Beyond the Cusp

March 24, 2012

Submission is the Demand of the Absolutist

Peel back the layers of any absolutist philosophy and at the core you will find the same requirement, submission of all followers. There will also be the inevitability of the superiority of the absolutist philosophy with the complete subjugation of the world as an inevitability. The path to this absolute control of all the Earth may differ from one absolutist philosophy to the next, but they all claim the inevitability of their superiority. The two most familiar of these philosophies from the present or recent past are Communism and Nazism. Both philosophies called for their inevitable conquering of the entire world yet the means were actually as opposite as you can find. The Nazis saw their superiority would allow them to conquer the world through military might while the Communists believed that all they need do was wait as all other systems would eventually fail and come to recognize that the only workable solution was Communism. The Communists also believed in aiding the furtherance of their cause through military conquest or through infiltration and subversion of non-Communist countries.

Submission has actually been the rule of governance through the annals of history. The most common absolutist government is a monarchy with a king sitting as the infallible leader who demanded complete and total submission to their rules and edicts. The monarch might decorate their demands of submission by having a court consisting of landowners and select intellectuals but these people only held the power of agreement. Had any of the members of court opposed the absolute power and correctness of the King they would soon find out that non-submission was not only disallowed, but punished by forfeiture of one’s life. This form of absolute rule had varying names for the king which include Czar, Emperor, Pharaoh, Khan, or Caliph among others. The names may change but the intolerance of individualism remained as an absolute. All of these absolutist systems not only demand submission to their authority but also submission of the individual to forfeit their individuality and fit a defined mold for whatever position in the society or community one is assigned. In each instance there are those who having gained complete trust of the hierarchy and rulers who get assigned to the positions of enforcers of compliance, of submission by all the subjects. These were the Gestapo under the Nazis and the KGB in Soviet Russia.

Most of the people in the West do not understand the dehumanizing and irresistible force which is able to force the complete submission of entire populations. This is due to the revolutionary change which came with the Enlightenment which posited the idea that the individual was to be self-aware and thus had rights which even a sovereign had to recognize. When the revolutionary philosophies of the Enlightenment were reinforced with the ideals from Judeo-Christian ethics, the individual became the equivalent of a sovereign over the self. This concept slowly but steadily altered and changed the governance by placing limits upon the sovereigns while empowering even the most common of the citizenry to have a voice in their government. The most crucial of the events during this period of transformation was the founding of the United States of America with its unique Constitution and its defining document, the Declaration of Independence. These two documents went further than their influencing documents and political philosophies such as the Magna Carta and the writings of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Thomas Hobbes in defining the nobility of the individual who was to be served by government which was to be designed to protect the individual from government oppression and from criminal intent. These documents plainly stated the only entity which was above the individual was to be the Creator and never the government. That was the theory.

Despite this lack of familiarity and seeming inability of many in the West to recognize absolutist influences and their requirement of submission of the individual, these situations remain the rule for the vast majority of the people living on Earth today. Even in the Western nations the governments have been steadily absorbing more and more powers and control over the individual which will inevitably lead to the demanded submission once they have stolen sufficient control that they feel they have attained irreversible and absolute power. This might be part of the explanation behind why numerous of those in politics who support an all-powerful central government ally themselves with other groups who have a history of absolutism and appear to call for submission of the people to the dictates from the government. This is an alliance that will be the bane of those who believe in the freedoms and rights of individualism. When the inevitable conflict ignites between those who follow the beliefs of freedom, individuality, and limited governance and the powers of absolutist power of governance, no matter what the basis for the rule, those who will be fighting for individual rights and freedoms will likely be at distinct disadvantage as they are likely to resist the conflict until it is overbearingly obvious that there exist no other alternative to prevent forced submission. It very well may be the love of peace and the seeming natural abhorrence to violence which may doom the powers of freedom, liberty and individualism to fall before the powers of absolutism and the consequential force into submission. This is the possibilities which fills too many of my nights of dreaming with nightmares.

Beyond the Cusp

December 11, 2011

Maybe it’s Time for a Complete Reset and Review

The United States principles and attitude towards governance is spelled out in three major documents. The Constitution explains the distribution of powers and responsibilities, places limits and checks on each branch of government and defines the mechanics for election cycles and the basic structures in the design of each arm of the government, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Presidency, the supporting Administration and the basis for establishing a federal judiciary as deemed necessary. The Bill of Rights lays out the rudimentary liberties and freedoms which every individual has by the grace of the Creator with a proviso that the list is incomplete and lists only a the most basic of these rights and implies that the individual is to be considered to be of superior rights and the government subordinate and limited to solely those powers granted by the people and retains such power solely by the will of the people. The final document which frames the American system is probably the most powerful and least utilized of the three, the Declaration of Independence. This affirmation is a unique testimonial document which established the revolutionary ideal that mankind is able to rule itself and that governance should only exist at the behest of the people who are the source of all power. The Declaration of Independence introduced a new order which permitted government through the permission of the people who were empowered by the highest source, their creator who had endowed them with unalienable Rights which were not to be limited or surrendered unto the governance except when done so willfully, and even then only temporarily for as long as the governance served the betterment of the people. Should the governance attempt to usurp additional rights without the consent of the people, the governed, or should the governance fail in its service of the people, then the people are not only empowered to dissolve such governance, but are obliged to do so and form new governance which will serve to protect the people’s rights and empower the people, not those who govern.

This was the genius that was born of the political philosophies which came of the enlightenment which had its initial documentation in the Magna Carta which was signed in June 15, 1215, by King John of England. King John’s excessive abuse of power and disregard for both nobles and common Englishmen led to a revolt which threatened to topple the Crown of England. This document made it known that even the King was no longer above the law nor was the Royalty to be permitted use of their positions to such excess that it would harm the people and thus all of the land. With the Magna Carta the concept of a universal common law was born and with such came individual rights, initially for the owners of lands and eventually to all the peoples and citizens of the State. In many ways, the Declaration of Independence came about as a direct result and further application of the very concepts born of the Magna Carta. What made these documents so totally unique over other similar declarations similarly drawn from the enlightenment was the fact that as well as the recognition of the power and rights of the individual, these two special declarations of rights also tied the nobility of the individual to be guaranteed as they were of divine origins. These documents tie for all time the concepts of the enlightenment with the morality and nobility of mankind from Judeo-Christian ethos. By recognizing the concept of the divinity of mankind and linking it with the political empowerment which arose out of the enlightenment, these documents would directly lead to the concept of full equality between all people while placing governments as subjected to limits of their powers such that they were not to be damaging or burdensome on the people they were formed to serve. The last similarity between these documents which established universal rights was they also contained a specific list of grievances against the governments which they were designed to alter or abolish. The Magna Carta demanded change while not dictating any structural change to the form of government and the Declaration of Independence declared that the situation was beyond reparation and demanded a complete break from the Crown of England. Despite renouncing the rule of the Crown of England, the Declaration of Independence did not instruct or insist on any particular new form of governance and could just as easily allowed an American Royalty to have come into existence. This is where the Constitution takes the next steps in creating an ideally new concept of limited governance instead of the more absolute power of a monarch.

The question is now, are the people still being served by the government or has the government usurped an over abundant amount of power to the point where the people are now serving the government? If the latter is the case, then we need to address if it is possible to make adjustments to the current governance or has it progressed to the point necessitating a complete restructuring and possibly even a new constitutional basis from which to go forward. I would hope that adjustments might be possible as I have doubts that a better governing concept could be established than what is laid out in the Constitution of the United States. With this in mind, here is a list of a few adjustments for consideration.
1) Regulations must be approved in the same method as any other law or legislation. They are no longer to be the responsibility of faceless unelected bureaucrats.
2) All regulations and legislation must be reviewed every ten years or be allowed to sunset and no longer be enforceable.
3) Return to the States their representation by the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment.
4) Grant the States the respect due them by the Constitution and actually apply the Tenth Amendment thus returning much of the power and rights intended for the States which have been illegally usurped by the Federal government.
5) Redefine the so-called Commerce Clause with a strict and narrow definition that ends the abuse of this clause to expand the Federal government at the expense of the States, the people and the rights and power retained by each according to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
6) Apply all rules pertaining to insider trading and abuse of privileged information which currently do not apply to the members of the Congress or any other government officials in order to end the abuse of the trust of the people and the resultant enrichment of our elected officials who currently make investments by which they gain overt wealth through methods considered criminal for everybody else.
7) Limit all campaign contributions for candidates and political parties to those which originate solely from those individuals who are able to vote for said candidate. Eliminate corporate, NGO, and other contributions to the political parties allowing only those contributions from citizen members of each party.
8) Limit all campaigning for office to an agreed upon amount of time deemed reasonable for each office. One suggestion might be twelve months for President including primaries, six months for Senate, and four months for House of Representatives.
9) Make the requirements for third party and independent candidates for federal office standardized for all States. Liberalize these requirements and end the stranglehold the two established political parties hold on placing candidates onto the ballot.
10) Make provisions to make the House of Representatives a more truly representative body as originally intended. This could be established by removing the limit on seats and returning to placing one Representative for every set number of citizens, perhaps for every 50,000. This could be established by allowing the House of Representatives to meet electronically through a secure and closed server network and placing each Representative in an office in their own district.
11) Return the responsibility for and prerogative to set the salaries of both Senators and Representatives to each individual State and allow them to receive their salaries from their individual States.
These are just some of the suggestions that many people have made over the years. Many of them share the ideal that the government should not be a place of a privileged class and the need for easier access onto ballots for what are often referred to as regular people. There are other ideas which would allow for a more responsive governance and please add your own as comments please.

Beyond the Cusp

September 7, 2011

Right vs. Left, Liberal vs. Conservative, America vs. Europe

It is very likely that most Europeans rely on the European definitions of right and left, labor and capitalist, and liberal and conservative when they read about the politics in the United States; and Americans rely on their definitions when trying to understand European politics. The problem is that these terms, for the most part, have completely different meanings on the opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. So, I thought I might take a stab at defining these terms to the best of my understandings. I would gladly welcome anybody willing to make comments to either give alternatives or further define and clarify sections where my efforts need some assistance. So, here goes nothing.

Let’s get started with definitions of Liberal and Conservative. Liberal is one of the terms where most Europeans and Americans use a similar definition which is based in socialism and heavy Government regulations with extensive safety nets and equalizing programs to bring the top and bottom levels of earnings toward the median level of earnings. The European forms of socialism are more pervasive through their political parties and systems than those in the United States. Currently, the Europeans appear to be at the first stages of moving away from the liberal end of the spectrum while the United States is still moving further into socialist governance under the present administration. Where Europe will likely continue in their implementation, though at varying speeds as they face fluctuating circumstances weighed against populist resistance; the United States will presumably decide in the next national elections whether to continue towards more government and more socialism or join with Europe and begin to initiate austerity measures working for lowering national deficit spending and, in the best of circumstances, actual reduction in levels of national debt.

Conservative is defined differently due to widely varied histories. In the United States, the term Conservative is placed on those who favor limiting government especially when it pertains to regulations upon industry and businesses in general while attempting to limit the levels of taxation even at the expense of limiting the extent of coverage of providing social safety nets. Meanwhile, in Europe, the definition of a conservative is likely to refer to, in the most extreme sense, those wishing to return to a monarchy. Europe actually has monarchists; if any do exist in the United States, they would make an extremely minute minority, a virtual zero on most any polling. This may be due to Europe being a slightly older society which had their period under numerous monarchies mostly in times before the United States even existed. In Europe, the more centrist conservatives would mirror the average conservative in the United States, though the Europeans would still tend to be more favorable towards a strong central government. The real differences in respect to governance in Europe are revealed when one mentions the Euro and the European Union, especially with the current monetary crisis. In response to a stronger European Union power base, the split between liberals and conservatives in Europe would reflect very much the differences between liberals and conservatives in the United States when discussing State’s rights versus a strong central government in Washington DC. Liberals on both sides of the Ocean favor the centralization of power in an all-inclusive governance of Brussels and Washington DC respectively while the conservatives in the United States call for greater respect for States’ rights while the Europeans back nationalism and more power being left with the individual countries. This idea becomes even more pronounced, as we will see, when discussing left and right policies.

Positions between Europe and the United States are quite different in defining Right and somewhat similar defining the Left. In Europe, the Left is defined as international socialists of which Communism is one example. The left in Europe favors the European Union and the United Nations being the centers of power while the individual countries should be submissive yielding control to the international organizations. The leftists in Europe also place a large amount of faith in NGOs and similar international organizations. There is a similarity to the left and the right in that both favor socialism, big governance, and all inclusive government programs and safety nets. Where the left favors international and multi-governmental organizations, the right is nationalistic. The European Right is based on national socialism, but it is still socialism. They still have faith in international organizations, NGO’s and multi-governmental institutions such as the United Nations but only as far as a venue for countries to meet and work together while retaining their own sovereignty. The current monetary difficulties in the European Union is going to set Right and Left in a very energetic struggle for which has the best solutions with the countries in the greatest financial trouble favoring leftist international organizations while those countries with healthy economies will begin to resent being tapped to carry the burden in bailing out the faltering economies and favor the nationalist socialist right. But, no matter which side gains prominence, Europe will remain socialist at heart. Only the kind of socialism is up for debate.

The United States combines both the international socialists and the national socialist by simply defining the left as being those from all forms of socialism. This is easy in the United States as the European right nationalists in the United States would be statists, which are nonexistent. So, since the United States federal government is the equivalence of the European Union in Europe, an internationalist socialist leftist in Europe would favor a socialists system with power invested in Washington DC while the rightist national socialists of Europe would also favor the nation thus the power being in Washington DC. Because the United States is similar in size, power et al to Europe, the American socialists of both stripes end up merging to favor a strong central socialist government in Washington DC. In the United States, that allows for a different definition of those on the right, which become the Capitalists. The right support State and individual rights over the centralized power in Washington DC. In supporting States over the Federal power, the American rightists do pose some similarity to the European nationalists in they want to keep power local. People on the right in the United States support strict interpretation of the Constitution, particularly the limits of Federal powers and the instituting of individual rights and freedoms. The right does not support national style solutions even including any forms of general safety nets run out of Washington DC and prefer either state or local government designing whatever social networks are acceptable independently from the oversight and being overruled by the Federal Government. They will also prefer religious and other non-governmental groups such as Goodwill and AMVETS being the main providers of the social safety net and relying on the goodness of individuals to give charity rather than forced taxation being used to provide for the needy.

Where there is a considerable number of Americans who believe in capitalism, the numbers of the same in Europe are represented as a much smaller percentage of the populace. Where Europeans are cast as being almost universally socialist and their politics divided between national and internationalist, in the United States both the nationalist and internationalist had been very similar in their belief until the last fifty years or so. In the most recent times we have begun to see the left turn into internationalists while the right still retains their nationalist fervor with many who believe in a strong state making for a strong country which will keep its sovereignty and not surrender power to the international organizations. With this new elitists of internationalists, similar to the leftist in Europe, has spawned a new denomination in the United States who believe in the superiority of the international organizations, mostly the United Nations, and are calling for global governance, and we call them post-modernists.

Beyond the Cusp

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