Monday, June 28, 2004

Redrawing Democracy: The First Defender

I've spoken in previous rambles about how I think revenue collection ought to be handled, and how that ought to affect representation. I've written about how I think popular representatives ought to be chosen. As a result, I now have a legislative branch designed for a new kind of government, but how is execution to be handled? What I will describe is sort of a hybrid of the British and American systems (and their immitators), with a little military dictatorship thrown in--and yet, it should be a more just system. If that doesn't make you curious, I don't know what will.

In any matter of law, of the establishment of bureaucracy that does *not* involve the use of force in enforcement, no entity other than the legislature need be involved. If a welfare administration needs to be established, which will help out the poor while watching for abuses, the legislature could simply declare the chartering of an organization, their duties, how the head of this organization is to be chosen, etc. etc., and there it is. Now there's a welfare administration. Provide it with funding from the general treasury each year, and let them do their job, investigate them if they are suspected of wrongdoing, disband them and establish another organization, or just starve them (cease allocating funds from the treasury) if they aren't any good. The one thing such a bueracratic arm wouldn't have the authority to do is jail anyone or sieze any property... under any cicrumstances.

Examples of functions that cound be done in this way is currency regulation (so long as enforcement isn't an issue), public broadcasting, creation of infrastructure, public education (so long as its not compulsory), or any other thing that simply involves the distribution of funds in payment for a nonviolent service or cause. For anything else, there is the First Defender.

The First Defender is someone who will be sworn to protect and defend the people of the state from malefactors of all kinds, domestic and foreign. He will be the dual head of both any domestic police force or investigative agencies the Legislature chooses to establish, and of any military forces the legislature chooses to establish. He will have primary authority over not only the people that serve under him, but also over the disbursment of funds within his organization. He will have authority to act only within the sphere established by the legislature, to enforce the law and defend the country from foreign invaders. War will be declared only by the legislature; it will be prosecuted by the First Defender.

He will be chosen by a particular subset of the people--all those who have ever served the state in a time of war (whether they were originally a part of the military or just a local militia that assisted), and all who have ever served under the First Defender for a time of two years. His immediate subordinates--those who report directly to him--will be chosen by him, but must be approved by either the House or the Senate. Those who will have the authority to use force within the borders of the state will have to be approved by the popularly elected representatives in the House, the people at large having the most to lose in the event of an abusive domestic police power. Those who's authority will be foreign in nature, whether they negotiate treaties, enforce them, or prosecute war in foreign lands, will have to be approved by the monetarily chosen representatives of the Senate, the monied interests of the state having the most to lose in the event of a war (wars are very expensive). If there is an officer who is to have the authority to act within and without, he must be approved by both the House and the Senate.

ANY use of force in the enforcement of the law will be done within the structure of the First Defender. The only other source of the authority to use force will be that of the substates, by whatever means established in their respective constitutions. The federal government will under no circumstances have the authority to interfere with the substates' authority to have a means to use force in the defense of their citizens, nor to posess and regulate the posession of the implements of force--weapons--save those weapons with the power to damage an area greater than their own area (ie. nuclear weapons, etc.).

The First Defender shall have a veto on any laws that will require the use of force in its enforcement.

My reasons are as follows:

Why is the First Defender chosen by veterans and longtime servicemen, and not by the people at large?



In my opinion, a virtuous citezenry stands ready to defend their country at any time. All who are able should be willing to defend their country (if not necessarily their country's "interests"), and stand ready do do so at some point in their life. If everybody did this, then the "people at large" and "those who have served" would be virtually indistinguishable. In a country that isn't like this, then people who have never served in war or even taken the chance that they might have to shouldn't take part in the selection of the supreme commander of the armed forces.

This ensures that the person who has the primary responsibility in dealing with other nations is someone palatable to people who have actually seen combat. There are two kinds of leaders who are very bad for the country. The first is someone who never served in the military, and yet postures before the nations as a great military power, insulting people, risking war lightly. Few who actually has to do the fighting want to get into a war except when there is no other choice; having servicemen and veterans elect the supreme commander can help avoid this. The other is a supreme commander who avoids war in all circumstances, permitting offenses and abuses which are simply intolerable in the name of avoiding casualties. Men who have fought for their country, or chosen to stand ready, aren't likely to choose this sort of leader, either.

The other thing that this does, though, is that it ensures a bond between the actual head of state and the rank and file servicemen. Though we enjoy a remarkable loyalty of our military forces here in the West, many places suffer under military dictatorships which are often the result of a lack of a legitimate way for civilians and military to negotiate their differences. When the civilian government does something the military doesn't like, the military just takes over. If they had some primary means of having their grievences heard legitimately, they just might use that, rather than a violent coup. Under this scenario, the relationship between the First Defender and the Legislature becomes a point of negotiation between civilian and military interests. Civilians will be unable to force an illegitimate figurehead over a resentful military, and the military will be unable (legally) to either eliminate provincial competition or sieze the resources necessary to maintain themselves.

I'll edit this post to answer any other questions I think are broad enough to invclude here.

1 comment:

Tarvok said...

Dear God, what power I have granted to the supreme executive authority in this essay. Needless to say, this is not how I would presently go about it.