31 July 2008

Yesterday's vision of hollow politics

The events of the past century come at us, today, seeking new home and new place in our society and world. As a society we have given eager space for things that are vicious and cruel to the human spirit and to that very society that made it welcome. Growing up as a nation the common man was given uncommon validation as the creator of society, and it is society that is good while government the punisher to keep excesses from going past the bounds of civilization. That view comes not from our modern era, but the one that allowed for humanity to consider that individuals are equal at birth, no one different before the eyes of God, each soul equal, and each one gaining a future of self-made possibilities. From that each individual must deal with their circumstances given to them by society, by culture, by genetics and by the age they are born into. The good works of an individual is the measure of their esteem and the ability to turn from harming society the measure of their virtue. None that seek to force others to do good can be esteemed, and those that seek to control society to their ends have no virtue in them. Our duty to society is to protect it so that individuals can demonstrate their abilities to the esteem of their fellow citizens and demonstrate virtue by their acts of charity and leading a good life of change by example.

When looking at those who seek to enforce the good from above, the description of how they act and how they come to seize power is aptly described to those who sought to make government law over to their own ends which are thought noble, save that they restrict liberty by pretense of virtue. One of the most haunting paragraphs of the mind set behind this view of the world comes to us from a time much like our own, where politics would seek to rule society [bolding is mine]:

We are still in the Age of Rationalism, which began in the eighteenth century and is now rapidly nearing its close. [2] We are all its creatures whether we know and wish it or not. The word is familiar enough, but who knows how much it implies? It is the arrogance of the urban intellect, which, detached from its roots and no longer guided by strong instinct, looks down with contempt on the full-blooded thinking of the past and the wisdom of ancient peasant stock. It is the period in which everyone can read and write and therefore must have his say and always "knows better." This type of mind is obsessed by concepts - the new gods of the Age - and it exercises its wits on the world as it sees it. "It is no good," it says; "we could make it better; here goes, let us set up a program for a better world!" Nothing could be easier for persons of intelligence, and no doubt seems to be felt that this world will then materialize of itself. It is given a label, "Human Progress," and now that it has a name, it is. Those who doubt it are narrow reactionaries, heretics, and, what is worse, persons devoid of democratic virtue: away with them! In this wise the fear of reality was overcome by intellectual arrogance, the darkness that comes from ignorance of all things of life, spiritual poverty, lack of reverence, and, finally, world-alien stupidity - for there is nothing stupider than the rootless urban intelligence. In English offices and clubs it used to be called common sense; in French salons, esprit; in German philosophers' studies, Pure Reason. The shallow optimism of the cultural philistine is ceasing to fear the elemental historical facts and beginning to despise them. Every "know-better" seeks to absorb them in his scheme (in which experience has no part), to make them conceptually more complete than actually they are, and to subordinate them to himself in his mind because he has not livingly experienced them, but only perceived them. This doctrinaire clinging to theory for lack of experience, or rather this lack of ability to make experience, finds literary expression in a flood of schemes for political, social, and economic systems and Utopias, and practical expression in that craze for organization which, becoming an aim in itself, produces bureaucracies that either collapse through their own hollowness or destroy the living order. Rationalism is at bottom nothing but criticism, and the critic is the reverse of a creator: he dissects and he reassembles; conception and birth are alien to him. Accordingly his work is artificial and lifeless, and when brought into contact with real life, it kills. All these systems and organizations are paper productions; they are methodical and absurd and live only on the paper they are written on. The process began at the time of Rousseau and Kant with philosophical ideologies that lost themselves in generalities; passed in the nineteenth century to scientific constructions with scientific, physical, Darwinian methods - sociology, economics, materialistic history-writing - and lost itself in the twentieth in the literary output of problem novels and party programs.

That from Oswald Spengler, Readings from: The Decline of the West and The Hour of Decision (Source: Radical Nationalism in Australia) and is a chilling, very chilling, look at the idea beyond any Rationalist 'hope & change' movement seeking to overturn the order of things and place its new order down. An urban intellect, bereft of actually living through the evils it decries and, indeed, being above them by birth, stature and income, seeks to put in place some new and fairer order without examining what the old order is and why it is having problems. A remedy or two may be good, but societal upheaval for wholesale change is lethal, as Spengler points out: it kills.

No top-down political movement has ever brought positive change, nor economic movement or religious movement. At the points along history where mankind has achieved any progress towards individual rights, it is through the restriction of the top-down paradigms and allowing freedom of thought and action amongst mankind to flourish. In conception the movement of 'hope & change' is little different from the other branches of intellectual, rationalist thought: socialism, communism, fascism. Worse is that the inability to recognize that the creation of Nations is a good, so that societies may differentiate themselves and yet still interact with each other constructively, the modern transnational paradigms aimed to create a non-National identity suffer from the ill of being top-down in view and outlook.

The enemy of high-born reasoning of academia is that thing called common sense, which Spengler picks as a pre-existing system based on experience, prudence and having a strong affinity to culture. It is that title by Thomas Paine, published in 1776 (Source: Project Gutenberg) just before the Declaration of Independence, that describes what the differences between government and society are, and it is Common Sense from its opening to its closing:

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.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.

Coming from the common man, yet one who is well learned and taking part of the suffering of his fellow man, Thomas Paine states most clearly that the best government is that which is the least expense giving the greatest benefits. Whenever there is talk of the actual cost of government and we turn to mere money, we forget that government doing things that society and individuals are given to do are robbing those same of liberty and freedom. Government to protect those things is necessary, yet when the tools of the punisher are put to exhorting and backing good by enforcing virtue, only true evil can result. If we decry such things as the Saudi ministry for 'The punishment of vice and promotion of virtue' then how are we to say that our own government taking over the charity of helping the poor by removing the need of the poor to better themselves to help each other is to any good end? Poverty and destitution wrack the heart and soul, yet when the idle rich decree that the poor should be made idle by hand-outs, what is the good end of that? Does it teach thrift, value, and how to commit oneself to betterment for themselves and those around them? That is the role of charity and those institutions that back it: to reach out to the members of society that need the most help via the giving and time of the common man.

When a rich man or high born one takes to an afternoon to help build a house for poor people, it is not charity but spectacle. When we have institutions that produce scholars, clergy and politicians that move from the teachings of fellowship to 'thou wilst do this' or suffer pains of ridicule, guilt, or re-education for being 'out of step', those with no understanding are claiming to speak for those who must speak for themselves and enforce that 'enlightened' view upon those of us closest to it who should know better than them based on experience. Worse still is that government, by taking over this role then attempts to remove this understanding from the public at large: in institutionalizing virtue via coercion, the actual good of the virtuous deeds springing from the fellowship of society are being targeted. That is why a 'community organizer' is a problematical figure: in attempting to do good they remove the organic creation of that community to address their own ills. 'Community organizer' is a title of an individual in a top-down organization trying to organize a community to the outlook of a restricted viewpoint of that organization. And if the community doesn't fit... force it to do so. The step from 'community organizer' to jackbooted neighborhood ward heelers seen by fascists and communists in pre-1932 Germany is that of going the step to forcing the will of the group upon the community.

That is an artificial construct coming into contact with vibrant society created from the needs of man, and it can and does kill.

When the Rationalists lose contact with reality, they morph and change into another shape, and yet the rhetoric falls along the same lines. Taken a bit further from The Readings is this:

But Romanticism too, with its lack of a sense for reality, is just as much an expression of rationalist arrogance as are Idealism and Materialism. They are all in fact closely related, and it would be difficult to discover the boundary between these two trends of thought in any political or social Romantic. In every outstanding Materialist a Romantic lies hidden. [3] Though he may scorn the cold, shallow, methodical mind of others, he has himself enough of that sort of mind to do so in the same way and with the same arrogance. Romanticism is no sign of powerful instincts, but, on the contrary, of a weak, self-detesting intellect. They are all infantile, these Romantics; men who remain children too long (or for ever), without the strength to criticize themselves, but with perpetual inhibitions arising from the obscure awareness of their own personal weakness; who are impelled by the morbid idea of reforming society, which is to them too masculine, too healthy, too sober. And to reform it, not with knives and revolvers in the Russian fashion - heaven forbid! - but by noble talk and poetic theories. Hapless indeed they are if, lacking creative power, they lack also the artistic talent to persuade at least themselves that they possess it. Yet even in their art they are feminine and weak, incapable of setting a great novel or a great tragedy on its legs, still less a pure philosophy of any force. All that appears is spineless lyric, bloodless scenarios, and fragmentary ideas, all of them displaying an innocence of and antagonism to the world which amounts to absurdity. But it was the same with the unfading "Youths" (J√ľnglinge), with their "old German" coats and pipes - Jahn and Arndt, even, included. Stein himself was unable to control his romantic taste for ancient constitutions sufficiently to allow him to turn his extensive practical experience to successful account in diplomacy. Oh, they were heroes, and noble, and ready to be martyrs at any moment; but they talked too much about German nature and too little about railways and customs unions, and thus became only an obstacle in the way of Germany's real future. Did they ever so much as hear the name of the great Friedrich List, who committed suicide in 1846 because no one understood and supported his far-sighted and modern political aim, the building of an economic Germany? But they all knew the names of Arminius and Thusnelda.

The great 'social movements' of the late 19th and through to this day could not exist without this Romantic undertone. If the objective is to create 'justice' then the simplistic thing to do is to theorize about it and convince others that some 'justice' in some realm will bring overall justice to everyone. Marxism, Socialism, Progressivism, Communism and Fascism would not *exist* without such Romantic thoughts. Even better they can criticize Romantics as they take up the organizational tactics to enforce their will upon others and show how they are closer to 'reality' than the Romantics are. If the goal of social welfare programs is to give a chance to the common man who has had ill luck in his life to make a better road for himself, then how come we wind up with people who cannot get off of the dole or join criminal organizations as they see no virtue being performed on their behalf? Some people do benefit from these things, but the cost to society, both in terms of moral outlook and engendering a spirit of helping the poor in individuals and in promoting same, far outweigh the mere burdened cost of giving such services from inefficient and uncaring government that sees half or more of the funds going to get such services disappear into bureaucracy.

Spengler goes on from there to look at the 'youth movement' of his era which describes as not having any real experiences in life, and yet claiming to be of a real world that consists of theories and mass-meetings to give them some feeling of purpose, while actually attempting to drown their personality in such mass meetings. That is not a triumph over individualism, but a loss of self and a determination not to be an individual for oneself, and is weakness multiplied. If those 'youths' had badges and uniforms, those of today can only be bothered to put up a Myspace page with a few downloaded graphics to idolize their purpose. As more and more people can grow up without having to take part in life, experience life or understand the tragedies of living, then any single, minor tragedy is blown out of proportion. Without the ability to put life's problems into any perspective, those of the individual grow larger and more overwhelming, to the point where being an individual ceases to be of value. The criticism of 'youth culture' then is carried to today, with Spengler pointing out that the 'youths' don't even want to interact with culture and society, but want others to do so for them. When that develops into a mass movement, it no longer looks at history as something that one is a part of and moved by, but that only happens to other people. With that, one does not see history from above, in its broad sweep, nor on the street-scale where it is lived day by day, but "from the cellar window, the street, the writers' café, the national assembly". That is the political mass movement type of today: from the parent's basement of Internet fame to the secluded store or shop where only the right people or real world people show up to the shifting of the political venue of political parties.

In those inter-War years, Spengler saw that drawing to a close, but he could in no way predict that the post-WWII era would elevate these exact, same types to office after the memory of war died again in Europe and now in America. His conceptualization of Scepticism, that ability to put theory against history and see what the outcomes of similar views in the past were, is one that held for only a brief period of time. In America this is Practicalism, or doing only that which is practical and affordable, while ensuring that society is not put in danger for the longer term. These are both drawn from the common sense view of the world, of how everyman perceives it and only accords honor to education if it is actually put to some use for oneself, one's family or to support society via doing good deeds amongst your fellow man. In this the use of the word 'tragic' is that greater sense that 'youths' do not have: understanding that the things that befall you as an individual happen within that wider scope of history and that history is not singling you out for special treatment. From that personal tragedy is not especial to you, but part of the more generalized condition of life that can befall anyone and you just happen to be an instance of it. If you think that life is singling you out, the tendency is to rail against it and seek to put a stop to that thing that befell you. While as a part of the larger history an individual accepts that this instance is just an instance and must rise from it to continue on, gaining wisdom and insight from that which came to them and then seek to impart that to their fellow man so that they can cope better with such instances.

From the excerpts presented, I can say that those on the political Left of today will not like Spengler: his views of the typified Left from his era strikes far too close to home for today's Left and its criticisms are cutting. His trenchant view of how World War I was caused by those seeking to have their Utopian paradise between 1870 and 1914 and willfully pushed off any need to examine society and culture onto following generations is highly pointed. It is also part of the same sociological phenomena:

If few can stand a long war without deterioration of soul, none can stand a long peace. This peace period from 1870 to 1914, and the memory of it, rendered all White men self-satisfied, covetous, void of understanding, and incapable of bearing misfortune. We see the result in the Utopian conceptions and challenges which today form part of every demagogue's program; challenges to the age, to the State, to parties, and in fact to "everyone else," in complete disregard of the limits of possibility or of duty, doing, and forgoing.

This all too long peace over a period of growing excitement is a fearful inheritance. Not a statesman, not a party, hardly even a political thinker is today in a safe enough position to speak the truth. They all lie, they all join in the chorus of the pampered, ignorant crowd who want their tomorrow to be like the good old days, only more so - although statesmen and economic leaders at least ought to be alive to the frightful reality. Only look at our leaders of today! Once a month their cowardly and dishonest optimism announces the "up-branch of the cycle" and "prosperity," on the strength of a mere flutter on the stock exchange caused by building-speculations: the end of unemployment, from the moment that a hundred men or so are given jobs, and as the climax the achievement of "mutual understanding between the nations," as soon as the League - that swarm of parasitic holiday-makers on the Lake of Geneva - has formulated any sort of a resolution. And in every conference and every paper the word "crisis" is bandied about in connexion with any passing disturbance of the peace. And thus we deceive ourselves, blind to the fact that we have here one of those incalculable great catastrophes that are the normal form in which history takes its major turns.

This was the manifestation of our modern politics, save that the economic numbers are only cited when going down and turned into a 'crisis' and then the 'crises' mount as only the bad numbers are reported until 'something must be done'. Pay no attention that the economy took a $1 trillion dollar loss on a single day with a terrorist attack and that was not even enough to put it into the negative territory for the year, and the economy rebounded on its previous course the very next year. Yet a 0.1% increase in inflation, unemployment or decrease in the housing market? Crisis!!

When voting for a politician who promises to 'understand our Allies and talk with our Enemies', wouldn't it be nice to have one that actually had some inkling of the true and vast scale of their own Nation, its people and economy? Remember, now, that Spengler was criticizing the society of the 1930's, and yet that exact, same criticism with very little change continues to fit the society of Western Civilization, with a very short hiccup for the war years of the 1940's and immediate post-war 1950's. Even then the 'Bohemian' views returned quickly and not only in Europe but in the US. Their discontents, as seen from Spengler' time, was absolutely predictable:

Man is a beast of prey. [5] I shall say it again and again. All the would-be moralists and social-ethics people who claim or hope to be "beyond all that" are only beasts of prey with their teeth broken, who hate others on account of the attacks which they themselves are wise enough to avoid. Only look at them. They are too weak to read a book on war, but they herd together in the street to see an accident, letting the blood and the screams play on their nerves. And if even that is too much for them, they enjoy it on the film and in the illustrated papers. If I call man a beast of prey, which do I insult: man or beast? For remember, the larger beasts of prey are noble creatures, perfect of their kind, and without the hypocrisy of human moral due to weakness.

They shout: "No more war" - but they desire class war. They are indignant when a murderer is executed for a crime of passion, but they feel a secret pleasure in hearing of the murder of a political opponent. What objection have they ever raised to the Bolshevist slaughters? There is no getting away from it: conflict is the original fact of life, is life itself, and not the most pitiful pacifist is able entirely to uproot the pleasure it gives his inmost soul. Theoretically, at least, he would like to fight and destroy all opponents of pacifism.

The further we advance into the Caesarism of the Faustian world, the more clearly will it emerge who is destined ethically to be the subject and who the object of historical events. The dreary train of world-improvers has now come to an end of its amble through these centuries, leaving behind it, as sole monument of its existence, mountains of printed paper. The Caesars will now take its place. High policy, the art of the possible, will again enter upon its eternal heritage, free from all systems and theories, itself the judge of the facts by which it rules, and gripping the world between its knees like a good horseman.

This being so, I have only to show here the historical position in which Germany and the world now stand and how this position is the inevitable outcome of the history of past centuries, and will just as inevitably pass on to certain forms and solutions. That is Destiny. We may deny it, but in so doing we deny ourselves.

And just how many of the anti-war people of *today* have ever read Strategy by B.H. Liddell Hart? AJP Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War? Or even the somewhat Leftist Gwynne Dyer's War with its appropriate transnational conclusions? We aren't talking Sun Tzu or Carl von Clausewitz, nothing *that* hard to read. If you can't even bother to read what war is, how it works, why it arises and how wars end, then how the hell can you be *against it*? And for all those wishing for the political assassination of your opponents, or their disgrace and yet do not a damned thing to clean up your supporters: just why should that be considered 'civilized'?

The Jacksonian tradition on war is much more civilized than fighting for mere statecraft or advantage: it is to counter-attack fully when attacked and give no quarter to those that do not do the same to our soldiers. There is no 'proportional response' in warfare, and agreements made during wartime are actually harder and firmer than any treaty made during peace. If you can't hold to your agreement during tough times, then why in hell should you be trusted when things are peaceful? The mistake of the utopian, over-educated section of America is that this is not a 'divide' between Americans: war is too serious to be left to politicians to fight. That basic agreement held from the Revolution through the Quasi-War through the Barbary reprisals through the War of 1812 through the Civil War through the various native wars on the continental US through the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War and its COIN part through World War I through World War II and only started to fray when a General was President during Korea and he sought to see if North Korea would honor its cease-fire. By Vietnam we had the first war run by politicians... it didn't work out so well. Operation Desert Storm in the First Gulf War was *also* run by politicians and it left a tyrannical genocidal dictator in power when the US quavered that the fighting just might start to get *hard*. And that left an untrustworthy foe in the field who would not keep to his word in power as an enemy. Then for over a decade the politicians couldn't figure out how to make PEACE.

I've got a problem with these lovely Leftists who hate war: they are getting us killed by not letting us END THEM.

And then to help the people of a Nation back up and on their feet so they can do this most worthy of all possible things in the world: defend themselves without our help.

By never letting a war end properly, you never get proper peace. Do you think that the Nation of Kosovo will actually make things *better* in the Balkans? It only *can* if you back freedom and liberty in all ways possible and ensure that they can defend themselves against their neighbors and covetous groups overseas looking to undermine them. Bosnia has had a harder time grabbing onto that ideal and Macedonia looks to be slowly shaking apart due to a poor political peace in the area. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for 'peacekeeping' if the peace is not made nor secured for those who live there. Which means the highly laudatory and extremely difficult goal of self-defense for those who live there so they don't need us. For all those who wanted billions of dollars and two demoralized Army Divisions in the Balkans, realize that this is just a downpayment in money and lives if you don't help *now* to get these societies to a point where they can reconcile with each other and defend themselves. Iraq has had that with the benefit of being a relatively united people, and Afghanistan is trying to work itself through a process left by a few dozen Empires that never could figure out the region and left large ethnic enclaves to feel they were autonomous, save for the fact they were bartered around like poker chips in the great card game of 'winner take a little' that is Central Asia. Hey! If the Pashtuns could outlast the British Imperial 100 year 'lets figure it out demarcation line' edict in which no one ever figured it out, then actually getting something workable in place might just take awhile. 100 years wasn't enough, obviously. Or just a start... hard to tell which is worse, really.

While I have some troubles with the views of Spengler, he at least tries to ground his outlook in history and historical review and history is not nice to anyone. No peoples on this planet have been overly superlative in their activities. At least it is something I can relate to, as are the military sciences... that harsh grounding in what mankind can do to itself and how civilization must arise to curb it. But his views of those on the political Left of his time are deadly chilling as they are continuing on to our modern era. The last World War saw far too many places succumb to the harder views of Communism and Fascism on the Left, but the 'softer' views of the Romantics always tend to shift from the airy ideal to the deadly knife as those that don't agree are forced to agree by coercion. All they want to do is make the world a 'better place'. It is when those Bohemians pick up a gun and say 'or else'... that is when you go from airy, lofty Romanticism to mass murderer at heart, as most of humanity just will not join you in 'your way'.

That is why Jacksonians prefer to counter-attack.

The killers self-identify.

Most civilized compared to what the Left offers up on a regular basis.

Too bad they can't figure it out in the first place.

30 July 2008

The feedback loop on healthcare

The following is an outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.

I have written about the problem of healthcare a few times in the past. The first time was to outline the problems in 'health insurance' which is not insurance at all but a form of trying to manage costs for health care. This 'problem' arose due to political interference in another part of the economy, which is the retirement system. That system was set up to remove older workers from the workforce at a given age with guaranteed payments. This was an 'economic stimulus' system to try and get the US out of the Great Depression... which it was already doing before this was passed. After the end of that era came another one that would soon require the very, same individuals who were retiring to stay and work: World War II. To do that manufacturing and service sectors were allowed to subsidize something that was only offered to executives and the rich: 'health insurance'. That subsidy remains as a non-positive economic stimulus to this day.

In regular insurance you would place a bet that you will need a service, like health care, or as a contingency for an event, say death or accidental dismemberment. That is where the insurance company is banking on you not needing to cash in your insurance by having the event and you are betting that the event will happen and that you will then get the payment. Or your estate will. 'Health insurance' is neither of those as those who are not healthy need medical services, and so they are guaranteed to get an immediate return on their health care 'insurance' and are betting that their cost of services and medicine will be larger than their payments. In large pools of mixed individuals the average can be given for that chance and payout, and the insurance company has overhead to ensure they are not being defrauded. This is a health management system in which you, the patient, claims a need for medical services and the insurance company tells you if you are allowed to get those services at its cost schedule. The two political parties seek to increase the pool of healthy, non-payers and turn them into payers into this system, either via direct law or indirect tax incentive.

What neither party addresses is the cost of overhead in the system: the cost to run the health management system on the part of the insurance companies which is bundled into the cost of the overall system, itself. Your payment to the health system run by an insurance company includes this overhead on the part of the company. Thus your final cost is burdened with the entire cost of the system: every insurance payment, every 'co-pay', every procedure that is covered and allowed is all burdened with this overhead. As the tax breaks to offer this system were only offered to employers, those individuals seeking individual insurance would pay the whole cost, while, due to the tax break, the federal government assured businesses that they could foot part of the bill at a lower cost. Your regular cost for the insurance (not co-pays) is thus not the entire bill of the cost of insurance, and yet it comes from your income and a portion of that is taxable. Thus the employer gets a tax break (the subsidy) on what it pays, and you get a minimal tax break for your side if you pay over a certain percent of your income into health care costs. If you don't you get a standard deduction. If you sought this on your own, you would pay taxes on everything.

The problem with the costs involved I examined in a piece looking at how to move away from the insurance based model. There are many ways to do this, including ending all the tax breaks for insurance so that the full, burdened cost is taxable as a service. That would lead to unaffordable insurance companies ending their offerings, and those that demonstrate good and prudent means of choosing doctors, procedures and finding ways to reduce overhead would prosper. An alternative I discuss is to see that this is really an 'assured service delivery' system and to treat it as such for given procedures, tests and other medical necessities. By creating a 'voucher system', or medical services market, individuals could purchase guaranteed services at a given, current rate. The voucher (or e-voucher) never expires and what one has done is *invest* in the system to get a guaranteed service return regardless of future cost. This removes the overhead and fraud part of the system of improper services and puts the patient in control of assuring that such services have been properly rendered. Fraud can still happen, but it becomes collusion and conspiracy, with much, much tougher sanctions against it if found.

What such a system would do is create a trade market for commodities from suppliers, so that an open-heart procedure performed at a hospital would have a higher value than one at a lesser hospital. If you hold a voucher for that service at that facility or with that medical care provider, you are not refused it by them (scheduling and emergencies excepted, of course). This also means that one can trade a number of lesser vouchers for a higher value one, so that services that you though you might need can be re-utilized for other services. This removes the 'management' part from companies and places it with you, the actual user of the services.

There is another way to move out of the current system, however, and that is to require a feedback system into it. Instapundit links to an article at the NYT on the topic of quality health care which looks at the cost system based not on its delivery of services but of the quality of services. This quality factor is something that bundles a few things together: overhead costs (paperwork, management), quality of care provided (by individuals who utilize the health services), quality of service (examining complications and attempts to mitigate them), and just the ability to provide the given service. Here the actual ability of the health service user, being you, is taken into deep consideration, along with the burdening the system of each provider. A provider that renders good quality care with low overhead and few mistakes gets a higher rating. This is important as it impacts two venues that are currently critical to the health care cost system: quality of care and overhead.

One of the major expenses in the insurance model is actually keeping track of the paperwork and making sure that reputable and reliable reports get reimbursed. This is no small matter as the bulk of the payments goes to those providing the services, and the problem of fraud or mis-applied treatment is a major cost overhead for everyone in the system. Fraud generally increases overall costs as it requires illegitimate payments and the time and energy to ensure they are tracked down and stopped. Quality providers offer not only good service but offer accountability, too. Accountability works to reduce overhead in that fewer poor procedures are done and the doctor has put in place a system to ensure that paperwork is quickly processed and procedures are accounted for. Additionally, input from patients then changes those ratings as does the favorite problem harped upon by politicians: torte reform for minimalizing malpractice suits.

The latter part is also a part of the overall rating, but a highly important one: doctors who have fewer suits against them can now point to insurance companies and demand better medical malpractice rates. This overhead, as well as the time involved in such suits, has been a cost expenditure the system has had to absorb both on the doctor time and the insurance company's time (both malpractice insurer and health insurance provider). Anything that lowers this cost and drives poor service providers from the market is a great boon in the long run and will help to lower overall delivery cost.

With that being said, the overall insurance model eats up a huge amount of time, capital and reduces the actual effective dollar being spent for health services. Here the two Presidential Candidates offer different views, but neither tries to tackle the problem of actually having insurance. I step through that overhead, but come to this conclusion:

Using government 'mandates' then becomes an effort to shift accountability out of the hands of patients, no matter how 'market oriented' a mandate is, and to meeting 'standards' set by a regulatory body that is appointed, not elected. As Mr. Stossel points out the average doctor utilizes 14% of their income to deal with *paperwork*, and even with most of that being electronic it requires the hiring of non-medical staff to handle insurance 'oversight' and paperwork. What you pay *into* health insurance becomes a fraction of what is paid out: you subtract of insurance company overhead, overhead of that burden on doctors who must change pricing due to it, and the increased cost of 'controls' and 'accountability' by the insurance company against fraud and just keeping track of the records. If you consider that 14% to be a baseline, just on the medical overhead side, then what is the baseline for the insurance company just to manage paperwork? 1% seems unlikely. 5% if it was run extremely well. In fact for most industries the non-work portion of the day for employees is considered at 20% and that is without profit added in.

If the insurance part is 20% and you throw in, say, a generous 12% profit... even 8% to be low... and you add in the cost of increase to doctors to keep track of the paperwork and pass that cost along, just what part of this 'insurance' is actually going to pay for medical expenses? You know, the stuff you use like doctor's visits and purchasing medications? 70% seems relatively fair, in that realm. So, if 15% of your overall budget goes to healthcare via insurance and you get a 70% useful return on that 15% you are actually spending, yes, 10.5% for healthcare. And that of your grandparents who didn't have insurance, back in the day when that was possible? I've read figures as high as 6-8% and as low as 3%.

That cost delta is lost money due to government mandates, regulations, tax subsidies and generally interfering with your health.

Getting accountability into the system will help to lower that 14% on the part of doctors, and that 20% from insurance companies, meaning that the 70% actual return will go up... maybe even to 75 or 80%! The rest of that cost gets harder to drive out, although the actual amount necessary to pay in (the 100% you pay) can be lowered if the cost of medical malpractice insurance starts to drive less capable providers out of the system. What you do not get to, save for a minority of cases, is a better than 100% return on your investment. You do get health care, however, which keeps you alive and functioning.

The other side that is effected, however, is that of the ability of service providers to actually do something quite different from production line work. The author of that article has not kept up with manufacturing and we are in an era of 'mass customization'. That is where a basic production line can offer a wide variety of products off of its line-up, made directly to customer specifications. That is a perfect analogy to dealing with health care as basic problems (medical conditions) can have a variety of variations due to individuals (due to metabolism, age, living circumstances, etc.) and with different complications (infections, slow healing rates, etc.). Here the basic production line of medical services vary within known parameters for the various characteristics and known types of complications that arise. Mass customized health care is different from personalized health care in that you, as a customer, have a specific set of variations based on *you* that are generally more typified into categories. As those typical variations are known, the types of complications that can arise gets restricted into fewer categories which, thereby, limits risk.

This feedback system is possibly the most important part of medicine shifting to the modern world using modern feed-back systems for patient tracking. By accumulating the non-personal categories and problems, the types of risks and complications can then be analyzed to see how diagnoses (services) are changing the system. Diagnoses that lead to no improvement, or even minimal negative feedback, can then be examined against other diagnoses and treatments prescribed. Those treatments (customized service) then allows for the diagnoses system to see what is happening with the treatments and offers feedback on effectiveness of them. This, cumulatively, changes the response of the system as a whole: it ensures that better diagnoses and treatments are reinforced while lesser effective ones are marginalized. That said for an individual with a suite of prior conditions and known variables, a personalized set of customized health provisioning can be made due to those things (and such things as patients actually doing their part in the system so those with lax attitudes may get a different set of treatments).

Here the goal is to provide better and more effective services and *reduce* end user cost as a percentage of their budget. So, lets say it cuts a full 1/3 off the final cost to you, the person paying for it: that gets you to 10% of your budget (5% being 1/3 of 15%). And that is the burdened cost and lets cut that burdening down to a mere 20%, thus your effective money towards health care is 8% of your budget! Just like your ancestors! And the 2% extra? Service fees burdened into the cost.

Yes you get to pay for the privilege of getting the health care that your grandparents did... or great grandparents for many at this point. And for better and more services?

Such a wonderful system.

The only major positive point is that it allows really nasty medical services to have less of an impact on the budget. But then that is what traditional insurance is all about, isn't it? Catastrophic care? Accidental Death and Dismemberment? You know, *regular* insurance. That you pre-plan for and have it take a miniscule part of your budget as they are rarities in life... unless one happens to get you.

And for the rest... well that concept of pre-buying sounds pretty good, really. And inflation-proof as it is for services expected in the future at some indefinite time. An investment, in other words, where the cash-out is something critical to keeping you functioning.

Both of those would be helped by this movement, also, maybe even to the point of having you paying less for your health than those of 70 years ago as a percentage of your overall budget.

28 July 2008

That one, special piece makes it whole

Building computers has always been a favorite past-time and hobby of mine since I first got my hands on some of the earliest machines for home use back in the 1980's. I started out on paper based terminals in the late 1970's, working on a timeshare account from school on an IBM 360/76 mainframe. While I don't date back to punched cards, I do go back to their successor: the #2 pencil fill in the oblong. With a few cards, or tens of cards, you could get a rather simple program put together and the paper-based terminal was seen as an amazing part of the future. By the end of high school the Apple II, Atari 400/800, Commodore-64 and TRS-80 were all available along with the first business class machine by IBM, the PC/XT. Although the Apple II, PC/XT and TRS-80 all had expansion capability, via add-in slots, the ability to actually modify the system were minimal. Mostly it was *just* modifying the exterior, the case, and putting in better expansion cards for new capability. My first PC/XT by the mid-1980's was a Taiwanese clone that was relatively inexpensive and already 'second wave' due the the PC/AT and then the 386 revolution. Actually modifying cases could be done, but fitting a computer into something less cumbersome than a 50 lb. piece of luggage was difficult, although the far too expensive laptop machines had started to hit the street for a few years.

Going forward through the 1990's and the computer industry saw a major expansion as the Industry Standard Architecture bus (or ISA) designed by IBM, allowed for anyone to make an expansion card for their machines. A few companies 'black boxing' the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) meant that '100% IBM Compatible' was in the actual mid-90's percent and 'good enough to just work'. IBM couldn't control that architecture, tried to shift to a proprietary one and slower processors and had its lunch eaten by Compaq, Dell and just about anyone who could get some sheet metal bent and had a source for cheap motherboards. That motherboard form factor which started with the XT and went to the AT (with oversized versions of each possible) soon shifted as the motherboard manufacturers hit upon a key size of the ATX. Plus they needed higher power, lower circuit trace lengths and some way to get things cooler inside the computer case. It is the form factor that makes the decision if you are not into high-end gaming and graphics these days: if you want a cheap PC to surf the net, do some word processing and spreadsheets, the cost of that machine and its size are now incredibly small.

Compared to a gaming rig, that is.

The form factor shift after the ATX, after a few false starts, headed downwards in size (with major exceptions for file servers and such). The Micro-ATX or mATX came next, being smaller than the ATX, but not as small as some embedded computers, like the PC/104 (which can fit in a computer keyboard). Movement on that front and the 'get a computer everywhere you can thing of' deal has moved form factors down in size as well as increasing capability and lowering cost. That is the magic of Moore's Law, where the number of transistors on a given size of circuit board is doubled every 18 months or so (there are variants of the Law), while keeping manufacturing costs relatively stable. Thus, for older capacity you can get more and pay less. Try *that* in the automotive industry!

This brings us to the modern era of the ITX circuit board, being smaller than the mATX but still able to fit into an mATX/ATX case (check the alignment holes before purchase). The ITX starts to hit into the realm of lower powered kiosks, interactive displays and all sorts of fun things and is both lower power and cost compared to a gaming PC. From there one market leader in the push to get computers into the smallest form factor that it still upgradeable (to some degree) is apparent. It is not Intel or AMD, but the company that has made chips to address some integrated capacity on motherboards that the other two may not do as well or as cheaply: VIA. If you want to see small form factor computers, VIA is the place that makes the motherboards for them. They are pushing down in size and cost, while putting more functionality into the motherboard, which holds the processor and graphics capability (at least on some integrated motherboards), so for your money all you need is a case and some memory, plus storage. And as these are somewhat older PC specifications you can often get that stuff on the cheap, or spend for what you need like memory or storage capacity.

Deciding to go where the big guys aren't going, VIA has set up VIA Initiatives to bring small form factor, cheap computers to the masses that seem to go a bit beyond the 'embedded' category. They can't do this on their own and need the help of manufacturing concerns, innovative system designers and just interested folks willing to do some of the 'just where can I put this thing?' sort of deal. This is seen at their Spearhead Initiatives page, and starts to get a good flavor for what is going on. The Mini-ITX moves the form factor down a notch, heading into the area of Personal Video Records (like TiVO's and such) for form factor size. The Nano-ITX starts to hit at the range of an oversize hardcover book. Their Ultra Mobile PC initiative looks to get fully functional sub-notebook to just a bit larger than palm size computers into the hands of everyday people at a low cost. The Asus company's Asus Eee is an example of that form factor. Currently the newest form factor size is the Pico-ITX, which, well...


That is a motherboard, with CPU and the memory slot is on the underside. It has pinouts for all the other things you need, like USB and such, but notice the VGA connector in back for your monitor is built-in. To get this thing rolling VIA is offering a 'system builders kit' called the Artigo, which allows one to get the experience of putting in some memory, attaching a connector or two, screwing a few screws to put the thing in its case and then figuring out what to do with it. It has space for a 2.5" notebook hard drive in it. To give you an idea of the size of the thing, installed, it looks like this:


Next to the monitor (17" I think) and the keyboard, just opposite the mouse is the Artigo. It has 4 USB ports, stereo in/out jacks, and VGA. Along with the small power brick that comes with the kit. Most resellers will bundle the Artigo kit with 512 MB of RAM and a hard drive, usually in the 40 GB range. While many of the boards, particularly Nano-ITX, are aimed at computing in vehicles, and a number of manufacturers make in-dashboard units, the Pico-ITX looks to be heading elsewhere, including the Open Source notebook area at the VIA OpenBook site. There to speed the adoption of this concept, they have placed the full engineering diagrams for public use out on the web, so that you can head over to a machine shop or plastic molding shop and get your very own notebook case made ready for parts.

And this now comes to the confluence of things that starts with a cheap piece of refurbished technology from NETGEAR: the SC-101.


Also known as - The Toaster from Hell. Quite a few people have made that and similar comment about its inability to stay on a network, keep integrity or even just plain old work. As I have a couple of old hard drives, due to the system rebuilds going on here, I thought it was worth a shot... and it is aptly named as the Hellish Toaster. But, on the cheap for refurbished, it was worth a shot.

The body is made of aluminum, looks to be cast aluminum, not milled. The outer parts are slide on plastic shells, with a steel front and back piece with plastic rim over them. It is, definitely, cute. It is not, most definitely, reliable nor even having stable drivers, with Netgear admits to and blames the suppliers of them. Stripped out it is a tiny circuit board made for doing not very much. I was hoping for some network filesharing amongst my machines, but that appears to be a lost cause.

With that said the form factor, internally divided into three bays (one each for 3.5" hard drives and the remainder for internal circuits) is interesting as it allows for 3.5" bay gear to fit into two of the three slots. Now the Artigo system kit is overlarge for that, as it would comfortably fit where a DVD/CD drive does in a regular computer system. Yes, you can have a computer in your computer, so to speak, with the Artigo doing some dedicated work while the main system is used for other things. The motherboard, alone, however, would fit neatly into the SC-101 and leave both other bays open... and there are a couple of better motherboards out from VIA...

If only there was a motherboard tray to do that.

I have looked at the bay components, and it might be possible to use a 2.5" hard drive adapter for a 3.5" bay to fit into the center slot of the SC-101. That is if you drill out holes for the motherboard standoffs (small devices put in to isolate the motherboard from the case that are often screwed in with a screw hole on the part jutting up, or just a plastic clip), but that requires drilling and tapping. Tapping is the process of threading a hole with the proper screw tap. I have, actually, done that in the far past for other things, and have since procured the necessary taps to do it again with hand screw. What that would allow is the 'down and dirty' putting in of parts, scrounging some faceplates and getting the thing functional. Hey, if you already have a drill, the right bit size and about $50 worth of taps and screw device it is well worth thinking about. You can even re-use the power brick that came with the SC-101!

Really, if I could find a custom metal bending shop in the neighborhood, I would just hit them up for a bit of work. In Buffalo that would be easy. In the drowsy communities of western metro DC in VA? Possible, yes, but someone who was trustworthy by the friend-of-a-friend network thing? Probably not. So that leaves the ugly look. Or does it?

In this modern era of computers, computer assisted or operated machines and all sorts of other fun things, there is one other way to go. Here the concept is 'rapid prototyping' of equipment via a shop that will do one-off work if you give them the CAD layouts with specifications and such. And since the actual ability to make Computer Assisted Drawings is relatively old technology, as well as 3D rendering, you would think there should be a way to do this pretty much online. A large number of shops will take in your design work if you already have the necessary programs, but you would really like a front-to-back sort of deal where you can do the layout work, specify materials and work to be done, finishing and get it pretty fast. Online price quotes a help!

The first place I have run across to do this is Online Machine Shop, which has a downloadable small program that allows for layout, custom specification, and an embarrassingly large number of things you can get done. It will even analyze your work and tell you when getting it all done on a single machine will keep the price down! For a one-off piece of work, I expect that the price would be pretty high... more than the cost would justify, really. Still, if you want something made to your specifications, and you can figure out materials, tool types and what you need done in the machinists parlance, this looks to be the place to go. The software feels like its from the mid-1990's, but running quickly unlike the 1990's.

So what am I wasting my time on? Yes, re-learning and dusting off some old skills from my teen years and having some fun with software and seeing just what I can make that SC-101 *into*. And if you ever needed just that one, special piece of something to make an overall design look *good*, be it woodwork, car, boat, home appliance... if you have time and patience to learn, you can actually get it done to your specifications within tolerances.

I expect that within five years or so the open source machining group will get it to where you can just get the equipment for your home and you supply the basic materials.

25 July 2008

Founded on problems that good intentions harm

The following is a white paper of The Jacksonian Party.

The ways are numerous, but the salient ones for today have been clearly stated. The clearest overview is given in the Yates and Lansing letter to the New York Governor, 21 DEC 1787, in this paragraph:

Exclusive of our objections originating from the want of power, we entertained an opinion that a general government, however guarded by declarations of rights, or cautionary provisions, must unavoidably, in a short time, be productive of the destruction of the civil liberty of such citizens who could be effectually coerced by it, by reason of the extensive territory of the United States, the dispersed situation of its inhabitants, and the insuperable difficulty of controlling or counteracting the views of a set of men (however unconstitutional and oppressive their acts might be) possessed of all the powers of government, and who, from their remoteness from their constituents, and necessary permanency of office, could not be supposed to be uniformly actuated by an attention to their welfare and happiness; that, however wise and energetic the principles of the general government might be, the extremities of the United States could not be kept in due submission and obedience to its laws, at the distance of many hundred miles from the seat of government; that, if the general legislature was composed of so numerous a body of men as to represent the interests of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the usual and true ideas of representation, the expense of supporting it would become intolerably burdensome; and that, if a few only were vested with a power of legislation, the interests of a great majority of the inhabitants of the United States must necessarily be unknown; or, if known, even in the first stages of the operations of the new government, unattended to.

In large territories the ability to govern becomes a difficulty as the lengthy of distance between individuals and their representative leads not only to problems of government, itself, extending across such areas with the burden of government overhead, but also via the perceived distance between such representatives and the people they are representing. The extreme portions of the Nation would no longer be governable. Further, the problem is two-fold as those doing the governing, no matter how poorly, can seek to sinecure their offices by the means of government. And as the number of people to be represented increases and the number of representatives remains static, the power vested in each representative grows even as their ability to *be* representative of that population declines.

Federalist formulations of government put local government in control of local concerns: they generally do not create law. Laws from higher levels that get passed down to lower levels in a federal schema, increases the burden and overhead of those lower forms of government, slowly marginalizing their ability to be responsive to local concerns. This then winds up with few people making burdensome laws that clog up the entire set of governments starting at the national end. The more 'pass-through' there is to local levels for enforcement and accountability, the worse the overall system becomes.

Others had, of course, seen that problem as Centinel I did on 05 OCT 1787, in this passage amidst a much larger set of problems with the Constitution:

If one general government could be instituted and maintained on principles of freedom, it would not be so competent to attend to the various local concerns and wants, of every particular district, as well as the peculiar governments, who are nearer the scene, and possessed of superior means of information, besides, if the business of the whole union is to be managed by one government, there would not be time. Do we not already see, that the inhabitants in a number of larger states, who are remote from the seat of government, are loudly complaining of the inconveniencies and disadvantages they are subjected to on this account, and that, to enjoy the comforts of local government, they are separating into smaller divisions.

From the highest end, then, government needs to be limited in scope and size as it is the least able to understand local concerns. The closer government is to the action, the better it is able to adjust to the day-to-day affairs of people. While Centinel would go far afield from this outlook, that single statement of general rule of government size and distance is one that exists to this day for all governments in large geographic areas. Even the 'shortening of distance' via modern telecom systems have not mitigated the personal contact necessary for personally understanding the needs of limited populations in large geographic areas.

John DeWitt III by John DeWitt on 05 NOV 1787 would see a long series of problems with the House of Representatives, but a telling couple are these, after leading in with a transition passage from the Senate and the Executive, but it is also pertinent to the House:

Very possible also in a country where they are total strangers.—But, my fellow—citizens, the important question here arises, who are this House of Representatives? "A representative Assembly, says the celebrated Mr. Adams, is the sense of the people, and the perfection of the portrait, consists in the likeness."Can this Assembly be said to contain the sense of the people?—Do they resemble the people in any one single feature?—Do you represent your wants, your grievances, your wishes, in person? If that is impracticable, have you a right to send one of your townsmen for that purpose?—Have you a right to send one from your county? Have you a right to send more than one for every thirty thousand of you? Can he be presumed knowing to your different, peculiar situations —your abilities to pay public taxes, when they ought to be abated, and when increased? Or is there any possibility of giving him information? All these questions must be answered in the negative. But how are these men to be chosen? Is there any other way than by dividing the Senate into districts? May not you as well at once invest your annual Assemblies with the power of choosing them—where is the essential difference? The nature of the thing will admit of none. Nay, you give them the power to prescribe the mode. They may invest it in themselves.—If you choose them yourselves, you must take them upon credit, and elect those persons you know only by common fame. Even this privilege is denied you annually, through fear that you might withhold the shadow of control over them. In this view of the System, let me sincerely ask you, where is the people in this House of Representatives?

That tradition of choosing an annual set of representatives dates back far into Norse tradition with the Thing, and the annual selection of the lawgiver who then represents up at the next level of government from which is chosen one to go to an Althing or more national assembly. Two years was chosen for the size of the young Nation and the impossibility of having elections that often and still having time to get anything done... which is a very salient feature *for* annual elections, really. Be that as it may, the ability of the House to actually represent the common man or those that have 'common fame'. That is a wonderful position to describe, those who have common fame locally and are trusted as representatives. Something we lack in the modern position of wide-ranging fame is that of common fame.

Several States did have 'at-large' districts for Representatives, but that did not obviate the problem of the House being able to set its own rules for election proportions then passed into public law.

George Mason's Objections to the Proposed Federal Constitution, on 18-19 JUN 1788, examines numerous faults with it and gives a short passage in that laundry list of problems to this issue and then the specific powers granted to Congress:

In the House of Representatives, there is not the Substance, but the Shadow only of Representation; which can never produce proper Information in the Legislature, or inspire Confidence in the People; the Laws will therefore be generally made by men little concern’d in, and unacquainted with their Effects and Consequences.


By requiring a Majority to make all commercial & Navigation Laws, the five Southern States (whose Produce & Circumstances are totally different from that of the eight Northern & Eastern States) may be ruined; for such rigid & premature Regulations may be made, as will enable the Merchants of the Northern & Eastern States not only to demand an exorbitant Freight, but to monopolize the Purchase of the Commodities at their own Price, for many Years; to the great Injury of the landed Interest, & Impoverishment of the People; and the Danger is the greater, as the Gain on one Side will be in Proportion to the Loss on the other. Whereas requiring two thirds of the Members present in both Houses wou’d have produced mutual moderation, promoted the general Interest, and removed an insuperable Objection to the adoption of this Government.

Under their own Construction of the general Clause, at the End of the enumerated Powers, the Congress may grant Monopolies in Trade & Commerce, constitute new Crimes, inflict unusual and severe Punishments, & extend their Powers as far as they shall think proper; so that the state Legislatures have no Security for their Powers now presumed to remain to them, or the People for their Rights.

Now comes the warning signs of what happens when you give such power to a body that is ill-representative, sets its own size and begins to become an Aristocracy in and of itself.

While the objections raised were somewhat addressed in the Bill of Rights, the overall general view still stands as one in which a distant legislature makes laws that it cannot know the effects of when implemented. By regulating to ensure one way of trade or to implement a system that is not adaptable to circumstances, those laws will distort the marketplace and impoverish many to the benefit of the few. Beyond that the ability of the government to set its own borders on those things it is given to do then allows for those seeking to invent new problems to expand government into the leeway to do so once in the majority.

Amendments IX and X would ameliorate some of that very last by establishing that everything not given to the federal government is retained by the States and the People. Under that restricted view any expansion requires justification, and that has always been the outlook of those seeking fewer limitations on government, not more.

The corrosive powers in government and even the basis for representation are seen by Brutus III on 15 NOV 1787 and would also house a strong logical denunciation of something then going on:

The words are "representatives and direct taxes, shall be apportioned among the several states, which may be included in this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons." — What a strange and unnecessary accumulation of words are here used to conceal from the public eye. what might have been expressed in the following concise manner. Representatives are to be proportioned among the states respectively, according to the number of freemen and slaves inhabiting them, counting five slaves for three free men.

"In a free state." says the celebrated Montesquieu, "every man. who is supposed to be a free agent, ought to be concerned in his own government. therefore the legislature should reside in the whole body of the people, or their representatives." But it has never been alledged that those who are not free agents, can, upon any rational principle, have any thing to do in government, either by themselves or others. If they have no share in government. why is the number of members in the assembly, to be increased on their account? Is it because in some of the states, a considerable part of the property of the inhabitants consists in a number of their fellow men, who are held in bondage, in defiance of every idea of benevolence, justice, and religion, and contrary to all the principles of liberty, which have been publickly avowed in the late glorious revolution? If this be a just ground for representation, the horses in some of the states, and the oxen in others, ought to be represented — for a great share of property in some of them. consists in these animals; and they have as much controul over their own actions, as these poor unhappy creatures, who are intended to be described in the above recited clause, by the words, "all other persons." By this mode of apportionment, the representatives of the different pans of the union, will be extremely unequal: in some of the southern states, the slaves are nearly equal in number to the free men; and for all these slaves, they will be entitled to a proportionate share in the legislature — this will give them an unreasonable weight in the government, which can derive no additional strength, protection, nor defence from the slaves, but the contrary. Why then should they be represented? What adds to the evil is, that these states are to be permitted to continue the inhuman traffic of importing slaves, until the year 1808 — and for every cargo of these unhappy people, which unfeeling. unprincipled, barbarous, and avaricious wretches, may tear from their country, friends and tender connections, and bring into those states, they are to be rewarded by having an increase of members in the general assembly.

That is a thoroughly consistent view of the slave trade and the rationale behind it and putting forth that to admit to some sort of proportional representation to slaves is to admit their commonality of being human. Once done what separates free men from slaves is diluted and, even worse, some States are allowed continue bringing in non-voting individuals to gain disproportionate representation. The drafters of the Constitution faced the dilemma of the principles of liberty, freedom and equality for men, and the absolutely inhuman conditions of the slave trade. When there is any proportional representation given, the power wielded by those States having slaves dilutes the power of free men to actually do anything about their condition via legislation.

This is why, as free agents, people are to keep tabs on their government: it is for their own interest. When those who have no ability to vote are given representation, then those who *do* vote wield disproportionate power at the ballot box. When done by *choice* the decision to not vote is one that is based on what that individual sees as their own best interest and that of their fellow man. The concentration of voting weight of those left does increase, but not by law, but by choice to make the conscious decision to not vote weigh upon the greater society at large.

Balancing off the North and South, in general, was a hard thing to accomplish in 1787. By adding in the idea that there should be *some* representation for slaves the idea was to compromise between NO representation and FULL representation by ending the institution of slavery. If the former was unthinkable to abolitionists the latter was a deadly blow aimed at the most prosperous part of the US economy: the agricultural south. Within a few decades that basis of formulation would change, and starkly, until the shifting point of industrial output of the north became the predominant part of the US economy. At that point in time the idea of a 'Gentleman Farmer' of the Jeffersonian mode was one that saw industry and self-support via farming as an ideal and was amenable to slave holding and pure freeman work.

If this most noxious compromise sits in one of the most revered documents of the US and, indeed, becomes the basis for government of the Nation, then we must recognize that the system of amendments put into the document would allow later generations to undo things that would not work out. Amendments XIII and XIV would end personal holding slavery and recognize that those freed from its bondage are, indeed, men and due the rights and full protection of the Constitution. Even that would be only a partial ending of slavery, however, as Amendment XIII gives a singular condition for its actual use:


Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

That underlined section is important as it moves the racial basis of slavery out of the acceptable, and yet retains slavery as the most extreme punishment allowable in the US. If a crime is so heinous that even death is not a just punishment, then the removal of ALL rights and liberties of an individual and placing them in perpetual servitude is still allowed. It is a 'poison pill' to the States that were once slave States as any punishment would need to be meted out equally, regardless of skin color.

It is in those sections regarding slavery that would then lead to the question of: how is the general citizenry being treated? In Brutus III the transition is made between that compromise and the nature of government amongst free agents, and that there is a direct correlation between having unequal weight for slave holding States and those composed of free agents:

It has been observed, that the happiness of society is the end of government — that every free government is founded in compact: and that, because it is impracticable for the whole community to assemble, or when assembled, to deliberate with wisdom, and decide with dispatch, the mode of legislating by representation was devised.

The very term, representative, implies, that the person or body chosen for this purpose, should resemble those who appoint them — a representation of the people of America, if it be a true one, must be like the people. It ought to be so constituted, that a person, who is a stranger to the country, might be able to form a just idea of their character, by knowing that of their representatives. They are the sign — the people are the thing signified. It is absurd to speak of one thing being the representative of another, upon any other principle. The ground and reason of representation, in a free government, implies the same thing. Society instituted government to promote the happiness of the whole, and this is the great end always in view in the delegation of powers. It must then have been intended, that those who are placed instead of the people, should possess their sentiments and feelings, and be governed by their interests, or, in other words, should bear the strongest resemblance of those in whose room they are substituted. It is obvious, that for an assembly to be a true likeness of the people of any country, they must be considerably numerous. — One man. or a few men, cannot possibly represent the feelings, opinions, and characters of a great multitude. In this respect, the new constitution is radically defective. — The house of assembly, which is intended as a representation of the people of America, will not, nor cannot, in the nature of things, be a proper one — sixty-five men cannot be found in the United States, who hold the sentiments, possess the feelings, or are acqainted with the wants and interests of this vast country. This extensive continent is made up of a number of different classes of people; and to have a proper representation of them. each class ought to have an opportunity of choosing their best informed men for the purpose; but this cannot possibly be the case in so small a number.

Even at the early date of the founding, the concept of 'class consciousness' was present, but here presented in a formulation different from later political thinkers. Brutus is not calling for a class based representation concept, but for having representatives so numerous that all classes gain a say across the entire population. Adding in representational allotment to those who have no vested interest in society, being slaves, then creates an absolute problem of 'who represents them?' When applied to the larger society as a whole, the question of 'who represents the people?' becomes one that cannot be lightly shrugged off. If the Constitution creates an unrepresented class of people while addressing them as a class, which it does, then exactly what is going on with the rest of the outline of government?

This is a remarkably subtle examination of representative government and the ends to which it will be put by those inside of it. Later Brutus looks at what he expects to have happen with such government:

I cannot conceive that any six men in this state can be found properly qualified in these respects to discharge such important duties: but supposing it possible to find them, is there the least degree of probability that the choice of the people will fall upon such men? According to the common course of human affairs, the natural aristocracy of the country will be elected. Wealth always creates influence, and this is generally much increased by large family connections: this class in society will for ever have a great number of dependents; besides, they will always favour each other — it is their interest to combine — they will therefore constantly unite their efforts to procure men of their own rank to be elected — they will concenter all their force in every part of the state into one point, and by acting together, will most generally carry their election. It is probable, that but few of the merchants, and those the most opulent and ambitious, will have a representation from their body — few of them are characters sufficiently conspicuous to attract the notice of the electors of the state in so limited a representation. The great body of the yeomen of the country cannot expect any of their order in this assembly — the station will be too elevated for them to aspire to — the distance between the people and their representatives, will be so very great, that there is no probability that a farmer, however respectable, will be chosen — the mechanicks of every branch, must expect to be excluded from a seat in this Body — It will and must be esteemed a station too high and exalted to be filled by any but the first men in the state, in point of fortune; so that in reality there will be no part of the people represented, but the rich, even in that branch of the legislature, which is called the democratic. — The well born, and highest orders in life, as they term themselves, will be ignorant of the sentiments of the midling class of citizens, strangers to their ability, wants, and difficulties, and void of sympathy, and fellow feeling.

And will still need the votes to get into office from those not well born, not connected, and generally middle class and poor. The inherent wealth necessary to run for office, hold office, retain office, is one not readily available to the common man. While a man of 'common fame' can get to such offices, that is because of that fame allowing them to be more widely known and to seek the modest donations of their fellow man to run for office. The influence of wealth and power in US politics is not a modern artifact, but one dating back before the Constitution, and how to address it is given as a major problem for the idea of representative democracy.

Getting to the center of this nexus, Brutus adds this, and it becomes a major sign-post for representative democracy going wrong:

It will consist at first, of sixty-five, and can never exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants; a majority of these, that is, thirty—three, are a quorum, and a majority of which, or seventeen, may pass any law — so that twenty—five men, will have the power to give away all the property of the citizens of these stateswhat security therefore can there be for the people, where their liberties and property are at the disposal of so few men? It will literally be a government in the hands of the few to oppress and plunder the many.

And others have already started to point out the tools of that source exploitation by government for those in power: taxation, regulation, duties. Another is the military power granted Congress, but before stepping to that, it is important to realize that these three powers over a nation, as a whole and in part, are sufficient in and of themselves to set up a system of unequal government to assure the prestige of those in office and to gain a perpetuity of representation.

That looks something like this, in modern terms:

Courtesy: thirty-thousand.org

With the fixing of the size of the House of Representatives comes the era of the incumbent: the utilization of government power and the restriction of democracy so as to ensure that only a set number of individuals rule in near perpetuity over time. Gaining a seat in the House of Representatives is a near guarantee of lifetime employment in that body. That is, by definition, not representational democracy, due to changing demographics *alone*.

The actual point of this, and a sideswipe at other writers, was done by Roger Sherman in A Countryman II on 22 NOV 1787, and the point of it is stark and even while being dismissive, it brings it into clear focus:

The only real security that you can have for all your important rights must be in the nature of your government. IF you suffer any man to govern you who is not strongly interested in supporting your privileges, you will certainly lose them. If you are about to trust your liberties with people whom it is necessary to bind by stipulation that they shall not keep a standing army, your stipulation is not worth even the trouble of writing. No bill of rights ever yet bound the supreme power longer than the honeymoon of a new married couple, unless the rulers were interested in preserving the rights; and in that case they have always been ready enough to declare the rights and to preserve them when they were declared. The famous English Magna Charta is but an act of Parliament, which every subsequent Parliament has had just as much constitutional power to repeal and annul as the Parliament which made it had to pass it at first. But the security of the nation has always been that their government was so formed that at least one branch of their legislature must be strongly interested to preserve the rights of the nation.


If you cannot prove by the best of all evidence, viz., by the interest of the rulers, that this authority will not be abused or, at least, that those powers are not more likely to be abused by the Congress than by those who now have the same powers, you must by no means adopt the Constitution. No, not with all the bills of rights and all the stipulations in favor of the people that can be made.

But if the members of Congress are to be interested just as you and I are, and just as the members of our present legislatures are interested, we shall be just as safe with even supreme power (if that were granted) in Congress, as in the General Assembly. If the members of Congress can take no improper step which will not affect them as much as it does us, we need not apprehend that they will usurp authorities not given them to injure that society of which they are a part.

The sole question (so far as any apprehension of tyranny and oppression is concerned) ought to be, how are Congress formed? How far are them members interested to preserve your rights? How far have you a control over them? Decide this, and then all the questions about their power may be dismissed for the amusement of those politicians whose business it is to catch flies, or may occasionally furnish subjects for George Bryan’s POMPOSITY, or the declamations of cato, An Old Whig, Son of Liberty, Brutus, Brutus Junior, An Officer of the Continental Army, the more contemptible Timoleon, and the residue of that rabble of writers.

That, while being a bit condescending and provocative towards other writers, does make the point of deciding how the Congress is chosen as an absolute safeguard to liberty and freedom. We have, since that era, seen politicians and 'activists' seek to expand the definitions of the Constitution as enacted and put in place, so as to greatly expand and abuse the power available to the federal government. Amendment XIV was put in to address those who had been slaves in the Nation and to ensure that equality was provided to them, not as a super-set of rights to be applied across all time to 'empower' those who are not even citizens. By establishing that the freed slaves *are* citizens, the Constitution is amended to provide equal protection of the law to them *as* fellow citizens.

Today we find that Congress is seeking to protect a 'right of communication' outside of the borders of the Nation and that is not covered by their powers, save on the domestic side of things. As part of the Executive power, communications outside the Nation are not sacrosanct, save between citizens, which Congress can duly cover under its laws of the high seas power. While ship passage is protected by the Constitution, communication out of the Nation via other means is not: that traditional intercept capability of any Nation to spy upon other Nations utilizing whatever comes their way in the sea far from National borders and protection, is then an Executive power as part of defending the Nation by the army and the navy, and for intercourse with foreign governments. That is why the Executive is separate from the Legislative, as the dealings with foreign Nations, proper execution of the Admiralty power and gathering information about foreign Nations is handed to one individual chose by the people via the Electoral College. That route is a completely separate set of safeguards to choose an Executive for those powers.

When Roger Sherman addresses this question and tries to negate the other questions that arise from the Constitution, he is attempting to not only concentrate the discussion, but also to put aside the repercussions if Congress can NOT be chosen well and securely. His basic answer is the common one of many writers: choose by means of the most populous representational system of the States and put that in place for the House of Representatives. it is the methodology that other writers address, however, as they examine the formulation of government and seek to find what may be mitigated at the start, so as to properly address those concerns for future generations. Far too many take the dismissive tone, to this day, and believe that it was all properly hashed out, while the opposite is true: the safeguards that Roger Sherman called for were not properly addressed by those who proposed the Constitution as seen in the examples and arguments brought up by many on the Anti-Federalist side. Many, such as Mr. Sherman, were not out to thwart the Constitution, but to refine it and ensure that the safeguards against particular and well known forms of failure were put in place.

Looking at one of those examinations in A Federal Republican: A Review of the Constitution on 28 NOV 1787, there is a hard examination of the problems that are seen with the structure of the Congress and its powers, and part of that lengthy review looks at where a National government moves with such powers:

What does all this amount to, but an oblique confession, that Congress may, if they please, load us with many needless expences?

The taxation of the particular states for their own support will be over-ruled by Congress, or else it will be obliged to embrace a measure perhaps the most odious in the world, viz. excessive taxation. This would be widely different from the opinion of the ablest politicians. I am persuaded that if this constitution were to be adopted, Congress would be reduced to this alternative, either to oppress the people in the manner just hinted, or commit upon them a violent injury by depriving them of their rights.

Congress will be the judges of what is necessary for the general welfare of the United States, and this will open the door to any extravagant expence which they shall be pleased to incur. For this reason their power should have been accurately defined. Baron Montesquieu (B. 13, C. I) observes that "the real wants of the people ought never to give way to the imaginary wants of the state. Imaginary wants are those which flow from passion, and from the weakness of the governors, from the charms of an extraordinary project, from a distempered desire of vain glory, and from a certain impotency of mind that renders it incapable of with-standing the attacks of fancy. Often times has it happened, that ministers of restless dispositions have imagined that the wants of the state were those of their own little and ignoble souls." That this may happen here, we have a right, and indeed ought to suppose. Any man who carefully attends to the constitution(n) quoted above, must judge that the powers granted by it, are too indifinite. Indeed as it stands there expressed, it includes every other power afterwards mentioned.

This is the exact, same problem that modern Conservative writers have with the utilization of powers by Congress to this very day. We hear of the imaginary wants of the Nation invented by politicians: Social Security, Health Care, backing governmental mortgage companies, and even ideas that government at the federal level has anything to do with local education. These and a raft of other 'programs' are the imaginary wants of the federal government at the National level: they have no basis beyond the 'general welfare' part of the Constitution. That is the Art. I, Sec. 8 power at the very top of that Section:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Federal Republican is examining these clauses and having dealt with the first part of this clause then moves on to the second part, and correctly deduces that unrestricted language given to Congress is not a boon but a bane: in giving it such wide discretionary powers for taxation, Congress may declare anything it wants as for the 'general Welfare of the United States'. If the large scale re-ordering of society to the outlook of Congress were not bad enough, the citation of Montesquieu also examines those things that flow from passion, weakness, attempts for personal glory or just seeing a 'neat idea' that should, in theory, help the Nation while, instead, only serves the personal outlook of those in Congress. When this is added to the regulatory power further down in Sec. 8, Congress is then granted a full suite of tools for dealing with things beyond just the 'general Welfare' but delves directly into the personal and particular outlooks of those humans sitting in Congress. We call that 'pork barrel spending' and it goes far beyond anything envisioned for the 'general Welfare of the United States' and yet by the power of Congress it may indulge itself in anything it can get passed... or slips through due to the size of the budget.

Indefinite powers, granted over long periods, are problematical: by trying to ensure that they are not abused via the electorate, the very means of abusing them via a system of factionalization within the electorate allows for majorities to press home views which are not shared by a substantive minority. And when that majority gives verbiage that it is for the betterment of all, the attempt is made to mask the problem of expanding federal power in, and of, itself. Congress, as Federal Republican examines, has great power to enact petty legislation to meet whims of that body of governors. Even when the 'general Welfare' part is cited, it is used to cover purely local affairs instituted from Congress or, even worse, intrude upon the areas of Amendment IX and X which are all other rights retained by the States and the people. Thus removing a right via the 'general Welfare' outlook becomes condoned by law.

Federal Farmer VIII on 03 JAN 1788 looks at this further problem of indefinite power:

We may amuse ourselves with names; but the fact is, men will be governed by the motives and temptations that surround their situation. Political evils to be guarded against are in the human character, and not in the name of patrician or plebian. Had the people of Italy, in the early period of the republic, selected yearly, or biennially, four or five hundred of their best informed men, emphatically from among themselves, these representatives would have formed an honest respectable assembly, capable of combining in them the views and exertions of the people, and their respectability would have procured them honest and able leaders, and we should have seen equal liberty established. True liberty stands in need of a fostering hand; from the days of Adam she has found but one temple to dwell in securely; she has laid the foundation of one, perhaps her last, in America; whether this is to be compleated and have duration, is yet a question. Equal liberty never yet found many advocates among the great: it is a disagreeable truth, that power perverts mens views in a greater degree, than public employments inform their understandings — they become hardened in certain maxims, and more lost to fellow feelings. Men may always be too cautious to commit alarming and glaring iniquities: but they, as well as systems, are liable to be corrupted by slow degrees. Junius well observes, we are not only to guard against what men will do, but even against what they may do. Men in high public offices are in stations where they gradually lose sight of the people, and do not often think of attending to them, except when necessary to answer private purposes.

Those that govern will lose attachment with the people if allowed to do so - they will do that because of their station in government, not from outright malice. When you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail, thusly those in government start to see government as the solution to anything and everything. Even if it is to just meet their own highly biased needs that are personal and private. Congress has seen fit to exempt itself from many workplace regulation laws on hours, payment, and even workplace safety. That does not serve the Union but does serve *them*. That is a vice of office that creates laws: those making such laws can exempt themselves from the law and thus shield themselves from that which is placed upon the common man. Whenever we hear of 'Congressional Staffers' having problems, it is Congress that sets its own size, gives itself its own staff, exempts itself from the general laws regulating such staff and, more generally, utilizes such staff in whatever way personal members see fit. Is it any wonder that they grow distant having their own personal servants on the public's payroll? If the work is too onerous, then make Congress bigger to divide up the duties and eliminate the staff. Of course that brings more eyes to legislation and makes getting things done for individual members harder by diluting their power...

This then brings us to the central point of Congressional power, as seen in Cato No. 6 by Cato on 13 DEC 1787:

In what manner then will you be eased, if the expences of government are to be raised solely out of the commerce of this country; do you not readily apprehend the fallacy of this argument. But government will find, that to press so heavily on commerce will not do, and therefore must have recourse to other objects; these will be a capitation or poll-tax, window lights, &c. &c. And a long train of impositions which their ingenuity will suggest; but will you submit to be numbered like the slaves of an arbitrary despot; and what will be your reflections when the tax-master thunders at your door for the duty on that light which is the bounty of heaven. It will be the policy of the great landholders who will chiefly compose this senate, and perhaps a majority of this house of representatives, to keep their lands free from taxes; and this is confirmed by the failure of every attempt to lay a land-tax in this state; hence recourse must and will be had to the sources I mentioned before. The burdens on you will be insupportable—your complaints will be inefficacious—this will beget public disturbances, and I will venture to predict, without the spirit of prophecy, that you and the government, if it is adopted, will one day be at issue on this point. The force of government will be exerted, this will call for an increase of revenue, and will add fuel to the fire. The result will be, that either you will revolve to some other form, or that government will give peace to the country, by destroying the opposition. If government therefore can, notwithstanding every opposition, raise a revenue on such things as are odious and burdensome to you, they can do any thing.

By having such an ability to tax for anything it wants, Congress may justify what it wants under 'general Welfare' and get it. We already have the lovely ideas that were put in place during the 1930's heading the Nation to bankruptcy because of the cost of social security, and now others wish to dispense other goodies from government... which is already going bankrupt. The upshot of that is seen by Centinal No. 8 by Centinel on 29 DEC 1787:

But as it is by comparison only that men estimate the value of any good, they are not sensible of the worth of those blessings they enjoy, until they are deprived of them; hence from ignorance of the horrors of slavery, nations, that have been in possession of that rarest of blessings, liberty, have so easily parted with it: when groaning under the yoke of tyranny what perils would they not encounter, what consideration would they not give to regain the inestimable jewel they had lost; but the jealousy of despotism guards every avenue to freedom, and confirms its empire at the expence of the devoted people, whose property is made instrumental to their misery, for the rapacious hand of power seizes upon every thing; dispair presently succeeds, and every noble faculty of the mind being depressed, and all motive to industry and exertion being removed, the people are adapted to the nature of government, and drag out a listless existence.

If ever America should be enslaved it will be from this cause, that they are not sensible of their peculiar felicity, that they are not aware of the value of the heavenly boon, committed to their care and protection, and if the present conspiracy fails, as I have no doubt will be the case, it will be the triumph of reason and philosophy, as these United States have never felt the iron hand of power, or experienced the wretchedness of slavery.

Again, while inflammatory, the point of Centinal and the others who have looked at this is that Congress, given this over-arching and unlimited power being unchecked can and does start to change the course of society to its own ends, instead of the other way around. Granted that many of the laws are good, such as ones encouraging trade and limiting monopolies and removing onerous child labor, but others that attempt to reward a portion of the people or offer things to some and not others falls more harshly into the divisive powers use to oppress some and uplift others. If the rich have no need of social security or medical insurance, then why force them to pay for something they will not use? And if it is something that only the rich can get, then spreading it out to the general population is costly and done via the inefficient means of government. If home ownership is so good, then why back up those Americans that cannot even figure out their budget to get such things? These are rewards we are, as a whole, asked to pay for while it is only the few or even a majority that benefits from it, while a substantial minority not only do not benefit but have to pay for these luxuries.

By creating that rift and exploiting it, and by not having sufficient representation to allow for a thorough discussion and review of these things, government then represses the minority by removing those views from the public dialogue in the seat of power. Dividing up the population into factions and then subdividing those factions to smaller groups, allows for factional politics to be created in which a 'majority' is a bare interest of self-enrichment that is then leveraged upon the minority as a 'common good'. If we can stand up for the rights of one person to speak out against things done to protect the Nation from abuse, then why are these voices attacked as seeking to hurt those sub-groups? By changing that focus from the entirety of the people to those sub-groups, the dialogue is stifled and ended. Speak up and you are *against* this or that group instead of seeking for common law and application across all of the people for equal protection and letting each benefit from their liberty to prosper or not as the case may be.

In closing, there is a Federalist perspective on what to do if this sort of thing arises, but I am pretty sure that it is just as unpalatable as the vices of Congress foisted upon the people and then supported by a vocal minority to give more power to government... that minority allied here and there to get a majority when it can, that is. Alexander Hamilton wrote this in Federalist No. 26 on 22 DEC 1787:

"The legislature of the United States will be obliged by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. They are not at liberty to vest in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence. As the spirit of party in different degrees must be expected to infect all political bodies there will be, no doubt, persons in the national legislature willing enough to arraign the measures and criminate the views of the majority. The provision for the support of a military force will always be a favorable topic for declamation. As often as the question comes forward, the public attention will be roused and attracted to the subject by the party in opposition; and if the majority should be really disposed to exceed the proper limits, the community will be warned of the danger, and will have an opportunity of taking measures to guard against it. Independent of parties in the national legislature itself, as often as the period of discussion arrived, the State legislatures, who will always be not only vigilant but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens against encroachments from the federal government, will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rulers, and will be ready enough, if any thing improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people, and not only to be the VOICE, but, if necessary, the ARM of their discontent.

Schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community require time to mature them for execution. An army, so large as seriously to menace those liberties, could only be formed by progressive augmentations; which would suppose not merely a temporary combination between the legislature and executive, but a continued conspiracy for a series of time. Is it probable that such a combination would exist at all? Is it probable that it would be persevered in, and transmitted along through all the successive variations in a representative body, which biennial elections would naturally produce in both houses? Is it presumable that every man the instant he took his seat in the national Senate or House of Representatives would commence a traitor to his constituents and to his country? Can it be supposed that there would not be found one man discerning enough to detect so atrocious a conspiracy, or bold or honest enough to apprise his constituents of their danger? If such presumptions can fairly be made, there ought at once to be an end of all delegated authority. The people should resolve to recall all the powers they have heretofore parted with out of their own hands, and to divide themselves into as many States as there are counties in order that they may be able to manage their own concerns in person."

The man was a revolutionary, after all, and his prescription goes beyond just the armed forces and Congress seeking to undermine the country by rough take-over. In fact when it is Congress that is the *source* of the problems, then his solution *must* devolve down to its basics.

One man speaking up to decry the problems and cite that the removal of rights is tyrannical, no matter how *good* the things provided are. And as the people are the source of legitimate government, when government acts to expand its powers at the expense of the people, then the final check and balance rests not in government, but with the people.

If you like social security and decry narcotics laws, realize they are *both* part and parcel of this. We pay for both directly and indirectly, not only in money but in the imprisonment of many who have sought to do no harm to others. The narcotics are addictive, but they, at least, are amenable to an individual mending his ways... the handouts by government are far more addictive to the body politic. Both of these, and many other things done for the 'general Welfare' have their supporters, and yet neither of them is given to government to look after as we are supposed to look after ourselves. Charity from government is servitude to bureaucrats and the wardens, and neither is a good place for a free people to be under in a subservient condition. The cost of having poor is the necessity of charity and good will towards our fellow citizens, the price of handing those to government is eroded liberty and freedom.