SelfGovernanceScience.com 21stCenturyCivics.com 535PKQs.com

535: number of voting members in Congress

PKQ: Philosopher King/Queen

 

Three domain names...
One necessity-driven idea "whose time has come."

SELF-GOVERNANCE SCIENCE

 
 

Unofficial launch date: May 4, 2019

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NOTE: re de Tocqueville's reference to "superior men."

In 21st century America, a "superior" man or woman should be understood to be a highly capable individual who is the mirror opposite of a self-serving "politician." Meaning, someone who (relatively speaking) does not have a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.

 

June 6, 2019

 

A brief overview of a new, course-of-history changing field of study

 

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
Albert Einstein
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The course-of-history changing question before you:

Is it time for America's political scientists to create a new subfield, Self-Governance Science, in their discipline?

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important acronyms
EFFS: economic, financial, fiscal and societal

PAP: politically ambitious politician

While there is no formal definition for this new science, yet, for now it can be described as the field of study whose focus will be developing the body of "instructive" knowledge that America's approximately 140 million left-of-center (LOC) and right-of-center (ROC) voters need to solve their existential level self-governance problem -- namely:

They know how to elect/re-elect liberal Democratic and conservative Republican PAPs 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 identify, recruit and elect liberal Democratic and conservative Republican non-PAPs who can.


NLEP: National Legislative Election Process
POM: purity of motive

Clearly, the idea that a significant number of America's voters not only could but would willingly learn how to start using social media and other 21st century "self-governance knowledge tools" to routinely identify, successfully recruit and elect passionately liberal Democrats and passionately conservative Republicans to Congress who possess the requisite POM needed to actually solve essentially ALL of our nation's major EFFS problems -- and do it regardless of which party is in the majority in either chamber -- is a mind boggling idea to say the least.

Some of America's major EFFS problems

  • multigenerational cycle of "inner city" poverty, crime, violence, gangs, anti-social behavior, etc.,
  • prohibitively expensive:
    • healthcare system
    • higher education system,
  • crumbling infrastructure,
  • structural federal deficits,
  • unsustainable level of national debt,
  • the steady, massive influx of illegal/undocumented immigrants,
  • growing tribalism:
    • political
    • cultural
    • racial
    • socioeconomic,
  • etc.

Fortunately, that fact that this idea is mind boggling is great news: those are the kind that have gotten our species to where we are.

Least we forget, there was a time when the idea that Earth was round and spinning at a thousand miles an hour on its surface was mind boggling. As was the idea (up until the mid to late 19th century) that infections -- from the common cold to gangrene to the host of plagues that routinely killed people by the millions -- were NOT due to our body's four major fluids falling out of their proper balance (i.e., the Four Humours Theory of Medicine). Rather (as impossible as it was to imagine at the time), they were due to microscopically small organisms we know today as germs, viruses, bacteria, etc.

FYI: even the brightest medical minds on the planet initially ridiculed our modern Germ Theory as a silly idea/theory because it overturned two thousand plus years of established medical orthodoxy, i.e., the Four Humours Theory.

In the course of exploring this new science's key concepts it will become apparent that there is a striking parallel between medical science's flawed understanding of medicine in the 18th century, i.e., based on the Four Humours Theory, and political science's current "18th century" understanding of the political process, particularly the NLEP.

Political Science has an outdated, severely flawed understanding of the NLEP because it is rooted in the view that:

  1. "politics" is bloodless war between factions of politicians over limited resources, and
  2. legislative elections are bloodless battles between groups of voters, e.g., opposing constituency and special interest groups, over which political party gets to control the legislative agenda and purse strings (read: spoils of war).

That "18th century" political orthodoxy explains why:

  1. America's 140 million voters only know how to use the NLEP to accomplish one (political/ideological) objective: decide which political party will control the U.S. House and Senate -- rather than use the NLEP to also accomplish a second, manifestly more important, apolitical/non-ideological objective: insure that the D's and R's fielded in the parties' primaries, then elected in the General Election, have the "purity of motive" needed to solve America's myriad of EFFS problems -- no matter which party controls either chamber.

  2. Today's political scientists have amassed over two centuries of knowledge re how politics is practiced in Congress, and the kind of legislation produced by that process, when Congress' political factions are overwhelmingly dominated and controlled by the worst possible kind of legislators a free society's voters can elect to their national legislature: self-serving politicians.
    Yet are clueless about how politics would (and should) be practiced -- and the kind of legislation that would be produced by the process -- if Congress' political parties were permanently dominated and controlled by the best possible kind of legislators a free society's voters can elect to their national legislature: a democracy's version of philosopher kings and queens, i.e.,

highly capable individuals who, relatively speaking, don't have a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.

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"If you want something you've never had, you must be willing
to do something you've never done."
Thomas Jefferson

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The Necessary First Step:

Creating the lexicon of new terms that will form the conceptual
building blocks of a "21st century" political orthodoxy

The following is a partial list of terms associated with and/or derived from the worst vs. best possible kinds of legislators a free society's voters can elect to their national legislature.

WORST POSSIBLE: PAP (for politically ambitious politician)

Definition: a legislator who, no matter how well meaning he or she may be, cares considerably more about such things as:

  • their political career,
  • the many perks and privileges that come with national elected office,
  • political power (much of it purely for power's sake)
... than they care about doing what is in the best interest of their nation.

    BEST POSSIBLE: PKQ (for philosopher king/queen)

    Definition: a highly capable and demonstrably selfless legislator who:

    1. is not a "politician,"
    2. does not want to be a politician,
    3. has absolutely no desire to make a career in politics, but
    4. is serving in the national legislature for a few years as "a one-time [civic] duty" -- and only a few years -- because he or she and the voters both understand just how easily political power, especially at the national level, can corrupt even the best of us.

Here are two new terms for the worst vs. best U.S. Congress the American people can have.

  • WORST POSIBLE: PAP-controlled Congress
  • BEST POSSIBLE: PKQ-controlled Congress

And the worst vs. best democracy (constitutional republic for you sticklers) America can be.

  • WORST POSIBLE: PAP-governed democracy
    • a.k.a., dystopian democracy

  • BEST POSSIBLE: PKQ-governed democracy
    • a.k.a., neartopian democracy

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    The Necessary Second Step:

Destroying the myths that have grown up around
Liberalism and Conservatism

One of Self-Governance Science's greatest contributions to humanity will be debunking the major political/ideological (PI) myth that says, as a practical matter there are only two legislative agendas (which, fyi, exist in a zero-sum relationship) that Congress can realistically pursue to "solve" one or more of America's myriad of major EFFS problems:

  1. The conservative/libertarian agenda:
    • employs "free market" solutions.
    • rooted in the belief that reducing the size, scope and power of the federal government is the best way to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
    • places a higher value on protecting individual freedom than achieving economic/social justice.
  2. The liberal/progressive agenda:
    • employs "government" solutions.
    • rooted in the belief that increasing (when and where necessary) the size, scope and/or power of the federal government is the best way to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
    • places a higher value on achieving economic/social justice than protecting individual freedom.

It is because of the PI Myth that:

  • a significant number of America's LOC voters believe liberalism is morally superior to conservatism -- and therefore, by extension, liberals are morally superior to conservatives. While a significant number of America's ROC voters believe just the opposite: conservatism is morally superior to liberalism -- and therefore, by extension, conservatives are morally superior to liberals.

  • Liberals generally place blame for America's many problems on all things conservative -- conservative values, conservative policies, conservative legislation, conservative politicians, etc. Using a medical metaphor, liberals are inclined to see conservatism as the disease responsible for America's major ills, while liberalism is the cure. While conservatives are equally sincere and passionate in their belief that the lion's share of America's current spate of problems can be traced back to all things liberal -- liberal values, liberal policies, liberal legislation, liberal politicians, etc. Which means it is liberalism that is the disease responsible for America's major ills, while conservatism is the cure.

The PI Myth is responsible for the fact that the rule of thumb in the General Election:

  • for liberal/democratic voters is: Better to elect a self-serving, politically ambitious liberal "politician" to Congress than a conservative who doesn't have (relatively speaking) a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.
  • for conservative/republican voters is: Better to elect a self-serving, politically ambitious conservative "politician" to Congress than a liberal who doesn't have (relatively speaking) a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.

 

USEFUL DEFINITION

PI ignorance: belief in one of the above PI myths, and their variants, because of a lack of new, "21st century" self-governance knowledge.

USEFUL ANALOGY: Just as medical ignorance explains why primitive man did not know how to prevent, protect against or cure infections and infectious diseases -- and probably blamed evil spirits (read: evil ideology) for causing them in the first place -- PI ignorance ultimately explains a great many things, for example, why:

  • Our best and brightest liberal minds believe that the only way democratic voters can achieve such liberal objectives as social and economic justice is via a Democratic controlled Congress implementing a "liberal" legislative agenda.

  • Our best and brightest conservative minds, and voters, believe that the only way republican and libertarian voters can achieve such conservative objectives as protecting individual freedom, and limiting the size, scope and power of the federal government, is via a Republican controlled Congress implementing a "conservative" legislative agenda.

Because of PI ignorance, there is a mile wide wedge between LOC and ROC voters that should not be there over the legislative agenda Congress' liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans should be pursuing to solve:

    1. Liberalism's economic/social injustice problems,
    2. Conservatism's individual freedom, size/scope/power of federal government problems, and
    3. America's major EFFS problems.

Because of PI ignorance, America's LOC and ROC voters do not know that only a PKQ-controlled Congress can solve America's major EFFS problems -- and solve them no matter which party is in power in either chamber in a given election cycle -- by aggressively pursing a legislative agenda that: 1) is neither liberal nor conservative, and 2) will be strongly supported by large majorities of both LOC and ROC voters.

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.

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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]

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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 (and suffers from an excess of unavoidable redundancy).

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
  • several graphics
  • a lexicon of working 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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The Necessary Third Step:

Tossing Political Science's 18th century political orthodoxy
in the trash bin of terrible ideas

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, practicing medicine with animal bones and magical chants, etc.

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

As has already been alluded, 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.

One way to illustrate a major aspect of the problem that needs fixing is with the following graphic:

 

Long story short, if today's political scientists want to be instrumental in fixing, improving, saving, etc. America's democracy, they "must be willing to do something [they've] never done."

Abandon their 18th century political orthodoxy -- because its outdated understanding of the NLEP is directly responsible for voters using the "2 Phase" NLEP -- and begin teaching our society's students and voters what a "3 Phase" NLEP is, and how to use it to keep Congress continually replenished with highly capable liberal D's and conservative R's who, relatively speaking, don't have a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body.

    2 Phase NLEP

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 the 2 Phase 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 will result in America's voters knowing HOW, and equally important, WHY they should start keeping Congress continually replenished with "PKQ-caliber" legislators.

3 Phase NLEP

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key observation for political scientists (and others)

You are now "armed" with the knowledge needed to tell America's 140 million voters:

  • "If you want to continue electing liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans to Congress who can't solve America's major EFFS problems, continue using the 2 Phase NLEP."

  • "If you want to start electing liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans to Congress who can solve America's major EFFS problems, start using the 3 Phase NLEP."

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IF
KNOWLEDGE =
POWER

THEN
new KNOWLEDGE = new POWER
new, self-governance KNOWLEDGE = new, self-governance POWER

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Self-Governance Science will develop 21st century apolitical/non-ideological
truths
which will destroy "18th century" political/ideological myths
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Making the transition from a 2 Phase to 3 Phase NLEP 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, PI-based 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 are liberalism's and conservatism's code words and talking points in our collective psyche -- along with the daily, soap opera drama of their neverending Hatfield and McCoy feud -- 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, as has already been pointed out, 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(?)/hundreds(?) of thousands of pages 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 system
  • healthcare system
  • financial system
  • public education system
  • criminal justice system
  • mental heath system
  • immigration system
  • 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 "new knowledge" problem

One problem for our political scientists will be accepting the "21st century" premise that, in cause/effect terms, the Two Phase NLEP bears manifestly greater responsibility for our broken Congress, broken politics, broken democracy, and myriad of major EFFS problems, than our voters -- or, rather, their flaws: apathy, naivete, gullibility, low intelligence, greed, etc. -- which is what the centuries-old conventional wisdom among our intelligentsia in academia and elsewhere holds.

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.

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 tart teaching our nation's mainstream left- and right-of-center voters how to keep Congress continuously replenished with a steady supply of liberals, moderates, conservatives, etc. who weren't self-serving PAPs.

 

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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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 "fix" their broken Congress, broken politics and broken 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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useful 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 EFFS problems as it is possible to be.

De-dysfunctionalizing legislation (see optimizing legislation)

Dysfunctionalizing Legislative Provision (DLP): a provision inserted into a piece of legislation to advance the self-serving interests of the legislator.

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

FYI: two plus centuries of dysfunctionalizing legislation accounts for 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.

...have 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 or more of America's systems operate at its/their 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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