Chapter 1: Start with the Structure
Chapter 1, verse one: He has something to say, he has the right to say it and have others hear him. This is personal freedom.
Chapter 1, verse two: She has a choice, she makes her selection and she makes a difference. This is political freedom.
A structure that empowers our rights and our choices is what we need. Funnily enough, such a structure may well be far more difficult to introduce in so called Western democracies that in abrogated and chaotic countries or regions. Whether difficult or easy, the establishment of an empowering structure within which we can exercise our personal and political freedom is a prerequisite for everything else.
Personal freedom is limited only by the impact that it has on others and so falls under the jurisdiction of law and is dealt with in detail elsewhere. For the moment we wish to deal with political freedom and the structures of government that can enable and empower that freedom.
Let us take each section of chapter 1, verse two and expand on it so as to derive the principles that can be used to formulate a practical, working model.
“She has a choice…” Of course we all have a choice, a personal choice, but what is meant here is that we should be presented with the opportunity to express our choice and debate it with others. It is a matter of accepting and acknowledging that everyone else has a choice as well, for a political freedom is a universal freedom.
“She makes a selection…” Having been presented with a choice we must be able to express that choice in equilibrium with everyone else’s choice. To strengthen our freedom we must be able to choose privately and easily.
“She makes a difference…” Now we reach the crux of the matter: to make no difference is to starve the fire of air. Each person has a right to be in control of their environment, with concentric dilution from their central place in proportion with the others that share it. The structure of political systems and governments must mirror this if they are to deliver political freedom.
It is the weakness of the current Western democracies that they demonstrate choice and selection but deliver difference in lumpy portions that leaves many effectively disenfranchised. To negate one element is to deny the structure and the structure must be fully erect if it is to carry the flag of freedom.
We exist on [at least] seven political levels: personal, home, community, region, country, continent and world. Each of these levels must carry its own flag of freedom and at some levels, such as the personal, that means having no government at all. At each level we must have a choice, make a selection and make a difference and we expect to make the most difference, with the least compromise, at the personal level and the greatest contribution to others at the world level.
These political levels are layered on top of each other in the same way as Maslow’s pyramid of needs. If the base of the structure is not solid then the upper layers are less relevant to each of us. It is indicative of the failure of our current political and social systems that many citizens’ political concerns are limited to the bottom two layers: personal and home. A successful political structure must reflect everyone’s need to have significant control and the most freedom in their own backyard. Communism assumed that people would focus on the top of the pyramid, while political capitalism assumes that all we want is personal fulfillment and its lack of higher structures leaves us mired in our lowest common denominators.
We do not believe that formal political structure has a place in the personal or home life of people but we are acutely aware of the extent to which freedom at the personal and home levels is affected by the political structures at the levels above. Personal freedom is a natural truth and so recognizing that is also a prerequisite for long lasting political system.
It seems to us that the most crucial and yet elusive element of all political systems is the enabling of individuals to make a difference. The search for this quality compels us towards a proportionally representative system because the structure must reflect the reality of the diversity of our societies.
The energy of an individual is most pure at their center and most powerful at the periphery, where it merges with the energies of others. The political structure must attempt to mirror the energies of the people it empowers. Our definition of a political system is one which empowers people to make a difference.
Ideally, a political system would be so proportional as to represent every person concerned with every decision equally. The size of today’s societies makes this impractical but that does not blunt its relevance as a yardstick. It is the disenfranchisement of people that is at the core of modern political failure and so the enfranchisement of people must be a core of a successful political future.
In the same way that the economy is too intricate to be directed, the environments that people live in are too complex and too varied to be outside the control of the very people that live in them. Making a difference in the place where we live is at the center of all political problems from the West Bank to South Central Los Angeles. If you cannot make a difference in your environment it is not yours; if it’s not yours you will not value it; if you do not value it… who will?
So a political structure must balance the necessity of involving people with the need for action. People must make a difference and decisions must be made, indeed no one has made a difference until action is taken. (This need for action is commonly used to justify unrepresentative and dictatorial political systems and structures that are essentially manipulative, but that is completely unnecessary.) Performance is an attribute that everyone inherently wants in a political system so the structure must allow for decisions to be reached and actions executed.
Now, you might be asking yourself whether we need representation at all? We believe that we want and need representation because there are so many aspects of modern society, that to make a positive contribution requires dedication, understanding, knowledge and resources; in other words, it is a full-time occupation, even at a community level! Furthermore, at the higher levels increasing degrees of specialization are called for and this reinforces our collective need for representatives prepared to bring their skills and knowledge to bear on our behalf. We should point out that although we believe in representation we are not in favor of a system whereby representatives choose other representatives at higher levels. We are strongly committed to the direct involvement of everyone in the selection of our representatives at every level of government.
One of the most pressing needs is to reform politics at every level to rid it of the pernicious and insidious corruption that has pervaded it since the fall of Kings. There are, we believe, three simple standards that can be employed to effect this in large measure. First, ensure absolute and complete transparency of political party and campaign funding. Second, provide publically funded access to all media that you, the citizen, would consider “mass media” in equal measure to all candidates and at the same time ban all other political advertising on that same media. Third, ban all contributions not made by individual citizens in the constituency for that government (i.e. no contributions from citizens in another region for one region’s candidates’ campaigns and no corporate donations).
That establishes the principles which govern the construction of political systems. We delve deeper into the complexities of this in later chapters so that you can see exactly how to create a representative government that reflects your desires for a better world.
Next Principle: You, Me, Everybody
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