the lion and the lamb can lie down together, and so on and so forth. But that day is not today, and it most likely won’t be next Thursday either. Until that time, we need to keep our swords sharp, and the lions away from our lambs.

  6. Nima Says:

    I think a little bit more curiosity on your part may be advisable.

    When you talk about anarchism and then bring up the most obvious objections against it, it might behoove you to ask yourself whether I haven’t encountered those before in all these years of strenuously trying to work out these issues.

    All I can do is direct you to my FAQs http://www.economicsjunkie.com/anarchism-voluntaryism-faqs/ as far as that goes.

    Your other statements are so riddled with obvious contradictions, hypocrisies, and falsehoods that you know too damn well what a bunch of immoral, vile and stone-evil nonsense you are spouting there, all with the objective of justifying some serious (serious serious!!) injustice that has been done to you by someone at some point in your life.

    I hope you will be able to work it out at some point in your life. Happiness begins with self searching and confronting that which is haunting us in our subconscious.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Avoid the ad hominems, and keep to the topic at hand.

      Your FAQ hardly addresses the really hard questions I brought up.

      First, a couple of logical fallacies in your FAQ. Cases are settled out of court because of the threat of legal action. I can’t imagine why anyone would agree to pay millions of dollars simply out of the goodness of their heart. People behave in ways conducive to civil society because they understand the benefit of a civil society, and those who don’t will soon discover the end of a police baton or that a funny looking guy in a black robe can say a few words and have you locked up for years. These things wouldn’t happen without a government.

      You fail to recognize the very real and very observed fact that groups of individuals in your anarchic society will group together for the purpose of depriving others of their natural rights. Since humans will naturally form these groups and these groups naturally compete one with another (look all over the world, everywhere, at any time for obvious examples), it is best to organize them into a structure that emphasizes a respect of natural rights and makes cooperation rather than domination the only way to power. Our nation is made up of countless tiny groups of people trying to get what they want. Our laws and government is designed in such a way that these groups have to meet each other and compromise to get their way, rather than duke it out in the streets like street thugs.

      Your system depends on everyone agreeing to believe in something or behave in a certain way. People simply don’t do that. With a government, a form of belief and behaviors is enforced with violence if necessary. Such beliefs include the beliefs of natural, individual rights, and behaviors include things like petition the legal system rather than extracting justice in our own way according to our own whim.

      I agree with you on many things about our government being out of control and far exceeding its bounds. Let’s work to rein it within the bounds of the law rather than imagine some kind of impossible utopia or declare the American experiment a failure.

  7. Thomas Brennan Says:

    I invite all of you to register as delegates to Convention USA. There, you will not only be able to debate, but you will also be able to try to persuade the convention to adopt your ideas.

    And when the convention has a critical mass of delegates, what it decides to propose will be listened to.

  8. Keith in Seattle Says:

    Great post Jonathan, in regards to your trying to educate Nima; thanks but you can’t fix brain defects. These libs are not in any way eager to listen and possibly learn something. I have posted the same things on lib sites only to be attacked by many at one time. More like gang raped if you will. They left are haters, plain and simple. Once in a while you’ll find one that will hold an intelligent debate but the norm is to blatantly attack without thought. Anyways, keep up the good work!

  9. The Observer Says:

    I generally agree with much of what your manifesto here purports to espouse. I would add that to truly re-achieve a federal system as originally intended, we must abolish the 17th Amendment and eliminate the direct election of the Senate in favor of returning their appointments to the individual States where they rightfully belonged. By definition, a federal republic derives at least a portion of its authority from the confederated States that concedes a portion of their own authority to it in very similar fashion as the people themselves do. In this way, the federal government retains equal legislative representation from all stakeholders – the people in the House apportioned by the population of them and the States in the Senate apportioned equally so as to not grant federal favor to any one over another – and proper checks and balances remain in place.

    I will take a quick moment to comment on some debates you have engaged in with folks here who believe that pursuing a limited, just government that exists solely to protect and defend individual rights and freedoms (even if in collective form) should be abandoned simply because the American Experiment has in many ways failed as advertised. This is generally called results-based analysis, in which the outcome of a particular course of action is judged to be morally correct or not based solely on its outcome. This is the laziest form of critical analysis in my humble opinion and falls in line with what I like to refer to as “consequentialism,” which roughly translated equates to “the ends justify the means.” While I personally acknowledge and am critical of the fact that our government has been responsible for many infringements of basic liberty , both domestically and abroad – and to that end, I do not agree with some of your own comments that I perceived to support consequentialism through the imprisonment or execution of Americans without due process – this is primarily due people’s embracement of Big Government, sometimes even subconsciously, to achieve their own goals at the expense of another. That is ultimately what Big Government amounts to in my estimation; this is not tied to a quantitative measurement such as size but rather a qualitative evaluation of a role of authority that goes beyond its legitimate charter and begins functioning as a mechanism of legal plunder to be wielded by one group or individual over another. This Big Government addiction cannot be cured by simply giving up or ignoring the problem. One only needs to do nothing at all to allow basic evil to thrive, I am sure you would basically agree.

    If nothing else, we can take the biblical lesson here that while our message(s) may fail to change others, at least we will be secure in the knowledge that their apathy and defeatism will not change us.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      The 17th must be repealed. It has turned our republic into a fractured democracy.

      The sad part is that people who look at our nation today and blame freedom and limited government are blaming the wrong thing. We didn’t have these problems up to the 1920’s. We didn’t follow limited government after the 1920’s. That’s the sad truth.

      It’s like people that blame the collapse of the housing market on free markets. Which of the banks was working in a free market? As far as I could tell, loans were handed out to answer political expediency, not to generate profit.

  10. Manabu Says:

    I will only discuss a segment of one of your points: “Taxes should not be used to punish the rich or to mold society’s behavior.”

    Capitalism is a impressive economic system, but it has one very known side effect: it concentrates. This apply to almost everything: from making big cities (especially where the state is weaker, like in the third world), to firms (competition tends to form oligopolies with ever fewer and bigger players, over time), and of course money. I hope you won’t deny that.

    So, on concentration of money. Do you think that a billionaire is 1 thousand times more hard-worker/better person than a millionaire? I guess no. Someone rich is rich because a combination of at least three factors:
    – It’s own effort and talent.
    – This characteristic of capitalism: the more money and other assets you have, the easier to make a lot more.
    – Plain luck.

    Only one of those factors depends on oneself, and should be well rewarded. Also, this concentration may be not only unjust, but also produce negative externalities, like lower growth and more criminality.

    From all that, it is justified to tax more the rich (but still let them be quite rich), and use this money to try to level the playing field, investing in education, health care, etc, so that everyone can have equivalent opportunities. In short, try to minimize this tendency to concentration over time that capitalism has. This should not depend on the charity of the riches.

    Externalities of all sorts are also a justification to taxes and others actions by the government that “try to mold society’s behavior”. If you don’t know the concept of externality, take a look at Wikipedia’s article. Free markets alone can’t solve those problems (more or less by definition). Sometimes, a helping hand from the State is needed, as the world isn’t perfect.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I think you’re making a terrible mistake.

      One, capitalism does nothing. Capitalism is a philosophy that empowers individuals to make their own choices. The same economic forces that create cities, also creates towns and villages and allows people to live in the mountains by themselves. If you have a problem with people choosing where they live and work, then just say that you know better than they do what’s best for them, and we can talk about whether you should be the emperor of the world or not.

      Two, you are associating one’s material worth with one’s value as a human being. What a horrible, horrible way to measure someone’s worth! You are guilty of the very crime you accuse capitalists of, measuring the worth of something based on money.

      People who live under capitalism are free to place value on whatever they want to place value on. My ancestors fled the United States to live in the middle of a desert because they valued personal security and the freedom to worship without being murdered more than living close to people who had more money than they did. They abandoned their property and wealth to go try and make a living next to an area of the world known for its vast salt lake and absence of life. They valued that more than money and the comfort of living near civilization.

      One of the areas where Marxists such as yourself completely lose the argument is in the discussion of value and worth. What is something worth? It is worth whatever people think it is worth. The same toothbrush in one person’s hand is valuable personal property, and in another’s is complete garbage. You can’t create wealth by forcing people to share. You can only create wealth by allowing people to freely pursue those things which they value most. When two people arrange a trade with each other based on good knowledge of what is being traded, the inevitable result is that we are all richer than we were before. When any one of those people is forced against their will to participate, we are all poorer than we were before.

      Which is why America is a land of plenty. We have more than enough of everything we want and need, simply because people are free to do what they want with their time. The Soviets had just as much if not more resources, just as intelligent if not more citizens, just as principled if not more cultures, and yet they ended up turning their vast empire into a backwards third-world country ruled by tyrants and mobsters, while we were talking about how often we should schedule flights to the moon.

      It is not justified to tax the rich more any more than it is justified to attach weights to the strong or blind the seeing. (See: Harrison Bergeron.) Simply because someone has more of something than someone else gives no one, not the least of which government, the right to redistribute their property.

      BTW, Robin Hood stole from the corrupt and illegitimate government, and returned the property to the taxed, but that’s not something Marxists like to hear. If Robin Hood were alive today, he would be robbing the Federal Government and returning the income taxes to the rich.

      • Manabu Says:

        First: I’m not a Marxist.

        Second: In no point did I imply that some other known economic system is better than capitalism. Only that capitalism can be studied, and it has flaws as everything, because the world isn’t perfect.

        Third: I do not derive someone’s value as human being by how much money they have. This was a question directed to you, to try to understand why do you think that some people deserves to be many thousands of times richer than others.

        Socialism, in a stylized portrait, starts from the thinking that all human beings have the same value, and conclude they all deserve the same amount of earnings and assets.

        From your response, your rationale seems to be that, unless people retain (almost) all their earnings, the society as a whole will not generate near as much wealth. And that this extra wealth offsets any worry of social inequality, ending up in a net gain for the society well being. Is that correct?

        Well, that is a possible line of thought, but I strongly disagree on both points. Economy isn’t an exact science like physics, because it’s “atoms” (the people and organizations) think. So this is a reasonable disagreement:

        I think that not as much wealth will be generated, because negative externalities, and decreasing gains of money as a incentive for hardworking. And even if a bit more wealth is generated, the social inequality and others problems that follows will offset it greatly on a “happiness” measurement of the society. Poverty shouldn’t be measured only in absolute terms, but also in relative.

        Besides that, there is the problem of fairness, that you didn’t addressed my arguments, and the problems of cumulative inequality, that you didn’t addressed.

        Finally, tax more alcohol, for example, in attempt to change peoples behavior, and reduce externalities related to it’s consumption, is quite different and more efficient than impose a choice by force, as common on communism. It is simply a correction of the market price, to where it should be if it accounted for all the negative externalities.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        Let me be as clear as I can: Just because someone has billions of dollars more than me does NOT mean he is more wealthy than I am. That is only true if money is the only thing people care about. I would gladly trade billions of dollars for my wife, my five kids, and the fact that I can live in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, more money would be nice, but which kid would I give up for a few thousand extra dollars, or a million, or a billion?

        Wealth and value are in the eyes of the beholder. A billion dollars in my hand is worth far less than it is in the hands of Jeff Bezos or Steve Ballmer or any number of people who sacrificed so they can be incredibly rich in dollars. We know they have the “Midas Touch” which can create wealth from nothing. Let them control the world’s vast fortunes, that’s what they’re good at. Give me code and projects and things I can do, and a family to take care of because I’m good at that. Collectively, we are wealthier than if Steve Ballmer had my job, Jeff Bezos had my kids, and I had their billions.

        With that out of the way, then social inequality disappears. The income gap is pointless to even ponder. As long as people are free to pursue what they think is most important in life, what does it matter who has what? Does it really affect anyone that someone is willing to work for free, while someone else needs to be paid a billion dollars just to show up at work? Does it really matter that I have food in my garage and someone else doesn’t? No, it’s their choice, their life, they get to choose what they want and they get to live with the consequences of their choices.

        Marxism and socialism is founded on the same ideas as imperialism: that someone knows better what to do with something that belongs to someone else. You may think there is a distinction, but it lies in the details. Ultimately, Marxists, socialists, imperialists, liberals, progressives, communists, are all doing the same thing: thinking they know better than you or I.

        Yes, this is science. You think physics is somehow precise? Have you seen the graph that “proves” the existence of the Higgs Boson? True economics, like physics, is based on true principles, namely the principle that people can choose, and they tend to choose things that benefit them, and when they are given responsibility for their own choices and the outcomes thereof, they have an incentive they otherwise wouldn’t have to make the best choice.

  11. Jack Says:

    This entire manifesto seems like it was written by Ayn Rand. It draws commonalities with Ayn Rand’s own arguments with the very nature of its ignorance towards reality. Towards greed. Towards the caste systems that are created by the lack of government oversight and regulation. If you’ve ever taken an economics class in your life, which by your statements I’m sure you haven’t, there are the negative externalities that Manabu brings up. If you had no regulations, as Rand and your manifesto proposes, there would be toxic waste being dumped into rivers, constant economic depressions, if not an entirely fatal one, due to the prominence and frequency of corruption by banks and monopolistic inefficiencies caused by your lackluster powerless figure that you call a government.

    The very nature of your illusions, that Ayn Rand herself also seemed to forget, was that the government we have now, was built above the mistakes made by the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution was written so that we would not have another Shay’s Rebellion. Have you ever heard of the saying, learn from the mistakes of the past so that they may not reoccur? The Laissez-Faire inclusions in your manifesto seem to predict an obvious ending to your government, a Shay’s Rebellion meets the French Revolution, but only on a grander scale. The lack of available funds to your government prevent you from raising, and furthermore, supporting your army. It would be a quick end.

    All I’m saying is that I believe that the government we have right now is the perfect form of government. A mix socialist/democratic republic where unnecessary funds by the top, compiled through the swindling of their businesses and employees, are funneled to the bottom by means of a progressive tax system and entitlements. The only thing keeping this system inefficient is the fact that Republican and fiscal conservatives in general don’t seem to like the fact that their rightfully stolen money is given back to the bottom. So they try to maintain tax loopholes, advantageous only to those who can afford a high-priced tax specialist, that leave this countries Gini Ratio high compared to the rest of the first-world countries, so that we have a ridiculously regressive tax rate where Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney pay proportionately less taxes than myself but still have an unimaginable amount of expendable income, whereas I’m starving my way through college.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I wonder how people like you actually function.

      Do you believe that only government can do good, that it has a monopoly on good intentions? Don’t you think that good people can do good whether or not they are in government?

      The reason why America is different than all the other places in the world isn’t because of our government. Rather, there is a correlation. What inspired the American people, the same people who radically changed the way people work and build and create wealth, to create the government we have?

      You might find it interesting to peruse the writings of early capitalists and statesman in the United States. They were a religiously zealous people. Their primary and sole concern was in establishing God’s kingdom here on earth, not unlike the radical Muslims who blew up our Twin Towers. Except, the religion they believed in didn’t teach them that it was God’s will to go around murdering people, or establishing fascist governments. No, they read the Bible and figured out that what God had intended all along was freedom, the freedom to do what you think is best. And so they lived their lives with that philosophy “live and let live.” No, we weren’t always that way, and we can’t say all of us ascribe to that philosophy, but our founders did.

      We live in an age today where when someone points out that self-interested action, meaning, when one acts in their own self-interests, that society as a whole benefits as long as they only interact with their fellow people through persuasion, and not coercion, you are labeled some kind of insane, Ayn Rand-worshipping lunatic. Apparently, in your mind, only government is good, only government can do good things, and we need government to do anything good that needs to be done.

      You can take your statist philosophy and find that it’s paralleled in countries across the world. Rulers rise up, convince the people that they are good, then demand that they worship them as the only good thing. Where does that lead us?

      America is different because we don’t believe government is good. We, in fact, acknowledge, that government is evil. Those who turn to the government looking for good will be disappointed and taken advantage of. It’s happened every time in the history of the world.

    • TJ White Says:

      I won’t bother to comment on the bulk of this post. I’ll simply say that math is apparently no longer a required subject for those who are starving their way through college.

      Buffett, Obama and Romney make the bulk of their money through investments. As such, they ALL pay 35% in taxes before they ever see a dime of it.

      If Romney is paying 18%, it’s 18% on top of the 35% he’s already paid.

      So, if you, as a starving student, are paying 53% of your earnings in federal income taxes then I suggest that your issue is with government, not Romney.

  12. TJ White Says:

    There’s nothing wrong with your manifesto other than the fact that there is no longer a mechanism within this nation as a whole to deliver it.

    Like I said in the other thread, there is no longer any means by which to educate enough people into believing that what you’re saying is correct. You can’t even get them to agree that this is what the constitution meant to begin with.

    The only process by which people can now vote their way back toward your manifesto is to accept the fact that the nation, as a whole, is lost.

    Convince enough like minded people to congregate in a few strategic states and vote your way out of it.

    Threat them as lifeboats and abandon this sinking ship.

    When the Titanic hits bottom, those in the boat can make their own rules.

    Not going to happen any other way.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I completely disagree with this assessment.

      I don’t hold such a dim view of the future. I believe our best days are ahead of us. I think we’re going to look back on the 2010’s as the last time government thought it was right to give money to poor people rather than empower them to help themselves via a free economy.

      I don’t think isolating ourselves, or jumping into “lifeboats” will work. I look across the world and I see freedom and liberty rising, not tyranny and oppression. I see people’s eye’s opening up. I see an entire generation of youngsters who were raised with the idea that the only way to get rich is to create a business and make something everyone wants.

      Yes, we are not as free as we were a hundred years ago, but we have within our grasp the possibility of being free again.

      You look around, and compare our society today with society of the 1980’s. We are well, well ahead in terms of political discourse. The conversation is no longer socialism vs. capitalism, but how much capitalism.

  13. Phoenix Roberts Says:

    I like your thinking and your prose — you express my own feelings with words worth remembering. However, I feel your manifesto is incomplete. I see two important concepts missing. If I may be so bold:

    9. Our foreign policy must be independence. As President Washington advised, in his farewell address, we “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world . . . Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.” Our policies on international commerce, diplomacy and military actions “should hold an equal and impartial hand [toward every nation]; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences.” We must let other countries chart their course as long as they let us chart ours. We must not engage in any military action without the full agreement of both the Executive and the Legislative branches that there is a clear and present danger to our vital interests.

    10. Our sovereignty is absolute. Though we ally with others for mutual benefit, we recognize no authority superior to the Constitution in the conduct of our Union, in the creation and application of our laws or in the administration of our courts. The people of these United States are the sole and exclusive American sovereign. The people established the States and the States established the Union; both, acting in the equal partnership of federalism, are vital to the protection of rights and the increase of prosperity.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      On 9, I don’t think independence is the right goal. For a country trying to define itself, it’s a powerful and noble goal. For us in our day, we should be thinking of building a peaceful world, and that will require inter-dependence, particular economically. When it no longer makes economic sense to go to war at all, in other words, when peace is the only path that guarantees wealth, food, and power, war will disappear, and we can hammer our swords into plowshares.

      I also don’t think we have an issue with the executive taking us to war without the consent of the people. There’s nothing that needs change there at this time.

      On 10, I don’t see a problem that requires it to be called out separately. There are a large number of people who wish to surrender our sovereignty, but they are a minority. In reality, sovereignty is a concept that belongs at the inter-national level, and is no different from local governance as we demonstrate it in our country at the individual, family, neighborhood, city, county, state, and national level. As long as we focus on keeping government close to the governed, sovereignty will not be an issue. It’s only when we sacrifice our liberties to distant governments that we realize we no longer have sovereignty.

      There are some advocates of sovereignty who think it only belongs at the national level, as if America should exert it’s right to be different, but not grant the same privilege to her families, cities, etc… This is absurdity.

  14. james Says:

    “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.”

    I agree entirely. However I would change “…duty of the people” to “…duty of the church and people”. You indicated in the second sentence that it is the churches role as well as the individual.

    Those who fail to love their neighbor during their time on this earth will not be judged nor suffer because of such failings until the time they leave this earth. It is a pity that the poor, disabled and other unfortunates in our society should have to suffer during their lifetime as a result of such ignorance. But we can all take satisfaction in knowing that they will be rewarded for their suffering in the present when they leave this earth in the future.

    I only wish there was better way.

  15. james Says:

    Some members of the LDS faith (i.e. Brothers Johnathan and Mitt) have some nerve disavowing socialism and preaching the virtues of the free market.

    The church owes its very existence to the collectivism of the early Saints. As far as free markets are concerned a thorough study of the history of commerce in Utah and outlying areas with majority populations of LDS faith indicate that markets were anything but free. Business activities were both regulated and manipulated by the church.

    Learn your history!

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Learn YOUR history. The “socialism” the early church practiced, and the modern church still believes to be the higher law, is NOTHING LIKE SOCIALISM.

      In our system called the United Order, people VOLUNTARILY donate their property to the bishop. Then the bishop and individuals discuss the best way to assign resources. Resources are never loaned to people, but given outright. Should they want to leave the United Order, they take their assigned property with them, to do with as they please. That means, property ownership is the CORE concept behind the United Order. When people produce a surplus, they VOLUNTARILY give the surplus to the bishop. People are still expected to make a profit, to take their 5 talents and make 5 more. People still buy and sell and trade. It is capitalism with charity. That’s all.

      Under socialism, the state (IE, the power to kill and make war) takes a role in the economy, dictating economic policies with the force of law. Nothing like that exists in our church’s United Order. There is no force. Everything is voluntary. You don’t even need a government at all to make it work.

  16. Andrew Han Says:

    A few questions:

    1. What is your opinion on the War on Drugs? If you support it, do you also support laws regulating the use of seatbelts and banning public smoking, and if you do not also, why the disparity?

    2. How do you think George Bush has done on satisfying your first creed? Do you believe that the Patriot Act facilitates “limited government”?

    3. What is your opinion on gay marriage? Should the government have the right to forbid two consenting adults from marrying? If so, why?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      1. War on Drugs should never have started, and should end immediately. Let the states enforce whatever laws they want on what products people can manufacture, sell, buy, own and consume. Nothing in the federal constitution grants the federal government that power.

      2. George W. Bush was a terrible president. He did not respect the constitution, he did not set our fiscal house in order. RE the Patriot Act, some things are good and some things are bad. Most people don’t even know what it is so I refuse to give a blanket statement unless you’re willing to talk specifics.

      3. The state has an interest in seeing every child with a loving mother and father.

  17. Jason Gardner Says:

    “With that out of the way, then social inequality disappears. The income gap is pointless to even ponder.”

    Quite the opposite. With absolute fairness the inequality will grow. People are not equal in regards to their facilities. Sports are plenty fair and all they expose is differences in ability. I am not Lebron James. No amount of rational acting will turn me into him.

    the fatal flaw in the libertarian / free market argument is the same as the fatal flaw in communism. The assumption the all people are the same and interchangeable.

    Communism called it the “blank slate.” Anybody can be made to be anything along as they’re raised correctly. This idea only survives in far lefty circles such as academia. (“Gender is a construct” retards.)

    Similarly, the argument that all people are identical(“rational actors”) is manifestly wrong. A good portion of the population is simply not capable of becoming wealthy in any sense of the word.

    You are abnormally smart so you dont see it but imagine you lived in a society where partial differential equations was taught by third grade and the dumbest middle schooler had an intimate understanding of quantum physics.

    You are the dumb one now.

    You will live a life of constant disappointment. You will never have any job but the most menial. You will not get a wife (chicks hate morons). Not matter the level of freeness of the markets you will be a unhappy malcontent and more than likely a criminal.

    Free markets will make your plight worse.

    Read up on evolutionary biology. “The Blank Slate” by Pinker is a good place to start. Economics is old news.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I think you were making my point.

      By trying to make everyone the same, you actually make things worse. I choose to have a nice job and a nice family rather than a billion dollars, and so forcing me to be more like Jeff Bezos makes my life worse. Forcing Jeff Bezos to be more like me would make his life worse.

      I really disagree that capitalism and free markets assumes everyone is the same. It does exactly the opposite. It says that for everything out there, there is a wide variety of opinions on how much it is worth to any one person. This is because everyone is different. They have different abilities and different desires.

      The free market allows things to flow towards those who value it most. Some people will end up with more of one type of thing than other people, simply because that’s what they truly desire.

      I do live in a world where my abilities are very different than my peers. There are some things I am absolutely terrible at. I don’t do those things. I have other people do them for me, in exchange for the things I am good at doing.

      The theory of Comparative Advantage shows us that it doesn’t matter how terrible you are at things, if everyone is allowed to trade, then the optimal result is obtained when people focus on doing what they are best at doing. That will generate the greatest net wealth. Everyone benefits when we each find the one thing we do best that is most valuable to everyone else, and focus on that. In free market conditions, therefore, even people who have no noticeable talents or abilities can find a job and be paid to do something. It is always better to put their meager limited skills and abilities to use than not to, and they will find them a good trading partner so that they can get the thing they need but they can’t produce.

      There was an interesting novel I didn’t read but someone explained to me. The story is that aliens conquered the earth and had such amazing electronics and food and clothing and everything for such minimal prices that all of earth’s industry basically shut down. None of us could compete with the economic might of these friendly aliens, and so we all lost our jobs. This wasn’t that bad, after all, hunger and want was basically eliminated. The sad part was that the aliens were hiring us to go work in menial tasks off-world, and we were quickly being absorbed as an almost second-class citizen in this universal economy. We simply couldn’t keep up with the amazing minds and talents of the various alien races, and were left with the boring things like cleaning toilets and mopping floors.

      The end of the story is about a man who starts a business to manufacture what the aliens though of as a useless trinket — a cup holder or something — and by convincing the world’s governments to invest the trillions of dollars of wealth needed to start the first run of this thing, he was able to start a corporation that made everyone on earth filthy rich. So the same economy that seemed to have cursed the human race to extinction provided it with practically infinite means to its continued existence. The humans hired each other to work back on earth, and pretty soon, the entire earth’s economy was focused on making cup holders.

      This is roughly what free markets and comparative advantage makes possible.

  18. Jason Gardner Says:

    Proof by science fiction story? :)

    My fundamental problem is that the theories you espouse are shown to be wrong because people are not rational actors. We do all kinds of crazy stuff that can only be understood by understanding human nature. Any theory that starts with the assumption that people are not what they are not will not work.

    Communism didn’t work because the communist fundamental assumption of human nature was wrong. Sounds wonderful on paper but pure fantasy. So it failed.

    Democrats win elections because they understand better how people are. Obama is a great politician because he taps into what people actually believe. I personally detest him but he is light years better than Romney as a pure politician.

    For the Rs to continue down this rabbit hole is not healthy for the country. We need capable politicians on the right who can form a coherent strategy that wins elections. The country needs a two party system for a proper vetting and discussion of ideas.

    Nobody wins elections by being rational or right.

    Learn this lesson well or continue to lose at the ballot box.

    Watch that video and explain to them comparative advantage. Make sure they know that job retraining programs are socialism and morally wrong. See if they’ll vote for you after.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I guess that was a proof by science fiction story, but it puts into a frame we can understand what has happened in countries like South Korea and Japan.

      I agree that people are not rational. The interesting thing is that when Adam Smith was investigating prices, no one understand the things he was learning about. It doesn’t require perfectly rational actors to make a free market work. If there’s any degree of sanity it will work. The poor apple farmer in Adam Smith’s example of apple prices knows nothing of anything but his own apple orchard and the prices he can get for his apples in the market. From that, he is able to make the right kinds of choices, whether it’s time to give up the apple business or hire more people and plant more trees. He doesn’t have to be very rational. He can get angry all he wants at the fact that apple prices fall over time as other farmers get more productive, and that his outdated apple farming techniques simply don’t work anymore in the 1700s. But it doesn’t matter, he’ll eventually figure out he’ll make more money raising pigs or making needles.

      So free markets don’t require us to be all like Spock. We can all be largely ignorant and irrational but as long as we are sometimes rational, even a little bit, things will work.

      Democrats illustrate perfectly why democracy is a horrible idea. It’s a terrible idea just like aristocracy or monarchy. The Founding Fathers were brilliant for making only one half of one branch elected by the people. Subsequent generations, ours included, have enshrined democracy as some noble political system, when in reality it’s just mob rule. The great thing about mob rule is that eventually the mob turns on you, no matter how good you are at rabble-rousing. In the end, people realize mob rule is a bad idea.

      I don’t think winning elections will change things. I think getting people to stop trusting the government is the only way things will change. When we reach the day that people don’t care who is president because they don’t let the president control them, we conservatives will have won. I mean, who cares who the emperor of Rome or king of France is anymore? Let big government be just as relevant to us as they are today.

      The video of the workers in that factory responding negatively to the fact that their jobs were already gone a long time ago — it’s sad, yes. They spent their entire lives working for that company, only to find out that company isn’t making money by hiring them anymore. They might have even believed that the company cared about them. That’s what is truly disturbing: people confusing churches with companies. I wish I could dispel this belief, and explain to everyone what profit is and why your job will disappear the very second it is no longer profitable.

      As for them, if they truly loved making air conditioners, then they can learn Spanish and try to immigrate to Mexico to work in the air conditioner factories there. A few decades from now, it will be Mexican workers complaining that their jobs moved to some other third-world country, and they can move again. (I doubt any of them truly loved making air conditioners.)

      But they need to realize that they live in one of the most highly advanced societies in the world. They speak English fluently, a valuable skill that people pay big bucks for overseas. They are also intimately familiar with American culture. But there are jobs here that exist because Mexico is exporting its work to the US. Find one of those industries, and work in them.

      In the meantime, enjoy the fact that air conditioners now cost a little less for everyone. They can’t eat their savings. Those savings will end up as wages for someone somewhere. The net benefit far exceeds the cost.

      Job retraining programs are great, but the government doesn’t need to provide them. Here in Federal Way, Deseret Industries has placed many, many people in productive, competitive jobs and helped them work through certification programs and get genuine on-the-job training. There are Deseret Industries all across the country. It’s amazing what you can do when people actually want to help rather than empower government to control more and more of our lives.

  19. Jason Says:

    The problem of this century is that some people have amassed enough money that they can overturn the will of the people. They can, and do, buy government policy.

    It’s not hard to see examples: So called ag gag laws, bushes prescription drug deal in 2003, Hillary Clinton’s whole career.

    If we don’t see this happening then we cannot monitor it and make sure we don’t turn into more of an oligarchy like Rome or current day Russia. The first step is to see the flaws in capitalism clearly. I understand your definition of wealth but real $$$$ wealth goes along way towards changing people’s attitude.

    You honestly can’t see a problem that the legal drug companies spent $130 million dollars lobbying 535 members of congress? You think that’s not going to influence your congressman at all?

    No serious person is a central planner Marxist anymore. No one, not even Obama. That debate is over. Free markets won.

    However the debate on how much influence money buys is still up for grabs. Are we in a corporatocracy, where the companies call the shot? Should it be illegal to criticize corporations? In the USA now you cannot criticize agricultural companies or you go to jail. That’s not a problem to you?

    It seems weird that we have just bent over, grabbed our heels and let whomever has the most money have their way with us. Nobody wants to advocate limits on how much money can buy?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Who watches the watchers?

      The issue is that while I agree with you that people are corrupt and they do corrupt things, I wonder where you are going to find the angels to monitor the corruption?

      Limiting free speech will not bring about the results you wish. It will not make politicians less corrupt, it will make them more corrupt.

      When you have a guy with a gun shooting people, the way you stop him is bring in more guns, bigger guns, and you shoot him right back.

      When you have people who abuse their free speech, you need more speech, louder speech.

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