Modes of Government

My Thoughts On: May 21st, 2003

More thoughts from when I was creating the 'NAM. This time, I illuminate the different models of government, hopefully adding enough insight to see a little more clearly what the New American Myth is all about.

I always thought it was important to sit down and figure out what's behind government, and at least understand the spectrum of choice. What it means to be in one agency or another. Without these kind of choices the supports behind some of these government structures would have much less meaning, but there is a lot to choose from.

It's really true that there are many different political philosophies that determine a government's orientations towards certain domestic, foreign, military, and economic policies. Here I'll briefly discuss some of the more overarching philosophies and how they affect today's policy making...

A. Libertarianism

The 'NAM endorses a Libertarian (or classically Liberal) mode of government. Libertarians emphasize the principle of self-ownership with a Lockean theory of property to intertwine human rights and property rights. These rights are declaratively equal - everyone owns themselves. Just as everyone owns themselves, they do not own others.

This government type is a free-market capitalism, where honestly acquired property is recognized legally as tradable goods. Domestically it is in favor of personal liberties - it's not the right of government to control human action, just as it is not the right of government to redistribute wealth or otherwise force from civilians control of honestly acquired property. Governments in a Libertarian social order exist solely to protect existing rights from violation. They do not exist to revoke the right of other nations to self-govern - therefore messing with the sovereignty of other nations (by forming bodies like the United Nations), and interference in foreign commerce (by granting subsidies, stationing troops abroad in unfriendly nations, and partaking in unnecessary treaties/embargoes/alliances) simply puts homeland security at risk.

This is the tradition of United States founding fathers, which we here at the 'NAM endorse as being right for all nations.

B. Socialism

Often considered the intellectual opposite of Libertarianism, Socialism is where governments own the means of production, assuming control of all property - including the self - in the name of "society". The reasoning for this assumption of ownership varies as much as the actual practice of Socialism does - many versions of Socialism exist today as a result. From Nazism to Fascism to Communism, many nations have practiced socialistic policies. Most suffered economic collapse or were plagued by war and violence. Nations today in many ways exercise socialistic policies and have socialistic leanings.

Despite having an intellectual foundation in classical Liberalism, the United States has enacted many Socialistic reforms. This includes public schools, social welfare, social security, operation of public utilities, anti-trust policy, and the central economic planning the SEC, FCC and the nigh-limitless number of government regulatory agencies. Even this is not the limits of modern United States Socialistic policy-making. This is not a U.S.-only phenomenon, many other modern civil nations often have entire election periods that rest entirely upon Socialistic platforms. It is not a isolated or unfamiliar phenomenon.

It is important to note that most platforms won't identify themselves as Socialistic, even when met with crystal-clear platform comparisons to typical Socialisms.

Some nations have taken Socialism to it's logical conclusions, most with disturbing conclusions. Nazi Germany ended up slaughtering millions of Jews, it needed fanatic racism to fuel it's Socialistic nationalism. Soviet Russia begat some of the bloodiest massacres and internal changeovers around, while taking up half of Europe in it's throng, then literally walled itself away from the rest of the world as it undertook a massive political campaign to convert nations to it's Socialistic practices. Long-term Socialistic empires, such as Soviet Russia, undergo a typical economic decay that often results in total economic collapse. The reduction in quality of living amongst Socialistic nations is still the rule, not the exception. Today Haitian refuges travel 500 miles of ocean to get to the United States when the "worker's paradise" of Cuba is a mere 50 miles away. Governments like Argentina go from being "the next United States" to having it's monetary unit fall so low that all it's presidents resign and the civilians roam the streets in revolt.

Socialistic domestic policy is typically a policy of interference, restricting civilians from rights to speech/press/assembly, depending on the Socialistic platform being run. Socialistic foreign/military policies often advocate military alliances, subsidy and often use any method necessary to propagate it's Socialistic reform abroad. Socialist economic policies always include restricted markets, often towards the goal of total assumption of private property to public ownership. When Socialism doesn't blatantly assume property for the government's "public" control, it will inflict restrictions and rhetoric granting limited "rights", that deride individual choices in favor of the collective. The first signs of Socialistic administrations often include revoking gun ownership, state assumption of land, and money redistributions in the form of social security and unemployment wages, as well as the institution of progressive income taxes.

The 'NAM does not condone Socialism in any form and actively seeks out to expose one of the biggest Myths of New America - that Socialism works.

C. Syndicalism

Syndicalism often employs Socialistic practices, but it is not explicitly Socialistic. Syndicalism uses government control to divide the economy and industry into "syndicates" - where laborers all own equal divisions of stock in their respective trades. Syndicalism requires that wage workers form trade-unions and that these unions are granted special privileges over their respective industries.

Syndicalism relies on the general dogma that laborers own the products of labor, not their employers. It often does not recognize the liabilities employers face, the value of voluntary contract between the employer/employee, nor the importance of money-wages in valuation of labor. Capitalism, as a system, is relegated to the backwaters so the "moral right" of a laborer to own his produce, by giving all laborers equal stock in their trade, is "protected". Governments thus become massive coordinators of trade unions, where workers determine the direction of all trade.

Often Syndicalist revolutions will use general strikes to grind the economy to a halt and open sabotage to see that government abide by the union's demands. Syndicalist governments then adopt a specific series of labor reforms to give the trade unions more control over the direction of production. Since the trade-unions often act as a subdivided democratic government, and since they control the ownership of the means of production, Syndicalism can be considered a psuedo-Socialism.

The domestic policies of a Syndicalism often vary, but most include some form of regimen to conscribe labor and dictate occupational requirements to workers. It's economic policy is as described, division of industry to the conformance of trade union demands, where workers, ideally, own equal stock in any given trade. Often, to equate to this policy of "to each according to his need", a governing body will usually redistribute products amongst the population in an attempt to be equal to all parties. Much like Socialism, Syndicalism does not endeavor to be politically isolationist, encouraging revolts of similar natures abroad.

Syndicalism is not something a free society should accept - it not only endorses a system of inequity (where the value of labor does not equal the value of production, like it might in a wage economy where the laborer's wages are dependent on production and it's contributing factors) - it endorses a system where people do not self-own, but instead, own others (in this case, other laborers who must submit his produce to the collaborative ownership of the many). Syndicalist unions differ from Capitalist unions in that they do not rely on the demand for labor to get employers to submit to their demands - they rely on government force to bully employers into compliance, this is something a free society would not accept (although special legislation in most nations, including the United States, allows unions this special entitlement). Syndicalism also rests on many arbitrary rules - and arbitrary rule is the enemy of the free state.

D. Fundamentalism

Religious orders often claim the moral right to govern above that of the individuals of society. Often religions influence the growth of nations, the rationale behind their formation, and even government policy. Religiously-inspired sentiment, like that shown in the Declaration of Independence, can often lead the charge for political change. More rarely, a religious movement will entirely compromise the revolution, and bind the government to it's religious tenets.

Fundamentalist governments often tread all over rights to religious opinion - a fundamentalist nation is thus not a nation in favor of personal liberties. How extreme a fundamentalist mentality can go depends on the religious movement itself. It may simply demand governments recognize their moral order and pass legislation banning conventional sins, or it can totally deride government authority altogether and make religious tenets enforceable law.

Since Fundamentalist nations deride personal liberty by making it illegal to be of certain opinions or to behave as you see fit with your honestly acquired property, domestic policy is usually militaristic/dictatorial. Economic policy in a Fundamentalist nation will go from having the state pay for the church, to restricting trades considered "sinful" by the religious authority. Foreign policy, like Socialism and Syndicalism, will see a Fundamentalist nation attempting to work abroad to promote it's views.

Libertarians, on the other hand, might suggest that legitimate religions are consistent with the principle of self-ownership, and that Fundamentalisms are unnecessary and dangerous. One of the key elements of self-ownership is that each individual has their own volition, or free will, and that it is morally wrong to rob them of their rights and property in an attempt to coerce them. Libertarians come in a variety of religious beliefs, modern ones like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even respective philosophies of Atheism and Agnosticism... and all of them can find reasonable arguments for the formation of a civil society based on the principle of self-ownership and the "inalienable" rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

In fact, some people see these rights as being "inalienable" because they are "endowed by their Creator". Either way, the principle of self-ownership works because it is "self-evident", and it may prove to be one of the simple truths that a civil society CAN agree upon.

E. Anarchism

This is the policy of non-government, typically stating that man should govern himself. Since this is non-government, there are no domestic, foreign, military or economic policies to speak of. The 'NAM understands that in this environment, people will erect bodies of force to produce civil order, even if the public doesn't call them "governments", they will behave in that capacity... therefore, the need for a single non-arbitrary authority still stands.

Government is what Libertarians call the "necessary evil", it is necessary because without it, history shows us that sub-governments form and eventually take rule. Any body of force attempting to declare sovereignty over the people is a government, whether labeled one or not, even if it's a anarchist regime attempting to enforce local rule. Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." This could be said to be applicable to an anarchist rule where bodies enforcing the non-government of the nation actually form a governing force themselves, and the undeclared civil order creates a "long train of abuses and usurpations".

These are just a few of the political philosophies currently dominating the world today, while others may exist, most can be classified as one of the above. Some are indefinite, holding a superior moral authority above self-ownership, but often respecting self-ownership to degrees - these can sometimes be considered Solidarist. Modern United States political parties, Democrats and Republicans, are often in favor of solidarity above the individual rule.

The 'NAM hopes to show why Libertarianism stands out from these other systems, because political philosophy is sometimes the only thing stopping civil governments from turning into absolute despotisms.

There are always basic ideas and boundaries the 'NAM will plead to, in lack of a free market, just for civility's sake. The idea of the 'NAM is that governments do have certain basic obligations to all people it deals with and affects. Even if a government does not respect "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", it should respect the sovereign rule of other nations. This can be achieved by declaring it's borders, settling international disputes diplomatically, and respecting the sovereign rule of other nations.

Preferably, the law should be based on a written declaration of principles, such as a constitution. This will help prevent the government from being ruled by the whim of whatever dictator manages to take office. This also makes the principles of the government easier to understand for the populace, as well as facilitates diplomacy.

The easiest way for a government to remain consistent to it's standards and values is for it to have a system of declared principles. This will make it more consistent in it's written legislation and give the people more control over it's growth. Even if a government is literally "unfree", it should remain civil if it does basic things like retaining written law, principles, and declared and mapped boundaries.