The Elitism of Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton theorized how wealthy elites would be chosen. In Federalist 30-36, he discussed the general power of taxation, and took up the question of who would likely be elected to represent the people. He introduced the discussion by saying that a common objection to the Constitution was that the different classes of the people would not be adequately represented, and therefore there would not be a “due sympathy between the representative body and its constituents.” Hamilton dropped the hammer on this objection. He wanted to make sure that this idea was forever vanquished. In Federalist 35 He said:

This argument presents itself under a very specious and seducing form; and is well calculated to lay hold of the prejudices of those to whom it is addressed. But when we come to dissect it with attention, it will appear to be made up of nothing but fair-sounding words. The object it seems to aim at is, in the first place, impracticable, and in the sense in which it is contended for, is unnecessary.

He then proceeded to “dissect” the argument, but I ask that you keep in mind that those who objected to the system of representation were right to do so. Opinion poll after opinion poll shows it. Present-day Americans have a very low opinion of the members of Congress. Our representatives do not represent us. Here, paragraph by paragraph, is Hamilton’s dissection:

The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people, by persons of each class, is altogether visionary. Unless it were expressly provided in the Constitution, that each different occupation should send one or more members, the thing would never take place in practice. Mechanics and manufacturers will always be inclined, with few exceptions, to give their votes to merchants, in preference to persons of their own professions or trades. Those discerning citizens are well aware that the mechanic and manufacturing arts furnish the materials of mercantile enterprise and industry. Many of them, indeed, are immediately connected with the operations of commerce. They know that the merchant is their natural patron and friend; and they are aware, that however great the confidence they may justly feel in their own good sense, their interests can be more effectually promoted by the merchant than by themselves. They are sensible that their habits in life have not been such as to give them those acquired endowments, without which, in a deliberative assembly, the greatest natural abilities are for the most part useless; and that the influence and weight, and superior acquirements of the merchants render them more equal to a contest with any spirit which might happen to infuse itself into the public councils, unfriendly to the manufacturing and trading interests. These considerations, and many others that might be mentioned prove, and experience confirms it, that artisans and manufacturers will commonly be disposed to bestow their votes upon merchants and those whom they recommend. We must therefore consider merchants as the natural representatives of all these classes of the community.

In this first paragraph we see Hamilton’s low regard for the lower classes. It is amazing to me that he first disparaged the intellect and abilities of mechanics and then patronizingly said that they were at least smart enough to know that the “merchant is their natural patron and friend.” And if that were not insult enough he added that these lower class Americans, recognizing their own inadequacies in the deliberative affairs of men, would be inclined to “bestow their votes upon merchants and those whom they recommend.” I know that such a situation would not have force today, and I doubt it did then. He then closed this part of his dissection with this flat statement: “We must therefore consider merchants as the natural representatives of all these classes of the community.” And that, to Hamilton, was that—businessmen should hold power. Next he said:

With regard to the learned professions, little need be observed; they truly form no distinct interest in society, and according to their situation and talents, will be indiscriminately the objects of the confidence and choice of each other, and of other parts of the community.

In this second paragraph he dismissed the learned professions as if they were less useful than a hill of beans. But he admitted that here and there, and from time to time, some of them might win a seat in the House.

Nothing remains but the landed interest; and this, in a political view, and particularly in relation to taxes, I take to be perfectly united, from the wealthiest landlord down to the poorest tenant. No tax can be laid on land which will not affect the proprietor of millions of acres as well as the proprietor of a single acre. Every landholder will therefore have a common interest to keep the taxes on land as low as possible; and common interest may always be reckoned upon as the surest bond of sympathy. But if we even could suppose a distinction of interest between the opulent landholder and the middling farmer, what reason is there to conclude, that the first would stand a better chance of being deputed to the national legislature than the last? If we take fact as our guide, and look into our own senate and assembly, we shall find that moderate proprietors of land prevail in both; nor is this less the case in the senate, which consists of a smaller number, than in the assembly, which is composed of a greater number. Where the qualifications of the electors are the same, whether they have to choose a small or a large number, their votes will fall upon those in whom they have most confidence; whether these happen to be men of large fortunes, or of moderate property, or of no property at all.

In this third paragraph he finally conceded that people of property (the Framers, for example) could be admitted to the halls of Congress based on their ability to gain the confidence of the voters. This concession was not granted to the more numerous lower classes.

It is said to be necessary, that all classes of citizens should have some of their own number in the representative body, in order that their feelings and interests may be the better understood and attended to. But we have seen that this will never happen under any arrangement that leaves the votes of the people free. Where this is the case, the representative body, with too few exceptions to have any influence on the spirit of the government, will be composed of landholders, merchants, and men of the learned professions. But where is the danger that the interests and feelings of the different classes of citizens will not be understood or attended to by these three descriptions of men? Will not the landholder know and feel whatever will promote or insure the interest of landed property? And will he not, from his own interest in that species of property, be sufficiently prone to resist every attempt to prejudice or encumber it? Will not the merchant understand and be disposed to cultivate, as far as may be proper, the interests of the mechanic and manufacturing arts, to which his commerce is so nearly allied? Will not the man of the learned profession, who will feel a neutrality to the rivalships between the different branches of industry, be likely to prove an impartial arbiter between them, ready to promote either, so far as it shall appear to him conducive to the general interests of the society?

In this fourth paragraph he declared that the representative body “will be composed of landholders, merchants, and men of the learned professions.” And he declared that these men will look out for themselves and for the interests of the mechanic and the manufacturer and for society in general. I suppose that this has happened sometime in our history, but it has not been the rule. Normally, the men we send to Congress tend to pursue their own interests, and most of them are professional politicians—a class that Hamilton did not mention in his dissection.

If we take into the account the momentary humors or dispositions which may happen to prevail in particular parts of the society, and to which a wise administration will never be inattentive, is the man whose situation leads to extensive inquiry and information less likely to be a competent judge of their nature, extent, and foundation than one whose observation does not travel beyond the circle of his neighbors and acquaintances? Is it not natural that a man who is a candidate for the favor of the people, and who is dependent on the suffrages of his fellow-citizens for the continuance of his public honors, should take care to inform himself of their dispositions and inclinations, and should be willing to allow them their proper degree of influence upon his conduct? This dependence, and the necessity of being bound himself, and his posterity, by the laws to which he gives his assent, are the true, and they are the strong chords of sympathy between the representative and the constituent.

In this fifth paragraph, he naively claimed that the men who are elected to office will do the right thing, but of course in the preceding paragraphs he had already ruled out the mass of the people from ever having the opportunity to serve because they were not capable of knowing what the right thing is.

But those who have been elected to office have not done the right thing. Factions are in power everywhere. The constitutional system provides no mechanism for choosing representatives who will work for the common good. Some will, some won’t, and based on a review of our history, elections have not, and will not, provide the answer. So the Framers stripped the people of their power, and relied on a defective method for choosing their representatives. Not a very good start—and certainly not a democratic start.

Hamilton and Madison were not alone in their elitism. According to many sources, one of the favorite sayings of John Jay, the third co-author of the Federalist essays and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was: “Those who own the country ought to govern it.”

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Two Forms of Capitalism

Democrato-capitalism works for the common good. Tyranno-capitalism works against it.

According to tyranno-capitalist theory, the people should interact with our system of economics in such a way that the invisible hand will, in real time, combine the dynamic sums and vectors of all the choices that the people have made and then, also in real time, produce the goods and services that are consistent with those choices. So, according to tyranno-capitalist theory, if the economy is not what the people want then they, the people, must have made the wrong economic decisions. They must have done a bad job of interacting with our system of economics. Even though they knew what they wanted, and even though they made choices that they were told would produce the economic life they wanted, they didn’t get it. So it must be their fault, because tyranno-capitalism, if the people made the right choices, would give them what they want. If they don’t survive or thrive, then that is life. Survival of the fittest don’t you know. Evolution by natural selection is always on the job.

But I know the people, lots and lots of them, and I am even related to some. The great majority of them are smart, honest, hard-working, and trusting. They even believe their leaders who tell them that tyranno-capitalism is the answer, just as they believed their leaders who told them that we live in a democracy—and they continue to believe their leaders as each new generation comes of age. Tyranno-capitalists and government officials tell them that if they get an education (even if they have to borrow to pay for it), and if they work smart and hard, and if they buy a home and a car and a refrigerator, and clothes, and if they buy the latest phone as soon as it comes out, and if they buy all the rest that they see advertised on television, and if they watch televised sports on the latest television sets while eating the right salty treats and while drinking the right low-calorie beer, then they will get what they want. So, it couldn’t be the people. They have made the right choices—they have impoverished themselves doing the things that tyranno-capitalists and the government tell them to do. There must be something else that is wrong.

If we look at the record, we can see that tyranno-capitalism, and its miracle-working figment of the invisible hand, produced slavery, centuries of discrimination against non-males, non-whites, non-Christians, non-heterosexuals and the lower classes, voter suppression, hatred of unions and foreigners, waste of national resources, huge financial disparities in our population, damage to the environment on an immense scale, global warming, several recessions including the recent Great Recession, the collapse of the Wall Street banks, the death and destruction caused by the murderous, tyranno-capitalist greed of British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the collapse of the savings and loan industry a few years ago, a few wars, the Great Depression that my parents and grandparents lived through—and much, much more. And none of those things was done in service of the common good.

The people haven’t been making the wrong choices—that is not the problem. The problem is that the people, because of our Madisonian republic with its three corrupt branches of government, have not been allowed to make the important choices. For example, if the people were allowed to make the important decisions then all of the failures listed above would have never taken place. We, the people, would have chosen to have a clean environment, we would have chosen to keep jobs in the United States rather than send them to China, we would have chosen to pay our workers a fair wage that keeps pace with corporate profits and productivity increases, we would have chosen to educate and nourish our children, we would have chosen to maintain our infrastructure, and all the rest. But under tyranno-capitalism the people are not allowed to make the decisions that are important to the economic welfare of our nation. They have no power to make any choices other than to buy their pills at this drugstore or that one, or to buy their nuts and bolts at Home Depot or Lowe’s, or to buy their clothing at Wal-Mart or at the little shop on the square. The people have no power to bargain with their employers for decent wages and benefits. So, the invisible hand never worked for the people, it worked only for the tyranno-capitalists. The people never got a chance to make choices that would make a difference. We can see clearly now, the invisible hand is really many hands, and they are not invisible. Tyranno-capitalism is controlled by, is in the heavy, oppressive hands of, tyranno-capitalists. In many respects, our Madisonian republic has been replaced by tyranno-capitalism.

How do I know that the people have not been allowed to make the important choices? I know because the Framers freely admitted it—they were proud of it. The authors of the Federalist essays repeatedly, and unfairly, disparaged the Greek democracies. In Federalist 10 James Madison told us that in his theoretic, “pure” democracy representatives were not used. Instead, he claimed, all the citizens made all the decisions themselves which would lead to destruction of the government by factions. Therefore, according to Madison, our nation had no choice but to implement his Madisonian republic, the one with the theoretic “scheme of representation.” A few representatives, Madison said, were better than many or no representatives—a few representatives were better than letting the people make important choices. But during the debates about whether to ratify the Constitution someone challenged Madison’s sales pitch. This challenger rightly pointed out that in the ancient democracies representatives were used. So, if those ancient democracies were vulnerable to factions, as Madison claimed, and if those democracies used representatives, wouldn’t Madison’s representative republic be vulnerable to factions as well? This was a challenge that had to be answered, so Madison responded. In Federalist 63 he made it clear that even though the ancient democracies and the Madisonian republic both relied on representatives, there was one critical difference. Here is what Madison wrote:

From these facts, to which many others might be added, it is clear that the principle of representation was neither unknown to the ancients nor wholly overlooked in their political constitutions. The true distinction between these and the American governments lies in the total exclusion of the people in their collective capacity, from any share in the latter, and not in the total exclusion of the representatives of the people from the administration of the former. The distinction, however, thus qualified, must be admitted to leave a most advantageous superiority in favor of the United States.

The Federalist essays were written in haste, and therefore some of the arguments they presented do not make sense. The paragraph just quoted at first seems to be a good example of that point, but it is not. I think that Madison said what he meant to say, but he did not want his readers to fully understand the consequences of what he said, so he brilliantly constructed it to make his readers shrug their shoulders and move on. The author of this confusing language actually was saying this:

Yes, representatives were used in the ancient democracies, and they are used in our American state governments, and they will be used in our new republic. But the use of representatives did not cause the ancient democracies to fail, the use of representatives has not caused our American state governments to fail, and it will not cause our new republic to fail. The failure of the ancient democracies was caused by the people having too much transformative power. The people of the ancient democracies could decide among themselves what they wanted their democracy to do and then order their representatives to do it. In effect, the citizens of these ancient democracies retained and exercised all transformative power, and their representatives were delegated administrative power only. In effect, the people ruled. This resulted in all of the failures cataloged in Federalist 10. But we do not have to worry about this in our new republic.

Under our new Constitution, the American people cannot decide for themselves what they want the government to do and then order the government to do it. The people can only delegate their transformative power to a small group of elected representatives.  The American people can only decide which representatives they want to give their transformative power, and in turn, these few representatives will meet in person to decide what they want the government to do—only they will have—only they will exercise—the transformative power of the people. Under the new Constitution, the people will never be permitted to act in their collective capacity. In this way the governing elites will hold all transformative power and thereby be assured that they can keep the factious masses under control. America will be safe in the hands of the elites.

So, in Federalist 63 Madison wanted to show that there was an important difference between the proposed new government and the ancient ones. And that difference was to exclude the people from acting in any way except through their chosen representatives. This “true distinction,” as he called it, emphatically confirms that the new constitutional system, with its scheme of representation, was intended to mute the voice of the people and steal from them their transformative power. And because our national government, by design, is controlled by the wealthy classes, then the transformative power of the people is given over to the invisible, but heavy, hand of tyranno-capitalism which makes all the important economic decisions. And this is the element of tyranno-capitalism that causes it to fail. Just as it is designed to do, it works for the good of a few individuals but not for the masses. In other words, our system of government is deliberately designed to keep the people from using their transformative power to decide whether jobs should be kept in America or sent overseas. Our system of government is deliberately designed to keep the people from using their transformative power to decide whether we should maintain our infrastructure or let it crumble, or to decide whether we should give our children good breakfasts and good educations or let them enter adulthood unprepared to fit into society—you get the idea.

We cannot change our system of economics without first changing our system of government.

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Wall Street, Main Street, Peptic Ulcers

Friday Sep 14, 2012

The Fed has announced a new phase of Quantitative Easing which it hopes will drop unemployment to 7% years from now. Main Street is still suffering. Wall Street, on the other hand has recovered. Big profits, big bonuses.

I am part of Main Street. I own a retail business located on a historic square in a small town in Texas. We have a lake and other attractions. We are near cities that are well over a million in total population. We have nice scenery, two running rivers, one with clear water and a rocky bottom. We have some of the best golf courses in Texas and lots of nice places to stay, including some romantic bed and breakfast places on the lake and the rivers. Our city even built a very nice sandy beach on the lake a year or two ago and it attracts lots of families. We have a nice, new convention center. We have been a mecca for tourists for decades.

My store has long been successful. But my sales are now only 33% of what they were when the Bush crash started. We still get lots of traffic, we still have the same events on the square that attract just as many people as always, I have good merchandise, well-priced, in a desirable location, but if I did not have enough personal capital to keep the thing going then I would have closed a year ago. But I have loyal employees who would probably not be able to find jobs if I closed. So, I keep it going. But I have told them all that I will reevaluate everything at the end of next May.

On my side of the square, every retail business but mine and one other, a sandwich shop, has changed hands. Buildings have been sold because mortgage payments could not be met. The same is true of the other sides of the square. People have tried for years to hold on, but most of them are gone. The replacement businesses on my side of the square are already in trouble. They get lots of traffic, but few sales.

In my neighborhood my neighbor on one side works for UPS and has done so for years. But his financial outlook is depressed. UPS has suffered and so has he. He is discouraged.

My neighbor across the road works for one of the largest power plants in Texas and they have now dropped the pension plan for employees, plus many plans for enlarging the facility have been dropped because of the cost of capital.

I am lucky. But even then, I may outlive my money if I have to close. So, I am part of Main Street, and I want things to change. The Fed has not helped, or if it has, it has not helped enough. The system is broken. The dominant economic theories are failures. The system needs to be changed, but I don’t see anyone anywhere who is doing anything about it. Reelecting the same old candidates to run the same failed system is not change.

But ideas for change are buried under comments that support the status quo. I don’t understand it. It reminds me of the history of the cure for peptic ulcers.

In 1958, a Greek physician began treating patients with peptic ulcers by giving them antibiotics. It worked, but the authorities of that day ignored the cure. After all, he was Greek, and the causes and treatments of peptic ulcers were already known.

Time passed as millions of people suffered unnecessarily.

In 1982, two Australian scientists asserted that the ulcers had a bacterial cause. Their paper on the subject was largely ignored. In order to make a point, one of them actually drank a culture from the stomach of a patient who had symptoms of the ulcer. This scientist developed the symptoms himself five days later. This experiment was published in 1984.

Time passed as millions of people suffered unnecessarily.

Finally, in 1997, the American medical establishment launched a program to educate medical practitioners and things began to change. Suffering of millions of people was ultimately eased.

In 2005 the two scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. All’s well that ends well.

So many blogs about our economic problems follow the same path. So many authorities are so sure of themselves, while people suffer unnecessarily. Some day someone will propose changes to the system, perhaps those proposals have already been made, and the suffering will end. Who knows? But what we do know is that most, nearly all, of those who are currently economic experts will not come up with the ideas, and they will bitterly oppose the ideas when they do emerge.

But, for someone, a Nobel Prize awaits.

Until then, millions of people will suffer unnecessarily.

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A Mathematical Way to Describe Different Forms of Government

We know that there is a field of study that is called “political science.” But we also know that it is not really a science. The field of economics is not a science either, but because everything it involves can be expressed as a number, it can cloak itself in complex mathematical formulas and models that can predict every important economic event in history except the next one. The stock market is thought by many to be governed by predictive processes, which, once discovered, can lead to great fortunes. And, this one happens to be partially true. The fact is that in the long run the winners on Wall Street fall into two categories: those who are lucky and those who have an unfair advantage over everyone else—the rest of us are net losers. “This is a moral that runs at large. Take it. You’re welcome. No extra charge.” But this fact does not stop all kinds of theorists who claim that they have found some market data formula that will lead to riches. In fact, these theorists are so sure of their formulas that they will sell them to you for 4% of the money you invest, but not 4% of the money you make.

Political scientists should get into the formula game as well. It appears to be much more profitable than writing books about parties, policies, elections, and the various forms of government. In fact, we can start the process right now. If we attempt to make a general formula that describes the various forms of government we might try this:

Government of a group of humans, by a group of humans, and for a group of humans.

That’s not very mathematical. Let’s try this:

Government of x, by y, and for z

And we might get fancy and say that governments can be expressed as a three-variable function: G(x,y,z) where G is the function that operates on the three variables to predict, or determine, the form of government.

Now we are getting somewhere. It sounds, and looks, more mathematical doesn’t it? But we need to define, or describe, the three variables. So, x=who is being governed, y=who is doing the governing, and z=who reaps the lion’s share of the benefits of the government.

So we can restate our original formula in a shortened form:

G(x,y,z) = the form of government.

Abraham Lincoln was talking about a democracy when he said, “government of the People, by the People, and for the People.” Let’s substitute “the People” for “x y z” in our formula, and while we are at it we can make a few other substitutions.

• G(the People, the People, the People) = Lincoln’s Democracy
• G(German People, Adolf Hitler, Adolf Hitler) = Nazi Germany
• G(American Colonies, George III, George III) = British Monarchy
• G(Americans, the wealthy elites, the wealthy elites) = Madisonian Republic
• G(Russians, Josef Stalin, Josef Stalin) = Communist Russia
• G(Southern Whites and Blacks, Slavers, Slavers) = Confederacy
• G(Athenians, Athenians, Athenians) = Athenian Democracy
• G(Americans, Americans, Americans) = Faction-Free Democracy

We can make many similar substitutions for governments throughout human history. And in the eight examples immediately above we can easily see that our formula works; those who did the governing also benefited most from government. Those who were governed got very little, if they got anything at all. Adolf Hitler did the governing and he benefited more than any else. So, the people will be the biggest beneficiaries of our faction-free democracy. Such a government has happened only once in human history. It happened in ancient Athens. We could be, should be, next. We want our government to be a special case of G(x,y,z)—we want it to be: G(p,p,p) where p is the People. The People govern themselves and the People reap the benefits of their government.

So, our little exercise shows that the best thing that can happen to a people is that they govern themselves. James Madison was experimenting with a “theoretic” form of government: a representative republic, which became our Madisonian republic. He gambled, and we lost. But we don’t have to experiment. We can model our government after that of ancient Athens.

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Introduction to Faction-Free Democracy

Introduction

Why I wrote this book.

At the end of World War II my father and other young men came home, and our quiet world of waiting, worrying women and children became one of joy, excitement, vigor, and optimism. For a time many of these veterans would gather at our house to talk about what they had seen and done. But mostly they talked about the future. They were all children of the Great Depression, so they talked about how America would fare economically. They talked about what it would take to keep us safe. They talked about political phi­losophy, jobs, sports, religion, education, world affairs—they were, for me at least, a wonderful window on the world. I was permitted to sit with them and I could even ask questions which they would patiently answer. But eventually most of these men moved away from our small town to jobs or colleges in Fort Worth or Waco, both cities about seventy miles away. My father, three uncles, the husband of my mother’s cousin (whom I called, “Uncle John”), and a few family friends remained. For more than a decade they would meet often and spend an hour or two conducting a seminar that my mother called, “Solving the World’s Prob­lems.” It was fascinating for me.

I admired all those veterans very much then, and I still do. They were confident in themselves and sat­isfied with the many mighty things that they and millions more had accomplished in World War II. They thought that they and America would build a better world. Who is to say they were wrong? But they could not live forever and, ultimately, they had to pass America to their children.

From these experiences I developed a deep interest in how our institutions worked. In high school I determined to study them to see if I could devise ways to make them better. I realized that I would have to study them throughout my life be­cause my point of view would change as my age and circum­stances changed. I further vowed that upon reaching retirement age if I had learned anything useful I would write about it.

Let me be explicit. “Better” meant “better for ordinary people, first, last and always.” Those veterans—those young, wise, and caring men—taught me that the purpose of government was to serve all of the people. They were very clear that government, above all else, must help those who need help, protect those who need protection, and recognize and cherish those who have served and sacrificed. The systems I propose in this book are intended to serve those goals.

I am now twelve years beyond retirement age and I was right to wait. In 1965 I saw the movie The Cin­cinnati Kid. I identified with Steve McQueen’s portrayal of a brash, young gambler. I wanted McQueen’s character to win the big game against the old gambler played by Edward G. Robin­son. Thirty years later I saw the movie again. Then I thought McQueen’s character was a fool, and I wanted Robinson to win all his money. Many things changed over time.

I became a teacher of math and German in a large Texas high school and later entered the world of computers just when they were starting to be widely used by American businesses. From 1965 to 1995 I worked as a designer and developer of large-scale computer systems. Updated versions of some of the systems I helped develop are still in use today, and they directly affect the daily lives of millions of Americans.

The years of my working life were exciting in that our nation was undergoing tremendous change, and I, in a small way, helped structure that change. In my segment of that world, com­puters were being applied for the first time to all aspects of a business: accounting, marketing, personnel, analysis, customer service, billing, product support, and much more. We called this process “developing application systems.” We followed a simple procedure in each new situation. First we had a data-collection step, followed by analysis and de­sign, implementation, and operation. My work permitted me to continue with my hobby of imagining ideas for improving our institutions. In some cases my ideas were actually implemented, and I got to see how they worked.

Upon reaching my 65th birthday, I decided that I had learned some worthwhile things, and I will offer them here. I am not a scholar. I am simply a former schoolteacher who became a com­puter programmer—I am an ordinary man, or as my father would say: “a common man.” I was raised a Southern Baptist, gradu­ated from Baylor University, then the largest Baptist school in the world, and have lived all but four years of my life in Texas where (as the old joke goes) there are more Baptists than people. At Baylor, some of my minister-in-training friends informed me that because of a technicality I was not a Christian—I had failed to be baptized. So, I became a golden-rule concretist, one who believes in making the Golden Rule of Reciprocity a concrete thing—a working system of government that implements the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” I lived one year in each of the following places: New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Mechan­icsburg (Pennsylvania), and Greenwich (Connecticut). They were all nice places with nice people.

I admired my father and mother very much. They were smart, logical, and deeply analytical. My father went only to the eighth grade, but he knew so much about so much. I am still amazed by it. My mother finished high school; in fact, she and I graduated from the same high school 21 years apart. She told me how she had read all the books in the small school library when she was a student, and she chal­lenged me to do the same. In my senior year I was looking through the shelves to find a book I had not read and came upon a small volume of poetry. I took it to the checkout desk and there discov­ered that the last person to take out that book was my mother twenty-one years before. She and I shared a big laugh about that. She had an intuitive grasp of mathematics. When I was in college I would talk to her about the math courses I was taking. She would understand things immediately, and she often helped me to understand them as well. One of the most interesting mathematical dis­cussions I ever had with her was when she started talking about mapping the rich inner lives we all have onto the poor actions we are allowed by na­ture and society. I talked with my father about everything else—but mostly I listened to them both.

So what I have to say is drawn from ordinary experiences in ordinary jobs while I was living an ordinary life, but with extraordinary parents.[i] In the writing of this book, I have used the same approach that I used to design computer applications. I frankly hope that my ideas make it to the light of day, and I expect that they will provoke anger and re­sistance. Throughout my career of introducing change, I saw that such reactions were the leading indica­tors that we were on to something good.

I have presented my ideas informally to many persons and a good many of the reactions I have received would cause a practical man to abandon them. But I have had some encouragement from friends and family. One friend has been steadfast in her belief that things can, and must, be improved. Her insights into our society in general and into the baseless hypotheses put forward by industrial agriculture, corporate medicine, and the criminal justice system in particular, have kept me on the right path. Two lifelong friends and classmates read an early version, and while they did not agree with some of the things I wrote, they nevertheless gave me valuable suggestions and encouraged me to continue. For example, one of them taught me that there are many good lobbyists—the problem is that our system rewards the bad ones. Last, but not least, another friend has taught me two things. First, love is the answer to most human problems, and second, life is simple, but people make it complicated.

My brother, Randall, read the book as it was being developed and he corrected my many mistakes, sharpened my poorly expressed ideas, offered his own ideas, and reinforced my love and admiration for our parents. In fact, he pointedly reminded me that the heart of this book is based on the ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and actions of our parents. He is right. No matter what differences nature and nurture may have produced between us two brothers, we are definitely our parents’ children. We two apples fell in the comforting shade of the tree, and we are glad of it.

So I, a weary old man, wrote this book to make good on the vows made by that earnest young boy in the spring of 1956—and I aimed this book at the earnest young people of today. But I also wrote this book to honor my ancestors, and all the other Americans like them, who, through the way they lived their lives—their hard work, their independence, their self-reliance, their clear-eyed view of the world, their high intelligence, their strong voices and their fearlessness in using them, their sense of right and charity, their drive to leave the world a better place than they found it, their fairness, their love of family and country, their belief in education, their conscious practice of the Golden Rule of Reciprocity, their willingness to sacrifice, to do their part, to expect no more, and no less, than what they deserved, and all the rest they did—defined for me the “American Way.”

Many persons and organizations lay claim to the term “American Way.” I include in it all the things that my parents’ generation fought for in World War II, and the things that those of us who stood and waited for our loved ones’ safe return dreamed about while the battle raged. All the ideals from those long ago days, whether fully realized or not, are the ideals that I hold, and against which I measure our systems and institutions. Those ideals, for me, are the true American Way, chiefly because they include all Americans. We are all in this thing together, and I wouldn’t have it any other Way. I devote this book to an effort to reestablish the American Way, because I fear it is racing away. I think it is essential that we Americans agree on what the American Way means to each and all. It is essential that we agree on what each of us must do in order to do his duty. For too long we have gone our separate ways as we tried to find our way. The new way will focus on common destinations and common ways to travel to them. It is essential that we assume responsibility for our national government and all of our other major institutions, and once we agree on what they should do to build a better world, we must bend them to our will.

The essential ingredient of the original American Way, the ingredient that built, defended, and when necessary, rebuilt America is the people. In this book I offer a system that will enable us to sharpen the definition of the American Way, and will enable us to make it a reality. I call this new system, “Faction-Free Democracy.” In the new system, the people will express their will in clear language and then they will use their absolute power to carry it out—there will be no middlemen. Faction-Free Democracy is truly government of the people, by the people, and for the people—and through Faction-Free Democracy we can establish an America where all persons can live long lives, and their lives will be worth living.[ii]

My father, who had the outlook of a philosopher, used to say that there are three eternal questions which engage humankind: “Where did I come from? Where am I going? What should I do while I am here?” My mother, who had the outlook of an engineer, would counter with her four eternal questions: “Where do we stand? How did we get here? Where do we want to go? How do we get there from here?”

I would often talk with my father about the myriad answers to his questions, and it was lots of fun. But he would usually close the discussion with a reminder that I should answer his third eternal question, “What should I do while I am here?” by trying to answer Mother’s four eternal questions. That is exactly what I have done for the past six decades, and this book is a summary of my answers to her questions.

Finally, when I was approaching adolescence I became a little too smart for my own good. I was cracking wise one day and my mother patiently said something like this, “Jerry, I had a dream about you last night. I saw you standing in a dark place with a bright light shining on you. Behind the light I could see many pairs of eyes watching you. I could not decide if you were addressing a large group of people who had come to hear what you had to say, or if you were leading a prison break and the guards had caught you in their searchlight. Things can turn out either way, and it is all up to you.” And my father often said, “All of us are born ignorant, but not all of us overcome it.”

To my father I say, “Poppa, I have tried my very best to overcome my ignorance.” And to my mother I say, “So far so good, Momma, so far so good.”

 

Adapt or Die

 Throughout our history we human beings have successfully, painfully, and violently obeyed the fundamental law of evolution. Today is no different. We must adapt or die.

Where do we stand?

We stand in a world shaped by evolution by natural selection. It has two sides—on one it creates new life forms; on the other, it destroys them all. It has ruled our species since the beginning. It is mindless, purposeless, relentless, merciless and amoral—it is a force of nature. It has produced two living varieties of our species—tyranni who are aggressive and selfish, and democrati who are timid and unselfish. Tyranni, such as Donald Trump, naturally, irrationally, work against the common good. Democrati, such as Jimmy Carter, naturally, rationally, work for it. These varieties are locked in a relentless, Darwinian struggle for survival.

The Cycle of Human History

  • Tyranni naturally, aggressively, selfishly push forward to take power.
  • Democrati naturally, timidly, unselfishly step back to let them pass.
  • Tyranni naturally use that power to indulge their selfish urges.
  • Innocents (tyranni and democrati) suffer and die unnecessarily.
  • A great commotion occurs—from elections to wars.
  • Tyranni-outs seize power from tyranni-
  • Innocents continue to suffer, but under new rulers.
  • And the cycle renews.

But because Nature has been so bountiful, because democrati greatly outnumber tyranni, and because humans are so resilient and so creative, this brutal process could not stop progress—very costly progress, often needlessly tragic and unevenly distributed, but progress nevertheless—of that there is no doubt. However, we are now dangerously near the end. Nature’s bounty is nearly exhausted. She can no longer heal our self-inflicted wounds, she cannot replenish what we take from her—she cannot forgive our greed.

Without the assistance of Nature, we humans are finally on our own. Our millennia of adolescence are over. It is time to grow up. We can no longer afford to indulge our selfish urges—we cannot afford to just do what comes naturally: act reflexively, act without thinking, play political games instead of doing the hard work of facing and solving the immense problems we have created for ourselves. If we continue to follow the instinctive natures given to us by evolution by natural selection we will go the way of countless other species—we will decline, even become extinct—and it will be sooner rather than later.

Tyranni have done much harm to our societies over the millennia. They naturally seek power and wealth. Large institutions have power and power leads to wealth. It is usually beyond the ability of a single tyrannus to gain control of a large institution. He must have allies. Recognizing this fact, tyranni are prone to form groups in pursuit of power and wealth. They work together to dominate those who do not belong to their alliance, while they intrigue against each other as each seeks to become the ultimate ruler, the supreme tyrannus. Such groups of power-seeking tyranni are factions, and they have been commonplace throughout world history. Once they gain power, once they control a large institution—from state legislatures to Wall Street banks to national governments—they irrationally push their power as far as it can take them—even if it leads to the destruction of themselves and the institutions they control.

The most powerful institutions are national governments, and they take on many forms. They are called monarchical, fascist, communist, socialist, democratic, republican, etc. I suppose that such classifications are important, but the most important category is omitted from the discussion. Governments are either tyranno or democrato. They should be measured by how they treat their people. Those that serve the common good are democrato and those that do not are tyranno. For example, several tyranno-governments have plagued us in our history. The monarchies were Great Britain under King George III, and the Empire of Japan. Nazi Germany was socialist. The Italian government of Benito Mussolini was fascist. The U.S.S.R. under Josef Stalin was a collection of socialist republics, and it was called communist as well. The Chinese government under Mao Zedong was called a republic and communist. The Confederate States of America was called a republic, as were the states of the unrepentant, postbellum South. The government of North Korea, I suppose, has its own specific identifying term, but I don’t know what it is, and I really don’t care. I only care that all of these governments treated their people badly. They were controlled by factions and they worked constantly to widen and increase their power over others. This tendency is natural for tyranni. But as they pushed and pushed their power, these nations finally met resistance and they had to obey a natural law, the law of evolution by natural selection—they had to adapt or die.

Great Britain lost its American empire because it could not adapt to the demands of its colonies. The Confederate States of America was formed because its founders believed that they could force the world to adapt to them. They thought that they could force the rest of America to accept their false hypotheses of white supremacy and chattel slavery. Such fantasies ultimately are fatal. The world is a natural place, obeying natural laws, not an ideological playground for the indulgence of false hypotheses. The Confederacy’s only hope was to adapt to the rest of America and to adapt to the world. But it was not to be. The Confederacy’s lack of adaptability caused it to belligerently self-destruct in four years of fratricide, which killed more Americans than all other wars combined. But for more than a century after this great tragedy, the faction of white supremacy controlled the southern states, and violence against black citizens continued. At long last, after another great shame had marred our history forever, America moved closer to its ideal, and not-white Americans finally were able to begin to claim, little by little, some of their long-overdue rights—but the struggle is far from over.

Nazi Germany tried to force the world to adapt to its false hypothesis of Aryan supremacy and was blasted off the face of the earth—and a benign government rose in its place. The Empire of Japan tried to force its own racism on the rest of the world and it, too, was destroyed and then replaced by a more peaceable system of government. The U.S.S.R., because of its belief in the false hypothesis of totalitarianism, and because it could not adapt to the outside pressures first applied by Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, eventually crumbled. Even now many nations struggle along, unable to adapt to the intertribal problems that have plagued them for centuries—for them, catastrophe is always near.

If we look carefully at our nation it is clear that we share too many characteristics with these tyranno-governments. We do not work for the common good. From the beginning we have mistreated seven hated groups: not-male, not-white, not-heterosexual, not-Christian, not-well-to-do, not-native, and the disabled. Our government is ruled by a small group of wealthy elite men who hold all of our nation’s power. These men hold power for decades, and it is very difficult to remove incumbents. The people have a small voice that is almost never decisive. Through their tight control of the election system and the two-party system, those in power decide who is to be granted access to power. Our rulers listen only to their own ideas, or to the ideas of sycophants, or to the ideas of those who give them money. Our rulers substitute their own wishes for the wishes of the people, and our rulers use our power primarily to benefit themselves. And, unfortunately, with regard to the economy, energy, inequality, and extreme weather, our rulers are pushing us beyond safe limits. It is safe to say that they are not following a policy of “safety first” in these four dangerous areas. The governments I named above were controlled by factions. Our government, like the other governments just described, works against the common good. Our government is a tyranno-government; it is not a faction-free democracy.

We stand in a world where the survival of our civilization, even the survival of our species, is in doubt. The systems that mistreat the seven hated groups are the same systems that have failed to protect our planet from the deadly consequences of burning fossil fuels. Scientists who are experts in the various aspects of climate change and extreme weather due to global warming, are virtually unanimous: we must do something now to stop the burning of fossil fuels. We are committing suicide. We, the people, through government, religion, education, economics, business, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, must urgently respond to the onrushing catastrophe of global warming. In short, we must adapt or die.

 How did we get here?

We got here because tyranni naturally seek power and wealth. They are very aggressive and very successful. They gain both power and wealth in proportions far greater than their presence in our society. They have exercised great power in our governments, in the slaveholding South, in our religions, in our political parties, and in our system of economics.

Madisonian Republic

We got here because the Framers chose the wrong system of government. Hold on, I must amend my statement. I should have said that we got here because the Framers chose a system of government that was right for them and others of their class, but wrong for the rest of us. No, that is not quite right. I should have said that the Framers designed a system of government that was right for them and for others of their class, but wrong for the rest of us. They designed a Madisonian Republic instead of a democracy, and, in so doing, they excluded the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. They designed a system of government that excluded the majority of Americans. The Framers designed the wrong system of government.

The Tyranno-South

We got here because the extreme tyranni who ruled the slaveholding South lost control of themselves when Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860. They foolishly declared war against the North. The South was at a great disadvantage with respect to men and materiel. In order to win against the more powerful North virtually every tactic, every cannonade, every cavalry and infantry charge, every bayonet thrust would have to favor the South. Clear-thinking men would have realized that the South faced long, probably insurmountable, odds. The tyranno-leaders of the South recklessly disregarded the safety of themselves and of the citizens of the South. These tyranni knew or should have known the strength of the North. After all, the South had many high elected officials serving in Washington, D.C. Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union army, so he should have known its strength. Either the southern leaders did not compare the strength of the North to their own, or they relied on their tyranno sense of superiority to make them confident of victory. But flying minié balls and exploding artillery shells do not recognize the invincibility imagined by their human targets. Delusion, no matter its inspiration, does not make the fanatic immune to the laws of physics or to corporeal insults.

So it is clear—the southern tyranni did not act wisely and they did not think clearly; instead they acted like men who were uncontrollably angry—just having a gargantuan, grotesque, group temper fit—an overpowering outburst of aggregated, aggravated, aggression. They were being denied their due—their almost divine right to rule. They knew they were right in all things and they believed that they had a right to spread their power, and their “peculiar” institution of slavery, across the continent. What right did some self-righteous, democrato-northerners have to interfere in the tyranno-version of manifest destiny? One of the most important characteristics of tyranni is that they are willing to use force and deception to make others live their lives the way they, the tyranni, want. Another defining characteristic is that tyranni, in the extreme form, are willing to take the lives of others. The tyranno-leaders of the southern slave­holding states definitely exhibited both these characteristics. They wanted blood, and they got it.

 Tyranno-Christianity

 Christianity is a source of great power and is irresistible to tyranni.  When Christianity, like any other institution, is controlled by tyranni it becomes an organization that works against the common good. This should not be surprising to anyone, especially to Christians, because they know that Jesus was pursued by men who worked against the common good—he and others suffered at their hands. The men who killed Jesus were tyranni. It should not be surprising to anyone that tyranni are alive and well today.

Tyranno-Christianity is more powerful today than is the tyranno-South. In addition to the faction of white supremacy, tyranno-Christianity has other factions within its kingdom. One is the faction of theocracy—and another is separatism, such as in the public schools. Federal funding for religious programs, dabbling in electoral politics, creationism, sexual abstinence, anti-progress, anti-knowledge, overt discrimination against certain hated groups, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, inerrancy, and anti-science are some of the most active factions at the moment.

Tyranno-Parties

Political parties come in the two varieties you might expect: tyranno-parties (factions) and democrato-parties. Like the generations of tyranno-parties who supported slavery and later supported Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal” schools and societies, modern tyranno-parties still fight to rule over others and to deny equal rights to certain hated groups. There is no way to explain their habit other than to say that such hatred is natural to them. They like to do it. But in order to do it they must have some sort of cover story, some rationale, so they can keep getting enough votes to keep power. So they develop ideologies. They base their policies on false or unsubstantiated or unprovable hypotheses that appeal to prejudice and emotion.

As you will see in Chapter 3, the slavers of 1790 used racist hypotheses that were untrue when they responded to Benjamin Franklin’s petition to abolish slavery. Some, perhaps most, religions are based on unsubstantiated, unprovable hypotheses. They are authoritarian, and they like to tell others how to live their lives, so they are natural allies of tyranno-parties. But in addition to exploitable hypotheses, tyranno-parties need something else to keep power—they need money for election campaigns, so they sell their votes to the highest bidder. But in spite of these obvious failings, some people think political parties are good—just ask the man who owns one, or who profits from one. On the other hand, my grandmother once told me that political parties “are not worth the powder it would take to blow them to bits.”

Tyranno-Capitalism

Slavery was monstrously cruel in many ways: masters whipping and murdering their slaves, raping them, breeding them and selling their children, breaking up families by selling a parent or a child down the river—the horrors were many, and they are eternally sickening. Slavery was a business model, the original form of tyranno-capitalism. The slave owner was no rocket engineer—he was a tyranno-capitalist. By becoming a slave owner, he had satisfied one of the two primary desires of tyranno-capitalists—he had power over others.

To satisfy the other desire, to become wealthy, he understood what he had to do. He had to put his slaves, his capital, to work on some task that would produce something that could be sold for a price that would exceed the costs of running his plantation, including the minimum expenditures necessary to keep his slaves alive and strong enough to work as long as there was light to see.

For a while plantations did not pay very well because there was no crop that would produce the profits the master wanted. But Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which reduced the labor needed to produce a bale of cotton. Tyranno-capitalism flourished. The cotton planter was wealthy and he had power over others.

Unfortunately, tyranno-capitalism is still the major business model in America. Since the beginning, most of America’s growth has been financed by unpaid slaves and the underpaid laborers who succeeded them. This resulted in an unfair transfer, a theft, of wealth from the slave and the laborer to the benefit of the tyranno-capitalist. After a long, long time American workers were able, for a short while, to demand and get better wages and benefits. But the tyranno-capitalists, in their fevered pursuit of profits, busted unions and sent jobs overseas to countries that paid very low wages. Even though the mass of American workers, underpaid as they are, cry out for resources and opportunities that will give them a better standard of living, the tyranno-capitalists manage to keep wages very low, and they manage to let the infrastructure erode as they plunder and pollute the planet—birds do not foul their nests, but we do. Thanks to tyranno-capitalists, we are fatally fouling the only nest we have.

Where do we want to go?

We want to move to a world where all groups: white and not-white, Christian and not-Christian, male and not-male, heterosexual and not-heterosexual, well-to-do and not well-to-do, native-born and not native-born, abled and disabled are treated the same. Such a world will provide equal access to rights, resources, opportunities, and protections that will give any member of any group an equal chance to go as far as her talents and efforts can take her, and give her an equal chance to build a long life worth living for herself and her loved ones.

We want to move to a world that does not burn fossil fuels. We want to do all the things necessary to stop the warming of our planet, and we want to establish international systems that will preserve and protect us. Earth is the only planet we have.

How do we get there from here?

 We must strengthen the wall between church and state, we must remove ideology from education, and we must change our business structure to one that is driven by consumer demand.

We must adapt the intellectual process that was used by the ancient Athenians as they moved from monarchy to the first, and only, democracy.

We must rely on evolution by intellection. We must apply our intellects in rational, benevolent, and forward-looking ways. We must think our way forward.

We must face the facts, and we must keep groups of tyranni, factions, from gaining disproportionate institutional power over our systems of government and economics. We must recognize and control the effects of factions.

In short, we must replace our Madisonian Republic with Faction-Free Democracy and replace tyranno-capitalism with democrato-capitalism.

 Factions Currently at Work

 There are many factions at work today in America. The faction of states’ rights has done immense damage to our society, and it is still at work. The faction of white supremacy, which was the basis of the government, religion, and economy of the tyranno-South, is alive and well. It can be found throughout the nation and is concentrated in several large sections of our country. Misogyny is actively at work everywhere. It can be seen in the practice of paying women less than men even though they are doing equal work. It can be seen in the medieval practice of denying women the right to control their own bodies—many state legislatures, overwhelmingly in the control of tyranni, have made it clear that they think women are second-class citizens, and must be kept in their place—subordinate to men in other words. The Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention treat women as second-class citizens. These two large religions clearly, and irrationally, believe that women are inferior to men, and should be subordinate to them.

Our political parties use factions to stir the passions of ordinary citizens. For example, some of our current leading political figures use hateful language to vilify non-Christians, non-whites, foreigners, and the poor, thereby garnering votes and campaign contributions. Their disparagement of non-heterosexuals has just now been muted by a recent Supreme Court decision declaring that same-sex couples have the same right to marry as everyone else. But, knowing human nature as I do, I am sure that this period of quiet will not last long and the bitter attacks will resume.

Anti-science and pro-ignorance are really two sides of the same faction. Americans who favor these two manifestations of irrationality seek to gain control of the public schools so that they can become theological seminaries from the first grade upwards. When they are unable to achieve this goal they move to the faction of separatism, and create their own schools so that anti-science and pro-ignorance can be taught to their children. And we must not forget capitalism. The form that we practice today is one of the strongest and one of the most dangerous factions. If left unchecked, it will destroy our civilization.

 The only way for democrati to win is to take control of the ideology-based institutions—government, religion, education, economics and business (GREEB)—and restructure them so that they work for the common good—which, thank goodness, has a rational basis. We will use good ideas wherever we find them, and the system that is rich with good ideas is Athenian democracy. This ancient, first democracy was a great success, and there are seven reasons for that success:

  1. Power Management—the Athenians understood that there are two kinds of government power: administrative and transformative. They understood that administrative power can be delegated but transformative power cannot, except in very limited, tightly-controlled cases. Unfortunately, we foolishly mismanage our power. We delegate too much—to too few people—for too long a time. And we delegate our power through the corrupt system of parties and partisan elections.
  2. Government of, by, and for the people—the Athenian government was of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our government is of the people, by the plutocrats, and for the plutocrats.
  3. Liturgies and Public Works—the Athenians had ways to persuade the wealthy to willingly spend their wealth for the common good. We don’t even ask the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.
  4. The Oath of the Ephebes—the Athenians taught their youth that they had a duty to act on behalf of the common good—we should do the same.
  5. Evolution by Intellection—the Athenians formalized this process for managing the evolution of civilization. It relies on the sustained, cooperative, rational acts of humankind. It depends especially on the most important of our intellectual gifts: the power to make something out of nothing but an idea. We will think our way forward. We will use our intellects together. We will ponder important matters with purpose and objectivity. Unfortunately, many powerful factions within our GREEB institutions have largely ignored this form of evolution. They reject knowledge, science, rationality, inclusion, and progress in favor of ideology, prejudice, willful ignorance, exclusion, and irrationality as the tools of governance. And, unfortunately, they have enough power to do great harm to our civilization—they could even destroy it.
  6. The Silver Mines of Laurium—the Athenians knew how to manage their money supply.  We don’t know how to manage ours—but, if we apply our intellects in rational ways, we will quickly learn.
  7. Investing in the People—the Athenians thought it was so important for the people to participate in their democracy that they compensated the poor for the income lost when they attended the Assembly. Without this payment they would have been unable to participate.

Here are some of the ways we should apply these seven ideas:

  • Change the way we choose our representatives.
  • Change the way we manage government power. To the extent possible, all groups that wield transformative power must be large enough to be made up of tyranni and democrati in the proportions they occur in nature. In general, power should be delegated by random selection, for short periods, for specific, limited purposes, to thousands or even millions of citizens, and its use should be subject to review by the people. However, if the authority wielding transformative power is so small that it cannot be made up of tyranni and democrati in the proportions they occur in nature—such as one or two police officers on patrol—then special oversight procedures are required.
  • Change the relationship between the national government and state and local governments—replace states’ rights with American rights. Only the national government can enact laws that limit or deny the rights of the individual. State governments will primarily carry out administrative functions. State legislatures can pass laws, but they will be limited to regulations and rules. Laws that criminalize the behavior of citizens can be enacted only by the national government.
  • Change the way we treat the seven hated groups: not-male, not-white, not-heterosexual, not-Christian, not-well-to-do, not-native, and the disabled, and call on all citizens to serve in our Faction-Free Democracy.
  • We should as a society devise and implement ways to favor rationality over irrationality, facts over ideology, knowledge over ignorance, inclusion over exclusion, progress over regression, and love over hate. As a matter of course our society should favor evolution by intellection.
  • We should gladly accept the fact that we have an unlimited supply of money and apply it to serve all of us. We should replace tyranno-capitalism (a system of economics that works only for a few) with democrato-capitalism (a system of economics that works for all of us). We should build a new system of economics as well as a new system of government.
  • We should invest in the people to the tune of $36,000 per person per year from birth to death so they can do the things that will build a better America. These include taking care of their children, staying in school, staying out of jail, serving in the government when they are called upon, taking care of their health, their homes, and their local communities. In addition we should pay certain professions for providing invaluable services to the people: military personnel, teachers, health care givers, lawyers, police officers, firemen and other emergency responders, and the like. They should be paid a premium by our Faction-Free Democracy.
  • We should use our unlimited supply of money to change our economy from one that redistributes money to one that distributes No longer will we take money from one citizen and give it to another. We have enough money to provide resources and opportunities to everyone without reducing them for anyone. This means that taxation for the purposes of redistribution will be eliminated. We will need a few sin taxes, and we will need to use a special form of taxation to drain excess money from our system in order to control inflation, but essentially, we will lead tax-free lives.

Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that we should replace our system with the ancient Athenian system. We could do that, I suppose, but that would be foolish. It is much easier to adapt the seven superior ideas of Athenian democracy into our Madisonian Republic thereby creating our Faction-Free Democracy. In so doing, we will finally make the fact of America match the myth—we will finally be a democracy.

 

It is irrational to ignore or worsen the dangers of global warming.

It is irrational to work against the common good.

It is rational to work to extinguish, control, and mitigate the dangers of global warming.

It is rational to work for the common good.

We must be rational.

We must work for the common good.

We must adapt or die.

End notes

[1] The parents of my schoolmates were also extraordinary. It sounds silly to say that all the parents in my little hometown were extraordinary, but I think it was true. In many ways, their generation and the generation that preceded them, at least the ones I knew, were all extraordinary. We don’t call them the “Greatest Generation” for no reason.

[2] Ersail Bullard Hamrick, in November of 1958, told me that the national goal of America should be “to build a nation, and help to build a world, in which all persons can live long lives, and their lives will be worth living.” She had mentioned this idea prior to this date, but this is the earliest date I can specify. On another occasion she said, “A democracy is a government where the people define and implement the common good so that individual citizens can live long lives that are worth living.”

 

  

 

 

 

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How Tyranno-Capitalism Distributes Money

In Federalist 30, Alexander Hamilton discussed the general power of taxation, and he correctly described the proper and indispensable role of money in the operations of the state and in the lives of the people. He did not realize that he was prescribing a process of money management that the ancient Athenians had followed. They used an unexpected, rich silver strike to invest in a large shipbuilding project that was for the benefit of all Athenians, they gave money to the poor to compensate them for income lost when they went to the Assembly, and they paid citizens who were chosen by lot for long-term administrative duties. Hamilton hated the Athenians, but he unconsciously endorsed their ideas. He said (emphasis added):

Money is, with propriety, considered as the vital principle of the body politic; as that which sustains its life and motion, and enables it to perform its most essential functions. A complete power, therefore, to procure a regular and adequate supply of it, as far as the resources of the community will permit, may be regarded as an indispensable ingredient in every constitution. From a deficiency in this particular, one of two evils must ensue; either the people must be subjected to continual plunder, as a substitute for a more eligible mode of supplying the public wants, or the government must sink into a fatal atrophy, and, in a short course of time, perish.

As it turns out, things are even worse than Hamilton feared—our Madisonian republic has failed to provide “a regular and adequate supply” of money, the people have been “subjected to continual plunder,” the “public wants” have not been satisfied, and our government has fallen into “a fatal atrophy” which prevents us from maintaining and improving our infrastructure, and which blocks the prudent, aggressive, large-scale, time-sensitive actions needed to deal with the adverse effects of global warming. Last, but not least, the tyranni who control our government and our economy have created an artificial shortage of money in order to increase their personal power at the expense of the people.

This evil, irrational, phony shortage of money has been manipulated in ways that burden and confuse ordinary citizens while giving the elites immunity from their machinations—and it supports tyranno-capitalism’s overwhelmingly lopsided distribution of money in favor of the elites while forcing many millions of us into perpetual debt. This cruel, destructive, arbitrary, cockeyed distribution of money can be seen in the following table:

Table 6[i]

Average Household Income Under

Tyranno-Capitalism

Row (1)

Percent

of

Population

(2)

Households

(000)

(3)

People

(000)

 

(4)

Average

Income

($$$)

1 4.8 5,913 15,078 260,000
2 1.9  2,288 5,834 188,957
3 3.4 4,175 10,646 163,130
4 4.7 5,806 14,805 139,084
5 7.7 9,460 24,123 113,772
6 11.9 14,687 37,452 88,800
7 17.6 21,659 55,230 64,264
8 24.0 29,434 75,057 39,503
9 24.0 29,531 75,304 16,261
  All Households: 122,953 313,530 72,641
  Total Household Income in Trillions: 8.9T

As you can see in row 9, more than 29 million households containing nearly a quarter of our population, have an average annual income of $16,261. Rows 8 and 9, the two groups with the lowest incomes, contain more than 58 million households, encompass nearly half of our population, and have a combined average income of $27,863. The average number of people living in each of those 58 million households is 2.55 which means that the average per capita income of more than 150 million Americans is $10,926. Just place yourself in the position of earning less than $11,000 per year. There is little hope that you will ever have the chance to go to college or to enjoy the many wonderful things that our technologies provide—there is little hope that your lot in life will ever improve—the lack of money will be the dominating factor of your life.

These tragic numbers do not lie—they are clear, unmistakable, defining, undeniable characteristics of tyranno-capitalism, a failed economic system that works against the common good. Tyranno-capitalism’s approach to money management is to keep the people from ever having “a regular and adequate supply.” It uses five basic techniques to keep the people in a permanent state of financial privation.

  • First, it pays very low wages in order to maximize the profits of the tyranno-capitalists.
  • Second, it loans money to the people at a high price so they can temporarily make ends meet.
  • Third, if the people fail to repay their loans on time the tyranno-capitalists can seize their assets and often force them out of their homes or off their farms.
  • Fourth, it does not pay the full cost of doing business but leaves it to the people to pay through higher taxes, an unsafe workplace, a hostile and unhealthy environment, and fewer government services while the tyranno-capitalists get whatever they want from the government and pay relatively low taxes, if they pay any at all.
  • Fifth, when economic downturns occur, such as the Great Depression or the Great Recession, the tyranni who control our government do all they can to deny or minimize financial assistance to the people. They restrict the length of unemployment insurance, they forbid giving money directly to the people, and they cut back on food stamps and other such assistance. They punish the people for the failure of tyranno-capitalism.

We will replace this abominable system. It is not worthy of the American people. The formula for success is simple and certain—we will adapt the superior idea of Athenian democracy that money should be used for the benefit of all the people, and we will adapt Hamilton’s prescription that the government should provide a “regular and adequate supply” of money to the people and their institutions. By wisely investing in the people we will dramatically change, for the better, the grotesque income distribution you see in Table 6. This dramatic change, along with a few others, will create a new system of economics that will work for the common good. As you no doubt expect by now, we will replace tyranno-capitalism with democrato-capitalism.

[i] Data extracted from: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2014 Annual Population and Economic Supplement—Table HINC-02, Age of Householder-Households by Total Money Income 2013.

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A Fairy Tale About Golf

Once upon a time, deep in the heart of Texas, there lived a happy couple named Jack and Jill.  Their life was perfect except for one thing—they loved to play golf but it frustrated them very much.  Their frustration on the course would sometimes follow them home, upsetting their digestion and their cat, Sha-Sha.

Their story was like so many other golfers around the world.  Both Jack and Jill knew in their heart of hearts that they were far better golfers than their scores and handicaps would indicate.  They both believed strongly that they were just one lesson, one practice session, one putting drill, one new driver, one lucky day away from shooting a par 72 round.  But the happy day never came.

Then, as luck would have it, Santa Claus gave the happy couple a wonderful present.  He gave them an electronic range finder.  This device utilized Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to determine distances on the golf course.  Jack and Jill were ecstatic.  They thanked Santa over and over, because they both believed that this handheld device would be the answer they had sought for years.  They knew that getting precise distances would solve all their problems.  No longer would they have to guess how far away they were from the pins.  They would know exactly.  They could select the perfect club, and with the confidence this accurate knowledge would give them, they could make the perfect swing, and make birdies and eagles, and carry over hazards, and… and…

But alas, their dream did not come true.  They found that they did do a better job of club selection, and they found that they played faster, but their overall scores did not really improve.  Their dream of a perfect round of 72 was still far, far away.  What could be wrong?  They knew that they were perfectly capable of shooting a round of 72.

Then one day they heard that the old man who lived in the woods had been muttering that he knew the secret to golf.  Everybody knew that the old man was addled and harmless and so no one really paid any attention to his claim.  But one night, after a bad day on the course, Jack and Jill became desperate; they had to do something.  Their distress upset Sha-Sha and she raced around the house making loud catcalls. So that very moment they jumped up and went deep into the woods where they finally found the home of the old man who was known only as Hestal.  It was a strange name, and no one knew where it, or the old man himself, came from.  But no matter, this was a time for action.

Jack knocked loudly on Hestal’s door.  No answer.  He knocked again and again, but still no answer.  But then they heard a voice from high up in the oak tree that stood in the yard.  The voice said, “What do you want?”  Startled, they looked up but could see no one.  So they lifted their faces to the moon shining through the leaves of the oak tree and said together, “We want to know the secret to golf.”

Instantly they heard a commotion in the oak tree and suddenly a figure dropped to the lawn, and as he stood up they could see that he was dressed in bright yellow polyester slacks, with a comfort waist band, and his shirt was white polyester with a large collar that stood up stiffly, and his white straw hat said, “Bluebonnet Country Club” across the front.  His shoes and his belt were made of white patent leather and his hair was as white as the Les Strokes golf ball he held in his left hand, with a pink plastic tee ready to stick in the ground.  In his right hand was a persimmon driver, polished to a high shine, with a steel shaft painted to look like wood, and with a worn, leather grip.

The old man moved his feet as he gained traction with his spikes and he began to slowly swing the driver back and forth with one hand.  Jack and Jill knew this had to be Hestal, and he said, “Everybody wants to know the secret of golf, and everybody already knows it, that is, except for golfers.  Boxers know it.  Wrestlers know it.  Automobile racers know it.  Sailboat racers know it.  College football teams know it; even high school teams know it.  Basketball too, and baseball, and probably even weightlifters and karate fighters—they all know it.  It is hard for me to think of anyone who doesn’t know the secret of golf, except for golfers themselves.  You can tell golfers the secret until hell freezes over, excuse me lady, and they just don’t get it.  So why should I waste my time telling you the secret to golf, when I know very well that you will not believe it?  I don’t know if golfers are too dumb or have too much ego or whether they just have too much dumb ego.”

Jack and Jill were astonished.  They looked carefully at Hestal.  He did look a little wild, but he also had a smooth tempo as he casually swung the driver and his footwork was perfect.  Then he teed the Les Strokes golf ball on the lawn and with no hesitation gripped his driver with a perfect interlocking grip, took a perfect stance, and made a perfect swing.  The sound of driver head contacting the ball was like a perfect bell and the ball shot off into the darkness leaving a luminous vapor trail like the tail of a comet.  Jack and Jill were convinced.  Jill said, “We will believe it.  Just tell us.”

Hestal said, “Well, I have been wanting to tell somebody for a long time now.  I tried it a few years ago and nothing came of it.  But maybe now, maybe the world is ready for it.  Okay, I’ll tell you the secret—it is only one sentence.  But it may take some explaining.”

He paused and held up his left hand and suddenly the Les Strokes golf ball flew back into his grasp as it returned from its unknown journey.  Hestal smiled and said, “The secret to golf is this: a good big man will beat a good little man every time.”  He waited.

Jack and Jill looked at each other and then looked at Hestal.  Jack said, “I believe what you said, but I don’t see how it applies to golf.”

Hestal said, “Now that’s a good start.  Let me ask you something about boxing.  Is there only one world champion?  No, there are several, one for each division or class, right?”

Jack said, “Sure, there’s the heavyweights, the lightweights, welterweights, featherweights, bantamweights, probably more.”

Hestal said, “Right, and every class is established by what?”

Jill said, “I know, it is the weight of the fighter.  So big men don’t fight little men.  So I see what you mean, a good big man will beat a good little man every time, because he is bigger and stronger and has more knockout power.”

Jack looked happily at his wife.  He loved this woman.

Hestal said, “Now you’re cooking.  That is why there are classes or divisions in other sports, such as weightlifting, wrestling, and karate fighting.  College and high school football and basketball and even baseball divisions are not determined so much by the size of the players, although that is certainly important, but they are determined by the size of the school.  Big high schools don’t play little high schools except for entertainment and exercise.  Sure every once in a while a little college team will upset a big college team and it makes sports history, but usually the big ones beat the little ones.”

Jill said, “So you are saying that this principle applies to golf.  How?”

Hestal said, “The answer is easy.  Who is the big man in golf, Jack, the World’s Best Player or you?”

Jack admitted, “Why the World’s Best Player is the big man, of course.”

Hestal said, “Yes, he is and he is in a separate division from you, right?  You are an amateur and he is a professional in the biggest division on the planet.  So there is a little dividing of the golf world already, but there is not enough.  The secret to golf, put another way, is that we don’t have enough divisions for each of us to find one that fits us.  Once we find our natural division, the one that fits our power, then the whole world changes.  You will find that you have become the golfer you always knew you could be.”

Hestal continued, “The closest thing we have to golf divisions for everyday golfers is different tee boxes.  But there are two things wrong with this idea that immediately come to mind.  One is that the tee boxes are not coordinated with the natural power groupings of ordinary golfers, and the other is that when it is time for the club tournament the champion is determined by playing from the back, or the longest, or the championship tees.  They will sometimes have different flights for age, gender, or handicap, but even those don’t coordinate with ordinary golfers.”

Jill asked, “So how should we determine golfing divisions?”

Hestal said, “By average driving distance, that is all.  You should play against people who can hit the ball the same distance as you can with the driver.  What is your average driving distance?”

Jack said, “Mine is 250 yards.”

Jill said, “Mine is 150 yards.”

Hestal asked, “What tees do you play?”

Jack said, “I play the Blues and Jill plays the Reds.”

Hestal said, “Which of you is the better golfer?”

Jill said, “Jack is.  He shoots from the high 70’s to the low 80’s, and I shoot in the middle to high 90’s.”

Hestal said, “Well let’s take a look at what you have told me.  First Jill plays the Red tees which are 5,116 yards long.  If we divide 5,116 by 150, the length of Jill’s average drive, we get 34.1.  So Jill’s course is 34.1 times the length of her drive.  Now if Jack, who drives it 250 yards, were to play a course that is 34.1 times the length of his drive he would have to play a course of 8,525 yards.  So to play a course of equal difficulty, Jack would have to move up from 6,633 yards to one that is 8,525 yards, or 28.5% longer.”

(As you can see Hestal competed in Number Sense in high school, and even there big schools did not compete against small schools—each division was based on enrollment and each had its own state champion.)

Jack and Jill looked a little confused.

Hestal said, “What this means is that Jack is playing a course that is easier than the one Jill plays.  This is not unusual.  Women are almost always playing more difficult courses than the most difficult courses that men play.  Men seem to like it that way.  So Jack may not be a better golfer than Jill.  He definitely is playing the easier course in relation to his power, his weight class, you might say.”

Before Jack or Jill could comment, Hestal went on, “You are both playing golf out of your class.  The course you are forced to play does not suit your game. Jack is a heavyweight golfer playing a lightweight course. Jill is a lightweight golfer playing a heavyweight course. There is something wrong with this picture.”

Hestal said, “Now let’s take a look at a particular hole.  Say number 5, the par five that goes along the highway—the one that usually plays into the prevailing wind.  For Jack the hole is 496 yards from the Blues.  From the Reds the hole is 433 yards for Jill.  So the men who designed the course generously gave Jill a 63-yard advantage from the tee boxes to account for her power as a woman.  But I don’t think they gave her enough.

(By the way, Hestal also competed in Slide Rule in high school, and, you guessed it, divisions were based on school enrollment and each division had its own state champion.)

“First let us look at how Jack plays the hole.  He hits his driver 250 yards.  Good shot, Jack.  Now he hits his three-wood 223 yards.  Jack has moved the ball 473 yards in two good shots and he has a 23-yard pitch to the pin.  He should hit the green in regulation with no trouble.  With a good pitch and putt he can make a birdie four.

“Now let us take a look at Jill’s situation.  It makes sense to me that if the two courses that you play matched each of your driving distances then Jill should have a driver, a three-wood and a short pitch for her birdie chance.  Fair is fair, right?  But first Jill hits her drive 150 yards and then hits her three-wood 134 yards.  She has moved the ball 284 yards with two good shots.  But she still has 149 yards to go.  So she hits her three-wood again for another 134 yards.  Now she has only 15 yards to the pin, but she has taken three shots to get close to the green while Jack only needed two.  Something is wrong here.  Jill, through no fault of her own, has played a harder hole.  The course designers have not been fair with Jill.  In order for Jack to play the hole in the same way he would have to add another three-wood which would make his hole become 223 yards longer.

“Let me make it really clear.  Based on her average driving distance, her weight class in boxing parlance, Jill played a hole that was the equivalent of 719 yards for Jack.  So when you are watching the big-time pros play long par fives on television, such as a 613-yarder somewhere, just remember that women play holes longer than that every time they go out.  Women have been playing the longest courses ever played.  Men are softies.  I’m beginning to wonder if a man really is the World’s Best Player.

“These cockeyed situations are normal for golf.  Men would not stand for it.  They would never play a course as hard as the ones they force women to play.  But if they did their scores would go up, and the time required to play a round would also go up.  For example, I have already said that Jack would have to play a course that covers 8,525 yards instead of the 6,633 yards he now plays.  This 28.5% increase in yardage and score would mean an increase in time.  If Jack now plays his course in 4.5 hours, he would find himself spending another 1.28 hours to finish the longer course.  No wonder women take so long to play, they are playing much longer courses.  But men, in their special way, blame women for the faults of male course designers.

“So, at this point, it is unclear if women or men are the better golfers.”

Then the light dawned, and Jack said, “But Jill could play a shorter course, couldn’t she?  If she did that we would be in balance.”

Hestal said, “Good idea.  When we divide your 6,633-yard course by your 250-yard drive we get 26.5.  If we then multiply Jill’s 150-drive by the 26.5 factor we get 3,975.  This would be the length of Jill’s course in order to make things apples to apples.”

Jill said, “But there is no such set of tees.  The Reds that I play now are already the shortest tees on the course.”

Jack said, “Yes, that’s right.  We have five tees now, four for men and one for women.  We need to add three more tees for women.  That could fix the problem.”

Hestal said, “You’re on the right track.  The secret to golf is to establish classes, similar to weight divisions in boxing and other sports, but in golf we will use average driving distance as the dividing factor.  When we determine how long your individual course should be you can use your GPS range finder to determine where each tee box should be. In that way you will have a course that has been customized to fit your game. Once that basic idea is accepted there are a few more tweaks we can do to make golf easier to learn, faster to play, and a lot more fun.”

Jack and Jill turned to each other and hugged.  They smiled at Hestal, and they all lived happily ever after. And Sha-Sha purred contentedly.

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