Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

If I were President part 1. Immigration and citizenship

As a constitutional libertarian, if I were to run for president of the United States, Here's what I would propose how to deal with immigration and citizenship.

First, I would submit an end to the concept of citizenship.  The founding documents quite specifically set forth that this is a country established to protect and be a steward of natural rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness among others for everyone living here.

If someone declares residence here, and signs an affidavit signifying their acceptance of and agreement to abide by the founding documents of the U.S. and the state they live in, they are "covered" for as long as they reside here.  When and if they move into another state within the U.S., they must agree to abide by that new states constitution.  All residents in any state within the U.S. may move at any time to and take up residence in any other state only needing to sign the local state affidavit.

Any person may give up residence in the U.S. and move to another country without penalty or question as long as there are no outstanding legal issues having to do with causing harm to others, infringement of other's rights or breach of contract.

In relation to my position on government entitlement programs or other government subsidized programs, no one shall receive entitlements or subsidies because there will be none.  The federal government will be focused in my administration to the stewardship and protection of individual's rights and ensuring the general welfare by making sure that all people have equal access to necessary natural resources.  My administration will work to make sure that people will be able to make a living according to their self determined best interests without unnecessary interference from the government, religious or social organizations or other individuals.

My administration will not guarantee anyone's success or failure.  I will not encourage the federal government to engage in choosing winners or losers.  By taking residency in the U.S., responsibility for each individual's success, safety or protection from one's own decisions is assumed by that individual.

My administration will defend every individual lawfully taking residence within the U.S. and will defend and protect said individuals from threats from foreign countries, organizations and individuals who would threaten or violate an individual resident's life, safety, rights, or property.

The most insidious ism of all

People get caught up fighting or engaging in racism, sexism, age-ism, etc...  but those are all just symptoms of a greater problem.

There seems to be some deep seated need in people to see themselves and everyone else as only part of some group.  Collectivism is the most degrading, destructive and demeaning ism of all.  It preys upon humanity like a parasitic mind destroying, self consuming virus.

We seek to define ourselves as unique individuals yet only seem happy if we are comfortably lumped into some collective consciousness.

We seem determined to be protective of our grouped units and comfiest as part of a collection of those we seek validation from the most.

How often do we as people find ourselves in situations of our own creation where we have become polarized in "us vs them" scenarios that don't really even need to exist except for our desperate clinging to be part of the group.

If you choose to define yourself or allow others to define you by your appearance, your value or belief system, your geographical or political affiliation, the problem lies within yourself.

Can we share common beliefs, ideals, values, culture, etc... and be influenced by those?  Most certainly.  Must we allow those things to define us as individual people?  Absolutely not.

Ultimately, our lives are individually our own.  We must ultimately make the decisions for how to live or die, on our own.
You are you, we can be we, but I must only be the me-est me I can be.

Office holders and term limits

The brouhaha about if the POTUS-Elect is accepted as "my" or "your" president not only is an example of immaturity and unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of people who we should all expect better of, it is a case of missing the point entirely.

The U.S. Constitution created offices in which office holders are elected by various means to carry out the duties of said office.  The authorities and "powers" to carry out said duties are inherent to those offices.  Each person we elect to offices wield the powers of the office while in office but do not retain those abilities after no longer being in office.

What this illustrates is that any representative we elect is not "our", "my" or "your" president, congressperson, senator, etc.... as much as they are "the" officeholder.  They personally do not have any more or less power or authority than any other person.  Everything they are able to do is a power of the office.

One thing to keep in mind is that being only human, it is so easy to make easy assumptions especially the longer one is in such a position to wield such power.  Such assumption often leads to an inflated sense of entitlement.  People who spend too much time in office begin to think of themselves and associate with others who look upon them as the embodiment of the authority and powers of the office.  They use terminology that assumes personal possessive ownership like "my" and "your".

It is because of such conflation of concepts such as being an officeholder and a personal ownership of power that makes the concept of term limits attractive to the electorate.  Wielding power for extended periods of time, especially when little to no "real" challenge is posed not only corrupts but is intoxicating and addictive as well.

Few people are seen as strong enough to let go of power when it is time.  The character of someone to willingly relinquish it is often considered ideological but rarely achievable.  Thus, because though we say ideologically that term limits, thus limitation of individuals usurping powers of office, lies with the electorate making responsible choices, constitutional limits on terms is often thought to be the more realistic and practical approach to reducing or trying to eliminate corruption and usurping of the powers of office.

Personally, I am idealistic enough to think that there shouldn't be a need to impose such restrictions such as constitutional term limits on officeholders.  I am also pragmatic enough to accept that far too many people lack the strength of character to hold themselves and others to such ideals.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Constitutional libertarianism

Ahhh, libertarianism.  It encompasses so many things.  At it's heart, it holds that people should not be forced or coerced into doing things they don't want to do or that will harm them.  Just like any other ideology out there, it spans a range of ideas that go from one extreme to another.  In the case of libertarians, one extreme is that of accepting or tolerating government to some degree.  The opposite extreme is to accept or tolerate no formal government of any kind.

Also like any ideology a great majority of it's adherents operate somewhere in between.Speaking for myself, I cling to what is called "Constitutional Libertarianism".  Yes, it does lie closer to the tolerating government side of the spectrum.  However, personally, I think that the U.S. founding documents are probably the most inspired and inspiring approach to people living and working together in a shared society where some type of government is unavoidable but is the best way to the stewardship and defense of individual's natural rights.  Perfect?  Nope, never gonna happen.  As close as imperfect and fallible people can get?  Most likely.

I used a phrase above that I think ultimately describes the Constitution and founding documents as well as the concept of constitutional libertarianism.  It is about a shared way of living and working together in a society that creates government specifically for the primary task of being a steward and defender on individual natural rights.

The point is to make sure every person is able to equally AND equitably practice those rights and protect them from ALL threats foreign AND domestic.  Possibly most so domestic.

I look at the government as, if doing it's job the way it is supposed to be done, as making sure individuals, social, religious and even governmental groups cannot or do not interfere with any individual getting on with their life, as they see it, as accepted and defined by them, the individual.

The role of government is NOT to protect people from themselves.   In actuality, it's not to protect people themselves at all.  It is to protect people's rights.  That is an important distinction.  When the Constitution talks about providing for the general welfare of people, it is not talking about doing anything "for" people such as feeding, clothing, educating, sheltering, etc...  It is talking about making sure that people are able to do those things for themselves, in the way they choose to do it, IF they choose to do so voluntarily without others interfering or infringing on their rights and ability to do so.

The Bill of Rights, while the argument has been made that it should be necessary, does exist and taking the good and bad potential of it, essentially spells out how the stewardship and defending of those rights is to be handled.

For example, the First Amendment essentially ensures that people can speak their mind, hold their own beliefs and follow the pursuits they deem right for them.

The Second Amendment ensures that people are able to protect and defend their life and at the same time sustain their life.  Keep in mind, the Second Amendment relates to all weapons, not just guns though that too often gets lost in the discussion.

You get the idea.  The intent of the founding documents is to make sure people can have their natural rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, among others (like ownership of property which is actually part of the right to liberty.  From liberty people are automatically assumed to own themselves.  Our life is our own thus we have have the consequential rights to freedom, we have the right to own not only our life but the things we do or make in our life which is the crux of the right to own property.

Capitalism is at it's simplest form, free trade.  People have the right to free trade in order to sustain their lives by obtaining products and services that they own and can own in order to have shelter, food, clothing, education, and any number of things that contribute to their right to pursue happiness in their own life.  We can't always make or do everything ourselves so we need to have ways to obtain those things we cannot do or make ourselves in order to attain or achieve success in survival, self improvement and advancement, etc...

Again, speaking for myself, I believe wholeheartedly in the U.S. founding documents.  I believe that they exist and are designed to create and maintain a system that acts as a steward and defender of individual natural rights.  I believe that the government, as sated in the Constitution, is meant to be delimited to specifically those activities and pursuits and otherwise is meant to stay out of people's lives as much as possible.

Yes, I know people are often corrupted and that many people try to cheat and game the system for their own personal gain and advantage.  It is a system based on an ideal and implemented by imperfect people.  It is bound to fail from time to time.  Just because it is bound to have failure and that people will fail to live up to the standards doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile pursuit.

I admire my anarchist fellows within the libertarian spectrum who insist that government is not necessary and that society should be able to function with people living up to their best potential.  However, I also believe that people not being perfect can be counted on to not live up to their best potential and due to that, there needs to be a system to defend the defenseless and help keep things moving according to the principles laid out in the founding documents.

That's just my two cents.

A bookcase, not a book

One of my favorite mental images of how the founding documents and the U.S.government are supposed to work is as a bookcase.

The founding documents and the government could be seen as a framework, a structure to ensure things that are important and that need to be accessible have a home.

I think of the founding documents as the owner's manual not only for putting the bookshelf together but the job description of the librarian.

The government is the bookshelf.  Our elected representatives are the librarians.  The books on the bookshelf are our rights and the rule of law we establish to protect those rights.

The people (citizens) own the bookshelf.  The books were given to us (natural rights)  by a mysterious and anonymous library founder and patron.  We have added books of our own that are derivative of those original books.

The people hire the librarians to make sure that everyone has access to those books.  Think of the library board as our elected office holders.  Think of the government employees as the folks pushing the carts between the bookshelves, tidying up, organizing, putting everything in it's place so the next person can access it.

I love libraries and books.  I love the idea of going in, and looking for I want to read and know about and do.  On my time, at my place, in my own interests.

There are the library and librarian rules so that I don't interrupt or interfere with others using the library as well.  Libraries are sacred places where individuals can all come to get but be focused on their own interests and concerns.  Where we respect each other's study and research though we may not choose to read the same authors or books.

As a people, it is our responsibility to ensure the library stays open.  It is our responsibility to ensure that our representative board members are engaged in following the instructions and making sure that everyone has access.

When the board gets out of line, creating new rules that overstep their job description or not paying due diligence to the job they were sent to do, it is our job to replace them with someone who will stay within the job description and not be lazy or abusive.

Everyone loves and appreciates a well cared for library that is inclusive and accessible.  It's easy to turn a blind eye and let someone else handle the oversight of the board and the library.

The ultimate responsibility of, for and to the library is us, the people.  We are the oversight committee of the library and the board.  If we do not pay due diligence and know what the instruction manual says to keep the bookshelf in good condition and that the books are properly shelved and the lights stay on and the doors stay open and that everyone can get their own library card.  If we the people do not do that job, then it is us who have failed the library.

It is us who have wasted such valuable gifts that gave us the instruction manual and the place to build the library and the resources to get everything needed to run it.

The instruction manual and the gifted resources are not at fault.  It's those of us who decided we don't need to read the manual and just ignore it or try to redesign it for our own purposes as opposed to being there for everyone in the community.

I love our library.  I'm willing to read the manual, know how it's supposed to be put together and work.  I will be active in the oversight of the library board and trying to keep the library open and accessible for the whole community.

Monday, November 14, 2016

American equitability in rights

Last post I talked about the equitable observance of individual voting rights regarding the electoral college.  This one I want to explore equitability a little more across the board.

Again, the first role of this government and the purpose of being a republic as opposed to a simple democracy is for the purpose of ensuring that the natural rights of every individual are ensured and not unfairly infringed upon.

Note that I said "unfairly" infringed upon.  As a society, we have determined that there are circumstances in which an individual is to have their natural rights infringed upon mostly based as a societal repercussion for causing harm to others or for infringing upon other individuals rights.

Supposedly taking such infringement VERY seriously, removing or infringing on any individuals rights is not something to be considered lightly or trivially, we have instituted in our system of representative government checks and balances to try to ensure that when we do find it socially important to infringe on an individuals rights, it is done with great consideration and equitably.

To that end, we have things like the electoral college to keep the majority from infringing upon the minority.  We have trial by jury and we have placed the burden of proof on the prosecuting side because we believe in the value of presuming individuals being innocent until being proved guilty.  In the same legal system we also have it so that an individual cannot be tried for the same crime twice.  Again, protecting the minority from a mob thirsty for blood by any means necessary.  We romanticize vigilantes for taking action in the face of a corrupt or shackled justice system but our laws exist to prevent just anybody from using their own personal judgment to deny or infringe on another persons rights.  The vigilante may be well intentioned, but their intentions or personal value system does not get to infringe on other peoples natural rights.  No matter how popular they may be.

All of these things reflect on a system of not just equal but also an equitable enforcement and defense of every individuals natural rights.

In America, our government exists not granting rights to people but to identify and recognize people's inherent rights.  To ensure that people are able to exercise their rights and to defend every person's ability to exercise those rights from any threat foreign and domestic.

That threat could be a foreign government insistent on conquest and it can just as easily be a religious, social or governmental force within our own borders trying to impose their values on others against their will.

The Declaration of Independence identifies and recognizes those natural rights, the Constitution sets up a government intended to be a steward and defender of those rights.  If we are to make sure every individual person has such protections, then we must be certain to look to both equal AND equitable observation of carrying that out.

The Dreaded P Word

I'm not a fan of the idea of partisanship.  Partisanship tells us that those involved are representing the interests of a specific group of people rather than the bests interests of the electorate they are supposed to be representing.  The point of running to be an elected officeholder is to represent the best interests of the people in the region or district that is electing you.

I dislike the idea of bi-partisanship even more.  It goes further to say that you are negotiating based on the specific group's platform instead of your electorate but you recognize only a specific other party as legitimate.  This completely undermines the purpose of the people of each district, state or country having a voice that represents specifically them and whomever they send to office will only be recognized or cooperated with if they are a member of one of two parties.  The people  of a particular electorate no longer have a unique voice for them but now are essentially forced into participating in a pre-determined voting block that may or may not represent that particular electorate's issues and needs.

Party politics undermines the American election system using democratic methods of participating in the republican form of government.  Simply put, it is "gaming the system".  It assembles people into general voting blocs that address many issues regardless of the need or importance of local relevance.

It's an abuse of the democratic process which leads to "mob rule" or domination of minorities by simple majorities.  The U.S. founding documents are founded on the ultimate minority, the individual.  Allowing "mob rules" or simple majorities to infringe upon the rights of any individual is an affront to the concept of individual natural rights.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Elected Officeholders, Not Divine Selection

The elected offices of the U.S. government have been laid out in the Constitution.  The office holders don't get to just show up and do anything they like, whatever they want.  They have a duty to perform independent of their personal interests.

I don't look at any officeholder such as President, Senator, Congressperson or even Supreme Court Judge as "My" whatever.  They are "The" whatever.  I judge their performance according to how well they perform the duties and tasks as set for their positions as laid out in the Constitution.

If any elected officeholder cannot set aside their personal interests and preferences to do the job as specified on behalf of ALL Americans, they are not doing their job and they do not deserve support or re-election.  Period.

Now, a candidate or elected officeholder can come to the table with an idea of how they best see to address or approach one of the tasks and duties of their office.  There are often a variety of different ways to do something, some more effective others less.  Some more in line with the founding documents, some that are riding the fine line and others that go way outside the line.

For many people, the use of "My" and "The" is functionally irrelevant because we share the same understanding of the context of officeholders doing their jobs as defined by the Constitution.   For others who either are obtuse to the context or intentionally take things out of context in the effort to re-define and re-purpose ideas so as to change those understanding that officeholders are supposed to be limited by the Constitution in the carrying out of their office's duties, then it becomes more of an important part of the discussion.

FACT:  The elected officeholders in the government have pre-determined duties of the office that is their first and primary concern and cause to be in said office.

FACT: Elected officeholders are elected as representatives of ALL those in their electorate, not just those of a shared party, religious or social affiliation.

The first duty of the government and all elected and appointed officeholders as well as employees is the stewardship and defense of the natural rights identified and recognized in the Declaration of Independence.  That is the purpose of the Constitution.  The Constitution specifically details the delimiting restriction on the government to carry out only that which is necessary to conduct the business of the Federal government while acting in the role of Steward and defender of every individual's natural rights and all rights derivative of those.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Equal AND Equitable

People need to understand that the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is not just about equality but about equitability at the same time.

For those unsure, equal means to be divided similarly.  For example, if we allow the privilege of driving on roads in automobiles, then everyone equally should have the opportunity to apply to do so.  If we say that everyone has a right to vote then is it enough to just say that every individual vote must count equally?  Not necessarily.  At least, not according to our founding documents.

We in the U.S. hold as a value the concept that every individual has certain basic natural or god given rights.  When it comes to those natural rights, it isn't enough to just ensure equal applicability of them.  We must recognize them equitably as well.  Thus we are not a simple democracy.  In a simple democracy in which a total tally of votes is taken the majority rules and the minority is over run.

However, there is something called "the mob" because people are often and more often than not, easily, manipulated into forming a voting bloc specifically for the purpose of creating a voting majority.  This is what we now often think of as "gaming the system".    The vote is supposed to ideologically represent a collection of individual votes based on each individuals values, beliefs, knowledge, etc...  When you have groups that try to manipulate people into making their vote based on affiliation with a group or political party as opposed to independent thought, you have an unethical manipulation or "Gaming the system".

Not only that, but the founding documents that establish this country are bound to ensure that every single citizen's natural rights are protected.  That no majority can collude to infringe upon or deny those basic natural rights from any one person, let alone a group of people with shared ideas or values.  In that alone, being "equal" is not enough.  We need to be very on top of what then is equitable or the "fairness" of the enforcement, defense, and application of laws and especially government practices.  Simple majorities in that case are not recognized.

Take for example the current examination of the electoral college after this election.  People claim that the popular vote was won by one candidate while the electoral college was won by the other.  Well, this is why the U.S. is not and never has been a simple Democracy.  It is a Republic because we do not allow a majority to hold sway over certain things that could or might likely interfere with or infringe upon individual's natural rights.  The representative government first role is supposed to be the stewardship and defense of every individual's natural rights.  This is why the Declaration is WAY more important than a lot of people want to give it recognition for.  The Constitution exists and the government formed therein specifically for the purpose of ensuring and defending those natural rights identified and recognized in the Declaration.

That means equitable as well as equal.  Those representatives and the government's first task is to protect the individual from the fickle majority.

Urban areas collect a lot of people densely into geographically small areas.  Rural areas are often more widely dispersed and more sparely populated.  In terms of being equal, because there are more people in urban areas, a majority is very easy to be attained.    However, just because of the nature of easily formed majority of numbers into specific area, that does not mean those more widely and sparsely distributed areas have any less importance or value to their votes.  In a popular vote only the majority counts and urban areas notoriously win those because of sheer numbers.  The mob rules.

To be equitable, or to be fair about counting or valuing more individuals votes respectively, The electoral college seeks to level the playing field, so to speak, so that those people in those rural and less densely populated areas are represented as best as can be in such a large geographic area such as the U.S. covers.

The people wanting to do away with the electoral college only care about being equal in that everyone got to vote but don't care one whit that everyone's vote counts or is represented equitably.  They believe that popularity must equal "right".  That's not how it works here.  History has taught us nothing if not that large groups of people can be led into making bad decisions.  Remember our mothers words to us as children.  "Just because "Everyone" seems to be doing it doesn't make it right.  It only means that it is popular."

Is the electoral college the perfect way to ensure equitability?  No, but then, as people, we are fooling only ourselves if we seriously think we will ever accomplish anything perfectly.  As a matter of fact, the more people involved only increases the likelihood that it will go less perfectly.

So, very sorry to burst any bubbles out there, but in the U.S. your majority does not matter when it comes to making sure the minority does not unfairly have their rights infringed upon.

I hate to say it, I voted for Johnson, but the pun cannot be ignored...  Equitability "trumps" popularity when it comes to defending individuals natural rights.