Dwight Writes


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.