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Saturday, January 31, 2015

When it all Falls apart

It is true that correlation does not equal causation. But usually correlation helps prove causation when people are looking for the cause of something. Thus ancients would see a major tragedy after an eclipse and assume that the eclipse caused the tragedy. The term for that is when an event is a "harbinger" and our brains are wired to detect such correlations, even when they aren't there.

Thus we're programmed to see causation where there is none. It's for that reason that policies that actually mess over the economy are looked back at as successes, while the mess those policies caused is blamed on the policies actually intended to rectify it.

That is why when we have hierarchy in society and "heroes" we often look at them nostalgically after they die. This is why Leaders like Nicolae_Ceaușescu or Josip Broz Tito, Mussolini, Franco, and others, who in fact repressed their countries are often adored and seen more as heros years after they die than while they are alive. While alive the trains seemed to run on time, there was stability and everything seemed fine for the insiders and those in the middle or the top of the Pecking Order.

It's after they die that the fun starts

When it all breaks up, all the buried hatreds flare up. The Lieutenants who behaved themselves out of fear of the fearless leader, all want to eat for dinner the former leader. Reforms are tried, and come up against resource shortages due to looting or misuse. Money is gone. The country is saddled with debt, inflation (or deflation) bureaucracy, corruption, and all sorts of buried troubles that suddenly re-appear.

Hence the chart shows the feathers flying and lots of chicken dinners.

This post is meant to focus on one point from:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Why the Myths are Bad

Two articles about Honduras were in my news feed. One was about the horrific consequences of Neo-Liberalism (see neoliberalism-versus-economic-policy]. The other was about the wonderful prospects of privatizing Honduran Cities -- which is a neo-liberal myth! The two articles illustrate the evil that is done by authoritarian privateers using neo-colonialist methods, neoliberalism myths and corrupt power to advance private separate wealth and power over the general welfare of their own countries.

The Article also illustrate why it is so hard to the avatars of neoliberalism. Neo-liberalism (called Conservatism in the USA) is hard to fight because the myths around it are "social dominance" enhancing myths, they make it easier for the ambitious "social climbers" to create and climb hierarchies of wealth and power -- and to seize niches in those hierarchies. I'm going to use Honduras as the example for today. But the exact same narrative occurs when talking to authoritarian followers from Russia, other Eastern-European countries and where-ever there is a constant churn between anarchism, oligarchy and dictatorship. It also is occurring under the auspices of International Banking and the IMF with pirates who don't wear Eye Patches but tend to prefer Armani Power Suits instead.

Police as Occupying, Standing Army

In my re-reading of the Federalist Papers and the Constitution what stands out is the legitimate fear that many people in this country had of standing armies. One of the reasons for that fear is that the British sent troops to the United States, not just to police our border with the Indians or defend forts, but to police our cities. It was the military that put down demonstrations, arrested thieves, arrested dissidents and policed the Streets. When the Founders talked about the dangers of "standing armies" they were only partly worried about wars conducted abroad but far more worried about troops acting as standing armies of police, occupying and carrying out oppressive laws in the name of the crown.

The Declaration of Independence has these passages:
He has erected a multitude of New Offices,
and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

It sounds like King George was sending in swarms of Police to patrol our streets. And in the case of Boston, that is exactly what he was doing.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

So what is a police force but a "standing army?" I'm not saying that police force are bad. Neither are standing armies necessarily bad.

In the Federalist Papers Hamilton goes into discussion at length on how the Constitution was aiming at preventing the creation of Standing Armies around the country in the States by forcing States and the Federal Government to work together. Indeed he believed that the constitution prohibited the states from keeping standing armies. The Constitution was aimed at preventing not only the federal Government from behaving tyrannically, but also state Governments. And key to that was prohibiting Standing Armies and limiting the separate power of states to keep them:

As Hamilton notes in Federalist 25:

“The framers of the existing Confederation, fully aware of the danger to the Union from the separate possession of military forces by the States, have, in express terms, prohibited them from having either ships or troops, unless with the consent of Congress. The truth is, that the existence of a federal government and military establishments under State authority are not less at variance with each other than a due supply of the federal treasury and the system of quotas and requisitions." [Federalist 25]”

The Framers didn't want States or the Federal Government to have large standing armies for the reasons listed in the Declaration of Independence.

"Independent and Superior to Civil Power"

The Declaration of Independence continues:

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws;
giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

By Civil power the founders meant the power of courts and legislature. Military power is the power of administrative law and combines judicial and executive powers in the same person. Military power is bureaucratic and by extension bureaucracies also provide a jurisdiction for judging that is "independent and superior" to civil power.... unless the check of appeal to ordinary courts is available and realistic. A recent decision by the Supreme Court made a distinction between interpreting the law and rewriting the law in a decision against the EPA [UTILITY AIR REGULATORY GROUP v. EPA ]. Without Judicial and legislative oversight over bureaucracy "pretended legislation" tends to substitute for actual regulation. And that is what was happening to the American Colonies in the 1760's and 70's.

And the authors of the Declaration also objected to arbitrary power and impunity for the officers and soldiers of the British military who were quartered in our cities.

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
Declaration of Independence []

By "Mock trials" as my friend explained, the Declaration was referring to the substitute of "Administrative Law" for "ordinary courts" and jury trials. In Administrative courts, such as the Military has, where trials were conducted by persons who often were the same persons as the prosecution and defense. Hence the expression "mock trial"s.

This quartering was without compensation, mandatory, and essentially was a tax or requisition against the citizens forced to take soldiers into their quarters. It was thus very onerous to citizens. And again, because there was no effective legislative or judicial oversight over the military, they could engage in theft and minor crimes with impunity -- and did.

Authors being Hypocritical

Sadly our own founders were hypocrites on some of this

The Declaration of Independence represents a people resisting slavery and oppression. US politicians were loudest about slavery, partly because they were intimately familiar with it. They understood liberty as an inalienable right largely because they were experts at alienating it and infringing the liberties of minorities and slaves in their home districts and States. Part of the origins of our modern police force were:

"The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans (National Constable Association, 1995), the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols. In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation's first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property." []

Relationship of Police to Standing Armies

Thus police as standing armies is not a new phenomena. Privatized policing isn't new either. It was abandoned for good reasons. This article notes that policing in America has always had two tracks:

"The development of policing in the United States closely followed the development of policing in England. In the early colonies policing took two forms. It was both informal and communal, which is referred to as the "Watch," or private-for-profit policing, which is called "The Big Stick” (Spitzer, 1979)." [History of Policing Part 1]

The article then notes:

"The watch system was composed of community volunteers whose primary duty was to warn of impending danger. Boston created a night watch in 1636, New York in 1658 and Philadelphia in 1700. The night watch was not a particularly effective crime control device. Watchmen often slept or drank on duty. While the watch was theoretically voluntary, many "volunteers" were simply attempting to evade military service, were conscript forced into service by their town, or were performing watch duties as a form of punishment. Philadelphia created the first day watch in 1833 and New York instituted a day watch in 1844 as a supplement to its new municipal police force (Gaines, Kappeler, and Vaughn 1999)." [History of Policing Part 1]

The Watch members were essentially militia, drafted to local service. But not particularly well trained.

"Augmenting the watch system was a system of constables, official law enforcement officers, usually paid by the fee system for warrants they served. Constables had a variety of non-law enforcement functions to perform as well, including serving as land surveyors and verifying the accuracy of weights and measures. In many cities constables were given the responsibility of supervising the activities of the night watch." [History of Policing Part 1]

The constables were essentially their officers. Also not particularly well trained. To remedy that, professional police were substituted for militia over a period of time:

"These "modern police" organizations shared similar characteristics:

(1) they were publicly supported and bureaucratic in form;
(2) police officers were full-time employees, not community volunteers or case-by-case fee retainers;
(3) departments had permanent and fixed rules and procedures, and employment as a police officers was continuous;
(4) police departments were accountable to a central governmental authority (Lundman 1980)."
[History of Policing Part 1]

In the South Modern Policing grew out of the before mentioned Slave Patrols as these were reshaped to reflect "modern" notions of policing but kept their core function of oppressing blacks (before and after slavery ended) and enforcing the power of land-owners. [ibid] But North or South the development of policing:

"More than crime, modern police forces in the United States emerged as a response to "disorder." What constitutes social and public order depends largely on who is defining those terms, and in the cities of 19th century America they were defined by the mercantile interests, who through taxes and political influence supported the development of bureaucratic policing institutions. These economic interests had a greater interest in social control than crime control. Private and for profit policing was too disorganized and too crime-specific in form to fulfill these needs." [History of Policing Part 1]

Essentially these bureaucratic police departments were modeled on the British model of standing armies. The Constitution was created in part to regulate standing armies. And the tension between our chaotic local policing system and the Federal Design is driving much of our current climate. "Keeping Order" may be important, but if citizens are treated as if they were in occupied territory, then that is tyranny as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.

Doctor Gary Potters in his 6 part series (quoted from part 1) describes how policing has tended to be oppressive, corrupt and with only the pretense of rule of law. He describes the evolution of policing from it's Slavery Enforcement and border repression roots to it's use in prohibition, to crush worker rights up the current time.

Further Reading & Sources:

Declaration of Independence
History of Policing []
History of Policing and Slavery: []
More history of Policing (worth reading):
Maintaining Illusion of Rule of Law
Police as Strike Breakers/Army
Advent of Prohibition
Wikersham, Reform and Taylorization anti-reform
Cosmetic Reforms and Militarization

It takes a process

My subconscious, the divine lecturer (whoever or whatever that is, God?) was talking to me this morning as I woke up. It was reminding me of an important imposed reality that is common to all functional systems:

It Takes Good Processes to make a functional system.

In the dictionary you get this definition of system:

1. a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular.
2. a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method. [From Google]

In order to have a functional human system both definitions of a system have to be present. It takes good processes and procedures based on related principles for a human system to work properly. J.D. Rockefeller made his millions by creating Refineries that systematically separated and processed crude oil into "standard" kerosene and other products [oil, gas, road bitumen, plastics, explosives]. The United States has managed to survive because it has functional (more or less) processes like it's justice system, military system, bureaucracies. Processes are necessary and inevitable to good function of any living system; economy, physiology, computing, politics. When those processes go awry it reflects a failure to analyze them and compensate for the idiosyncratic properties of the elements of of their combinations.

A well constituted system will have both centrifugal and centripetal forces. Refineries use both centrifuges and compressors. Compressors usually operate on centripetal principles -- pushing gases towards a center. While Centrifuges spin and separate things. Without designing a process the result is a mess, but with good processes one can separate something into it's composite parts and then recombine them intelligently. Eat crude oil and die. But from crude oil we get fertilizers and energy that helps us eat. Transport crude oil across the landscape and dump it in an aquifer and people die, but oil itself is just a resource. It's how those processes deal with the oil that makes it a poison or turns it into pretty wax candles we can burn while taking a hot bath.

A well designed system processes in stages. It may dry something, then recombine it. It may turn something to gas then cool it. It may use catalysts to break down something from a complex stew into easier to deal with components. It may add heat or extract heat. A refinery is a display of profound chemical knowledge at work creating something useful from ugly, poisonous tar. The issue with our oil business is not with the engineering, but with the focus of the engineers.

Using Systematic processes

Anyway, engineers and people with an engineering, creative spirit, use a variety of systematic processes (definition 2) to devise systems for ensuring that we have living systems instead of messed up ones. This is called "systems engineering" and it has transformed the planet in good ways. A system can be optimized for the few, or optimized for the sake of a functional system. A system that is optimized only for some of it's elements tends to be dysfunctional. Bad process is also tyranny, injustice, maldistribution, oppression and depression. A dysfunctional system dumps junk in the wrong places. Instead of refining things into something useful. So to separate the junk into it's useful components (to a creative mind, everything, including junk and merde, is useful), folks trained in system engineering analyze related things into their component parts and then figure out how to process them into something that accomplishes something good.

Requirements and Laws, inputs and outputs

The requirements of a system are the laws and design goals of that system. Some requirements are built in constraints. No matter how much we'd like to turn lead into Gold there is no chemical process that can do so. Requirements flow from constraints and possibilities. How a set of input materials is processed determines the outcome of that system. And the steps in that process are determined by what the final product is desired to look like. If I want to bake a pie. What ingredients I start with and add to the filler, dough to make the crust, etc... determines the texture, taste and other properties of that pie. A good cook follows a process and understands the requirements for a pie that will taste the way he wants it to taste. A good architect will come up with a repeatable formula for producing a tasty pie everytime.

It takes Process diagrams and Input Output diagram.

Finally, the reason this "lecture dream" woke me is that we need to constitute our government as a systematic structure if we want to solve our governing processes and not rely on trite slogans and self-centered/interested ideologies that ignore systems theory or are dysfunctionally optimizing. Governing processes need to be designed to process information and decision making in a manner similar to processes cooking ingredients or crude oil into useful products. Our politics can either be crude or refined based on how we constitute it. That is why Hamilton put so much care into his part of designing the constitution. That's also why the constitution, while it could be worse, reflected the mess of committee and self interested decision making. We need to apply systems theory to designing our legal processes. But to do that we need to apply what we've learned in psychology and psychiatry and to also remember the principle of engineering;

Just as the same building blocks can build a pyramid or a prison, a swimming pool or a cesspool. So the same elements of legal systems and political process can build a functional republic with democratic attributes or an authoritarian police state. The same blockheads who can destroy our country, can be used to build a really nice system that has the attributes of a functional one.

More work to be done.

Notes and Details

System Examples from Google definition [taken 1/30/2015]:
a set of organs in the body with a common structure or function.
"the digestive system"
the human or animal body as a whole.
"you need to get the cholesterol out of your system"
a group of related hardware units or programs or both, especially when dedicated to a single application.
(in chronostratigraphy) a major range of strata that corresponds to a period in time, subdivided into series.
a group of celestial objects connected by their mutual attractive forces, especially moving in orbits about a center.
"the system of bright stars known as the Gould Belt"

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mea Culpa

When my adopted people, Jews, start the new year. They do a prayer known a the Vidui. Usually it's sung as part of a ceremony.

This year this was back in September. But for me every day is a new year so I'm thinking "new year" all year and prefer not to wait til the end of the year to think about what I need to change. And the subject weighs on my mind as much due to Christian, new age and Buddhist influences as Jewish ones. The Vidui is important.

And since most people in all religions sleep through sermons and translations, they do it in English as well as hebrew, so it's a collective thing. Where Catholics get in a booth and confess privately to a confessor, Jews do it in public and at least twice a year. It's a list of things we all do. Some of us maybe only once in a life time. Some of us repeatedly. It's a long confessional [Text of Al-Chet] that is rendered differently in different communities. But

We abuse, we betray, we are cruel.
We destroy, we embitter, we falsify.
We gossip, we hate, we insult
We jeer, we kill, we lie.
We mock, we neglect, we oppress.
We pervert, we quarrel, we rebel
We steal, we transgress, we are unkind.
We are violent, we are wicked, we are xenophobic.
We yield to evil, we are zealots for bad causes.

Have to Stop it. Not just confess it.

And of course we have to stop it. Not just confess it every year and hope we are forgiven somehow.

Zealots for Bad Causes

But the one that always sticks to my thoughts is the "zealots for bad causes." Bad causes has to meanings. One is we are zealots for causes that are bad, ill conceived, wrong. And of course the other one is that we are zealots for bad causes that bring us bad effects. What goes around comes around. Reincarnation or just and endless cycle of causation and it's effects, we have to do something about this.

Three Fingered Thing or Why I'm thinking about this

Both left and right spend a lot of time criticizing the President. But to me much of that criticism is as much self criticism as it is legitimate criticism. When Carter practiced some conservative Liberalism he was expressing ideas that resonated with me. When the politicians and pundits first started to talk about privatization it seemed reasonable that the government should contract out some of it's work. I've been unable to get a Government job because I've spent most of my life working as one of these contractors. It had it's pluses and minuses and seemed like a reasonable thing until the privateers got their hands on it. Had I been more successful (and more mercenary) at the business of consulting I might have remained a true believer in the idea. Some of what is right wing ideology a lot of us "moderates" thought was true too.

We really did think that public private alliances could be made (and they can) and that the result would be leaner, better government and healthy businesses. We really did buy into trickle down lite theories that we could "reform welfare", use technology to make government and business better, and that somehow it would benefit everybody.

We were wrong. We were zealots for bad causes.

Too many businessmen (and women) are social dominators, grown up bullies. People are numbers for them. An employee is a cost who has no business having any say in the business he works for. Combining, fighting, bullying to make huge numbers in the money and status game are the real business of business and selling a good product, producing a valuable service or goods, or even providing a pension for employees are secondary to winning that game of status and power that is modern business. We bought into the idea that we could take our eyes off of businessmen because we bought their professions that business has to be win/win or it is lose/lose. The idea that executives could play zero sum or even negative sum games where they were willing to cut payrolls by 100's of thousands of people to pay themselves a bonus, even at the actual cost of profitability of their company -- just never seemed rational to us. But we thought their BS.

It wasn't just Milton Friedman who was surprised by the behavior of many of our business class. I remember I was surprised when I first started getting intelligence about the Tech Boom frauds back in the late 90's. When Start up Shysters started boasting about how they could sell startups to dumb investors and that the more they lost on the business model the more they could make with the IPO, I knew that the tech revolution was turning into a bubble swindle. Even so it was profoundly disheartening. The 2008 disaster didn't catch me by surprise only because I'd had my shock response and gone through all the period of mourning 10 years earlier. We helped the Cons build a system which they happily picked our pockets with and then proceeded to dump us to the side of their ambition. It may be an enthusiasm for bad causes that will destroy the country, but they got away with it because too many of my generation went along with them. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and a host of "new Democrats" bought into a pack of lies about "triangulation", balanced budgets and reform. Folks who are coming of age now probably see right through it. But you have to be patient with the rest of us. A lot of us won't admit it, but we were suckered too.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Justice and Oligarchs Hightower talks about J.P. Morgan Chase

The Oldest and Most feared Pirate Flag


Jim Hightower on J.P. Morgan

When Theodore Roosevelt prosecuted J.P. Morgan, Morgan gave him a tongue Lashing. Oligarchs and elite over-priced people with power have always seen themselves as above the law, or beyond the law, or at least wanted to be. The company he founded is still around and still has the same privateering attitude.


Jim Hightower, one of my favorite ex Agricultural Commissioners in Texas writes:

"Well, not a fine against John Pierpont Morgan, the man. This 19th-century robber baron was born to a great banking fortune and, by hook and crook, leveraged it to become the “King of American Finance.” During the Gilded Age, Morgan cornered the U.S. financial markets, gained monopoly ownership of railroads, amassed a vast supply of the nation’s gold and used his investment power to create U.S. Steel and take control of that market.” []

No J.P.Morgan and his son J.P.Morgan Junior dominated both centuries through their control of finance. The son helped create the Federal Reserve System after bailing out the early 20th century banking system and not wanting the further risk.

But that sense of entitlement I'm talking about helped him become fabulously rich in the first place:

"From his earliest days in high finance, Morgan was a hustler who often traded on the shady side. In the Civil War, for example, his family bought his way out of military duty, but he saw another way to serve. Himself, that is. Morgan bought defective rifles for $3.50 each and sold them to a Union general for $22 each. The rifles blew off soldiers’ thumbs, but Morgan pleaded ignorance, and government investigators graciously absolved the young, wealthy, well-connected financier of any fault.” [Jim Hightower article]

JP's Dad was an important banker in New England, with connections to London Bankers. J.P. Morgan's Hustling was part of a family tradition. And both JP Morgan Senior and his son were proud of their privateering tradition and built yachts that flew standards that evoked their privateering tradition:


The Privateering Tradition Continues:


Hightower continues:

“Dimon recently bleated to reporters that, “Banks are under assault.” Well, he really doesn’t mean or care about most banks — just his bank. Government regulators, snarls Jamie, are pandering to grassroots populist anger at Wall Street excesses by squeezing the life out of the JP Morgan casino.” [Jim Hightower article]

Dimon is half right. Banks are being criticized by a mass of outraged citizens who have either been directly swindled by them or been affected by their repeated swindles, the Fed Reserve's bailouts of them, and by the resulting costs born by ordinary citizens of this country as the law and banking system protects great wealth while helping that wealth be transferred to the top 1% and on to the top .01%. So Dimon is seeing a threat. But it's not coming from the Government. So far the government has been too tame. Elizabeth Warren is a voice in the wind, but mostly they tolerate her because she's letting off steam for the rest of us while the folks who should regulate the banks look the other way as the banks continue to rig the system for their private, separate gain. Hightower continues:

“But wait — didn’t JPMorgan score a $22 billion profit last year, a 20 percent increase over 2013 and the highest in its history? And didn’t those Big Bad Oppressive Government Regulators provide a $25 billion taxpayer bailout in 2008 to save Jamie’s conglomerate from its own reckless excess? And isn’t his Wall Street Highness raking in some $20 million in personal pay to suffer the indignity of this “assault” on his bank. Yes, yes and yes.” [Jim Hightower article]

On the contrary the banks are benefiting from access to the Fed System. Qualitative Easing, which is supposed to send money to mainstreet is instead going to those personal payrolls, and we are setup for more trainwrecks in the future unless someone does start going after the banks!

So Hightower is being sarcastic when he says:

“Still, Jamie says that regulators and bank industry analysts are piling on JPMorgan Chase: “In the old days,” he whined, “you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue. Now it’s five or six. You should all ask the question about how American that is,” the $20-million-a-year man lectured reporters, “how fair that is.'” [Jim Hightower article]

In the old days either they'd go to jail or they'd be able to buy a judge. Now they have to buy 5 or 6 regulators.

Hightower continues:

“Well, golly, one reason Chase has half a dozen regulators on its case is because it doesn’t have “an issue” of illegality, but beaucoup illegalities, including deceiving its own investors, cheating more than two million of its credit card customers, gaming the rules to overcharge electricity users in California and the Midwest, overcharging active-duty military families on their mortgages, illegally foreclosing on troubled homeowners and … well, so much more.” [Jim Hightower article]

And so far the timid regulators have been unwilling and unable to arrest anybody for these crimes. Some of which are illegal because J.P. Morgan can afford to buy an army of Lawyers and Senators and House members to boot.

Hightower Continues:

“So Jamie, you should ask yourself the question about “how fair” is all of the above. Then you should shut up, count your millions and be grateful you’re not in jail.” [Jim Hightower article]

I'm not grateful they aren't in jail. I've been calling for frog marching since 2007. Some of this mess could have been avoided if there were an army of regulators and cops bothering King Dimon.

Further Reading and Previous articles

Business, Friend or Foe? TR and process improvement Monday, August 6, 2012
Corruption, Racketeering and the Supreme Court RICO Act should have applied, Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Many Forms of Freebooting Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Do we walk in the darkness, or in the light? Sunday, January 19, 2014
An Ideology of Privateering July 26, 2014
JP's illustrious forebear:
Henry Morgan
Discovery of one of his ships
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan
For an example of how Plundering works from Rolling Stone's history of the 2008 bailout:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Baby Teeth Causality versus Sophistry

I just posted an article on "Fukushima Emergency What Can We do". I have some other story lines I've wanted to share there and have been remiss in sharing them. So one of my New Years Resolutions is to be more diligent in reporting things I think others should know about and not only in my twitter or facebook accounts. I always wondered what happened to my baby Teeth. Well it turned out the ones in the St. Louis area were collected for study and some of them ended up locked away in an obscure Bunker. Those teeth were found and used for an epidemiological study. The results showed a correlation between high radiation levels in baby teeth and later morbidity from cancers. Critics raise the cry "correlation is not causality" but given we already know the causality involved in this case correlation supports evidence of causality.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"The Jerk" as prophesy

I don't know about you, but I'm old enough to remember the movie "The Jerk" and to have seen it at the movies. It was kind of lame in the way all such parody comedies are, but what always stays with me is how the main character played by Steve Martin, is so emblematic of modern invention and business practice. He invents an attachment that makes it easier for a person to adjust his glasses. He makes millions off the invention, thinks he's home free. Acts like an idiot and then his invention blows up, people wearing his glasses piece go cross eyed. They sue, he loses everything and as he's being evicted he tries to salvage what he can and winds up with nothing....


The Jerk and Unsafe Products


...I think of that every time I see a new ad for a product. It's even a cycle. First come the ads, promising salvation from some sort of dis-ease and/or an improvement on some existing product. Usually I know that the new product is almost a copy of the first product and is in the same class of medicines as the original, just has a bromine atom where the other has a chlorine atom, a methyl chain where the other had something else, but is virtually the same. Those ads come heavy on the airwaves with some catch phrase like "ask your Doctor about...." and images of happy people doing happy things. Usually there is also a long list of side effects that would scare the bejeezies out of anyone if they weren't said so softly the targeted audience can't hear it. This has been going on for years and goes all the way back to when medicine was literally huckstered on the street with medicine shows. We've seen it with Opium, heroin, morphine, followed by an even longer sequence of artificial and semi-artificial opiates like methadone, oxycodone, etc. All with the same unintended, and sometimes intended side effects. This usually leads to the next phase in invention: for lawyers. "Call this number if you used ACME Drug AlphaDumwit".

The Jerk is a funny movie. And it is semi serious. But we have a lot of Jerks. And most of them are far more clever than the jerk because they are usually grifters who know when to bolt town, lawyer up & hide their money, before the law-suits come down. The Jerk had good intentions. The grifters don't. Anyway the movie was funny. It's still funny. There are a lot of real Jerks out there. Ultimately, Steve Martin's Character isn't one of *them*, he realizes he is a jerk and changes.

The Jerk on IMDB

Monday, January 19, 2015

Are you a Social Dominator?

Social Dominator Test

Just for fun, I want to call out the section on Social Dominators for my Social Dominator Friends. You can test yourself and see if you too are high in "SDO" traits. Take the test!

What is a Social Dominator?

People who score high on the "Social Dominator scales" aren't necessarily Right Wing in all their views. What they are are people who engage in "Exploitive Manipulative Amoral Dishonesty (EMAD)" behavior. To have a higher you have to have your alpha males. And Socially dominant people see themselves as those males. They are attracted to notions that justify their dominance of other and they use ideology to dominate others. Some of them don't personally believe what they say. So when tested for "Authoritarian" characteristics they won't often get a high score. But their belief in social darwinism is there even when they preach Creationism and attack Darwins theory of evolution. It might be justified through biblical stories, or it might be disguised, but social dominators are the ones who want to, or do, stand at the top of the social pecking order!

Of course if you don't score high on this test you might be a "Social Dominance enabler" or a "Right Wing Authoritarian" and have the combinations of submissiveness, aggression and conventionality that let the socially dominant get away with murder.

The studies I've been referring to describe hierarchy formation, pecking order behavior, discrimination, oppression and bullying in society. They origin in studies that date to the 40's when behavioral scientists were trying to understand the madness of Totalitarianism, especially the Nazis and the holocaust. In addition to studying the appearance of the phenomena the studies also try to describe how that behavior is produced.

If you don't score high on the Social dominance test, try this one:
Further Reading on Social Dominance Theory:
A Proposed Measure of Social Dominance Orientation in Children:
Social Dominance Theory, Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto,%20in%20press.pdf
Related Articles and Issues:
Broken Windows Theory
Broken Windows Theory:
Why Broken Windows Theory was corrupted
Bullying and What to do about it:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Inequality and Power; the Curse of Financialization

My Friend Richard Torgerson introduced me to the "GINI" coefficient years ago. The Tax Justice Network put out a post that uses a measure based on the GINI and HDI measures. GINI-HDI graphed. And they tie this to something they call the "financial curse." Not being a professional economist, I'm more interested in this subject for what it says about what we should do as a society to do something about "financial curses" and inequality. [see]

Defining Terms
GINI index is named after Corrado Gini, an Italian statistician
The World Bank defines the GINI coefficient or index this way:
"Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. A Lorenz curve plots the cumulative percentages of total income received against the cumulative number of recipients, starting with the poorest individual or household. The Gini index measures the area between the Lorenz curve and a hypothetical line of absolute equality, expressed as a percentage of the maximum area under the line." [SI.POV.GINI]
They sum it up: "Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality." [SI.POV.GINI]
Human Development Index (HDI)
The Human Development Index is a measure of the capabilities and education of a population.
"A tool developed by the United Nations to measure and rank countries' levels of social and economic development based on four criteria: Life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling and gross national income per capita. The HDI makes it possible to track changes in development levels over time and to compare development levels in different countries." []

Subtracting the Gini - HDI gives an index that shows what the authors call "The Financial Curse Index" or how relying on financial industries blows up an economy. I believe the curse is actually "financialization" -- which is essentially the economic transfers that go on when folks have power over money and can use that to transfer wealth to themselves.



Princeton gives more definition to the GINI coefficient with their WIKI page [Gini Coefficient]:

The Gini coefficient is usually defined mathematically based on the Lorenz curve, which plots the proportion of the total income of the population (y axis) that is cumulatively earned by the bottom x% of the population (see diagram). The line at 45 degrees thus represents perfect equality of incomes. The Gini coefficient can then be thought of as the ratio of the area that lies between the line of equality and the Lorenz curve (marked 'A' in the diagram) over the total area under the line of equality (marked 'A' and 'B' in the diagram); i.e., G=A/(A+B). [Gini Coefficient]
"The most equal society will be one in which every person receives the same income (G = 0); the most unequal society will be one in which a single person receives 100% of the total income and the remaining people receive none (G = 1−1/N)."
"While the income distribution of any particular country need not follow simple functions, these functions give a qualitative understanding of the income distribution in a nation given the Gini coefficient. The effects of minimum income policy due to redistribution can be seen in the linear relationships."
"An informative simplified case just distinguishes two levels of income, low and high. If the high income group is u % of the population and earns a fraction f % of all income, then the Gini coefficient is f − u. An actual more graded distribution with these same values u and f will always have a higher Gini coefficient than f − u."
"The proverbial case where the richest 20% have 80% of all income would lead to an income Gini coefficient of at least 60%."
"An often cited case that 1% of all the world's population owns 50% of all wealth, means a wealth Gini coefficient of at least 49%."

Gini Coefficients pretty much represent a refinement and follow on to Vilfredo Pareto's power curves. by Gini

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Demos in the Federalist Papers

The Far Right is now claiming that because the people who wrote the constitution were elitists and were afraid of "direct democracy" that it was never intended to be democratic. For example many of them say "This is a Constitutional Republic. No democrat in there" -- and seem to want to disenfranchise the citizens from voting. This all turns on the word "democratic" and years of propaganda seeking to undermine the democratic features of our Democracy.

But first folks need to understand a little etymology: The word "Republic" is from Latin; the word "democracy" is from Greek. The original Democracies were still oligarchic by our standards. So Democracy has two senses, similar to the word "collective", one meaning when people gather together to rule themselves "demos-the people" + "cracy -- rule." So when we talk about a "republican form of government" we are talking about "indirect democracy" not direct democracy at the Federal Level because the people are choosing representatives. But we are still talking democracy.

To prepare this post I searched the Federalist Papers to ensure that I wasn't missing any references to "democracy". I did a search on the keyword "demo" to pull up all references to democracy or related words.


The Same Subject Continued (The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection)
From the New York Packet.
Friday, November 23, 1787.

Madison like Hamilton came from the "barrister"/lawyer class of people who pretty much ran our country in the 1700's. Both of them were brilliant men and they created the constitution partly to resist and control centrifugal forces from the varied states and also to create an ordered government that would neither be subject to mob violence [direct democracy] nor become an oligarchic or unitary hierarchal tyranny.

When Madison talked of democracy he was thinking of the Athenian Oligarchy, not the modern concept. Madison feared "faction". Hamilton feared actual violent conflict.

"a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction." [fed_10]

He also was advocating for a written constitution, divided government and...

"A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."[fed_10]

Madison is attacking "direct democracy", "pure democracy" and his comments on pure democracy are as true today as then:

"Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions."[fed_10]

He then explains how republican values are superior to pure democracy

"A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union."

When you translate "Republic" into greek you get the word "δημοκρατία" which means "republic or democracy" The Romans also thought their Republic was superior to a Democracy, and it was until it lost it's representative quality and de-evolved into an Imperial monarchy. The vast masses of the people always need "officers" to lead and guide them. And so "direct people-rule (Democracy)" always de-evolves into some kind of tyranny as the officers abuse their power, sometimes with the support of majorities.

"The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended."[fed_10]

And he notes that a Republic has to be indirect due to:

"The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. "[fed_10]

"Factious combinations" occur in oligarchies and tyrannies too. But Madison was talking about how the attributes of representation would reduce the risk of faction.

"Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,--is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it."[fed_10]

Madison is also noting how a Federation composed of smaller units has less risk of factional conflict.


Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory Answered
From the New York Packet.
Friday, November 30, 1787.

Our system was also an innovation in that most previous republics had been small, even city states;

"The error which limits republican government to a narrow district has been unfolded and refuted in preceding papers. I remark here only that it seems to owe its rise and prevalence chiefly to the confounding of a republic with a democracy, applying to the former reasonings drawn from the nature of the latter. The true distinction between these forms was also adverted to on a former occasion."

The "former occasion he refers to is Federalist 10 we just discussed

"It is, that in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy, consequently, will be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region." [fed_14]

The forms of representation that make a republic useful in governing also make it easier to scale up into a larger land area. He then goes on to refer to the kinds of polemics and demagoguery used by anti-Federalists who feared democracy enough to lie about the distinction between republics and pure democracies.

"To this accidental source of the error may be added the artifice of some celebrated authors, whose writings have had a great share in forming the modern standard of political opinions. Being subjects either of an absolute or limited monarchy, they have endeavored to heighten the advantages, or palliate the evils of those forms, by placing in comparison the vices and defects of the republican, and by citing as specimens of the latter the turbulent democracies of ancient Greece and modern Italy. Under the confusion of names, it has been an easy task to transfer to a republic observations applicable to a democracy only; and among others, the observation that it can never be established but among a small number of people, living within a small compass of territory." [fed_14]

Some of this was due to ancient rewrites too. Athens lasted as a democracy for hundreds of years and was stable for a good portion of that time. Republics have endured for hundreds of years as well, as exemplified by Florence.

"Such a fallacy may have been the less perceived, as most of the popular governments of antiquity were of the democratic species; and even in modern Europe, to which we owe the great principle of representation, no example is seen of a government wholly popular, and founded, at the same time, wholly on that principle." [fed_14]

At the time the constitution was written there was a massive movement to make the States more democratic in form and representative. This movement was opposed by many of the folks who already had the franchise. But none of these states were arguing for direct democracy, though many of the towns in New England came pretty close.

"As the natural limit of a democracy is that distance from the central point which will just permit the most remote citizens to assemble as often as their public functions demand, and will include no greater number than can join in those functions; so the natural limit of a republic is that distance from the centre which will barely allow the representatives to meet as often as may be necessary for the administration of public affairs. " [fed_14]

And of course with a thriving postal system, quality roads (railroads, airplanes, etc...) even those limits are transcended.


The Same Subject Continued(The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered)
For the Independent Journal.
MADISON [fed_43]

In Federalist 43 Madison makes one reference to the word "democracy". He notes that most Federations provide for defense against both external attack and armed conflict between states:

"It has been remarked, that even among the Swiss cantons, which, properly speaking, are not under one government, provision is made for this object; and the history of that league informs us that mutual aid is frequently claimed and afforded; and as well by the most democratic, as the other cantons."[fed_43]

Even the "most democratic" of states will contribute to the defense of it's neighbors from both internal conflict, interstate conflict and external attack.


These Departments Should Not Be So Far Separated as to Have No Constitutional Control Over Each Other
From the New York Packet. Friday, February 1, 1788.
MADISON [fed_48]

Madison is not attacking the concept of "democracy" so much as the inability of mass government, "direct democracy" or collective groups, to work in concert, collaborate, or avoid the intrigues of tyrants and socially dominant bullies:

"In a democracy, where a multitude of people exercise in person the legislative functions, and are continually exposed, by their incapacity for regular deliberation and concerted measures, to the ambitious intrigues of their executive magistrates, tyranny may well be apprehended, on some favorable emergency, to start up in the same quarter."

On the other hand "indirect democracy through representation:

"But in a representative republic, where the executive magistracy is carefully limited; both in the extent and the duration of its power; and where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly, which is inspired, by a supposed influence over the people, with an intrepid confidence in its own strength; which is sufficiently numerous to feel all the passions which actuate a multitude, yet not so numerous as to be incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions, by means which reason prescribes; it is against the enterprising ambition of this department that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions." [fed_48]

And you have to admit our form of "mixed" national and Federated Government has been resistant to tyrants and factionalists compared to direct democrats or to the intrigues of oligarchs who prefer to dispense with representation and simply drive out their enemies.


Objection That The Number of Members Will Not Be Augmented as the Progress of Population Demands Considered
MADISON [fed_58]

I'm not sure I agree with Madison, but his point is important to understand:

"On the same principle, the more multitudinous a representative assembly may be rendered, the more it will partake of the infirmities incident to collective meetings of the people. Ignorance will be the dupe of cunning, and passion the slave of sophistry and declamation. The people can never err more than in supposing that by multiplying their representatives beyond a certain limit, they strengthen the barrier against the government of a few. Experience will forever admonish them that, on the contrary, AFTER SECURING A SUFFICIENT NUMBER FOR THE PURPOSES OF SAFETY, OF LOCAL INFORMATION, AND OF DIFFUSIVE SYMPATHY WITH THE WHOLE SOCIETY, they will counteract their own views by every addition to their representatives.

Mere Representation is not the same as democracy. Nor is it always an effective means of representation. The risk of republics and representation is that the representatives can become aristocrats and lose touch with the people who elect them. When that happens, numbers don't really help:

The countenance of the government may become more democratic, but the soul that animates it will be more oligarchic. The machine will be enlarged, but the fewer, and often the more secret, will be the springs by which its motions are directed." [fed_58]

Like we've been seeing with Congress where deals are made in back rooms, and lobbyists pay representatives to do the opossite of what their representatives want. What is wanted with a Republic or a Democracy is participation by the people and sufficient equality and checks and balances so that no one will set themselves up to live high off the hog at the expense of others, for "private, separate advantage" [Locke's definition of Tyranny].


In Federalist 63 either (or both) Hamilton and Madison warn of the dangers of representation and they also note that even in direct democracies the officers of those democracies were usually representatives.

The Senate Continued
For the Independent Journal.
"In the most pure democracies of Greece, many of the executive functions were performed, not by the people themselves, but by officers elected by the people, and REPRESENTING the people in their EXECUTIVE capacity." [fed_63]

The key here is to enforce the principles. In the case of Republics the underlying principle is representation. While "democracy is dependent on folks "stepping up" (boulomenos) to participate in Governing.

"From these facts, to which many others might be added, it is clear that the principle of representation was neither unknown to the ancients nor wholly overlooked in their political constitutions."

I found the following passage disturbing and really had to think about it. The "Former" here refers to the LEGISLATIVE capacity and the "latter" to their ""PLENIPOTENTIARY" or executive capacity

"The true distinction between these and the American governments, lies IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share in the LATTER, and not in the TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE from the administration of the FORMER."

After looking at it I think he's referring to separation of powers. The legislature has no executive role except in policing themselves (which turns out to be probably a mistake we need to rectify). But he also seems to have seen it important to have an appointed President. Something his successors changed with direct elections as it was unworkable. But he thought it was a great thing:

"The distinction, however, thus qualified, must be admitted to leave a most advantageous superiority in favor of the United States. But to insure to this advantage its full effect, we must be careful not to separate it from the other advantage, of an extensive territory. For it cannot be believed, that any form of representative government could have succeeded within the narrow limits occupied by the democracies of Greece." [fed_63]

Greek Democracies could not succeed largely because the Greeks never transcended tribal and city identification. Athens rather than creating a representative common government tried to conquer territories. And the Greeks preferred fighting each other and competing over resources to collaboration and Union.

Further Reading

The Collective in the Federalist Papers:
Related Articles:
Defending Democracy and the Second Amendment
Starve the Beast Destroy Democracy
Years ago I did a lot of work on the subject at my "Fraught with Peril Blog" Some of these are as good as my more recent work:
Networked Democracy []
When Do We Become a Democracy?/dd>
We don't have too much democracy
The Trouble with Democracy
And this was darn good!
Democracy is not an option
This one refuted Ayn Rand:
Objectivism as an Anti-Democratic ideology

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Moral Ark

There's a moral arc in the Universe
There's a common center of decency
Injustice only illustrates right
There's always a candle in the night
In that eternal moment between moments,
When ultimate truth is revealed
Retribution walks the earth
Brought about by human folly
We have our choices to touch that arc
But we cannot change the way it bends.
Our choice is to stand on the side of justice
Or burn ourselves as justice flashes our way.
because "you shall reap what you sow!"
So efforts at injustice flash and burn
Men tell lies, and turn lies into myths
But justice comes and burns them away.
No lie can live forever,
Because lies were never alive.
And like a phoenix from the ashes truth is born anew.
And like gold separated from dross, the truth shines and does not corrode.
And our arc of justice is an ark for the righteous.
Carrying the righteous through waves of destruction.
Remember after the flood of destruction, a rainbow always shines.
We dig our own holes and then we fall into them.
But when the earthquake is over we either come again to stand tall.
Or we sleep peacefully waiting for the end of time.


Dr. Martin Luther King & reference to him in an event yesterday.
"I know you are asking today, "How long will it take?"....
"I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long,"
because truth crushed to earth will rise again."
"How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever."
"How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow...."
"How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

The Salon Article author notes:

"Dr. King's words echo those of the 19th-century Unitarian minister Theodore Parker. In his 1853 sermon on "Justice and the Conscience," Parker declared:

The Salon Article then quotes, Theodore parker:
"I do not pretend to understand the moral universe;"
"the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways;"
"I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight;"
"I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

And concludes

"In borrowing from Parker, Dr. King drew inspiration from a source that reaches back to our nation's birth."
More from NPR:

Fighting Authoritarianism

Bullying and "Right Wing Authoritarian" behavior aren't confined to right wingers, but is a primary issue in American Politics and one we have to combat rationally. Anyone following my series on Social Dominance and Right Wing authoritarian behavior knows that the attributes of RW people are that they are:

Authoritarian Followers

Authoritarian Followers are:
A. highly submissive to established authority,
B. aggressive in the name of that authority,and
C. conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide.
The described behaviors include:
Illogical thinking
Double Standards
Self Blindness

Social Dominators

And that the people they submit to are usually high scoring on "Social Dominator scales" which basically translate to "Exploitive Manipulative Amoral Dishonesty (EMAD)" behavior. The studies describe hierarchy formation, pecking order behavior, discrimination, oppression and bullying in society. None of the material is that new and all of it derives from studies that date to the 40's when behavioral scientists were trying to understand the madness of Totalitarianism, especially the Nazis. In addition to studying the appearance of the phenomena the studies also try to describe how that behavior is produced.

Pecking Orders

Essentially, what social dominance and submissive authoritarian behavior produce is a Pecking Order:

In a pecking order the top rooster dominates, pecks at, bullies and rules the roost. And the increasingly submissive and frightened chickens down the hierarchy suffer bullying, pecking, clawing, and ultimately an early death from the hierarchy. We eat the Chicken Chickens. Dominating animals (or people) pick on everyone with lower rank than they have. And the members of the hierarchy enforce the hierarchy by punishing any animals (or people) who don't "know their place." Authoritarianism is essentially an ideology based on Chicken hierarchies.

If we want to do something about it, then we have to learn what produces that behavior and what to do about it.

Two kinds of enemies to peace

The studies show that there are two kinds of people involved in authoritarianism, totalitarianism and oppression. One kind are the enablers and followers. The other kind are the alphas who lead them. Combatting the behavior of authoritarians means fighting two very different styles of thinking and reacting to the environment. Which means that if we are to produce a better governed society we have to have at least two prongs on our forks for fighting Authoritarianism. On the one hand we have to have tactics that encourage ordinary people to question and stand up to authority (A), reduce the fear that causes the "aggression in the name of that authority (B), and that encourages folks to be less afraid of the unconventional and more accepting of diversity (C). Dealing with authoritarian followers requires we find ways to get them to shift allegiance from Conniving dishonest leaders to people with genuine moral authority. That requires us to fight fear and hatred, false myths and.... At the same time we have to deal with the exploitive, manipulative, immoral (forget amoral) and dishonest people who lead them.

Authoritarian followers require one kind of strategy, but the EMAD leaders require a very different one.

Authoritarian Followers
Require confidence building, "getting to know you", "Kumbaya", getting folks together and talking type behavior. As well as efforts to combat nasty myths with more positive narratives. Unfortunately dealing with the followers requires defeating the manipulative scoundrels who they trust and followers and that requires a different kind of strategy.
Fighting EMADmen (Exploitive, Manipulative, Amoral, Dishonest) Authorities
There is no authoritarianism without such authorities. The real thing depends on expertise and confidence in what they are doing. But the authoritarian leader exudes confidence and pretend expertise on the subjects he dominates. Followers and manipulators alike will engage in mental gymnastics, defamation, sophism, but the manipulators know they are lying and the followers are usually just in profound denial about the truth out of fear of the "Other" and/or misplaced loyalty to authorities who claim to know how to herd them through troubles. That the shepherds are herding them over cliffs or to the slaughter never occurs to the follower.

Two different strategies that have to combine.
Thus if one can compromise and work with the Authoritarian Followers to calm their fears and get their brains engaged one must first overcome their blind attachment to their leadership. And that is not easy. Sometimes the leaders themselves can be won over, but first we have to be aware that they won't be won over by reason. It has to be self interest.

Anyway. I'm still working on this subject, but I wanted to state the bald outlines.

Refer to:

Also read this article from "Raw Story:"
Not sure if the large fear center is a response to continual fear, or something genetic. Probably a "mind/body, genetics/nurture" thing with all four elements involved. Probably some folks are more prone to grow their fear centers in response to constant fear-mongering due to genetics. I suspect people with same genetics can be conditioned to respond to fear that way.

From Above article about fear response:

"A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate — the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism." [Raw Story]


“It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes,” [Raw Story]

Genetic study:

"researchers at Harvard and UC-San Diego found that a variant of the DRD4 gene predisposes people to being liberal, but only if they had active social lives as adolescents. The “liberal gene” has also been linked to a desire to try new things, and other “personality traits related to political liberalism.”" [Raw Story]

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Collective in the Federalist Papers


There are too many references to the "collective" in the Federalist papers [I counted 26] for me to do anything but laugh when I hear the sophistry of the Randian types in their collective equation of collective and democracy and the collective animosity of insults aimed at the concept of collective action. Now the collective in their writings is an ideology, but that is a strawman because we Americans have never seen our government as a false choice between collective and individual except under the influence of foreign writers like Rand or Nietzche. To prepare for this post I downloaded the entire Federalist papers in text form so I could do word searches and word counts. I counted 26 references to collective and collective actions in the Federalist Papers. I would prefer to go into a detailed explanation of each of the references in context. But for this post I'll try to cover all 26. This is for future reference so don't stress too much in reading it.

Collective Action is also a plea for Unity

In Federalist 6 is the first reference to Collective. It's part of a plea for Union versus chaos titled:

Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States For the Independent Journal.

In it he writes, admittedly warning of the dangers of collective animosity:
"The causes of hostility among nations are innumerable. There are some which have a general and almost constant operation upon the collective bodies of society. Of this description are the love of power or the desire of pre-eminence and dominion--the jealousy of power, or the desire of equality and safety."
In Federalist 9, continuing his theme of "The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection For the Independent Journal", Hamilton refers to the artificial and arbitrary distinction:

"A distinction, more subtle than accurate, has been raised between a CONFEDERACY and a CONSOLIDATION of the States. The essential characteristic of the first is said to be, the restriction of its authority to the members in their collective capacities, without reaching to the individuals of whom they are composed. It is contended that the national council ought to have no concern with any object of internal administration. An exact equality of suffrage between the members has also been insisted upon as a leading feature of a confederate government. These positions are, in the main, arbitrary; they are supported neither by principle nor precedent."

You see echoes of this argument in current debates, where "States-Rights" proponents suggest that the Federal Government only be responsible for those responsibilities of government that are the jurisdiction of the country as a whole "in their collective capacity." As he notes the distinction between what is enumerated as a collective responsibility and what is or ought to be left to the States on their own is "in the main, arbitrary." This passage supports notion that whatever is in the general interest of the United States should be addressed in the capacity of the United States as a collective. That doesn't mean we ought not to adjust the constitution to spell out the respective roles of Local communities, states and Federal government.

In Federalist 15 "The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union"

Hamilton does inveigh against;

"The great and radical vice in the construction of the existing Confederation is in the principle of LEGISLATION for STATES or GOVERNMENTS, in their CORPORATE or COLLECTIVE CAPACITIES, and as contradistinguished from the INDIVIDUALS of which they consist."

This quote comes close to supporting a civil liberties position, but since most Libertarians are blind to the meaning of the term "corporate" in this context, it is stating a common principle of our commonwealth that all our rights and privileges are there to protect our rights and happiness as individuals. This was true of the Articles of Confederation, and those great pretend Civil Libertarians of the Right would shift individual rights to corporate or property rights of the "right peopel" (aristocrats) now. SCOTUS does this when it defines Corporations as people with more rights than natural persons.

Hamilton also makes an appeal to the rule of law that shows how we transfer power to individual rights and responsibility to obey the law by shifting guilt for breaches to the individual through the use of courts. I'm taking the liberty of providing the whole quote again because I love it so and it is so important to know:

"Government implies the power of making laws. It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience. If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation."

We are seeing the fruit of this with the misbehavior of those standing Armies we call police forces at the current time.

"This penalty, whatever it may be, can only be inflicted in two ways: by the agency of the courts and ministers of justice, or by military force; by the COERCION of the magistracy, or by the COERCION of arms. The first kind can evidently apply only to men; the last kind must of necessity, be employed against bodies politic, or communities, or States. It is evident that there is no process of a court by which the observance of the laws can, in the last resort, be enforced."

He's saying that courts need to have the power to act against individuals and enforce their decrees. But that judges are far less likely to employ armies to enforce the law. Indeed most courts are dependent on the executive.

"Sentences may be denounced against them for violations of their duty; but these sentences can only be carried into execution by the sword. In an association where the general authority is confined to the collective bodies of the communities, that compose it, every breach of the laws must involve a state of war; and military execution must become the only instrument of civil obedience. Such a state of things can certainly not deserve the name of government, nor would any prudent man choose to commit his happiness to it.

Hamilton is referring to Governments versus Governments and is making a recommendation for the principle that no person (including magistrates and their executive authority) be above the law. That is an individual duty and an important principle of a republic. But he's also warning of the consequences of governmental offices having impunity.

He continues in Federalist 16 referencing the collective:

"It seems to require no pains to prove that the States ought not to prefer a national Constitution which could only be kept in motion by the instrumentality of a large army continually on foot to execute the ordinary requisitions or decrees of the government. And yet this is the plain alternative involved by those who wish to deny it the power of extending its operations to individuals. Such a scheme, if practicable at all, would instantly degenerate into a military despotism; but it will be found in every light impracticable. The resources of the Union would not be equal to the maintenance of an army considerable enough to confine the larger States within the limits of their duty; nor would the means ever be furnished of forming such an army in the first instance. Whoever considers the populousness and strength of several of these States singly at the present juncture, and looks forward to what they will become, even at the distance of half a century, will at once dismiss as idle and visionary any scheme which aims at regulating their movements by laws to operate upon them in their collective capacities, and to be executed by a coercion applicable to them in the same capacities. A project of this kind is little less romantic than the monster-taming spirit which is attributed to the fabulous heroes and demi-gods of antiquity."

Of course what the Government did do was to rename "army" into "police, FBI, Secret Service, etc...." and enlist the States into collaborating on it's projects through money, shared project and shared resources. So in this case, again Hamilton is referring to things the Right Wing, when they aren't scheming to build just such institutions, claim to fear. The States need not fear having their movements regulated. Just us common citizens.

FEDERALIST No. 23 The Necessity of a Government as Energetic as the One Proposed to the Preservation of the Union

In Federalist 23 Hamilton excoriates the failures of the Articles of Confederation. Making it possible for the Federal Government to demand resource, but making the actual delivery of those resources voluntary.

"The experiment has, however, demonstrated that this expectation was ill-founded and illusory; and the observations, made under the last head, will, I imagine, have sufficed to convince the impartial and discerning, that there is an absolute necessity for an entire change in the first principles of the system; that if we are in earnest about giving the Union energy and duration, we must abandon the vain project of legislating upon the States in their collective capacities; we must extend the laws of the federal government to the individual citizens of America; we must discard the fallacious scheme of quotas and requisitions, as equally impracticable and unjust. The result from all this is that the Union ought to be invested with full power to levy troops; to build and equip fleets; and to raise the revenues which will be required for the formation and support of an army and navy, in the customary and ordinary modes practiced in other governments."

In this passage he uses collective almost in the fashion described by the anti-Communists who found collective decision making by committee as maddening as our founding fathers did. But the objection is to notions like 100% agreement before something becomes law and excessive strictures on the taxing power. Those were objections to the Articles of Confederation that Hamilton refers to repeatedly in his writings here. And we see this clarified in Federalist 27.

In Federalist 27 "The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered."

He refers to "Collective" in referring to the potential of sedition by persons and governments from the States. In this collective power is a good thing:

"The hope of impunity is a strong incitement to sedition; the dread of punishment, a proportionably strong discouragement to it. Will not the government of the Union, which, if possessed of a due degree of power, can call to its aid the collective resources of the whole Confederacy, be more likely to repress the FORMER sentiment and to inspire the LATTER, than that of a single State, which can only command the resources within itself? A turbulent faction in a State may easily suppose itself able to contend with the friends to the government in that State; but it can hardly be so infatuated as to imagine itself a match for the combined efforts of the Union. If this reflection be just, there is less danger of resistance from irregular combinations of individuals to the authority of the Confederacy than to that of a single member."

And then he continues later extolling the collective power of union over the collective power of factions or States:

"One thing, at all events, must be evident, that a government like the one proposed would bid much fairer to avoid the necessity of using force, than that species of league contend for by most of its opponents; the authority of which should only operate upon the States in their political or collective capacities. It has been shown that in such a Confederacy there can be no sanction for the laws but force; that frequent delinquencies in the members are the natural offspring of the very frame of the government; and that as often as these happen, they can only be redressed, if at all, by war and violence."
In Federalist 31, "Concerning the General Power of Taxation"

He refers to Taxation and the necessity for the Federal Government to be able to collect taxes directly:

"As theory and practice conspire to prove that the power of procuring revenue is unavailing when exercised over the States in their collective capacities, the federal government must of necessity be invested with an unqualified power of taxation in the ordinary modes."
In Federalist 31 Madison weighs in using the term "Collective"
"The difference between a federal and national government, as it relates to the OPERATION OF THE GOVERNMENT, is supposed to consist in this, that in the former the powers operate on the political bodies composing the Confederacy, in their political capacities; in the latter, on the individual citizens composing the nation, in their individual capacities. On trying the Constitution by this criterion, it falls under the NATIONAL, not the FEDERAL character; though perhaps not so completely as has been understood. In several cases, and particularly in the trial of controversies to which States may be parties, they must be viewed and proceeded against in their collective and political capacities only. So far the national countenance of the government on this side seems to be disfigured by a few federal features. But this blemish is perhaps unavoidable in any plan; and the operation of the government on the people, in their individual capacities, in its ordinary and most essential proceedings, may, on the whole, designate it, in this relation, a NATIONAL government."
Madison in Federalist 40 "Powers to form a Mixed Government:"

Madison talks of how the Federal Government will and ought to have a mixture of national and Federal roles:

"....In some instances, as has been shown, the powers of the new government will act on the States in their collective characters. In some instances, also, those of the existing government act immediately on individuals. In cases of capture; of piracy; of the post office; of coins, weights, and measures; of trade with the Indians; of claims under grants of land by different States; and, above all, in the case of trials by courts-marshal in the army and navy, by which death may be inflicted without the intervention of a jury, or even of a civil magistrate; in all these cases the powers of the Confederation operate immediately on the persons and interests of individual citizens...."
"The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared From the New York Packet. Tuesday, January 29, 1788." Madison warns of the dangers to the Collective well being of the Country from parochial concerns for the collective well being of their own state:
"Every one knows that a great proportion of the errors committed by the State legislatures proceeds from the disposition of the members to sacrifice the comprehensive and permanent interest of the State, to the particular and separate views of the counties or districts in which they reside. And if they do not sufficiently enlarge their policy to embrace the "collective welfare" of their particular State, how can it be imagined that they will make the aggregate prosperity of the Union, and the dignity and respectability of its government, the objects of their affections and consultations? For the same reason that the members of the State legislatures will be unlikely to attach themselves sufficiently to national objects, the members of the federal legislature will be likely to attach themselves too much to local objects. The States will be to the latter what counties and towns are to the former. Measures will too often be decided according to their probable effect, not on the national prosperity and happiness, but on the prejudices, interests, and pursuits of the governments and people of the individual States."
Objection That The Number of Members Will Not Be Augmented as the Progress of Population Demands Considered Madison:
On the same principle, the more multitudinous a representative assembly may be rendered, the more it will partake of the infirmities incident to collective meetings of the people. Ignorance will be the dupe of cunning, and passion the slave of sophistry and declamation. The people can never err more than in supposing that by multiplying their representatives beyond a certain limit, they strengthen the barrier against the government of a few. Experience will forever admonish them that, on the contrary, AFTER SECURING A SUFFICIENT NUMBER FOR THE PURPOSES OF SAFETY, OF LOCAL INFORMATION, AND OF DIFFUSIVE SYMPATHY WITH THE WHOLE SOCIETY, they will counteract their own views by every addition to their representatives. The countenance of the government may become more democratic, but the soul that animates it will be more oligarchic.

In this passage, the infirmaries of collective meetings is described. And the reasons for the error. Representation can seem democratic when in fact is is oligarchic and directed from behind the scenes. And note Madison refers to the word "democratic" as a positive property of society.

In Federalist 59 and 60 Hamilton talks of elections. In his concept the State Legislatures would be choosing Senators and those legislators would:
"As to the Senate, it is impossible that any regulation of ``time and manner,'' which is all that is proposed to be submitted to the national government in respect to that body, can affect the spirit which will direct the choice of its members. The collective sense of the State legislatures can never be influenced by extraneous circumstances of that sort; a consideration which alone ought to satisfy us that the discrimination apprehended would never be attempted. For what inducement could the Senate have to concur in a preference in which itself would not be included? Or to what purpose would it be established, in reference to one branch of the legislature, if it could not be extended to the other? The composition of the one would in this case counteract that of the other. And we can never suppose that it would embrace the appointments to the Senate, unless we can at the same time suppose the voluntary co-operation of the State legislatures. If we make the latter supposition, it then becomes immaterial where the power in question is placed whether in their hands or in those of the Union."

Again the constitution was seen as a collaborative government where States would be to the Feds as Counties and Municipalities to the States. The goal was to moderate "passions" of the house by having a Senate that reflected State Legislatures and would thus be a bit immune to any excessive influence from Federal Authorities. And Madison weighed in with a similar argument

Madison or Hamilton in Federalist 63 "FEDERALIST. No. 63, The Senate Continued"

This one took some close reading to figure out because of the complex logic of the writing. It opens with Hamilton explaining the importance of having a Senate with a longer term of office than the House. He talks about the "defects" of the House of Representative and "desideratum" of the Senate with regard to one another

"I add, as a SIXTH defect the want, in some important cases, of a due responsibility in the government to the people, arising from that frequency of elections which in other cases produces this responsibility. This remark will, perhaps, appear not only new, but paradoxical. It must nevertheless be acknowledged, when explained, to be as undeniable as it is important."

... and in the process he notes two principles of responsibility

"Responsibility, in order to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party, and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power, of which a ready and proper judgment can be formed by the constituents. The objects of government may be divided into two general classes: the one depending on measures which have singly an immediate and sensible operation; the other depending on a succession of well-chosen and well-connected measures, which have a gradual and perhaps unobserved operation."

The author (Hamilton or Madison) is saying that one body should be more deliberative and able to form measures over a period of time.

"The importance of the latter description to the collective and permanent welfare of every country, needs no explanation. And yet it is evident that an assembly elected for so short a term as to be unable to provide more than one or two links in a chain of measures, on which the general welfare may essentially depend, ought not to be answerable for the final result, any more than a steward or tenant, engaged for one year, could be justly made to answer for places or improvements which could not be accomplished in less than half a dozen years. Nor is it possible for the people to estimate the SHARE of influence which their annual assemblies may respectively have on events resulting from the mixed transactions of several years."

Hamilton wanted a Congress where the representatives would serve for 6 to a dozen years or more. He would not have been happy with term limits. The two year limit on militia wasn't to limit planning. It was because the Framers wanted the Army to be small and temporary if it needed to be big. These two founders envisioned a collaborative system where it didn't matter whether a cause was Federal, State or local as long as the scope was Federal, State or local. Later they would disagree about Federal power versus State power but that reflected failures do to unresolved conflicts not original vision. Long term projects such as roads, canals, rails and similar would be precisely where Madison would eventually issue his veto. But his Veto was issued in order to prod a constitutional amendment. He never got the amendment. His issue was sectarian advantage and the fact that some projects being sought by Senators and House members were being sought without the kinds of constitutional authority that the constituted charter (constitution) mandated and thus were liable to be too arbitrary, sectarian and not wholly in the national interest. Later Sectarianism would even divide that argument. But Madison stated the issue in his veto:

"The power to regulate commerce among the several States" can not include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such commerce without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress." []

A constitutional Amendment was needed. Probably would have passed. And never was. Congress couldn't even agree on how to regulate money. But the Federalist papers were pretty clear on how congress should have functioned.

Madison or Hamilton then goes on to explain the attributes of (indirect) democracy and praise the concept behind the Senate:

From these facts, to which many others might be added, it is clear that the principle of representation was neither unknown to the ancients nor wholly overlooked in their political constitutions. The true distinction between these and the American governments, lies IN THE TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THEIR COLLECTIVE CAPACITY, from any share in the LATTER, and not in the TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE from the administration of the FORMER. The distinction, however, thus qualified, must be admitted to leave a most advantageous superiority in favor of the United States. But to insure to this advantage its full effect, we must be careful not to separate it from the other advantage, of an extensive territory. For it cannot be believed, that any form of representative government could have succeeded within the narrow limits occupied by the democracies of Greece.

The wording of the passage does seem to indicate that Hamilton or Madison wanted at least one body of the legislature, the Senate, to exclude direct representation. Specifically he wanted the Senate to exclude the representatives of local districts in their "collective" capacity from deliberating on long term projects where (as happened) the short term and parochial needs of individual congressmen would defeat long term planning efforts. On this subject the anti-federalist did have a point too since they warned of the Senate becoming an Aristocratic body and it nearly became one in the late 19th early 20th century.

John Jay weighs in next,

FEDERALIST No. 64 The Powers of the Senate From the New York Packet. Friday, March 7, 1788. JAY
"they have directed the President to be chosen by select bodies of electors, to be deputed by the people for that express purpose; and they have committed the appointment of senators to the State legislatures. This mode has, in such cases, vastly the advantage of elections by the people in their collective capacity, where the activity of party zeal, taking the advantage of the supineness, the ignorance, and the hopes and fears of the unwary and interested, often places men in office by the votes of a small proportion of the electors."

So again we see that the founders don't seem to have liked the "people in their collective capacity" being manipulated by politicians and wanted a staid, aristocratic Senate that would make decisions more sedately. Of course in reality those aristocrats often make decisions on the basis of private needs and secret factions. But yes, the founders didn't like direct democracy mostly because they knew people could easily be manipulated by greedy grifters and the politicians they could buy.


Objections to the Power of the Senate To Set as a Court for Impeachments Further Considered From the New York Packet. Tuesday, March 11, 1788.

"The security essentially intended by the Constitution against corruption and treachery in the formation of treaties, is to be sought for in the numbers and characters of those who are to make them. The JOINT AGENCY of the Chief Magistrate of the Union, and of two thirds of the members of a body selected by the collective wisdom of the legislatures of the several States, is designed to be the pledge for the fidelity of the national councils in this particular."

And later

"he truth is, that in all such cases it is essential to the freedom and to the necessary independence of the deliberations of the body, that the members of it should be exempt from punishment for acts done in a collective capacity; and the security to the society must depend on the care which is taken to confide the trust to proper hands, to make it their interest to execute it with fidelity, and to make it as difficult as possible for them to combine in any interest opposite to that of the public good."

Again "collective" is not a dirty word in this comment.


The Appointing Power of the Executive From the New York Packet. Tuesday, April 1, 1788.

"It will be agreed on all hands, that the power of appointment, in ordinary cases, ought to be modified in one of three ways. It ought either to be vested in a single man, or in a SELECT assembly of a moderate number; or in a single man, with the concurrence of such an assembly. The exercise of it by the people at large will be readily admitted to be impracticable; as waiving every other consideration, it would leave them little time to do anything else. When, therefore, mention is made in the subsequent reasonings of an assembly or body of men, what is said must be understood to relate to a select body or assembly, of the description already given. The people collectively, from their number and from their dispersed situation, cannot be regulated in their movements by that systematic spirit of cabal and intrigue, which will be urged as the chief objections to reposing the power in question in a body of men."


"A single well-directed man, by a single understanding, cannot be distracted and warped by that diversity of views, feelings, and interests, which frequently distract and warp the resolutions of a collective body."
The Judiciary Department From McLEAN'S Edition, New York. HAMILTON
"This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community. Though I trust the friends of the proposed Constitution will never concur with its enemies, in questioning that fundamental principle of republican government, which admits the right of the people to alter or abolish the established Constitution, whenever they find it inconsistent with their happiness, yet it is not to be inferred from this principle, that the representatives of the people, whenever a momentary inclination happens to lay hold of a majority of their constituents, incompatible with the provisions in the existing Constitution, would, on that account, be justifiable in a violation of those provisions; or that the courts would be under a greater obligation to connive at infractions in this shape, than when they had proceeded wholly from the cabals of the representative body. Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act. But it is easy to see, that it would require an uncommon portion of fortitude in the judges to do their duty as faithful guardians of the Constitution, where legislative invasions of it had been instigated by the major voice of the community."
The Judiciary Continued in Relation to Trial by Jury From MCLEAN's Edition, New York. HAMILTON
The excellence of the trial by jury in civil cases appears to depend on circumstances foreign to the preservation of liberty. The strongest argument in its favor is, that it is a security against corruption. As there is always more time and better opportunity to tamper with a standing body of magistrates than with a jury summoned for the occasion, there is room to suppose that a corrupt influence would more easily find its way to the former than to the latter. The force of this consideration is, however, diminished by others. The sheriff, who is the summoner of ordinary juries, and the clerks of courts, who have the nomination of special juries, are themselves standing officers, and, acting individually, may be supposed more accessible to the touch of corruption than the judges, who are a collective body. It is not difficult to see, that it would be in the power of those officers to select jurors who would serve the purpose of the party as well as a corrupted bench. In the next place, it may fairly be supposed, that there would be less difficulty in gaining some of the jurors promiscuously taken from the public mass, than in gaining men who had been chosen by the government for their probity and good character. But making every deduction for these considerations, the trial by jury must still be a valuable check upon corruption. It greatly multiplies the impediments to its success. As matters now stand, it would be necessary to corrupt both court and jury; for where the jury have gone evidently wrong, the court will generally grant a new trial, and it would be in most cases of little use to practice upon the jury, unless the court could be likewise gained.

And later

"The propositions which have been made for supplying the omission have rather served to illustrate than to obviate the difficulty of the thing. The minority of Pennsylvania have proposed this mode of expression for the purpose ``Trial by jury shall be as heretofore'' and this I maintain would be senseless and nugatory. The United States, in their united or collective capacity, are the OBJECT to which all general provisions in the Constitution must necessarily be construed to refer. Now it is evident that though trial by jury, with various limitations, is known in each State individually, yet in the United States, AS SUCH, it is at this time altogether unknown, because the present federal government has no judiciary power whatever; and consequently there is no proper antecedent or previous establishment to which the term HERETOFORE could relate. It would therefore be destitute of a precise meaning, and inoperative from its uncertainty."
Concluding Remarks From MCLEAN's Edition, New York. HAMILTON
"I should esteem it the extreme of imprudence to prolong the precarious state of our national affairs, and to expose the Union to the jeopardy of successive experiments, in the chimerical pursuit of a perfect plan. I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies must necessarily be a compound, as well of the errors and prejudices, as of the good sense and wisdom, of the individuals of whom they are composed. The compacts which are to embrace thirteen distinct States in a common bond of amity and union, must as necessarily be a compromise of as many dissimilar interests and inclinations. How can perfection spring from such materials?"

Hamilton is saying that "collective bodies" are both risky and beneficial structures. And later

"Every Constitution for the United States must inevitably consist of a great variety of particulars, in which thirteen independent States are to be accommodated in their interests or opinions of interest. We may of course expect to see, in any body of men charged with its original formation, very different combinations of the parts upon different points. Many of those who form a majority on one question, may become the minority on a second, and an association dissimilar to either may constitute the majority on a third. Hence the necessity of moulding and arranging all the particulars which are to compose the whole, in such a manner as to satisfy all the parties to the compact; and hence, also, an immense multiplication of difficulties and casualties in obtaining the collective assent to a final act. The degree of that multiplication must evidently be in a ratio to the number of particulars and the number of parties."

In Conclusion

I did this work to make debate a little easier by providing some "common reference" for others to use. I have my opinions but I hope everyone reads the Federalist Papers and forms their own opinions. I'm going to reference this post in other posts. So I forgive anyone who skips it!