By Erik Dolson
My friend The Editor said yesterday that he is not represented by either major political party. Mountain man in style yet utterly modern, educated in history, a gun-toting liberal (though he’d deny that liberal tag), his values are timeless and he has no place to turn.
Me either. America needs a new political party, so I’m going to start one. It’s important to understand that I’m completely unqualified for this effort, and that this shortcoming has never stopped me before.
A party needs a platform, which is something to stand on, or stand for, I’m not sure. But it seems that we all want freedom to be who we believe ourselves to be, and I can stand for that.
So the first plank of this new party is to advocate for personal liberty. That is tied closely to personal responsibility, to preserve and care for one’s self. To fail, if that so happens.
So this party favors opportunity over equality. We recognize that persons of varying desires and abilities will necessarily have different lifestyles. Rather than guarantee equality, we strive to provide opportunity which will lead to a striving that will benefit all.
A society without opportunity will become destructive. For this reason, a “meritocracy” is favored over an “inheritocracy.” There is a point where accumulated wealth will be redistributed.
The second plank is to recognize that while an individual has liberty, we are also a community. Community has a responsibility to preserve itself, and community requires common values and behavior. We need a common language to minimize friction, and reenforce that we are a community. That language has been and should continue to be English.
Individual persons and community benefit from education. This shall be provided to all citizens until their 18th birthday. From their 18 birthday to their 21 birthday, all individuals shall provide service to the community, with an opportunity for extended service. This contribution will be compensated with direct income and/or additional education equal to years served.
Consequences are necessary for change of behavior. At the same time, it’s an uncertain world and sometimes life is harsh. It’s not always the fault of the person who suffers.
Universal health care is a basic human right. Individual persons and the community benefit from optimum health. This not “free.” Each persons shall contribute on an individual basis a “co-pay” to reduce the likelihood of abuse of the service. Additional service will be available to those who choose to make additional contributions, but a percentage of these contributions shall go to preserving the basic care for all. Opportunity, not equality.
The dynamic relationship between community and persons will always have friction. In general, preference should be given to the rights of individual persons who meet their personal responsibilities. In disputes between persons, bias shall extend to those persons who would expend energy and resources.
A baker can bake a cake for whomever he or she chooses. Marriage is a contract between individuals. Government shall have no role in determining who shall or shall not be married, aside from enforcing / mediating those contracts.
A key word in this platform is “person.” Corporations are not persons. They are self-sustaining organisms in their own right, their existence dependent on successful pursuit of profit in a competitive universe, creating jobs and wealth as a byproduct. This is a good and necessary process. It feeds us.
However, pursuit of profit can impinge on the liberty of persons. This will happen if corporations become too powerful, and they will in a competitive universe because evolution favors the powerful and leads to the powerful becoming even more powerful.
We need rules to arbitrate between individuals and keep corporations in check. To enforce the rules we need government. Government shall be made up of persons, and elected by individual persons. Government shall favor competition, striving to maximize competition between corporations for the benefit of persons and community. Too big to fail is a failure of this process. Many competitors in a transparent environment benefits persons and community.
Lobbying by corporations, whereby corporations determine the actions of the government charged with regulating their behavior, is prohibited. Wolves shall not write rules governing the care of sheep.
But among the rules are rules that keep government itself from becoming too large and powerful in its own right.
Persons have a right to privacy, and complete ownership of their personal information. At the same time, persons and community benefit from maximum transparency when it comes to shared interests.
Corporations do not have a right to privacy, nor does government. The community’s business shall be conducted in the view of the community.
That ought to do it. Smarter people than me can flesh out the few details left over (smile).
Oh, the new political party probably needs a name. I’ll suggest American Citizens Together, because it captures the most important theme. It also lends itself to great banners and bumper stickers.