the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world
THE STANDARD OF JUSTICE
― Peace is the absence of violence. Anarchy is the absence of rule. Rule requires coercion; coercion requires violence. There can be no rule without violence; there can be no peace without anarchy.
― The right to self-defense is inalienable. Health and freedom are integral parts of an animalís existence. The collective may expect the individual to remain peaceful only if it eliminates the need for self-defense, by providing for the health and freedom of the individual.
― To an individual belongs its body. All else belongs to the collective trust, and must be used to fulfill the collective mandate: to preserve the peace, by preventing violence and eliminating its justification.
― Violence against another can be direct, against its body, or indirect, against its necessary resources. Individuals who commit no violence must not be subjected to violence.
Standardism and standardist justice
Democracy, rule by the masses, implies that the will of the majority is supreme. Supporters of pure democracy state that the will of the majority should be supreme. They say, essentially, that numerical superiority is equivalent to moral superiority. It is true that democracy was an improvement over its predecessors. But dominion by a majority is still dominion. The stewardship would have the world governed by justice and right.
Standardism is based on accountability. An individual must account for the impact of its decisions. But the standards to which it is held accountable must be universal, constant, and public; and the sanctions by which it is held accountable must be determined by the nature of the standards.
Violence is the most serious transgression, and the most severe sanction. Justice is the most problematic disagreement between individuals, and the most urgent target for harmonization among sovereignties. It is, therefore, the most pressing political issue, and requires the greatest detail. Indeed, the standard of justice is the sum of all the political rights and responsibilities of the state and the individual, and a simple but thorough statement of the standard of justice would be the ideal standardist constitution.
It is important to note that the Standard of Justice is entirely rational, and derives both from the state of nature on Earth, and from the transcendent state of the universe. In the state of nature, it would be simply ridiculous to expect an animal, even a human animal, to refuse to defend itself, or to adhere to artificial social constructs at the expense of its own suffering. To give up its life rather than take freely-available food, or to give up its liberty rather than resist an attempt at constriction, is beyond animal nature. If we wish to avoid the violence that would naturally arise, we must avoid imposing situations which encourage it.
But if humans are held to be more than animals, if by their consciousness they can transcend animal nature, still the Standard would rationally be the same. We are each dependent on the general state for our well-being, regardless of how that is defined. Some clever individuals may wish to exploit others, to manipulate the general state to their own advantage. But these few are taking a calculated risk that the others will allow this exploitation and manipulation, rather than act to counter it. In the end, the others must act to counter it, because they will rationally recognize their stake in the general state. All ultimately have a stake in preserving a state of the universe in which the maximum freedom and welfare is extended to all, where the conditions necessary for their own continued existence are maintained. They would not sensibly ruin that state; they would not sensibly risk the reaction of others by destroying that state, for the logical reaction of those others would be to limit the freedom of those who destroy what is necessary for all.
Stewards of the universe, then, act ultimately out of enlightened self-interest. Their care for the universe, and the world in it, is an investment in their own future, as they will be forced to exist in that universe, whether they safeguard it or not. The collective, if rational, would recognize that it cannot promote a state of inequality, and if intelligent, would recognize and halt attempts by some individuals to create a state of inequality favorable to themselves. The Standard of Justice is a statement of the most that is available to individuals if each individualís rights are set as equal.The equivalence theorem, the first point in the Standard of Justice, can be stated symbolically as follows:
The syllogism is clearly indisputable. But as always, the definitions must be examined. The terms have numerous, often inconsistent, usages. That two ideas so commonly held antithetical as peace and anarchy essentially apply to the same situation is startling, and difficult to accept. But the only real question is whether rule can be voluntary, and whether a person who dominates others through persuasion is a ruler. Since persuasion can be subsumed otherwise into the qualities of leadership, rule itself can be reserved for coercive situations. Coercion does imply violence; there is no coercive power without either direct or indirect violence, either its use or its threatened use. Violence may be non-coercive; that is, it may be used for the purpose of destruction. But its primary use is for coercion, and coercion is coextensive with rule.
The three remaining points merely outline the relationship among individuals, and between the individual and the collective, if the goal is to preserve the peace equally for all. The Standard rejects artificial restraints on self-defense. It rejects in particular that aspect of dominion that is material property, either private or collective, since such claims of property are nonsensical. Instead, it states what the collective and the individual must do if they are resolved to protect the state of equal peace and freedom for all.
Because of the constraints of the standard, the primary defenses against non-violent actions are passive barriers ― locks, walls, computer security. If they fail, there is little recourse. Being outwitted is not grounds for retribution. Any place an individual can go without harming another it must be allowed to go; anything it can do without harming another it must be allowed to do. At most, non-violent actions which have economic consequences may be punished economically, by fine or loss of privileges, but there can be no violence.
The collective economy under the Standard
The Standard forbids the regulation of all non-violent behavior. But it also recognizes the survival prerogative. This derives from the state of nature. We cannot deny humans what is intrinsic to all animals. No one can ever be morally bound to submit to pain or prison. The individual retains the right to self-defense in all circumstances. A person starving may take food, even if starving because lazy. A person attacked may fight back, even if attacked because violent. The collective must take this into account. Non-human resources belong to all; their use must consider the needs of all, and no luxury may be had for any reason if one individual is denied its needs. Violence has degrees but not classes; if used, it may need to be used fully, so its full use must be justified before any degree is initiated.
The collective purchases its peace by removing the justification for self-defense. It must provide a situation where the non-violent individual is not threatened by others or the collective itself. It must manage the resources at its disposal so that all can be provided with basic nutrition, health care, a habitable environment. It must be aware that, should it fail, individuals will be justified in taking matters into their own hands.
The collective can meet its obligations by rewarding those who help it do so. It creates an incentive economy. Basic nutrition and shelter, health care, training, communication, and human transportation are all fully subsidized. Luxuries beyond that are sold by the collective for credits, which are earned through the public service. Resources (excluding, of course, labor) are always regulated; the right to dispose of resources is always at the discretion of the collective. This applies particularly to land, water, and air. But credits are fully negotiable, and must be. They cannot be taxed; they can be traded or donated or inherited. This is the basis of the private economy. Private interests can purchase labor and resources with credits, and produce goods and services which they can sell for credits. The collective may even sell production contracts.
The basic law of the state is the Standard of Justice. The state is, therefore, no more than a voluntary, meritocratic public service, headed by an elected policy directorate. The public service is based on public certifications ― free training and standardized tests of competence. Positions must be posted and filled only on the certifications. The certifications must conform to the job description. Only in the directorate can politics be a consideration. The public service would be divided and subdivided based on function, to avoid duplication of effort and waste. Each division and subdivision would be managed by a director serving ultimately at the will of the electorate. Immediately below the subdivisional directors would be the subdivisional chiefs, the highest certification positions and the pinnacle of the meritocracy.
Entering the public service at any point would require a basic certification, the culmination of the basic, general education for all citizens. Receipt of such a certification would be qualification for full citizenship, even if achieved early, with all the assigned rights.
The tribunate: an independent proposal for a democratic state
The hierarchical structure of a proposed standardist state
© O.T. FORD
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