The Problem at Hand
For centuries the Constitutional Representative Democracy has stood as the gold standard of governments. Generally speaking, such states have enjoyed greater freedom of the people, greater economic and social progress, and greater influence in world affairs by virtue of their governmental system and the freedom of action and economic circumstance that their people have enjoyed. However, in the modern age, major cracks have developed in this framework. Over time, it is inevitable that a class of people will arise in a democracy that are adept at acquiring power in the democratic system, who understand the methods of manipulating public opinion in their favor, and who, by virtue of their acquired power, wield the apparatus of the system to empower themselves and those they favor further. The rise of a leadership class poses great risks to the constitutionality of the system itself. The governmental system is only restrained by it's constitution as long as the leadership class respects the document, and if they cease to do so it is very difficult for the people to regain their rights through democratic means, as long as the leadership class continues to wield the reigns of power. But revolt in democratic systems, tends to empower people who are even less concerned with rights and freedom than the people who preceded them, and often only managed to cement in a new leadership class. Due to these weaknesses in the system, over the past several centuries several democracies have devolved into brutal, expansionistic personality cults, such as what occurred in Nazi Germany, or, more commonly, thoughtlessly cruel kleptocratic empires that are incapable of solving their own problems effectively, like most of the European and North American states. It is necessary, in this modern age, to reform our governments to handle three new, critical problems of our times. One is mass media, which allows for the widespread dissemination of lies and manipulations by those wealthy or powerful enough to control the direction of the media. The second is fanciful monetary constructions, that have the ability to be both nearly infinitely created by the press or by adding zeros to a balance sheet, and nearly infinitely laundered into other fanciful currencies. The third is the increasing quasi-governmental power of unelected corporations, which are increasingly using the first and second problems to cement their power and undermine the democratic process. All of these modern problems cement a class of people into power, and allow them to create economic power out of that political power, respectively. All of these modern problems lead to an abrogation of the rights as a group of people comes to be increasingly insulated from the political and economic problems experienced by the masses. And all of these problems simply cannot be solved by democratically elected representation, as the corporate class, elected class and the monied class, as much as they are truly separate, will inevitably converge upon the desire to retain both of these powers over the people, in order to maintain their own wealth, power and privilege. What is needed is a new method of selecting governmental representatives, that draws from what has worked best in the past, to built a better and more just future. But before we discuss the method thereof, let me step back and state clearly what a government should be expected, by the people, to do on their behalf. I will start with what has sadly come to be the most ignored responsibility of government; maintaining and promoting the rights of the people. Thus, I will start with a bill of rights.
The Bill of Rights
1. All people have a right to be free in your thoughts. You have a right to make up your mind, change you mind, and speak your mind publicly and privately.2. All people have a right to be free from defenselessness. 3. All people have a right to be free from the imposition of governmental or corporate persons stationed on your property, or in your living space.4. All people have a right to be free from snooping or theft by the government, or corporations5. All people have a right to due process, in courts that work fairly and without class, religious, or racial bias, by a jury of your peers.6. Jurors alone have a right to make a judgment on the guilt of the accused, and on the utility of the law they are accused under. 7. All people have a right to speedy trial, bail, and to be free of cruel or unusual punishment.8. Rights which are not explicitly taken, are implicitly given.9. Power not explicitly given to the government is retained by the people.10. (See Below)
You might notice that many of these rights are very familiar. Indeed, they are based upon the extraordinarily enlightened, and often ignored, United States Bill of Rights. Some, however, are slightly modified. I will go through my justification for these changes, in the context of the modern age, in turn.
1. Freedom of religion has been modified to a right to be free in one's thoughts. Many people are spiritual, but do no ascribe to any codified religion. These people should be free to think as they choose. Other people choose to be materialistic in their thinking. These people should also be free to think as they choose. People must also have the right to change or alter their mind, be it through the learning and contemplation of new information, meditation or spiritual guidance, or other means. Finally, people should have the right to speak their mind, either in private conversation, or in public by the production of media or through the mechanisms of assembly and protest. 2. Weaponry has become far more powerful in the modern age than it was when the constitutional democracy was being codified after the Enlightenment. In the past, the right to bear arms was sufficient to defend against anyone who would choose to take one's freedom by force, but this is only true on the smallest scale now. A group of people armed with guns is incapable of defending themselves against groups of people wielding modern weapons systems. As such, this modified right also includes the right of the people to have an army or police force made up of their peers, and accountable to the people in order to not be defenseless. Tight restraints must be put upon such groups, however, lest they acquire and retain political power themselves; these restraints will be explored later. 3 and 4. Since corporations are taking on quasi-governmental power, these rights must be modified to include corporations. The people should be free to live their lives without being imposed upon. 6. This one of only two rights which is not given to the whole of the people, but rather only to a subset of the people that have proven their worth. People should be free from the willful judgement of their fellow man, but at times peoples behavior must be restrained. Only groups of people, of sound mind, should have that power. The only qualification to be a juror should be that the candidate must be sane and capable of understanding the problem at hand. Another power, traditionally given to judges in English jurisprudence, but partially given the jurors in the American experiment, is the power of nullification. This power is given explicitly in this new bill of rights, because in this modern age judges have come to see themselves as of the government, and not of the people, and so have repeatedly ignored violations of rights in order to further their own power. If judges can no longer be trusted to wield this power to uphold the rights of the people, which is the first job of a governmental official, then it should be given to the people, and thus the precedent that undermines a law should stand upon the consistent judgement of the jurors rather than upon the judgement of judges. Judges are to be referees, who uphold the form and function of the trial, and nothing more.
However, it is not enough to simply outline what people have a right to do. It was assumed by the children of the Enlightenment that people would have a moral and ethical basis, and that the laws created by the appointed legislatures would be founded in this moral and ethical basis. But the very rights which they gave people, specifically the right to free thought, undermined this by ensuring that over time people would come to have a variety of opinions on what the correct moral and ethical basis to build off of is. The result is endless compromise, and the proliferation of laws that, by their sheer number and confusing variety, ensure that loopholes will open allowing people to cause harm to others without their behavior being restrained by the law and the governmental apparatus that enforces that body of law. Thus, it seems necessary to outline what people do not have a right to do, and to agree to this in a broad sense ahead of time, so that the new legislative body may structure the laws to specifically to address the needs of the people. Thus, I propose a Bill of Wrongs. Bill of Wrongs
1. You do not have the right to pass judgement upon another person for their behavior and deprive them of their life, liberty, or property. Only juries have this right, in the context of a functional court of law.2. You do not have the right to kill another person by malice or negligence.3. You do not have the right to take which is not explicitly yours.4. You do not have the right to force or deceptively manipulate other people to agree with you, by economic, monopolistic, or violent means. 5. You do not have the right to let your neighbor suffer or die for lack of knowledge, food, water, shelter or basic health and sanitation services.6. You do not have the right to despoil the environment without also restoring the environment.7. You do not have the right to be a defender of the people and a leader of the people simultaneously. 8. You do not have the right to be an interpreter of laws, and a creator of laws simultaneously.9. You do not have the right to create artificial constructs that have the full rights of people. Only biological persons shall be considers people. Artificial constructs can take on some of the rights of people, but only if they are also subject to the full penalty of the laws of the land.10. (See Below)
You might notice that these wrongs are largely based upon basic ethical principles that are shared by many cultures, religions and philosophies. But since the idea of a Bill of Wrongs, that is, a basic framework of law that the government is compelled to uphold, is new, so I will justify each of these in turn, in the context of the modern age.
1. This wrong is based upon the Christian and Confucian principles, judge not lest yet ye be judged, and do unto others as you would have done unto you. Indeed, in some form, these standards are cherished by many, if not most religious and ethical systems, even if they do not often abide by them. In essence, only group of people, chosen at random to ensure that no one group is overly represented, and tested to ensure their sanity and basic intelligence, should have this power. This group is the Jury, and their power should only be wielded through a defined and formalized court procedure, in order to prevent mob violence and uninformed, vigilante justice. 2. This should be an unquestionable wrong, but it is necessary to include it here due to the aforementioned loopholes created by the endlessly complex body of modern law, which does indeed allow people to get away with killing people by malice and/or negligence, as long as they do so within the context of a corporation or other empowered group of people. This must cease if we are to truly call ourselves civilized. 3. This, also, should be an unquestionable wrong, but the mass misappropriation of public monies and resources to those favored by the powerful in the many western democracies makes it clear that the government must be compelled to prevent, root out, and punish theft in all of it's forms. 4. It follows from the unalienable right of a person to be free in their thoughts, that people must be protected from being forced to follow any way of thinking by deprivation or violence. Otherwise, that freedom is a farce. But the inclusion of 'monopoly' in what is forbidden here requires some explanation. A great flaw of one man, one vote democracies is that there is no mechanism to ensure that the voter is not massively deceived. Mass media provides a means for the deception of people the likes of which the children of the Enlightenment could never have anticipated. Thus, there must be a basic restriction upon any person, or group of people, gaining monopolistic control over the mass media in a sovereign nation, in order to prevent the mass deception of the people. 5. Once again, this restriction upon the people seems to be common sense, but it truly is not. In every society in the modern age, regardless of the political or economic system under which it operated, people have suffered and died for lack of knowledge, food, water, shelter or basic health and sanitation services. This despite the fact that every ethical and philosophical system that I am familiar with, excepting perhaps Nihilism, requires and implores people to love their neighbors and ensure their health and safety. The modern state has expended great sums, with the avowed aim of protecting the people from violence, without adequately ensuring that they are protected from the more pressing and continuing problem of deadly want. This state of things is intolerable, and must be corrected. How this is to be done is up to the people, and their legislature. If they wish to create a governmental apparatus to ensure that people will not suffer for lack of basic things, then so be it. If they wish to accomplish this by personal acts of charity and the creation of groups dedicated to supporting and uplifting the people, then so be it. But it must be done. 6. We all need to share this Earth, and it's resources. Thus, it seems obvious, in light of the great destruction that our technology can create in our environment, that we should not have the right to despoil the environment, because this causes direct harm to other people, both those living and those yet to be born. However, it is necessary at times to despoil the environment in many small and great ways in order to ensure our continuing life and prosperity. Simply digging a ditch to protect your home from runoff despoils the environment in a small way. Building cities and places for people to gather, and engage in economic activity, despoils the environment in great ways. If our system is to be practical, then it must not rule out life itself, and so balance is called for. If you are forced to despoil the environment, then it is your explicit responsibility to restore it to a functioning state. If we dig a ditch, we should plant seed to prevent the soil from being eroded by the winds and waters. If we build a city, we should ensure that it has sufficient green space and waste management to protect the surrounding environment, and to provide for continuity with the it. This is our responsibility, as stewards of this world. 7. If you choose to defend the people, by being a part of the army or police forces, then you are doing your part to protect the society, and ensure it's continuing operation. This choice makes a person into a hero, and a servant of the people, and is to be admired as a great personal sacrifice. However, it is not necessary, or in light of our history perhaps even possible, for a person to be both a leader of the people, and the servant of it. Since the legislature and it's appointed representatives function to lead the people, they cannot share roles with the defenders of the people. Thus, people who have chosen of their own free will to be protectors of the people will be forever barred from becoming a part of the legislature. This is part of the sacrifice of being a hero and protector, because there is always a great temptation for such people to evolve into a villains and destroyers. We must always guard against the arrogation of power, in order to ensure that people's rights remain unalienable. 8. If you choose to devote your life to interpreting the laws that have been created by the people and their legislature, in the role of a regulator, lawyer or a judge, then you have chosen a noble path of intellectual achievement for the good of the people. However it is not necessary, or in light of our history perhaps even possible, for a person to both interpret the laws and create them without being tempted to manipulate the laws to their benefit. Many legislatures come to be dominated by lawyers even as, or perhaps because, the legal code has evolved into an incomprehensible monster. Since one of the primary objectives of this new system is to prevent the creation of the legal loopholes that have repeatedly allowed the people's rights to be violated, it is necessary to forever bar people who have chosen to interpret laws to create them as a member of the legislature, in order to prevent those who have chosen to interpret our laws from being tempted into becoming despotic rulers by the creation of them. We must always guard against the arrogation of power, in order to ensure that people's rights remain unalienable. 9. Our governments have been threatened, and in some cases superseded, by immortal, amoral artificial people with nearly unlimited resources. These people, also known as corporations, need to be restrained, but there is still some need for artificial constructs to have some of the rights of people, such as owning property and power of attorney. The solution is simple; these 'people' must be subject to the same laws as natural persons. If a corporation kills someone, then they should be subject to the death penalty just as we are, in the form of said corporation being disbanded and barred from doing further business in it's current form.
However, one essential part is necessary in order for a government of laws to function; it requires people who can lead the people to solve the problems that are before them, and craft laws to regulate the function of the government in the upholding or rights and correction of wrongs, the administration of the government's problem solving functions, and to regulate the behavior of the economic, defensive and legal functions of society. The government thus needs to have a legislature, but mere existence of a legislature does not ensure that these essential functions will be fulfilled. Democratic election of legislators has proven to be a system prone to manipulation, deception, and abuse. Which leads us to the critical tenth amendment of our new Bill of Rights, which is both longer than the others, and has a greater need of explanation. Indeed, the very name of this new governmental system is a reflection of this basic right. Thus, it has been separated from the others, and will be explored here.
The Tenth Right, and the Tenth Wrong
10. All people have the right to be represented in the body that creates the laws, and regulates the functioning of the government. However, democratic election of legislators ensures that, over time, the legislature will become highly unrepresentative. Thus, selection of the legislature will be chosen in the manner of a jury, from the entirety of the sane and rational population older than the age of thirty, excepting those people who are specifically barred from the role by their choice of profession. Thus, selection to be a part of the legislature will be a two part process; first, one must be selected by a lottery, and then one must pass a basic test that ensures that those selected are capable of rational, free thought. Any person who is so selected will be granted the powers and responsibilities of a Legislator, for a maximum term of twenty years. Every two years, all of the people older than 18 will hold a vote of confidence. If a legislator looses any one vote of confidence, that person is to be stripped of their powers and sent home. If they pass, then they can continue to wield their powers, and be responsible for the duties, of a legislator. If a legislator looses a vote of confidence, then their name is re-entered into the lottery, but they may not spend any more time as a legislator than a total term of twenty years, regardless of how this time is divided.
The idea of appointing a legislature by lottery many seem to be a bizarre and new idea. But it is in fact as old as democracy itself. One of the first democracies, the government of Athens, had a legislature chosen from amongst the male populace by lottery. Rather than being unstable or unworkable, as one might think, this method of choosing legislators proved to be very stable, until the group from which the legislature was chosen from was narrowed repeatedly until a de-facto ruling elite was created. At that point, the society weakened, and eventually was destroyed by external forces. It is necessary that we ensure that our legislature is as representative as possible in order for it's actions to have the confidence of the people, and thus it is necessary that any person, regardless of sex, belief, or race, have an equal chance of becoming a legislator. It is also necessary that our legislature be made up of sane people. The very act of randomly choosing the legislature ensures that most of the people therein will be sane, unlike the act of electing legislators, which will eventually select for people who are mad for power. However, it does not ensure that the people selected will be capable of understanding and upholding their responsibilities as a legislator. Thus, a simple test must also be administered to ensure that every legislator is capable of wielding their power, and making independent and responsible decisions. Merely ensuring that those people selected are capable of enumerating and understanding the responsibilities and powers that they will be granted should be sufficient for this purpose. The only restrictions upon membership in the legislature will be if a person has chosen to be a protector of the people, or a interpreter of laws, and by age. The former restrictions have been explained, but selecting legislators from the pool of people 30 or older ensures that the legislature will be made up of people who have fully developed brains, as it is a fact that people are not truly mentally adult until they have passed through adolescence and young adulthood. Additionally, most deep mental problems arise in the 20's, and selecting a legislator who then proceeds to go insane would be a terrible burden upon society. All of this leads to the tenth wrong:
10. You do not have a right to manipulate the makeup the legislature in order to influence the law, the function of the government, or to exclude any group of people based upon their thoughts, sex, or race. Doing so is to be considered the highest form of treason, and punished by death.
In order for a lotocratic government to function, the confidence of the people must be maintained. And in order for that confidence to be won and deserved, the process by which the legislators is chosen must be transparent and, most importantly, blind. Any one who tries to manipulate this process to any specific end is undermining the system by which the rights and safety of the people is maintained, and thus they must be punished in the most harsh manner that is possible.
The legislature, as a group, is granted great powers, but also must take on a great responsibility. The rights and responsibilities they might be expected to uphold are many, but it is probably wise that a basic group of them be outlined here.
The Powers and Responsibilities of a Legislator
Powers of the Legislator
1. The legislature has the power to convene groups and compel citizens to appear before them, in order to hear their testimony and thus better understand how the state is functioning. People who are brought before the legislature to testify shall do so truthfully, under penalty of perjury, without exceptions. 2. The legislator has the power to arrest and detain people who are part of the apparatus of government, and only people who are part of the apparatus of government. To this end, they shall have the individual power to direct the police forces to arrest violators of rights and laws within the government, at which point they will be subject to normal judicial procedures.3. The legislators have the power to appoint speakers to regulate the function of the legislature, and a chief executive to direct the activities of the executive functions of government on a day to day basis. The legislator selected to be the chief executive shall hold this position for no more than 8 years, and is subject to a vote of no confidence by the legislature at any time.4. The legislator has the power to introduce laws, modify laws, and vote upon laws. They also have the power to regulate their own activity as a legislature, including parliamentary procedure.5. Proposed laws, or proposed modifications to laws, will become the law of the land when a majority of the legislature votes in favor of their enactment.6. The legislature has the power to levy taxes to support the functioning of government, so long as taxation is structured so as to not violate the rights of the people.
Responsibilities of the Legislator
1. The legislator's first and primary duty is to uphold the rights of the people, and ensure that the government is functioning only to fulfill their needs and to ensure that they are not left defenseless. 2. The legislator's has a duty to act according to his own better judgement, and not in pursuit of worldly gain.3. The legislator has a duty to ensure that the apparatus of government is free of criminal activity, and is functioning for the good of the people at large, and not for the good of vested interests. 4. The legislator has a duty to devote themselves entirely to being a legislator. Thus, they must make a break with their previous profession, and place their savings into a blind trust, so as to not be improperly influenced in the pursuit of worldly gain.5. The legislature, as a body, must ensure that individual legislators are fulfilling their duties, and wielding their powers, in such a way as to uphold the rights fulfill the needs of the people. Thus, any legislator can be subject to a vote of no confidence by the legislature itself at any time. If 3/4 of the legislature votes to disempower a legislator, then that legislator will be sent home and a new legislator shall be selected immediately. 6. The legislature has the responsibility to ensure that people who are selected to be a play a role in the executive, judicial or defensive functions of government are properly tested to ensure their sanity and aptitude, and trained so as to ensure the competent and prompt fulfillment of their duties. They also have the responsibility to ensure that all people who are a part of the apparatus of government are properly and fairly compensated for their work.
Most of these powers are typical of legislatures around the world, and need no real explanation. However, a few of them call for further exploration, the first and second powers of the legislature in particular. Avoidance of abuse of power is a difficult problem in most governments. Expecting the police to police the police, or the army to police the army, for instance, is often futile due to the problem of vested interest. So, the legislators have been granted the unlimited power to investigate and prosecute people who are part of the government specifically for the violation of human rights, and for act of committing wrongs. They are to have no power to arrest or detain the populace themselves, that is the function of the judicial system, but only those people who are part of the apparatus of government. Thus, the randomly appointed legislature acts as a check against vested interests in the government destroying the rights of the people. This also further explains why people who are part of the executive, defensive or judicial structures cannot become legislators; we cannot expect people to be able to fairly and impartially investigate and prosecute their former friends and colleagues. One responsibility I want to make more clear is the sixth one. In essence, I am saying that the legislature has the responsibility to ensure that people working as a part of the government are both qualified for the job, and well trained for it. As such, they will have to work out tests to ensure their aptitude, and training to ensure their competence, by their own judgement and by the advice of qualified people that they can compel to appear before the body and share their wisdom. The ancient, and to some extent, modern Chinese have shown that testing people who are to be part of the government is highly effective method for ensuring that the government functions smoothly, and this is a system worth emulating.
I do not claim that this is a complete blueprint for a truly just future government. I cannot even say with any certainty that this will work, but elements of the lotocratic system I am proposing have worked very well in the past, in many places throughout the world. Indeed, virtually nothing I am proposing here has not been tested, in some way, in the past. I feel that this document can serve as a basis for debate, so that we can perhaps build a truly new way of doing things, so that the rights of the people and their fair representation are ensured without fail. The systems of governance that the Enlightenment gave us served us well over the past few centuries, but the limits of our forefathers imaginations and foresight have slowly opened cracks in the very foundations of our societies. In this time of change, it is necessary that the people understand that they have the right and the responsibility to form their governments in a way that ensures that the massive problems we face are properly addressed, and that the rights of the people are not violated.
To the people of world, who crave representation and freedom from want, I give you this. Do with it what you will.
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