Monday, March 11, 2013

Medical Ripoff & Tyranny

The medical industry (that includes most doctors..but not all) deserves to be dragged through the mud. First of all, their service stinks (most doctors, not all & let this modifier be attached to anything I say about doctors) with respect to chronic conditions. Yes, if you have a broken bone, a burn they can do wonders. But for the chronic conditions...arthritis, diabetes, cancer and a hundred others they stink. They probably do more harm than good..provide symptom relief, maybe buy some time while causing new problems....and all the while, bleeding you dry, financially. Can't do much about that, BUT YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR OUTRAGEOUS BILLS....
SIGN MY PETITION:     NO BLANK CHECK    at 
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/551/755/207/no-blank-check/
Here is the overview:

The policy of many doctors & medical facilities (or any service business) to demand a blank check; that REFUSES to reveal prices before service is received & incurring obligation to pay, is arrogant, unethical and must be outlawed. Undoubtedly the blank check demand inflates the cost of medical care and impoverishes millions of patients who are cash payers, pay a percentage of the bill, receive a service uncovered by insurance, and anyone with increased insurance premiums due to medical care inflation. The blank check demand  is often made at a time when the patient is desperately seeking pain relief. To do so is akin to extortion.  Should an agreement signed by the patient, under duress, to pay any amount, chosen by the doctor or hospital, be legally binding? The scope of what is legally binding in a contract is NOT unlimited. You cannot sign a contract to have someone murdered. You cannot sign a contract to sell yourself into slavery, a form of unlimited liability. And you should not be able to sign a contract or have one forced upon you to accept the unlimited liability of a blank check. That's unethical because no one has unlimited wealth and it is dishonest to pretend you can pay any amount. When the blank check policy is made illegal it will pressure the medical industry to refrain from its other arrogant and outrageous behaviors:

> Hospitals allow separate billing by associate service providers unknown to the patient and provide NO list of such providers to patient. This encourages fraud and a feeding frenzy by hospital associates who can charge anything they want
> Hospitals and doctors get paid the same amount independent of outcome...whether they helped you or hurt you. This must be at least partially responsible for the scarcity of true cures for chronic conditions. Without the penalty of lower pay for negative outcomes, quack medical care is perpetuated.
> The medical establishment's ignorance and ridicule of the most important factor for good health: good nutrition; while their corrupt alliance with the drug industry and government pushes drugs (for chronic conditions) that offer only symptom relief yet injure the patient in other ways. An example of their disdain for good health : during a recent hospital stay, the heart healthy menu offered to me, included eggs fried in transfat...that's almost criminal for a hospital which is suppose to promote health.


PS:  how to mitigate the ripoff, a bit....make them wait for their payment ...a   long long    time...then offer to pay the whole bill in one shot, immediately, if they give you a 50% discount.  That will help a bit....unfortunately their initial bill is often so inflated & dishonest...that's it's only a little help.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Real Democracy

 
It is a shame that this nation which has been the fountainhead of liberty and democracy, has such a feeble and antiquated democracy. This shows in
the rotten choices faced by the electorate,  consequent abysmal voter turnout and the dismal rate of progress in confronting our national problems. We can correct this failure by demanding a direct vote of the people with runoff counting when no candidate secures a majority vote. The first and obvious candidate for this reform is a Constitutional Amendment to abolish the Electoral College. Then we could turn to the House and Senate.

While the outcome of the Electoral College vote usually agrees with the popular vote (for President and Vice President), there are times it disagrees (like in the 2000 election). The Electoral College is then undemocratic. And because the Electoral College greatly complicates the vote for President, it raises the potential for political crisis. The current system of winner take all, in 48 of our states, retards the growth of third parties and consequently denies us the solutions they might provide.
For the sake of our:
>democracy
>domestic tranquility
>national progress

We need a Constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and replace it by a direct vote of the people. The President-elect should be the one who secures a majority of the (first choice) votes, cast. Direct voting would require that all votes be added to a nation wide total. The voter's state residency would be irrelevant. In the event that no one secured a majority of the (first choice) votes cast in the first counting there would be a runoff counting of the votes. If there were more than 2 candidates, voters would be allowed a first choice and a (single) second choice when they cast their ballots. Consequently it would be unnecessary to actually hold a runoff election at a later time if no one secured a majority of the first choice votes. A runoff counting might avoid some problems posed by the delay of a second election. See the end of this article for the details of the runoff counting procedure.
In harmony with this nation wide voting system, there should be uniform Federal standards for voter eligibility/registration, voting machinery and counting to insure that all voters are treated equally in the Presidential election, independent of their domicile. The election of the Vice President should follow in the same manner as that for President.


Currently 538 Electors are chosen for the Electoral College and they are the ones who actually select the new President. Each state provides a number of Electors equal to its number of Representatives (in the House of Representatives) plus two (corresponding to its 2 Senators). Additionally there are 3 Electors from Washington D.C.. The Constitution (see Article II of the US Constitution and its twelfth and twentieth amendments) says the state legislatures shall appoint the Electors in a manner the state legislatures shall direct. The President-elect will be the candidate who captures a majority of the votes by the Electors. If no candidate wins a majority of those votes, the choice will then fall to the House of Representatives. But in that event, the Constitution stipulates that each state delegation will have only one vote.
Two scenarios are described above, and they are both undemocratic. In the first case some candidate does win a majority of the Electoral votes. But how will the Electors, themselves, be selected and what should guide their vote? This is left up to the state governments. The Constitution doesn't even mention a popular vote. That is undemocratic. However the states (on their own) have directed that their Electors vote in accordance with the popular vote. Forty-eight of the states have directed a winner take all approach. That sounds okay if you believe in the supremacy of the states. That a state should vote with a single voice (vote for one candidate). But in 2007 it is a phony, state centered mentality, more fitting for 1787 when the Constitution was written. Back then there were no electronic communications and it took weeks for news or people to move from one end of the 13 states to the other end. How could the average person in one state know and acquaint himself with the ideas of a Presidential candidate from a far away state? Consequently, back then, it seemed more reasonable to give the Presidential choice to knowledgeable state representatives...the Electors of the Electoral College. Also the average citizen was much more reliant on local production and consumption that was also less diversified. His welfare had a stronger connection to the common interest of the state. And that common interest could better be served by voting in the Electoral College with a unified voice.........winner take all. Contrast that isolated existence with what we have now. This country is becoming more homogenized every year. With so many people changing their state residency, with modern transportation and communication, we are Americans first....not New Yorkers or Texans or (add your state). Do all Californians have the same interests? Or does a liberal, urban Californian have more in common with a liberal, urban Georgian than a conservative, rural Californian? Why should all Californians have to vote with a single voice? We need a system that gives power to the people, not the states! The President is OUR representative, the people's representative....not the state's representative. He or she is responsible to all of us, plain and simple...let's elect him or her directly!
And what is the effect of the winner take all system and the Electoral College?
In 2000, Gore won over 540,000 votes (nationwide) more than Bush, but was denied the Presidency by the Electoral College. (See http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/2000/popular_vote.html ) And it's not the first time we've suffered an undemocratic outcome. It also happened in 1824, 1876, 1888. This happens because a candidate can win by a small margin in the more populous states, take all of their Electors, while loosing by a wide margin in the other states. For example in the 2000 Florida election, Bush had just 537 popular votes more than Gore (just .009 percent of the Florida popular vote) and yet won all of Florida's 25 Electoral votes. If the award of Electoral votes was proportional to the popular vote, an undemocratic outcome would be less likely.
But the Electoral College system has many more flaws that violate the democratic principle. The small states have a greater voice than their population would mandate, because they are given an extra 2 Electoral votes independent of their population size. Again that goes back to a phony state centered mentality (phony for nowadays). Besides our Constitution does protect the smaller states in the US Senate where they are accorded an equal voice with their larger brethren.
Worse than this is the absence of a runoff when there are third party candidates and no one wins a majority of the votes. In a significant number of the elections the President elect did NOT win a majority of the popular vote, but just a plurality (the most votes). That happened in 1824 (not even a plurality), 1892, 1912, 1948, 1968, 1992, 1996 and 2000 (not even a plurality). If we could have a runoff vote or counting, there might be enough vote changes to alter the election results. That would have easily happened in 2000 if the 2,858,843 (nationwide) Nader voters could have given a second choice vote to Gore. Or in 1996 and 1992 if the Perot voters could have given their second choice to the Republican candidate. Which shows our current system has worked against both the Republican and Democratic parties at different times. Aside from all of that, the Constitution is silent on how Electors should vote. While the states have directed their Electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote, nevertheless, in 24 states the Electors are not bound by state law to vote for a specific candidate (see http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/2000/laws.html#top ). On more than one occasion an unfaithful Elector did not follow the will of the voters. Then any link to the democratic principle vanishes. The worst scenario, however, is when no candidate wins a majority of the Electoral vote. The Presidential selection is moved to the House of Representatives, but each state delegation is only allowed one vote. That means California is given no greater voice than Wyoming. That formula is certainly undemocratic. It happened in 1824 and in an altered form , in 1876, when the House, without precedent or Constitutional guidance, established a 15 person commission to study the issue of who deserved the decisive Electoral votes.

Equally offensive but more frightening is the potential for controversy and even bloodshed that the Electoral College system brings us. It's true the nation has survived undemocratic elections. But credit for that should go to the civility of our citizens not the Electoral College. The Electoral College is not part of the solution, it's part of the problem. How many times can the Electoral College pick a President who is opposed by the popular majority and not cause a political crisis. Consider again the 2000 election. Bush won Florida by a margin of 537 votes. With that type of margin, it's a lot easier for an unscrupulous state official to miscount the vote. Remember in the nationwide vote there was a margin of more than 540,000 votes. Or how about a tie vote in the Electoral College. There's only 538 votes there as opposed to the national electorate of over a 100 million voters. Where is a tie more likely? And what about unfaithful Electors. When the election is close and the pressure is on, will an unfaithful Elector do this system in. And what about the ultimate fiasco...if the selection process moves to the House of Representatives, as it did in 1800 and 1824 (the 1800 election prompted the passing of the Constitution's 12th amendment). Do we really want politicians to decide who should be the next President? And how would 53 Representatives from California agree to vote as one. Would there be back dealing? Without the current system, how much simpler and less trouble prone, it would be... just to rely on a direct vote of the people!!! Now it's true we've survived this long with the Electoral College. But should that reassure us? Should we be complacent? Like NASA was before the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. Bad things do happen! So for the sake of domestic tranquility, abolish the Electoral College.

The Electoral College and the winner take all system are impeding the progress we sorely need in this country. The winner take all system throws the spotlight on the "battleground states", the states predicted to have the closest election results. Our votes are all supposed to count the same, so why do we have to tolerate an electoral system that forces the candidates to give SPECIAL attention to a few states. Their policy stances are distorted and the distortion continues after the election, in contemplation of the next election. Even worse the Electoral College and winner take all system have entrenched the political power of the two leading parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, while working to discourage the rise of other parties. In 1992 Ross Perot won more than 18% of the nation wide popular vote but didn't receive a single vote in the Electoral College. How can third parties develop when the Electoral College doesn't give them any standing? They aren't the only losers. We are. We are deprived of fresh ideas. Who believes that only the Democrats and Republicans have the right answers? If so, why is there such low voter turnout (51% of the voting age population in 2000, see http://www.fairvote.org/turnout/preturn.htm )? Note that in 1992 when third party candidate, Perot, ran the first time, the voter turnout was more 5 percentage points higher than in either 88 or 96.

Usually there is no third party candidate and many people are not inspired to vote for the major party candidates. Too often their candidates are waffling, fence sitting politicians short on honesty and innovation. The resulting voter apathy (especially the youngest voters) leads to a viscous circle. When new voters are scarce, the growth of third parties is restrained. And without those third parties, voter turnout remains low. Even when there are third party candidates, many people won't vote their true convictions for fear of wasting their vote or won't vote at all because the winner take all system in their state gives no effect to their vote. Let's have a direct popular vote with a runoff counting of the vote when no one wins a majority of the vote. It will create a flow of new ideas and solutions that this country has not witnessed in a 100 years. And that would be the greatest benefit of abolishing the Electoral College. It is time that our political system, cease to stifle all the voices that aren't Republican or Democratic. Neither does the current system encourage the growth of new voices from within the major parties. The major parties are held captive by their core constituencies. So for the sake of national progress, abolish the Electoral College.

Is the original Constitution sacrosanct? Did the nation's founders write a document so perfect, we should not tamper with it? Definitely not. The founders, themselves, realized that and included a procedure for amending it. If that doesn't convince you, remember the original Constitution recognized and accepted slavery. The original Constitution has been amended in the past and we need at least one more amendment to give us democracy both in letter and spirit. The original Constitution also, didn't allow for popular election of Senators. That was changed by the 17th amendment in 1913. Isn't it time we did the same for the Presidency.  Do you think only a minority favors reform? The American Bar Association has criticized the Electoral College as "archaic" and "ambiguous" and its polling showed 69 percent of lawyers favored abolishing it in 1987. Public opinion polls have shown Americans favored abolishing it by majorities of 58 percent in 1967; 81 percent in 1968; and 75 percent in 1981 (see http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/faq.html)
There are advocates of the Electoral College who ask us to imagine its shortcomings are actually advantages. Some claim minorities are endangered by the will of the majority. But history shows the greatest abuses of minority rights occurred under undemocratic systems...kings, dictators, the rule of the intellectual elite (like the socialist intellectuals whose ideas forged the Soviet Union or the racist intellectuals behind Nazi Germany). The Electoral College system forces a candidate to be inordinately influenced by the swing vote in the battleground states. It gives undue influence to small minorities and can sabotage the will of the majority. In a democracy, the election result is SUPPOSE to represent the will of the majority. The beauty of democracy and the pride of America is that the majority will eventually get it right. They will eventually see that is not in their interest to hurt or ignore legitimate minority concerns. Besides the combined alliance of minority concerns is often a majority. Trust, in democracy! Ultimately, minority interests are protected by our Bill of Rights and our independent judiciary. Besides if democracy is such a bad idea, why don't those advocates of the Electoral College demand the elimination of all democratic elections...like for Senator, Representative, Governor, etc.
Some Electoral College advocates suggest the complexity of the Electoral College is an advantage. Was it an advantage that the 2000 election had to effectively be rendered by the Supreme Court? That it hinged on the actions of Florida State officials whose ethics became suspect. All that while the nationwide popular vote clearly indicated a winner. Or would it be better to simply count the popular vote and install the best voting machinery possible. Those with common sense know the answer.

During  runoff counting, first and second choice votes for each candidate would be combined. However second choice votes would be weighted to count half as much as a first choice vote to reflect the lower preference of the voter. Also the voter would not be allowed to give his first choice and second choice selections to the same candidate  The candidate with the highest total of first and weighted second choice votes would be declared the winner.  Some examples will illustrate how this runoff counting procedure would better reflect the will of voters.
                                              Example 1                     Example 2                           
candidates                            A        B        C               A        B        C        D              
first choice vote %'s              42      38       20             26      22       28      24
second choice vote %'s          2        48      50              15      30       5        50    
weighted 2nd choice %'s       1        24       25             7.5     15      2.5      25
combined                             43       62       45            33.5    37     30.5     49
winner                                              B                                                        D   

                                            Example 3
candidate                            A        B        C        D
first choice votes %'s           26      22      42        10
second choice votes %'s      15      30        5        64
weighted 2nd choice %'s     7.5     15      2.5      32
combined                           33.5    37     44.5     42
winner                                                     C

In Example 1 ,  B didn't win the first choice vote (by a small margin) but is the second choice of so many voters, he is declared winner.  This happens again in Example 2 for D. In Example 3 , the weighting of second choice votes prevents D
from winning. The weighting of second choice votes would remind voters that their second choice must indeed be their lower preference. And D in that example was the first choice of very few voters, so the result is fair. This runoff counting procedure is quite different from the usual runoff election where only the two leading candidates run again. But the runoff counting is more likely to reflect the will of voters as in Example 2. In that example, the vote is almost evenly split between the four candidates and it would be unfair to limit the runoff to the two leading candidates. It is probably impossible to create a runoff counting procedure whose outcome accurately reflects the will of the voters in all situations. But I am sure that this runoff counting procedure is much, much better that the frequently undemocratic Electoral College or any election with NO runoff provision. 



The Senate elections should also allow a voter second choice when there are more than two candidates. It should also follow the Presidential model for runoff counting when no candidate has obtained a majority vote.

For the House of Representatives, we should reduce its membership to 100.  Certainly, we would save a ton of money,  with 335 fewer representatives. More importantly, would be the way those representatives would be elected and how they would vote in Congress... Let us move away from a system obsessed with representation by area and that consequently encourages pork barrel spending, aka earmarks. Aside from that, does area representation well represent the view of the voters? If everybody in the district held the same opinion, it would. Obviously it doesn't. Everyone, who voted for the looser is poorly represented, if at all. Multiply that by 435 congressional districts  and maybe ,in the worst case, 45% of American voters are poorly represented. Even if you voted for the winner, with basicly 2 choices at election time, how likely is it that your opinions are well represented? Quite unlikely !! Area representation is a throwback to bygone times when communication and relocation were much more difficult and the area residents were more closely united in a common occupation or culture.

Our opinions could be much better represented if 100 representatives were elected at large. In that system...let's call it:  Opinionated Voting   ..... the 100 candidates who received the most (first choice) votes (in a nationwide election) would become Representatives. Also in the new House of Representatives, each Representative would vote on legislative matters NOT with 1 vote, but the actual vote tally they received in the nationwide election. Thus the legislative vote in the new House would directly reflect the popular vote.  In the Opinionated Voting System, it would be very likely you voted for one of the 100 winning candidates, and that his/her opinions would closely match yours. Just in case, you didn't, let's also give you a second choice. Your second choice would substitute for your first choice, if the first choice was not  a winner and the second choice was. This would help if the number of candidates was huge and each only received a small number of votes.

We also need a constitutional amendment to limit voter eligibility for the House of Representatives. Eligibility should be limited to those who can at least pay a small per capita federal tax. How taxes are levied must reflect the benefits provided by government. One of those benefits is certainly personal safety afforded to each person by government. It is logical then that everyone pay a federal per capita tax for themselves and all their dependents. It should probably be much smaller than the one imposed on property or income. If someone is poor enough they might not pay any property or income tax but still pay the per capita tax. If they are so poor they cannot even pay that, they should be excused from it.... but loose their voting rights for Federal Representative. It is only just that if someone cannot even make a nominal contribution to the support of the national government they should suffer some loss of influence over its direction. Especially the direction over tax matters (which is initiated in the House) where liberal and socialist demagogues seek to gain power by buying the votes of the poor with wealth stolen from the self supporting. It is only because the poor are a minority in numbers that this demagoguery has been somewhat restrained. This amendment, all by itself, would do wonders for our national governance.

Hand in hand with these new electoral systems, we should publicly finance a minimal voter exposure for each candidate. So that lack of wealth would not prevent a candidate's election who might otherwise be favored by the public. It is certainly in the interest of everyone to do so. That minimal exposure would include a free website, participation in mandatory televised debates broadcast by public TV (which is subsidized by the government anyhow), and say a 1/2 hour opportunity on public TV to state his/her positions. The objective would NOT be to guarantee public exposure for a candidate but to provide at least a minimal opportunity for the interested voters to learn of the candidate. From that point onward, voter support for a candidate could be expected to translate into increased private funding for that candidate. We would also need computerized voting so that the voter could quickly select from the large list of candidates for the new House of Representatives.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wholistic Libertarianism

Wholistic Libertarianism is my own home grown blend of libertarian & conservative thought. Libertarian as in...You are the owner of your own adult body and NO DAMN GOVERNMENT has the right to dictate what you can or must do with it, at least in the privacy of your home. I believe all libertarians would agree with that self evident truth...but doubt they would ALL agree with my Conservative belief...Whatever crosses the national borders is subject to the scrutiny and control of the Federal government. The conventional libertarian tends to believe in the absolute and universal (as in everybody, citizen & non-citizen) freedom of the individual. So if you own a company and manufacture goods, you should have the right to sell those goods to whomever you please. What if the goods are guns and you wish to sell them to foreign enemies of the  USA. Or what if another country sabotages the currency markets, so as to give their exporters an unfair advantage over American manufacturers. Should the American consumer have the right to buy those foreign goods unimpeded by any U.S. penalty on them? Or here is another one for absolute freedom...do you have the right to PUBLICLY desecrate an American flag you own? Wholistic Libertarianism gives reasonable answers to these and a whole lot more....read on!  Wholistic Libertarianism seeks the greatest preservation of liberty. With insight from American history, it asserts there are seven auxiliary principles in addition to LIBERTY, that can  help guide the formulation of law

The principles are:
> LIBERTY
>SOCIAL CONTRACT
>NATIONALISM
>EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW
>REPUBLICAN DEMOCRACY
>CONCENTRATION OF POWER
>COMMON DOMAIN
>HUMAN REALITY

 The principle of individual liberty, or liberty for short, is the premier principle and the raison d'etre for all the others.


Liberty

Liberty is the first and foremost word in our American political heritage. Why is that so, why is it so important? Well if you are minding your own business and somebody comes up to you and gives you a bloody nose, will you understand then? If the government banned condoms, would you care? Or when the government gives you a ticket for not wearing a seat belt to protect your own safety, would you be offended? Or perhaps if the government takes a third of your hard earned income and gives it to somebody who spends his life getting drunk, high on drugs and fathering illegitimate children he doesn't support, will you be outraged? Now the simple folk amongst us know instinctively about liberty and they will even defend it with their lives. Ah, but the better educated, sophisticated folk know better. And if they pride themselves on their compassion, they know how to pick and choose the liberties worth defending. Yes, they will say, you should avoid the selfish instinct not to share your income with the poor and you should remember the government knows best about your personal safety...it is a foolish instinct to resent being ticketed for driving without your personal seat belt.  And when war comes, many of them will know that the higher moral plane demands they abstain from the bloodletting.  What is the truth here? The truth is the simple folk who will defend their liberties and those liberties they don't even use are full of valor and virtue. While the sophisticated compassionate folk who will not do so are contemptible hypocrites or mercifully maybe just not as smart as they pretend to be.

Now in the abstract:
Liberty is the natural and rightful condition of a reasoning human being. Centuries of human existence have demonstrated that the least strife and greatest prosperity are achieved only when individual liberty is respected. The victory of the free enterprise system, in the twentieth century gives testimony to that belief. While liberty cannot be easily defined, its loss or infringement is sensed without any training. When you are minding your own business and somebody limits what you can do with your own body or steals the wealth that is the product of your labor, the natural outrage you feel is the consequence of your liberty's violation. When your liberties are violated, you will eventually, if not immediately, naturally retaliate against your oppressor. The ensuing violence usually results in the loss of life and property (wealth). Since the retaliatory response, to the violation of liberty, is natural, it may be concluded that liberty itself is natural. Since a society's health is imperiled by a continual loss of life and wealth it is rightful we protect liberty.

The more each individual, rises to his or her, full potential, the greater prosperity, that nation will attain. The diversity of individuals requires they follow different paths in life. Who knows better the abilities of the individual, than the individual himself. A free society allows the individual to use his self knowledge to rise to his highest potential.  Further, the search for the truth moves at its quickest pace when freedoms of opinion,religion, speech, press and assembly are respected. And with truth, comes prosperity.

In these times of do-gooder ordained tyranny that has forgotten LIBERTY, I must point out that there is no more basic liberty than the right to do with your own (adult) body, whatever you please....for better or for worse....certainly in the privacy of your home. You are the owner of your body and there is no more flagrant abuse of power than for government to dictate what you can do with it.  Examples of this are of course the ban on controlled substances (their use, possession), prescription laws, also ban on suicide, compulsory medical insurance, seat belt laws and many more. I don't deny that some people will use their freedom to slowly or quickly kill themselves...as in drug addiction. Indeed they do so even now while government denies them their freedom. With freedom many will overdose and drop dead earlier. A blessing for the rest of us who will suffer less  from their criminal mayhem.



Social Contract

If an individual is naturally free (as shown above), then the power to control him is something he must have voluntarily allowed. It is an agreement called the Social Contract. That agreement is between the government and its citizens and is the sole conduit for the flow of power from the people to the government. Government cannot claim power which lies outside of the Social Contract and thereby does not originate from the consent of the people.

The Social Contract between the individual and his government is a contract borne of the inability of unorganized individuals to adequately protect their liberty. If there is no organization (government), the weaker individuals will almost certainly be victimized by the stronger. Such a situation will be so intolerable and for so many people, that individuals have banded together and consented to the formation of government. They do so to retain the greater portion of their liberties while realizing that they will never again be totally free. This is a gamble. They hope that government will allow them to retain more liberties than if there was no government. They must obey red lights, pay taxes and share in the responsibility of protecting their nation. In return they expect that government will protect them from assault, criminal and foreign. This defense of liberty is the raison d'etre for the Social Contract and must be considered its primary element. Are there other elements to the Social Contract, besides the defense of liberty? Any other element must  not conflict with the primary element. The Social Contract principle defines governmental authority and thereby  restrains the governmental tendency to trample upon liberty instead of protecting it. The Social Contract principle is therefore a valid augment to the Liberty principle and an essential part of WHOLISTIC LIBERTARIANISM. Further even if the Social Contract is not written down, not something we actually signed, but only something, we sadly imagine, it is a concept worth examining and drawing wisdom from.

Some people (Socialists and fellow travelers) believe that the insurance of a minimal living standard for everyone is another element of the Social Contract. All the elements of the Social Contract must have been approved by the majority of its signatories, otherwise it wouldn't be a Social Contract. The majority of signatories must have been at least self sufficient (net producers of food or goods or services of equivalent value). If it were otherwise, that society would not have survived... to write a Social Contract.  Therefore, if the majority of signatories were  self sufficient, they did not sign the contract to obtain their sustenance. It is more likely they sought those things that were lacking in an ungoverned society.

Indeed,  the Pilgrims at Plymouth acquired this same wisdom the hard way, after two years of unsuccessful communal farming.  In their third year, fearing for their continued survival, they decided to respect private property rights and were consequently rewarded with plentiful production. Read William Bradford's own words for the proof.
Taken from William Bradford's memoir , History of Plimoth Plantation:

The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Plato & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of properties, and bringing it in communitie into a commone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.
For this communitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For yet young men that were most able and fitte for labor & services did repine that they should spend their time & strength to worke for other men’s wives and children with out any recompense.

Yes, isn't that the experience of socialism, wherever it has been tried? SOCIALISM IS CONTRARY TO LIBERTY AND HENCE HUMAN NATURE.

Those who would include a minimal living standard in the Social Contract, dishonestly ignore or belittle the  redistribution of private property that such a standard requires. When the self-sufficient are forced to give by the coercive power of government, it violates their liberty....that is the right to keep one's property and the fruits of one's labors. Thus the inclusion of a minimal living standard conflicts with the primary element of the Social Contract and cannot be considered a part of the Social Contract.

And make no mistake about it, a minimal living standard does require redistribution. There is no supply of food, housing and health care that the government can magically call forth into existence.  No, it is owned by others and they must be deprived of their ownership, if redistribution is to be realized. So what Socialists are really asserting is that the poor have a right to steal from the self-sufficient. The truth is money and all the things that money can buy, don't grow on trees. The only unowned things you have a right to, are those freely provided by nature...the air you breathe.  You cannot have a right, if its implementation means, that someone else's rights will be broken in the process.

Is the US Constitution our Social Contract? First, we didn't get the chance  to sign it. The original constitution didn't ban slavery, so it certainly wasn't. Even as currently amended and as interpreted by the Supreme Court, it hasn't stopped the government from routine redistribution of wealth and violation of our freedoms to do with our bodies as we please. However, the existence of the Constitution is evidence, that government derives its power from the governed and of the validity of the Social Contract principle. The Social Contract is not the US Constitution; it is something we must work towards; something that lives in the hearts of a free spirited people.


Nationalism

The Social Contract enables the birth of government. A government that will protect liberty. But it can only do so if it is empowered by the resources of a nation. It is the nation that will provide the soldiers to protect against foreign assault and the police to protect against criminal assault. The nation is not comprised of just any people; they  must be united by common features. Our nationhood is marked by the common features of language and a shared appreciation for freedom and democracy. Nationhood is essential for the protection of liberty and therefore is another augment to the Liberty principle. Within reason, that which promotes nationhood, is consequently good for the preservation of Liberty. Alternatively , within reason, that which diminishes or subverts nationhood is bad for the preservation of Liberty.

Flag Burning:
For example if you own a piece of fabric and wish to destroy it, that is your freedom. But if that piece of fabric is the American flag, should you be allowed (if your intent is desecration)?  No , because the principle of Nationalism and the greater preservation of liberty that it promotes, is more important than your individual exercise of self expression. It is here, we see how the concept of WHOLISTIC LIBERTARIANISM better defines the just powers of government. If we just followed the principle of Liberty, we would say you have a right to desecrate the American flag. That is  the path of conventional Libertarians. It is a simple and unenlightened path. It is a path that the majority of Americans will never be drawn to, because while they are attracted to Liberty they are also repulsed by the rigid beliefs of that simple path, as in the above example.

Similarly the promotion of a common language, a necessary ingredient for nationhood, sometimes forces us to slight the principle of Equality Before the Law (a principle to be discussed later). That may be the case in laws which call for English only in the public schools or administration of the law. But our nationhood and the liberties it protects is more important than the distress of those who haven't learned English yet.


Equality Before the Law

Equality Before The Law (EBTL) is derived from the principle of the Social Contract that exists between the government and its citizens. "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. Papers, 1:429 . The individual consents to the rule of law in the expectation that the existence of government will allow greater protection of life and liberty than could otherwise be expected. Since each individual has given the same consent, equal treatment by the government is expected in return. How could it be otherwise? Would any man pledge the same things and expect an unequal and inferior return? That's  unlikely. But each individual must do more than give his/her consent. There are responsibilities that they must honor too. For example, what about those unwilling to risk their lives  during wartime for the defense of this nation?  For those women and men who would object to such service, it's logical that their voting rights reflect their lesser commitment. The same could also be said for those who cannot fulfill their tax obligations. That being said, the importance of EBTL cannot be overstated. It is crucial for a nation with our diverse origins. Unfortunately, EBTL is one of the more difficult principles to get right. First, it is confused with the ridiculous notion of equality. People are almost universally unequal in their abilities, their appearances and almost everything else. To seek or demand equality in anything, but our relations with government, is folly. Second, EBTL compliance is almost completely neglected in matters of taxation, while at the same time the principle has been corrupted to demand equality in the voluntary relations between individuals. Is it EBTL to have different income tax rates (percentages) . Is it EBTL for a person whose employer provides a CAFE plan, to have his health benefits go untaxed, while the retired person who pays for his own health insurance, with dividend income, must pay taxes on that income. It must be conceded that the tax code pays little attention to the EBTL principle, and neither does the Supreme Court. Our federal government has demanded that local governments give equal access to the handicapped. That sounds good except when you learn their idea of equality means unequal expenditures. In education, it could mean spending 10 times as much on the handicapped student as the normal student. In public transportation, it means scheduled bus service for the normal population and a (100 times or 1000 times more expensive?) door to door, special bus service with wheelchair lift for the handicapped. Is that EBTL? No, that has nothing to do with EBTL. It has to do with the social agenda of do gooders who impose their charitable objectives on the rest of us. And what if you're a dentist who refuses to take the extra risk of treating people with AIDS. He's not violating EBTL; he's just exercising his freedom to choose his business clients. EBTL is by definition, something, that only the government can violate. EBTL has nothing to do with the relations between individuals. But it has been corrupted in a wholesale way to make all sorts of demands on our private interactions.

Foreign trade policies and tariffs should also comply with EBTL. Frequently the nation's trade policies have been designed to suit the needs of special interests while imposing burdens on the general public or other American groups. Generally the only special interest that should be protected are those connected with national defense. In all other areas we should generally rely upon freely operating currency markets to balance our foreign trade. When other nations sabotage the currency markets by buying up their exporter's American dollars, those nations should be penalized sufficiently to negate any advantages achieved by the currency sabotage. If another nation subsidizes some of their export goods, the damage done to our domestic suppliers of those goods. should be undone by a similar subsidy funded by tariffs on the foreign country's exports. If they impose a tariff on the exports of industry X in the USA, we should grant industry X a subsidy funded by tariffs on imports from that other nation....preferentially first on industry X products but extending to other products  as needed.

Guest Workers and Immigration: The owners of the USA are its current citizens. We are not obligated
to allow immigration into our country. We only do so as it suits our needs. Conventional Libertarianism
tends to treat all individuals the same, whether or not they are American citizens. EBTL  can only be applied to American citizens, as foreigners are not signatories to our Social Contract. Certainly the rate of immigration must be limited so as not to endanger our national security or culture. Culture would include the domination of the English language and the ideals enshrined in our Constitution...including Freedom of Religion / No Established Religion, Equality before the Law. Consequently any would be Muslim immigrants must renounce those sections of the Koran in conflict with our Constitution. Importation of foreign labor as in guest workers is not the same as importation of foreign products. They pose risks that products don't. They should not be allowed to undercut existing American labor or deny opportunity to American unemployed. The effort to enforce that principle has been noticeably deficient. The US must grant preference to its own citizens and limit the number of guest workers so as not to endanger our national security or culture.


Republican Democracy

The Social Contract provides for the establishment of government; but what type of government? Our American heritage gives the best answer. It is a democracy, meaning the majority rules; and a republic, meaning that rule is achieved through representatives elected by the people. Democracy allows for the satisfaction of the majority and thereby encourages its allegiance. The majority is not always right but no one else has a better track record over the long run. The business of government is conducted by representatives of the people because the complexity of the task demands it. However, in the coming age of the Internet, it will be feasible and beneficial to make more of the legislative outcome directly subject to a vote of the people. While the majority rules, the principles of Liberty and the Social Contract must limit the scope of its authority. The Bill of Rights in the US Constitution is a good example of these limitations and the protection offered to minorities.


Concentration of Power

Everything has its limits. We cannot allow any individual or non-governmental organization to amass such economic power that its economic power transcends to overbearing political power. At that point its economic and political powers would be mutually reinforcing and perpetuating. The nation faced such a situation at the advent of the twentieth century. The economic power of monopolies in vital industries was such, that they could corrupt the political process and thereby void the protections granted by the Social Contract. Simultaneously, monopolies were an obstacle to economic progress by negating the benefits of a competitive marketplace. An extreme example will serve to illustrate this concept. Say for example, you have a company town where all the services and manufacturing are under the control of the company. The company owns the grocery store, gasoline station and medical facilities, etc. Say one of the employees steps out on a limb and tries to unionize the previously union free workforce. Or, say he decides to run for the part time job of city counselor on an anti-company platform. If that society is true to conventional libertarianism, the company could insure that the employee looses his job and access to all the necessities of life, without any legal recourse. The employee's only other recourse would be to move from town. But if he owns a house, his only buy offer might be one equivalent to forfeiture. If the employee accepts the buy offer, what he receives is equivalent to robbery. If he stays or never steps out on a limb, he will only be as free as the company permits. Effectively the concentration of economic power, that the company enjoys, has permitted it to violate the freedoms otherwise guaranteed by the Social Contract. That is why the run away accumulation of economic power must be denied. Monopolies must either be prohibited or be subject to the close inspection and regulation of government. Wholistic Libertarianism through its principle of the Concentration of Power, recognizes that it is better to circumscribe the right to the accumulation of unlimited economic power, than not to do so and thereby endanger the fundamental liberties and well being of the majority. All non-governmental organizations should be scrutinized by the Concentration of Power principle. That includes unions which monopolize all the labor in a industry, over a wide geographic area. Imagine a union which represented all the hospital workers in a multi state area. If that union went out on strike, it would imperil the lives of millions. The threat of such a strike would allow it to economically blackmail the rest of society. The hospitals, in the face of public pressure, would be forced to grant any demands made by the union. To prevent this, labor monopolies must also be scrutinized by the Concentration of Power principle.


Common Domain

No man is an island. We all make use of the common domains: the atmosphere and the water resources of the planet. Our use of the common domain is necessary for our physical and economic survival. But at the same time, that use may be harmful to others. That harm can be considered as an attack on liberty, but the principle of the Common Domain grants us a waiver. When we breathe, we consume oxygen while adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The oxygen is vital for our survival while the carbon dioxide is harmful in excess. We also occasionally, emit other gases which are noxious. And don't forget our body wastes. The point is: even if one only examines our bodily interactions with the environment, we are polluters. It's true for us and for all other animals. To live is to pollute. However we are blessed with an amazing, self cleansing planet which can rid itself of much of our animal and machine emissions. The principle of the Common Domain recognizes that our survival and well being requires the use of the common domain and sets reasonable bounds for that use. Those reasonable bounds vary with: the negative effects of our pollution on the health and well beings of others, the local and world wide ability of the environment to self cleanse itself, the availability of cleaner or pollution trapping technologies and the purpose and/or necessity of our pollution generating activity. The main point about the Common Domain principle is that it seeks the middle ground of optimal well being. It does not absolutely forbid pollution but it does discourage that which is unnecessary and/or poses a distinct health danger.

The Common Domain principle covers any domain or its use, where private use becomes public exposure. Electromagnetic transmissions through the atmosphere (radio and television) are a good example of this. The Common Domain principle also has another side which seeks a reasonable balance between public and private ownership. If all the land was held privately, where would the corridors of commerce (roads) rest? It's likely that such a society would be more backward and prone to conflict. By reserving some land for public use, we avoid the conflicts and the violations of liberty they foster.


Human Reality

The HUMAN REALITY principle deals with the needs and limitations of human beings while simultaneously trying to minimize the loss of liberty incurred by meeting those needs and limitations. If a person is at the verge of starvation, can he be expected to respect the property rights of his prosperous neighbor? For many people, the answer would be no. Thievery, for whatever reason, must be punished. On the other hand, the starving person may have been a law abiding and productive citizen, at other times. Society doesn't gain much by punishing such a person. It would be better for everyone, to prevent the starvation than to deal with the consequences. It is then a matter of expediency, that can and should lead the government to extending a safety net to desperate individuals. On that basis, HUMAN REALITY would allow some elements of welfare policy to continue. Conventional libertarianism would not and thereby ignores human and societal reality. Socialist and liberal thinkers can see no evil in welfare and ignore both liberty and human reality. They think the welfare recipient has a right to such aid while simultaneously denying any injury to the liberty or well being of the taxpayer. They would also ignore the parasitic behavior their philosophies encourage and thereby ignore another side of human reality. The HUMAN REALITY principle allows government aid to the desperate person, but conditionally. Such aid is granted on a basis of expediency and NOT as a matter of right. As such, any conditions that tend to minimize the burden on the taxpayer while keeping the
safety net intact, are welcome. Welfare recipients who are able to work, should be required to perform public service when private employment is unavailable. They will then contribute towards their own support and the support of other recipients, unable to work. Government can also demand that the recipient refrain from unnecessary behavior that increase the taxpayer's burden while taking all actions to decrease the taxpayer's burden. The unnecessary behavior would include drug and alcohol abuse, foolish diet by the unfit obese and sexual reproduction (while on the public dole). The actions meant to decrease the taxpayer's burden would include looking for work, education and relocation if that is the only path to employment.

While the principle of Liberty abhors any restraints on what we can do with our own bodies, the principle of Human Reality does provide some limits. The reality is we are sexual beings, naturally attracted to the opposite sex and that our mental powers to resist such attraction are not unlimited. If a beautiful woman walks down main street, naked, in the evening hours; can she reasonably expect to go unassaulted. In a society where clothing is the norm in public, the principle of Human Reality demands that individuals safeguard their liberties by being appropriately clothed.

Again, is the liberty of our persons absolute; for example, can we voluntarily submit to slavery? The principle of Human Reality says no. While few in this century would consider such a proposition, it is instructive to ponder such a question because it probes the boundaries of our liberty. To become a slave is to surrender future liberty. The slave has no political rights, must submit to all wishes of the master and whatever punishments the master wishes to impose and also be at the beck and call of the master continuously and without end. It is a set of conditions that rankles the spirit of any person and inevitably brings him into rebellion. However good, the intentions of the would be slave, were at the outset, slavery is not a condition he can forever abide by.  The spirit demands liberty and because ultimately we do not have dominion over our spirit, liberty is not something we can sell. That is Human Reality. With this knowledge, it is rightful that government prohibit slavery, self imposed or otherwise.

The relationship of government to desperate people must be guided by the principle of Human Reality. People can reach a state of desperation because of the obligations they have incurred. Generally, we have a right to enter into agreements with our fellow citizens and seek legal enforcement if the other party fails to abide by those agreements. But this right should not be seen as unbounded. The previous paragraph discussed one limitation. Additionally, the agreement must be voluntarily made between competent adults. The subject of the agreement cannot involve an illegal activity. You cannot hire someone to kill another person. The terms of such an illegal agreement are null and void from the outset and neither party can demand governmental enforcement of its provisions. That is part of the risk of making an agreement. You must know what is legally enforceable. Also inherent in any agreement is the risk of default by the other party. The competent adult must appraise that risk before entering into a agreement. Accordingly, while he can expect legal recourse if the other party defaults, there are limitations to that recourse. You cannot demand payment of the other party's debts at the expense of his life or liberty. It is here that the principle of Human Reality limits what can be demanded and thereby avoids a state of desperation.


Addendum:

Flag Desecration
First, it must be realized that a desecration of our American flag is an attack  on our whole  national  identity. It is different
than criticism of a government official or even the whole government. Many libertarians, while upset by the desecration of the American flag, will still insist the desecrater has that right. The following response should assuage those feelings: First it is desecration only if done in view of others or is otherwise communicated to others. Secondly, we don't actually have to punish the desecrater with a jail term or fine. But we must draw a logical conclusion from the act. The act almost proves that the desecrater is disloyal to this nation, that he is in effect renouncing his citizenship. Then the consequence of American flag desecration should be a public and compulsory inquiry into the loyalty of the desecrater. If the inquiry produces any other evidence of disloyalty or bad citizenship, the desecrater should be deported while receiving some measure of compensation.

With respect to other issues, some libertarians will feel that this puts us on the slippery slope of sacrificing liberty for the national good. Not so. We can clearly define the circumstances where national security or welfare is paramount. Activities that cross the national border should be subject to the scrutiny and control of government along with desecration of the American flag  or incitement to the forceful overthrow of the government. The Nationalism Principle must prevail when we interact with foreigners. On the other hand the Liberty Principle must still protect domestic personal activities or business activity that are viewed (by the majority) as self destructive and consequently not in the national interest.

National Defense
When a state of war has been declared by the Congress, the level of scrutiny should increase. Such scrutiny would punish support for the enemy via public demonstrations. To a lesser degree scrutiny should also be increased if Congress has declared a state of enmity (a new concept) with another nation. In that situation the government should be empowered to identify and collect intelligence (wire tapping, etc)  on those citizens who have demonstrated their sympathy to our enemies. It would be imprudent and irresponsible of the government to do otherwise considering that a state of enmity might precede a state of war.

During war time or a state of enmity, our national survival and the Social Contract principle can justify the draft of citizens into the armed forces. That contrasts with the conventional and impractical libertarian opposition to the draft under all circumstances. During war time many unselfish citizens will volunteer for military service. But many other citizens will not; however they would willingly abide by their obligation to share in the common defense if they are nudged to do so by the draft. Otherwise, what good would their liberty do if we all fall victim to foreign conquest?

In the natural state those animals and people that are unwilling to defend themselves, will go extinct. During the Frontier era that was probably the case. But now in these more prosperous and comfortable times where the civic infrastructure generally protects against assault, most never need to defend themselves. Additionally we have a volunteer military. This, unfortunately has allowed the growth of pacifist and cowardly sentiment which could not long exist in a natural environment.  Like our  ballooning  national trade deficit, it cannot go on forever without dire consequences. It is unnatural. Ultimately when pacifist sentiment prevails, our nation will not survive. The Social Contract Principle and national survival demand that we provide disincentives to those who will not provide for their own defense or the common defense. Pacifist citizens can be placed into three categories:
1>those who reject any personal effort towards the national defense
2>those who will not join the military but will benefit the national defense by domestic employment in a defense or essential industry
3>those willing to join the military but not as combat soldiers assigned to killing  the enemy
Warrior Category > those willing to kill the enemies of the U.S. as authorized by their military superiors

Category Three pacifists should loose their eligibility to be elected U.S. Senator or President, thereafter.
Category Two pacifists should loose their right to vote for U.S. Senator and also suffer the penalties of Category Three, thereafter.
Category One pacifists should suffer the Categories Three and Two penalties. Additionally, during a state of war, the government at its discretion, should be able to revoke their citizenship and then deport them at its convenience.

These categories should be chosen by the citizen when he/she becomes otherwise eligible to vote.