Reducing the size of the state
Because the political class will never willingly relinquish their power this set of reforms will only be possible when the people wrest control of government from the West’s politico-corporate elite. It is assumed here that the people, by peaceful means, establish the Swiss-style system recommended in Reform Group One.
It is vital that government’s role be dramatically reduced to make other reforms in the tax and local economy-government areas viable. Central government will limit itself to it ‘regal functions’- public safety, justice and order, defence, foreign policy, the oversight (but not control) of essential public services, the provision and protection of strategic national assets, the protection of the environment and support for the practices outlined in these reforms.
The state will not pursue or sustain policies that restrict a responsible and competent citizen’s right to reach their full potential in nobility of purpose, creativity, volition, life endeavour, decision-making and individual self-reliance. It will no longer sap the autonomous energy of the people. Those influences that work against human potential will be identified and their effects eliminated or mitigated by communities in concert with government.
Central government will only do what cannot be done at community, local, or regional level – in that order. All essential public institutions will be maintained in close partnership with the people using accountability and outcome goals, alongside referenda, local level representation, consultation and open access to judicial mediation and arbitration.
Government deficit spending must end. Spending must match income from all sources and be kept at less than 20% of Gross Domestic Product. Government spending beyond this limit may only be exceeded in a just-war situation, confirmed by referendum. Achieving reductions in government spending should be staged over a 10-year period that is also marked by write-offs in government debt, under the proposals in Reform Group 5.
Governmental downsizing will be accompanied by a wholesale shift to fraternal societies and local community cooperation around assistance for the poor, economic sustainability, the administration of justice, education and health. Local regional governments (state, county, shire or district) may use the full range of reforms listed in Part Four to compete with other regions on the basis of cost, lifestyle, competitiveness and tax take.
Government must actively co-ordinate participatory planning that addresses the strategic risks of a demographic winter, a peak oil scenario, environmental degradation, pollution and endemic public health problems.
Government shall not force or encourage citizens into periods of work corps service. The military will never be used against the people by the government, except under very restricted martial law conditions, where it is under regional or district, not central government, control.
The government will default on all its debt generated through quantitative easing and repay all other loans on a one dollar/pound/euro for two basis. Governments should not be able, on moral and practical grounds, to saddle future generations with debt incurred on an unsustainable basis from financial institutions for which creating the debt was a costless exercise.
Regulation: Public good outcomes must no longer be pursued on the basis that minimising individual or social risk must be the responsibility of government. Complex and far reaching regulations and associated penalties will be reduced to a minimum and replaced with incentive systems linked to defined minimum standards or market forces - in appropriate cases. An individual’s right to free choice and the voluntary assumption of risk, except where criminality, negligence, irresponsibility or reckless harm to others is likely, will be restored. The guiding ethos, affirming the free will and individual responsibility core principles, rests on ‘my choice, my risk, my cost’.
Over regulation will be replaced by the people’s court system where individuals or organisations can be challenged before or after the fact, with the courts able to make orders, or restrain activities, likely to harm others. A system of incentives and disincentives at local government and industry levels may also be created to mitigate against social and individual risk.
Foreign policy: A central foreign policy objective must be the elimination of third world indebtedness and any related obligations placed on developing countries to service the needs of multinational corporations and any global free market practices that are contrary to their people’s best interests.
All current UN conventions and all other agreements to which the nation is a signatory, shall be retrospectively subject to referenda, irrespective of their binding nature, where the people had not previously been asked directly for their consent. Governments cannot legitimately bind its people to treaties or declarations independent of the direct and informed consent of the people.
World peace will be pursued by putting right the unjust and hate-creating blowback policies followed by the West since the Second World War. The Sykes-Piccot boundaries set arbitrarily in the Levant after the First World War should be repudiated and the U.S. should be encouraged to broker new religio-cultural borders by working with Russia and Iran to do so. The effect would be to isolate ISIS and the real sponsors of Islamic terror – Saudi-Arabia.
Defence: The people’s right to protection from foreign aggression must be an uncompromised government priority. The nation’s military, composed of volunteers and conscripts will be well trained and equipped. Except where there is a clear and immediate state-on-state territorial threat, the nation’s military forces will not be committed to conflicts, or peace-keeping operations without the prior consent of the people, obtained by referendum.
The nation must have effective border and internal protections against terrorist threats and electromagnetic or cyber-attack.
A ‘just war’ code must be enacted to guide the people and their government in circumstances where military action is being considered. Its provisions will follow well established principles on the right reasons for war and the right way to conduct a war. A policy statement of this nature would include these provisions:
· The reason for declaring war must be ‘just’ – relating to the protection of sovereign territory and the lives of the nation’s citizens. The desire for revenge cannot be a justification for war, especially if it involves off shore action. Other means must be found to make amends for the harm done by another nation, including steps taken to prevent future repetitions of any harm done.
· War is only just when the harm it causes is both necessary, proportional to the threat and clearly outweighed by the benefits gained.
· A war must never be waged against another nation on the basis that terrorist action originated in that state, unless the government of that state was complicit in the terrorist act. Where terrorists shelter in a state, military action should not be taken against them without the sanction of that state.
· War must never be waged for economic, religious or other partisan advantage.
· War may only be declared and waged by legitimate authority – a democratically constituted government. This authority is also the only legitimate authority to conclude a peace treaty.
· All other options must be explored before resorting to armed conflict, providing the threat of war by a foreign power or body is not deflected by bowing to injustice, or the loss of the people’s natural rights and freedoms. Exploring other options cannot include submitting to delaying tactics by a potential adversary hoping to gain a later advantage through war.
· Just war may include pre-emptive action for self defence purposes, providing it is done as a last resort and as an emergency measure in the face of a clear danger. A government must be left with the power to make that determination but its validity must be subject to later scrutiny by the people.
A nation is justified in going to the aid of another nation, providing all just war conditions are present.
· Invading another nation is subject to the proportionality principle. Entering an adversary’s sovereign territory should also only be contemplated if the war may be concluded more quickly and securing a lasting peace is the likely outcome.
· Nations with a nuclear capacity must never resort to those weapons unless an adversary has similar weapons and is clearly about to use them.
· A peace, won by war, must never be followed by reprisals and oppression. Forgiveness, support and reconciliation, needed to win the respect of the vanquished, should mark the victor’s actions. If a nation sues for peace its surrender should be accepted, providing there is no evidence that a negotiated peace is not being used as a ruse to continue conflict at a later date.
1] The issues behind this recommendation have not been addressed in the body of this book because they would have detracted from its central focus. But, failing to flag these matters would have left a contextual vacuum in the discussion on the West’s legitimate governmental functions.