Dwight Writes


Email sent in response to requests from Republican Party.


I am a Ron Paul Republican. I am against big government (as you say you are). I am against endless war, and intervention throughout the world in the affairs of other sovereign nations. I am against torture. I am against domestic spying, most definitely when it includes spying without oversight by the courts. I am against the central bank. I am against the income tax. I am against the UN, NAFTA, and every other organization or international agreement that results in the diminishment of our sovereignty. I am against government schools at all levels. I am against government interference in the marketplace. I am against the federal government keeping records of any type on citizens of the United States of America. I am firmly against politicians who do not uphold and defend the Constitution.

Until such time that the Republican Party supports these ideas, don't bother coming to me looking for support for the Republican Party. In the meantime, I will continue to directly support Republicans like Ron Paul and Murray Sabrin, who DO support these same values.

Most sincerely,


Freedom Enclaves

I don't know about you, but I don't want to just talk libertarian. I want to do libertarian.

The only question is how. So let me take a shot at answering that question. Let's say that we get together in local chapters just like any other benevolent, fraternal association, like Kiwanis or the Elks. We'll call these local chapters Freedom Enclaves. We'll meet once a month or once a quarter in rented hotel meeting rooms, discussing the latest things libertarian.

And every year on some nice warm day, the first Saturday of June perhaps, each chapter will have a nice picnic in a local park. We'll have barbecued chicken and hotdogs. We'll also have information booths, to sell cool Mises paraphernalia, and, more importantly, to teach people what it could mean in their lives, and the lives of their children, to be libertarian, to be free. And gently but forcefully, without violence, but persistently, year after year, we will demand the right to be free. And we'll let everyone know that we intend, someday, to really be free.

We Americans have some support for this pursuit in the Declaration of Independence. The very first line speaks of the right to dissolve political bands. Further on it says "it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security". It's our right and duty to be free.

In short, we claim the right to personal secession. In the meetings and events of every Freedom Enclave we will speak of the human right of personal secession and proclaim our right to it. As Gandhi and his followers did, we will figuratively walk to the sea and extract our own salt.

Not everyone will want to secede. Surely it is the right of those who wish to live under government to do so. Just as surely, it is our right not to.

Will the politicians "grant" us that right? Well, let's think. They will look at our small numbers. They will sit smugly in the security of centuries of history where governments have prevailed. They will say to themselves, "these people are a noisy bunch. They don't have a chance of succeeding in building a society without government. Let's cut them loose, quiet their noise, and let them hang themselves on their freedom. You mark my words: they will come running back to us before you know it, crying to let them back in!" Yeah, you know, they are certainly arrogant enough to "give" us our freedom.

So, what do you say? Are you going to just talk libertarian, or are you going to do it?

I work just a few blocks from the home of the first American revolution, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were hammered out. Across the street is the Liberty Bell. To get into the pavilion where the Liberty Bell is, you have to pass through a security screening tighter than any airport I've ever been in. You have to remove your shoes and your belt. The tiny Swiss Army knife I carry, less than two inches long, was enough to keep me out. Philadelphia was once a city synonymous with freedom. It seems like a good place to establish the first Freedom Enclave. Let me hear from you if you agree.

Dwight Johnson


Response to "Citizen Party" editorial by Chris Satullo, Philly Inquirer, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006

Mr Satullo, it must have given you great pleasure to outline the platform for your Citizen Party. Excursions to places of fantasy usually do.

But here is the reality. Your centrist solution to all things political suffers from the same fundamental error as the polarization of left and right. That error lies in the history of modern government, rooted as it is in the paradigm of conqueror and conquered, preserved to this day in the militaristic language of the political "campaign".

You see, there is an identity that runs even deeper in society than that of citizenship: humanity. And as long as government attachs to territory, as long as there is a ruling class and a peasantry paying them tribute (what we now refer to as taxes), as long as government retains a monopoly of coercion over the conquered territory, the use of power will corrupt, no matter how centrist / liberal / conservative those in power may be.

We feel this more because we are in the midst of something new, something we have named the "culture war". Life was simpler when the majority of people held the same moral values. But how things have changed! Not so long ago, most people saw abortion, contraception, divorce, and homosexual practice as evils. But in the new Church of the Zeitgeist, all of these are acceptable practices, perhaps not preferable, but more than tolerable. What is not tolerable to the Church of the Zeitgeist is adhesion to "old" morality. So, we are in the midst of a culture war.

Is there a way out? The answer is yes, and the means are well worn. We have been here before, after all. There was once a time when theology attached to territory. People fought real wars to maintain state-established churches, and many in Europe still maintain that structure, whereby all contribute to the maintenance of government-sanctioned theology, whether or not the taxpayer is a believer. Here in the U.S. we have a free market in theology. We are all entitled to our religious choices, so long as we pay out of our own pockets. And that is fitting and proper.

It is also the answer to the culture war, and the faulty paradigm of government as conqueror and vanquished. As government is built on law, and law built on morality, it is only fitting that we have a free market in government, where government attachs, not to the territory into which we happen to be born, but to the human individual, who alone is capable of, and responsible for, moral choice.

For illustration purposes, imagine that, when you fill out your next Form 1040, you check off a box at the top, indicating that your taxes will go, not to the government as a whole, but to the Blue or Red party, through whom all expenses of government will be paid according to their stated values. If they fail to live up to expectations, various other shades of personal government will arise to compete with them, until you are able to find one that matches your beliefs. These personal governments, empowered by the taxes alloted to them by each tax-paying citizen, work cooperatively to advance territorial endeavors. And each is free to spend some portion of their taxes on projects that their own constituencies agree with. And as each citizen will have it in his power to change parties once a year, responsive government will become, finally, a reality.

You see, we've been here before. Where once religion was territorial, we moved past the point of taking up sword, and found a way to coexist. We must now do the same with morality, and to do this we must drop the stale paradigm of conqueror and conquered, of governments that are territorial monopolies, and adopt a free market approach to government that recognizes the dignity of every human person.


Non-territorial, free-market government

It's time. We need a new national constitution.

It's not that the one we have hasn't served us well. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the men who wrote it and for all who said yes to it. It was, in its time, breathtakingly bold. But more importantly, it expressed where we the people were at that time. We were past the time of absolute, hereditary monarchs. We were ready for a federal government, limited in size and scope, with a balance of powers.

It has moved us forward for over two hundred years, never breaking entirely, but heavily patched, and honored, for the most part, in the breach. The biggest problem has been that the states failed to interpret the document themselves, but allowed the federal government's judiciary branch to provide that function, effectively making the government interpreter of its own constitutive document, like parents who allow one of their children to determine the nature of the relationships within the family. The effect of this lapse was to allow the three branches of government to conspire with one another in a well-orchestrated assimilation of power, at the expense of the states and their people. Thus have the three branches worked assiduously to aggrandize their power, each supporting the other two in this quest.

Many say we must get back to the way things were meant to be, with a limited federal government. That would be wonderful, except that it is quite likely impossible, given the current strength that the federal government holds.

But more to the point, my point being that we need not to return to the constitution but to replace it, is that we the people have changed too much. The old constitution was written for a different kind of people, in a very different time.

For we were once a people substantially united by a common morality, which could be rather easily expressed in a common law that was acceptable to the vast majority of citizens. Clearly we are not that people any more. We are divided deeply by strongly-held differences in morality, and hence, in what the positive law of our nation and states should be.

Is there any doubt as to how deeply we are divided on moral issues? Consider, just for starters, how deeply we are divided on abortion, physician-assisted suicide, the definition of marriage, and fetal stem cell research. Does anyone really think that we will come to a consensus on any of these issues anytime in the near future?

There is an historical parallel to all this change. It occurred in the sixteenth century, with the rise of reformers. I am speaking of Hus, Luther, Calvin, and the many who followed them. Prior to their time, there was substantial agreement on theological and ecclesial issues. Luther originally had in mind a reformation of the Catholic Church (at the time it was "The Church"; there was no other). But eventually the idea of reformation turned into division, and the one visible Church was no more. It is not my intent to judge these events, but to merely describe them and their aftermath. At first, harsh political measures were used by every side to deal with the developing events. Then, concessions were made. Cujus regio, eius religio: the religion of the ruler was the religion of the state. Tolerance of other religious denominations within a single state came slowly but inexorably. One of the features of our current constitution excluded the possibility of a "national" religion, though the states were each allowed freedom in this issue, at least originally.

Where has all this led? We now live at a time where the rights to choose one's religion and to practice it freely is no concern of government at any level. Religious institutions have become non-territorial. Put another way, we have free-market religion. Freedom of religion is an established right.

Which brings me back to the state of our fragmented morality. When people of the distant future look back on our near future, what will they see? We presently have the equivalent of "cujus regio, eius religio", one established morality and law for each nation, but clearly we no longer share one morality, and the "laws of the land" chafe at us. Will the "culture wars", the battles we now have over moral issues, become real wars? Or will we learn from the past and move more swiftly to a non-territorial form of government based on our divided morality? I, for one, hope that we can learn from our past. Which is why I say that we need a completely new national constitution, a new skin for our new wine.

To give some structure to this idea, and to demonstrate how it coincides with the new people we have become, let me speculate about what a non-territorial form of government would look like. Let us assume for the sake of this argument that we start with a federal system very much as it is now. We will have to deal not only with the eventual state of a non-territorial government, but the transition to it.

Currently, our federal government is supplied with the necessary funds to operate primarily by personal and corporate income taxes. For the purpose of continuity, we will establish the much-maligned agent of grief, the Internal Revenue Service, as an on-going business. I will come back in a moment to who will own and operate it. For now, as Douglas Adams said, Do Not Panic.
Tax forms will continue to go out for the next ten years (less if all parties involved agree) just as they have in the past. But, in addition to our calculations of how much money we legally owe the government (morally owe; that's another question), we will also select the non-territorial government (NTG) to which this money will go. Initially there will be just two, the Red Government (Republicans) and the Blue Government (Democrats). Having chosen our affiliation on our tax form, we will be able to vote in the next annual election for the leaders of the NTGs (Red and Blue) for our municipality. The winner of these elections will gather and vote for the leaders of the county NTGs. The county winners gather to vote for leaders of the state NTGs, and those winners choose the leaders of the respective national NTGs. Although it will eventually seem likely that governments at every level will be non-territorial, for the purposes of this thought-experiment I will talk only about the national level.

Each NTG will determine how they want to function internally. Some may choose to give the leadership of their government more power, some less. Each NTG will have a judiciary branch which will both write positive law and interpret it. (What is to keep them from misbehaving!? I'll get to that shortly. Do Not Panic.) The leadership of the NTG will have at their disposal all the funds collected by the IRS from the people and companies who selected them on their tax forms. Those who fail to choose will be ineligible to vote in the municipal elections for any NTG, and their taxes will be assigned evenly to each NTG. The NTGs will have a set of laws corresponding to the moral beliefs of their constituants. Each constituant will be subject to the laws of their NTG, except in cases where they murder or severely disable another, in which case they are subject to the laws of the victim.

What makes it possible for this to work is the ability of each person to choose. Once a year, each person checks a box on their tax form to choose their government for the coming year. This is free-market government. Of the people, by the people, for the people, for real. No longer will we be captive to the political game, where our only real choice is to replace Tweedledee with Tweedledum. Now, if we choose Tweedledum, he knows that if he fails to make us happy, we will take away what matters most to him: the power he gets from spending our money.

Another vital piece of the puzzle: each year the IRS must accept up to two new NTG applications. Thus, if the people who originally supported the Red government for their stand on abortion, but who despise it for its stand on the death penalty or its propensity to attack other nations will split off and found the Purple government.

The question then arises: how do these various governments manage the truly common needs of the nation? They do this by consensus, by working together on the projects they truly agree on and are willing to fund. The Department of Defense, subsequently turned into a corporation called American Security, Inc., will be managed by the stockholders (the Red and Blue and ??? NTGs) who will govern it in proportion to the percentage of ownership they are willing to assume and able to afford. The same goes for the IRS and every other department of the federal government.

I have described a form of government totally foreign to us, yet not without precedent. Accomplishing such a transition and making it work will require great effort and deep thought. But I cannot help but feel certain that such a transition from our current monolithic, monopolistic forms of government must eventually give way to a free-market form of non-territorial government where the government follows the person, not the other way around. The only question as I see it is: when?


Why government cannot be a charitable organization.

Our diocesan weekly newspaper features a bi-weekly article by a priest on the subject of justice. Reading his article, which I always do, I get the impression that he would be quite happy if the government would stop fighting wars, and put the money to better uses, like making more subsidized housing available, or providing everyone with health insurance. I would not be surprised if he looked favorably on the recent law passed in Massachusetts regarding health insurance for all.
I understand his concern for the poor. I share that. What I find misguided is his insistence that government be a part of the answer to all social problems. After the misguided War on Poverty, and the well-meaning welfare programs of the recent past, why isn't it clear that government is unable to provide the answers. Yet, when speaking with someone who advocates government assistance of varying kinds as the solution to problems of poverty, one instead hears that the private sector cannot handle the problem (impoverished as it is by excessive taxes); the government is really the only element in society large enough to handle such an enormous set of problems. Somehow these people do not see the problems inherent in charity-by-government.
First of all, consider this: if it is the government's responsibility to help the poor, then my part of the good that might be accomplised by government programs is finished when my taxes are paid. I have no personal responsibility to the poor. My taxes are paid: I've done my part.
Second, government is about force and coercion. It is about doing the things that no other segment of human society can accomplish, such as war (defense) and dealing with other countries as one nation to another. But helping the poor? Government may be able to set up a bureaucracy and pass out money, but it cannot do it with caring. That requires a human soul reacting, not to government mandate, but in response to the love of God. Government cannot do this. Government cannot care. And caring is what is needed when it comes to giving support to those who cannot care for themselves. Government aid to the poor is charity-by-coercion; taxes are hardly freewill offerings.
Third, government cannot judge need. The most seasoned bureaucrat cannot distinguish between real need and the clever scammer. It doesn't have time for that. It isn't in their job description. That too requires a person who cares. Tough love still requires the ability to love. Government-as-charity is inherently inefficient.
If none of this has convinced you, let's ask the commnonly-heard question: what would Jesus do? We don't have to guess about this. Did Jesus command his followers to give away their money to... the government, to give to the poor? Could Jesus, on Palm Sunday, have said yes to those who wanted him to ascend to David's throne, and have shown us how government is done in a definitive way? If government was the answer to social justice and poverty, wouldn't Jesus have shown that by his actions regarding government?
Oddly (from the point of view of those who think government programs are the answer instead of the problem) Jesus seems kind of cool to government. Sure, he did say to give to Caesar what is Caesar's, but he could have been merely pointing out the importance of respect for a person's property. Yes, he had a kingdom, though not of this world, and not one that anyone was forced to be subject to. (Now, that is an interesting model for government!)
No, the answer to social justice and poverty is not more government, but much, much less. If government did not take over 25% of GNP, we would have a lot more to take from our own pockets to give directly to those in need. Then the responsibility would be back where it belonged. Then the principals of solidarity and subsidiarity would be addressed in truth. Then charity would indeed be love freely given, and justice would spring from the heart.

Preliminary Thoughts On a Guild

Financial advisors are nearly unanimous about one thing: every family should maintain a cash reserve of between three and six months of expenses to carry them through the occasional rough spot. That "rough spot" can be sickness, unemployment, or any number of other unexpected events that most families can expect to face at one time or another.
But putting aside readily-available cash in that amount is not efficient. If you put it under the mattress, or bury it in the backyard in a coffee can, it will be there (probably) when an emergency arises, but will have returned no interest in the meantime. Putting it into a typical bank savings account will earn a little bit, and its safer than the mattress or coffee can, but it still is not as efficient a use of the money as is possible.
What would be better is to pool the cash, using it in the way that banks and insurers do. These companies work on the well-known principle that it is unlikely that all "demand deposits" will be demanded at the same time by all the people who deposit them. So they hold some portion of it aside, but they invest the rest in ways that will provide the maximum return for the least risk to capital and availability.
By pooling their cash reserves, in other words, a group of families can still be responsible about their emergency supply of cash and, at the same time, make the most efficient use of their cash.
I am looking, therefore, for up to one hundred families who would be interested in forming a corporation to pool their cash reserves and invest some part of them in safe and efficient ways to maximize the value of those reserves. The investors will be co-owners of the corporation, and will make the decisions jointly about how the reserves are invested, and what uses are to be made with the returns on those investments. My real interest is not to generate additional cash reserves for the families involved, as if this were merely another investment group, but to make use of the investment returns in creative ways, for the possible benefit of many.
I believe in the power of people working together for good. And I see in the prudence of the family cash reserve an untapped opportunity to discover new ways for us to serve others. If any of this sounds reasonable and prudent, as well as the right thing to do, contact me. Become a part of something wonderful.


"The reason the world does not recognize us is that it never recognized the Son." -- I John 3: 1b

How does the secular world see the Church? At best, it sees us as unfortunate misguided people, not aware that the world has discovered that "God" is not necessary (evolution, after all, explains everything). It sees us as believers in pious myths, unable to stand on our own, but needing the prop of religion to survive in this world. At worst, it sees us as dangerously out of touch with reality. After all, we do not realize the moral necessity for contraception and abortion, the rightness of divorce (we were not meant to live with the same person our whole lives), intolerant of homosexuals and unaccepting of their civil rights, imposing a faulty and archaic worldview on innocent children, who should be taught how to live in the real world.

But how does the Catholic see the Church? He views the whole universe through the prism of Jesus of Nazareth, the only man ever born who can rightly claim divinity. As a result, the Catholic sees the history of humanity as a progress of encounters with God, first through the prophets of Judaism, and then, subsequent to the life of Jesus, through the teaching and sacred works (sacraments) of the Church. He views morality as the sole province of the Church, who alone rightly defines what is right and what is wrong in an authoritative way. He sees that he has a purpose in living a good and holy life, in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He anticipates a final state of everlasting life, where all tears are wiped away, and every injustice is answered.