This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2018-02-15 at 03:20 and has been accessed 53 times at 18 hits per month.

United States Fundamental Policy

For years politicians have ignored the polices written into our founding documents.

The United States was founded with Common Law as a starting point. Common law originated following the Norman Conquest of England as an eclectic combination of local decisions. As the king consolidated power, and courts and judges administered justice, for a price, a degree of consistency between cases, enforced by precedent and a hierarchy, came to be known as common law, all in the service of maintaining domestic tranquility and income for the royal treasury. The power of the judges came not from the sovereign, but from the acceptance by the people of decisions that conformed to prior decisions and to other similar decisions. Judges created "justice" by knowing cases and deciding similarly, thus satisfying the people's conception of fairness. Rulers only stay in power when they only do what the subjects tolerate, and the same applies to judges and "the law".  The structure, procedures, paradigm, and rights were largely codified in the Magna Carta and its subsequent implementation and consolidation. The treatment of the Colonies by the King exceeded what the people would accept, leading to our famous Declaration in which the right of the people was asserted and the litany of complaints were listed, complaints of violation of various equities and rights inherent in the Common Law.  In the Declaration, the fundamental rights are delineated that gives the fundamental policies required.

What is that fundamental founding policy?  To answer that we have to look at our fundamental founding documents.  The first of these documents is the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Our government was created by us, the people, and governs only with our continued consent. We choose representatives to do our collective bidding, and remove them when they become destructive to our inalienable rights. What are these unalienable rights, and what does it mean for these rights to be unalienable?  There shall be no power that legitimately can take these rights away from us.  Moreover, every person is entitled equally to these rights that can not be denied.  These are the first two policies:

  1. Equality. In virtue of equal creation, these rights inhere equally in each citizen. No one, not the instituted government, nor other person shall have the right to deny equal treatment to each citizen.
  2. Unalienable. In virtue of unalienable, these rights can not be denied. no one, not the instituted government, nor other persons, shall have the right to deny these rights to other citizens.

Three specific rights are enumerated in the Declaration.

  1. Life. In the context of Equal and unalienable, no citizen may be denied life by the government nor by another person. Neither the state nor other persons may jeopardize or take the life of another.
  2. Liberty. In the context of Equal and unalienable, no citizen may be denied liberty by the government nor by another person. It stands to reason that "liberty" can not be absolute.  No one can jeopardize the life of another. Liberty is limited by life.  Moreover, as was noted under life, no one may use liberty to deprive another of liberty. Nor may the government.  As any practical implementation of potentially conflicting rights is managed by our duly instituted government, there must be policies that manage the interactions such that the loss of any potential life and liberty is minimal.
  3. The Pursuit of Happiness. Subject to the natural order of these rights, the pursuit of happiness must be held in the bounds of limitations that equal and unalienable rights to life and liberty impose on the pursuit of happiness. Freedom to pursue happiness can not allow acts that would jeopardize the life of another.  Freedom to pursue happiness can not allow acts that would jeopardize the freedom of others.  Freedom to pursue happiness can not allow acts that would jeopardize the right of others to pursue happiness.

For years the inherent policies implicit in the Declaration of Independence that these rights dictate have been essentially ignored by politicians in a futile attempt to maximize them all.  If one argues that the Declaration of Independence does not have the authority to establish policy for our government, one is also arguing that that the Declaration of Independence did not have the authority to establish this country, which it clearly did.

Not only does the Declaration of Independence, have the authority, so does the Constitution itself.

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  1. Establish Justice
  2. Insure domestic tranquility
  3. Provide for the common defense
  4. Promote the general welfare
  5. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
  1. Justice - Equality
  2. Order - Civility
  3. Defense - Military
  4. Welfare - Health and Safety
  5. Liberty - Freedom

The constitution, the supreme law of the land(Article VI), Places the rights guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence in the context of administration of the government, establishing the general order of importance of the goals for this government.

  1. Justice. The fundamental core of justice is that of fair and equal treatment under the law, going back to 700 BCE.* Just as the Declaration of Independence gives equality as a first principle, so does the Constitution.
  2. Domestic Tranquility. To insure equality of treatment, it must be regulated that the people themselves must treat others equally - in order to provide for the equal justice.  None of the remaining rights can be guaranteed unless there is peace among the land. Tranquility can not be maintained in the presence of inequity and a lack of Justice.
  3. Common defense. Peace can not be had unless the people and government stand ready to defend the country, and that cannot be achieved without peaceful cooperation of the citizens.  Defense requires both equality and peaceful interaction among ourselves.
  4. General Welfare. Maintaining general welfare requires safe peaceful equality. Without general welfare, life itself would be in jeopardy.  This entails charity toward the sick and injured and those that are disadvantaged and differently abled. General welfare requires equality of justice, the civility of domestic tranquility, the peace provided by an adequate defense, and mutual support for those less able. It also requires adequate education sufficient to make the society sufficiently productive to provide adequately for all. Note: These all come directly under the Declaration's specific Right to Life.
  5. Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity. Only with just, peaceful, safety, and health can liberty flourish. Liberty is denied by injustice. Liberty is inhibited by lack of civility. Liberty is destroyed by attacks from without.  Liberty is unavailable with lack of health, with lack of safety, with lack of opportunity, with lack of peace, and with lack of productivity.  Without differences, there are no choices.  Without choices, there is no freedom.  Without all these there is no liberty, not for us and not for our posterity. It also means that acts which jeopardize the descendants of others - their posterity - limit liberty.

Equal, unalienable, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is in the nature of a right that it can not be denied, that it belongs to the holder.  Unalienable rights belongs absolutely and exclusively to the people.  Created equal with equal rights entails reciprocity.  The priority order of these five dimensions are critical to the polices that must be followed to insure these rights can be enjoyed by all

Justice, tranquility, defense, welfare, liberty.

Justice requires equality, non-discrimination, on all the inherent qualities of citizens. Not only must all laws and court cases provide for equality under the law, so does it require that all citizens support all other citizens by equal treatment with respect to all the inherent qualities, Race, Gender, Sexual Preference, Age, Health, and any others that are required to insure tranquility, defense, welfare, and liberty.  To meet these condition requires that reciprocity be a factor in decisions regarding prohibited behavior. Anarchy, where everyone can do what they want, even against others, cannot be allowed nor permitted; anarchy is not liberty, anarchy destroys liberty.

The exercise of liberty can not allow acts which jeopardize "equal access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Domestic tranquility and general welfare.  Domestic tranquility and general welfare require adequate means to minimize risk of loss of life, health, sustenance, and the safety of lodgings.

When we think of risk reduction, we tend to think of insurance.  What about risk and insurance?  Let's say risk is the possibility or probability of something undesirable or damaging happening that takes more resources to recover from than you have or will have.   What is insurance?  Let's say that insurance is a means to provide for the cost of a risky event that you don't have the funds to recover from. 

Example: So suppose an event has a statistical probability of happening to one person in a thousand per year in a particular community of 1000 people and costs a thousand dollars to recover from. So the community forms a pool to cover that cost, by all contributing $1 per year.  this shares the risk of loss and the risk to one unlucky person who, as luck would have it, gets the $1000 to pay for his loss. He only paid $1, so his loss only cost him $1.  His loss also costs everybody else $1 too.  The risk was shared.  In truth, there's going to be an administrative cost per person, say another $1, so the insurance costs $2 per year, but pays the full cost of $1000 loss.  And, if this is a for-profit business, there's going to be an additional cost to cover the profit.  But if it's a non-profit company, the cost of risk reduction is cheaper to the subscriber than in for-profit insurance companies. The point of insurance is that you buy risk reduction at a much lower cost than if you have no insurance. You also lower significantly your anxiety that something you don't have the resources to recover from might happen.  Lower anxiety equates to domestic tranquility and welfare, so insurance is a good thing.

Another way of doing the same thing, is to give the job of risk reduction to the government. Then the premium is not voluntary, and it's called a tax. As a home-owner in my home town, part of the real estate tax package is a separately listed fire department share. There is administrative cost and risk cost figured in, but no profit, so we get our fire risk at a lower cost than buying insurance from a for-profit company. It doesn't pay for repairs, but it pays for getting somebody to come put out the fire as fast as possible, in many cases saving much of the building and or contents.

What are important things to provide domestic tranquility and general welfare? How about just about everything needed to survive and get a job, such as education and healthcare.  These dictate that we have a policy to provide education and healthcare. the lack of which denies our fundamental rights dictated by the preamble to the constitution.  That's what we have a constitution for, to specify what is to be provided to the citizens and how to do it.

If we are to be able to pursue happiness, we're going need a job with education to do it together with sufficient pay to cover our food, housing, and health care, all of which cost coins. So we require policies to provide education sufficient to get a job that pays enough to cover our costs of living, lodgings, and healthcare.  Healthcare is made up of prevention and correction, both of which cost coins.

There are lots of risks for health. Millions of Americans have no health insurance, so sickness and injury jeopardize life and welfare. Yet we do not provide risk reduction for all our citizens. Universal health care would provide for both. 

Medicare is paid for by a tax on wages and by the premiums for seniors starting at age 65, that go into trust funds. Benefits are paid out of the trust funds, but it only covers 80% of allowed charges, not including prescription drugs nor dental nor vision care. The trust funds have billions of dollars in surplus which will keep the funds solvent well into the 2030's, but the 20% medical risk and the 100% dental, vision, and prescription drugs risk will be born by us unless we buy private commercial insurance programs.  

None of these program meet the criteria of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution, which specifies that we have unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  In order to meet those criteria vis-a-vis health and welfare, we need universal health care like the majority of other developed countries.  It should be our undisputed policy that there be no charge for the delivery of any and all necessary health care simply by walking in and getting an appointment at any health care facility. The funding for these services must be paid by a single payer, the government, or a trust fund managed by the government. The funds must be financed by a combination of income and wealth taxes, must be progressive, so that the lowest income people pay none of these taxes.

On the right to pursue happiness. Necessarily we need all the aforementioned rights managed with reciprocity in priority order to enable the pursuit of happiness. Not withstanding the ambiguity of happiness, we can assume that, at a minimum, it requires adequate means to enable freedom from the business of surviving, freedom to pursue more and extras. But one thing it does not allow is the freedom to pursue such means at the expense of others losing that same right. We can not have a policy that allows some to perform actions that prevent others from obtaining the means to survive, to afford health, and to pursue sufficient means to achieve more than mere survival, nor acts that deprive others of such means.  In a word, the pursuit of profit to the extreme that it prevents others from getting good enough paying jobs to have a living wage.  The excessive pursuit of wealth that denies others a reasonable and adequate pursuit of wealth, such that the wealthy is extremely richer than the poorer, so much so that the poorer can not enjoy a reasonable happiness, becomes a violation of reciprocity in freedom by denying choice to the poorer. Such extreme income and wealth disparity as have been engineered over the last hundred years is in violation of the unalienable civil rights dictated by the Declaration of Independence and the preamble to the Constitution.  It recreates the conditions of the serfdoms of England, of the abuses by the king of the colonial days, of the slaves, of the Jim Crow, and now of the plutocrats and oligarchs.

The resistance is forming. Will we revolt? or will the Plutocrats and Oligarchs succeed in transforming The United States into a capitalistic dictatorship with the ultra conservative court, ultra conservative congress, and injustice department all cow-towing to the ultra rich? After years, what are we on the brink of?


Ralph E Kenyon Jr.
191 White Oaks Road
Williamstown, MA 01267