A Platform for a Free America
Bill Quick

A Platform for a Free America

Forward by William Quick:

Tracy Coyle created this platform and asked for my assistance in helping to get it as widely distributed as possible.

The philosophy underlying what follows is straightforward: Fewer and fewer Americans each election take the trouble to participate in their own governance. A significant part of the reason for that is that many – rightfully, in my opinion – regard the choices presented to them each election cycle as being no real choice at all. The recent spectacle of one party running as its candidate the first man to implement statewide socialized medicine against the first man to implement nationwide socialized medicine tends to support that notion.

It seems to both Tracy and I that the solution is to write a platform, not for a specific party, but for a specific set of political convictions. Just as it is the nature of government to grow into Leviathan, it is the nature of political parties to dilute their messages into amorphous mush in order to attract as many dupes into their “Big Tents” as possible. This makes perfect sense when you understand that the goal of these parties is to obtain power – and nothing more. For such political parties, the power itself is the reason to seek it. Power is never sought in order to advance principles or defend them. It is instead sought for its own sake. Yet when power becomes its own justification, systemic corruption and unprincipled drift become endemic.

This platform is not for everyone, nor is it intended to be. It is, instead, intended as a rallying point for those who accept its principles and prescriptions, to use as a clarifying and crystalizing tool with which to inspire others and to expand the number of Americans who might find themselves in agreement with it, and thus convince them to engage once again with our American political system.

It is neither a Republican nor a Democrat platform. It is an American platform, designed to create an America more free, more wealthy, and more happy than we have enjoyed since Leviathan began its vast metastasis a century ago.

You didn’t build that? No. This is America. If you build it, they will come. Here, then, is the beginning of an edifice that could become a great and shining city on the hill. This could be America.

If you want it.

The Platform by Tracy Coyle

Enough is enough. We are done with political platforms that pander to every group with no actual intention to attempt to enact any of the positions claimed. Any politician, organization or cause that wants our support will either agree to the following or they can keep their propaganda to themselves.

Individual Rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our rights are inherent in our existence. Whether you believe they are granted by a Creator or we born with them, they are not the grant of any document or government. Our rights are subject to ONLY these structural limits: our reach and the extent of every other individual’s rights.

“To assert our rights we assume certain inalienable responsibilities, among these are to defend ourselves and our families, to provide for our needs, and to ensure the future for the generations to come.”

The defense of our rights, our selves, our families, our homes and our country is first and foremost OUR responsibility. Authority granted to police and government supplements but does not replace, nor absolve us of, this responsibility.

Providing the needs of ourselves and our families is our responsibility. Assistance to those in need or unable to provide for themselves is an obligation not of government, but of each of us and our communities. Government does not determine the level of need nor is it subject to some formula.

We decide the future and it is our choices that determine the course of this country. The ship of State is under our control, we are not subservient passengers or mindless cargo to be directed where others deem best for us.

Platform – Limited Government

Every law is an infringement upon a right and we demand STRICT consideration before any such law is enacted. Our Constitution was created to establish government to protect our rights, not to dictate our actions. The establishment of government included strict limitations upon its authority to act in our stead and actions that exceed that authority are not recognized as a legitimate exercise of power. At no point is the government authorized to take from one or a group of citizens to provide the needs of one or a group of citizens.

As each individual is sovereign, each of the fifty States is sovereign. The Constitution is a document between governments, not between governments and individuals. It is the responsibility of States to reassert their authority over their borders and lands and to relegate the Federal Government to its Constitutional limits.

Foreign Policy

While many countries are our friends, few are our allies. The United States has made commitments to support and defend allies throughout the world and we will continue to do so. Our first responsibility is to protect our security interests and our access to freely travel as necessary wherever necessary. Support of our allies is not an open checkbook to providing the security costs countries should be bearing themselves. Support of NATO and the UN should be reduced to equalize the burden amongst all participants. Our support and defense of our allies does not give the United States license to interfere in their sovereign choices.

While we support the efforts of indigenous peoples to claim their individual liberties and we stand ready to assist when ready, we will make no direct efforts on their behalf. While we do not support democracy we do support the individual liberty of peoples to choose their own form of government. It is time to withdraw a significant portion of our deployed military back to our own shores.

Federal Budget Spending

The law requires the Federal Government pass a budget for the following fiscal year prior to its start. The law should be enforced with specific penalties for failure to abide by the law. Federal spending is out of control and must be restricted. It is not the purpose of the Federal Government to fix what is not working in our society. Nor is it the purpose of the Federal Government to provide for the welfare of the citizen, citizens, communities or States.

Defense

Our military is second only to what our military should be. A strong defense makes a strong offense less necessary. This is the primary authority of the Federal Government – to provide defense of our nation and our interests. An inability to do so will increase the threats around the world. We also see the ‘civilian-ization’ of the military to have been a failed experiment and seek to return to fully staffed and functioning military with military members.

Taxation

Taxation is not an instrument of social engineering. The divisive use of class warfare to enact tax rates rife with inequality has paid off handsomely for the bureaucrats of Washington DC, not so well for everyone else. The deceit of ‘fair share’ must stop. If the Federal Government must tax income then it taxes everyone’s income regardless of amount.

Immigration

This country was built by the blood, sweat and tears of immigrants. The Melting Pot was heated with the effort of millions of people first working to provide for themselves and to build a nation for their children and future generations. We stand with and embrace the millions that wish to come to the United States and add their effort and dreams to the cornucopia of America’s gifts. But this country is also built on a rule of law and illegal entry to this country violates that standard. We can not reward the law breaker. A neighbor, welcomed to our backyard barbeque is not welcome in our pantry when we are not home.

Social Issues:

Abortion:
One social issue has divided this country for 40 years, abortion. Lets be clear. Roe v Wade is the law of the land and until a case is presented to the Supreme Court from TWO different districts, and it rules explicitly on the legality of abortion – NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE in the United States. And if it were to change at the Supreme Court, it would revert to the States to decide INDIVIDUALLY what, if any, restrictions might or might not be applied.

Gay Marriage:

Marriage is a fundamental institution that creates and cements the family relationship and it should be encouraged and revered whenever possible. Sacraments are the purview of the appropriate religions and there is no authority, power or reason for the federal government to suggest, dictate or demand any religion act contrary to its own beliefs. Further, marriage is a State issue and should not be legislated in any way at the Federal level. At the State level, marriage has become a legal contract issue and rights, responsibilities and strict consideration should be addressed before States enact laws that interfere in the individual right to enter into contracts legally.

Health Care:
There is no authority granted the Federal Government to provide individual heath care, to mandate individual health insurance or to dictate specific health care provisions. The failure of the States and the Supreme Court to prevent the implementation of Medicare stands as the second largest mistake in the 20th Century. Unfortunately, many Americans and industries have acted in reliance upon Medicare being provided and that obligation will be honored. However, it must end as soon as possible.

Social Welfare:
Food Stamps and Housing Assistance
There is no authority for the Federal Government to be providing the housing and food needs of individual Americans and it must stop as soon as practical.

Social Security:
The largest mistake of the 20th Century by the Supreme Court and the States. Like Medicare, many Americans rely on the promise and that promise will be kept. However, we need to end the attempt to provide retirement for everyone.

Policies to Implement Platform

Limited Government:
1. States are the rightful place for the interaction between citizen and government.
2. Land within the borders of States belong to the States and with the exception of Federal Parks, should be controlled by the States.

Federal Spending:

1. Federal spending is frozen at the current level for a period not less than 4 years and not more than 6 years.
2. Each department of the Federal Government must prepare a budget that must be approved by Congress individually and signed by the President before the fiscal year begins. No omnibus budgets are to be allowed.
3. Each departmental budget program and line item must be justified from the first dollar to the final dollar each year.
4. Each department must prepare a plan to reduce regulations promulgated, personnel and costs by 5% per year during the spending freeze. The plan must be part of the annual budget proposed and approved by Congress and the President.

Taxation

Individuals and families:
1. A flat tax with one fixed exemption for earnings.
2. A flat tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains* 1/2 the flat tax rate on earnings.
3. No estate taxation.
* No taxation on capital gains from the sale of primary residences.

Businesses, corporations:
1. No federal income tax.
2. No corporate bailouts.
3. Subsidies are banned.

Immigration:
1. Our borders define the point where an invitation is necessary to enter and need to be as secure as our homes from unwanted intrusion.
2. Permission to enter is not a right, but a privilege. Until such time as a guest is given permission to stay, they are a guest to be treated fairly and forthrightly but not as an owner with a claim upon the bounty and liberties citizens enjoy. Like a child born to parents visiting our home, children born to guests of our country do not become citizens or residents of our home.
3. Current illegals, if they present themselves, can pay a fine and obtain permanent residency with no eligibility for citizenship. If they commit a crime and then are found to be here illegally, they and any family members will be deported.

Gay Marriage:
1. DOMA is a Federal intrusion into States sovereignty.

Healthcare:
1. Repeal of Obamacare.
2. Phase out of Medicare from the Federal level and return funding and control back to the States.

Social Welfare:
1. Foodstamp programs are to be phased out from the Federal level.
2. Housing assistance, either direct or for housing development should be phased out.
3. Phase Social Security out for those under 35.

Posted in Liberty permalink
Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

Comments

A Platform for a Free America — 28 Comments

  1. A suggestion presenting the document: Save it as a WordPress Document rather than a WordPress Post and put a link in the sidebar. Putting this large post up top is fine for a while, but it’ll of course get lost among the other posts as soon as it’s no longer up top.

    Alternatively, have a “It’s Time for a New Party” section in the sidebar and put in links to appropriate posts. While you’re at it, put in a “Best of Daily Pundit” section.

    • Good idea. Though I’m not really after a formal new party as much as creating a groundswell of agreement around a set of principles. If that should occur it will make some sort of political rearrangement/accomodation inevitable.

      The Founders did not create a “new party.” The crystallized a new state of mind.

  2. Regarding the content of the platform, it’s OK, I guess. It might be fine for rallying the people to a political cause. I have doubts about restraining the actions of politicians elected according to this platform; viz how quickly the Gingrich and the Tea Party revolutionaries became a part of the system.

    I’d rather think about how to design a government which would resist movement toward expansion and corruption. Negative feedback, from an engineering perspective.If we can design such a government, then overthrow the current one and put the better version in place. (And that overthrow wouldn’t even be treason, as the current government is itself treasonous.)

  3. As Bill suggests, it is not a call for a new party. We have experience with that. It is a statement. For days we have heard all the reasons Romney lost. The big one: he didn’t articulate any principles. Ah, Obama, didn’t have any to ignore. Hope and change? Forward! What the hell? But…I’d like to think most people, even a simple majority are not mindless drones. Someone that can agree with and articulate the principles and platform provided here is worth supporting.

  4. One of the things I’d like to get started on is using social media to further disseminate this platform and the principles associated with it.

    I’ve had experience with setting up a web presence for a conservative initiative, and it didn’t work out well, succumbing almost immediately to arguments about how my initial notions had to be modified to accommodate socon shibboleths.

    I view this platform more as a set of non-negotiable demands. They are what they are. Sure, tinker a bit with implementation, but if you think the platform must include your own hobbyhorses as principle structures, I suggest you seek elsewhere.

    Anyway, I’m on the lookout for volunteers interested in pushing these ideas out there who are knowledgeable in using social media – twitter, facebook, and whatever other venues seem applicable – to help us get something set up.

    • I expected that. This is a seed, a kernel that will, by necessity, start small. It won’t appeal to moochers and looters at all, and there goes half (or more) of the citizenry right there.

      I said earlier that we need to start now in order to have an argument, solution, and structure in place when the inevitable collapse of state socialism begins to bite hard. We’re not going to make much progress at the moment, but when the failures of socialism become more painful, we just might come to be seen as a viable alternative.

      The voters won’t continue to flop between evil and lesser evil forever.

  5. Great start. As part of resisting expansion and corruption, I think that under the business and corporations section,you should include something like “If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist and is an illegal monopoly.” A limit on big business should also limit big government.

    • What principle are you espousing mellowlocke? That government should have the power to decide ‘how big’ a company should be allowed to become? Is a Walmart ‘too big’ in a community? Isn’t one hospital in a community a monopoly? The key here is to state a principle and then use that principle to establish what government should or should not do to put it into practice.

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  7. mellowlocke: A better principle would be “upholding the rule of law.” I think we can all agree that NO ONE should be above the rule of law…no person, no corporation, no member or agency of government.

    In the case of corporations, only two punishments for violations of the law should be considered: (1) Imprisonment of the officers of said corporation; (2) Suspension or revocation of its corporate charter, and hence, its ability to do business at all. Fines imposed on a corporation don’t work because the corporation will treat these fines as “costs” and pass them on to its customers, meaning people that have been screwed by them will wind up getting screwed twice.

    Specifics related to upholding the rule of law would include, for example, an immediate and comprehensive forensic audit on the Federal Reserve and all major banking institutions, with any evidence found of wrongdoing to be turned over to a Grand Jury for indictment and prosecution.

  8. The topic of individual rights needs to be emphasized more. For implementation, the police state must be dismantled by breaking up Homeland Security and eliminating the TSA, DEA, ATFE, and ending the transfer of military equipment to SWAT teams, whose activity must be severely limited. Asset forfeiture is a blatant violation of Constitutional guarantees, and bestowing those assets on those confiscating them invites corruption of law enforcement. Until the instruments of the police state are eliminated, the other provisions don’t matter.

  9. Lorenzo, I think Erbo’s point about no one being above the law would cover most of the SWAT excesses. Hacking the federal government down to clearly defined Constitutional bounds would take care of most of the rest of your list.

  10. Again, this is not an implementation guideline, it is statement of principle with some broad policy guidelines. I agree Lorenzo that much of the overreach of government policing has got to stop, but SteveF is right, get government back to it’s authorized limits and much of this stuff goes out in the trash.

  11. Since I’m a liberty-minded sort of guy, I’d be okay with this as a starting point. Giving the states their rights and powers to implement what they want (assuming it doesn’t conflict with that hundred years old or so document, the Constitution) is fine with me. And since this set of principles goes to great length to affirm federalism, I could support it.

    A significant part of the reason for that is that many – rightfully, in my opinion – regard the choices presented to them each election cycle as being no real choice at all

    But the reason that Romney lost is because he hates the brown people!!! Or some such nonsense. That sentence above completely captures what I think happened this time.

    • In the coming crash, it will likely become obvious that a major portion of the blame goes to the vicious circle of power-crazed politicians using other people’s money to buy votes via individual handouts. If so, then perhaps this principle can gain approval:

      Anybody receiving direct payments from feds is ineligible to vote for federal offices.

      While that takes away my vote, I think it’s worthwhile.

  12. I disagree with the statement “Every law is an infringement upon a right “…unless you’re hypothesizing that my right to swing my fist doesn’t stop where your nose begins, in which case I have a more fundamental disagreement with you.

    • You have every right to swing your fist. And I have every right to shoot your dumb ass.

      Note that, as I’ve previously stated, I’m not a libertarian because libertarians are entirely too supportive of big government. However, I realize that practically no one has any tolerance for anarchy, so as a compromise I’m willing to live under the US Constitution, rigorously enforced. It’s practically brand-new; hasn’t been adhered to since 1791 at least.

  13. Longtime reader Henry C. is outside the country and has run into the dread “can’t log in to DP from outside the US” bug that we still haven’t figured out how to fix, so he emailed his comment to me. Here’s Henry:

    My comment was a certain quibble about one element of the Platform for a Free America, which, if you’ll bear with me, also touches upon such far away matters as the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar, specifically the idea that “lands within the borders of the state belong to the state.” I would submit that those lands belong to the people that live there and not the government, state or otherwise, federal lands included. The government’s job should be only administrative, and with explicit permission.
    As an aside, Spaniards generally support the Spanish government continuing attempts to expropriate Gibraltar and the Argie government attempts to do the same with the Falklands, but scream and bitch when Morocco says the N. African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla belong to Morocco.

    Cheers again,

    Henry

  14. What interests me most about this “platform” is how little I disagree with most of it. I have assumed that I don’t really qualify as a “conservative” as there’s too much on the standard agenda of the so-called “right” that I disagree with. Yet, in this tract, the only things I really have a hard time with (and you won’t like this at all) are the safety net/social security eliminations.

    My primary objection to the (again, so-called) “liberal” or “progressive” agenda is its amazingly naive and history-blind delusions about the role of government in our lives. This platform addresses all of those concerns.

    My support for reasonable social safety nets, and for social security, is based on my extensive experience with Latin America and the inevitable result of systemic poverty without any mitigation from the general population. Too complicated to go into here.

    • Nemo, while this platform tends towards the national, it acknowledges the local. There are options to medicare/medicaid other than Obamacare that are more market and individual oriented. As for social security, there is at least one option there. but the overt reliance upon the federal government to ‘solve’ problems is and always was, wrong. First, the scope of the problem has been enlarged to embrace the concepts of ‘social and economic justice’ that at their heart are socialist. Second, actually helping those that need the help can be done better at the state and local level than a one-size fits all federal program that over spends in some places and under spends in others.

      I don’t, and the platform doesn’t, prohibit by word or spirit the obligation to help others, even by the government, but abdicating our responsibility to government has impersonalized the process to the point we turn a blind eye to the problems right before us, because it’s not our job, it’s the governments. That too is wrong.

      • I am familiar with all these arguments, but still find them impractical. The Red Cross is a wonderful of example of how a “private” NGO manages to display all of the bureaucratic ineptitude, abuse of power and lack of accountability of a government agency. Smaller NGOs are just as bad, if not worse, as they get no public scrutiny whatever.

        The favellas of Rio are a great example of what happens to a society with almost no safety net at all. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see that here. Yes, I know — the South Bronx, Hough, South Central, Oakland, Detroit, etc. But they have electricity and running water. Usually. Sorry, Staten Island.

        • Actually, I was not thinking about NGOs at all. I have a plan for health insurance that does not rely on (completely) government that is market based and covers the equivalent of 83% directly and the rest indirectly at about the same cost as those covered. There is an option for social security, but it is phased out over 30 years meaning those 35 and under would have to find alternatives but not be burdened with those still covered. For the small percentage of truly destitute, states and local governments can have programs at much smaller, manageable costs.

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