PODVoters: Science-, Consensus-, and Principle-driven
Consensus Driven. There is no use in having interminable debates that divide us as a country, that waste time and that distract us from productive work. When we disagree, we need to find common ground and work from those shared ideals.
Science Driven. The scientific method should and must be used to gauge the success of public policy initiatives/outcomes to have any hope of using governmental resources effectively.
Principle-driven. Without principles, we'll have no basis for pursuing any goals whether national or international. With principles, we have a basis for discussion and a basis from which we can reason to ideal outcomes. Principles both guide us to where we need to go as well as how to resolve issues that seem intractable without division or rancor.
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The Legitimate Domain of Government
1. Mutual Respect and Reason Should be the Glue of Our Society. We have different lifestyles. To remedy disagreements with others' personal moral decisions, we shall not invoke the government's power of legislation to remedy our disagreement. We accept that no legislation and no governmental effort will fundamentally change human nature, that human cultural and personal diversity can not be legislated away when we find such diversity disagreeable.
2. The Government Shall Not Intervene in Contentious Areas and Respect Personal Moral Decision-Making. Government shall intervene as little as possible, but not less than what is necessary. The government shall not intervene in gray areas-areas in which reasonable people disagree. The government shall not intervene in ares which are properly considered the sphere of individual opinion and personal moral decision-making. As little governmental intervention as possible is ideal, particularly in social or moral matters where reasonable people disagree. The Government shall solve problems that virtually every citizen identifies as a problem and agrees must be and can be solved. Examples include protecting national parks and providing effective public education for all children. The government shall not try to solve problems that can not even in theory be solved, "problems" for which an appropriate solution to can not be envisioned. An example here is setting out a religious framework by which every person must live. We shall spend our energy solving problems which we all agree are problems, rather than debate interminably when reasonable people disagree.
3. No Religious-Driven Policy. The government shall not enforce or favor any religion in an overt or hidden manner. This is most important in terms of implicit support of any religion. If a religious view leads one to conclude for instance that a certain action is wrong, and the claim for the illegality of this action rests primarily on religious sentiments, this is an unjust law not in the spirit of U.S. constitution nor the history of the country and should be rescinded.
4. Restrictions on Freedom and Free Trade. Free trade and freedom in general have proven to have vast benefits. It is also widely recognized that free markets do not always provide the best outcomes and much governmental regulation has had positive results. We shall have as our default judgment to not restrict freedom or free trade. Freedom can and shall be restricted in ways in which no reasonable person would disagree for example the prohibition on theft. Further, the government shall intervene in markets when there is overwhelming evidence of market failure in some respect, national security concerns, and large-scale inefficiency, corruption, abuse or unfair exploitation. Without compelling national or societal reason, however, there shouldn't be an impediment to free trade.
Effective Public Policy
5. Science-Driven Solutions. The method through which public policy shall be approached and solved is the scientific method and not empty rhetoric or ideology. There must be a scientific basis for measurement of public policy. All policies must be tested scientifically and effectiveness must be criteria. The hallmark of science is creative (but also rigorously designed, implemented and measured) experimentation-this shall also describe governmental efforts to solve problems.
6. Criteria for Effective Candidates. A candidate's rhetoric or ability to speak well is not the best indicator of that candidate's likely efficacy-a silver tongue is no bearer of a silver bullet for the problems of the government. Effective government leaders have the following qualities: competence, a genuinely open mind, a history of professional accomplishment, demonstrated strength of character in personal and professional life, strong general knowledge but not necessarily specific policy knowledge, history of effective personal and professional conflict resolution, and strong logical reasoning capabilities. Effective leaders should also exploit the enormous, collective, expert knowledge of the country. In matters of geology, for example, an effective leader should trust the analysis of representative geologists and not out of hubris and excessive self-confidence make his or her own judgments.
Principles for Government Interaction with Other Countries and Non-Citizens
7. Every Human Life is Equally Valued. Every human being is a human being and is entitled to equal dignity and respect-as we treat our own citizens as we should treat other countries' citizens. If we are to expect respect for our lives from other countries and other people, we will have to show and give equal dignity to their lives. We shall not take millions of lives in poorly-conceived experiments; there will be no longer be any sacrifice of life to test theories (as for example happened when the domino theory was tested with the sacrifice of tens of thousands American lives, millions of Vietnamese lives and the destruction of thousands of Vietnamese villages).
8. Equanimity in Relations. No Enemies. We shall not show undue preference nor discrimination for a country based on its economic system or support or criticism of us. We shall not demonize or consider those as enemies who think differently than we do. We shall only consider discriminatory measures against a country who: violates international law, violates human rights egregiously either within or outside its own borders, or engages in discriminatory, unreciprocated or unfair treatment towards us.
9. Good and Evil Don't Exist--Only Just and Unjust Actions exist. While many may from religious or other personal beliefs believe in good and evil, from the governmental perspective, this worldview is wrong-minded and abused. Politicians seek to frame themselves as good which gives them impunity from all unjust actions, while framing so-called enemies as evil which casts even their just actions as bad or wrong. There is no good nor evil in the government's perspective nor anyone perfectly just or unjust, there are simply laws and actions which are either just or unjust.
10. We Shall Obtain Security through Goodwill, a Just World, and Stable Networks of Trade. We shall admit and take responsibility for mistakes. The domain of interaction with foreign nations is not outside the usual framework of personal morality nor is it exempt from the onus of respecting the norms of decent human conduct. We shall feel secure when there is more justice and respect for human rights in all countries in the world and less secure when there is greater injustice. We shall feel more secure when other countries respect us out of goodwill for good actions and less secure when other countries respect us for the use or display of force or intimidation. We shall feel as a nation-state more secure when all countries are inter-dependent on close-knit networks of trade.
11. We Shall Not Bully or Be Unjust. The destructive capacity of small numbers of people is increasing. The ability of small numbers of people to attempt to resolve their disputes and disagreements with mass violence is only going to grow. The capacity for mass violence and destruction will become increasingly less the exclusive domain of nation-states. Unjust actions by our government will thus become increasingly dangerous to us. For our government to act unjustly or bully its way to temporily end disputes without achieving a durable resolution is thus not just morally execrable but also deeply irresponsible.
12. No Military Aid. We shall not provide military support nor sell weapons or arms to any country except: when a country is being actively attacked or in imminent danger of such an attack by other countries; such country can't defend itself, and peaceful conflict resolution has been exhaustively attempted and has failed.
13. No "National Interest" or Other "Interest"-based Foreign Policy. We shall not wage wars to obtain access to resources. Again, it is not only morally execrable and shameful, but useless; for example, the funds and resources used in funding recent wars in the Middle East would have been more than adquate to deliver infrastructure for immediate alternative energy sources to oil. We shall not wage wars to protect corporate interests; no more undermining democratically elected governments because they have policies that would diminish narrow corporate interests as was done for example in Iran and in Chile.
14. Ideological Change through Violence Is Not Possible. We shall not through violent means attempt to convert other countries to any of our ideologies whether they be religious creeds, economic creeds such as free trade, nor political creeds such as democracy.
15. Violence is an Absolute Last Resort. If we are unable to peacefully resolve conflict with another party or nation, we shall agree to implement through mutual assurances whatever solution a neutral, mutually agreed-upon third party suggests following an agreed-upon proccess. We shall consider violent action only after internally-driven conflict resolution has failed, neutral third-party conflict resolution has not been reciprocated by the other party or attempts have been spurned, and multiple economic and other sanctions have been attempted and failed. In such a case of an intractable dispute, we shall consider violent action only when at least one of the following is occuring: the country has been attacked, the country is in immediate and imminent danger of an attack, another country is being attacked, or gross violations of fundamental human rights are occuring. Moreover, we shall commit to engage in violent action only when all the following are met: the action shall swiftly resolve virtually all aspects of the dispute, there shall not be disproportionate loss of life, funds have been allocated to remunerate loss of foreign lives at par with governmental responsibilities for loss of our citizens' lives, there is wide consensus that the action shall not product lingering bitterness or instability either in another country or in the world at large, the action proposed in within the bounds and aegis of international law and treates, and finally the action has the consent of the international governing organization(s).
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