Why Brexit? Meddlesome regulations.

I expected something like Brexit would happen eventually. Perhaps not first with Britain. Once the Brussels Bureaucracy began to flood the EU countries with meddlesome and often silly regulations that ordinary citizens and businesses were expected to follow, it became inevitable. It escapes me how anyone can  think that meddlesome regulations from a nascent administrative state without real lawmaking authority and electoral accountability would unite the confederated but still sovereign nations of the EU, rather than divide them. Perhaps some ideological bureaucrat might delude himself into believing that, but it doesn't work that way.

Just Google "silly EU regulations" to find many of them. Such things are intensely irritating to people. It is an accumulation of thousands of small irritations that combine to drive people to rebel. The entire Brussels Bureaucracy needs to be sent home to find real jobs.

I have discussed this with several British friends, who all seem to agree it is the regulations that drove Brexit. Nobody minded the lower barriers to trade, investment, and travel (except of Muslim immigrants that are trying to conquer Britain by infiltration).

Muslim immigrants shouting to native Britons, ""his is our country now. Get out!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlBsG1UJoLc

The EU Parliament is not a true lawmaking body that can make laws for citizens of EU countries that are lawfully enforceable. Neither is the Brussels Bureaucracy authorized to make laws or "regulations" for ordinary citizens. Unless national authorities yield to them in a surrender of sovereignty. People want to elect their lawmakers so they can turn them out at the next election.

The EU has been experimenting with various ways to bring their members together. The one kind of experiment that could work would be a European Constitution. But the one attempt at that was so incredibly incompetent that it is no wonder the voters of France and the Netherlands rejected it. Nothing but vague, aspirational political slogans. To get a model for a constitution that might work see http://constitution.org/reform/us/constitution-us-model.html Compare it to the proposed 2004 EU Constitution http://www.unizar.es/euroconstitucion/Treaties/Treaty_Const.htm and note the differences.

What really works to unite nations is an external enemy. It appears that Russia is trying to become that enemy. We will see if that survives Putin. Fortunately he can't live forever.

So where does Britain go from here? Union with the United States  would make some sense. The UK would have to lose the monarchy, and if it loses Scotland that might follow. If it does lose Scotland then another kind of union might be in order, something more like my model. It would also need a written constitution. The present legacy of "constitutional" documents doesn't really do the job. Neither do the Canadian and Australian constitutions. The Australian is still an act of the British Parliament. There is still a movement in the UK to seek a written federal constitution, but it seems to be dominated by socialists.

See http://constitution.org/ech/eng_const_hist.htm and http://constitution.org/sech/sech_.htm


Three schools of interpretation

The English common law tradition has essentially three schools of interpretation: royalist. tory, and whig.

One point on which the schools did differ was whether a delegation of power included incidental powers of carrying such a delegation into execution. Originally, going back to before the 17th century, it did not. By 1776 the tories were tending to hold that it did, and the whigs were the ones taking a  more conservative position. It was that split that led in the Constitutional Convention to the inclusion of the Necessary and Proper Clause to expressly delegate incidental powers, to carry into execution the other express powers. However, from the legacy of this split we can find that such incidental powers were only to make a limited official effort, not to do whatever might be thought expedient to get a desired outcome.

Some Latin legal maxims shed some light on this question:
  1. Potestas stricte interpretatur. A power is strictly interpreted.
  2. In dubiis, non præsumitur pro potentia. In cases of doubt, the presumption is not in favor of a power.
  3. Delegata potestas non potest delegari. A delegated power cannot be delegated.
  4. Ubi jus ibi remedium. There is no right without a remedy.
Another point of division was on the role of the jury. The whig position, notably asserted by John Lilburne in his trial, was that the jury had the right and duty to judge the law, and could override the judge on a point of law in favor of the defendant. The tory position was that the jury lacked the duty to do so, although they begrudgingly conceded the jury had the power to do so, especially as all arguments on issues of law were then made to them as well as to the judges. The tory judges later asserted their position on this by having the lawyers make legal arguments to them in writing out of the hearing of the jury, which is still the practice today.


How to get people today to adopt sound reforms?

How to get people today to adopt sound reforms?

That is the question many concerned people ask themselves as they try to develop and sell reforms that would actually work.

People today are distracted by many entertainments. Many consider politics a form of entertainment, and show this by electing entertainers to high office, usually on promises to "do something" they cannot possibly do, or that would have bad outcomes if they did. Proposals for sound reforms are drowned out by a flood of unsound proposals. Everyone tries to put forward his own, and most don't have a clue how to do it, nor does the public have a clue how to select the better ones..

In the past the main vehicles for reform were long treatises. We have many of them online in our Liberty Library. We don't see many such treatises being written today, because people don't read them. Not many people read those past treatises, except for a few students and scholars. Our website, can be considered a kind of modern treatise, a compilation of many articles on many subjects, but most visitors seem to go to particular pages based on web searches, and no further. Attention spans seem to be limited to a few hundred words at a time, or 140 characters.

But this is not a litany of alarm. I and others have done that elsewhere. This is to explain a way I have tried to solve the problem.

The way is a novel, now nearly completed, I have spent the last three years writing.

A new kind of hero must set history on a different course to save Earth from destruction almost a thousand years in the future.

The title link takes one to the novel online. To access the chapters one needs the chapter password "wweditor". I put it online to facilitate getting help with editing.

In planning the novel I first had to identify a single wrong turn in history that, had it been taken differently, history might have taken a much better course. There are many wrong turns in history.  some are more critical than others, and and some occurred during periods where taking a different turn might have had a more lasting effect. Most situations requiring reform are the result of historical wrong turns, and most reforms are attempts to correct the historical mistake.

One wrong turn turn stood out. The Battle of Evesham on August 4, 1265, when royalist forces led by Prince Edward, later to become Edward I, slaughtered Earl Simon de Montfort and most of his reformist followers. A faction of English and Welsh barons, led by Simon, had seized control of King Henry III and established the first English parliament at Oxford, to which commons could elect representatives. Although weak parliaments continued to be held thereafter, centuries of civil war among claimants to the English throne retarded progress of England through what would otherwise have been an earlier flowering of the Renaissance and the industrial revolution in the British Isles, by involving merchants and craftsmen in the making of law. It is plausible that Evesham set back human progress by perhaps 400-500 years at a critical stage in progress in Europe, that might have accelerated if the Montfortean reforms had become established in 1265.

The late 13th and early 14th century also presented many opportunities for reform. The Roman Catholic Church was without a pope and its cardinals could not agree on a successor. The Holy Roman Empire was without an emperor, and its electors also could also not agree on a successor. Northern European lands were experimenting with various reforms.  Spain and Portugal had established early parliaments, each called a  cortes, to which commons could elect representatives. Venice, Florence, and Genoa experimented with republican government using random selection. The Egyptian Emir, Baibers, swept across the Holy Land, driving out Christians and Jews and consolidating Arab control of the region for the next 800 years. The Mongols were destroying the lands in the Caucasus region, and also conquering what later came to be called China, but were temporarily set back by deaths of some of its leaders. The Persian llkhan had conquered Baghdad and killed most of its people. The peoples of the Indian subcontinent were at war in ways that presented opportunities. The Aztec and Inca empires had not yet emerged in the New World.

The situation presented an opportunity for an enlightened, gentle military leader, based in  the British Isles, to put the stamp of her personality on most of the world, as had not been done since Alexander. After some deliberation, I concluded this could only be done by an extraordinary young woman who was formidable both in personal combat and as the head of military forces intensely devoted to her. She had to have superior abilities, not superhuman, just superior. Not only as a leader, but as a charmer. I have known such women, perhaps none as intelligent as our Ariel, but serene, regal, beautiful, and professional.

If we examine most examples of science fiction today, most of the leading characters, such as the crew of the Starflight Enterprise, are regularly exercising abilities far beyond the reach of someone with an IQ of less than 200. They might claim not to be genetically enhanced, but they would have to be to do what they do.

So what are the biological limits on how much intelligence the human brain can achieve? I examined the abilities demonstrated by savants on specialized problems, then extrapolated them to the brain as a whole, and to a full array of problems. I came up with a functional IQ about 5 times that of unenhanced humans. This is not the extravagant intellectual power of a Lucy, which is not plausible. However, the motivations of the character are plausible. It is considered standard plot design to give heroes flaws or weaknesses. Ariel has no flaws. like many of the women I have known on whom she is modeled. She does have weaknesses, mainly arising from her love for others, but we see in Chapter 25 what happens to a villain who tries to exploit it. Unlike conquerors of the past, Ariel loves deeply. It is what motivates her.

On the whole, the enhancements made are essentially those that might be made by progress in human genetic design and market demands for them that can be expected during the next 200 years. They are a break in 1224 (when Rebecca was conceived), but not in the larger course of human history. Our novel merely moves the progress ahead by a few decades, leaving readers to consider how to deal with it.

She also knows how to have fun. From sex to music and other arts. She can learn a new language in a few days. She admires her Jewish tradition as a art form, not because she accepts the faith, like many of my Jewish friends. She laughs easily, and has a wicked sense of humor.

It would not have done to merely introduce supremely talented individuals before the battle. They needed to know things they could not know. That meant finding a way to get information from the future, and the obvious solution was from a future human. But I needed to introduce a plausible way to do that. Modern physical theory provides a possibility. It posits that if a stable wormhole could be created and maintained, and one end accelerated at nearly the speed of light for long enough, the ends of the wormhole could be separated in time, with one end in the past and the other in the future. the past end could be left in the past for use of a future individual.  A stable wormhole would be unlikely to be wide enough to permit passage of even a single subatomic particle or photon. However, it might enable a telepathic connection between the two ends. For that I posited that what we call telepathy is a kind of quantum entanglement, and that human brain functions are themselves a kind of quantum entanglement between parts of the brain. Much of mental capacity can be explained that way. I have also regularly experienced telepathy, so can testify to the reality of the phenomenon.

Information, in the physics sense, is conserved, so that no information can be transferred between past and future without an equal exchange in the opposite direction. Quantum entanglement avoids the problem, because within a quantum entangled system there is no real transmission of information. Within or between minds information exists everywhere at once, without being transmitted. It is a theoretic leap to posit enablement of this connection through a wormhole, but not implausible based on present theory. It makes a convenient plot device for this story.

The awareness (not "information") conveyed could not require the 13th century young people to recreate industrial civilization within a single year. They had to build on what was available in 1264. Fortunately, that foundation did exist then, mainly in Northern England, with clever action on the part of our Three recipients of future knowledge. Such a thing could not have been done sooner, or done anywhere else. With their new awareness, it was just barely barely possible to create and use the needed weapons in the time available.

The Three could have intercepted the royalists somewhere else than at Evesham, but Evesham was the perfect spot. It had a hill for artillery emplacement. The royalist forces could be expected to form themselves in the same arrays used in the other timeline, making them vulnerable to bombardment. That presented the Three with an opportunity to only defeat the royalists, but to crush them, as they had not been following their defeat at Lewes. The royalists had to be defeated so thoroughly that they could never make a comeback. In 1265 the royalists were on the ascendant, for reasons that would survive a battlefield defeat.

When Ariel saw that not all the royalist leaders were killed, she sallied forth to finish them off. They could have surrendered, but were unlikely to do so to a single knight. That gave her the warrant to kill them all.

That still left the problem of the king. Prince Edward was mortally wounded by the barrage, but the king had to die of an accident, so the reformists could not be accused of regicide. Dragging the king by his stirrup through the battlefield accomplished that. That left the realm without a king, and since Simon did not want to assume the position, there was an opportunity to replace the monarchy with a republic. The main other plausible claimant to the throne was Simon's son Harry, as he king's nephew, who also didn't want the job.

That situation opened the way for the Three to introduce a new Constitution, Bill of Rights, Rules of Order, and other reforms, which they do at the banquet following the battle, in the form of printed booklets using their new printing presses. In accepting them Simon lent his support for adopting them, and that brought the consent of others among the reformers and the nobility (whose privileges were not divested). Once land was granted to the farmers who worked it, there was no going back to the old feudal system most of them knew.

It would not work to make the rest of the novel a manual on the governing documents. That would lose the readers. The relevant elements could be woven into the narrative at various points as the drama permitted, leaving the documents to appendices for those who might want to read further.

If Britain had become a merchant republic in 1265, like Venice, Genoa, the Netherlands, or Portugal, It would very likely have explored, and discovered both the New World and the way around Africa to India. If so, it would have displaced Spain, Portugal, and the Dutch as exploring and colonizing powers, especially if it had first incorporated northern European lands, perhaps including the Netherlands. If this had occurred under thew enlightened leadership of someone like Ariel, those colonies would have been quickly incorporated into a British Federal republic as new states, thereby extending the federal union to most of the world. The Union Constitution provides for that.

It would also work if Ariel continued to lead it, not as a public figure, which her own Constitution would not enable, but as the head of a system of private foundations that control most of the wealth of the world, if she lived a long time, and had fellow descendants of her mother to whom she could delegate authority. Unlike Alexander, she does live a long time, and her relatives are worthy successors. Although the army and navy are nominally under the authority of the Union, in fact they are private, under the personal command of Ariel and Harry (mostly Ariel in practice). That would give her a free hand in putting her stamp on the world under her control.

It is also a plot element that her relatives, the Rebecchim, are not only intellectual superior, but also morally superior. This posits the controversial premise that moral behavior is mostly genetic, which is supported by many breeding experiments. It is not just the result of nurture or accident. None of her family are corrupt or abusive of their power. All are willing to lead austere personal lives, and avoid the trappings of personal wealth. They also thereby set an example for nonenhanced people. This eventually dominates custom and standards of proper private and public behavior, contrary to natural tendencies to acquire and display wealth. Wealthy persons are encouraged to form new charitable foundations, which include churches, universities, and medical institutions.

It is important that despite Ariel's prowess in personal combat, and that she often leads from the front, in most conflicts she directs strategy and tactics, and manages logistics, so that her forces always have what they need, and always know precisely what to do in every situation. They are trained to improvise and use a chain of command to replace fallen officers. Most are trained in multiple skills so they can fill in when  necessary. Like modern armies.

So world government would not be achieved by a UN acquiring the powers of government, but by the spread of a federal union to include ever more lands until it included most of them. More of an voluntary imperial process. Not of conquest or oppression, but of investment and trade. Nations join the federal union when they are ready. Nations don't join before they are ready. Some never do. It is a patient diffusion process, much of it cultural.

Not provided is a technical solution to how to divert Wayward (or the Earth) to avoid a collision. Collisions with Earth are an old trope in science fiction. Usually if the other planet is almost the size of Earth no attempt is made to divert it. Yet our future correspondent Andra said the Wayward aliens had found a way to do it two hundred years before Andra arrived, but too late to use it, so they evacuated. They provided a general outline of the method, involving the diversion of seven Oort Cloud objects, but no details, so Andra could only convey that, and leave it to future humans to work it out. That meant that within 800 years humanity had to develop the technical means, and discover the Wayward World. In 1265 humanity had a head start, and could do it, but there were also natural disasters to get around.

I posit the natural disasters to have been eruption of the two major supervolcanos, Yellowstone and Campo Fliegre, which I had go off within a few years of each other. I considered an asteroid impact, but I needed something more manageable with preparation, which consisted to getting everyone to build survival shelters in their homes, sufficient to enable most of them to survive the events.

I also considered the singularity problem. In Andra's timeline the machines took over all production, and having no more use for human labor, relegated humans to live 19th century wilderness lifestyles, with limited resources. There was no war with the machines. Only a loss of control, followed by benign neglect that would eventually lead to slow extinction. In Ariel's timeline, the now genetically enhanced humans were able to maintain control, which they would not have otherwise been able to do. Their minds were so advanced that passage through the singularity without being pushed aside was possible. That is a long conjecture, but is needed to make the book work.

There is mention of alien outposts on Earth, which evacuated Earth, other than that they may have helped the Waywardians genetically enhance some humans. Providing the motivation for the Waywardians to help the humans was more complicated. That turned out to be a scientific experiment which would test the possible effects of using their wormhole to set past humans on a course to save the Earth.

There are no exotic technologies. No FTL drives. No transporters. No planetary tractor beams. No force shields, Just advanced versions of what we have now, or can expect to develop within a few hundred years. The Oort Cloud objects are diverted using standard gravitational slingshot methods, taking advantage of there being seven such objects in just the right places. The diversion devices are straightforward lasers. Just very powerful ones, enough to burn jets of plasma in the sides of plutoids to provide the gentle nudges of them in the desired directions.

The theory of the wormhole blast upon recombining the two ends is plausible. Accelerating one end would have resulted in a buildup of a great deal of energy, released when the wormhole collapses.

All that having been said, what can we learn from other attempts to deliver political reform ideas through fiction.

The Bible itself, especially the Book of Deuteronomy, is largely a litany of early Jewish law. It has been described as the Hebrew Constitution, although elements of the fundamental laws are found in other books. It is more history, or told that way, but in that resembles a work of alternative science fiction. But it is not fiction as we understand it.

The next example might be Utopia, by Thomas More (1516). Not fiction, but a satirical analysis, with a depiction of a reformed society.

There are tow Wikipedia articles, Social science fiction and Political ideas in science fiction that explore the use of science fiction to deliver political ideas. Alternative history is one of the genres used.

One of the works not discussed in these articles is Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, which is not great science fiction, but presented her philosophy of objectivism in a novel form, mainly as a set of attitudes voiced by her characters. No propositional content, or programmatic reforms. It has become a cult classic, despite its shortcomings.

Normally, the action of such a novel would be carried by dialog, but a 90000 word limit makes that infeasible, which is about the limit of a novel that could be converted into a screenplay for a two-hour movie. Of course, it could be more than one screenplay, or a television series. In which case the narrative track would provide the framework for a series of dialogs. The reader should read the novel with that in mind. I have provided enough dialog to tie the narratives together. If that is not enough I can rewrite. One-off publishing makes it easy to put out new editions.


A new, simplified phonetic alphabet for English
Jon Roland

Fonet lowerFonet upperIPA lowerExampleIn Fonet
ð  (00F0)Р (00D0)ðthisðys
þ  (00FE)Þ  (00DE)θthinkþyŋk
ŋ   (014B)Ŋ   (014A)ŋsingsyŋ


ɽ   (027D)Ɽ   (2C64)ʀburrobwɽou
Fonet lowerFonet upperIPA lowerExampleIn Fonet
ɋ   (024B)Ɋ   (024A)æcatkɋt
ǝ   (0259)Ə   (018F)ǝthusðǝs


The aim with this alphabet was to begin with the 26-character Roman alphabet, add as few characters as possible, here five (ǝ, ð , þ, ŋ, ɋ), drop one (q), and assign four characters (j, c, x, w) to single sounds, to make a total of 30 characters, 10 vowels and 20 consonants. The idea is to minimize the difficulty of transitioning to the alphabet and spelling using it. Where possible, IPA symbols were used, but similar-sounding phonemes distinguished by the IPA are sometimes combined. for example, the IPA distinguishes the sounds of "ə" (schwa) and "ʌ" but in American English they differ only in how they are stressed, and we think it better to minimize the number of symbols and use diacriticals to indicate stress.

For the added characters the UTF-16 codes are shown. The character "ɋ" is actually a variant on "q" but is chosen because it also resembles the familiar variant "ɑ", with the tail distinguishing it, and the letter "q" can be used for it. The letter "j" is used in a way uncommon in English but common in French and some other languages, however, not the way used in the IPA.

The letter "ð" (eth) for the soft "th" sound is ancient and dropped out of use in the 13th century, but it was found convenient to revive it. The letter "θ" U03B8, the Greek letter theta, capital U03F4, is used by the IPA for the hard "th" sound. We prefer the Old English symbol used for this sound, the thorn "þ" (U00FE, capital Þ U00DE), which seems more readable.

The letter "c" is reassigned to represent the "sh" sound, which is perhaps the one change that may cause trouble for new users. This seemed better than adding the character "ʃ".

The letter "x" is given the sound like "ch" in "loch" or "chanukah", which is also a usage in several languages.

The letter "r" is here reclassified as a vowel, although the IPA uses "ɜ", which looks too much like a three "3". Some phoneticists may disagree, but we consider it more a vowel and the transition easier if used as such. However, we need a way to indicate the difference between "krent" and " "current", which can be done by doubling the letter, "rr" for the latter.

The letter "w" is assigned to represent the short "u", which it often does in English. The word "wet" might be represented as "hwet", when the "h" is sounded.

The trilled "r", as in "burro", is actually a consonant, but the IPA uses the letter "ʀ", and this is unsatisfactory.  A better solution might be the tailed "ɽ", "bwɽou", with diacritical marks used to indicate the many variants. Here we do not include it in the basic fonet alfabet, but classify it as an extension.

Some non-English vowels with other sounds can be represented, as they now are, by these symbols with diacritical marks.

It is commonly supported on many computers to key in any of the UTF-16 characters by simultaneously holding down three keys, ctrl-shift-u then typing the four-character code, followed by some other key like the space bar. Most computers also support reassignment of keys on the keyboard using keyboard configuration software, and the defining of one key, such as the right-alt key, as a kind of third shift key, to be held down while pressing one of the other keys, and for upper case, also holding down the shift key.

Examples of transcriptions:
  1. John Donne, 'No man is an island, entire of itself'
  1. Phonetizer
  2. PhoTransEdit
  3. Upodn
  4. Phon
  5. transliterate
  6. Phonetic symbols in Unicode
  7. Unicode Character Table — In numerical order
  8. List of Unicode Characters — Wikipedia, better organized
  9. Custom keyboard layout definitions — The xkb tool used in most Linux distributions
  10. Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator (MSKLC) — Create custom layout (but keyboard not displayed properly in Win 8, so have to install Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 or greater to see it)
  11. KbdEdit — Tool for editing keyboard layouts that works in Windows 8.


Libertarian judge candidates

After reviewing the list of judicial candidates from Trump, I started to try to put together a list of libertarian lawyers and judges that might be proposed by the Libertarian Party nominee. I can't find a list anywhere, and have tried to put one together from general knowledge.
My first candidates would be

Randy Barnett
Roger Pilon
Janice Rogers Brown
Alex Kozinski
William Baude
Larry Becraft
Stephen Calabresi
Elizabeth Price Foley
Michaek Greve
Kurt Lash
Gary Larson
John O. McGinnis
Robert Natelson
Clark Neily
Michael Rappaport
Roger Roots
Ilya Somin
Lawrence Solum

These are taken from http://constitution.org/cs_peopl.htm , not including some who are social conservative or too old. You might have some more.


Trump candidates for Supreme Court

Today presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump released a list of eleven candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court. I list them here with links to more information about them and my brief comments on their fitness.

  1. Steven Colloton -- Iowa. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  Professor  at U. Minnesota School of Law, specializing on constitutional law. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
  2. Allison Eid -- Colorado. Justice, Colorado Supreme Court. Professor U. Colorado Law School, specializing on constitutional law. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
  3. Raymond Gruender -- Missouri. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. 
  4. Thomas Hardiman --  Pennsylvania. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. One good decision: Dissented from the court's decision to uphold under the Second Amendment a New Jersey law requiring residents to make a showing of "justifiable need" to receive a license to carry a handgun in public. Bad decision: held that a police officer was immune from suit because there is no clearly established First Amendment right to videotape police officers during traffic stops. The right is a Ninth Amendment right to supervise public servants.
  5. Raymond Kethledge -- Michigan. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
  6. Joan Larsen -- Michigan. Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Clerked
  7. Thomas Lee - Utah. Associate Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Pioneer in the application of corpus linguistics to determine ordinary meaning, being the first American judge to do so in an opinion.  Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
  8. William Pryor -- Alabama. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Said that Roe v. Wade was the "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law." Some controversial opinions in civil rights cases. Many pro-government decisions.
  9. David Stras -- Minnesota. Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
  10. Diane Sykes -- Wisconsin. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, formerly Judge on Wisconsin Supreme court. Strong supporter of Second Amendment.
  11. Don Willett -- Texas. Justice Texas Supreme Court. Drafted the first two executive orders of the Bush presidency. 
Of these the only one I have met personally id Don Willett. He is a bright, personable guy with a good sense of humor, which could be a goo thing on the Supreme Court, where Justice Scalia was famous for his wit. He is also active on Twitter, with some critical tweets on Trump.


Fetura is the answer to objections to sortition

This post opposing sortition seems to assume direct random selection from the general population, when historical sortition systems have never worked that way. They alternated sortition with a screening stage, a system I call fetura, from the Latin word for breeding, which involves such alternation. The systems of Venice and Florence are examples of this. I have one, as part of a model constitution.
1. Selection of officials is multi-stage, beginning at the most local level (wards), but those selected at random are not limited to selection themselves for the next round.
2. As for policy juries, there would be more than one on any policy, and policies would go through the same kind of fetura, using competing juries that would decide how to present the policy options to one another. Some such juries, which I call inquestries, would function like grand juries to empower prosecutors to propose and defend policies to further juries.
3. Corruption of members would be be inhibited by audits of the members of one jury by another. There would have to be full disclosure of assets and income. That does not prevent payoffs to cronies, but the same process could be used for that. Everything checks and balances everything else.
4. One inhibition to corruption would be that selection is not confined to the selectees of the last random round, so that reputation for integrity would be important. One might call the system reputaracracy (combining Latin and Greek). Everyone would have an incentive to acquire and maintain a good reputation, because not all selection is random. Our modern system of credit scoring is an example of this, although it can be manipulated.
One can describe the system used by political parties in their nominating process as a kind of fetura, although it is vulnerable to dominance by cult leaders.

Venetian system

New regulations for the elections of the doge introduced in 1268 remained in force until the end of the republic in 1797. Their object was to minimize as far as possible the influence of individual great families, and this was effected by a complex elective machinery. Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elected the doge. None could be elected but by at least twenty-five votes out of forty-one, nine votes out of eleven or twelve, or seven votes out of nine electors.

Florentine system

Florence was governed by a council called the signoria, which consisted of nine men. The head of the signoria was the gonfaloniere, who was chosen every two months in a lottery, as was his signoria. To be eligible, one had to have sound finances, no arrears or bankruptcies, he had to be older than thirty, had to be a member of Florence’s seven main guilds (merchant traders, bankers, two clothe guilds, and judges). The roster of names in the lottery were replaced every five years.
The main organs of government were known as the the maggiori. They were: the twelve good men, the standard bearers of the gonfaloniere, and the signoria. The first two debated and ratified proposed legislation, but could not introduce it. To hold an elective office, one had to be of a family that had previously held office.

Genoese System

The Republic of Genoa, a communal republic and a state of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1339 until the state's extinction in 1797. Originally elected for life, after 1528 the Doges were elected for terms of two years.[1] In actuality, the Republic (or Dogate) was an oligarchy ruled by a small group of merchant families, from whom the doges were selected.

The first doge ("duke") of Genoa, Simone Boccanegra, whose name is kept alive by Verdi's opera, was appointed by public acclaim in 1339. Initially the Doge of Genoa was elected without restriction and by popular suffrage, holding office for life in the so-called "perpetual dogate"; but after the reform effected by Andrea Doria in 1528 the term of his office was reduced to two years. At the same time plebeians were declared ineligible, and the appointment of the doge was entrusted to the members of the great council, the Gran Consiglio, who employed for this purpose a political system almost as complex as that of the later Venetians.

Of all the "perpetual" doges of Genoa who ruled for their lifetime, only one ruled for more than eight years. Many resigned or were driven out before taking office. Some failed to complete a single day in power. Between 1339 and 1528, only four doges were legally elected. Genoa did not trust its doges; the ruling caste of Genoa tied them to executive committees, kept them on a small budget, and kept them apart from the communal revenues held at the "Casa di San Giorgio". Not surprisingly, the doges of Genoa have been less renowned than the doges of Venice.

Still, the position of doge stood at the head of state patronage, and the city's inner group of leading merchant families vied with each other to place their man in the position. Rival elections were known to take place within the building. In 1389, a frustrated candidate made a surprise return from enforced exile accompanied by 7,000 supporters, and after dining amicably with the incumbent, politely but firmly ejected him, thanking him for serving so ably as his deputy during his own "unavoidable absence" from Genoa.

For generations two powerful families in Genoa all but monopolized the dogate: the Adorno, supporters of imperial power in the Middle Ages, and the Campofregoso or Fregoso, supporters of papal power. Tomaso di Campofregoso became doge three times: in 1415, 1421 and 1437. In 1461, Paolo Fregoso, archbishop of Genoa, enticed the current doge to his own palace, held him hostage and offered him the choice of retiring from the post or being hanged. When Fregoso was in due course himself toppled, he fled to the harbor, commandeered four galleys and launched himself on a whole new career as a pirate. While the doge's palace in Venice accumulated great furnishings and works of art over the years, in Genoa, each doge was expected to arrive with his own furnishings and, when he left, to strip the palace to its bare walls.

Genoa's power peaked early, and it was eclipsed by Venice. In the 16th century the republic enjoyed a dramatic revival under the leadership of the admiral, statesman and patron of the arts Andrea Doria who ruled the state as a virtual dictator but never actually became doge. It was through the Spanish empire in the New World that Genoa became rich again. Doria served the Spanish Habsburgs as admiral-in-chief, and the bankers of Genoa handled Spain's financial business, which vastly enriched Genoa's banking oligarchy.

The Napoleonic Wars put an end to the office of doge at Genoa. In 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte incorporated Genoa into the newly organized Ligurian Republic, French soldiers and the city's mob ransacked the doge's palace.

“Sortition” should not be conceived as only a cramped. one step random procedure. Yes, the prisoner’s dilemma applies, or at least the iterated prisoner’s dilemma, discussed by Rappoport in The Evolution of Cooperation.

A better model is provided by genetic (or evolutionary) algorithms, in which random steps (such as reconfiguration) alternate with a fitness screening. That is why I use the term fetura, which is another name for the process.

Another key concept is self-organizing systems (part of chaos theory). Society is a self-organizing system composed of other self-organizing systems, which in turn are composed of other self-organizing systems, and so forth.

The argument we should be making is not over just the random step, but over the entire system in which it is just one step of many. A well-designed system is composed of many self-organizing systems composed of other self-organizing systems in which fetura is a key element.

What we are discussing is how to design a subset of society that serves society as well as society could if it were reduced to a single wise decider, who is himself composed of other systems. In other words a microcosm of society that somehow represents society, and makes decisions for the best interests of society.

A well-designed system cultivates virtue among its decisionmakers, which can be assessed by other decisionmakers. This relates to one of the three types of morality: deontological (duty based), consequentialist, and aretaic (virtue-oriented). The last depends on reputation and admirable qualities. “We become what we admire.” But admirable qualities are not just a matter of taste, because they have consequences.

So a well-designed system cultivates good reputations and the perception of such.


Fate of technologically obsolete humans

Trump has proposed several policies he doesn't understand well. The first is to create enough "good-paying jobs for everyone now unemployed or underemployed. That's 92 million jobs paying more than $50,000 a year. That isn't going to happen, no matter what anyone might try  to do. The good-paying jobs of the post WW II period were the result of a unique situation of the U.S. during that period, when capital invested in the U.S. because that was the safest place to do it. That is no longer our situation.

Those jobs also depended on an industrial base the greatest the world had ever seen, supported by resources the U.S. was uniquely positioned to acquire. That is also no longer the situation.

Yes, we can create some good-paying jobs, but not 92 million of them, even it we tore down every highway and bridge and rebuilt them all. Much of that work is now done by machines. The high-paying jobs in the tech companies are few and require special training most underemployed persons today do not have the talent to do. Even the high-paying tech jobs are increasingly being done by machines.

The good news is all that off-shored work is coming back. The bad news is that when it does it won't be creating high-paying jobs. The work will be done by machines. Start your own personal factory in your garage, using 3-D additive tools? Some will be able to do that, but most will not be able to.

The other flawed Trump proposal is to negotiate a partial payoff of creditors for our national debt. He seems to think there aren't very many of them, as though it was a bankruptcy negotiation. Contrary to popular misconception, it not mostly a few countries. It is millions of individual bondholders, most of them American, either directly or though their investment funds. If they were paid off 20 cents on the dollar they would be wiped out. And so would the world financial system.

There would be a domino effect, just as there was when the International monetary system collapsed in 1931, which caused the Great Depression. The process began with the collapse of one bank in Austria, Creditanstalt. That spread to a loss of confidence in the entire international monetary system, which ultimately depended on a gentleman's agreement among major banks. No one would accept anyone else's currency at face value, which dropped to zero for some countries (Weimar Germany), and near-zero for others, including the U.S., or borrow or loan money.

Most international commerce depends on debt. If producers and distributors can't finance their operations, those operations cease.

Anything that shakes confidence in the international monetary system, even off-hand remarks, will likely trigger another Great Depression, but far worse. Never before in history has the system been more fragile, and all the measures that have been tried to manage it are no longer available.

The most likely mid-term scenario is the paying of a "basic income" to everyone, to support consumption, and turn production and distribution over to machines. It would have to be paid for by nationalizing dividends and capital gains. But from the standpoint of the still competitive machines, that would be a cost that they would compete to reduce, resulting in the payments becoming worthless. Remaining consumption, as well as production and distribution, would be done by machines, not by humans, who would descend to the status of just another form of wildlife, which the machines would not be motivated to serve or protect. No "war" with the machines. Just extinction by (not so) benign neglect.


  1. How Great Depression started. http://www.federalreservehistory.org/Events/DetailView/21



Bill of Immunities

The following is a nonexhaustive list of immunities of individuals and groups from official action of all kinds and at all levels of government anywhere, and restrictions on government powers.

  1. Due process and efficient remediation
    1. General
      1. Not to be denied due notice of time, place, manner, parties, and subject of any proceeding with sufficient time to respond.
      2. Not to be denied fair hearing and decision on the legal merits, with redress for just grievances, including damages, property, or injunctive or declaratory relief.
      3. Not to have just remedies made inaccessible or excessively difficult or costly.
      4. Not to be denied mandated testimony of witnesses.
      5. Not to be denied unimpeded access to courts, court filing, and inquestries, subject only to routine scheduling.
      6. Not to be denied direct presentation of complaints to an inquestry without the presence of any other government actor except with the consent of the inquestry.
      7. Not to be denied standing to privately prosecute a public right without having been injured or expecting personal injury.
      8. Not to be subject to retaliation.
      9. Not to have admitted any plea or testimony induced by a plea agreement.
      10. Not to have any real property or chattel taken or forfeited without civil or criminal judgment in a trial, with possession presumed to establish title unless proved otherwise.
      11. Not to have the exercise of any immunity taxed, disabled, or restricted by statute or other rule except to allocate a scarce resource among competing claimants, unless one is a minor, which by default shall be any individual under the age of 18 unless the disabilities of minority are extended or reduced by court order.
      12. Not to have the exercise of any right, privilege, or immunity disabled or restricted without s court order following a jury trial.
    2. Criminal trials:
      1. Not to be denied indictment by twelve members of a randomly selected inquestry of 23 who elect their foreperson, upon a finding that the court has jurisdiction and that there is sufficient evidence for a trial, except for persons subject to military or militia discipline, or foreign praedones.
  2. Not to be denied service as prosecutor upon receipt of an indictment by an inquestry, subject only to consolidation by the inquestry if more than one person seeks to prosecute the same offense.
  3. Not to be denied trial by a randomly selected jury of twelve sworn to uphold applicable constitutions in criminal cases for which the penalty is more than 90 days.
      1. Not to have imposed excessive bail when there is little flight risk.
  4. Not to have imposed excessive fines imposed.
      1. Not to have cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  5. Not to be denied speedy and public trial before an impartial jury of the state and district previously defined by law, wherein the offense shall have been committed, and to have the location of commitment be deemed where there was concurrence of mens rea and actus reus.
      1. Not to be twice prosecuted for the same offense or same facts under the same or different jurisdictions.
      2. To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense, but not to have counsel or an attorney imposed on him without his consent.
      3. Not to be compelled to be a witness against himself.
      4. Not to be disabled in the exercise, or deprived, of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, by unanimous verdict of a jury of twelve.
      5. Not to be impeded in the presentation of all evidence by the defendant, without being subject to a motion in limine.
      6. Not to be impeded in the presentation of all legal argument to the jury, up to the final instructions to the jury, except for argument on a motion in limine that cannot be made without disclosing evidence properly excluded.
      7. Not to be impeded in the presentation of all pleadings, alternative instructions, and certified copies of applicable laws and constitutions, to the jury.
      8. Not to have a sentence that does not separately disable the exercise of the immunity, and order deprivation of it, within the scope of that disablement.
    1. Civil trials:
      1. Trial by a randomly selected jury of twelve sworn to uphold applicable constitutions and laws in which the amount at issue, including costs, exceeds the equivalent of at least 15.46875 troy ounces of pure silver.
    2. Appeals
      1. Not to be impeded in an appeal from a jury verdict on a writ of error or habeas corpus, according to established rules of judicial procedure in the polity as of its founding, unless the Constitution is amended to provide otherwise.
  6. Nonauthority
    1. Nonauthority shall be presumed for any claim to authority, to be strictly proved by an unbroken logical chain of derivation from a constitution or constitutional law.
    2. Not to have any government actor exercise a power not delegated, regardless of whether one may be personally injured by such exercise.
    3. Not to have government actors exercise powers on the pretext of being "necessary and proper" when they are not incidental to perform his official duties or to get a desired result beyond such duties.
    4. To have delegated powers construed as narrowly, and rights, privileges, or immunities construed as broadly, as the language of the Constitution as meant and understood when ratified permits.
    5. To have priority docketing of all prerogative writs filed by a any person as demandant in the name of the people with a court of competent jurisdiction and served on the respondant, within three sederunt days, unless the respondant requires more, but not more than 20 calendar days, including but not limited to, demurral, quo warranto, habeas corpus, procedendo, mandamus, prohibito, certiorari, and scire facias, and to have default judgment even if no proof is presented or a hearing is not held.
    6. Not have communications, including speech, press, and education, punished or impeded, except such as instigate or direct a felony, misdemeanor, high crime, tort, piracy, or treason.
    7. Not to impede peaceful assembly and exercise of rights in concert with others.
  7. Not to impede assembly as militia for organizing, training, and responding to threats to public safety, subject only to direction by state militia officers during a call-up.
    1. Not to restrict keeping and bearing of weapons, equipment, and supplies commonly used by military forces, or suitable for militia, subject only to court order of disablement for being a threat to oneself or others, or to the lawful orders of militia officers during a call-up.
    2. Not to impede or punish petition for redress of grievances.
  8. Not to impede or punish devotion or practice of religion, or have preferential support of such by public funds, that does not instigate or direct a felony, misdemeanor, or tort.
    1. Not to have government actors intrude into one's real property, body, or use of one's personal property, for search, seizure, or for any other reason, without consent, a declared state of war or emergency threat to public, safety, a warrant supported by an affidavit of probable cause, and just compensation for any losses incurred, for each incident.
  9. Supervision of government actors
  10. Not to impede or punish access to observation and recordation of any government proceeding except trial and inquestry deliberations or their equivalent, or deliberations on matters of security requiring secrecy.
  11. Not to impede or punish receipt of records of all proceedings, and accounting for all receipts, loans, debts, and expenditures, and reporting thereof, for eventual examination prior to an election in which the issues may be reviewed.
    1. Not to be denied accurate recording, counting, and reporting of all votes cast by eligible voters in any public election with protection from disclosure of how each voted.
  12. Not to be denied access to all information about oneself, and either copies at cost of all documentation or to make one's own copies using one's own equipment.
  13. Not to be denied effective low-cost remedies for getting information about oneself corrected, and use of such information restricted to that for which there is consent by oneself.
  14. Not to be subject to illogical or impossible demands, or meddling without a clear, present, and compelling public need
  15. Not to impede or punish association and contract to do things not unlawful, including practice of a profession or occupation, marriage, procreation, and acceptance or denial of medical prevention or treatment, except prevention of contagious diseases.
  16. Not to impede or punish formation, conduct, and revision or dissolution of corporations, partnerships, and other trusts, in which settlor, trustee, and beneficiary are distinct persons who may not be impeded or penalized from directly appearing in any court in such capacities.
    1. Not to have some accorded special privileges or protections that favor them over the rest of the people, in ways not essential to the performance of public duties.
  17. Not to impede or punish travel by a citizen within, to, and from the polity and any subdivision, territory or locality of the polity of which it is a part.
    1. Not to be removed from the location of one's birth or lawful residence, or impeded from returning thereto.
    2. Not to be enslaved or subjected to peonage except as punishment for a crime, but excepting militia, jury, witness, and other public duty.
    3. Not to be impeded or punished for voting if one is a citizen and resident on grounds of race, color, creed, previous servitude, gender, age 18 or above, or failure to pay a tax.
  18. Not to be denied custody and care of close relatives who are non sui juris.
    1. Not to be neglected or abused while in custody.
    2. Not to be denied any right, privilege, or immunity for failure to have or present a name or other form of identification.
    3. Not to be deported without proof that one has not been natural born or naturalized as a citizen, unless one is born to a person not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, such as a foreign diplomat or an invader.
    4. Not to be subject to a penalty for not doing something, such as not paying a tax, if government agents refuse to allow it to be done, such as not accepting payment of a tax.
    5. Not to be subject to a penalty or tax for failure to take some action one has no public duty to do.
    6. Not to be denied relief from some government action for lack of an appropriation to process the application for relief, or having an official to receive the application, and to fail to recognize the demand for such relief as being granted by default.
    7. Not to be required to procreate or to refrain from procreating.
    8. Not to have imposed upon one any unwanted belief or expression of devotion or to be pressured into conformity with such.
    9. Not be subject to oppressive surveillance of acts committed in a public space.
  19. Immunities do not include entitlements to a sufficient amount of a scarce resource.

  1. The foregoing list is not exhaustive, and further rights, privileges, and immunities are to be found in the historical record. The rule of expressio unius est exclusio alterius shall not be applied.


Each twenty years following adoption of this Bill, upon petition by at least two percent of the general population of the polities that have adopted it as part of their constitutions, there shall be convened a convention, or sanhedrin, of twenty-three individuals, the final selection of which shall be by sortition of the candidates elected in the previous stage, with each previous stage selecting candidates in turn by alternating election and sortition, beginning with the lowest level polity in the system. The convention shall hold public hearings on proposed amendments, and propose them to a public referendum in which all citizens eligible to vote in the elections of their lowest polity may vote, to ratify additional items by a majority vote, modified items by a two-thirds vote, and deleted items by a four-fifths vote.


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