Organizing for Liberty

by

There are two ways political systems can work.

One is top-down. You pay homage to the people at the top, and they grant you certain privileges. You can build quite a system this way, and indeed, for the vast majority of people who ever lived on this earth, this was the system they lived under.

This kind of political system works best when you have a king at the top, who can do anything but whatever upsets his immediate circle of advisers. Our constitutional form of government is wholly incompatible with this system. In fact, the American people really, really don’t like it and have written laws to make it impractical. However, people are smart and know how to work around the political and legal issues, so for the most part, it’s what we get in our country.

The other kind of political system is bottom-up. It is the system where the people at the bottom grant a few special privileges and powers to the people up top. Or rather, where the people on the top entreat the people below them for their favor and ask for special dispensations and affordances.

This kind of political system is very suited to our constitutional form of government. It is what we imagine America should always be like. However, it requires that the people maintain a firm grip on the people they put in power, and are careful not to grant them too much power. It also requires the people to firmly rebuke their government when it exceeds their boundaries.

In order to make the second kind of political system work, a large number of the people must be engaged in monitoring and establishing the government. That means, it falls on regular folks to do simple things like:

  • Attend government meetings and understand what every level of government is doing.
  • Expose abuse of power when it occurs, and broadcast it far and wide so that those guilty can be held accountable at the polls.
  • Choose quality candidates who will serve the interests of the people.
  • Support those candidates with time, money, and talent so that they can compete with the candidates put forward by the top-down system.
  • Vote for those candidates and ensure their neighbors vote for him as well.
  • Run the election process so that elections are open and honest.
  • Monitor the election process, every step of the way, to ensure that elections are open and honest.
  • Serve from time to time as a candidate or in various commissions, committees, and councils, in government, civic organizations, and in the churches and charities.

If we work this system and are somewhat organized, we should be able to take a few hours a month from every interested person and direct it to those activities which will benefit the group as a whole. After all, the problem with the top-down system is that there will always be fewer people receiving bribes than people not receiving them.

The Republican and Democratic Parties offer existing organizations that can be infiltrated by the common citizen who simply wants government to work bottom-up. It is imperative that we who are interested in politics spend some of our time and energy understanding the existing organization, forming partnerships with people who think like we do about bottom-up, and work to dispose of those elements who work top-down, or rather, limit their capabilities with a good dose of oversight and directed criticism.

I propose that everyone who has anything to say about politics make it a point to spend at least a few hours doing this. Even if you disagree with me on practically everything, I know, as an American, that you want your preferred party to be responsible and accountable to you and your friends who think like you. You do not want someone acting like a king at the top ordering our government and society as they did in medieval times.

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