07 December 2009

If you could make a science of society

This is cross-posted from The Jacksonian Party.

What would a science of society look like?

This may seem a rather odd question, but it is one that has been knocking around with me for awhile. We talk of liberty, freedom and equality as subjects, things we do, and as objects, things we desire, and yet they must have a positive value to us for us to value them so highly in both regards. What are these things and how does our society allow us to manifest them in the way we do? And just how strong are they? What are their limits?

We have many works that examine these things from the theoretical or hypothetical side, that is as descriptive works, but very few of the empirical sort, that is placing actual numbers and definitions to these things to allow for measurements to be derived. If you do hand-waving and theory then you are working out definitions, but definitions that measure nothing or are relative in nature only, leave little to work with when trying to find out the magnitude of interactions. With that said, measurements and their attached meanings derive from definitions, and so that is the place to start.

From die.net, the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) definition of liberty:


n 1: immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence [syn: autonomy]

2: freedom of choice: "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes"

3: personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression

4: leave granted to a sailor or naval officer [syn: shore leave]

5: an act of undue intimacy [syn: familiarity, impropriety, indecorum]

When we think of liberty we most commonly think of 1-3, that concept of being free from servitude or the arbitrary exercise of authority over us, and the ability to use freedom to make choices. Having liberty, then, is the free will exercise of one's ability to choose to do certain activities or think without restraint.

Again from die.net, same source, this on freedom:


n 1: the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints

2: immunity from an obligation or duty [syn: exemption]

When we have liberty available to us, we are free. When we are not permitted liberty we are not free and are not in a state of freedom.

Once again, same source and die.net to help, this time equality:


n 1: the quality of being the same in quantity or measure or value or status [ant: inequality]

2: a state of being essentially equal or equivalent: "on a par with the best" [syn: equivalence, par]

For us this is the concept of equality within society, of no man having more or less privilege than any other man. Thus our concept of being treated equally under the law is one that we enshrine and when we move from equal treatment we no longer treat individuals as equals.

The base state of man is to have perfect liberty, perfect freedom and perfect equality.

That is the state of man without any restraint upon him, with perfect ability to do anything with impunity save for the direct repercussions of the act itself. In that state all men are equal, save for differences in size, strength and cunning. There are no bonds upon man in this state of being, no holds upon him, no accountability save the direct and immediate sort. In its purest form this is man in the State of Nature and answering only to Natural Law.

Here I will use Bracton on the Laws and Customs of England at the Harvard Law School Library (attributed to Henry of Bratton) as the basic guide for our understanding of Natural Law:

What natural law is.

[019] 21Natural law is defined in many ways. It may first be said to denote a certain
[020] instinctive impulse arising out of animate nature by which individual living things
[021] are led to act in certain ways. Hence it is thus defined: Natural law is that which
[022] nature, that is, God himself, taught all living things. The word ‘quod’ is then in
[023] the accusative case and the word ‘natura’ in the nominative. On the other hand,
[024] it may be said that the word ‘quod’ is in the nominative case, so that the definition
[025] will be this: Natural law is that taught all living things by nature, that is, by
[026] natural instinct. The word ‘natura’ will then be in the ablative case.
22 This is what
[027] is meant when we say that our first instinctive impulses are not under our control,
[028] but our second impulses are. That is why, if a matter proceeds only as far as simple
[029] sensual pleasure, not beyond, only a venial sin is committed. But if it proceeds
[030] farther, to the contriving of something, as where one puts into practice what he
[031] has shamefully thought, it will then be called a third impulse and a mortal sin is
[032] committed.
23 And note that for the reason that justice is will, taking into account
[033] rational beings only, natural law is impulse, regard being had to

[001] all creatures, rational and irrational. There are some who say that neither will nor
[002] impulse may be called jus, jus naturale or jus gentium, for they exist in [the realm of]
[003] fact; will or impulse are the means by which natural law or justice disclose or manifest
[004] their effect, for virtues and jura exist in the soul.
24 This perhaps is said more clearly,
[005] that natural law is a certain due which nature allows to each man. Natural law is also
[006] said to be the most equitable law, since it is said that erring minors are to be restored
[007] in accordance with [natural] equity.

Mathematically this is the Ground State of Man, although there will be some provisos in that and a few things granted us by the Law of Nature and our inheritance as a species. Those changes, however, are 'built-in' and instinctual, just as the desire for perfect liberty is part of all animals so we, too, have that desire. Thus these things we get from our background and history as a species are part of the Ground State of Man (GSM). A Ground State can have many values, depending on what is measured, but for simplicity's sake we can set that at Zero.

GSM = 0

With the package of being human we get an affinity to form personal bonds and family groups, and yet many animals also have this as instinct, so we cannot say we are special from Nature due to this trait. What we do have is conscious control over the exercise of it, and in that we can say that this adapted behavior (personal bonds) can be exploited as an aptation to other things. A shellfish may not have control over the colors that its shell gains (and many don't) but when a predisposition towards coloration also gains a benefit, that trait is then one that is used as an aptation: it is not there due to survival characteristics, but may help to enhance survival just the same.

To us this personal bond capability that we get via instinct can be used to further our survival beyond what Nature has provided for. That aptation is part of the GSM. Our ability to consciously use it, and as members of homo sapiens sapiens that comes part and parcel of our heritage, is also part of the GSM, although a distinction with a difference that sets us apart from other species. That distinction is neither a plus nor a minus in moving from the GSM, but has been bestowed upon us by Providence from Nature.

When we consciously choose who is our mate, and then when we choose by that decision to restrict our activities towards that mate, we then start doing something different than Nature has provided. While we may have instincts to stop us from doing harm to that mate, that does not stop such things in a sovereign way in Nature: Natural Law over-rides even that bond if the need for survival precludes it. Thus if threatened with death or injury, a being may offer up its mate to fate to survive and while it would instinctually feel loss that is only due to the absence of the mate, not the decision itself. Once we move to actually self-sacrificing for that mate, to preclude not only other pleasures but to withstand pain and even death for that mate to survive, we create something wholly new. This is Bracton on that topic:

What the jus gentium is.

[017] 33The jus gentium is the law which men of all nations use, which falls short of
[018] natural law since that is common to all animate things born on the earth in the
[019] sea or in the air. From it comes the union of man and woman, entered into by the
[020] mutual consent of both, which is called marriage. Mere physical union is [in the
[021] realm] of fact and cannot properly be called jus since it is corporeal and may be
[022] seen;
34 all jura are incorporeal and cannot be seen. From that same law there
[023] also
35 comes the procreation and rearing of children. The jus gentium is common
[024] to men alone, as religion observed toward God, the duty of submission to parents
[025] and country, or the right to repel violence and injuria. For it is by virtue of this
[026] law that whatever a man does in defence of his own person he is held to do lawfully;
[027] since nature makes us all in a sense akin to one another it follows that for one to
[028] attack another is forbidden.

What manumission is.

[030] 37Manumissions also come from the jus gentium. Manumission is the giving of
[031] liberty, that is, the revelation of liberty, according to some, for liberty, which
[032] proceeds from the law of

[001] nature, cannot be taken away by the jus gentium but only obscured by it,38 for
[002] natural rights are immutable. But say that he who manumits does properly give
[003] liberty, though he does not give his own but another's, for one may give what he
[004] does not have, as is apparent in the case of a creditor, who [may alienate a pledge
though the thing is not his,39 and in that of one who] constitutes a usufruct in his
[006] property.
40 For natural rights are said to be immutable because they cannot be
[007] abrogated or taken away completely, though they may be restricted or diminished
[008] in kind
41 or in part. 42It was by virtue of this jus gentium that wars were introduced
[009] (that is, when declared
43 by the prince for the defence of his country44 or to repel
[010] an attack) and nations separated, kingdoms established and rights of ownership
[011] distinguished. Individual ownership was not effected de novo by the jus gentium but
[012] existed of old, for in the Old Testament things were already mine and thine, theft
[013] was prohibited
45 and it was decreed that one not retain his servant's wages.46 By
[014] the jus gentium boundaries were set to holdings, buildings erected next to one
[015] another, from which cities, boroughs and vills were formed.
47 And generally, the
[016] jus gentium is the source of all contracts
48 and of many other things. What long
[017] custom is will be explained below.

This thing we create is the law of nations and the first and greatest hallmark of it is that protection of others and NOT starting a war on one's own. Self-defense of that most basic bond we decide to form is immutable and a positive liberty. To wage war that endangers it on one's own is a negative liberty. Thus we get the next two parts of how we measure things:

  1. Positive Liberty of War - Self-Defense which we keep to ourselves as an inborn liberty and right. Thus PL(W) = +1.
  2. Negative Liberty of War - The offensive war against others is something that is still within us, but we vest it into society. Thus NL(W) = -1.

We get both of these from the GSM. Each value is your entire liberty in each sub-area.

Thus GSM = PL(W) + NL(W) = 0

This changes our Liberty Index (LIB), that measure of our Liberty with regards to the GSM, which has a neutral value. LIB is therefore the measure of Liberty with respect to the GSM. Each individual will experience Liberty differently, that is part of our nature, yet we each have a maximal amount of Liberty available to us and that maximal amount is absolute: no one gains more than what Nature provides. We may create different venues for expression, but those venues are, themselves, expression of our Liberty available under Natural Law. Thus we may not be able to conceive of ourselves utilizing full Liberty or experiencing it, which is subjective, but that we have it is self-evident with all men being born equal in potential.

Our Individual Liberty: LIB(I) = PL(W) = +1

Our Society's Liberty which is vested in the organ of society we call Government: LIB(G) = NL(W) = -1

For us to be safe from NL(W) we must have society and its organs to govern it, and that allows us the ability to defend ourselves freely using our positive liberty to do so. For this to be done there must be an agreement by ALL individuals in the society to do this, or else we are all put at peril to the individual's whim. Thus we grant freedom to each other to not be fearful of war of man upon man and we, through that vestment of it in society with that negative liberty, increase our positive liberty.

Another division is seen with restraint of actions, and this is also one that divides into a positive and negative liberty.

  1. Positive Liberty of Restraint - Self-restraint, the ability to check one's own actions with regards to our fellow man. PL(R) = +1.
  2. Negative Liberty of Restraint - Restraining others for our own wishes or to enact our own desires, which harms society. NL(R) = -1

The Negative Liberty of Restraint is handed to society and its organ called government so as to allow it to restrain others that would endanger society. Thus we now have more positive liberty, even if we no longer have perfect freedom:

LIB(I) = PL(W) + PL(R) = +2

LIB(G) = NL(W) + NL(R) = -2

This formulation, while not done with math, is described in a way that we can understand it:

Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher.

That from Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and it makes perfect sense when seen as a form of mathematics. In this case the organ of society that holds the LIB(G) is called government, while the rest of society is formed by our cooperative use of LIB(I). When we utilize government to restrain those activities that would cause harm to society, we exercise a positive value of control via our LIB(I) via our civil liberty. Thus the Liberty Index gains a Control Value (CV) that is necessary to keep our negative liberties lent to government via society in check. From that the CV must be strong enough to ensure that we are not put in danger by government that holds our negative liberties. In a perfect world that must be equal:

CV(G) = -1 x LIB(G)

At this point we get this replacement:

CV(G) = -1 x -2 = +2

That is, happily, the LIB(I) and thus we would feel secure.

Now I will step through a thought experiment and apply values as I go.

Our PL(W) is for all forms of self-defense, everything from a spit in the eye to a thermonuclear device. Now let us say that we are uncomfortable with the very high end of that scale and say that such things as war making aircraft, ships, and WMDs are to be restricted from our society as they are just too dangerous for the individual to use. Happily they are so expensive that they are out of the reach of most individuals, even the 'super rich' and thus this is a minor fractional impingement upon our LIB(I). Let us say that this Restriction on War (RS(W)) is a mere tiny fraction of PL(W).

R(W) = 0.01 x PL(W) = 0.01

To do this requires that we must increase the magnitude of NL(R), that is put more Restraint(the (R) value) into the system that is held by government and remove it from PL(R). This must be reflected in the Control Value of Government (CV(G)).


PL(W1) = PL(W) - RS(W) = +0.99

NL(R1) = NL(R) - RS(W) = -1.01

CV(G) = -1 x ( NL(W) + NL(R1)) = +2.01

LIB(I) = +1.99

LIB(G) = -2.01

When we want government to do more to restrain our positive liberties, we lose liberty and government gains control power over us. This does not of necessity make society safer as this is a function of control by government on our liberty and freedom and as it is taken away from all individuals society is lessened by that loss. Also, on this scale of liberty measurement, we are now lacking in an amount of personal control commensurate to the differences needed between CV(G) and LIB(I). That is worrying as the restrictions we have coming from government are based on an unsupported control factor from our personal liberty. In short we begin to lack the essential back-up to the control of government which is our positive liberty: there is a liberty deficit equal to that difference or Delta (LIB(DEL)).

LIB(DEL) = CV(G) - LIB(I) = +0.02

That Delta between the necessary control of government and your personal liberty is a meaningful one, as when government restricts your liberty it needs greater control and you are feeling controlled by government. This is also called oppression by authority and such a government is authoritarian. Now for our social good all governments are at least mildly authoritarian so as to help keep order of society within society.

Another area of liberty is economic liberty and it, too, has positive and negative aspects.

  1. Positive Liberty of Economy - Your ability to gain by your own hand from your own work through the utilization of freedom to work. PL(E) = +1
  2. Negative Liberty of Economy - Your ability to take from others and steal their work or otherwise gain by their work by doing none yourself, the act of taking is not considered positive. NL(E) = -1

The sum of your economic liberty is: GSM = PL(E) + NL(E).

As with the previous forms of liberty, we put the negative form into that organ of society of government to control it.

LIB(I) = PL(W) + PL(R) + PL(E) = +3

LIB(G) = NL(W) + NL(R) + NL(E) = -3

CV(G) = -1 x (NL(W) + NL(R) + NL(E)) = +3

Government utilizes the NL(E) in various ways: tariffs, taxation, duties, imposts, and eminent domain.

If we postulate a case where all government taxation via all means and all governments is 30%, then that is the amount your PL(E) is impacted by government. This is the amount of burdening or restraint upon your personal liberty of economy to run the government. This is, of course, an imperfect postulate, but is useful for demonstration purposes.

R(E) = 0.3 x PL(E) = +0.3

PL(E1) = PL(E) - RS(E) = +0.7

NL(E1) = NL(E) - RS(E) = -1.30


LIB(I) = +2.7

LIB(G) = -3.3

CV(G) = +3.3

LIB(DEL) = +0.6

When there is a positive LIB(DEL) > +20% LIB(I) then government is thought of as having more power than the people of society.

When there is a +/- 20% LIB(I) difference a government and its people are in balance.

When there is a negative LIB(DEL) < -20% LIB(I) then government is considered to be subservient to the people in regards to Liberty.

Our CV(G) in the US has, as part of its arrangement, being from the 'consent of the governed'. With that said, the IRS acts as a mandatory agency with its own courts to decide tax issues quite separate from our civil courts, and those courts are rarely reviewed, rarely overturned and act as an arm of government collections. With 'consent of the governed' that LIB(DEL) on the imposition against personal economic liberty is supposed to be moderated, and yet the collections are most coercive and the one place hardest to get an acquittal is tax court. If tax problems were accountable to standard civil courts, then an argument could be made for civil justice, but as it is not that moderating influence vanishes and 'consent of the governed' goes with it. The ability to tax has become a true law unto itself, answerable to no civil justice. That is for the federal side of things, which is a percentage of the RS(E) but a large percent of it, nonetheless.

That RS(E) would be an average across all individuals in society. When we leverage disproportionate taxation, that is change the amount being taxed due to things like income, those who pay less or no taxes do not notice the RS(E) or the LIB(DEL) due to it: the poor don't care much about the full taxation of those who pay taxes.

Inversely those who have great wealth and can shield it via an incremental use of tax gimmicks, hiding income and tax lawyers feel less of a bite than if they had their full share levied upon them. Every exemption that is useful to only the upper portion of those with income lessens their appreciation of the RS(E) and LIB(DEL) via the amount they can shield minus the cost of the shielding. So long as that shielding yields a positive net result, the amount of taxation felt is lessened thus lessening concerns about those who cannot use such techniques to a net positive.

Thus the middle income individuals feel the full brunt of taxation, get only a few 'tax breaks' to mollify them, and have to pick up the load for the poor AND the amount the rich shield from tax collections.  This concept is being used for demonstration purposes, only.

The felt LIB(DEL) is thus changed for those paying taxes. If, say, 30% pay no taxes or no discernable taxes (this is not just income tax but things like sales tax, duties, etc. and is a net 30% as many of the poor do pay taxes, but they are not discernable beyond a modicum, so 30% is an overall net loss from this income bracket) then their LIB(DEL) effectively drops to zero and for those rich who can shield their money, they may only feel, say 80% of the remaining LIB(DEL), thus forcing the remainder LIB(DEL)(REM) to pay the share of the poor:

LIB(DEL)(P) = 0

LIB(DEL)(REM) = LIB(DEL) + 0.3 x LIB(DEL) = 0.78

LIB(DEL)(R) = LIB(DEL)(REM) x 0.8 = 0.624

LIB(DEL)(M) = LIB(DEL)(REM) + (LIB(DEL)(R)-LIB(DEL)(REM)) = 0.78 + (0.624 - 0.78) = 0.936

From this a nominal amount of overall economic liberty delta is not felt by the poor, only just a bit above the nominal average for the rich and predominantly upon the middle class. The rich, by being rich, can get in loopholes into the law via lobbying so as to bring their nominal rate down to near average (and some do pay no income tax but cannot escape other taxes) and the middle class gets the squeeze. In truth the LIB(DEL)(P) is rarely 0 but never reaches an effectively half-average until you get to be un-poor and join the middle class. Even then the lowest part of the middle class has some effects moderated thus shifting burden to the center and upper income earners.

This system works so-so to explain the effects of taxation, but the effects of those who get taxed and feel that they have less control over taxation is for them a much higher amount than average as the tax code favors the poor and the rich, simultaneously although in different ways. Until this point in time all individuals have been considered to share the burden equally, but due to tax policy we can no longer consider that as the case: by favoring some over others government creates inequality in participation and control over the government itself. This is the Equality Quotient (EQQ) which is a measure of the differences in burden from LIB(DEL).


EQQ(P) = LIB(DEL) - LIB(DEL)(P) = +0.6 - 0 = +0.6

EQQ(R) = LIB(DEL) - LIB(DEL)(R) = 0.6 - 0.624 = -0.024

EQQ(M) = LIB(DEL) - LIB(DEL)(M) = 0.6 - 0.936 = -0.336

When one has a positive EQQ they are said to be Favored by government (>= 10% LIB(DEL)).

When one has a near zero EQQ they are said to be Neutral with respect to government (+/- 10% of LIB(DEL)).

When one has a negative EQQ they are said to be Disfavored by government (<= -10% of LIB(DEL)) .

As I have pointed out I am exaggerating with respect to the Poor which will change the position of both the Rich and Middle Class in regards to LIB(DEL). That may actually move the EQQ(R) into slightly positive territory and bring the EQQ(M) downwards, but perhaps not into the 10% range of Neutrality. As this is a difference from the Average a smaller variation in a system professing equality has a larger impact than the absolute comparison between LIB(I) and LIB(DEL) used for the absolute case. Still a government can have a rough correlation of power in balance with its society and still have EQQs that demonstrate unequal dispensation of the use of that power.

This examination is of a government that is given only our negative liberties to safeguard so that we may maximize our positive ones. When we put together a government that doesn't do that, we can start to see some major problems in the reduced liberty of the individual.

Examining a society that hands positive liberties to government changes that balance of Liberty, Control and Equality. To postulate, lets start with a position in which all handguns are prohibited, save for those made at home (along with ammunition), and rifles and shotguns are heavily restricted to the general population, and all other firearms are prohibited. With that we would see only a 20% available positive liberty of warfare for self-defense, and probably closer to 10%.

PL(W) = 1 x 0.2 = +0.2

NL(W) = -1 - (1 - PL(W)) = -1.8


LIB(I) = +0.2

LIB(G) = -1.8

CV(G) = +1.8

LIB(DEL) = +1.6

To achieve this requires a highly authoritarian government. Compare this with a LIB(DEL) for the simple restriction of WMDs to the individual LIB(DEL) = 0.02, and we see a government that must be 8 times as authoritarian compared to that extremely mild government. In this all individuals are considered to be equal, although if the government preferentially allows one group to be armed, say a ruling group, then the EQQ would be very high between those that govern and those they govern.

To examine a society in which government is not only entrusted with the negative economic liberty, but also the lion's share of the positive, say 90% of the positive liberty, we get the following:

LIB(I) = +0.1

LIB(G) = -1.9

CV(G) = +1.9

LIB(DEL) = +1.8

When postulating a government run economy, one is said to have very little control over government nor personal liberty with respect to government with LIB(I) being a mere 1/18th the canceling amount to feel some security from government for one's liberty. This is very close the minimal case of slavery:

LIB(I) = 0

While having 10% control of one's economic future is better than none, it can in no way said that one control's one's own destiny in that realm. If this case were added to the previous case we would see the following:

LIB(I) = +0.3

LIB(G) = -3.7

CV(G) = +3.7

LIB(DEL) = +3.4

That is beyond authoritarian and what we would call a totalitarian state that dictates your life to you and then ensures that you can in no way defend yourself FROM government.

This has been an interesting thought experiment!

The drawbacks of this system:

1) It deals with the absolute realm of liberty in multiple areas, and then sums them, thus making any fast and easy analysis of a government or society difficult. Each area must be dealt with separately.

2) There are no hard definitions on restraint of positive liberty imposed by government. The cases I give are ones in which I just used numbers to represent approximations of restraints, and I used no hard and fast rules on them. Still that could be done given more time.

3) Subjectively each of us deals with our emotional and mental attitude towards our use of liberty differently. With that said it is very easy to assume that one's subjective approach is universal, which, thusly, puts one at odds with even a slight variation of one's outlook. If a large scale outlook is different, then valuations on restraint and even what positive and negative liberties ARE will change valuations. That is why I went the route of the ENTIRE of each, so that the most expansive view of positive and negative to their furthest limits are the full value of them.

4) Each society, beyond just individuals, will approach the magnitude of restraint of liberty by government differently. In trying to use a common, absolute, evaluation, the concept is to give a level staring point and then allow different societies to state their valuations of each restraint so that a cross-society system could be developed. My analysis is 'rough and ready' used to demonstrate some of the basics of how a system like this works.

5) As a society and individuals we have ignored wanting to put such valuations on our liberty, freedom and even such things as our personality. Yet these are not sacrosanct areas, forbidden to thought and analysis. By sequestering a comparative, objective system that encompasses human liberty from our scope of learning, we still wander in a region where the hypothetical rules and the objective, hard and fast definitions are left outside in the cold. While such analysis may seem cold at first blush, it actually helps to examine differences in societies and puts some order of magnitude understanding on the hypothetical works and allows us to review just what various authors are saying and cross-compare how they approach topics. If you want to get to a science of society and governments, then something like this will be necessary and hand waving and hypothetical cases will need to be made into rigorous postulations with numbers put against them that are clearly explained.

The pluses of this system:

1) Personally I was surprised at how some of the things we talk about in comparing governments and personal liberty immediately stand out. Simply putting numbers on these things we talk about helps to regularize understanding and create a cross-comparative review of not only politics but societal attitudes.

2) The interim numbers generated, like the CV(G) turn out to be interesting indicators of the relative power between society and government. While LIB(I) is for all individuals and collective, so is LIB(G). The examination of that Delta between LIB(I) and the positive control necessary for government to function with its negative liberties (or positive ones taken from individuals) is a highly powerful tool.

3) Even without extreme rigor on definitions there are clear indicators of liberty, freedom and equality quickly stand out. When we talk of government taking part in a large section of our economic lives, not only in the Health Care area but in all other areas that we get regulations put in by government, we can see how even small and incremental changes in the balance of Liberty have extreme impacts in our feeling of enfranchisement and if the government is going authoritarian. Thus an intervention on 16% of the economy would be a huge change in our personal Liberty and the necessary control by government is that we would characterize for authoritarian regimes. Under that view most of Europe is under authoritarian regimes.

4) Being nice to the poor and letting the rich get tax breaks means the middle class gets hit and hard by the authority of government. If we were to add to taxation the other regulations controlling our daily lives, we have probably reached a tipping point between a modicum of balance between the people and government and are now in a realm where authoritarianism is possible. While we know that as an intellectual exercise, when one begins to put numbers to it the actual reality of it sinks in much, much faster.

5) I do not deal with Liberties wholly retained by the people, such as religion. Still, as that is wholly retained by the people, and we are restricted on our negative liberties, that leaves us with talking about it, social exclusion and other means to express ourselves that preclude warfare and repression. ANY action taken by government in that realm is a negative... which is a lesson we have already seen in history. That does INCLUDE stopping historical and societal use of religious terms within government and on such things as our currency: as established they are perfectly allowable and trying to get government to CHANGE that basis is actually asking for favoritism. Yet we still have those that will not let sleeping dogs rest without poking them with a sharp stick.

In no way is this review an actual analytical tool.

It is an examination of what a good analytical tool would do if we had one for this purpose... which we don't.

I've been putting this together in bits and pieces over a few days, so the math may not be rigorous.

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