Saturday, April 24, 2010

Building a case

The following is an opinion piece of The Jacksonian Party.

When the 13 Colonies sought to break with Great Britain they did so in a fashion that was quite unique: they utilized a bill of particulars in which Great Britain was not performing her sovereign tasks for her citizens in the Colonies or, even worse, was abusing powers of the State against the Colonies.  While the first portion of the Declaration of Independence  is well known as a succinct restatement of the rights of man as an individual and the duties man has to make government to suit his needs, the latter and more lengthy portion is a piece-by-piece description of what Great Britain was doing to her colonies that was out of order with what citizens expected from their government under the various Charters and Laws of Great Britain.

This portion of the Declaration doesn't sing to us as it is a plain and blunt statement of conditions and I will pick it up midway through the second paragraph:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Each of those items is a transgression between the existing State and its citizens in the Colonies, and the Founders in writing the Declaration were giving a bill of particulars against the State to say exactly what the transgressions were.  These were not only violations of British Law but, in a number of cases, a violation of the Law of Nations that underpins all Nation States and the usurpation of that by any State is a movement of citizens from subjects of the law to mere objects of the State.  Not only was the State acting without regards to the law, it was acting in a lawless manner outside any known form of civilized obedience the State must demonstrate towards its people to be legitimate to them.  When that happens you have Tyranny and in this case it is headed up by a Tyrant.

This is an explicit exposition of what the British government had done, or not done in many circumstances, to warrant being called a Tyrant and worthy of being divorced from the people so that an accountable government could be stood up.  By taking up this path of the lawful requirements of the State to its people, the Founders created a unique document and understanding of just how to go about calling a National government to task when it ignores its duties.

Today there are rumblings of this sort coming from the States within the United States, calling to task the Federal government for what it is or is not doing in some areas that are primal to the rights of the individual States and the people to remain free with liberty:

1)  Gun laws -  This has been an ongoing concern of those wishing to disarm the populace and centralize all power into the Federal government.  When the Federal government had a high amount of trust after WWII, this notion could gain some traction, but when our trust in government declines we see a direct effect in support of more restrictive gun laws.  This from Gallup Poll of 08 APR 2009 that tracks the post-WWII period on this question:

gallup graph gun control

Likewise Pew Research also examined this phenomena on 30 APR 2009, and saw the steady, long-term decline in support for gun control and restrictions on gun ownership from 1993 to present.  Amendment II to the Constitution supports the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and to form up voluntary militia to support themselves and their States.  This is considered one of the prime rights of the individual and is granted by the Law of Nature as a positive liberty (of self-defense) and by the Law of Nations as the positive liberty of protecting one's property.  It is a basic and fundamental human right and when infringed upon by any government it is an attempt to shift the power of the people of a Nation to be free from their hands and into the hands of their government.  Yet it is an inalienable right bestowed upon us by being creatures of Nature and as a positive bulwark against Tyranny for the protection of self and property.

Here I will take a paragraph from my Signposts article to describe this movement:

The expression of the fundamental and inalienable Rights of Man gains expression outside of direct politics but is having an effect.  It is along a pathway I talked about and have talked about in many areas: the ethical and responsible self-arming of citizens for the protection of themselves and society.  This has been written about in the San Diego Reader by Rosa Jurjevics, 15 JUL 2009 (H/t: Instapundit), which examines the Open Carry movement as seen in San Diego.  It is interesting that one of the last States in the Continental US to be the 'Wild West' still has those laws on the books, and folks at Calguns and California Open Carry are now putting their civil rights forward and protecting them in the harshest Progressive State in the Union.  While small this, too, is slowly permeating into the culture from its majority position after decades of authoritarian responses by government to civil firearms ownership.  Southern Maryland Shooters are helping to organize an Open Holster Day in Baltimore on 01 AUG 2009 to show that those who are responsible shooters are your friends and neighbors. The NRA is also running USA Carry for Open and Concealed Carry site to help bring social awareness to how important this civil right is in our communities across the Nation.

States vary on concealed carry laws from highly restrictive (NY, IL) to unrestricted (AK, AZ) to open carry freely (VA, NV).  The shift has been to move away from restrictions over the last decade and to a greater understanding that being armed is a civil right and that when practiced by citizens in a civil fashion it is a threat to no one.

Amendment II is incorporated into the States via Amendment XIV, so that States must, likewise, recognize the basic civil right of arms for the citizenry.  Thus when any State moves to the equivalent of complete exclusion of firearms to its citizens it is brought to task under not only Amendment II but Amendment XIV, as this as an explicitly protected right of the citizens of a State.  This includes the District of Columbia and the Heller decision is a first to strike down all-encompassing gun bans done at a local level.


2)  The Right of the State to Self-Defense via its Citizens.  The BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) was given a role in the checking of handgun purchases for criminal background at the National level.  And yet that is a purely State concern, where States are the prime determiner of what civil rights are allowed to convicted felons after conviction and having time served.  That is the work of the National government to tell the States what they must do with regards to those who have committed crimes or are mentally incapacitated with regards to firearms ownership.  And yet we also recognize that if an ex-con is trapped in a situation where he or she is threatened and they can gain access to a firearm for self-defense, then no court in the land will convict them as their basic civil right that is inalienable to them, the right of defending oneself, is paramount to all people.  Thus a law made without exceptions allowed can be nullified by a jury per trial, and this can indicated a class of individuals who may have actually returned to the bosom of society, recanted their ways and are trustworthy with carrying arms in their own defense.  If a trial by jury can remove such a right, why cannot an appeal to a jury get it re-instated?  Blanket laws from the Federal government are made to be 'One Size Fits All' but also comes with the caveat with such clothing 'Fits None Well'.  States are better suited to determining the safety of their citizens than the Federal government is as the States have local concerns, society and societal conditions which may obviate a general rule set down by the Federal government for a matter which has traditionally rested with the States.

This generalized rule system has now gotten push-back from a number of States which are pushing forward their own gun laws for firearms made inside their State for sale to its Citizens in the State.  Unlike other commerce this one is part of the State's sovereignty guaranteed in the US Constitution:

Article I, Section 10, paragraph iii:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.


Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

For the State to have the Sovereign Right to create an army or other forces accountable to it during times of war, invasion or in imminent Danger is one that is primal to the States.  The Federal government was not seen as a power structure to make all States give up their rights, but as a brokerage system between equals in federation with each other so that none were discriminated against by the whole of the Nation.  This is often referred to as a 'dormant right' of the States as it is not operational during any other time than those given.  Any law that undermines such rights is against what the States agreed to explicitly in the Constitution in the above areas.  The the right and accountability of bearing arms rests upon the individual and the State is to ensure that it is not infringed by the Federal government as that would jeopardize the State's implicit sovereignty of self-protection.

Montana started this with their new law challenging the Federal system.  Other States are joining or looking to join Montana in this: Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho.

With this these States go right up against the ever expanding interpretation of the 'interstate commerce clause' of the US Contitution:

Article I, Section 8, paragraph iii:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Foreign States are mentioned, along with the Indian Tribes that were seen as sovereign entities, and thus they define that the States, too, are seen as sovereign entities so that the clause is one that addresses the same class of commerce as done between sovereign States.  If commerce between the several States was meant to be treated differently than commerce between sovereign States, then it would have been treated differently in the US Constitution.  And yet the expansion of this clause has intruded on commerce within Indian tribes and within States, thus can intrusion into foreign Nations be far behind?

An interesting part of the Heller decision comes from one of the amicus briefs presented by the Dept. of Justice on pp. 28-29 and I will bold parts of interest:

3. Congress Has Authority To Regulate The Manufacture, Sale, And Flow Of Firearms In Commerce

Licensing requirements such as those contained in the GCA (see p. 3, supra) generally do not present the same Second Amendment concerns as a direct prohibition on the possession of firearms by individuals. The Amendment’s text and history suggest that the Framers were more concerned with securing the right of individuals to “keep and bear Arms” than with limiting the government’s ability to regulate the manufacture or sale of such arms. Government restrictions on the importation and interstate transportation of firearms, see p. 3, supra, are even further afield from the Framers’ concerns. In addition, as in the context of other individual rights, regulation of firearm-related commercial activities may present distinct constitutional considerations. See, e.g., New York v. Burger, 482 U.S. 691 (1987) (recognizing exception to Fourth Amendment warrant requirement for administrative searches of certain business premises); Central Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Public Serv. Comm’n, 447 U.S. 557 (1980) (holding that commercial speech is entitled to reduced protection under the First Amendment). Accordingly, there is no basis here for questioning the constitutionality of the GCA’s licensing provisions or federal limits on importation or transport of firearms. In any event, this case, which involves private possession, provides no opportunity for the Court to expound on the different principles that might govern efforts to regulate the commercial trade in firearms.

Note this is a carefully worded paragraph that utilizes the Amendment II right, and not referencing other rights that States hold.  Even with that the 'distinct constitutional considerations' given the history of the Framers unconcern with interstate commerce of firearms would also demonstrate a lack of concern with intrastate commerce as being outside of their concerns as it is never mentioned in the Constitution.  It is rare to see a DoJ brief that lends support to the States for commerce not only between them but within them which directly goes against such concepts as presented in the Raich decision.  While DoJ does uphold the Gun Control Act throughout, the concept that the States are sovereign and could very well do as they please with firearms undercuts that reasoning instead of bolstering it.  Not only the Heller decision and the opinions for it, but a few of the amicus briefs offer a venue for the States (separately) to move away from government control of intra-state firearms production and sales.


3)  Health care.  I have written on this topic numerous times.  Suffice it to say that for the first time in US history to be born inside the US requires a commercial transaction to get health care insurance or be fined.  To be born is to be fined.

Yet we are born, free.

Very strange how we have survived from 1776 to 2010 without that bit of purchasing forced on us as citizens.

There are 36 States looking to pass Health Care Freedom acts including Virginia, Idaho which have already done so.

The imposition of mandatory purchases or punishment of a product from birth is something far outside of any 'right' and is the decision of an authoritarian State upon citizens it no longer perceives as citizens or even subjects.


4) Immigration.  Arizona has passed as of 23 APR 2010 an immigration law giving its law enforcement personnel the ability to inquire into the citizenship status of individuals to enforce Federal immigration laws.  Each State has the expectation to equal application and protection under the law and that the Federal government will not shirk its duties.  This is not a call to 'immigration reform' but a call for the US government to do its damned job.

It is also an implicit statement of State sovereignty under the Constitution.  This starts as an Article IV, Section 4 call but has, implicit in it the abrogation of Federal duties in law enforcement for the Nation via armed criminal gangs that are moving into Arizona and other States.  This is the 'wake-up call' as the next step is an Article I, Section 10, para iii call which would be a 'no confidence' measure to the US government.  No State does these things lightly as they are part start to create a bill of particulars by the States against the Federal government.

It is building a case against the Federal government, piecemeal: a bit on individual rights, a bit on intrastate commerce, a bit on authoritarianism forcing commercial trade or penalizing citizens from birth, and a call to enforce the border.  If the government says that it can't figure out how many illegals there are in the country and can't do its job protecting the Nation as a whole, then what faith can the citizens have with it in something like health care?  Or firearms?

We expect National government to uphold the Nation as a whole, not in its parts, and when it can't do that job it does begin to break apart at the seams.  The more intrusive and less capable government becomes, the more it reaches for power on the basis of authority willingly vested in it.  When the willing no longer vest their trust in that common project, then no power can restore it, save for government to go back to what it must do, and shed these things that have lost it trust in all regards across the board.

For the people and the States are building a case against the US government.

A very civil case, yes, as we are a very civil people.

But a case nonetheless.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Change, Liberty and the State

The following is a commentary piece of The Jacksonian Party.

Trendline analysis, particularly in a rapidly changing environment is tricky business as the rate of change makes utilization of past results for predictors of future outcomes a non-linear form of analysis.  This can happen with solutions that get highly saturated at high temperatures and then by slowly lowering the temperature the system becomes 'super-saturated' for its given temperature.  A super-saturated system is one in which the amount in solution is more than would normally be allowed for the given temperature of the material dissolved in solution, yet by having created higher temperature conditions for saturation then lowering it, the amount in solution is unsustainable for the solution at this new temperature.  All outward appearances of the solution remains the same, save for temperature, yet in the super-saturated regime the tiniest of disturbances can cause rapid state change of the system with crystal growth that can be almost instantaneous.  In the physics of a ship on water, it can only be rotated on its main axis along the length of the vessel, before it capsizes, and at that point the slightest swell can either right the vessel or capsize it and the more water that rushes into the hull as it hauls over to one side, the more likely a capsize event becomes.

This is called an 'inflection point': the point in which rapid and asymmetrical change happens that could not be predicted by what came before.  In technology this was the INTEL 4004 chip of the early 1970's that served as the basis for modern desktop computing, and yet no one would have thought it would change all that much in the technology realm.  Yet the conception of using a contract for a single purpose chip (for hand held calculators) to make a general purpose micro-processor that could serve as the basis for other computing devices was a keen insight into how to change entire markets.  Later there would be multiple computer manufacturers that would attempt to establish the PC market and only when IBM put its imprint on the PC, via its Project Chess group in Boca Raton, FL, would the PC market become acceptable to business.  They chose a company that was unknown with a Harvard MBA drop-out as its head: Microsoft.  Bill Gates had a vision of a computer on every desk in the US... running a Microsoft Operating System.  By having a PC/OS that was independent from a manufacturer (unlike, say, Apple and the Mac/OS) and just different enough from the only other competitor for that platform (CPM by Gary Kildall) Microsoft was able to utilize IBM's open architecture that could be built by anyone and provide a cheap OS for it from his own company.  Microsoft didn't make PC's, but they enabled the PC market to flourish and overhaul IBM.  In a few very short years IBM went from King of the PC hill, to a mere competitor in the PC mountain range, and not a good competitor at that.  Gordon Moore, Bill Gates and Bob Metcalf each brought inflection point visions with them to technology, software and networking, and each would demonstrate that a minor technical achievement would have long-lasting and extremely fast moving effects on markets that either didn't exist or were seen as 'niche markets'.

US politics is one of the slowest moving inflection point systems available as it tends to change rarely, but when it does the change is rapid.  From 1776 to 1787 the 13 Colonies would become States in a Confederal system that had to overthrow its Imperial motherland, then founder as a Nation and nearly fall apart, and then reach a general consensus need for a somewhat stronger form of federal government.  The the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain to Articles of Confederation to Constitution all happened in an 11 year timeframe.  That is 3 major forms of governmental systems in that very same timeframe, and the fighting wasn't officially over on the Declaration until 1783.  Once things settled down the next inflection point would take a century to show up.  Here I will steal liberally from another post:


And some of my follow-on verbiage particularly in the second graph:

My initial feeling was that it had been a long time since there was even a 30% turnover in Congress, and I was right. The last times that happened in the post-'Progressive' era were: 1904, 1912-1916, 1922, 1934. As the top graph's red line is percentage, the startling artifact is that all Congresses prior to 1902 had never REACHED a 70% return rate. That era of 1896 to 1902 was the one-way 'ratchet' to modern Incumbistani politics, in which America went from 'throwing the bums out' on a continual basis to 'throwing the bums back in' on a continual basis. That percentage shift is as clear as night and day where the left half never reaches up to 70% turnover and the right half rarely reaches below 70%.

Progressive politics represented a conception that the common man was ill-suited to survive in the turmoil of the ongoing industrial age and that those industrialists would run roughshod over the working class.  Those concepts of 'working class' and rapacious capitalism come from the socialist movement that stared with Karl Marx and were then inculcated by Bismarck who sought a way to cement the power of the State by creating 'social guarantees', like retirement.  The Nation State was seen as the fixative to monopolistic and rapacious capitalism, and when the State controlled capitalism it would be able to fight of International Socialism by making people dependent upon the Nation State government system.  This was a response to the First International of Socialism.  The Second International became one to back a reformist approach to capitalism, utilizing the power of the State to enhance women's rights and limit working hours for labor, which was a direct response and concordance with the Bismarckian view of the role of the Nation State in industrial policy although it was a pacifist form that wanted to eschew militarism, until the great organizing power of the modern Nation State at Total War became too enticing a concept to resist post-WWI.

Progressive politics in the US ran in a parallel track to European Socialism, putting forward such things as anti-monopoly laws, labor laws especially restricting child labor, and voting rights for women.  With those things came the centralization of banking power via the Federal Reserve (thus building up an institution torn down in 1832), the income tax that did not have to be assessed by proportion, allowing States to have directly elected Senators, setting the size of the House of Representatives at a non-proportional fixed size, putting into place the first restrictions on drugs like marijuana, and then Prohibition of alcohol.  For all the good things that President Coolidge did during his term in cutting the size of government, he did not much cut its scope of powers added to it from 1900-1918. 

The early Progressive era had established a 'new' relationship of the citizen with the government, in which the government became a major actor in the lives of each citizen... and that was before FDR... by deciding what medications were allowable, controlling the economic system via borrowing and interest rates, and then by changing the income tax directly placed upon individuals to suit the political dictates of whichever party was 'in power'.  In that decade from 1909-1919 we see three Constitutional Amendments, major Public Laws changing the attitude of the government towards personal behavior, the institution of a fixed seat representative system leading to entrenched political parties, and the scope of government going from a very much hands-off and let people exercise their liberty approach to one of restraining liberty via government so as to intercede on behalf of the government to get to certain political ends.  I call those the 10 years that changed the path of America for a reason: they did.

From those beginnings we then get more government power over our lives via Social Security, over our finances via the SEC, over our banking via the FDIC, over our liberty with firearms via the National Firearms Act, a larger IRS, the creation of the FBI ostensibly to go after organized crime but federal laws were now burgeoning as the government grew, and because individuals were retiring right when WWII got started a health care subsidy was proposed as a war-time remedy to entice older workers back to work.  This is 'social democracy' and Progressivism, both, at work, and while Europe in post-WWII systems would move hard over to those types of systems and even greater intrusion, America would steady out its course while having the 'entitlement' society be created by the slow expansion of government into areas that had never been its concern prior to the Progressive era.  Because 'progress'  was ongoing the expansion of government was 'required' to 'help' the common man in this highly complex world.

Then came the multiple inflection points of Moore, Gates and Metcalf.

What happened with high technology is that the asymmetrical ratio of power held by companies in manpower and their ability to execute of economic processes was being whittled away by information dissemination and personal processing power.  Prior to the 1970's having a 'calculator' meant a very expensive piece of electronics or an electromechanical adding machine or cash register.  Computers went from huge, chilled rooms requiring vast spaces to your desktop in just one decade and the amount of power you could get on your desktop was rivaling the mainframes of just 15 years prior to it.  Then in a few years it was 10 years prior, then a bit later 5 years, and that held for a time due to the rate of change hitting mainframes and then super-computers.  The 1970's started the analysis of government programs by corporations, especially in the investment community where the numbers crunched out to where anyone who depended on Social Security as their sole retirement income would be: poor.  Very poor.  Seeing this as an opportunity, investment houses that had mutual funds, where an individual could get fractional shares in a fund investing across a diverse group of investments, was then popularized and spread out to the common man for investment.  One had to choose widely, but the finances of funds and their performance was public knowledge.  And via mass media one could hear from those inside the funds, at analysis firms and from the heads of industry on a weekly basis and get an education on just what the financial market did and why it reacted as it did.

By marketing directly to individuals companies had started the process of removing the middle-man (often lawyer or insurance agent or local investment firm) and supplying information on performance directly to such investors.  When spreadsheets stopped being sheets of paper and became calculating systems on computer, more data began to move from the firms to the individual investor, which by the mid-1980's could be available not only as a direct download but one that was available daily.  The tools for analysis also became more complex, allowing individuals to model their investment portfolio across a number of markets and game out changes to returns based on past circumstances.  This is a fundamental change away from the common man as being 'put upon' by industry and one of empowerment of the common man via technology to deal with industry.  Financial firms, dealing in numbers, led the way on this, and through the 1990's and the proliferation of low cost PCs and cheaper network connections, the utility of the network increased by a factorial of the useful connected nodes (as predicted by Metcalf).  Factorial changes are not logarithmic changes or power of 10 changes (order of magnitude).  A factorial is a number multiplied by each of the preceding numbers before it, save zero.  Thus a !3 = 3x2x1=6 and a !7= 7x6x5x4x3x2x1=5040 .... we had gotten used to this system of change which was logarithmic for processing power and factorial for the power and utility of a computer network... by the end of the 1990's.

The term for removing the middle man, that is companies that serve a purpose of being an intermediary between what you want and getting it, is known as: disintermediation.  Email, an invention of the 1960's for internetworking (it did exist on isolated system previously), changed who you could address information to by flattening out the structure from indirect, via a postal service, to direct or Person to Person (P2P).  P2P relationships are inherently disintermediation as to type and form, as they are directly addressed from one person to another with no intermediaries.  This added to the 1:Many form of communications seen on Bulletin Board Systems and now on websites, meant that one person could contact many and have direct P2P associations with a number of readers from an unlimited geographic area.  With the advent of Hypertext Mark-up Language and advanced PC displays also available in the late 1990's, this entire affair grew visual and utilized the spatial perceptions of end-users to create systems of information and modeling exchange of more than just markets, but products and how one sold them.

Government has not been so swift to adapt to this world.

Working inside the federal government I remember reading about organizations that had information over-load and inability to coordinate their information systems.  The IRS reportedly had all of your financial data on about a 1" piece of reel to reel tape that, if you were lucky, was backed up somewhere with a copy.  That was circa 1999.  The FBI had a minimum of 6 major criminal databases that all operated separately and had tried to integrate them under one unified system.  And failed.  Twice.  Circa 1998.  NASA was losing data from its space probes sent during the 1960's and 1970's because they did not refresh and re-tension their old tapes on a five year schedule.  They didn't have a schedule.  When scientists looked for archival data from Mars, say, from the early Pioneer or Mariner probes, they found corrupted data tapes or tapes that had just lost all magnetic alignment as the iron oxide on them slowly lost its direction due to Brownian motion and exterior fields.  Your billions in advanced technology, a large system, a huge warehouse now yielded no data because no one had thought about archiving it.

No one in NASA had thought about archiving data.  It wasn't rocket science, you know?

The idea that you can centralize knowledge, information and the direction of the economy, itself, seems like a quaint and archaic thought from, say, the Age of the Pharaohs or perhaps Napoleon.  The Marxist concept of a limited economy that would need to appoint and divvy up scarce resources is also one that feels quaintly Amish. 

Or maybe Calvinist given the strong predestination currents of those backing it. 

The idea that without controls on it that modern capitalism would revert to its 'bad old days' of the early industrial revolution ignore that we are no longer living in the era of the early industrial revolution... or the mid-industrial revolution... and looking at the Rust Belt one can ask: 'what industry?'  Detroit has seen such high taxation, such high payouts to non-workers, such harsh industrial regulation that a recent vote to turn much of the city into farmland was nixed because the city is broke and mostly de-industrialized.

The Great Intermediary of Government is trying to figure out how to exist in a fierce world in which disintermediation and more power distributed to a vast population is the order of the day.  This great seismic shift happened over a mere few decades of advancing science and technology, ones that have altered our relationship to all of the old industrial era institutions, and even the pre-industrial era ones.  The right of a free press is that held by the people, and the press is just a means to distribute information... which is how you are reading this, today.  That freedom is not bound up in a handful of elites or great publishing magnates any longer, but is now the cost of a cheap netbook, a low cost network connection, some software (with more of that being free) and your time.

The exercise of your time utilizing your freedom to your own good (be it health, spiritual or monetary) has a term to it: Liberty.

In the exercise of your Liberty you are liberated from pre-existing modes of thought, so long as you respect the society around you, harm none and seek to inflict harm on no one utilizing their liberty to their own benefit, then your Liberty is a benefit to all of society.  The only part government plays is in protecting you from the harmful exercise of liberty by others against society and you individually.  That is the greatest good government can do, and it is not in the realm of taxes, finance, health care, your retirement, nor in regulating all aspects of your life.  It is by simply punishing criminal behavior which has direct effects upon individuals and deprive them of their Liberty, Freedom or Life.  You exercise your Liberty to look after your health, finances, retirement and so on... but you do not give up that right to any person nor any government as they are your positive uses of Liberty for your own welfare. 

Government does not govern your welfare, you do.  Any government that tries to interfere with your welfare and your Liberty to lead your own life when you harm none is called: Tyrannical.

It would be bad enough just for that slow erosion of personal liberty and becoming dependent upon government, becoming in thrall to government and an object of government, this Tyranny business.  That is horrific.  But in trying to do 'good' by standing in-between you and the object of your liberty, no matter what part it is, government demands a cost to do so.  That Intermediary has a monetary cost above and beyond the cost to one's Liberty and Freedom and it is not low.  The overhead, or burdening, of dollars is the cost to run the organization necessary to deliver any good or service, and for the federal government that can run, at best, at approximately 35% and that is within one of the best agencies in the government, with the typical burdening being 45%-55%.  That rate is not just the workplace efficiency percentage (how many productive hours a typical employee has in a given time period) but also such things as health care costs, facility costs, maintenance cost for equipment, layers of accountable management staff and so on.  These are the numbers that are given for budget and outlay, burdened numbers, and that burdening is higher in government as there is no incentive for efficiency and a high requirement for accountability. 

For things like a $350 hammer for DoD there is outrage, for denied payments for benefits for something like Medicare or working hard to find any excuse to deny anyone entrance for disability benefits from SSA, there is little or no uproar as it is a personal affront from officious government and not readily tangible.  If you were told, instead, that government would work very hard to deny you basic payments on anything, and that you would have to justify each expenditure for these 'good' programs to get what they are supposed to give you for anything, there would be an uproar.  Yet the wall of officiousness put up by any bureaucracy is the armor they deploy against the citizenry as the layers of bosses, appeals, and so on are meant to wear you out.  Those increased levels of 'oversight' via the command structure and appeals process are a means to diffuse responsibility for any action taken by anyone in the entire organization: cost accounting then means that your needs on the system are a burden to the system and the system then reacts in a manner to make you want to stop being a burden to the system by ending your process of holding it accountable.

The one place where we expect and desire accountability to the citizenry, that is to say government, becomes the place where you can't get it and it will not modernize itself as it enjoys being held unaccountable for its actions to anyone.

Big business stopped being a threat when the citizenry could get its hands on information and execute it as fast or faster than the big business.  That day dawned somewhere in the mid-1990's and big businesses had to cope with their crumbling models being swept away by the expectations of the empowered citizenry.  Now they must have a presence, must be accountable and must compete... unless they can get a government bail out for their old and failed ways.

Now it is government that is opaque and becoming ardently so and pushing that as a 'good thing' to hide the deals and squandering of the common resources entrusted to it.  Such things as 'back room deals' and 'closed meetings' should only be for the highest security items in the budget, not for ordinary expenditures.  Yet that is where the Progressive form of government has wound up... becoming a replica of the thing it was supposedly despising.

That has a tipping point in the population at large.  No single slight will cause the electorate to shift, but the build up of them and the increasing opacity of government then makes any minor change or increase in government power an additional load into the saturated solution.  At some point the solution, itself, carries a load that it cannot contain and the electorate shifts away from the past solution state into a crystallized form.

A shift away from government is what the change in state portends, and while it may take a decade or so to fully feel the effects of the shift now underway, they are happening and are changing, yet again, the relationship of the citizen with our government.  Some changes can happen quickly, such as defunding parts of government, others will take time, such as repealing officious legislation, and some must be done as they are impossible to fund via the mechanism of government and taxation.  What comes after that will look very little like the preceding century and have few pieces left from this last change in the relationship.  For change cannot be stopped, there is no end of it until there is an end of mankind, and any static view of technology, society and government, such as the Progressive, Socialist, Communist or Fascist view will fail due to change as they can't allow it to keep their doctrine ongoing, and they can't reject the things change offers because they are too enticing.  In hoping to establish a permanent role for government in the life of man, the life of man changed and continues to change in ways that no government can stop as it then becomes the impediment to Liberty, to Freedom, not the answer to helping it.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Preambling and what it tells you about yourself

The following was first posted on 20 APR 2006 at Dumb Looks Still Free.  It is posted in its original format with all spelling, syntax and logic errors left as-is.


Everyone loves to point to the Constitution of the United States! No? Well, I do and do so frequently as it has a backing and understanding in it that gives great context to who the American People are and what we see as our Rights. But the number one thing that is overlooked is the actual, and quite revolutionary Preamble. Now, as the document itself is UNTITLED the Preamble, then tells you everything you need to know before you start reading the document itself. By giving no titular assertion, this document is laying out something *different* than anything that has gone before and that needs explaining. So as to not give people the wrong idea, the document itself is untitled so that no preconceived notions of what is to follow will be held. I am sure that many others have made this observation before, but it bears repeating: if you are to understand what the document applies to, you MUST read and understand the Preamble. Do NOT make assumptions, the lack of title clearly tells you to read the entire document as a whole. I will repeat the full text, and then examine it as it goes along:

" We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. "
All of this over a SINGLE SENTENCE? Think on this: the document is telling you everything you need to know about who it applies to , who they are and how they look to govern themselves in one single sentence. Everything that is within this sentence applies to YOU the American reading this or others here, as described later in the document, legally. This is what it TAKES to BE an AMERICAN, and can mean absolutely no other thing. You may add on to this over the years, but the basics and fundamentals are held right here. Read it and weep. We the People of the United States... First we are no *longer* the People of These United States, but of The United States. After Shays' Rebellion we realize that a Confederation will not work and leaves the People without a means of commonality amongst Us. Further than that the famous "We the People" language is that of a single People speaking in One Voice. When one speaks to the Nation it is to "We the People", and not to a bunch of groups that somehow got stuck on this continent together by bad luck and we are making the best of a bad situation. When you undertake to be a Citizen you agree, by this compact, that on a National level YOU will look towards using your freedoms and rights towards the United States as a WHOLE. The Government that will be laid out in this document, when it speaks, must speak for the Nation as a WHOLE. As a Citizen you do have the right to vociferous dissent and condemnation and expressing of your feelings and attitudes. But when you speak of yourself as One of the People, you must change your outlook to exactly THAT. You are one of the People of the United States who has come together to speak with One voice. That voice may quaver and have some nasty undertones, but the one thing that you cannot do, and adhere to the rest of the People is to speak at a National level without taking everyone else around you into consideration. And when you speak on that level, you must assert things to the Nation as a whole and work, yes actually work and think, as to how anything put forth affects all of the People. And you thought it was only 7 words that were descriptive! It is not only descriptive but PROSCRIPTIVE. You are enjoined by those words to think of yourself as one of the People of the United States. You will have individual concerns and rights and duties and obligations laid out later, but you are FIRST and FOREMOST required to be one of the People as a whole. If you try to think in other terms, by putting rights, liberties and freedoms laid out BEFORE this injunction in the Preamble, you are denying the very Constitution itself as a means of bringing We the People together. Notice that in this documents the injunction that you are one of the People is FIRST. Your rights come LATER. Your rights must be *used* to enforce the first part. Every part of the Constitution that puts in an Oath or other clause that is general and then gets specifics, demonstrates that the specifics MUST be used to uphold the more general concept. So for every individual out there who somehow believes that your rights are FIRST and your commitment to be one of the People is second, you must find in this document where that order is laid out or where that is clearly explained otherwise. The internal logic of the Constitution, how it was drafted and put together, and all later representational upholdings of duties with rights and responsibilities clearly defines that the Preamble is foremost in being one of the People. Order to form a more perfect Union,... As noted above, the Articles of Confederation didn't work and left a flawed Union. But as this is part of a sentence and the first part of it is clearly demonstrating that you as one of the People of the United States have a requirement which is being laid out for all to see. You, when you speak at that National level, as a Citizen become one of the People and you are specifically told right here that your goal MUST be to form a more perfect Union. This piece of your responsibilities is very interesting in that it does a couple of things. First, and foremost, it recognizes that work to retain a Republic (as laid out later) is ongoing and can NEVER be finished. You, as a member of the People, must make it *better* or 'more perfect' so that We the People live more harmoniously with each other while disparaging none in so doing. And we haven't even GOTTEN to your Rights yet! And here you are already being told YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! Painful, isn't it? All those years you were told your rights came first... while, in actual fact, your responsibilities came first. Whenever you approach anything that enacts your rights, it must be done in full remembrance that you are to use them to make a more perfect Union. Second, that we are a Union of People in what follows. So, not only are you *just* a member of the People, but you are brought together with them PURPOSEFULLY. So, yes, you are an individual, but you are first and foremost a member of the People and you must find yourself Unified with your fellow individuals who make up the rest of the People in things done for the good of all. And when you are doing so you must ensure that what you, as an individual, seeks is to enhance that Union. We the People speak with a Unified voice as one People and this document defines the People and what they see as necessary for governance. But the order of the document itself is unmistakable and the absolute necessity to become Unified with your fellow members of the People is absolute. Why, yes, you now have yet ANOTHER responsibility placed upon you! Isn't this grand? This is a revolutionary document because it tells you what you have to be to retain who you are! And it doesn't even tell you what tools you get to do so yet. And we are not even half-way into the sentence!! ...establish Justice,... This one is simple, right? So sorry, but no. To back up your responsibilities you are now being told that Justice by rule of law and due process is paramount to We the People. So, you must have lawful means to uphold your previous responsibilities. But beyond even that, you, that individual who is a member of the People working to become Unified with them, will also establish Justice in the things you do in your life. The reason that not doing so is important is that the People have just come out of a period of no Justice under a Crown and then a period of lawlessness in the aftermath of the Revolution and Confederation. As an individual you are now being told that one of the things laid out to make a more perfect Union is Justice. To properly enact your responsibilities you need something that is Just and workable for all of the People. This is what We the People are set forth to establish by what follows: to speak as one People, together, using Just means to bring us together in a more perfect Union. So the things you may NOT do is practice unjust anarchy, tyranny, authoritarianism, divine right law, nor any other thing which does not give Justice to all of the People in order to bring our Union together. These things you are now being told are OFF THE BOARD to you as an individual in how you seek to bring yourself into accord with society. Any attempt to address only one portion of We the People without making the entire Union more perfect is NOT ALLOWED. Justice is across ALL of We the People and no one gets more nor less of it for any reason as laid out in this Preamble. Yes, yet MORE responsibilities! And these responsibilities, since they are set out at a National level apply to MORE than just the Federal level, which will be laid out further in the document. The Preamble is all-encompassing for those that fall within it. domestic Tranquility,... Uh-oh, this sounds bad. And many people will find this as a shock. Not only are you to establish Justice, but you are to do so in a manner that does not give rise to unrest within the Nation as a whole. After Justice retaining the order of Justice and ensuring the domestic Tranquility is paramount. You, as an individual as laid out above within the People are told that you may not use means which disturb the peace or incite riot and mayhem or in any other way degrade or diminishes the Union itself. And that means, as We the People that you have the obligation and responsibility to act within Justice as set out for the Whole of the People and not fractionate or otherwise divide that Union in a manner made to upset the rest of the People. As People within cognizance of your States will set out what those Just means actually *are*. But as one People, the responsibility is that you adhere to those Just means and do NOT attempt to do anything to destabilize the Union. Yes, you are responsible to uphold Justice and the common environment of the Nation and ensure that it is done so to make it more perfect in order to allow you to keep this Nation whole. Another whole responsibility placed upon YOU, one of the People. Suddenly this simple sentence is getting quite complex, isn't it? And it is a lengthy sentence. And we still, STILL haven't even gotten to your RIGHTS yet! Painful, very painful, to those who believe that your rights actually come FIRST. ...provide for the common defense,... This is simple, yes? Please? Again, no. You as a member of the People are to provide for the common defense of all the People. You, not just your money but YOU are to place yourself in a position of defending the Nation for the good of We the People. If no one else is there, no military, no police, no other form of established law enforcement, but just YOU the ordinary member of We the People, you MUST defend the Nation and the People as a whole. Some of this is regularized and codified by what follows, but above and beyond that you are responsible to defend the Nation by your actions and provide for the common defense of the entire Nation, so that it may be able to have the self-governance and tranquility necessary to keep Justice and the Union together. If all else is falling down around you and lawlessness and those seeking to disparage, disrupt or destroy the enforcement of that which is Just and generally degrade, erode or destroy the commonality of the People, YOU MUST STEP IN. You, the individual member of We the People agree to defend the commonality of the People in order to ensure that which is Just to continue so that the Union can survive and prosper and be made more perfect by YOUR actions. That is your responsibility as a member of this society of We the People, and you may NOT just pass that off to someone else to do for you. When you are alone you ARE the People of the United States and when you see everything going to hell in a handbasket around you, you are to act in defense of that common peace and justice. Even if this means your LIFE. For your life is worthless without the society that makes it possible. You do not get to pick and choose on this, as a member of We the People, this is something you MUST do. Provide for the common defense is more than just the military, law enforcement and justice system: it is members of We the People acting to uphold the Union personally and individually and continually. ...promote the general Welfare,... Ouch! Very painful for it is yet another Responsibility laid upon you as a member of the People. Does this sentence NEVER end? You as a member of We the People, acting Justly, in accordance with peaceful means, but if necessary to lay your life on the line to protect the Nation, must also ensure that the entirety of the People are made *better* for these activities! Here again, you may not look to elevate one group above another or seek justice for only one part of the People and not another nor may you defend only those selective bits of the Nation that you like, but you ALSO must do so for the betterment of the general Welfare. The lives of everyone around you are to be ENHANCED by your actions and the overall society made better for these activities. Promoting the general Welfare is not putting a Welfare state in-place! It is enhancing the entire environment of We the People to act harmoniously as a Union and ensure that the entirety of the Union is made better. And the expense of this may NOT fall unjustly either. The general Welfare is to be promoted by your actions as an individual in defending the Nation, its Justice and its betterment. That is yet another of those responsibilities laid upon you before you get to the goodies of the Constitution. So this is ALSO of higher importance. If your rights were meant to come FIRST the Preamble would SAY SO. It clearly, and unequivocally says just the opposite. ...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,... Yes! The goodies! Finally! But... there is an 'and' there... uh-oh.... So here you are a member of the People, enjoined to: be one of the People of the United States, work to make the Union more perfect by your activities and act with the other members of the People , establish Justice in your lives and ensure that it is upheld by your activities and that it is not withheld from any of the People, do these things in a manner that will not destroy or degrade society as a whole nor bring disquiet to the entirety of the Nation, put more than your money or words in defense of the Nation but yourself if you are to make your membership meaningful, ensure that the overall society is promoted and that the Welfare of We the People is advanced. And you will do so to secure the blessings of Liberty! Yes, you still haven't gotten to the *goodies* yet. You are responsible for retaining the rights and liberties of the People as a whole and (that lovely and) make sure that these blessings are passed on WHOLE to those that follow in succeeding generations. Your activities are to also SECURE the Blessings of Liberty, they do NOT come free. We tell you that you will get them here, first, but then you will use them to ensure that they are not degraded or eroded by your activities and that you purposefully act to SECURE these blessings. And you may not do so in a way that only retains them for *just* yourself or *just* your generation or *just* your age cohort, but you must do so so as to give them whole, complete and undiminished to your posterity. You shall give the Blessings of Liberty to those that come after you and work to ensure that this is DONE. ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. And this Constitution is being established to ensure that those things get done, and will set out the more perfect way to do so. But, the Constitution does not absolve YOU of the responsibilities that are being leveraged in this Preamble. There is no manna from heaven nor is there perfect governance on earth and YOU are responsible to your Nation before you even get one single, solitary right as will be laid out later. And you get a TON of rights as the Government of We the People is just made to govern and help bring us into accord with this Preamble of the Constitution. That does not mean that the Government that will be laid out is the *best* way to do so and, indeed, you are still totally and entirely responsible as a member of the People for all of the things set out in this Preamble. If you find that the Government can't do it for you and it needs be done, then figure out how to do it in accordance with this Preamble: be it on a personal, local, State or National level. You will abide by these strictures to remain a part of We the People. Your rights are yours, but are to be used in full cognizance of the responsibilities set out in the Preamble. You may not exercise your rights without first *thinking* about the responsibilities that fall upon you as a member of the People. And we that made this document trust you to do so as we pass it along to you thusly. Our gift to you. The gift of responsibilities.