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Civics 101

Let's assume you're asked (hired) to help design a government for a new country. There's some 100 million living there in 50 or so separate states. The country is rich with fertile lands, streams, rivers, lakes, forests and natural resources.. They have had a kind of rule by a distant king in some far land who sends minions to govern but now, the people decided to rule themselves and have asked you to help them recommend the best way to do that.

So, what do you recommend? There are choices to be made. First, what exactly is government and why does anyone need one? What do governments actually do? Obviously, they govern. One rational for having government is that people can't rule themselves so government is needed to set up and enforce some laws and regulations so that the society runs smoothly. A better, more reasonable and acceptable reason is that a country needs collective representation organization and protection and, by overlaying a federal government to draw the individual states together, very acceptable, workable and affordable organization is possible.

In an ideal world, where the citizens are well-educated and intelligent, there would be, on one level, no need for government. People would simply govern themselves. While that's true enough there remain some functions wherein a collective organization (like a federal government) is useful. One thing the people have made clear is that seeing the chaos and insanity in America, they don't want anything similar at all.

The founding document that you are designing will be refereed to as the LAWS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE LAND and will determine the relationship between the people and their very much subservient government. So, you set forth for example, a government that can form an army to protect it's citizens. You offer a Government that can also set up a Department of State with foreign embassies to engage in diplomacy and international trade. And then, you propose a Government that can set up and manage a national post office which can certainly be useful.

The various forms of government one might recommend include socialist, communist and other authoritarian dictatorial models as well as republics and democracies wherein citizens are able to elect representatives and engage in referendums and plebiscites such that various measures are placed on ballots and voted upon.

These later formats allow the governed (the citizens) the greatest freedoms and are (or can be) the least onerous and burdensome kind of government. So, let's say, in the best interests of the people, you decide to recommend the lightest-handed (laissez faire) kind of government. So, given this, let's move on and see what this new government will, would, should and could look like.

It should favor and allow for not more than a two-party format with nothing in between. So, in a two party) system the population is divided, encouraged and or allowed to join one or the other. The divides, differences and choices between the parties might be between religious or secular. One group might basically favor following the Ten Commandments (golden rule) while the other puts its faith entirely in man's law. These differences would be the suggested initial formats for the two parties. Over time, many other differences would naturally develop to further differentiate the two and, under natural selection, any given society will gravitate to one or the other.

So, the recommend overall philosophy and format is one wherein the government is maintained as small and limited in function as possible. To do that, the functions of government are reduced to the minimum. So, an army, a post office, a state department and a treasury are it- nothing more! (Most certainly no insane Federal Reserve bank!)

To make these work a basic management structure is necessary. The people need a place where the two parties can meet to discuss and decide on the magnitude of taxes and funding for the basic functions of government. The location for the new government must be in the geographical middle of the country. The organization shall be called "congress" and the members referred to as "representatives." The governing structure (congress) will only reflect the representatives, a unicameral (single chamber) organization with no individual presiding. (no president, no vice president, no speaker, no FBI, no alphabet agencies, at all.

Armies do cost money, the post office costs money which, to some degree, the sale of stamps offset. The state department, like the military, has no offset, both are costly and deliver and produce little of immediate value. The military exists only to defend a country from external aggression. The size of the military depends on the degree of the external threat. The cost of the Dept. of State is purely dependent on the number of overseas countries wherein one might have good reason to establish an embassy. The treasury will print and manage the currency which will be backed 100% by gold. The country will never adopt fiat currency. Additionally, the treasury will collect the taxes and manage the budgets.

We would, to get started, recommend a small military and opening embassies in the fewest number of countries as logically possible. This allows the country to establish a functioning government at the lowest possible cost.

Rules are obviously needed before anything. A document stating the aims, goals, laws and limits of this new federal government need to be written down and agreed upon before any further steps can be taken. This founding document would be adopted as the law of the land and remain inviolable unchangeable and forever sacred. The contents would be posted far and wide for all to see, understand and learn.

You would most certainly recommend that the rights of the individual citizen be paramount and in all and every case prevail over the rights of the collective or the federal government. The foundational principals of the new government would be based on the private ownership of property such that no government, (state city, town or federal) shall have any control whatsoever over the disposition, use and rights of ownership of private property.

You would also recommend that all banks be licensed and governed by the treasury and any engaging in making loans for any purpose only be permitted to charge interest and principal equally in each payment such that in no case would any lending institution engage in interest only amortization. Today such is the common practice which has resulted in banks becoming outrageously wealthy loaning their depositors money while the citizens grow poorer. Also, no bank would be permitted to use depositor's funds to speculate in any stock exchange or indeed any other kind of venture aside from loaning money only to its customers (depositors).

The founding document (laws of the land) would also speak to the vetting of any who desire to be elected to any public office such that only true, loyal, patriotic, highly educated, intelligent, honest, decent, spiritual and Godley people may apply. A series of tests will be agreed upon and administered to any and all seeking public office. The spiritual aspect of the vetting is vital to the long term survivability of the new government. Only the dimwitted, one dimensional atheist assumes that we and this world exist only by chance and not by God's design. These kinds of limited, morally vacuous people must never be permitted proximity to the levers of power.

Also, to be included in the founding documents must be an article that clearly states that in no case, under no circumstances, can any elected representative vote himself an increase in pay or benefits. The compensation for those in public office must be set and adjusted from time to time only by national plebiscite and all elected positions will be term limited. Additionally, in no case, will any citizen or business be permitted to provide funds to anyone running for political office and in no case may anyone engage in any attempt to persuade any elected official to vote one way or another on any measure before congress. The pernicious and corrupt business of lobbying will never be permitted. In no case will any political campaign be permitted to be active for more than 30 days before any election. The government will arrange and pay for all candidates to have equal time on national TV. Big money will never play a role in any election.

Further, the founding document must state that voting is the right and privilege of all citizens and can only be exercised in person with proper identification and only on the single day designated and adopted by the people. There will be no early voting, no mail-in ballots and in no case, will machines be used to vote or count votes for any purpose. Those working at precinct level must be chosen equally between the two parties. Also, as an additional protection of the sanctity of the vote, it will be stated that cheating or fraud in any election will be considered treason and the punishment for treason is death. Notices of this will be posted in the voting areas and any caught in violation will be summarily dealt with by military (not civilian) tribunal.

The document will also stipulate that the only source of funding for any federal project can be a sales tax levied uniformly by each state. The representatives will decide what that tax shall be and, once determined by congress, the measure must be voted on by all 50 states. It is assumed that the percentage of sales tax will apply to all financial transactions and be the lowest possible required to fund the federal budget Of course from time to time world circumstances may require a larger military and in such cases, the sales tax may be increased but, only by a 90% agreement in congress.

Another article of the document will be that under no circumstances can the federal government become in any way involved in providing financial assistance of any kind to the citizens. There will never be the kind of absurd budget busting nonsense such as the "insane entitlements packages" foisted on the American people by a runaway liberal government trying desperately remain relevant by pandering (buying votes).

The ruling document will specify the people's right to own and carry weapons should they wish. No limits will be made as to the type of or numbers of weapons a citizen may possess. Any citizen will be free to express and publish his opinion on anything he may wish. No limitations shall be made on freedom of religion with the single exception of Islam which is excluded and may not be practiced in this country. Regarding military duty, all citizens, men and women, must serve two years either immediately after high school or not later than their 18th birthday. There are no exceptions. Any found to be incapable of performing to the required levels will be processed out.

Immigration: Any wishing to immigrate to or visit the country will apply at the embassy or on line for a visa. No one is permitted automatically to enter the country. The borders are considered sealed and the military shall protect them. Deadly force is authorized to keep illegal trespassers out. All citizens are offered a free passport on request which shall be issued on a lifetime basis.

The federal government shall make no laws of any kind as regards marriage, abortion or medical care. The citizens are free to marry what and whomever they wish, all such matters shall be entirely left to the individual states.

The federal government shall own no land in the country. All land not owned by private interests shall be managed by the states wherein it is located. The federal government shall have no interest in any parks and recreational areas. The federal government shall have no say in the drilling, exploration or refining or any other area as regards energy, oil gas, coal etc. Energy and the production thereof shall be governed by the businesses and states alone and based strictly on private financial interests and markets.

An additional article to be included is that federal government is never permitted to borrow and must remain strictly within its budget with no deficit and no debt. Also, once the initial meetings of the representatives are concluded and a budget and tax structure agreed upon, the budget will be presented to the states to ratify. A period of 30 days will be allowed wherein the states must vote via plebiscite to accept

Each of the fifty states will send a single delegate to meet and vote on the adoption of the LAWS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE LAND with the understanding than not one article can be changed or added in any way with less than a 90% delegate vote to make that change. Then, for the document to take effect that same 90% or 45 of the fifty states must also agree.

Once adopted, each state will select, by statewide vote, one individual to represent that state in the new federal congress. That individual may be a member of the conservative or the more liberal party. Thus, the new government will have only 50 individuals to work on the basic financial structure of the limited federal areas that they will have responsibility for. Each and every measure must be agreed to with the same 90% vote. The idea of this kind of organization is that it forces the representatives to cooperate in order to get anything done and, it also has the advantage of eliminating, to the greatest extent, partisan politics.

There will not be any kind of judicial branch as there will be few federal laws and or regulations. Any laws passed in the federal legislature must be by a 90% majority and none may in any way, contradict or abridge the articles of the LAWS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE LAND document. It is assumed that, with only three branches of government, few federal laws will ever be promulgated.

It will be left to the country to determine how best to regulate, license and manage the highways, aviation, shipping and any and all interstate and national affairs. After all, we can’t do all the work.

The above would form the basis of the suggested document you might provide to the country and it's then for them to add or delete as they see fit. Sufficient to say that any country so organized would be highly successful. Please leave your comments as to suggestions, omissions and or critiques.

Robert J. Firth

Making the world better one book at a time.

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