Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Freedom Government(Sage's Tax Plan)

" It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our leaders are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war(Revolutionary)we shall be going downhill. It will no longer follow of necessity to resort every moment to the goodwill of the people for support. They will soon be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will even forget themselves, but in the sole purposes of making money, and will never again think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. Whatever shackles, therefore, that shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war will remain on us long, and will only be made heavier 'til our rights revive, or expire in a convulsion." Thomas Jefferson: "Notes on the State of Virginia(1782)

I believe we are approaching a narrow, but distinct window of opportunity. With the economy soon to go farther in the tank than it already is, the "freedom movement" is possibly gaining the quantity, and even more importantly, the quality of Americans necessary to slough off the tyranny of the federal fleas. This will still not be easy, but I am optimistic(for an avowed cynic) that it is achievable. I think it will probably go one of two ways. We will either discover an extraordinarily clever technologically based avenue to cover our massive debt, or be forced to defend ourselves with arms as the shit hits the fan, and all hell breaks loose.

As far as the first option is concerned, and in light of my good friend RWR's posting of his tax plan; one which, by the way, I do believe would be a very viable operative if implemented, I have some fiscal suggestions of my own that, although some may view as "radical", I think are worth considering.

For the record, I would propose that the federal government be funded fully by user's fees, or some form of "head tax" that is linked to this concept. For example, if the cost of defending the nation against attack from its enemies cost, say $1200 per year, why not bill people,rich or poor, directly for that amount? Foreign tourists would pay about $3.50 per day simply tacked to their visa fees. It costs the same to protect a millionaire from attack as it does a street person, and both would pay a uniform cost of $7.00 to go to the movies, so why shouldn't something that it just as uniform in its application, and infinitely more necessary be funded the same way? It should be remembered that defense is like vitamins, and exercise, they are necessary because they are an investment in the prevention of ruin for the entire society. The rich should not of necessity pay more for it, because, in the end, they derive no more benefit from it than the poor. It would be like charging Porsches more at the car wash than Priuses.

Congress could be funded by a national lottery. Each elected Congressman would be paid $1,000,000 per year. This would pay his salary, and related expenses. Here is the catch, every word of law he votes for costs him/her $10.00, and what he doesn't spend, he gets to keep. Congress would therefore, be voting for fewer, and simpler laws; which would then translate into a major bonus for WE THE PEOPLE! Wouldn't you rather pay your representatives big bucks to do less, and reap the benefits than continue with the present system of tax, and spend? If Congress can pay farmers to not raise food, then we should pay them to not make laws!

I have long been a believer in the restoration of character-defamation based punitive damages in the event of frivolous lawsuits. The answer to this problem could be found in requiring the loser of a civil suit to pay for all of the costs plus the opposition's attorney fees, and by having the courts charge a premium on any legally enforceable contract that is to be repaid. That would guarantee the court's enforcement of the terms in the event that the loser weasels, while at the same time discourage the ongoing abuse of the legal system. The end result would be lower prices, and improved service with the truly legitimate litigants paying for their own services only instead of being forced to reward outrageous legal fees to the criminal elements of the legal profession.

All police, and criminal courts would be voluntarily funded by insurance premiums similar to car, or homeowner's insurance. If you want the protection of the police, or the judicial system "YOU" pay for it. If you don't want this protection, and are willing to take the involved risks of not having it,(as many are now doing by not having fire, or health insurance) then you neither receive police protection, or
court justice. Anyone convicted of a crime would be required to make monetary reparations, plus pay for all punitive fines. Thus, the "customers" would be the ones paying for the criminal justice system. YOU USE IT, YOU PAY FOR IT! What could be more fair, or free then that?

Perhaps not all of this is feasible, but in light of the present system's failures, let's at least consider some new ideas. I'll bet you have some too!

And how about Congressional programs? If the people demand illegal programs from their elected representatives, let them do so by vote. If they vote for it; they benefit from it, AND they pay for it! If forty million voters demand a welfare state, then let it be their welfare state, and their's alone! The rest of the country will neither use it, nor pay for it! This will put an end to people making themselves feel good at the public's expense. No longer will people be robbing Peter to pay Paul! Let the Socialist's live with their Socialism, and put the collectivists out of "our" misery.

The whole of the point that I am making here is that if people are held personally responsible for all of their actions, and I mean "all of them" we will not only become fiscally solvent, but finally be functional as a truly "free" people.

You can K.I.S.S. me now!(keep it simple sammy)

The Revolution is televised

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Future of an Illusion

The defining moment when changes in demography, and attitude made the United States "post Jeffersonian" is difficult to pinpoint. My placement of this moment would of a certainty be somewhere between 1890 and 1920, which was the time period during which the USA went from it's being a "national" nation, to it's being an "international" nation. With it's entrance into WW1, there was no doubt as to what it's future would now be. And while the US had become "post Jeffersonian" in its manifest; it had ironically remained, at least in the hearts, and minds of its people, the complete modern embodiment of the fully sanguine presence of it's most famous Founding Father. If Thomas Jefferson were to announce his candidacy for the POTUS 2012, there is not a doubt on my part that he would easily win the popular support of both, or either of the two major parties, and go on to win a historical landslide victory in the November election. I am not sure however, that the modern ship of state would be ready to accept the political implications of a happening of this magnitude were it to occur. The sea of change that separates his world from ours is such that not only have his core convictions been swamped by the tides of time, but also that the shape of the shoreline upon which the tides have washed has been completely reshaped, and reformed.

The proof positive that I offer for this posit is to be found in the fact that every single grassroots movement for the reform of government has been a dismantling operation that has been designed to "take out the trash" of built up political debris that has been accumulating since the founding of the republic. From the 1860's to the 1960's, from the Civil War, to the Goldwater revolution, to the Reagan revolution, to the "Contract with America in the 1990's, to the Tea Party revolt currently underway, the desire of "WE THE PEOPLE" has been the shifting of political power from the federal, to the state governments.It would seem that since the end of the Cold War in 1989, the present American government has replaced the old Soviet Union as our own domestic counterpart of the "Evil Empire".

And this is all pure Jefferson. Like Jefferson in 1800, modern grassroots movements are born with a morbid fear of any centralized authority;while,at the same time, blindly overlooking the legitimate reasons why centralization became necessary in the first place. For Jefferson,this was a sordid truth from the beginning(1787). For modern movements the date is more indefinite, and likely to be determined from one's own perspective. However, the consistency of logic throughout is that the federal "monster" that has developed in post-Jefferson America is both dangerous, and unnecessary. It is also becoming more aware in the hearts, and minds of many Americans that this "monster" is also outside of the walls of the prison that the Founders for good reasons, originally placed it in.

The problem, as I see it, is that up to the present, this posture has been one of argument rather than action. That while the present view of most Americans is that the federal encroachments on personal freedoms has gone too far, very few are seriously contemplating the elimination of Social Security, or the Federal Reserve, both of which are "federal encroachments", and are "monsters" outside the walls of the Constitutional prison in its original intent. And, that in truth,it is for this very reason, that the ongoing assault on the powers of the federal government have had zero effect on the growth of federal spending, or the size of the beltway bureaucracy. Nevertheless, before we throw away the baby with the bath water, I believe that it can be said that it is in fact the residual power of Jefferson thought, and philosophy that has kept government on the defensive, to the degree that it is, for all of these years, and further, that this potent thread of remnant Jeffersonianism is the driving force behind the Conservative/Libertarian wing of the Republican Party today. For the record, it would seem that a majority of Americans still concur with Jefferson in the belief that, as Carl Becker puts it, "the only thing to do with political power is to abate it".

With that in mind, I believe that Jefferson's most enduring, yet least understood legacy is the principle of religious freedom. This has been most recently defined via negative, and I believe thus counter to the Founder's intent, by the SCOTUS as the complete separation of church, and state. This is a point that would have greatly distressed Jefferson in light of his extreme distrust of this governmental branch. The principle in question has gone from the position that the government has "no business interfering with a person's religious beliefs, and practice" in the late eighteenth century, to the position where the government is the determinant of the parameters of a person's religious beliefs, and practice in the early twenty-first century. This reversal has been thinly veiled, and disguised as "protecting the rights", and thus the "freedoms" of a person to worship as they please, but has,in fact, produced the exact opposite result via "democracy"(read:mob rule). Note the subtle shift in authority here from the "God of the Bible"(Creator), to the "Lord of this World"(government). This strand of thought is a "bone of contention" that I will chew on farther down the road. It is, however, purely Jeffersonian in its form, and intent.

On the other hand, it flies in the face of all we know about Jefferson to equate him with the advocates of racial equality, or any modern multi-racial ideals. All existing evidence portray him as a staunch believer in white Anglo supremacy in all of its forms, as were most members of the revolutionary generation. In addition, it can be said that he went far in identifying the differences between the races as products of nature, and thus ordained by God, rather than products of environment which is the modern understanding of this phenomenon. It was Lincoln, rather than Jefferson that expanded the "natural rights" section of the Declaration of Independence to include men of color.This may explain why MLK chose to deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial rather than the Jefferson Memorial. And while it can be rightly said that he(Jefferson) was an enemy of slavery, it cannot be rightly expressed that he was equally a friend of integration, Sally Hemings not withstanding.

For all of these reasons, any invocations either past or present of Jefferson as "the apostle of freedom" are to some degree, misleading, and thus are inaccurate. Nonetheless, the truly powerful Jeffersonian legacy that has changed very little, and even yet remains strong with us is the parameters that contain the framework for all considerations of personal freedom. It should be noted that Jefferson was alone among the revolutionary generation in his seminal belief that government begins with an individual sovereignty that is a natural right from the Creator,and that this right was to be protected by the mechanisms of government. John Adams, James Madison, and even more so, Alexander Hamilton began with the assumption that in order for government to be effective, it must needs address individual freedoms within in a larger public context. Jefferson, on the other hand, believed that by the true expression of the highest form of individual liberty removed finally from all forms of feudal repression, a type of natural harmony of like interests would be produced that then would create invisible forms of discipline throughout the strata of society. The bulk of the twilight correspondences between Adams and he dwelt on Adam's failed attempts to apprise Jefferson of the truth of this illusory thinking. However, the temptation of this philosophy in the early years of the republic's boisterous optimism was simply too great for the idealogue that was Jefferson. It would not be seen until long after his death in 1826, that with the coming of the end of the Frontier Era, and the dawning of the inequalities of the Gilded Age, that his vision would finally be exposed for the "illusion" that it truly was. By then the Jeffersonian philosophy of individual freedom as a divine right was firmly established in the hearts, and minds of the people as a bedrock principle of American government, and thus the starting point of all future political dialogue. Thus, other than in times of great national distress, or crisis; individual sovereignty remains the heart conviction, and home base for all political thinking. It continues to be the framework for all political conversations in ways that have had us questioning all communal proposals for public rights in their various forms, and putting their promoters on the defensive perpetually. In short, Jeffersonian thinking in respect to the ideal of "self government", although a contradiction in its present application, remains the abiding belief of most Americans. That is why the telling of Americans that to improve their democracy they must "lose themselves in the comforts of a collective life" falls on deaf ears. In truth, there has never been any real notions of an "American democracy" without its equally accompanying thread of "American individualism", and nothing suggests that there ever will be save through subtle misrepresentation, and clever manipulation.

Like it or not, realistic or not, American political ideology will be forever framed in Jeffersonian language as an argument based on the absolute sovereign rights of the individual over the collective. As the years have passed, the simplicity of the Jeffersonian vision, "illusion" if you will, has only increased in its political, and moralistic implications, even as the size of the American electorate has grown larger, and more unwieldy. As a candidate for office, if we could ever persuade him to run, he would remain, as in the past, a formidable contender.

The Revolution has been televised.