Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grand Bargain

Americans are, without a doubt, the most generous people on the planet.  For our own citizens we wish equality under the law, long life and prosperity.  For those abroad we wish no animus, to have good relations with all Nations, and to ensure that we are a brother within the family of Nations seeking lawful conduct amongst Nations to the benefit of all mankind.  To protect the former from the latter we institute governments amongst men, and those governments are to look after the welfare of their own Nations and peoples.  Without the orderly conduct amongst Nations we can have no security nor prosperity at home, and when our equality at home is at doubt we find ourselves unable to work with our fellow Nations to reach order as our biases drive us to ill-conceived conclusions about the equality of all mankind.

Government is not our savior, not our personal security blanket and we recognize that the law must be equal for rich and poor, young and old, sick and healthy, and favor none so that we may all be assured of the regularity of process, procedure and acknowledge that unequal outcomes are ever the result of the institutions of man as our given equality through life is not the same as equality of talent, ability, will or skill.  No law can make us equal in those things, that is the nature of Nature, not just of man.  Thus it is incumbent upon each of us, as individuals, to ensure the fairness of our deeds and lend the helping hand to our fellow citizens either directly or through our charitable institutions so that as individuals we may falter, but as a Nation we may succeed.  We expect our fellow man to give as he can, not through the coercion of government, but through the great boon of giving directly of his or her own time and wealth, which are the benefits of liberty, freedom and equality.  None are denigrated for working, all are praised for thrift, and we adore those who give to charity to benefit the poor, needy, sick, and elderly for that is the upholding of ourselves and our society in so doing.  We cannot promise that all will end their lives equally, save that, once dead, they all shall be equal once more.  In life the measure of a man or woman is not wealth, nor fame, nor ownership of goods or property, but how much they can give to their fellow man without fear, without recrimination and without force applied to them.  This applies to all citizens of all stature and none are to feel the coercion of others, but only of their own good will and conscience.

These things are not the venue of government and government is ill-suited to do these things for us.  It is a tool of statecraft, of management of National and regional affairs where the needs of society, not of men, are to be addressed.  Their good is to ensure the safety of all from predators of all types, to address those that would harm us, to upkeep our common lands, and to serve as the punisher for those who cross our common good.  Thus it is given the power to utilize our personal negative liberties to the benefit of all, through the oversight of society and to be kept within bounds so as not to impoverish the people, as a whole, by trying to uplift them in parts.  When government can uplift the elderly and not the children or middle-aged, we are impoverished as it steps into our lives to remove our liberty to do good on our own and replaces it with the expectation of provisioning with the strings of government attached.  The only strings that come with charity are those that we place upon ourselves, those that come with government come with the strings of the punisher attached.  Disagree to the strings and you are punished.  That is not either good nor evil, it is the nature of government at all times, in all places, in all States of mankind.  Find the loving State and you find the servile people obedient to the will of the few.  No matter how sweet and good the help of government sounds, when it is only applied to the few, it divides society and makes it the plaything of our common government, which is a poor end for all involved.

As Americans we are not a perfect people, but we have a perfect calling.  That calling is to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness via the happenstance of our life and our abilities.  We can admit to mistakes, admit to failure, and admit to ourselves that no matter how good a service is, that when it is directed by government to the few so as to indenture them to government to support those inside government, then we, as a people, have our liberty and pursuit of happiness put at peril by the powers of government to take our funds via taxation, restrict our liberty via law and put in place an unequal distribution of wealth so the well off are made poor and the poor have their liberty impoverished by the helping hand and ready boot of government. 

When in poverty, in pain, when in need our first recourse is not to government, not to the State nor Nation, but to our fellow citizens and the institutions we make to help each other.  Some are too prideful to take such help, it is admitted, and they are showing the extreme strength of character to never admit defeat, never admit the turn of fortune and we must respect them that as it is the greatest statement they can make: they will never be a drain upon our common reserves or love, but will only seek to contribute to it until their dying day even if that be in wretched health and poverty.  To those who admit that changes in fortune, in health, in circumstances are beyond them, we open our doors, our wallets and found great places where we can donate our very time and life to helping them.  Always and ever that greatest of institutions is that which allows us to make Nations and is our first recourse: our families.  When in hard times our families pull together, open doors to family members to give shelter, aid and loving care, while helping them to find means to sustain themselves once more.  From there we go to religious organizations who open their doors to the wretched of the earth needing to breathe free and gain sustenance of spirit as well as body.  We, as a people, found charitable hospitals, schools, and reach out into the community to seek help as well as give it, so that volunteer firemen and rescue squads stand at the ready from those who have other work now putting their lives at risk for all in the community.  There is always good work to be had, paid and unpaid, and while all may not lead to happiness directly, their circumstances may give the happenstance in which one's liberty may allow them to prosper.

Thus the ills we have created over the past 100 years and more come home to roost in government now feeling it can dictate good sense to the people, ignore its duties given to it, and impoverish us all to meet well wishing ends of equality of outcome.  Our parents and grandparents did not listen to good sense, did not exercise vigilance over government and did not see their fellow citizens as worthwhile agents of society and came to believe that government represented a way to achieve loving ends through bureaucratic means.  Burdening the future with debt to meet their over-appetite for good ends, we now come to the end of the good ends and find the bill mounting daily.  America was not debt free when it was born, as a Nation, and we repaid our debts to France and other supporters so as to be free of it.  That happened under President Jackson and lasted not long at all.  That original debt put our Nation at peril, caused the government under the Articles of Confederation to become shaky and find a way to reconstitute a better government that would either change it or replace it.  Even with the latter the debt was retained, and paid off.  We shall do so this time and admit to our wrongs while agreeing to work off our debt gathered through ill-conceived notions of what government can do and what it should do,  and recognize that the latter cannot make itself into the former no matter how much we wish it so.

In our bargain our goals to rid ourselves of what government can't do, retain what it must do, and differentiate between the two must be aimed not towards good ends but regularized means in which none benefit unfairly from government making unequal law.

The points are as follows:

1) One equal tax rate for all.  Those that are poor must pay something to our common good, even if it is a pittance compared to those above poverty.  No one gains the benefits of government without taxation and payment into it.  At the poverty line the full force of government taxation comes into effect regardless of race, creed, skin color, religion, locale or any other factor.  If you are a citizen making above that amount, you pay taxes at the rate all citizens pay them.  Income tax is a horrible way to collect taxes, and we would be better served by having the States collect our taxes through means more local to us.  To effect that permanently, Amendment XVI must be removed from the Constitution, and as we have seen Congress is not to be trusted with this power.  The only exemption in this is via the SSA payback, and when that is used up, the individual pays taxes on all funds they get through employment.  All other taxes are removed from collections (ex. Capital Gains Taxes, the 'Death Tax', and so on).

2) As Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid eat up all revenue to the federal government, and all other things including the servicing of existing debt is paid for by new debt, they must end.  Those getting SSA may continue to do so.  Those who are not will be given the opportunity to take off the supposed 'investment' in their retirement from their federal taxes.  In addition the FICA tax disappears.  Medicare and Medicaid are not suited to federal venues, thus the funds for these two programs should be added together, divided in half, apportioned via block grants to the States proportionally and then phased out over 5 years.  At the end of 5 years the federal government will no longer fund health care for any but our veterans.  As those taking SSA will dwindle in the century after enacting this, that burden decreases.  In the mean time individuals get the greatest tax cut ever seen in modern times with not only FICA no longer removed from pay, but the ability to utilize past payments to negate current taxes putting full paychecks into the hands of our fellow citizens.  As the burden of overhead for these systems vanishes from all companies, they, too, will gain from no longer having to collect and account for these funds and will no longer serve as the ersatz tax collectors of the government.

3) The first and second items require an extreme austerity budget.  Thus while the State Department is funded, no overseas moneys will be available for anything.  The Department of Defense, being a necessary part of our security, will remain, but have much of its civilian workforce cut.  All Senior Executive posts throughout the federal government are abolished and the civil service will need to find able executives via the existing workforce, and that will make the entire civil service structure accountable to the Executive and Legislative branches directly.  The areas of US Coast Guard, US Geological Survey and Parks Departments remain, all else at Dept. of Interior goes.  Those areas within the Commerce Department associated with the US Mint and tax collection remain, all else goes.  The following are privatized by putting one share of stock out to each US citizen: Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, Sallie Mae, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and any other corporation or organ created to serve as a funds intermediary or directing organization on the US economy.  This does not include the Departments of Energy, Agriculture or EPA which are abolished.  Indeed, anything not explicitly stated within the US Constitution as a necessary organ of government is abolished.  Thus the General Accounting Office is necessary for the oversight of lands and goods held by the federal government, and the US Printing Office is not and will go.  The list of what the federal government MUST do, like secure the borders, will no longer be confused with nice things it should do, like have a Small Business Administration: the necessary for enumerated functions is kept, that which is not, is removed.

4)  Sunsetting all laws, regulations, codes and federal actions on the final digit year they were enacted.  Thus a law put in on 1913 comes up for renewal on any year ending with a 3.  All existing laws must pass both Houses of Congress and be re-signed by the President, no exceptions.  The citizenry shall have at least 2 years notice and input into all these items, which INCLUDES those proposed above.  If, after 10 years without such agencies and organizations there is a compelling need to put them back in place, the citizenry can say so.

5)  As (4) nullifies the size of Congress set in 1911, which had nullified all previous size changes via proportion, the Maximum House comes into being the year after the year that ends with a 1 in it if no other action is taken.  That is the Constitutionally largest House of Representatives at 1 Representative per 30,000 citizens.  Be advised that this will create a House of over 9,000 members.  It is suggested that the problem with 'corruption' in Congress is not due to the amount of money, but too few representatives to chase after it.  As representation increases, the ability of money to sway elections and representatives decreases inversely to the size of the House.  Also at 1:30,000 all seats will see demographic changes between each census and, frequently, between elections and thus come to represent the ever changing and moving face of the American people.  There is much good that comes from 9,000 politicians at each others throats.


How would the US government look without an Dept. of Health and Human Services?  Without a Dept. of Agriculture?  Without an EPA?  Would businesses run wild? 

Examine all the supplemental laws at the State level that have been put in place to enforce similar federal mandates and then ask why we need two laws on the books when only one is suited by region and locality?  Many are the laws that we duplicate, which means that our States stand ever ready to protect the environment at the local and regional level and willing to work with other States for larger compacts.  Before the EPA that is how it was done, even if somewhat corruptly it was better to disperse corruption amongst competing States that must come to agreement rather than in the faceless federal bureaucracy which is an advocate only for itself.  And it has grown during good times and lean times, and we feel that expense especially during the lean when the bloat of government becomes a drain to all American citizens.

We have created structures that tried to ignore demographics, and now we are eaten alive by them in a fiscal manner and see our liberty draining with those funds to the government.

We can help the poor, the elderly, the sick, the infirm and those that have lost jobs.

That does not start at the federal government, the cause for such woes in many areas, but at home with the family.  Then to neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and States.  We pay dearly for burdensome overhead when we cannot sustain it, and that ever happens when our good wishes for our fellow man are replaced with distrust of his charity and the unfounded belief that government can be charitable.  That is not the purpose nor function of it, and when put in that role it is the least, worst and most costly way to deal with any problem... strange we seek it out first, instead of appealing to our fellow man to help create something better amongst ourselves.

And that is the grandest part of the bargain.

Believing in each other as capable individuals, no matter our circumstances, and placing our faith in each other again, and back to our families, first.  Do not ask what government can do for you nor what you can do for government, but what you know is right to your fellow citizens to help and aid him, directly.

Your Faith will guide you.

Your Hope will sustain you.

Your Charity will build a better society.

Our greatest liberty is that FROM government, not TO government as that latter is the path to Tyranny.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Scale free law

From a previous post on The Self-Evident and you, I come up with the following (seen here and here):

Thus we can acknowledge these self-evident truths:

- We are within the bounds of Nature.

- We are imbued with the Laws of Nature.

- All things within Nature are imbued with these Laws.

- Those Laws create Liberty and Rights for all parts of Nature.

- All creatures have access to all Liberty and Rights of Nature, without exception.

- We recognize that we have such Liberty and Rights as Nature provides to us.

- Natural Liberty and Rights can be seen to have Positive and Negative attributes.

- Marriage, that is the joining of one person to another, is the basis of the family.

- By creating family we create the Law of Nations.

- In the creation of the Law of Nations we agree to not individually exercise our Negative Liberty of War.

- By being part of a family under the Law of Nations we agree to exercise our Positive Liberty of War to defend those we love.

Natural Liberty, being that which is gained from Nature, is available to all creatures in Nature, without exception and at all scales of the cosmos from the quantum on upwards. By coming together to form families we create the Law of Nations which serves as the basis for all higher social orders. This, too, is available to all creatures but requires the ability to utilize reason to recognize this state of being within Nature, thus birds can demonstrate a flock mentality while nesting and that is part and parcel of the Law of Nations but applied without reason or order to it, thus is unordered Natural society with no impediments of regularized behavior for all.

This conception of the Law of Nations became part of the English (later British) Common Law as far back as the 13th century (as seen in this post on Tree of Law, Tree of Liberty). England, at that point in time, had very little of the scripted law (jus scriptum) or written law, and much of the unwritten law (leges) which was confusing to outsiders who considered scripted or written law to be a touchstone of the basis for law coming from the remains of the Roman legal system. Yet before scripted law there must have been the unscripted law, the law of localities to govern themselves in accordance with social norms set up amongst families. That unwritten or unscripted social law or civil law is an expression of the Law of Nations but is not the Law of Nations itself: the Law of Nations gives formulation to how civil law is created and maintained by a society but allows for the wide variance of human culture that will then see different expressions of law within the broader framework. Writing and literacy, thusly, are not necessary to create civil order and government, although it is of great help once at the level of Nation to Nation contact.

Written agreements between Nations can be found chiseled into stone in Incan ruins, the sides of Mayan buildings, in Egyptian places set aside for such things, on the walls of caves as at Kadesh, on columns in Babylon and Greece and I would suspect at ruins in Thailand, Malaysia, various parts of Africa, and across India. We can go to the Old Hittite Kingdom diplomatic archives and understand their scope and meaning immediately: it is the duplicate records of the Old Hittite Kingdom and their responses to other Nations around them from Achaean Greeks to Egypt to Babylon and beyond at all compass points even as far north as the Baltic Sea. The discourse between diplomats is governed by the Law of Nations and is universal to mankind no matter the era, culture or setting. If you read about an exchange of diplomats between Nations you immediately understand the framework of it, the exchanging of gifts, courtesy, diplomacy, and how agreements between Nations are formed.

At the other end of the scale and stopping at the local level it is possible to run a society without written law, as seen in England. The English Common Law would descend from three types of law, two of which are akin to each other: 1) Roman law or scripted law, 2) locally cultivated law (amongst English peoples, locally), 3) local law as brought from the outside (by Norse and other Viking peoples). Due to its circumstances England would start off with indigenous law, have Roman law placed over it, then have that washed over by Norse or Viking law. To trace any part of the Common Law requires some understanding of where the particular part of it came from. Thus in a local legal proceeding you would have a legal problem brought before a judge and possible jury of peers to settle local disputes, and over time as England was constructed after the Norman Conquest, you would have judges sent by a larger government authority (county or provincial level, or National level) or from ecclesiastical realms (the Church for church law).

Early on after the Norman Conquest the ability to get a judge at any particular time meant that a set-aside time for judgments was made, usually at spring fairs, and that meant either an outside judge be brought in or a local judge nominated by the gathering social groups. That individual chosen in that way has the term Lawgiver applied to him, and that Lawgiver is a phenomena of local law systems but is very particular to the Viking or Norse systems as it represents more than just the local proceedings. In the terms of the northern people of Europe the gathering for ruling on affairs is the Thing. Lawgivers then travel to the capitol or other seat of power for a Nation to preside over decisions that the ruler wishes to make and to pass judgment upon those decisions. That ruler is then held accountable by this All-Thing as it is a form of representative democracy at work to express the state of the Nation to a ruler and ensure the ruler abides by the laws of the land.

Unlike the Divine Right form of rulership, this form can remove Kings for crimes against the Nation or even just unwise rulership. Kings that wished to get laws set up for the Nations that had this form of system had to get agreement from the meeting of representatives so that the law could be written down so as to preserve its content. When you have diverse societies or factions within societies that don't agree on a number of legal viewpoints, that then makes the presence of scripted National law rare.

At the personal level there is the ability of individuals to make agreements under defined concepts of reciprocity. The exchange of goods for services at a rate that is agreed-upon, as an example, is one form of this. Using the Viking view for economics, we see that lending with interest can be done without written math by having the stack of coins to meet an agreement set in two measuring sticks, held by each side of the agreement. Paying it back requires a small hole to be dug and the stick put at ground level (or other instrument to raise the stick a set amount) and that entire length from bottom of hole to top of stick is the payment with interest over time. This is how one gets 'in the hole' on payments. Similarly we can refer to a boat as a whole in the water you throw money into, as the maintenance upkeep cost of a vessel being exorbitantly high. As Vikings used ships to ply their wares and attack those who didn't want to trade, this concept of being in the hole and throwing money into ships was well understood even before runes became a part of the culture.

The nature of the agreement, no matter what its venue, between individuals for this exchange gains the term of: contract. As Bronze Age Linear-B was deciphered, it became apparent that the overwhelming majority of fired clay fragments were contracts and shopping lists, not high culture stories. And as it is nearly impossible to find a place in the Aegean basin that doesn't have such artifacts, often in giant heaps of fragments, the sheer scale of transactions over time must have been large. Yet the payment for goods and services, either by coin or exchange, still took the form of a contract.

That description of a pre-agreed way to exchange goods and services as a contract with each party agreeing to it has a different name but the exact, same meaning, at the Nation level. We call that a diplomatic agreement or treaty. It is set up between equals, can be witnessed by other equals in society, and the expectation of carrying it out is upheld by all in that society so as to keep the uniformity of social norms upheld. Thus Nations are seen as individuals, and we often hear the familial form of Nations applied to them (brother Nations, a family of Nations, etc.). This means that all treaties are contracts amongst equals. This is seen in a post by Geoff Hill (cited by Steven den Beste) and I will highlight in boldface:

I quote the following from Malcolm N. Shaw in his 'International Law, Fourth Edition' book: "International law is primarily formulated by international agreements" and "states do observe international law and will usually only violate it on an issue regarded as vital to their interests". None of these statements has anything to do with imposition to authority or practice. All international laws are complied with by the signatories -as they see fit-, and can/have been broken if said signatories view the following of the laws as contrary to their vital interests.

Since there is no overriding sovereign authority who can impose any international laws on any signatories [The UN is toothless in this regard], since any signatories can [and have in cases] flouted certain international laws [witness Norway and whaling laws], and since the laws -only- apply to the signatories and not the world in general, they can't very well be considered laws. They would be more properly designated as non-binding contracts upon the parties involved.

Note that 'binding international law' is an oxymoron: there is no sovereign authority that all Nations agree to, thus there is no binding system for international law. That artifact of binding for written contract law inside of Nations is an artifact of the ability to form sovereign governments that then represent a Nation. From that it is seen that governments are a preservation mechanism for different societies to flourish and that mankind, sans such mechanisms, would soon fall into disorder as the lack of agreed-upon sovereignty from the local level would remove the ability of that authority to actually be an authority. That disorder, however, would be transitory as the Law of Nations would be applied at these newer, smaller levels at which there can be some agreed-upon outlooks for what is held in common by those people who then incorporate the larger governmental entity.

Incorporation of a system via an agreed-upon method of accountability happens at all levels of human affairs. These are often cited as 'persons' (ex. a corporate person) so that they can be granted certain ways and means of acting. There are different powers and responsibilities granted by the people of a given society to these non-corporeal entities based upon their function. Thus a National government has different powers and responsibilities and is given a set of rights to utilize to those ends, and a town has a different set, a manufacturing entity a different set from those two, a services business yet a different set, and so on. Societies agree upon what those differences are and how they are to be handled via the law in a sovereign State setting. And as in the pre-literate or near literate societies, laws are more flexible and malleable at the local level and fewer and more brittle at the Nation State level as it cannot get the level of representation that more local forms of governance can do.

Do you see where 'group rights' appear?

That's right, they don't.

There is no level of government that gets one 'new' right more than the individual already has to start with. In point of fact all of these creations are limited expressions of our entire suite of liberties and rights gained from Nature as individuals. Acting together we safeguard various negative liberties (ex. negative liberty of warfare, negative liberty of free movement, negative liberty of ownership) and then place those into other entities that are public in Nature and have agreed-upon reasons to utilize those negative liberties on our behalf and with our oversight. Thus to utilize the negative liberty of war, that is offensive war, we as a Nation must declare war with stated reasons why we do so. To utilize the negative liberty of free movement, that is restraining others from it, we must have a system of laws to describe how and why this is done. To utilize the negative liberty of ownership, that of seizure, we also put in place safeguards for our own goods and ensure that only certain laws can apply to seizure of the fruits of our positive liberty of ownship (that of purchase) and go after those who take without asking (theft).

We each have those negative liberties within us: we can be thieves, we can restrain others, we can fight war on our own. But we do not do so as we recognize that the exercise of those negative liberties are destructive to our family, our society and our Nation and even, in warfare, the very order between Nations. Thus International lawlessness begins at home with you, as I put it in a previous post. Just as Nations can disagree with the internationally agreed-upon system of treaties and reciprocity of same and become Rogue Nations, individuals can do likewise and become Terrorists, Pirates, Thieves and Brigands. The Nordic to Germanic view even has a special penalty to be applied by law and a name that goes with it. The concept is that those individuals who so badly break laws as to be seen as lawless then have the sanctuary of law, safety of law and recourse via law removed from them. They are placed outside the law as savages: Outlaws. At the scale of individuals Outlaws are the exacting equivalent to Rogue Nations and no one trusts either if you wish to remain alive. To win back trust can take a lifetime of penance and atonement for such activities that get you into that position. In fact governments have an easier time of it as a coup can instantly replace a lawless government with a lawful one, while an individual must make proof-positive of their worthiness to return to the bosom of society before they are allowed back to it.

By the time the Common Law had evolved in the late 17th century and early 18th century, this conception could be stated by Blackstone in the following way (source here or here):

LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property.

BY the ancient common law, piracy, if committed by a subject, was held to be a species of treason, being contrary to his natural allegiance; and by an alien to be felony only: but now, since the statute of treasons, 25 Edw. III. c. 2. it is held to be only felony in a subject.11 Formerly it was only cognizable by the admiralty courts, which proceed by the rule of the civil law.12 But, it being inconsistent with the liberties of the nation, that any man's life should be taken away, unless by the judgment of his peers, or the common law of the land, the statute 28 Hen. VIII. c. 15. established a new jurisdiction for this purpose; which proceeds according to the course of the common law, and of which we shall say more hereafter.

The US Admiralty jurisdiction exists as a sub-set of the larger civil law code, but the activity of Piracy (and other forms of the negative liberty of war, also called Private War) being those of the martial kind can be prosecuted either via warfare executed against them in reaction to them, or via civil prosecution for those that turn themselves in to the civil courts for judgment. Thus jurisdiction depends upon condition of capture and customary law in regards to that, so that if caught by regular or designated private forces, martial law is utilized, and if caught via civil means, then civil law is the venue. If one is caught in the act of waging Private War, you have created your own battlefield by doing so. There is a very fine line between civil lawlessness and crimes of passion, and acts of war, and it is to our discredit that we do not highlight it so as to differentiate the two.

Just as a rogue individual can perform acts of war so, too, can Nations do so by not declaring war or claiming a pre-text of lawlessness in a civil realm by one Nation against another as a basis for warfare. These lines are very difficult to draw in a permanent fashion as societies and the rules within them, and then amongst Nations, shift over time, yet the very basic concept of legitimate warfare and illegitimate warfare are just as distinct as those between Public War and Private War. In fact the latter type is even of greater distinction as it is very easy to see if someone wears a uniform, fights under a flag, is accountable to a command structure and a Nation and follows the laws of war... or doesn't.

I utilize warfare as it is a fundamental liberty with strong positive and negative aspects that most clearly demonstrate how our Natural Liberties work when we apply reason to them. At the Nation level of the Law of Nations, it is also the final recourse when all other forms of reason between Nations fails. Thus a Nation exercising negative liberty of movement or ownership upon the people or goods of another Nation give rise to a casus belli, or cause for war. Yet we also see how getting into fights at a personal level, has exacting similarities and causes, although the offenses can be different. When one takes up to oppose an individual, however, it may be just a violation of civil laws and at one time dueling was a recognized way to have staged warfare in a single act to solve disputes at the lowest level of law. The ability of an individual to undermine not only civil law but international law by taking up arms is a direct expression of our Natural being within ourselves. It is one of the most primal rights we have as living beings in the Natural world and to try and shy away from it, to recoil from it as not existing is attempting to build a fantasy view of the real world that is not in accord with the actual world around you. And as I have described before, there is no good end to that, at all.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The self-evident and you

Originally presented here.

The following is a pure opinion piece.

You have been warned.

Yesterday was the last day for complaints.


Of all things that our Founders have given us, the greatest of their gifts is a recognition of the place of mankind in the order of things.  In the Declaration of Independence the basis for the reasoning is given the terms 'self-evident' because they are, upon any spare moment of reflection, just that.  A self-evident truth is one that is available to anyone who is dealing with a full mental deck, and even many of those who don't have that can recognize the very most basic of all self-evident truths.  This truth is available no matter what your belief status is in regards to religion and requires only that you have some humility in its recognition.  That state of having a lack of such humility is a derangement and hubris as it is very simple to recognize.

What is this truth?

We live in a natural world.

The howls of protest begin, no doubt, with the protestations of what mankind does with nature, how we pollute, destroy and all sorts of other bad things.  Yet the bulk of mass of life on this planet is not human life, nor even insect life, but bacterial life.  Earth is a planet of, by and for bacteria.  If any life form rules this planet it is bacterial life, and they don't give a good hot damn about you.  Consider that there are but a few thousand, at best and I know it is a much, much, much smaller number, of bacteria species that can infest your human body.  You actually require a large number of them to get things done inside your body and most of them are benign to you.  A good fraction of your biomass as an individual is bacterial in nature.  Thusly you are part and parcel of the natural world, you are part of nature, suffused with nature and must abide by the activity of nature and how nature runs everything.

If you are a believer of some sort, and I don't care which religion, then nature is recognized as the process that runs everything on a daily basis.  It is the mechanism for higher powers to not have to be involved in everything, all the time, everywhere and gets to run on its own.  If that higher power does, indeed, spend equal time about each sparrow that falls from the sky, then it most assuredly will also do so with each and every single bacteria as they are the bulk of what makes things run.  You do, indeed, get equal time in this view of things.  Recognize that the Planck second or two you get is about all that can be afforded to you and that the entire amount of bacteria in you will get more consideration than you as it lives and dies at a far faster rate than you do.  And there are 10^42, that is a 1 with 42 zeros after it, Planck seconds in every single second we experience.  Because of the mass of life on this world and, assuredly, elsewhere in this universe, any being giving you more than a couple of those is spending way too much time on you and not on taking care of business.  Thus nature and the laws of nature are set in place so that any higher power can spend some time doing more important things.

If you don't believe in the great power mover of deific process and take just the more prosaic view that we are, indeed, creatures of nature, then the self-evident is true, also: we don't matter all that much in the process.  Even better is that by stepping outside, taking up a couple of tablespoons of dirt and getting all the bacteria in that amount will yield more diversity of bacterial organisms than are housed within you, and possibly come up with one or two 'undiscovered' ones that you can then name.  The scary part isn't that you can do that.  The scary part is that this can be done by every single human on this planet, name billions of new species of bacteria and we would not even have begun to scratch the diversity of bacterial life on this planet.  They outnumber us in mass, diversity, and habitat with bacteria being found in places that we cannot live in: hot springs, oil wells, and all the way out to motes of dust at the edge of our atmosphere.  The single, inescapable conclusion is self-evident that we aren't all that powerful compared to bacteria.

Both of these general paths lead to one conclusion and it is exactly the same no matter which general way you go: the unimportance of man, no matter what 'plan' it is we are supposed to be on, is self-evident and we must gain humility in order to survive as when we lack same and attempt to command the world around us we will find it unresponsive to our desires.  Even worse is that like all good laws, the Laws of Nature are applied equally in all circumstances.  Even if you are a believer and the deific can intercede, those intercessions have been more in the 'hey, wise up!' category than the grand gestures that every civilization can feel business.  Even after such intercessions then nature takes over to run things, so no matter how great and grand the gesture, nature takes care of the daily business.  If you aren't dealing with nature, you aren't dealing with the actual, physical reality around you.

Believe me, we have quite a few of those running around the planet, those folks elevating man all out of proportion to our actual position in things.  Millions of them.

I abbreviate the entire prior coding of the Laws of Nature as they are properly stated as: The Laws of Nature and Nature's God.  I will leave the arguing about the nature of Nature's God, or lack of same, to others better suited to think such deep thoughts and not look both ways before crossing the street.  No matter the origin of all this stuff, he said waving his hands around generally in the direction of the natural universe which is everywhere around him and within him, I , as an individual, have to deal with the self-evident fact it is here and can impact me.  Forget this 'I think, therefore, I am' business... I got a lot of other problems beyond that to deal with, like the state of my sinuses waking up in the morning.  That is my part of dealing with bacterial world and it begins each and every time I get up and it takes up some of my non-thinking moments if I'm not damned careful about it.  You, too, probably have similar things going on with you as, unfortunately, bacteria do get to vote.  They set the agenda.  You must deal with that so as to carve out a niche so that you can actually do other things than deal with, or die from, bacteria.

How do I know that mankind will not destroy nature via nuclear war/pollution/'global warming'/politically backed slogan of the day?  My sinuses make it abundantly and perfectly clear to me that we do not rule this place.  But if I can keep my mucus clear, then I'm doing a good job dealing with the bacteria.

The bacteria can do this wonderful stuff to us because the Laws of Nature are impartial in their application.  We cannot repeal them nor require that the circumference and radius of a circle be moderated by a number that is exactly 3.  Thus we must take the Laws of Nature which is all of physics, astrophysics, chemistry, biology and then the fall-out sciences dealing with relativity, quantum mechanics, universal structure, biochemistry, differential survival, and geology as they are.  We still  have a lot to figure out and unlike one or two or more famous scientists, I don't see an end to what we can find out any time soon.  Folks back in the 19th century thought they did and in a decade got disabused of that quaint, Marxist, notion.  I'm pretty sure that on the Natural side we've overlooked something and much of what we consider 'great ideas' will demonstrate themselves to be transitional in nature.  That is the nature of inquiry in the natural sciences which deal with the Laws of Nature as they manifest themselves.  And so far we haven't found one, single, instantiated exception to those laws dealing with us as individuals, a species, a planet, a solar system or a galaxy.  Thus we can bask in the radiance of equality under the law, and deal with all the bacteria that have the same equality under the law as we have.  They get the great and good benefit of numbers.  I'm stuck with the minor things we can do to help me get a say in the issue, but I do not doubt, for one second, that my say is in any way absolute against such numbers.

Neither is yours.

You either come to terms with this conception, or you find yourself in a padded room at some point in your life.  Or get elected to some high political office, which seems to be the other repository for this way of non-thinking.

Thus the first part of dealing with the Laws of Nature and the fact that we are creatures of Nature and that we are neither the rulers nor controllers of this planet is: Humility.

If you aren't humble in the minor and quite frivolous aspect mankind plays in the Natural Universe then you get the bifurcated path of padded cell or politician ahead of you.  Of the two I hold those in padded cells in higher regard as they are having to deal with their skewed outlooks, not subject others to them.

But that is just me, feel free to ignore me, but do realize the bacteria cannot and generally will not ignore you.  That latter is important.

A point on viruses: they are not living things, but hijackers of bacteria.  They are very particular and nearly every single bacteria has a virus that utilizes it for reproduction.  Viruses of a very specialized sort can also invade your cells.  To such viruses you are a specialized colony of bacteria, not a human being.  That is how your cells function, how they live and die, and viruses get specialized to specialized bacteria and environments.  Thusly our bodies are specialized bacteria colonies that have their own environments to which viruses can adapt to or otherwise become amenable to finding.  After bacteria, I would guess that the next largest chunk of semi-living matter that can impact life on this planet is viruses.  You are outnumbered.  Deal with it.  It isn't changing any time soon.

Lets step up from this most humiliating of venues, shall we?  That is to say it is a venue that induces humility, and if you are humiliated by it then you are, actually, dealing with it properly.  You are learning your place in the Natural world and it isn't a pretty place.

I'm going to skip over all the other fun stuff like fungi, colonies of single organisms like coral reefs and algal mats, and get into the multi-cellular and differentiated cell world.  At all other levels we are outnumbered by their masses on this planet and their diversity, and you have some large amount of fungus living on you and inside of you, so don't get cocky.  They get a say in things, too.  I'm going to skip over the rulers of the multi-cellular world, which are plants.  Sucks but we are outnumbered there, too.  In the actual self-motile multi-cellular agenda things like jellyfish get a say, but insects and their crustacean cousins outnumber us by billions and billions... Carl Saganesque amounts... to one, against.  We can chop down forests, yes.  We do not rule the plant world.  Everything we make can be broken down by plants, if they had time to get to it which they do.  We will never win the war against dandelions.  And trees rip up sidewalks and roads at a phenomenal rate, given that they don't move around much.  You can miss the forest, once its gone, but the trees stand ready to reinvent a new one if you let them get away with it.  Old parts of the Amazon rainforest clear-cut for farming and cattle work in the 1950's to 1970's, that then lost its topsoil is now being re-covered, that is actually covered over again, by tropical rain forest after we have left it for barren land.  Nature is on the move and the Laws of Nature trump our laws at every turn.

That is a bitter pill for many to swallow who think that mere man created laws can impose our will on Nature.  Knowing that this is otherwise removes the solidity of our works and requires us to address what Nature does to our works.  This is the concept we call: maintenance.  We've been ignoring a lot of that for decades, and we shall pay for it.

Stepping past all of that to get to us (you, me, mankind in general), requires that we acknowledge that the things we get from Nature are bound upon us from Nature and that Nature imbues all things with such gifts as are bestowed upon us as being within Nature.  The equality of availability is absolute as all things within Nature are ruled by Natural Law.  The foundation of all our conceptions of everything we can do rests upon this self-evident truth: we are creatures of Nature.

Every creature of Nature has the exact, same set of Laws upon them.  Within Nature those Laws are absolute and give all things within Nature the power to act in accordance with Natural Law.  That power to act we call Liberty and the ability to exercise that Liberty manifests itself in Rights.  We cannot create one, single Liberty or Right that is not already within us as individual creatures of Nature.  We can, however, discover that we have such Liberty and Rights, which is one of the few things we have that most of the rest of Nature's creatures do not have.  They can, and do, exercise such Liberty and their Rights to use them, but that is not the same thing as self-recognizing that one has them.  Thus every bacteria has the exact, same, set of Liberties and Rights that I have.  It can't utilize more than a few of them and can't truly be said to be cognizant of them as a matter of course.  The concept is, however, humbling and fraught with humiliation.  That nice lady Grace helps me out so that I can remember to recognize that these are self-evident Liberties and Rights and that I have the ability to plan so as to use them.  Bacteria aren't so hot at that.

Notice where 'collective rights' come in?

That is correct: they don't.

They do not exist.

Let us take that most primal of all Rights, the one that manifests it so we refer to Nature as being 'in red of tooth and claw', and that is the Liberty of Warfare.  If you are on the Left you try to espouse this as a 'collective right' that it does not exist outside of the State or Nation.  Yet it is part of nature and we are imbued with it, thusly it cannot come from the State or Nation.  Further, any attempt to posit the thesis that the State or Nation is the sole arbiter of force is refusing to recognize the Law of Nature and that we are creatures of the Natural world in which we are the arbiters of force.  Now, to backtrack, we can examine the Law of Nature in regards to the Rights and Liberty of War.

War is a multi-part Liberty in that it has negative and positive aspects.  Thus there are Negative Liberties of War and Positive Liberties of War.  These Liberties are generally differentiated between that of Offensive War, that is externally directed war against others, and Defensive War, that is war in one's own defense.  The Negative Liberty of War is harmful to others and harmful when inflicted upon us.  The Positive Liberty of War is protective in nature and extent and gives the subsequent Right and Liberty of counter-attack so as to enjoin those intent on doing harm to oneself and dissuade them that this is a good idea in any way, shape or form.  From that the Negative Liberty of War can be characterized as the Thrust, the Positive Liberty of War is the Parry which carries with it the absolute Right of the Ripost.  In modern terminology this is the Offensive, the Blocking or Blunting, and the Counter-Attack or Counter-Offensive.

War, as an activity, is 'scale-free' in its dimensions for Liberties and Rights.  That is to say it is the exact, same set of Liberties and Rights at all scales from the individual to the cosmic and it scales freely without adjustment.

The Laws of War are a fallout not of the Positive and Negative Liberties and Rights of War, however.  The source of the Laws of War are not from War, at all, and are only a synthetic part of warfare added in on top of our supreme Liberty and Rights of War that we have as individuals.  The exercise of War by larger groups, at all scales, is moderated by the affinity of those groups to recognize the Primary bond between individuals which we characterize as: marriage.

Marriage is the joining of two lives to sustain life and create an environment in which we moderate our Natural Rights and Liberties so as to bring forth and nurture young, and to provide safe haven for others that we know and abide by our rules within our marriage.  The Law of Nations is built not at the highest level of interaction, but at the lowest level and this is, also, self-evident with even a moment of reflection.  Our first place of succor, that place which is open to us because of who we are and because we are cherished is the family.  That then places the basis for all society within the family and then how families and individuals within families interact between families.

This is a Universal Application of the Law of Nature and adapting to that Law and is seen in all humans from the most primitive of tribes to the greatest of Nation States, and is done without respect to geography or time.  When we create the family we create the basis for Nations.  Other animals likewise create families and, if they had the ability to apply reason to their state within Nature then they, too, could form Nations and would do so as this is a universal application of that knowledge so that we can be in accord with each other in the State of Nature.  Every single custom, taboo, right of passage, socialization with others, morals, ethics, and law to govern these things comes not from government but from the family.

When the Liberty and Rights of War are taken into a family they are moderated by the family so that all members of that family agree to restrict their Negative Liberty of War, that is offensive and external war, so as to provide for common exercise of their Positive Liberty of War for defense of those they love.  That is why stepping into the line of fire to save one's children is so primal an activity: it is the absolute manifestation of the Positive Liberty of War applied by the Law of Nations to protect those you care for in the most intimate of ways.  If your throat chokes up upon consideration of this, then you know it to be true and that it is not only an emotional feeling but one backed fully, and completely, by reason.  There is no stronger nor greater manifestation of what it means to be a member of a family than in sacrificing yourself by it so as to save them when they are threatened by ANYTHING.  In doing that you have taken up the Natural Law to the defense of others and have become one of the most powerful persons on the planet, bar none.

You may not be successful, but that is War.

War is not fair.

There is nothing that man can do to make it so as it is an artifact of the Laws of Nature, not the Law of Nations or the petty laws of man.  This is how the universe works and you, as an individual, must deal with it.  When you ask others to do so, you seek tyranny for yourself and your loved ones, and have abdicated your responsibility to them in the rightful and lawful exercise of your Positive Liberty of War.  If you fear this right, then you are a slave to your own misplaced fear and seek to enslave all around you with that fear.  Thusly any espousal of a 'collective right' is one to enslave your fellow citizens to a tyrannical concept and subject them to tyranny based on fear OF the free exercise of the Positive Liberty of War and the outcome to that is always, without exception at any time for any human culture, negative and despotic in nature.  When your fear over-rules your good sense, you are enslaved to your fears.

Patrick McGoohan summarized this in one acronym.

POP - Protect Other People.

You must do that, no one else can do that for you, and is the greatest and paramount responsibility you have to those you love and you cannot hand it to anyone else to do.  We form up hunting bands, militia, vast armies so as to get strength in numbers, but the absolute strength comes from your will and determination to Protect Other People.

And when you stick your head outside the door, see the world going to hell with imminent threat and come back inside to warn those you love there is but one phrase to describe that: POP goes the weasel.

Better to be a cunning weasel than a voracious rat, at any rate.

Thus we can acknowledge these self-evident truths:

- We are within the bounds of Nature.

- We are imbued with the Laws of Nature.

- All things within Nature are imbued with these Laws.

- Those Laws create Liberty and Rights for all parts of Nature.

- All creatures have access to all Liberty and Rights of Nature, without exception.

- We recognize that we have such Liberty and Rights as Nature provides to us.

- Natural Liberty and Rights can be seen to have Positive and Negative attributes.

- Marriage, that is the joining of one person to another, is the basis of the family.

- By creating family we create the Law of Nations.

- In the creation of the Law of Nations we agree to not individually exercise our Negative Liberty of War.

- By being part of a family under the Law of Nations we agree to exercise our Positive Liberty of War to defend those we love.


One follows from the other, as day follows night.

You do not need to be a believer in any religion to understand these self-evident truths about where you are in Nature.

You are outnumbered.  You are miniscule.  You are feeble.  So am I and all individual humans upon this planet even taken as a whole we don't amount to very much.

And it is self-evident that a number of people are not dealing with this very well.

No good shall come of that.