.

"I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men
if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run."

A. de Tocqueville

 

"There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come."
Victor Hugo

 

April 24, 2019

 

Welcome to...

SelfGovernanceScience.com 21stCenturyCivics.com 535PKQs.com

535: number of voting members in Congress

PKQ: Philosopher King/Queen

 

Three domain names. One idea "whose time has come."

SELF-GOVERNANCE SCIENCE

 

 
   
 

working synopsis
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Self-Governance Science is a field of study "whose time has come."

Here are four reasons why...

REASON 1: To date, the field of political science has amassed a large body of knowledge re what the process of "politics" looks like in Congress, i.e., how it's practiced -- and the kind of legislation produced by that process -- when Congress' political factions are permanently dominated and controlled by self-serving "politicians" whose political careers/getting re-elected are more important to them than doing what is in the best interest of the nation.

However, political science has amassed essentially zero body of knowledge re what the process of politics would look like -- and the kind of legislation that would be produced by that process -- if Congress' political parties were permanently dominated and controlled by the mirror opposite of politicians -- i.e., legislators who, relatively speaking, didn't have a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.

two important acronyms
EFFS: economic, financial, fiscal and societal

NLEP: National Legislative Election Process

REASON 2: Because of Self-Gov. Science, America's ~140 million left-of-center (LOC) and right-of-center (ROC) voters will learn a great many self-governance best practices, do's and don't's, etc. But most notably, our voters will finally learn how to solve their existential-level self-governance problem -- which is that they know how to elect liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans to Congress who can't solve the myriad of major EFFS problems our nation now exists permanently mired in, but don't have the slightest idea of how to elect liberal D's and conservative R's who can.

REASON 3: This new academic discipline will address key shortcomings in our political scientists' primitive/outdated, "18th century" understanding of the NLEP -- which ultimately explains so much of that "scientific" discipline's "self-governance ignorance."

USEFUL ANALOGY: Just as medical ignorance explains why primitive man did not know how to prevent or cure diseases and infections -- and probably blamed things like evil spirits for causing them in the first place, self-governance ignorance ultimately explains why:

  • our nation exists permanently mired in major EFFS problems that Congress can't solve, and
  • liberals blame all things conservative: conservatism, conservative policies, conservative politicians, etc. for causing, creating or exacerbating the lion's share of those problems, while conservatives blame all things liberal: liberalism, liberal policies, liberal politicians, etc.

REASON 4: Self-Governance Science will provide voters with a number of new insights re the NLEP. The most eye opening:

There is a mile wide wedge between LOC and ROC voters that should not be there over the kind of legislative policies Congress' liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans should be crafting to solve America's EFFS problems.

To make a large portion of that wedge simply disappear, our society's voters, and students, must start exploring a number of never before explored thought experiments, which will give rise to a number of never before asked questions -- whose answers will open the floodgates to a number of new insights re the NLEP.

    FYI: For now, it will help to think of those never before explored thought experiments as 21st century thought experiments, those never before asked questions as 21st century questions, those new insights as 21st century insights, and those legislative policies as 21st century policies.

 

Please note: this part educational, part advocacy site deals almost entirely with new knowledge, and therefore exists in a constant state of "conceptual" construction, deconstruction and reconstruction.

While the construction process is taking place, four sections are provided to readers who wish to begin learning about, and critiquing, this new knowledge immediately.

  • the first draft text of the Introduction/Expanded Overview
  • several unedited essay segments (which contain a fair amount of redundancy)
  • several graphics
  • a lexicon of new, "21st century" terms and their working definitions

Political science and civics educators (and their students) should find the new, self-governance-based terms and concepts especially thought provoking.

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Also, it is important to point out at the very start that our political science "establishment" will be inclined to reject or dismiss this new knowledge because it overturns some of their most cherished beliefs/theories re the democratic process.

In our social media-savvy society, the fastest way to convince these educators and thinkers that Self-Governance Science is, in fact, an "idea whose time has come," and worthy of having its own sub-field, is by this web page and it's Twitter and Facebook pages receiving a respectable number of likes.

So, if you want your views to matter -- meaning, if you want to play an active role in the effort to make Self-Governance Science a reality -- you can do so simply by "liking" this web page and it's Twitter and/or Facebook pages.

For your convenience, the like (or follow) buttons have been placed at several spots on this page.

 
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Introduction/Expanded Overview

The aphorism, "knowledge is power" (attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, 1567 AD), has proven to be true throughout human history, in both the natural and social sciences. However, it is much more informative to say that all of humanity's great advances have occurred because bad and/or primitive ideas, theories, knowledge, solutions, etc. eventually give way to good/better ideas, theories, knowledge, solutions, etc.

Where that not the case, 21st century "man" would still look, think and act a lot like prehistoric "man" -- i.e., living in caves, wearing animal skins, using stone tools, casting out evil spirits, etc.

Suffice to say, history of new scientific (and cultural/societal) ideas strongly suggests that the new ideas, theories, knowledge, solutions, etc. that collectively constitute Self-Gov. Science will supplant our current "18th century" understanding of the democratic process. And a lot sooner than one might initially think when you consider the speed at which new ideas now routinely take root in our 21st century society.

As already alluded to, the need for this new knowledge couldn't be more obvious: our political scientists, analysts and thinkers in academia, think tanks, media and elsewhere have been using terms like broken and dysfunctional for decades to describe our U.S. Congress and national politics -- yet, in all that time, have never come close to figuring out how to "fix" either of them.

So, what has everyone been missing? Why isn't the solution to our broken Congress/broken politics problem as obvious to our best and brightest liberal, moderate, conservative and libertarian thinkers as the noses on their faces?

Part of the answer lies with the most basic tenet of Systems Analysis 101, which says that solving the problem is the easy part. The hard part is being able to precisely state the problem that needs solving -- or, in this case, fixing.

With that in mind, let's begin peeling back the problem-layers until we get to the problem that needs to be fixed.

Outermost layer:

    Our 116th Congress is broken/dysfunctional for the same reason our 115th, 114th, 113th, 112th, 111th, ..., ???th Congresses were, namely:

    While, almost all of its 535 members are largely well-meaning liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, they are also self-serving, politically ambitious "politicians" (PAPs) who care a heck of a lot more about getting re-elected (and/or growing their political power) than they care about doing what is in the best interest of the American people.

2nd layer:

NEW TERMINOLOGY:
practice democracy = engage in the process of self-governance

Congress stays permanently dominated by self-serving PAPs for a variety of understandable reasons. For example, practically from our nation's beginning, America's voters have unthinkingly assumed that PAP-controlled Congresses are a permanent fixture of not just our democracy (constitutional republic for you sticklers), but all democracies.

For now, let's say that PAP-controlled Congresses have been a permanent fixture of our democracy almost from the very start because America's voters were never "taught" (by our founders back in the 18th century, and extending to today's political scientists and political "thinkers" in academia, media, think tanks, etc.) how to engage in the process of self-governance (minimally, in the NLEP) correctly, or effectively, or competently.

     

3rd (and final) layer:

    Just like our 18th century founders, none of our 21st century political scientists have ever made an effort to impress on America's voters how vital it is to the health of our democracy -- and to the health of our democracy's many social, governmental, etc. institutions -- for they the voters to involve themselves (in some meaningful fashion) in the "pre-primary, candidate recruitment phase" of America's National Legislative Election Process (NLEP). Our political "intelligentsia" have failed to do this because they view America's democratic process -- particularly our NLEP -- solely through a political/ideological (PI) lens.

    Meaning, they see the NLEP as a PI battlefield on which two armies of voters wage a bloodless battle at the ballot box (every two years) over which of two sets of legislative policies -- rooted in two competing, zero-sum governing philosophies: liberalism and conservatism -- Congress should implement to solve America's most pressing problems.

    Seen through this lens, what is vastly more important to voters is not whether the candidate is or isn't self-serving, politically ambitious, etc., but which set of policies the candidate will vote for if elected to Congress.

    This is also the metric voters use to decide if the candidate deserves re-election.

    FYI: for now, viewing the NLEP solely through a PI lens should be thought of as viewing it through an 18th century lens. Seen through that lens, the NLEP consists of two phases:

PHASE 1: Primary Process: Our two major political parties -- Democratic and Republican, and our minor parties as well, Libertarian, Green, Constitutional, etc. -- recruit and elect their candidates.

PHASE 2: General Election: These candidates go head-to-head, with the winner going on to serve in the U.S. House or Senate.

 

a short overview of the shortcomings
of our 2 Phase, "18th century" NLEP

If America's voters are disgusted with the way Congress is doing its job, and the above described NLEP consistently fails to produce satisfying outcomes at the polls, there are a number of recourses available to "the people" (per our U.S. Constitution):

  • convene a constitutional convention
  • amend the Constitution, e.g.,
    • term limits amendment
    • balanced budget amendment
  • pursue reforms, e.g.,
    • ethics/campaign finance reform
    • redistricting reform.

Unfortunately, none of these remedies will produce Congresses capable of solving even a tiny fraction of America's major EFFS problems, because none of them will result in America's voters knowing HOW, and equally important, WHY they should start keeping Congress continually replenished with legislators who:

  1. aren't "politicians,"
  2. don't want to be politicians,
  3. have absolutely no desire to make a career in politics, but
  4. if elected in the General Election, will be willing (albeit begrudgingly) to serve in the national legislature for a few years as "a one-time [civic] duty" -- and only a few years, because both they and the voters understand just how easily political power, especially at the national level, can corrupt even the best of us.

Once America's mainstream voters are able to see the nature of their "self-governance" problem through a 21st century, apolitical/non-ideological (ANI) lens, they will find themselves routinely recruiting and electing liberal, conservative, etc. candidates to the House and Senate who are more than capable of solving America's major EFFS problems -- in many cases, completely and permanently -- no matter which party is in power in either chamber in any given election cycle.

So, the solution to our broken Congress/broken politics problem is:

an extreme NLEP makeover
(a.k.a., a 3 Phase NLEP)

ASIDE: now you understand the need for new, self-governance knowledge.

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Self-Governance Science will use 21st century apolitical/non-ideological
truths
to destroy political/ideological myths
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The makeover will almost certainly require the active involvement of our academic community, our political scientists in particular -- which will require a willingness on their part to remove their 18th century eye glasses and begin exploring a radically different line of 21st century questioning, starting with one that, at first glance, makes no sense at all:

Why isn't it apparent to America's ~70 million left-of-center (LOC) and ~70 million right-of-center (ROC) voters that they both want Congress to pursue the same legislative agenda to “solve” our nation's major EFFS problems?

Clearly, anyone who knows anything about liberal and conservative legislative policies will scratch their head and ask: how is that even possible? Our LOC voters largely favor "liberal" values and principles -- from somewhat to very strongly -- and therefore support the policies advocated by the Democratic Party.

At their most basic, those policies boil down to (from this layman's perspective):

    • Using income redistribution measures, e.g., subsidized healthcare, food stamps, etc., to make life more bearable for our society's poor and needy -- paid for by making the wealthy pay their “fair share” of America's income taxes.
    • Placing more rules and restrictions on what business, especially big (read: greedy) business, can do in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Meanwhile, our ROC voters largely favor "conservative" values and principles -- from somewhat to very strongly -- and therefore support the policies advocated by the Republican Party, which, at their most basic, entail:

    • Cutting government programs and spending, and lowering everyone's taxes -- income and otherwise.
    • Reducing government's burdensome rules and regulations on everyone, but especially on the business community (read: our nation's job creators).

It's obvious that these two legislative agendas couldn't be further apart -- polar opposites, in fact.

Yes, but -- everyone is operating on the "18th century" assumption that there are only two categories of legislation Congress can realistically craft to solve America's EFFS problems:

  • "government" solutions, which = liberal/socialist legislation
  • "free market" solutions, which = conservative/libertarian legislation

Or a compromise somewhere between the two positions, requiring give and take by both sides (i.e., horse trading/quid pro quo-ism behind closed doors in what used to be smoke filled rooms).

The roots of this severely flawed assumption can be traced back to an academic debate among political philosophers that began long before our nation's founding. One that divided many of our founders -- and our legislators in Congress -- into two "political" factions almost from the very beginning:

 

Fast forward to today. We all have in our working vocabularies a small dictionary of well established liberal and conservative code words and talking points which the left uses to trash the right's conservative agenda, policies, politicians, etc., and the right uses to trash the left's liberal agenda/policies, etc. -- all in an effort by both sides to convince America's mainstream voters that the "other" party's policies are the disease responsible for most of America's myriad of EFFS ills, while their own side's policies are the cure.

So embedded is this vocabulary -- along with liberalism's and conservatism's Hatfield and McCoy feud -- in our collective psyche that it is all but impossible for us to recognize that, in legislative terms, neither political/ideological (PI) agenda has ever truly solved more than a tiny fraction of our nation's major EFFS problems -- if even that.

That's because of two "21st century" general (read: very broad brushstroke) propositions:

  • Political ideologies/governing philosophies don't cause, create or exacerbate a democracy's EFFS problems, self-serving, politically ambitious legislators do.

  • Political ideologies/governing philosophies don't solve a democracy's EFFS problems, NON-self-serving, NON-politically ambitious legislators do.

Long story short, our PI-based vocabulary and talking points have effectively created a mile wide wedge between LOC and ROC voters over EFFS issues that should not be there. A wedge whose presence goes a long way toward explaining why both groups don't think twice about the fact that both of them keep Congress permanently filled with what they consider to be one of the most loathsome species on the planet: career politicians.

To make a large portion of that wedge simply disappear, our entire society must start exploring a number of never before explored thought experiments, which will give rise to a number of never before asked questions -- whose answers will open the floodgates to a number of new insights, especially re the democratic process.

For the time being, think of those never before explored thought experiments as 21st century thought experiments, those never before asked questions as 21st century questions, those new insights as 21st century insights, and the legislative policies our LOC and ROC voters would both wholeheartedly support as 21st century legislative policies.

Once a small dictionary of new, 21st century terms becomes part of the working vocabularies of our LOC and ROC voters, it will become obvious to both groups -- as you are about to find out -- that they are actually in almost 100% agreement on:

    • The legislative policies they want Congress to enact to solve our major EFFS problems.

    • The specific type of liberal Democratic and conservative Republican legislator-candidates they must start actively locating, aggressively recruiting – i.e., arm-twisting into running (mostly via social media) – and electing to Congress.

    • Their ultimate shared objective (and American democracy's holy grail):

      • a veto-proof, filibuster-proof Congress that is both capable of and eager to craft and enact those 21st century policies into law.

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the most important of the 21st century thought experiments*

* may qualify as the most thought provoking, most “new knowledge” spawning, and longest titled thought experiment of the 21st century.

The
U.S. Congress Consisting Of One Passionately Liberal Philosopher King
And One Passionately Conservative Philosopher Queen
Thought Experiment

(a.k.a., the Two PKQ Congress Thought Experiment).

To begin, let's imagine that America's voters wave a magic wand that instantly turns our two chamber, 535 seat Congress into a one chamber, two seat Congress – one seat permanently reserved for a passionately liberal philosopher king, the other for a passionately conservative philosopher queen.

Let's call them PKQ-caliber legislators, or PKQs for short.

IMPORTANT FYI:
the mirror opposite of a PKQ is a PAP: Politically Ambitious Politician

To make our PKQs even more exceptional, let's give both of them the intelligence of an Einstein, the wisdom of a Solomon, the compassion of a Mother Teresa, the pure logic of a Mr. Spock, the ingenuity of a MacGyver, the vision of a Steve Jobs, and the moral compass of a Martin Luther King, Jr.

We now have what Plato and others in history have called the most perfect or ideal form of government possible (given our species' many human flaws and shortcomings):

a benign dictatorship.

In this case, it's a benign co-dictatorship. One that issues its decrees in the form of legislation, jointly crafted by our co-dictator-legislators, which they then wisely assign our Executive Branch the responsibility of implementing and enforcing.

FYI: this is the Legislative/Executive Branch relationship our founders drafted into the Constitution, with the expressed intention that the President of the United States never become an Imperial President (which, fyi, is exactly what an unbroken chain of craven, responsibility-phobic, PAP-controlled U.S. Congresses allowed to happen starting a long, long time ago).

Back to our PKQs. For any legislation to become law, both of our PKQ-caliber legislator-dictators have to vote for it. And since one PKQ is passionately liberal while the other is passionately conservative, any legislation they craft must not offend either PKQ's ideological values or principles.

From this thought experiment, a number of questions come to mind:

1.

How many of America's major EFFS problems can our PKQ-controlled Congress solve with legislation that doesn't offend the ideals and principles of liberalism or conservatism?

Answer: Essentially, all of them, principally (but not solely) via a new legislative agenda and new category of legislation, whose main focus is systematically going through the tens of thousands of pieces of legislation enacted into law by all 116 current and past Congresses (= 230+ years) -- then, relying on hindsight, common sense, Einstein-level intelligence, Solomon-like wisdom, etc., removing every self-serving legislative provision inserted by every self-serving "politician" who has ever served in Congress -- which, fyi, is a lot of politicians.

For the time being, let's call these self-serving provisions: "dysfunctionalizing" legislative provisions (DLPs). At some point, it should start becoming apparent that DLPs, which one could reasonably estimate number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions -- PLUS the tens of thousands (?), hundreds of thousands (?) of bureaucratic rules and regulations that directly or indirectly were created as a result of the DLPs -- are responsible for dysfunctionalizing America's major systems: free market, healthcare, financial, public education, criminal justice, immigration, mental heath, etc.

FYI: there are a number of ways to think of DLPs. One example, think of each DLP as a tiny wrench thrown into the gears of one or more of our major systems. One tiny wrench, too small to notice. A million or more wrenches (= dysfunctionalized systems).

DLPs help explain where the lion's share of our major EFFS problems "come from" -- and also why so many of them seem so intractable, so impervious to (painless) legislative solutions.

The concept of DLPs opens the door to other 21st century insights as well -- for example, why our free market system isn't even remotely free, or fair -- inasmuch as DLPs are the means by which the last 230 years of self-serving PAPs in Congress have engaged in the wholesale practice of various forms of legalized cronyism -- i.e., government created and/or sanctioned favoritism -- e.g., special interest-, vested interest-, and political cronyism (e.g., patronage).

It's important to note that making our nation's free market system truly free and fair will not, in and of itself, rid America of all its EFFS problems. It is, after all, just one of many of our major systems in serious need of substantial repair by PKQ-caliber legislators (think: extensive "de-dysfunctionalization" agenda). But "optimizing" our economic system will get us well down the road to that highly desirable, easily achievable objective.

   
2.

How many of America's LOC and ROC voters will support this new legislative agenda?

Answer: Once they have a working knowledge of these new, 21st century terms and concepts, a reasonable estimate: 90-95+% of them.

   
3. Can a Congress permanently controlled by self-serving PAPs engaged in a never-ending, all-consuming, “all's fair in love and political war” struggle for power, much of it purely for power's sake, craft the same kind of de-dysfunctionalizing legislation our benign co-dictator-legislators would craft?

Answer: After hell freezes over, maybe. Before then, no.
   
4.

What might be the best and fastest way to develop the body of new, 21st century knowledge our society needs to go from being a "dystopian" democracy -- i.e., Congress permanently controlled by self-serving PAPs -- to a "neartopian" democracy -- i.e., Congress permanently controlled by selfless PKQs?

Answer: Get these new terms and concepts on everybody's radar and into their working vocabulary -- ASAP. Also, convince a small but critical mass of America's political scientists to become vocal advocates of a new sub-field in their discipline: Self-Governance Science (a.k.a., Comparative Self-Governance).



"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao Tzu

This thought experiment constitutes the first step in a journey that will move at a snail's pace until social media's movers and shakers start climbing on board -- at which point it will turn into one of the fastest thousand mile journeys in history.

 
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Political Science's status quo-destroying knowledge problem

One problem for our political scientists will be accepting the "21st century" premise that, in cause/effect terms, Congress has remained permanently controlled by two political factions of self-serving PAPs -- almost from the beginning of our nation's founding -- because of Political Science's "18th century" understanding of the way America's democratic process (DP) is supposed to work.

Namely (from the Introduction):

Our nation's political parties -- Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Constitutional, etc. -- recruit and elect their candidates for Congress' two chambers during the primary process phase of the National Legislative Election Process (NLEP). These candidates then go head-to-head in the General Election, with the winner going on to serve in the U.S. House or Senate.

Blaming our PAP-controlled Congresses on a "flawed" democratic process goes against the centuries-old conventional wisdom among our intelligentsia in academia and elsewhere that points the finger of blame at our voters -- or, rather, their flaws: apathy, naivete, gullibility, low intelligence, greed, etc.

While technically true (in a democracy the buck does stop with the voters), it is both more meaningful and instructive to place the salient blame on our intelligentsia, particularly our political scientists. They are the ones born with the intelligence, the thirst for knowledge, and the worldly wisdom that, hopefully, comes from having a fairly comprehensive knowledge of history -- especially the history of American politics, and the role political ambition, power-lust, demagoguery, etc. has played in corrupting our nation's legislative process.

Our political scientists made the conscious decision to become our society's both experts on and teachers of the democratic process. Presumably, that commitment extends to the academic imperative/obligation re new knowledge.

The "21th century" understanding of the way America's DP should work

With the benefit of hindsight, it's clear that it should have occurred to our political scientists a long time ago, certainly with the advent of mass media, that to "save" our democracy, the only thing they had to do was simply start teaching our nation's mainstream left- and right-of-center voters to assume the responsibility of actively locating, recruiting and electing PKQ-caliber liberal, conservative, etc. candidates -- in our 435 congressional and 50 Senate (principally, Democratic and Republican) primaries.

Their collective shortsightedness is best illustrated by the following graphic.

Political Science's "vision" problem in a nutshell...

 

Our political scientists' academic imperative
re Self-Governance Science

Every American should know by the fourth grade why Self-Governance Science is key to a democracy's health -- and, by the sixth grade, be able to have a coherent discussion on the "Fundamental ANI Truth of Self-Governance"

The Fundamental ANI* Truth of Self-Governance
* Apolitical/Non-Ideological

So long as Congress' major political factions are continually dominated and controlled by self-serving politicians whose political careers and/or the acquisition of power are far more important to them than doing what is in the best interest of the nation, it will not matter how well-meaning the politicians are, or which party controls the U.S. House or Senate in any given election cycle. In the long run, America's myriad of EFFS problems will, if anything, only grow worse.

However, if the reins of power in Congress begin to be continually wielded by a steady supply of highly capable legislators who (relatively speaking) don't have a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body, it will not matter which party controls the U.S. House or Senate in any given election cycle -- America's myriad of EFFS problems will get solved, largely via legislation that is:

    1. neither "liberal" nor "conservative," and

    2. strongly supported by large majorities of America's liberals, moderates, conservatives, libertarians and social democrats.

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"Power is such a dangerous thing that ideally it should be wielded by people who don't want to use power, who would rather be doing something else, but who are willing to serve a certain number of years as a one-time duty, preferably at the end of a career doing something else."

Thomas Sowell [boldface and underline added]

 

 

The new terms and their definitions you will
need to make sense of the graphics that follow:

PKQ-caliber candidate:
(or PKQ for short)......

the best possible liberal, conservative, etc. candidate voters can elect to Congress -- one who is highly capable, but equally important, does not have (relatively speaking) a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.

FYI: the absolute worst possible candidate voters could elect to the House or Senate is a self-serving, politically ambitious "politician" (PAP).

Dystopian democracy:
(or dystopic democracy)
a democracy/constitutional republic (CR) whose national legislature stays permanently controlled by (mostly well-meaning) PAPs engaged in a never-ending struggle for political power, much of it purely for power's sake..
Neartopian democracy:
(or neartopic democracy)
a democracy/CR whose national legislature stays permanently controlled by PKQ-caliber legislators.
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USING GRAPHICAL METAPHORS TO ILLUSTRATE POLITICAL SCIENCE'S SHORTCOMING

... AND THE SOLUTION:

 

GRAPHICAL METAPHOR #1

 

GRAPHICAL METAPHOR #2

 

GRAPHICAL METAPHOR #3

 

GRAPHICAL METAPHOR #4

 
 
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RE: THE MINION GRAPHIC

The fact that our young minion friend immediately grasps what has been impossible for America's intelligentsia, but especially our political scientists, to see these many decades easily qualifies as the greatest mystery in the fields of both political science and civics instruction. And, of course, begs the question: why?

My theory is intellectual hubris.

What began as an academic debate between political philosophers several hundred years ago over which governing philosophy, liberalism or conservatism, accomplishes the greatest good for the greatest number of people...

...eventually deteriorated into today's "my political ideology is better than your political ideology" intellectual urinating contest among and between our liberal and conservative elite in academia, think tanks, media, etc. That contest is presently so strong that, if it produced an odor, our universities and think tanks (and cable news networks) would reek with the stench of urine.

At some point in our history (my layman's guess, around the time of FDR's New Deal), Congress' self-serving PAPs "weaponized" these two governing philosophies. Meaning they co-opted the intellectual debate and turned it into the single most powerful (by far) demagogic weapon a PAP could possess.

Their pitch to voters became:

"Elect me and my party to Congress because policies based on my side's (morally superior) political ideology are the only way to "cure" America's EFFS ills. While policies based on the other side's political ideology aren't just incapable of solving our problems. In many cases they are the "diseases" responsible for causing our problems in the first place."

Our (Democratic and Republican) PAPs' demagogic narratives -- both of which were echoed by their respective cliques of "faithful believers" in academia, media, think tanks, Hollywood, etc. -- worked exceptionally well because, as the years progressed, the calculus/thought process for an increasing number of our nation's voters -- both unintelligent and intelligent, uninformed and well informed, greedy and non-greedy, etc. -- became:

better to vote for the loathsome, self-serving politician who supports policies that will cure America's EFFS ills than vote for the likeable, NON-self-serving NON-politician who supports polices that will make America's EFFS problems, if anything, worse.

You might say that's when liberalism and conservatism (as governing philosophies) became full blown, zero sum, good ideology vs. evil ideology religions.

 

With the result that this is what our voters have become...

 

 

If only...

...our political thinkers back in the 18th century had made it a point to emphasize a profoundly more important apolitical/non-ideological (ANI) truth...

Had our nation's best and brightest acted upon this (self-evident) ANI truth as recently as a few short decades ago, today:

  1. An entire sub-field of new, self-governance-based knowledge would now exist in political science,

  2. Every American would know by the fourth grade what competent self-governance meant -- and by the sixth grade, how to practice democracy competently, or effectively,

  3. Congress would not be broken, i.e., controlled by self-serving (and fiscally irresponsible, unaccountable, responsibility-phobic, demagogic, etc.) "politicians,"

  4. America would not be drowning in EFFS problems, and

  5. America's ~ 140 million left- and right-of-center voters voters would be acutely aware of their shared ANI objectives, and the "Voter's Rule of Thumb"

 

 

Key takeaway: Better late than never.

Our political science and civics educators should get to work, ASAP, exploring what they will quickly discover is an entire continent of new knowledge. And their incentive for beginning this exploration (beyond pursuing knowledge for its own sake): the certain knowledge that successfully teaching our voters a new "self-governance" skill, competent self-governance, will be infinitely easier to accomplish than trying to get our nation's self-serving PAPs to start putting the needs of their nation before their political careers.

 

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A Very Important Question

Q: How can a Congress controlled by "amateurs" -- i.e., not "professional" or career politicians -- run a nation as large and complex as America?

A: First, the PKQ-caliber legislator-candidates that America's liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, etc. voters will be identifying, recruiting and electing to Congress will not be "amateurs." As a group, PKQs will be among the most intelligent, most educated -- most knowledgeable -- and most accomplished members of our society.

FYI: they will NOT be, as some might fear, erudite academicians who will rule from high atop Mt. Olympus, divorced from the reality of everyday life; blindly indifferent to the daily plight of the unwashed masses. The average voter, unwashed or otherwise, wouldn't give such people the time of day, much less recruit them to run for our national legislature.

PKQs will also have what no other generation before us has had: the sum total of all human knowledge at their fingertips (or, rather, their smartphones). And the help of IBM's Watson, Alexa, Siri and other forms of artificial intelligence to help them make sense of it all.

Our PKQs will also have a wealth of human knowledge, experience, wisdom, expertise, etc. at their disposal -- in our federal agencies, our many think tanks in Washington and around the country, our universities, Silicon Valley, our business sector, etc.

Next, it should be abundantly clear that Congress doesn't "run" America. Our nation is "run" by tens of millions of Americans distributed throughout:

  • dozens of major federal agencies
  • 50 fully functioning state governments
  • thousands of county, city and other government bodies, and
  • millions of:
    • businesses
    • community and social organizations
    • school boards, churches
    • charities, etc.

More importantly, it is precisely because PKQs are not professional, or career, politicians (i.e., self-serving and politically ambitious) that when they are in control of America's national legislature they will be able to govern our nation, collectively, with the:

      • wisdom of a Solomon,
      • intelligence of an Einstein,
      • logic of a Mr. Spock,
      • compassion of a Mother Teresa,
      • moral compass of a Martin Luther King, Jr.
      • ingenuity of a MacGyver
      • vision of a Steve Jobs
      • common sense of a Mark Twain

In my view, this is yet another example of a self-governance knowledge that every American of voting age -- along with everyone who will soon be of voting age -- should possess.

 

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IMPORTANT FYI: the fear that Washington's professional bureaucrats -- because they know how to run things -- will end up running the show with PKQ-controlled Congresses = 18th century thinking.

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“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

“Change your language and you change your thoughts.”
Karl Albrecht

 

interesting FYI

If America's 140 million voters had the ability to sit down around a giant kitchen table in order to discuss among themselves -- and only among themselves -- how to "cure" their diseased Congress, diseased politics and diseased democracy, the table would be approximately twice Earth's circumference.

 

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IMPORTANT FYI

There should be a great deal of debate among our political scientists (and a protracted national discussion among our voters and media) over the wisdom of electing lawyers to Congress because of their inherent conflict of interest -- i.e.,

  • more laws = more work for lawyers;
  • fewer laws = less work for lawyers;
  • simple, straightforward, commonsense laws = fewer lawsuits = less need for lawyers;
  • complex, convoluted laws = more lawsuits = greater need for lawyers.

 

 

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re. America's political role models

What most stands out about essentially all of Congress' PAPs -- even the most well-meaning of them -- isn't pretty.

  • They are skilled in the art of demagoguery.
  • They pander to their base.
  • They are adept at avoiding responsibility for bad/unpopular outcomes and quick to take credit for good/popular outcomes.
  • Given the size of our national debt, and annual budget deficits, it is obvious that, with rare exception, PAPs are fiscally irresponsible and blatantly unaccountable.
  • PAPs resort to personal attacks, questioning the other side's honesty, integrity, motives, agenda, etc. if it is politically expedient for them to do so.
    • especially the case if their re-election is in jeopardy
  • When questioned by reporters, PAPs have no qualms about:
    • pointing the finger of blame at anyone and everyone except themselves,
    • not answering questions that might reflect negatively on them,
    • obfuscating, e.g., providing such mangled answers that no one knows what they said or meant.

Our nation's children and students grow up watching PAPs act like, well, PAPs -- i.e., finger pointing, quick to blame, bloviating, pompous, etc. Equally damaging, our youngest minds watch our PAPs' armies of true believers (and well-paid believers) in cable news, academia, national media, think tanks, Hollywood, etc. viscously belittling and disparaging the "other" sides' policies, motives, integrity, etc.

As a result, our children and students naturally assume that, contrary to what their parents, teachers, etc. may be preaching to them, this is "normal" behavior for people who disagree with each other on issues large and small.

The harmful (direct and indirect) ripple effects of this are almost impossible to calculate.

Suffice to say, a good case can be made that our nation's overall social behavior, attitudes, value systems, "character," etc. are all extremely unhealthy -- or diseased -- thanks to the unethical behavior and actions of literally generations of unethical PAPs in our nation's national legislature.

That's why, as a society, we are profoundly more:

    rude... crude... loud... greedy... envious... dishonest... angry... resentful... judgmental... self righteous... etc.

...and profoundly less:

thoughtful... conscientious... respectful... principled... courteous... peaceful... generous... civil... altruistic... resourceful... stoic... goal oriented... civic-minded... community focused... etc.

...than we would otherwise be.

Of course, what that also means is that when America's 535 role models are selfless, PKQ-caliber legislators, we will find our society -- especially our children -- quickly emulating the behavior of PKQ-caliber legislators.

Meaning they will quickly become profoundly LESS:

    rude... crude... loud... greedy... envious... dishonest... angry... resentful... judgmental... self righteous... etc.

...and profoundly MORE:

thoughtful... conscientious... respectful... principled... courteous... peaceful... generous... civil... altruistic... resourceful... stoic... goal oriented... civic-minded... community focused... etc.

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The science of self-governance is "radical" science,
but it is not rocket science.

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important acronyms:

ANI: apolitical/non-ideological

CTG: capacity to govern (as in CTG rating)

EFFS: economic, financial, fiscal & societal

NLEP: national legislative election process

PI: political/ideological

POM: purity of motive (as in POM rating)

 

additional terms/definitions:
(working definitions)

ANI-based legislative policy formulation process (see systems optimization)

Competent Self-Governance: the ability of voters to keep their national legislature filled with legislators who can keep their nation as free of major economic, financial, fiscal and societal problems as it is possible to be.

De-dysfunctionalizing legislation (see optimizing legislation)

Dysfunctionalizing legislation: any legislation that contains one or more provisions (hereafter referred to as, dysfunctionalizing provisions), or is written in its entirety, to advance the self-serving interests of the PAPs crafting the legislation.

FYI: dysfunctionalizing legislation is how America's myriad of systems, e.g.,

  • free market system
  • federal tax system
  • financial system
  • healthcare system
  • public education system
  • criminal justice system
  • mental health system
  • etc.

...become infected, or diseased, by political-, special interest- and vested interest cronyism.

Incompetent Self-Governance: the inability of voters to keep their national legislature filled with legislators who can keep their nation as free of major economic, financial, fiscal and societal problems as it is possible to be.

One Objective Voting Strategy: voters use the NLEP to achieve one objective: decide which political party controls the U.S. House and Senate.

Optimizing legislation: legislation whose purpose is to make one of America's systems operate at its maximum effectiveness, efficiency, health, strength, etc.

POM rating: the score a potential candidate for Congress receives which rates their purity of motive based on a list of relevant, objective factors (to be determined at a later date).

Self-Serving Legislative Provisions (SSLPs): provisions inserted into legislation for self-serving reasons.

Shared ANI Objectives: objectives that voters of every political and ideological stripe want to see Congress achieve via ANI legislation, i.e., legislation that is neither liberal nor conservative, Democratic or Republican -- e.g., optimized free market system, optimized financial system, optimized healthcare system, etc.

Systems Optimization: the primarily (ANI-based) legislative formulation process used by PKQs to insure that America's major systems operate: 1) free of all forms of government created or sanctioned cronyism, and 2) at their maximum possible health, strength, efficiency, effectiveness, etc.

Systems Optimization and Integration: the seamless integration esp. of systems whose principle responsibility is providing for the welfare and wellbeing of society's least able, least capable, lowest marketable skills, etc..

Two Objective Voting Strategy: voters use the NLEP to achieve two objectives:

1. Decide in the primary process which type of Democratic, Republican, etc. candidates will face each other in the General election: PAPs or PKQ-caliber.

2. Decide in the general election which political party will control the U.S. House and Senate.

 
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ABOUT

Name: Montie Rainey
Profession: Retired, advocate of Self-Governance Science
Education: BS, Mathematics and Computer Science
(University of Illinois at Chicago, 1984)
Misc:

Opinion columnist, The Jackson Sun
(2005-2010)

Contact:

 

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