The ROSE Amendment: Right of Secession

Even back in my minarchist days, I always thought decentralization was the most promising path to liberty. Today, I stumbled upon the text of a proposal I had for a Right Of Secession (ROSE) Amendment to the US Constitution, which would explicitly recognize the right of self-determination of the constituent states:

Considering it the most expedient way to create legal recognition for the inherent right of free individuals to remove territories they own from the political authority to which they were formerly bound (by choice or force), we hereby express our support for the addition of the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: 

WHEREAS the issue was formerly settled by force of arms over reasoned discourse, and 

WHEREAS, since the War Between The States, it is generally accepted that this Constitution prohibits secession, 

THEREFORE we, the citizens of the States, hereby make explicit the unilateral right of secession by any constituent state or territory under this Constitution, in a manner to be specified by the laws of said state or territory. 

Rams’ Ten Commandments of Good Design

Good design:

  1. Is innovative – The possibilities for progression are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for original designs. But imaginative design always develops in tandem with improving technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic criteria. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could detract from it.
  3. Is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
  4. Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  5. Is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
  6. Is honest – It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  7. Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  10. Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

[via Wikipedia]

The PorcFest Calendar

I was daydreaming today about a time in the future when Arcadians use a calendar based on the number of Porcupine Freedom Festivals that have occurred. When we planned PorcFest X, this thought would occasionally pop into my mind.

The history of the Free State Project in New Hampshire is intimately linked with the history of PorcFest. In 2003, an event by the name of “Escape to New Hampshire” was held to lobby the FSP to choose New Hampshire as the destination for American liberty activists. That event may have been responsible for New Hampshire winning the vote, and now that initial gathering is referred to as “PorcFest Zero.” The next year, the First Annual Porcupine Freedom Festival was organized by Tim Condon and other FSP participants as the flagship event for the FSP in New Hampshire.

While PorcFests were traditionally known by their common calendar year, e.g. “PorcFest 2010,” that tradition was changed for PorcFest X. Many festival-goers are already referring to next year as PorcFest XI (read: eleven). While this may cause some confusion between years (2011 vs Year 11), I’m all in favor of it. And it brings us back to our point of the post… in time, could you imagine future generations of Arcadians counting the years in the PorcFest Epoch? “I moved to the Seacoast in PF 8.” Conveniently, PorcFest lands right around the summer solstice, a wonderful day to celebrate a new year!

Okay, I don’t really expect all of this to happen, but it’s fun to imagine. We voluntarists should not be beholden to a calendar system that is centered around Roman Catholicism. We should feel free to develop our own traditions, based on our history or our common humanity. For something more universal (and likely to gain widespread acceptance), I highly recommend the Human Era mod to the existing Christian calendar.

The United States: A Stagnant Concern

Why is it that the US does not evolve politically? It seems that to a greater extent than any other Western country in history, the US is determined to maintain the historic form of its government regardless of changing realities on the ground. There is, in essence, no active polis – only citizens pursing policy through a non-negotiable framework.

Is this an outgrowth of the quasi-religious veneration of The Founders? Does anyone think they expected the grab bag of Anglo-European procedures they put in place not to be renegotiated from time to time? Were we supposed to live until the end of time in a constitutional mausoleum dedicated to classical liberalism a la America 1787?

The only substantive changes that have been made – 14th Amendment (giving federal courts jurisdiction over state policies, 17th Amendment (direct election of US Senators), threatened packing of the Supreme Court by Roosevelt – have served the end of reducing constitutional federalism to a more base democratic nationalism.

The Europeans may be more statist than we, but they have had a historic a talent for politics, in the classical sense. Their societies were built out of grinding negotiations by those affected, and then re-negotiated constantly over time. They continue to do so, even in the construction of misguided European Union project. In Europe, there was no group of Founders that bequeathed a homunculus of a federal framework to which they must adhere. It has been constructed over time through gnashing negotiation.

Why is the US, by contract, so mired in political formalism? Not in the positivist sense of the term, but the religious sense. “Formalism” in the sense that the rules of the game are left nominally the same and just bent to serve the ends of contemporary players – or, if they must be changed, only reduced to a lower common denominator. 

Some people argue this formalism is a bulwark against complete collapse into tyranny. Does it not, though, promote at once an ethic of corruption and lack of ownership of a society by those who inhabit it?

For whatever reason, Americans never have been political animals. I think this is because the US claims the territory of many distinct poleis (nations, if you will) and has imposed from above a constitutional prison that has reduced us to imperial subjects and slaves – unable to even conceive which procedures and institutions might better suit our ends.

Or maybe it is because we are a young empire that through early and vast accumulation of power and territory, came to that mix of arrogance and deep conservative fear that is shown by heirs of great fortunes. We didn’t earn it and we don’t understand it, so we better not mess with it but only venerate it.

Statist Math

It occurred to me today that the feds have managed to set up medicine so that patients overpay and doctors are underpaid. Amazing!

The insurance companies, big pharma, and the feds are the only ones making bank.

Repeal Obamacare and privatize medicine!