For an extended exposition see Legislative Philosophy (extended version) forthcoming.

The key principles of my legislative philosophy:

  1. government’s role is to mediate among the conflicting liberties of us all when we fail or are otherwise unable to mediate those conflicts ourselves;
  2. to mediate among conflicting liberties, government’s role is also to promote and provide for our common, mutual, and general welfare;
  3. I believe the US Constitution, when properly adhered to, provides an excellent framework to guide government to fulfill those roles, but we must step up as the electorate and fulfill our responsibilities too.

As I support the Green Party ten key value of decentralization and grassroots democracy, I advocate for decision-making on the most local level appropriate for any power and also believe that many aspects of our moral lives are best handled within our typically more decentralized and localized communities, families, households, enterprises, and through other non-governmental institutions – thus leaving more local institutions as the most appropriate place to exercise self-sovereign autonomy. The best way to make government smaller at all levels is to foster and strengthen ourselves, our families, our households, our schools, our communities of worship, our enterprises, and our other communities and associations. At the same time, government must play those roles which are indispensable for government to play: that of securing our rights and mediating among conflicting liberties.

  1. Legislative Role
    1. Primarily to listen to the concerns of constituents and those raised by other legislators and to mold those concerns into laws which provide clear criteria to direct and redirect the actions of the judiciary and the executive in mediating among the conflicting liberties of the US population while providing for the common, mutual and general welfare of the persons living in the United States in a manner which adheres to both the letter and spirit of the US Constitution.
  2. Specific Steps
    1. In securing rights and mediating among conflicting liberties, government plays a crucial role in protecting us from social predators, but such predators can also use government as an instrument of predation. Therefore it is crucial to keep government focused on mediating clearly conflicting liberties between clearly contending persons and respond to all threats with more democratic, transparent, decentralized, and community-based responses.
    2. Necessarily centralized functions must be operated by the federal government to avoid undemocratic, opaque, an inequitable centralization which inevitably occurs outside government
    3. In regulation of environmental issues, government must take a precautionary stance to ensure all detrimental environmental impacts are minimized or even eliminated
    4. In commerce, government should take a minimal approach ensuring stable and secure monetary and other commercial systems, enforce truth in labeling and otherwise honest representation of the objects of commerce, only taxing commercial transactions in an equitable manner, and only prohibiting commerce in acts that are already illegal outside commerce (so for example, no contract murder, but sale of liquor should be allowed with only reasonable protections for minors).
    5. criminal laws should reflect a clear mediation between conflicting liberties, or more precisely, between one’s liberty and another’s predations – with criminal penalties always appropriate to the crime as determined by a judge or jury (sentencing guidelines are appropriate from the legislature, but no mandatory sentencing, and no cruel nor unusual punishments so that punishments only reflect an extremely broad consensus of the electorate for a crime).
    6. The federal government has a crucial role to play in protecting human rights when more local levels of government and other institutions fail to do so.
    7. Government at all levels must be prohibited from intruding in the lives of persons where there is no clear governmental interest and where no clear conflicting liberties arise.
  3. Specific corrections
    1. We must eliminate earmarks because they violate the separation of powers and involve legislatures in making administrative decisions which should be only the purview of the executive.
    2. Mandatory sentencing violates the separation of powers and the right to a trial by jury and other Constitutional guarantees by involving a remote and disconnected legislature in sentencing matters only a judge or jury should decide.
  4. Constitutional concerns
    1. The US Constitution is an excellent foundational document for the United States and most of our governmental problems involve our failure to adhere to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. We must therefore demand our legislators, our judges, our executives and all of their subordinates understand and adhere to the US Constitution in all of their official duties.
    2. The most serious failure to adhere to the US Constitution arises from the prohibition for either Congress or the states to grant titles of nobility. Such titles of nobility allow our republican form of government to be carved up to create fiefdoms. Each fiefdom is therefore turned over to private interests who wield governmental powers in their interest rather than for the general,  mutual and common welfare of us all. The guarantee of the US Constitution to a republican form of government is therefore undermined when we do not keep the commons in public hands which includes all of our transportation networks, communication networks, energy grids, and insurance risk funds. By turning over these governmental powers to private ignoble corporations we essentially institutionalize corruption.
    3. The most important change we could make to the US Constitution would be to add a Tribune branch of government as I propose to provide a guaranteed funding mechanisms for decentralized, independent and plural oversight of the other branches of government.
    4. Even more important than any proposed changes to the Constitution, we must actively involve the electorate in the political process so that they become more informed of the Constitution, its importance, and the actions of government to secure our rights and mediate our conflicting liberties. This does not have to be cumbersome if we can rein in the often predatory corporate media and provide intelligent and democratic alternatives, and focus on our common, mutual and general welfare in what we ask and what we expect of government.
For a more extended exposition see Legislative Philosophy (extended version) forthcoming.