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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Let's Have Another Party

Let's have another party! The last two weren't that much fun. We ought to plan this one better and invite more people.

Or are our party days over? We're getting pretty old and need more time to think and sleep. Sometimes parties are the way to go and sometimes they're not. I know many folks that think parties are a waste of time--and money.

No, not birthday, holiday, or anniversary parties. I mean the political kind that most of our founders didn't want us to have. They thought that various self-interested groups (Hamilton called them "factions") would simply interact for the common good, choose their representatives, who would interact and persuade each other to do the right thing. But it didn't take long for the factions to organize into specific parties to contend for their interests. From Whigs and Tories came federalists and states-righters, federalists and democratic-republicans, unionists and confederates, republicans and democrats. The good angels to one were often evil devils to the other although there were times of getting along for a higher purpose.

Maybe it's time for another realignment. And I know the party that I would like to belong to.

I will call it the Progressive Republic Party and it is built on three ascending principles:

1. The libertarian principle with values of liberty and diversity. This principle espouses freedom from interference in regards to personal and private space, to culture, language, religion, personal morality. It espouses tolerance and non-discrimination with regards lifestyle, viewpoint, origin, race, orientation, and vocation. It asserts the right to personal property, speech, belief, choice of whom to love and with whom to live and affiliate, and for the disposition of one's own body and personal property. It is limited only by the harm rule--that actions under this principle are not harming another person and their abilities and their liberties. The role of law and government at all levels is simply to stay out of private/personal space, to protect the boundaries of that space, and to ensure that other persons are not being harmed.

2. The social democratic principle with the value of equality. This principle espouses access to, distribution of, and protection for the natural resources for life in regards the economy/ecology. It asserts the dignity of all human persons and their rights to life and all the resources necessary to survive and thrive in dignity as human beings. These include sufficient income, nourishment, shelter, health care, education, and mobility. The role of law and government at all level is to ensure these rights of life and to protect the resources of the earth for future generations.

3. The republican principle with its values of collective action or power and locality or subsidiarity. This principle espouses the freedom to associate with others, to translate individual troubles and interests into public issues, to organize publics or voluntary associations that pursue issues and so shape public space or commons through their discussion and action. This principle asserts that decision-making should start at the local or most basic level with the inclusion of all who want to participate. The role of law and government at all levels is to ensure the ability of all persons to create and participate in publics, to provide a mechanism for interaction and transaction among publics, and to carry out the collective decisions of the publics.

In general, the libertarian principle applies to culture including religion and other belief systems. The social democratic principle relates to economy/ecology. And the republican principle relates to politics. I call them ascending principles because I think that the social democratic principle is more important than the libertarian principle; that is, access, distribution, and protection of life's resources must come before "do as I please." And the republican principle is more important than the other two: the ability to act in concert with others (i.e. power) is the highest fulfillment of humanity and is the wherewithal for resource management and personal liberty. But each principle limits or conditions the other.  And the task is to maintain the balance or, better, integrity of the three principles.

I do not equate government with the public sector though it is the instrument of the public sector to ensure publics, the commons, and personal space.

I ground these principles in the ethic of integrity which I have developed earlier based on an analysis of human nature and existence as discovered by science--and especially evolutionary biology and neuroscience. But I will further explain that in a later entry.

The policy implications of these principles or the platform for the Progressive Republic Party I will outline in a succeeding blog.

But let the Party begin! I'll get the champaign.