First off, appologies for the tangential nature of that last message. It was written in a hurry and I was tired. Meant to talk mostly about Lincoln cf Bush, but...
: And there's a significant difference as well, as I
: mentioned in another post. That Lincoln, or the Union
: for that matter, didn't start the Civil War.
Actually in a way they did. It was perfectly constitutional for the ceceding states to decide that they were no longer a part of the union. While the Union did not literally storm an army in and declare war, the still-Union states began amassing their respective militias on the southern border and basically created an army in what was still technically peacetime, a standing army, which forced the southern states to do the same... and the escalation continued.
: Indeed. In fact there are still people today who try to
: get out of paying income tax by claiming that it's
"Congress shall raise no tax against the people..." or some such. I'm at work so I can't look it up right now, but there is a clause prohibiting it. But yeah, technically Congress isn't raising a tax - they're just letting the Federal Reserve do so via a nongovernmental entity, a contractor, which we call the IRS. It's a loophole, but the intent of those who drafted the constitution is fairly clear IMO.
: It isn't, but they get an
: "A" for effort, and probably a lot of
: penalties and late fees to boot. Seriously though,
: much of what our federal taxes pay for, we take for
: granted, and would miss if it were not properly
: funded. Everything from education and infrastructure
: to radio, art, and cheaply priced, domestically grown
I agree that such infrastructure is generally a good thing, though I believe I have a more elegant method for getting the same thing done without tax-funding government projects to establish such. I like a lot of the services a centralized government can provide, I just don't like them being "government" services - it carries the same connotation as "monopoly" to me. I'll try to come back and explain my alternative when I'm not at work.
: federal standing army has a few logistical pros but I
: feel is for the most part the source of my disdain for
: the present military structure we have.
: Though the standing military is not without its many
: flaws, its lack of existence nearly cost us the
: Revolutionary War. Though our noble volunteers and
: militia-men stood resolute against the numerically
: superior, highly trained, battle-hardened British
: army, and though we won a few significant victories,
: the real cause of most of our success, the true unsung
: hero of the revolution, was the standing army of the
: hated French .
: Though we didn't have an army at the time of the
: Revolution, and didn't have much of one to speak of
: until the Civil War, it has become rather
: indispensable in modern times. We would really have no
: capability of defending ourselves without one these
: days. Not only would we not enjoy the privileges of
: culture and technology that accompany being the
: world's premier superpower, but we might all be
: speaking German. Every industrialized nation in the
: world has adopted a standing army, except those
: strictly prohibited from doing so. However, that being
: said, I do think that there is a significant amount of
: bloat in the military, and I would like to see the
: military expand into different projects both
: domestically and internationally. Perhaps the building
: of roads, bridges, aqueducts, and power plants in the
: impoverished countries we visit. I mean, it worked for
: the Romans.
Again I agree in the sense that I recognize it's usefulness, it's the implementation that bothers me. I much prefer the Swiss model (in short for those not familiar, everybody IS the army, and they're sole purpose isn't just to destoy things that need destroying), and think that integrating it with a fractal/federal model like I described at the end of my last message would result in a much more pleasant, much more elegant, and just as (if not more) effective military structure. Basically, the armed forces should be the accumulation of all the local police forces, and the higher-level government you are a police officer of (city, county, state, national, though I'd break the levels down differently), the higher your military rank. And of course, the police's duties are not / should not be just "constructive violence", but also other nonviolent methods of peacekeeping and civil service.
: My ideal government system is in some sense very
: centralized, but also very layered, and the central,
: higher layers have only power on high-level, central
: matters, and all that power is directly derived from
: the layers below them, which have similar duties and
: responsibilities on a different scale and level, and
: draw their power from those below them, and so on,
: until it ultimately comes down to power,
: responsibility, and jurisdiction over immediate
: personal matters being dealt with by the immediate
: people involved, unless an issues becomes huge enough
: to invoke higher governmental levels.
: You deal with a local community law enforcement, though
: you can always call in a higher police/military force
: to police THEM if you feel you are being treated
: unjustly. You pay only a local tax, and your local
: government is then taxed by the higher levels, and so
: on... Lots of small, local, immediately relevant
: issues that average people are actually going to see a
: point in dealing with, cumulatively guiding a larger
: social structure.
: It's an interesting theory, and the tax structure could
: conceivably fill in the gap left by the removal of a
: federal tax. Indeed, the model you mention is more or
: less the federalist ideal, an ideal that in many ways
: has evolved into the modern libertarian movement.
: However, I don't see how it could be implemented in a
: westernized nation such as America without serious
: upheaval. But it may be worth working the numbers.
At the prompting of a friend I was discussing this with, I actually sat down and contemplated what the real differences of a society operating under my form of government would be from say, the United States today, and it's really not all that big. About as big as the difference between the US, Canada, Britain, and Oz (all quite similar but with different minor pros and cons). A lot of the same results are achieved, just in different, more elegant methods, and it should in theory simply smooth over a lot of the rough edges of a society like ours. That may eventually RESULT in a very different society, but the initial society need not be very different at all. In fact I specifically designed it to operate with people as we know them and their motivations, not making the communists' mistake of presuming people are deep-down all true altruists if you just give them a chance.