Monday, June 6, 2016

Dream Nation

If I were to found a nation from scratch, what would it be like? It would look a great deal like the US Constitution. It would base government on the underlying principle that rights come from God. People will try to take away those rights, and they must be prevented. Government serves that limited purpose. Government should be used to protect our lives, liberty, and property—and the free choice of work to acquire property.

This new nation would have to be a break-off or restart of something existing, since the world is pretty much fully named and occupied now. The words declaring this new nation might include something very much like

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
And then they would go on to describe why there should be this new government in place of the old:

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.
There might follow a list of the grievances—the laws broken by the previous government. And after that list of government’s crimes against the people, the new nation would declare its independence. The signers would invoke their “Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence,” and they would “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

This is how it was done 240 years ago, at the birth of the United States of America. Appeals to the law that was supposed to guarantee their natural rights had been underway for decades. It appeared every avenue of making things right was exhausted. At the time of the Declaration, war was underway, and continued for several more years. Only Divine Providence could have led to the miraculous victory. Eventually the fledgling nation grew and prospered, and the mother country stopped trying to re-wrest control.

Washington-on-the-Brazos, where the Texas Declaration of
Independence was signed in 1836
photo from Wikipedia
Similarly, in 1836, a section of Mexico listed grievances, and after exhaustive efforts to redress wrongs by appealing to the constitutional law of the nation were attempted and rebuked by the illegitimate dictator, independence was declared. So the Republic of Texas declared independence. A war was already underway, and continued. But with miraculous help from Divine Providence, the dictator-president was defeated in a brief battle at San Jacinto, to the east of present-day Houston.

The fledgling nation struggled, and before many years asked to become one of the United States of America. And has prospered considerably since—far beyond anything imagined by the mother country. As a single state within the US, it is the twelfth largest economy in the world.

So, there’s a pattern. A constitution is in place, promising the people protection of their God-given rights. Then tyrants get power and ignore the law. The free people then try to assert their rights through legal appeals, through reason, through common sense. And their appeals are ignored. Then the people—enough of them—come to see that a complete break is necessary, so that they can form a new nation that doesn’t allow government tyranny.

The tyrant nation doesn’t want to let them go peacefully and attempts to force submission. But, God willing, the free people win their independence.

If the tyrant nation didn’t try get the people to submit through brutal force, the war part of becoming independent would be eliminated.

So, if I were to have what I wanted, it would be to jettison the tyrants from the government—and any portions of the country where the voice of the people prefers the tyrants—and return to the Constitutional laws.

If that is not possible—as it was not with either mother country England for the original thirteen colonies, nor with mother country Mexico for Texas—then there would need to be a declaration of independence.

I am speaking hypothetically only. I am in favor of abiding by the US Constitution, and I don’t think we have yet done everything possible to exhaust the possibility of restoring the Constitution and jettisoning the tyrants.

But, while the United States is considered “indivisible,” that is only while the government guarantees “liberty and justice for all.” Our list of grievances is already as long and serious as was the founders’.
I am where the US founders were between 1760 and 1776, while John Adams was stationed in England making appeals. And I am where Stephen F. Austin was in 1830-1835, before he came out of a dungeon where he was imprisoned for asking that the constitution be followed.

So, hypothetically speaking, since I live in Texas, let’s suppose all avenues of Constitutional restoration have been exhausted. And Texas declares independence from the post-Constitutional Socialist States of America. Let’s further suppose that, because of close proximity to the other states, and the long years of people moving in and out among states, that the Socialist States of America would hesitate to declare war on Texas, but would allow a peaceful secession.

Other states could join—maybe Oklahoma, which is adjacent, but maybe also Utah, which wouldn’t be contiguous, but might prefer joining Texas rather than asserting its independence while surrounded by the Socialist States. There may be others.

So, we have this new nation, formed the way other freedom seekers have formed nations (except peacefully). And now we need to set up the laws.

I think the abandoned US Constitution is an excellent starting point. We would need to form a Constitutional Republic: representative government, by the voice of the people, but with guarantees against majority—or minority—tyranny.

Let’s keep most of it, and then add what we need to clarify and to maintain. We keep power divided into three branches of government. But we would spell out that all national laws must be duly legislated by the bicameral legislative branch and none else. Let’s add that every piece of legislation must deal with a single issue, and that it must identify the power in the Constitution granting authority for that duty.

The executive branch would have no power to issue any such thing as an edict, nor any executive order other than to indicate to workers the procedures for executing the legislated laws. Executive regulatory agencies, which currently have lawmaking, judicial, and punishment self-appointed duties would be entirely eliminated.

As now, the third branch would be the judiciary, which deals with judging according to the law—and has the bonus obligation of identifying whether a duly legislated law is legal according to the ultimate law, the Constitution. But let’s add that a two-thirds majority of the legislative branch could overrule the judiciary. (I’ve heard that suggestion for an Article V Convention to amend the Constitution.) This would prevent the judiciary from asserting illicit lawmaking authority.

We should make it both easier and probable for the legislative branch to impeach (remove from office) the president or vice-president either for attempts at unconstitutional acts or for crimes and corruption. And we could add that the people could also call for impeachment or recall (in a way similar to an Article V convention), if they see that the legislative branch isn’t responding to their appeals.

In addition, the legislative branch—as well as the people—could impeach a justice for failure to abide by the Constitution, or for crimes and corruption.

All would have term limits. The president would have no more than two terms (eight years). Senators would have no more than two terms (twelve years). Representatives would have no more than six terms (twelve years). Justices would have no more than sixteen years. (Length of terms might be negotiable; but this is my daydream, so I get to say.)

We would keep the Bill of Rights—maybe clarifying where courts have tried to interfere with our God-given rights.

Religion would be encouraged, in public and private life. No specific religion or sect would be given preferential treatment by government. But government could do nothing to hinder the free expression—public and private—of religion and religious people. Public prayer would be common at civic gatherings. Such prayers can be done according to the religion of the one praying, and those of differing religions would be expected to be respectful—as others would be to them at other opportunities.

We would also be free to speak opinions—even unpopular opinions—without fear of prosecution. Limits would include defamation, libel, slander, provoking violence, pornography and lewdness. But would not include civil discourse. And, of course, there would be no laws preventing others from saying things a person or group disagrees with, thereby “offending” them.

People clearly have not given up the right to defend themselves, just because they have hired a police force to help protect them. Only criminals would be prevented from owning and using firearms for protection, hunting, sport, or whatever use they see fit.

Families must be protected as the basic unit of society. Marriage would be defined as it has for millennia, as a man and a woman. Other definition powers would be retained locally. Preference would be given to married husband and wife. Other family forms, while permitted, do not expect government or public approval. Parents have the right and responsibility to see to the care, education, and upbringing of their children. Only when parents drastically fail would the law step in to protect the child.

Any power not enumerated in the Constitution would not be granted to the federal government, but would be held by local jurisdictions or the individual people. The local jurisdictions (states, provinces, or whatever they are called in this new nation) would decide when to assert their rights—regardless of what a Supreme Court says. The final arbiter should be the people, not a national government-appointed judiciary, which clearly has a conflict of interest in such cases.

Government’s only economic powers would include standardizing weights and measures, standardizing money, maintaining federal infrastructure, and preventing monopolies. A flat tax of no more than 10% could be imposed more maintaining government purposes of border protection, sovereignty duties, and enumerated government purposes. With government limited to its enumerated powers, there should be little difficulty in maintaining a balanced budget and avoiding debt—but rather than trust on this, the laws should make it mandatory (with possible temporary exceptions, such as natural disasters and attacks on the nation’s soil).

The new nation would secure its borders, and have an orderly, fair, and consistent immigration and naturalization policy.

The national government would refrain from interfering where it is not granted powers, such as in education, charity, environmental regulation, and subsidizing particular industries or market sectors.
We need informed voters committed to maintaining the Constitution. While there should be no financial or racial test for voters, I’m willing to believe we could come up with a test that is part of voter registration—something that proves the voter understands the basic form of government, the limits of government, and who one’s current national elected officials are. And we could have candidates sign an oath showing their understanding of and dedication to the Constitution—with punishments including possibly prison and fines for breaking this oath.

What I dream about is a country well up into the northern hemisphere of the Spherical Model—where we have freedom, prosperity, and civilization. Our original founders did everything right—except prevent us from ignoring the law and slipping southward. But that is not a problem with their system; that is a problem with the people.

So let's start with civilizing people, so that they naturally want--and work for--freedom and prosperity. 

No comments:

Post a Comment