WE THE PEOPLE… are declaring independencefrom the capitalist, antiquated faux-meritocracy state that limits a majorityof its people, while falsely leading those who win to believe they have done itthrough individual effort and talent.
The aim of this new state is to establishthe order of Socrates’ concept of an ideal state – though in a very differentmanner than put forward in Plato’s Republic– while also balancing the rights and liberties so valued by the Enlightenmentthinkers. The following declaration shall discuss the rights of the citizen, a briefsection on religion, the structure of the economy and its relationship to the structureof government, education, and closing remarks. I. RIGHTSOF THE CITIZENThe basic rights of the citizen shall include,but not be limited, to: access to healthcare, access to food and drinkingwater, access to shelter, and access to education. The rights are not to beviolated, and if they are the citizen shall have redress against those leadingthe state who have denied her of her rights. Further rights and entitlementswill be outlined in forthcoming documents.
The state shall be formed as in JohnLocke’s Second Treatise of Government,whereby citizens join together as one body with an agreed-upon head of statethat is responsible for the establishment and enforcement of the law. Asfurther clarified in the Second Treatise:”The only way whereby anyone divests himself of his natural liberty, and putson the bonds of civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and uniteinto a community,” for the sake of security, with the understanding one musttrade some liberty when seeking security (Locke, 95). The contract betweencitizen and state can be opted out of by an appeal process once the citizen reachesthe age of 21, as she will have been born into it through her parent(s)’ choiceto raise her in this state. While recognizing the right over everycitizen to practice their preferred religion, there is no place for a statereligion in the governing of the state itself, and as such the state will beconsidered neutral and react neither with nor against any religiously motivatedactions. Education will be provided with as little piety as possible – for a purelysecular education is unattainable, given that much of the world’s bestdocumented histories have been recorded and preserved only by religiousinstitutions. While there is no placefor religion in the statehood itself, citizens are entitled to the right ofpracticing their preferred religion – so long as they do not evangelize. II.
METHODOF GOVERNANCEThe method of governance in the state willmost closely resemble what is known today as liberal democratic socialistrepublic. It will stem from Cicero’s DeRe Publica and De Legitimus, writtenbetween 54 and 51 BC, and translates from Latin to English as “Of theCommonwealth.” The republic will be of the people, meaning that the leaders andstatesmen will be elected by the people.
The society proposed by Cicero includedmany gender inequalities, often attributed to the historical period it waswrote in. In this society, unlike in Cicero’s, citizens of all genders abovethe age of 21 will have the right to participate in said elections. The decisionof 21 years of age will be explained in the following section of the paperThe socialist element of the state’sgoverning system can be defined as put forth through Marx and Engels’ Manifesto: the system of collectiveownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. Democraticsocialism gives more importance to the character of democracy where the powerof governance is attained through the polls. It states that any changes ingovernment and society must be through fair elections. The benefits of such ademocratic socialist state have been realized and experience by smaller statesalready, such as Sweden and Denmark.
States where taxes are high, and publicprograms are plenty, have been ranked the happiest countries in the world (Helman,2011). These countries are not only happy, but also rank steadily in the toptwenty gross domestic product producers, and they are full of innovation(Tasch, 2017). The state will realize its full potential by adaptinga method put forward in Karl Marx’ and Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto, maintaininga communal, non-capitalist economy.
In line with a Marxist society, no privateproperty is held by the individual private citizen, though contrastingly toMarx, it is instead held by the people as a communal resource. Marx and Engelspropose that the concept of private property of the bourgeoisie be abolished inits entirety, and “to centralize all instruments of production in the hands ofthe State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class,” (Marx, 31).
Marx believes the ruling class will be the proletariat, but in Marx’ societythere is no instrument in place to prevent the new ruling class from letting theirnewly acquired power get the better of them. With all of the private propertybeing held by the state, it leaves the citizenry with an absence of power – apower they must have if they are to appropriately and willingly continue in thesocial contract between themselves and the state. Should a person holding amore Hobbesian nature come to power, Marx’ system creates an exceptionally facileopportunity for them to use their power to transition the state to anauthoritarian regime. As pointed out by Aristotle, the role of the statesman isnot a slave owner. Therefore, in this State the property will not be held in thehands of the state, and will instead be owned by the people.
The state –however –will have the ability to monitor and measure the management of thepeople, and aid in monetary policy concerning inflation and interest rates tokeep a stable economy. III. CORE OFFUNCTIONING STATEFor a people to be responsible for theirproperties and economy, they must be well educated and have a basicunderstanding of not what to think, but how to think. A continued influence ofSocrates is found in the state’s emphasison Socratic dialogue. This Socratic dialogue will take place not justamong those at the head of the State, but in and between the first two levels proposedin David Singer’s 1961 publication Levelsof Analysis Problem: individual versus the bureaucracy and the bureaucracyversus the state.
The separation of these three levels is for organizational,comparative, and contrasting’s sake. It allows a clear flow of consensus, fromthe individuals of the citizenry, up to the heads of the state. To be engagedin effective civic discourse, it is required that there be an educated and activelyinvolved base.
All members of society must be willing to discuss and problem-solvewith their fellow members, who may be from different parts of that society andthus face different problems then they might. An example of this could beeconomic, labor related, race and antagonism, or anything else. The teachingand active engagement of empathy will be of paramount importance in theeducational systems.
A Socratic dialogue between citizens will be used to reacha consensus, and from there the dialogue will continue between the bureaucracyand the state. The educational system of this state will be of paramountimportance to the society. While the permission of private educationalinstitutions will of course be allowed, the state will strive to create apublic educational environment where they are not necessary. Related to the importance of education is thedecision to limit suffrage to those citizens 21 years and older. According tothe work of psychologist and researcher Daniel J. Levinson, the transitionalphase from pre-adulthood to early adulthood concludes around the age of 22years old (Levinson, 1986). The choice to respect these developmental milesstones in young adults is also due to the importance of an educated citizenry,as discussed in a subsequent section of the document. Moving the voting age upto 21 years old will allow for more cognitive and critical understandings ofthe issues at hand.
Along with the age of voting, the age of conscription willalso be moved up to 21 years of age. Formembers to effectively debate and determine policy, choose their representativesto enact these policies, as well as serve their country, it is required thatthere be an educated and matured base. IV. CONCLUSIONWith this declaration, there is a sincereacknowledgement of the dynamic nature of the state and its citizenry. SheldonS. Wolin points out, in his work “Politics and Vision”: “Just as other fieldshave changed their outlines, so the boundaries of what is political have beenshifting ones, sometimes including more, sometimes less of human life andthough,” (Wolin, p. 6). As these political boundaries ebb and flow, reflectingtheir time period and popular opinions, as should the covenants which the governmenthas been established on.
Thus, thedocument itself can be revised with the approval of a two thirds majority ofthose elected to represent the state. Wolin also points out the “peculiar”language of political theorists, recounting claims of vagueness (Wolin, p.12).While specific rights and modes of operation have been explicitly outlined inthis document, there remains an intended element of vagueness. This is tosupport the aforementioned acknowledgement of the fluidity of society, and thatmany times laws must leave flexibility for discretion.