Political Systems Based on Consent
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      The path to government that serves the common good is dark and crooked, with cryptic signs and angry buffoons pointing in the wrong direction at every turn. The only way to navigate through this philosophic quagmire is to have a good map - an operating theory for government that steers us past the pitfalls and barkers, identifying where we want to go, and the best way to get there.

      Unfortunately, there is no such map on the governmental table. Each of the theories that fuel operative governments is archaic and incorrect. Be it Authoritarianism or Republicanism, Capitalism or Keynesianism, Conservatism or Liberalism, Socialism or Communism, all of the predominant ideologies lack structural integrity, inconsistent with even the most basic laws of science and rules of logic. They have consistently been used to perpetuate government that serves and protects a small owning class, and ignores or oppresses a large working class. These theories have not and will not lead to impartial government that serves the interests of all of the people.

      Political philosophy has hit a wall. The time for taking some of the next steps toward intelligent government is long overdue. Autonomism presents an innovative alternative - an institutional overhaul designed to serve the common good, by giving each of us the opportunity to freely choose whether to enter into certain social contracts with others. It is a revolutionary new theory, differing from the paradigmatic in several crucial respects:

      First, it is comprehensive and curative. Rather than trying to patch up one of the existing ideologies, the theory is premised on the recognition that it is practically impossible to get back on track once you've strayed too far from the path. Autonomism starts from the beginning, takes the lessons learned from the other theoretical expeditions, and charts a new course. Through disassembling and reconstructing the concept of government, and asking whether, why and how it should be structured to achieve the common good, 12 fundamental questions arise. The theory is comprised of the answers to those questions: 12 precepts regarding optimal government and how to secure it. Moreover, while the operative theories are primarily focused on political, economic or legal systems, this theory cohesively addresses the fact that these systems do not operate in a vacuum.

      Second, it is simple, pragmatic and flexible. It is clear that the best way to design anything is to start by identifying how it would operate ideally, and then to implement those devices most likely to make it do so. For instance, by addressing questions of government in terms of political, economic and legal systems, it can be seen that the pursuit of certain identifiable goals serves the common interests of entire citizenries more than any others: political systems based on consent, economic systems based on labor and legal systems based on equality - and once such objectives are identified, it becomes equally evident that certain mechanisms are most conducive to achieving them. However, all of the predominant theories are either targeted at pursuing the wrong objectives or poorly crafted to pursue the right ones. This is no accident. The powerful typically act to make sure that ideological options are limited to theories that allow them to take care of themselves ahead of or instead of everyone else.

      Autonomism is designed to add the options that would serve the common good to the equation. Through reforming social contract law to subject constitutions to the same rules of fairness that apply to private contracts, it would guarantee people the right to choose between the operative ideologies and political systems based on their agreement, economic systems based on their contribution to society, and legal systems that afford them equal protection. Rather than attempting to pigeonhole people into supporting one monolithic ideology, it would create avenues for them to exercise their autonomy and decide which type of government that they contract to support. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, would finally exist, once and for all.

      Third, it is specifically designed to regulate the regulators, ever mindful of the tendency of power to corrupt. Basically, it boils down to independent oversight, fluidity and recourse. Through incorporating controls narrowly tailored to identify and enforce governmental mandates, officials would be constrained from employing public power to pursue their own private agendas.

      In sum, this theory (more specifically known as "Contractual Autonomism") is modeled to serve the interests of more of the people much more of the time than any of the operative ideologies - and it would work. It is the new ideology that the working classes have needed so sorely for so long. The theory is the subject of a book entitled The Autonomist Precepts: A Theory of Democratic Government, which is being written by Christopher T. Widholm, an American public interest lawyer and activist. For a more in depth summary of Contractual Autonomism, please click on the link for "Introduction". For an overview of it, please click on the link for "Outline".


 


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