Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Health Care - Leaving the insurance model

Currently health care provision comes in two major modes: a self-pay for system in which individuals pay for service and per service, and receive some income tax break if they spend over a certain percentage of their income and an 'insurance' based system of paying monthly amounts for non-set number of visits but at a reduced cost (or no cost) per visit. In the first system medication is pay for prescription, the second offers a reduced cost (or no cost) pay for prescription. In the second systems the reduced cost concept is a 'co-pay', in which an individual buying 'insurance' pays a small, set fee per visit by either primary practitioner or secondary practitioner (specialist) with some 'insurance' offering dental care, hospital care and forms of catastrophic injury and sickness care.

The first system is full, free market capitalism at work.

The second involves the concept of 'insurance' in which companies accept payment for coverage and the bet is that you will not get sick while your payment is in case you do get sick. The system has many variations, but is one that does not seek to manage health care, itself, just the cost of health care. By putting in a third party to vet the need of certain procedures, the cost of each visit has overhead attached to it, and that cost has been rising as the number of people using such systems increase. This is an asymmetrical growth in overhead seen for non-scalable systems: something that may be accomplished on a small scale may prove to be unwieldy at 10x or 100x or 1,000x the scale.

Both systems have a problem of needing to incorporate the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits in them, which have also been proliferating as more money gets involved in the system. Again this is a system that has not scaled well as juries, more sympathetic to those bringing such suits than with the doctors defending themselves, have added to the burden of health care by practitioner insurance above and beyond the simple cost of doing paperwork. That 'simple cost of paperwork' has also increased the need for clerical, non-medical staff to track such paperwork which is a medical inefficiency: these individuals are not directly providing care and are 'infrastructure' to handle the payment and receipts system.

With this, the overall cost of health care rises not due to the increased cost in drugs and treatment, but due to the structural overhead that comes with such 'insurance' systems. What works well for 'life insurance' and 'one-time incidents' does not work well for continued medical work. Thus, no matter how many people are covered by 'health insurance' the cost of the entire medical system rises due to structural cash and payment accountability. To get 'universal coverage' one must get 'universal accounting and crediting' above and beyond anything that mere credit card companies do or insurance companies offering more standard forms of insurance.

From that, it is time to leave the insurance model of health care and stop subsidizing it as a Nation.

The following is a proposal that is simple in concept, but deep in ramifications as it utilizes the free market system, and allows for new forms of getting health care that currently do not exist due to the 'insurance' model.

Subscriber Based Coverage

This is not the current concept of subscribing to an 'insurance' plan.

In a subscriber based system an individual contracts, up front, for set amounts of health care coverage and *no more*.

This leaves individuals to pay on their own and actually think about and manage their health care beyond the financial part of it and assess, personally, the lives they lead and the likely need of health care.

This is not a plan for the destitute and poor: the State (in this case the individual States not the Nation) must address that problem separately. This can be done in the form of support for State owned and run, State owned/contractor run, or State pay for contractor owned/run systems or other variations of that. Beyond that States can offer income tax breaks to those that donate to charities that offer direct medical services to the poor and destitute. I state this up front as the social and societal needs of the poor are best addressed at the local level by towns, cities, counties and States than by the federal government. These individuals often need personalized care that is beyond the means of even middle class individuals, and that can only be done as a social and societal responsibility.

For those able to gain any income on their own either by working, investing or other means of earning money, the subscriber based system offers positive benefits:

  1. A 'voucher' system for medical visits. Unlike 'insurance' plans, an individual may pay for a set number of visits per year to a medical subscriber plan. Payments for the subscriber ship can be done in: lump sum, quarterly, bi-weekly or weekly amounts depending upon plan. Plans may offer different numbers of visits to primary and secondary (specialists) based on the payment plan type. As money 'up front' can be more useful over the long-term, a premium in extra vouchers may be offered for additional amounts paid up front as compared to a more regularly spaced schedule. While actual, physical vouchers may be issued (with serial number, authorization number and redemption code and such for cross-checking) most of these systems would be done electronically. Thus a transaction to expend a voucher may be as simple as swiping a card by the patient, one done by the physician (or office staff) and a PIN number entered by the patient or actual phone call if necessary for identity verification.

  2. Medical tests. Medical tests go hand-in-hand with modern medicine and can be included in the voucher system. Doctors may be given leeway for a set of tests per visit with provisos for the need of each (routine, chronic routine, investigative, acute investigative, etc.). Specialists would also be allowed to authorize or do such work as part of their voucher expenditure. The cost to the patient is the time necessary to get such tests done.

  3. Medical specialists. As diseases and specialties proliferate, the need for specialized medical care increases. For those with known ailments and conditions, a rough approximation by that individual on what they will need in a given year then allows them to look at the cost of their medical care up front. By accounting for likely need of specialists and, possibly, giving leeway by over purchasing, they can then afford to have some peace of mind if their condition starts to worsen.

  4. Medication. Here a subscriber based system almost perfectly matches the need by long-term chronic care treatment. Those needing daily medication are not in need of an 'insurance system' but a subscriber delivery system which sends them the medications they need at a set price throughout the year. Voucher systems can offer forms of 'tiered drug' payments so that those needing drugs to manage chronic diseases can be assured of their medications sent monthly to them without the hassle of mandated re-visits. Those who have suffered things like infections or practice leisure activities that may injure them can also remember to factor that in so that various sets of tiered drugs (say for infections or alleviation of pain) can be purchased up front and expended at pharmacies with a medical prescription.

  5. Hospital stays. Where this system comes out ahead of 'insurance' in the long run, is the ability to identify the need for hospital stays, either in emergency situations or for sudden ailment. Plans can provide a certain number of days in the hospital *free* of charge as part of subscriber coverage.

The first and most major benefit of subscriber/voucher healthcare is that the vouchers do not expire.

This, alone, allows for a free market voucher trade system to be set up separately or in coordination with voucher issuers. With this there is transportability of health care coverage Nationally, as vouchers can be traded from organization to organization. If one issuing organization does not offer a certain doctor, service or other needed care, it is possible to trade vouchers between issuing systems so as to allow individuals to get that care under this system.

Thus at the end of the year unused vouchers accumulate, allowing individuals to do one of three things:

  • Cash them in. Get back a set price per voucher from the issuer, no questions asked. Older vouchers may, however, accumulate in price value so hanging on to them may be prudent.

  • Trade them. If someone is moving or taking a trip, using a voucher trade system to cover such things allows for individuals manage their health care on the road. While medication vouchers may sit with an issuing organization, even those are available for trade from system to system. This allows individuals to pay for additional medication via a private trade system for those medications and medical care they need, and at a possible lower price. This would also allow for transfer from person to person within geographically distributed locations so that children could purchase more care for an elderly parent and have that dedicated to that care.

  • Keep them. Very simple, if you are relatively young and have a chronic ailment, keeping medical vouchers may be a very prudent thing to do. As one gets older or retires, the sudden need for increased medication, hospital stays and such may pay off via kept vouchers to cover one's own old age.

What insurance is *good at* is covering things like catastrophic care, sudden injuries and other forms of low probability and yet debilitating problems in life. By removing these from the health care system, individuals could get individualized additional insurance for these specific problems without the worry of having to scrap entire health plans just to get to one set of perceived needs, or to let other areas of needs go wanting to get basic care.

What this does is multi-fold, but the most important thing is the removal of the State or Nation from mandates upon its citizens and companies for health care. This is a purely individual need and some individuals will choose poorly, as seen in the recent sub-prime mortgage problem that consists of less than 1% of all residential loans made and less than 0.01% of all property loans made when business and industry is included.

  • As this is not 'insurance' there can be no mandates for 'coverage' placed upon it: individuals choose the specialized care they need.

  • Low cost of overhead: this is a 'coupon redemption' system for automatic payout to physicians, not a brokered system of payments with intermediaries requiring 'pre-authorization' or a company to allow visits to physicians. Some subscription vouchers may offer more services and thus have a 'premium' status, thus making them less available on the open market.

  • Individuals could expend 'fractional vouchers' just as there is fractional stock and bond abilities via trade systems today: keeping a medical account of basic worth type and collecting additional vouchers to augment that account becomes a part of an individual's management.

  • Individuals could subscribe to *multiple systems* for low level accounts so as to accumulate the medical care they need via vouchers. Special 'introductory offers' may become a low end way for the market to deal with accumulation of care at to price that along with other care.

  • Subscriber care networks, themselves, may have 'premium' status, so that a subscriber network of offered visits may offer a better set of practitioners and services, which can be brokered by those outside the network to get care inside of it for ailments not well served by other networks.

  • Physician time management is a plus on this system as a doctor may set aside a certain number of set appointments per day/week/month to care for these subscriber based visits. Thus physicians with high capability and limited time move into a 'premium' category as regular physicians and specialists, yet getting necessary time to deal with an ailment would allow individuals to gather smaller worth based vouchers to purchase such 'premium' or 'super premium' vouchers.

  • Physicians, although offering time to only one (or a limited set of) plans, are thus made available regardless of *any* subscriber plan. Medical tests may vary depending on which plans the doctor subscribes to, but that is up to the doctor on which plans they subscribe to.

These are things the current 'cost management' systems do not address and, by their very view, limit patient input to their medical care and put a third party (the insurance company) into the loop in deciding if an individual gets treatment or not. A subscription/voucher system removes the third party for authorization and leaves treatment and care to physicians and patients.

Finally businesses could offer 'incentives', 'bonuses' or 'regularized subscription' for workers to cover some of these costs. But that is a *voluntary* contribution considered as a *payment* or *gift*, not a coerced State level requirement. In this way businesses may either give such things directly to workers, or may, itself, accumulate such coverage for on-the-job medical needs and specific and job-related needs.

The current, subsidized 'insurance' system is removing money from the wallets of patients and putting it in the hands of paperwork processors and, hopefully, some health care is rendered from this system. By addressing the infrastructure cost and removing it, the free market can be given play to deal with it in ways known to many in the form of subscribing to magazines, wines, coffees, teas, periodicals and other cable television.

By allowing doctors and those forming companies to help consolidate physician care but changing the way it is viewed, the current 'insurance' networks can shift over to this subscriber based system and slowly phase out the higher cost system in favor of the lower overhead, but higher profit system of investment for health care needs. From that individuals will be able to judge the *value* of each set of doctors and procedures and find the lowest cost to themselves for getting their needed coverage. And end this idea of having bureaucrats decide who gets what coverage and what medications, and leave that in the hands of the individual citizen.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Modern Jacksonian - Chapter 9 - The Distance That Destroys

What is democracy?

This, in America, should seem obvious: democracy has two main forms of representative democracy and direct democracy.

Direct democracy is the direct ballot or vote or other assessment given by all individuals that meet those necessary qualifications to meet such input needs. This is true in representative democracy for the casting of the ballot, but only for direct measures does that devolve into direct democracy. Direct democracy is the direct casting of such ballots or votes for measures to help govern society and no one is appointed to do that save by those actually casting the votes.

This, in modern terms, has been seen as 'one man, one vote', save that all questions of governing reach no higher authority than that vote: there may be appointed officials to carry out such things voted on, but the vote, itself, is the authorization and legitimacy of those things voted upon. These are usually systems of 'majority rule', or 50%+1 rule, or 'super majority rule' or those votes requiring a more than 50%+1 legitimacy either by 66% (two-thirds), 75% (three-quarters) or 100% (unanimity). Some States in the US use this for direct ballot measures, but in a direct democracy each and every measure would need to meet the majority rule of all of those voting: society.

America, however, does not do this at the Federal scale and not only has representative democracy but of republican form: it has a head of state. This concept need not, of necessity, mean a legislative body, but can be an actual individual. That said republics can also consist of a Consul as individual (such as the Roman Republic having two Consuls that exchanged office) or a Council as group performing that role (such as Switzerland with its ruling committee). This form of government then separates the Head of State function from the Head of Government function either via different individuals (ex. a President and a Prime Minister) or a division of functions by Executive and Legislative concepts.

The US Constitution by ensuring that all States have a form of republican government ensures that there is no State that invests all of its powers into one individual. With that being said, the Constitution does not speak on any actual form of republic so that the States may choose, for themselves, how to constitute their governments and ensure that some form of republicanism is put into place.

To run this system with the additional division of Judicial to be a check and balance on the Executive and Legislative branches, and by dividing up the Legislative into two bodies so that no single body may sign away the rights of both, the US system of Constitutional republic is most complex. The final complexity added is that of representative democracy.

Representative democracy is that form where individuals vote for a single individual to represent that constituency. In this there are also many forms available to not only determine who gets to represent a given constituency but what the level of satisfaction must be to meet that.

The US for the House of Representative districts uses one form of this: districts of roughly equal population, save in low population States where only one Representative is given for that State (the district is the State). The most number of representatives that the US can have is at the lowest representative proportion set in the main body of the Constitution: 1:30,000. Congress, however, is allowed to adjust this so that it may decide the level of representation (and that could go down to a minimum of 1 per State by current reading of the Constitution as there is no requirement for multiple Representatives, only that a minimum number be given which is 1 per State).

A district restricts candidates by geography, and then allows for a system of majority election in that district to determine who represents the district in a 'first past the post' schema. That schema means that so long as majority is won in the district, there is only one representative from it. That is the logic of by district, first past the post elections: majority rules via limited geography to elect a representative.

There are, however, other systems that are perfectly allowable and, indeed, were run by the States early in the republic of the United States. With a given number of House Seats available many States ran an 'at large' system of votes, where the top number of vote getters across the State would take those seats. If one had 4 seats then the top 4 were chosen without respect to geographical origin within the State. This form of system allowed multiple parties to work hard to be 'competitive' within the State so as to garner one of the top positions. If Congress were given to run at 1:30,000, then the necessary 'barrier to entry' becomes that of 30,000 votes with no other qualifier necessary. Thus at the extreme other end of a 50 seat House is that of a nearly 10,000 seat House, and these two disparate forms of representative democracy are perfectly amenable to the US Constitution as it only sets minimums and maximums, and does not dictate: number of parties, types of proportionality or even the presence of absence of districts.

There are other, and more diverse systems that have been devised, such as the 'second choice ballot' system where, if the number of final representatives is not met, then the lowest is taken out and the second choice marked on the ballot is then implemented. Elimination is usually of a given percentage of the lowest candidates in order to meet some minimal representative number (50%+1 or set number by proportion, or both). There is also the system where if none meet the necessary qualifier for first past the post, then the top two vote getters have a second or 'run-off' election between them so that a single winner can be found. The US actually has a form of this system embodied in the Electoral College for Presidential Elections, in which representative electors are what is actually chosen via ballot and the Electoral College convenes to cast its votes. Not all States have a requirement that such Electors actually cast their vote as given by the election, however, so that higher level political deals can be made for election of a President. If the College cannot agree then the House of Representatives is given final vote and say for President.

The concept embodied by representative democracy (be it in the House or the two seats per State Senate or the Electoral College) is that of 'knowing who you are voting for'. The basis of representative democracy is that an individual represents all of those either in a district, in those systems, or those that actually voted for them, as in those systems of meeting proportionality or the highest number of vote getters. Thus the weight of decision making is either to make the best decision for a diverse district, in which one did not get unanimity, or along ideological/party lines as in a proportional system, or an admixture of both in a 'top number chosen' system. Actually having an idea of who it is you are voting for to represent you becomes the key part of each of these systems, so that an individual may wisely cast their votes for their chosen representative (win or lose).

When there is distance put between the voter and their representative, so that less and less is known about that representative, the system begins to break down. This is not a new worry in democracies and has been a problem of democracy since the concept was invented in its representative form. The ongoing discourse during the years 1787-89 between multiple individuals would bring out how such democratic systems erode and implode to ones of tyrannical rule, authoritarian rule or outright despotism. The Swiss system was held as one key in that debate by many, and all recognized it as a republic and form of representative democracy that was proving to be relatively stable. From Maryland Farmer, Essay No.3, Part 1, 07 MAR 1788:
That a national government will prevent the influence or danger of foreign intrigue, or secure us from invasion, is in my judgment directly the reverse of the truth. The only foreign, or at least evil foreign influence, must be obtained through corruption. Where the government is lodged in the body of the people, as in Switzerland, they can never be corrupted; for no prince, or people, can have resources enough to corrupt the majority of a nation; and if they could, the play is not worth the candle. The facility of corruption is increased in proportion as power tends by representation or delegation, to a concentration in the hands of a few.…

Here the Maryland Farmer identifies the salient points of limited representational democracy are seen: keeping government close to the voters and ensuring that the distance between voters and their representatives does not get too large.

Notice that this is from an 'Anti-Federalist' but is *not* an argument against federal forms of government (that is shared and distributed power between local, State and National government, with checks and balances between governments and inside them) but an argument that localized democracy is necessary to keep corruption low and foreign influence out. When power is concentrated into too few hands, dangers arise.

Indeed, a federal form of government was argued *for* by many of the 'Anti-Federalists', which belies what they saw and talked about as not *being* 'Anti-Federalist' but something else, entirely. To be sure many did argue against the federal as opposed to the then confederal form of government, but the hallmarks of what we come to call 'federalism' were well understood and supported. This was seen by Federal Farmer, No. 17, 23 JAN 1788:

I have often heard it observed, that our people are well informed, and will not submit to oppressive governments; that the state governments will be their ready advocates, and possess their confidence, mix with them, and enter into all their wants and feelings. This is all true; but of what avail will these circumstances be, if the state governments, thus allowed to be the guardians of the people, possess no kind of power by the forms of the social compact, to stop, in their passage, the laws of congress injurious to the people. State governments must stand and see the law take place; they may complain and petition — so may individuals; the members of them, in extreme cases, may resist, on the principles of self-defence — so may the people and individuals.

It has been observed, that the people, in extensive territories, have more power, compared with that of their rulers, than in small states. Is not directly the opposite true? The people in a small state can unite and act in concert, and with vigour; but in large territories, the men who govern find it more easy to unite, while people cannot; while they cannot collect the opinions of each part, while they move to different points, and one part is often played off against the other.

It has been asserted, that the confederate head of a republic at best, is in general weak and dependent; — that the people will attach themselves to, and support their local governments, in all disputes with the union. Admit the fact: is it any way to remove the inconvenience by accumulating powers upon a weak organization? The fact is, that the detail administration of affairs, in this mixed republic, depends principally on the local governments; and the people would be wretched without them: and a great proportion of social happiness depends on the internal administration of justice, and on internal police. The splendor of the monarch, and the power of the government are one thing. The happiness of the subject depends on very different causes: but it is to the latter, that the best men, the greatest ornaments of human nature, have most carefully attended: it is to the former tyrants and oppressors have always aimed.

Not only was a strong federal government protested against, but the reasoning was that a distant federal government would find it easier to unite rulers than to unite disparate States across the Nation. Those that would govern would find more in common amongst themselves, being governors, than the people would amongst themselves, being diverse and in many different communities. With that power, handed to the National level, those in such government would then seek to secure their power by playing off faction against factions, piece upon piece, until there was no coherent unity amongst the States and only the National government was left.

While the final form of such things cannot be predicted, the movement to faction based politics is one that is of extreme danger for large republics with poor representation systems. The ability of government to use pre-existing differences to turn them into political divisions is one that is a siren's song of political parties - it is a path to government but also a path to instability. Governing for the good of all the people in a democratic republic run via representational means does not become an end in such situations and is, instead, replaced by catering to one faction over another via gifts from government taken from all of the people. When this is combined with the shift of politics to those factions and away from commonality by those in power over years or decades, governing for the good of the Nation, itself, disappears.

We see this, today, in this thing known as: Identity Politics. While such political divisions created by the parties in the US to exploit such differences was always a worry, the entrenchment of it by those in government to ensure that such divisions become defining for government becomes a detriment not just to the Nation but a corrosive effect on its corrective, which is democratic will. Disenfranchisement need not be by disbarment from voting or by intimidation, and can be just as easily done by entrenching preferred groups above the entirety of the population for special favor and attention and then shunting aside criticism and petition.

The first order corrective, however, before that of the people, is the States, as given by Federal Farmer. By making the States an integral part of the checks and balance system, the National government was held accountable not only by the people, who may become dissuaded from voting and keeping the interest of the Nation foremost, but also by the States that would ensure that their interest as autonomous actors within the Union were not infringed upon.

The main body of the US Constitution did try to address some of the concerns given, as: Article I, Section 2 addressing Taxation (and the additional injunction in Section 9 against any direct tax whatsoever) to be handed to the States to collect, the Article I, Section 3 ability of a State Legislature to choose Senators, and the Article I, Section 10 escape clause to allow States the ability to defend themselves separate from the Union when invaded or in imminent Danger as will not admit delay. These each served as a check and balance against the power of National government to raise taxes, to withdraw Senators to demonstrate the State's non-acceptance of legitimacy and the ability of the States to actually continue on the ancient right of self-defense and have that available to it, separate from the National government.

Two of these has been removed by Amendments that have bestowed direct powers to the National government and removed the recourse of the States to keep it in check. Amendment XVI specifically removed the direct taxation of citizens and corporations and handed that to the National government without the need nor intervention of the States. Amendment XVII shifted the Senatorial selection out of the Statehouse and into direct elections, thus negating that check and balance on the legitimacy of the National government. Only the Art. I, Section 10 right of self-defense backed by the militia language in Amendment II has remained in place, but that, too, has been eroded by the ability of the States to have non-standing forces available in case of ready need by those pressing for the centralization of all forces to the federal government. The vestment of the power of the Union's forces has been shifted to the National via legislation so that modern readers of Art. I, Sec. 10 and Amend. II are left to scratch their heads as to the meaning of them. It not only is the incorporation of the individual's right to self-defense, but of the State to organize separate, non-standing forces for ultimate self-protection. That latter cannot be garnered without the former, and the citizenry, without the right to organize via their States, find difficulty in understanding just how the Nation viewed arms and their use from that era. Many, today, believe that the States have *no* right to separate protection on their own, and castigate any attempts to do so. That is centralized socialization pressure backed by government to erode the States of the right to their own autonomy in those cases where the federal government either cannot or will not respond. That is a federalist view of military power, the division of it between the Nation and the States, and is something supported by both federalists and 'Anti-Federalists'.

Indeed, many of the 'Anti-Federalists', were quite trenchant in their output, making a few of today's bloggers with their worst innuendos seem tame by comparison. And yet that era was one in which the future outlook not only of the Nation but of democracy itself was at the deciding point. The power being handed to this federal government in a representative democracy under republican format was quite large, and the worries coming out of the Revolution and seeing the problems of past republics was foremost in the minds of many. Thus the warnings, such as those by Luther Martin's Address No. 4, on 04 APR 1788, may seem a bit harsh in the addressing of those like Hamilton and Madison, yet the point made is clear and well spoken even when we must consider those that we disagree with:

Those who would wish to excite and keep awake your jealousy and distrust, are your truest friends;—while they, who speak peace to you when there is no peace—who would lull you into security, and wish you to repose blind confidence in your future governors, are your most dangerous enemies. Jealousy and distrust are the guardian angels who watch over liberty:—security and confidence are the forerunners of slavery.

But the advocates for the system tell you that we who oppose it, endeavour to terrify you with mere possibilities, which may never be realized, that all our objections consist in saying government may do this,—and government may do that.

I will, for argument sake, admit the justice of this remark, and yet maintain that the objections are insurmountable.—I consider it an in-controvertible truth, that whatever by the constitution government even may do, if it relates to the abuse of power, by acts tyrannical and oppressive, it some time or other will do.—Such is the ambition of man, and his lust for domination, that no power less than that which fixed its bounds to the ocean, can say, to them, "thus far shall ye go and no farther."—Ascertain the limits of the may, with ever so much precision, and let them be as extensive as you please, government will speedily reach their utmost verge; nor will it stop there, but soon will overleap those boundaries, and roam at large into the regions of the may not.—Those who tell you the government by this constitution may keep up a standing army,—abolish the trial by jury,—oppress the citizens of the states by its powers over the militia,—destroy the freedom of the press,—infringe the liberty of conscience, and do a number of other acts injurious to and destructive of your rights, yet that it never will do so; and that you safely may accept such a constitution, and be perfectly at ease and secure that your rulers will always be so good, so wise, and so virtuous—such emanations of the Deity, that they will never use their power but for your interest and your happiness—contradict the uniform experience of ages, and betray a total ignorance of human nature, or a total want of ingenuity.
Actually, pretty vicious stuff about those 'who would lull you into security' given the era. The point that wariness of those offering platitudes and easy assurances is one that has lived on since that era to the present, and we still find ourselves confronted with politicians preferring to speak of great, vague things that they will not put down firmly so as to tell those voting for them what they actually wish to achieve.

One of the most divisive parts of society is religion, and was a worry to that era as the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 had only been in place for 130 years or so, and had often been obeyed in its breach: not only was the open practice of some sects forbidden, but in a few areas, such as Spain, persecution and inquisition were still in place. In England social isolation of Puritans and others would lead to the diminution of mobility in society and government, while allowing same in commerce. By restricting religion by government and politics, social division, isolation and persecution would be manifest as a societal view. In Maryland Farmer, Essay VII, 04 APR 1788,we see the following:

Thus it is that barbarity—cruelty and blood which stain the history of religion, spring from the corruption of civil government, and from that never—dying hope and fondness for a state of equality, which constitutes an essential part of the soul of man:—A chaos of darkness obscures the downfal of empire, intermixed with gleams of light, which serve only to disclose scenes of desolation and horror—From the last confusion springs order:—The bold spirits who pull down the ancient fabric—erect a new one, founded on the natural liberties of mankind, and where civil government is preserved free, there can be no religious tyranny—the sparks of bigotry and enthusiasm may and will crackle, but can never light into a blaze.—


Religious tyranny continued in this state, during those convulsions which broke the aristocracies of Europe, and settled their governments into mixed monarchies: A ray of light then beamed—but only for a moment—the turbulent state and quick corruption of mixed monarchy, opened a new scene of religious horrorPardons for all crimes committed and to be committed, were regulated by ecclesiastical law, with a mercantile exactitude, and a Christian knew what he must pay for murdering another better than he now does the price of a pair of boots: At length some bold spirits began to doubt whether wheat flour, made into paste, could be actually human flesh, or whether the wine made in the last vintage could be the real blood of Christ, who had been crucified upwards of 1400 years—Such was the origin of the Protestant reformation—at the bare mention of such heretical and dangerous doctrine, striking (as they said) at the root of all religion, the sword of power leaped from its scabbard, the smoke that arose from the flames, to which the most virtuous of mankind, were without mercy committed, darkened all Europe for ages; tribunals, armed with frightful tortures, were every where erected, to make men confess opinions, and then they were solemnly burned for confessing, whilst priest and people sang hymns around them; and the fires of persecution are scarcely yet extinguished. Civil and religious liberty are inseparably interwoven—whilst government is pure and equal—religion will be uncontaminated:—The moment government becomes disordered, bigotry and fanaticism take root and grow—they are soon converted to serve the purpose of usurpation, and finally, religious persecution reciprocally supports and is supported by the tyranny of the temporal powers.

This applies not only to religion but any enforced differences imposed by government amongst the people for any reason whatsoever. When factions are empowered by government to enforce views and coerce others into holding them, or kill them because they confess to other views that are seen as heretical, then society is at peril of government. That is not only in the religious realm, but the secular of race, creed, political viewpoint, and any other thing used to divide the people against themselves. Only in an era of Political Correctness have we seen 'sensitivity training' enforced by mandate and have we seen tribunals in other democracies set up to withhold the power of freedom of speech that may be 'offensive' to some minority. At that point it is not the minority that is put at peril, but civil society and government *both*. Not just democracy, but any secular government that empowers such puts itself at peril of becoming the victim of bigotry and certitude as one faction is deemed to be in need of 'power' over others.

There is a stark difference between society recognizing the error of its ways in areas of discrimination and removing those obstacles and in setting up tribunals to make all individuals in society adhere to Politically Correct mandates handed down by those in power.

Government being restrained from punishing is one thing.

Government used to punish society so as to change it to other views is destructive to society and to those in power as they objectify their fellow citizens into those needing to be 'purified' to some unknown and untold standard.

That is not democracy by any scope of the imagination, and yet we have heard in this election year those willing to put race, gender and religion as litmus tests for high office and, indeed, the highest office in the land. Yet another of those things give to us as warning by the 'Anti-Federalists' who seem to have had some understanding of how democracy can fail and what the ends of government can be when it does so. It is not a pleasant thing to see the warnings of those who criticized the Constitution coming true, and yet if we blind ourselves to those facts coming before us, then we also blind ourselves to what these fellow citizens saw as solutions.

Unlike the modern era of criticism *only*, this was an era that understood that the duty of the citizen was not only to criticize, but to offer something better and hope to build something better. Thus, if in their trenchant tracts they demean and diminish, many also offered to help and to build something new and better: not just the Constitution as it was but to Amend, change or alter it to adhere to principles that were still in accord with democratic and republican ideals and yet put safeguards into it against those problems they saw.

Of these 'critics that do more than criticize' there was Federal Farmer No. 3, 10 OCT 1787, who would offer such criticism and then solutions:

I am fully convinced that we must organize the national government on different principles, and make the parts of it more efficient, and secure in it more effectually the different interests in the community; or else leave in the state governments some powers proposed to be lodged in it—at least till such an organization shall be found to be practicable. Not sanguine in my expectations of a good federal administration, and satisfied, as I am, of the impracticability of consolidating the states, and at the same time of preserving the rights of the people at large, I believe we ought still to leave some of those powers in the state governments, in which the people, in fact, will still be represented—to define some other powers proposed to be vested in the general government, more carefully, and to establish a few principles to secure a proper exercise of the powers given it. It is not my object to multiply objections, or to contend about inconsiderable powers or amendments. I wish the system adopted with a few alterations; but those, in my mind, are essential ones; if adopted without, every good citizen will acquiesce, though I shall consider the duration of our governments, and the liberties of this people, very much dependant on the administration of the general government. A wise and honest administration, may make the people happy under any government; but necessity only can justify even our leaving open avenues to the abuse of power, by wicked, unthinking, or ambitious men. I will examine, first, the organization of the proposed government, in order to judge; 2d. with propriety, what powers are improperly, at least prematurely lodged in it. I shall examine, 3d, the undefined powers; and 4th, those powers, the exercise of which is not secured on safe and proper ground.

A more straightforward view cannot be found today on how to work with one's fellow citizens to change and adjust government. First you state the problem, second you define what needs to be done and third you point out how these things will benefit everyone without exception. Then restate the entire thing in short form. Additionally the concept of 'change as little as possible' is also given, which others would see as a wise way to change government. Really, this is the modern technique of problem solving, along with the acknowledgement that this may not be perfect, but it is better than what is proposed, and what is proposed is good but not well thought out. A rarity today, in an era that should be more enlightened.

Let us see what the good Federal Farmer came up with in those things to be examined, and I will do some minor consolidation:

First. As to the organization—the house of representatives, the democrative branch, as it is called, is to consist of 65 members; that is, about one representative for fifty thousand inhabitants, to be chosen biennially—the federal legislature may increase this number to one for each thirty thousand inhabitants, abating fractional numbers in each state..—Thirty-three representatives will make a quorum for doing business, and a majority of those present determine the sense of the house.—I have no idea that the interests, feelings, and opinions of three or four millions of people, especially touching internal taxation, can be collected in such a house.—In the nature of things, nine times in ten, men of the elevated classes in the community only can be chosen

The first complaint is that 1:50,000 for the first proposed legislature is too small and that electors will tend to be drawn from the upper class and not from the middle or lower class. Additionally 1:50,000 is too small to properly represent the interests of 3-4 million people. Basically the House of Representatives is seen as too small, too far removed and drawing from a non-representative portion of the population. And his remedy is as follows just a bit further down:

The branches of the legislature are essential parts of the fundamental compact, and ought to be so fixed by the people, that the legislature cannot alter itself by modifying the elections of its own members. This, by a part of Art. 1. Sect. 4. the general legislature may do, it may evidently so regulate elections as to secure the choice of any particular description of men.—It may make the whole state one district—make the capital, or any places in the state, the place or places of election—it may declare that the five men (or whatever the number may be the state may chuse) who shall have the most votes shall be considered as chosen—In this case it is easy to perceive how the people who live scattered in the inland towns will bestow their votes on different men—and how a few men in a city, in any order or profession, may unite and place any five men they please highest among those that may be voted for—and all this may be done constitutionally, and by those silent operations, which are not immediately perceived by the people in general.—I know it is urged, that the general legislature will be disposed to regulate elections on fair and just principles:—This may be true—good men will generally govern well with almost any constitution: But why in laying the foundation of the social system, need we unnecessarily leave a door open to improper regulations? —This is a very general and unguarded clause, and many evils may flow from that part which authorises the congress to regulate electionsWere it omitted, the regulations of elections would be solely in the respective states, where the people are substantially represented; and where the elections ought to be regulated, otherwise to secure a representation from all parts of the community, in making the constitution, we ought to provide for dividing each state into a proper number of districts, and for confining the electors in each district to the choice of some men, who shall have a permanent interest and residence in it; and also for this essential object, that the representative elected shall have a majority of the votes of those electors who shall attend and give their votes.

Don't let the House of Representatives set its own size, give that over to the people. For a 'minimalist' approach, that works very well: let the people vote across the Nation in their States on proposed size. If the Congress wants a different size, make it come to the people and the States and *ask for it*.

Next remove the power of Congress to legislate elections and leave that up to the States. By removing the definitional power on elections, the States then have the ability to choose how they want to within the State to find the number of Representatives necessary to represent the people. This is devolving power to the States and the people so as to remove any chance to abuse it from the National side. By common agreement the States set their election to a single day, as done via the Constitution, but how they fill the Representative seats is left up to them, also. Do note that the conception is one of a district based system, but by leaving the concept of how elections are to be run up to each State, multiple systems could be seen across the Union and yet the results would not infringe upon any individual's right to choose. Those States that want district based Representation can have them and those wanting at-large can have that, and those delegating some to districts and some to at-large could have that, too. By making districts allowable one does not mandate them.

And the goal of this first fix is given thusly:

Perhaps, nothing could be more disjointed, unweildly and incompetent to doing business with harmony and dispatch, than a federal house of representatives properly numerous for the great objects of taxation, &c. collected from the several states; whether such men would ever act in concert; whether they would not worry along a few years, and then be the means of separating the parts of the union, is very problematical?—View this system in whatever form we can, propriety brings us still to this point, a federal government possessed of general and complete powers, as to those national objects which cannot well come under the cognizance of the internal laws of the respective states, and this federal government, accordingly, consisting of branches not very numerous.

It is to remove a complete suite of powers from the federal and ensure they are held by the whole of the Nation so as to keep the federal in check. The goal of efficient government is not to make it run smoothly, but to keep it in check and balance by the States. By putting a whole power into the hands of the National government, the opportunity for abuse and expansion arises, thus the goal is to mitigate that by ensuring that no individual or set of individuals can arise in power so as to consolidate and expand those powers.

In this first fix we have one of the greatest criticisms of the current government: not that it is too unwieldy to do good, but it is to wieldy to do ill. This is, perhaps, one of the keenest observations on what efficient representative democracy *is*: it must efficiently be representative and democratic FIRST. The goal of government that is based on representative democracy must be unwieldy enough so as to not concentrate powers and ensure that they are dispersed over enough people so as to limit the abuses of same.

It is very strange that one of the most keen observations on how to create a good federal system is relegated to the 'Anti-Federalist' pile because it dares to criticize the Constitution as written. This is *not* a criticism of federalism but an attempt to make it work more within the confines of what federalism *is*. This first part is not an argument for *less* federalism but *more of it* and *mean it*.

Then Federal Farmer finds much good with the Senate and says *why* it is good:

The house of representatives is on the plan of consolidation, but the senate is entirely on the federal plan; and Delaware will have as much constitutional influence in the senate, as the largest state in the union; and in this senate are lodged legislative, executive and judicial powers: Ten states in this union urge that they are small states, nine of which were present in the convention.—They were interested in collecting large powers into the hands of the senate, in which each state still will have its equal share of power. I suppose it was impracticable for the three large states, as they were called, to get the senate formed on any other principles: But this only proves, that we cannot form one general government on equal and just principles—and proves, that we ought not to lodge in it such extensive powers before we are convinced of the practicability of organizing it on just and equal principles.


The clause referred to, respecting the elections of representatives, empowers the general legislature to regulate the elections of senators also, "except as to the places of chusing senators."—There is, therefore, but little more security in the elections than in those of representatives:—Fourteen senators make a quorum for business, and a majority of the senators present give the vote of the senate, except in giving judgment upon an impeachment, or in making treaties, or in expelling a member, when two-thirds of the senators present must agree.—The members of the legislature are not excluded from being elected to any military offices, or any civil offices, except those created, or the emoluments of which shall be increased by themselves: two-thirds of the members present, of either house, may expel a member at pleasure. The senate is an independent branch of the legislature, a court for trying impeachments, and also a part of the executive, having a negative in the making of all treaties, and in appointing almost all officers.

Yes, this is an individual lumped in with the 'Anti-Federalists', amazing, isn't it? Yes, he gets 'federalism' and perhaps a bit more pointedly than the 'federalists' liked in identifying the Senate's powers, the division of powers and how it acts as a check and balance, which makes his criticism of the House all the more pointed. He doesn't like the power on the elections, says so, but does not continue as he said his peace in the House portion.

His view on the Presidency is likewise insightful, and perhaps missed by many modern readers:

The vice-president is not a very important, if not an unnecessary part of the system—he may be a part of the senate at one period, and act as the supreme executive magistrate at another—The election of this officer, as well as of the president of the United States seems to be properly secured; but when we examine the powers of the president, and the forms of the executive, shall perceive that the general government, in this part, will have a strong tendency to aristocracy, or the government of the few. The executive is, in fact, the president and senate in all transactions of any importance; the president is connected with, or tied to the senate; he may always act with the senate, never can effectually counteract its views: The president can appoint no officer, civil or military, who shall not be agreeable to the senate; and the presumption is, that the will of so important a body will not be very easily controuled, and that it will exercise its powers with great address.

Yes, the Executive is housed between the President and the Senate. I am sure I heard that in school once or twice, but it tends to flow out of our minds when election season rolls around. And I will say that quite a large number of people have seen the VP in that exact, same, light. That said, the view that Senators and Presidents would tend towards aristocracy has been something of a problem with the longevity of members in the Senate and some number of family members also gaining high office. And the President's office has only been threatened a few times by family continuity: Adams', Roosevelts (extended family), Kennedys, Bushs with the Clintons trying to do similar as of late. The Senate has proven more attractive due to length of office and ability of incumbents to retain it and secure a greater power base for themselves via appropriations than the President has been able to do with relatively limited powers.

From there to the Judicial which Federal Farmer also sees much in agreement with and then some more observations:

In the judicial department, powers ever kept distinct in well balanced governments, are no less improperly blended in the hands of the same men—in the judges of the supreme court is lodged, the law, the equity and the fact.


The convention found that any but a small house of representatives would be expensive, and that it would be impracticable to assemble a large number of representatives. Not only the determination of the convention in this case, but the situation of the states, proves the impracticability of collecting, in any one point, a proper representation.

The formation of the senate, and the smallness of the house, being, therefore, the result of our situation, and the actual state of things, the evils which may attend the exercise of many powers in this national government may be considered as without a remedy.

And that was POINT 1!

Federal Farmer is pointing out that the ideals of federalism and democracy are being put under the problems of actually running them. By putting forward high concepts and then brokering them away, federal government that is not federal and representative government that does not represent is seen as a problem. One can see why many Federalists wanted his views put into the 'Anti-Federalist' arena: his complaint is that the Federalists aren't seriously looking at how to make federalism along with representative democracy *work* within the bounds of the income given.

Problems such as those given so far are not ones we normally expect from that era as we have been given it. While some 'Anti-Federalists' did prefer a confederal system, there are those that actually did understand federalism and then criticized the Constitution on federalist terms, and pointedly. The concepts of concentrating power, gaining aristocratic (or at least lineage dependant) attitudes, being drawn from the wealthy classes and being distant from the more common man show up time and again and all gain a source from representative democracy not being representative *enough*. This distinctive class separation leads to attitudes of factionalizing the people via politics and the goods that government can disburse and the crimes that it can prosecute.

It is that distance, between the governed and those who govern, that lead to disillusion by the people and distrust of National government. The road to representative democracy is to ensure that representative democracy is the means to that end, not to be an end in and of itself, but to ensure that the people, in their diversity, can create a good end as they see it. Those ends of Liberty ensuring Freedom via Democracy are hard ones to keep, especially when concepts of 'efficient government' arise time and again. One can have 'efficient government' but do not expect it to be representative nor to offer much in the way of Liberty or Freedom, as those are inefficient being vested in the people and not in government. The distance required by efficiency is destructive to those things, and as representatives become more distant and unknown, democracy itself wither, and soon the Liberty and Freedom it protects as power is secured to those in government and out of the hands of the governed.

The only ones who can stop that from happening is We the People, as that is trusted to no party, no sub-group, no caucus, no ruling body.

Democracy is ours for the making, if we dare to keep it, and step away from the tyranny of efficiency.

Lest we be destroyed by it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

For the New Year and onwards, ever onwards

The following is a personal position paper of The Jacksonian Party.

It is always fascinating to see how writers look at the roots of problems in one party or another and come back to very, very basics without intending to. Take Michael Tomasky in The New York Review of Books on his 17 JAN 2008 article They'd Rather Be Right, looking at the plight of the Republican Party. Mr. Tomasky is, to say the least, liberal in his outlook especially his views on the 'progressive' concept. So when reading such a writer it is best to ditch the modern day polemic and see how far back they go in looking for the origins of things. Mr. Tomasky heads straight to the chase, after much verbiage, to give this view of the US two party system:

The two major American political parties have always been amalgams of factions, especially the Democratic Party, from its early tensions between Jacksonian frontier populists and Adams-descended Northern reformers up through the late-nineteenth-century disputes between the mercantilist "Bourbon Democrats" and the prairie populists led by William Jennings Bryan. Then came the uneasy New Deal coalition of Northern liberals and Southern segregationists, and finally, in our time, the sometimes bitter feuds between liberals and centrists. The Republican Party's history is slightly less convulsive, partly because its initial factions such as Whigs and Free-Soilers found unity under Abraham Lincoln on the central question of slavery. But in time the Republican coalition came to include both staunchly pro-business and trust-busting interests; nearer our own era, there was also room enough within the party for domestic conservatives and moderates, supporters and foes of the New Deal, and foreign policy internationalists and isolationists.
Here we get one of the times where the current 'power politics' is, actually, seen through to near its beginnings when populism had to fight business interests and government interests, with the differences between Jacksonians and Adams', and it is this start that would pit 'government hands-off' of Jacksonians against 'government hands-on' of the Whigs against each other.

Coming from the purely industrial view of things, not sociological or other realms, Jacksonians supported individuals and States to make good decisions for themselves without the interference of the Federal government. This is not only a 'frontiersman' view, but an expansionist one: that the best way to expand liberty is to allow the common man to do good by his own hand. While the Whigs wanted a controlled Nation, Jacksonians placed their trust in the People as the background of the Scots-Irish plus various other English, Nordic and Germanic immigrants would find this attitude appealing after having life so strictured and confined by the State (or Principalities) that making National government more powerful was the last thing they wanted. The Whig Party would die and the Republican Party form in its wake, with Abraham Lincoln being first a Whig and then a Republican, and the quest to control westward expansion and put government in charge of conducting the economy would be put to the wayside after the Civil War. The 'Prairie Populism' of William Jennings Bryan bears the scars of that post-Reconstruction era and the slow shift of the Democratic Party away from Jacksonianism and towards a more controlled Nation concept. Those frontiersman ideals, however, would be picked up, almost exactly, by Theodore Roosevelt and recrafted for the industrial age. The exact, same, instinct to not have a Federal Bank was then shifted to the control of monopolists and industrial 'robber barons' who had 'industry towns' in which those working were in virtual servitude to the company owning the town. Theodore Roosevelt would push for American Exceptionalism of its people and enforce the anti-monopoly laws and seek to them extended. Theodore Roosevelt would then excoriate those seeking to give government ultimate control over markets, like Woodrow Wilson and his supporters, as taking liberty from the common man.

On the sociological side, Jacksonians are a tough lot to cleave from something they start: and they stuck with the Democratic Party through thick and thin as it *was* the Party of Jackson. That would last right up to 1968 where the force of the Democratic Party expanding government and denigrating the Nation reached a fervor and the Party, itself, started to shift to an anti-Nationalist or Transnationalist stance. Big business would re-coalesce around the Republican Party after the era of Wilson and FDR, and offer a 'business only' economics view that no longer upheld views of Theodore Roosevelt and personal liberty. These voters now no longer have a party that will: uphold personal liberty, hold government and business accountable to the needs of the Nation, will disavow Transnationalism, shift course from Big Government Nannystatism, or even be able to properly call an enemy 'an enemy' and mean it outside of petty, partisan political views.

Factional politics inside the Republican Party, as Mr. Tomasky sees it, breaks down into:
neoconservatives; theo-conservatives, i.e., the groups of the religious right; and radical anti-taxers, clustered around such organizations as the Club for Growth and Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.
And to take a bit of a look on the other side here are the factions as they stand on the Democratic side, as seen at Wikipedia, and I will summarize:
1) Progressive Democrats - From the George McGovern to Dennis Kucinich axis.
2) Liberal Democrats - From the Ted Kennedy to Nancy Pelosi axis including Bill Clinton.
3) Labor Democrats - From the Sherrod Brown to John Edwards axis.
4) Moderate Democrats - The DLC axis of Walter Mondale to Mark Warner. Nearly defunct.
5) Conservative Democrats - The 'Blue Dog Democrats' characterized by Zell Miller, in theory many elected in 2006 are from this axis, but events have shown shifting to Moderate, Liberal and Progressive axes. Nearly defunct.
6) Libertarian Democrats - Democratic Freedom Caucus axis, a non-player in most politics.
7) Ethnic Minoritarian Democrats - Multiple minorities seeking gains from other axes, especially 1 through 4.

In general for the Democratic Party the Transnationalists consist of: 1, 2, 3, 4, and often 7. Nationalists tend to be in 4 through 6 although those are dying breeds in the Democratic Party and nearly gone now.

To be fair I will expand upon Mr. Tomasky with Wikipedia's view of Republican Party factions:
1) Religious Right - Fundamentalists, Evangelicals and Traditionalists of different sorts end up here, with Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum being members of note.
2) Neoconservatives or Neocons - Interventionist foreign policy as seen by Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and others. Often coming from the Liberal Democratic faction and disavowing it when it went Transnationalist for governing concepts.
3) Social Conservatives - Anti-Big Government individuals, in strong support of the military and second amendment rights.
4) Security Oriented - Those individuals alarmed by threats to the US, and I disagree with the article's listing and reasoning, but not the presence of this faction.
5) States' Rights Oriented - Those wishing to keep the Federal Government small and out of State only issues. Strongly opposing Federal laws on marriage, property or anything else not given to the Federal government to do.
6) Paleoconservatives - Distrustful of modern ideologies and statecraft, and the expansion of government. Opposed to multi-culturalism, restrictionist on trade and foreign policy, generally isolationist.
7) Libertarian Conservatives - Emphasizing market over social controls, especially on spending, regulation and taxes. Generally seeking to privatize government and shift them to the States or private interests.
8) Log Cabin Republicans - Those that favor gay rights.
9) Liberal Republicans - "Rockerfeller Republicans" - Harold Stassen, Richard Nixon, Michael Bloomberg and Jim Leach axis. Supporters of the 'New Deal' and its concepts, generally.

The Transnationalists, Free Trade and pro-morality enforcement through government action of alignment have parts of 1, 2, 7, 8 and all of 9. Nationalists tend to be in 3 through 6 and parts of 1, 2, 7, 8.

Jacksonians tend to cluster on purely National interests, seeking social control of things like trade for the good of the Nation, not of industries, and keeping government small so it can do its job of protecting the Nation well. Jacksonians are pro-liberty and freedom as global ideas, but put forward you must *work for it* to get it and sustain it. The last real strongholds in the Democratic Party are in 5 and 6: Conservative and Libertarian. There are always some outliers cropping up in 7, as recent immigrants with a 'can do' attitude tend to shift to frontiersman views. There aren't that many of those remaining there. In the Republican Party this tends to be centered on 3-6, with parts of 1, 7, 8.

President Andrew Jackson in his Bank Veto Message of 10 JUL 1832 sums up the view:
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society the farmers, mechanics, and laborers who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.

Nor is our Government to be maintained or our Union preserved by invasions of the rights and powers of the several States. In thus attempting to make our General Government strong we make it weak. Its true strength consists in leaving individuals and States as much as possible to themselves in making itself felt, not in its power, but in its beneficence; not in its control, but in its protection; not in binding the States more closely to the center, but leaving each to move unobstructed in its proper orbit.

Experience should teach us wisdom. Most of the difficulties our Government now encounters and most of the dangers which impend over our Union have sprung from an abandonment of the legitimate objects of Government by our national legislation, and the adoption of such principles as are embodied in this act. Many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them richer by act of Congress. By attempting to gratify their desires we have in the results of our legislation arrayed section against section, interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion which threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. It is time to pause in our career to review our principles, and if possible revive that devoted patriotism and spirit of compromise which distinguished the sages of the Revolution and the fathers of our Union. If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy....
Keep government *confined* to ensure that all garner equal protection so that prosperity can be created. Ensure the rich do not bend government to its will, nor that government create distinctions amongst the people between rich and poor. And stand against those seeking 'new rights' and 'new privileges' and 'entitlements' as they create worse problems than any original problem they seek to solve.

And, above all, Citizenship is not a 'right' it is a Duty as Theodore Roosevelt would point out on 23 APR 1910 at the Sorbonne (via the Theodore Roosevelt site):
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier."
Citizenship is in the doing, not the criticizing and it is in that doing that all life gains worth:
Such ordinary, every-day qualities include the will and the power to work, to fight at need, and to have plenty of healthy children. The need that the average man shall work is so obvious as hardly to warrant insistence. There are a few people in every country so born that they can lead lives of leisure. These fill a useful function if they make it evident that leisure does not mean idleness; for some of the most valuable work needed by civilization is essentially non-remunerative in its character, and of course the people who do this work should in large part be drawn from those to whom remuneration is an object of indifference. But the average man must earn his own livelihood. He should be trained to do so, and he should be trained to feel that he occupies a contemptible position if he does not do so; that he is not an object of envy if he is idle, at whichever end of the social scale he stands, but an object of contempt, an object of derision. In the next place, the good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is it right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be "Yes," whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong.

Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that chief of blessings for any nations is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. It was the crown of blessings in Biblical times and it is the crown of blessings now. The greatest of all curses in is the curse of sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility. The first essential in any civilization is that the man and women shall be father and mother of healthy children, so that the race shall increase and not decrease. If that is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to the deliberate and wilful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other. If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves form the thraldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the willfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done. No refinement of life, no delicacy of taste, no material progress, no sordid heaping up riches, no sensuous development of art and literature, can in any way compensate for the loss of the great fundamental virtues; and of these great fundamental virtues the greatest is the race's power to perpetuate the race. Character must show itself in the man's performance both of the duty he owes himself and of the duty he owes the state. The man's foremast duty is owed to himself and his family; and he can do this duty only by earning money, by providing what is essential to material well-being; it is only after this has been done that he can hope to build a higher superstructure on the solid material foundation; it is only after this has been done that he can help in his movements for the general well-being. He must pull his own weight first, and only after this can his surplus strength be of use to the general public. It is not good to excite that bitter laughter which expresses contempt; and contempt is what we feel for the being whose enthusiasm to benefit mankind is such that he is a burden to those nearest him; who wishes to do great things for humanity in the abstract, but who cannot keep his wife in comfort or educate his children.
These are all things that Jacksonians understand deeply and fully: one works to achieve by their own ends to create a better society so that the entirety of society may have liberty and be free. Your rights are self-evident... securing them comes at a cost.

No one in either party now speaks in these terms and that 40%+ of society that no longer votes does so because this sort of voice has been removed from politics. In wanting to secure 'special rights' and 'entitlements' we are losing liberty and freedom. Yet society does have a responsibility to care for those who have suffered in life: to do otherwise is not civilized. That does not mean mortgaging the Nation to provide goodies for everyone. That does mean tending to the sick who have no means to care for themselves and for those mentally and physically able to contribute finding ways that such contribution can get them out of the public sphere as the government is the very worse caretaker for anyone ever invented.

That is why we trust the heart and soul of charity to ourselves and hand it to no other as no other can ever represent us in that realm. Governmental charity is not charity at all, but policy run by bureaucrats who have no heart and soul in what they do, just a paycheck. Every time and each that we hand more charity to government, we lose it in ourselves and to recover that we must recognize that no government represents the strength of its People or Nation.

Every 'special right' demeans that right for all to uphold it for the few.

Every 'entitlement' diminishes self worth until we are supplicants to government for all things.

Kindness is not the role of government, it has never been such at any time or place as it only has powers to enforce and punish, and that had best be equal for all.

Righteousness is in our hearts and souls, not in legislation or the prison cell.

We judge now only on those things done to us and our society so that justice may be done for us, and let final and other judgment be done by those worthy of such things, which will not once nor ever be our created government.

Only free People know how to build on kindness and that when such is not returned we understand and turn from its denial seeking to create understanding until it confronts us in opposition and lets us know that they consider themselves the final measure of us.

Let us join together to remember that Society is the creator of the Good, and Government the restrainer of the Bad, and that we will never, ever confuse the two.

I will, as I have previously, stand by that this New Year and onwards as these are the stars in the Sky of Liberty.