Dec 20, 2013

Travel Advisory for Edanian Citizens. 20/12/2013 through 31/03/2014

  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has compiled the following list fo travel advisories:

Should Not Enter (nations or areas on this list are considered of such high danger that the Ministry advises all citizens to avoid travel to, through, or over these places):

Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) [tyranny]
Syria [active civil war]

High Risk (nations or areas where people face high risk of injury or detention. The Ministry advises against any non-essential travel to these places):

Afghanistan [unrest]
Algeria [unrest, kidnapping]
Central African Republic [unrest]
Democratic Republic of the Congo [unrest]
Gaza [terrorist acticity]
Iran [tyranny]
Iraq [unrest]
Lebanon [unrest]
Libya [unrest]
Mali [unrest]
Mauritania [terrorist activity]
Niger [unrest]
Nigeria [terrorist activity]
Somalia [terrorist activity]
South Sudan [war]
Sudan [unrest]
Tunisia [state of emergency]
the West Bank [terrorist activity]
Yemen [terrorist activity]

Caution (nations or areas with a risk of injury or detention. The Ministry advises caution for all travellers to these places):

Burundi [terrorist activity]
Columbia [crime]
Cote d'Ivoire [unrest]
El Salvador [crime]
Eritrea [internal restrictions on foreigners]
Honduras [crime, kidnapping]
Mexico [crime, kidnapping]
Pakistan [terrorist activity]
Venezuela [crime]

Other (nations or areas the Ministry determined have 'elements of concern to Edanians')
Haiti [lack of infrastructure]

Nov 15, 2013

Pride, Populism, and the Papacy - from Prince Jonathan

It is a truth often repeated by Traditionalists that the Catholic Church is not democratic. Something that should be repeated more often, however, is the basis of this fact. The Church is not just un-democratic in the accidents of her hierarchy and organization, but also in the substance of her underlying philosophies and assumptions. If the Church were somehow altered so that she was governed by popular vote, but was otherwise unchanged, or if the United States were changed to a government identical with that of the Church, but still maintained its integral character; then they would still be at odds. The modern democratic West is un-Catholic at a fundamental level, and in this article, I will attempt to explain why.

The reason is, in a word, individualism. It has been the tendency of thought in the West since the time of the American Revolution to declare that the primary, or in some cases, the only, driver of morality is individual freedom. The foundation of the democratic spirit is that the individual person is the basis of the world, and that society, government, and all else above him exists only at his sufferance. Unless he goes so far as to directly harm others by his actions, his rights to self-determination are paramount.

We see this philosophy everywhere in the modern world. It is the basis of contemporary secular civilization. Marriage is attacked because, after all, marriage is only an institution, and if a few individuals want to ignore or alter this institution, then it is their prerogative to do so. Capitalism is considered the only moral economic system by many, because it allows individuals to conduct their business however they please, which is the only moral way to proceed. Religion and prayer are removed from public events and venues because they may cause people to feel or think that they cannot live in any manner they want, and we can't have that.

It is this pervasive, corrosive conceptualization of the world that sets democracy and Catholicism at odds. But why? Why are they in opposition to each other? After all, the foundations of individualism were invented by Catholic philosophers. The fundamental tenets of liberty and human rights were first proposed by the Church, and are still held by it today. So how is it exactly that the Church is un-democratic and un-individualistic?

The truth is that much of individualism is built on solid ground, which many Traditionalists, in their rush to defeat it, forget. The consent of the governed, human rights, and self-determination are good moral points. What is not a good moral point is the equivocation of these things' existence with the supremacy of the individual man. This claimed supremacy and sovereignty, and, more importantly, the conclusions derived from them, are nothing more than perversions and misuses of philosophy, and a twisting of the basis of a moral society.

For the Catholic Church and the societal views she breeds accept these moral points, but individualism is built upon them. It is entirely based upon them, and admits nothing else. All it has is the individual and his rights and wants. In the end, all it has is "me". In its focus upon "me", it makes it all about "me". It is true that societies, governments, and other such things are most moral, perhaps even only moral, when built up voluntarily; but not to make any attempt to elevate it above "me" is foolish. It causes a strange sort of plague of hubris and narcissism whose bitter fruit we reap today.

Being raised and trained to think politically and philosophically only of yourself and your wants and moral position has not shown itself to be healthy. It has created a generation of people worldwide who truly believe that it is a horrid injustice that they are not allowed to bare their nudity in public, or who feel that they should be free to exploit the poor if it is done via contract, or who think that it is only fair that they should be able to dissolve marriage at will. And, furthermore, it has made this generation into an army of critics and would-be emperors, who deride and despise anything done differently than the way they would do it. It has made people hate any wisdom other than their own, try to tear down anything done against their wants, and treat themselves as the source of all doctrine. Argue with me about this being the result of individualism all you want; I have the brute fact of the modern world on my side.

These things, these beliefs and attitudes, are the logical extension and basic conclusion of individualism; and it is them that the Church is opposed. For these attitudes are the opposite of what is Christian, and are indeed an elevation of the spirit of sin. The world is not about us, nor are we the wisest people of them all, nor is it our place to pass judgement on society itself, nor are we the be-all, end-all of morality. A belief in such things can only come from the Adversary, because to believe in them is, however slightly, to equate ourselves with God. Moreover, to embrace them is also to embrace a spirit of Protestantism, which makes "me" the only true interpreter of the Word of God. After all, if I am the source of all authority, who needs the Hierarchy of the Church?

But sadly enough, this individualism is so widely embraced today as to be considered the norm by all. The Pope is criticized for his actions by lay people across America, Theology is ignored or mistaught by those who disagree with it, and all talk of duty or proper society has vanished from the political sphere. Everything is now about maximizing personal freedom, and optimizing things according to individual wants. The world is now about "me", and this deceitful ordering of things must be defeated.

Not defeated by collectivism and centralization by force, as the most devout individualists hold is the only other stance, but by a simple lack of individualism. As Catholics and Traditionalists ought to know, there are many things that matter more than us. If we want the evils of the modern world to end, I say that the best way to do it is to simply take on a little humility, which is, of course, the simplest and hardest task in the world.

Nov 11, 2013

St. Nicholas' Day in Edan

  As we approach Advent and Christmas we also approach the Feast of St. Nicholas, a 3rd class feast and a favorite of the Royal Family. Quite a bit of tradition has grown up around this day, the 6th of December, in Edan. What follows is how the Royal Family typically celebrates this day.
  At bedtime on the night of December 5th all the princes place their shoes on the hearth and then each prince places a single carrot into one of his shoes. Once the princes are asleep the King and Queen also go off to bed.
  In the morning the princes awake to find that St. Nicholas' horse has eaten all the carrots (leaving behind just a few small nibbles) and that St. Nicholas has filled the shoes with candy! The saint has also left each prince a small toy or two and a book.
  This is usually the first day that Christmas music is played in the royal household. Throughout the day the family speaks of the coming of Christmas and the meaning of charity. That night after dinner the King reads from the bible about Our Lady and St. Joseph travelling to Bethlehem in preparation for the birth of Christ and everyone enjoys some egg nog before bed.

Oct 11, 2013

The Traditionalism of the Present

[from Prince Jonathan]
  It can be very difficult to be a traditionalist some days. You are continuously mocked and decried as irrationally holding on to something long ago disproven, by people who themselves refuse to consider your position rationally. You are often betrayed or left behind by the political factions who were, mere days before, your staunchest allies and most energetic defenders. You are hard pressed to find anyone who agrees with you, and when you do, you often find that they have a radically different focus, so that you only barely share the same views. Yet, if you have any measure of conviction, you will struggle on all the same, content in the thought that you have the truth. The truth about society, the truth about politics, the truth about the world; that is the nature of traditionalism, and it is that nature that we should embrace.
  For if we do not hold our traditionalism because of its essential truth, if we hold it solely because it is beautiful or ancient or simply preferred by us, then we truly justify the criticisms and hurdles we must so often deal with. Indeed, choosing traditionalism purely because it is traditional is, in a great irony of language, against the spirit of that very concept. Clinging to the past because we like it is, in fact, a liberal choice, an elevation of the individual over society. Pomp, ritual, and solemnity, or age, genealogy, and tradition are not sufficient reasons to hold a complete worldview, no matter how elegant and wonderful they may be.
  This is not to say that these things, these beautiful facets of tradition, are bad. Quite the opposite, they are good. But still, they are not the spirit of tradition, and should not be treated as such. If the outlook of traditionalism had always been accompanied by severity and simplicity, or if there were no rituals or family ties related to it, or even if it were completely new and never before seen, it would still be right. It would still be the same spirit with the same keys to moral order and the betterment of society as a whole. Traditionalism is the proper order of things because of its substance, not its accidents.
  So, to finally state the message of this article clearly, being a traditionalist does not mean that you have to live in the past. On the contrary, in fact; it means you must look to the future. We know the way to proper society, we know the need for a love of duty, for the rule of law, for honour, for identity, and, yes, for respect of what came before. We know that this is the way to build a better country, so we ought to pursue its implementation regardless of what trappings come with it. If we can make it look the way we want it to, so much the better, but this is unnecessary. These traditions of beauty and stability will arise from a well-ordered civilization no matter what, for they come from the spirit of tradition, and not vice versā.
  Indeed, all these magnificent rituals and all these trappings of civilization were once new and innovative. All traditions, and all things loved by traditionalism, were once modern inventions. If we wanted to truly go back to the way things originally were, we would have nothing. Regal garb and majestic crowns, ancient families and royal blood, etiquette, heraldry, and art; all once were newborn and just created. But even then, at their dawn, they were not against tradition; for they sprang from the substance of tradition, which can survive without any ritual.
  So, going forward, we must move discerningly and cautiously as we try to build tradition back up after the wars it has lost. On the one hand, we are commanded by the tenets of traditionalism to respect even the smallest things created by our ancestors. On the other, we must recognize that, in some few ways, the world truly has changed, and we only harm ourselves by refusing to change anything at all to match it. Change, properly done, is traditional; and living in the past, improperly done, is liberal. A great irony, perhaps, but true.

Oct 9, 2013

21st Century Monasteries and Edan

  Various institutions are releasing updated demographics numbers over the next few months and the initial reports are as expected; all of Asia is below replacement fertility, as is all of Europe, all of South America, North Africa, South Africa, and other areas are close. The global fertility rate has been dropping for 50 years and shows no signs of stopping within the next 25, especially since the fertility tempo (average age of the birth of a first child) is also increasing.
  The artificial gender imbalance caused by sex-selective abortion and ubiquitous ultrasounds means that the low fertility rates may be masking a more serious problem - sex ratios so skewed that the next generation will be much smaller than predicted. Areas of rural China have a 14 to 1 ratio of males to females in their young population (under 30 years old) and areas of India have an even higher imbalance, estimated to peak at almost 19 to 1. Overall these two nations alone have no less than 50 million men under the age of 30 who can never have a wife do to an artificial shortage of women.
  The impact has been horrific for women - human trafficking, ubiquitous sexual assault, and physical attacks.
  Meanwhile, the West continues to glorify hypergamy, fornication, and childlessness. Mass media dismisses the family and praises the ill and the dysfunctional. After creating an artificial 'teen culture' mass marketing continues their effort to sexualize all ages. Porn is prevalent to the point that actual art is being pushed out of public consciousness. And self-abuse so common that it is leading to mass impotence in the young.
  The apparent triumph of low, or 'pop'. culture, the dismissal of morals and ethics by those who shout from rooftops for money, the replacement of education with credentialism and the accompanying trend of people delaying marriage and children in pursuit of worthless credentials and the associated high debt will continue to drive down fertility well after demographic implosion begins to destroy the current economic system. After all, a system based upon the assumption of perpetual growth cannot survive contraction!
  And the weaknesses of Democracy are on full display as the various nation-states stagger toward the abyss.
  What can we do about this?
  Everything that matters.
  The core ideals and principles of Edan are focused not just on  the cardinal virtues but also on stability; Edan is meant to endure and thrive in the most difficult of times. How? It is structured like a family which, of course, reflects God's design. Rejecting the horrors of Communism and the dehumanizing effects of Capitalism; standing by the truth and rejecting relativism; maintaining and preserving high culture; reaching out to our neighbors in true charity. These are the things we can and will do.
  Some have called Catholic homeschoolers the monasteries of virtue of the current truly Dark Age. Edan will join them in preserving civic virtue in a world collapsing under the weight of evil.

Sep 5, 2013

A Royal Address for the week of September 1st, 2013

To the Citizens and Nobles of Edan and the Peoples of all the World, Greetings.

  As global tensions remain high we have been repeatedly asked for our position on the unrest within the Middle East. To repeat a phrase from an opinion issued during the revolt in Libya,
"We have watched the various rebellions in the Middle East with the sadness that comes from having predicted the events years ago and realizing that these revolts are in response to the natural desire for a proper, personal government based upon joint moral obligations and that successful rebellions may, in the long term, be worse than the status quo because the rebels only know what they do not want"
  It brings us no joy to see our predictions proven correct in Libya, Egypt, and other, similar, nations.  We are no champion of dictators, but the current chaos was too predictable to make the time, methods, and actors of change more palatable.
  Syria is slightly different. Assad does not embrace the core concepts of Edan, but the forces that have been fighting to overthrow him are, again, no more palatable. The recent apparent use of chemical weapons has attracted increased foreign scrutiny of this terrible conflict, but no more clarity and certainly no greater moral standing on any side.
  Before continuing, let us make clear a few points. Edan currently has no citizens within the borders of Syria unless they are currently travelling; Edan has no level of diplomatic exchange with Syria; Edan has no economic interests in or related to Syria or the Syrian government.
  The Assad regime is the recognized legitimate government of Syria by international treaty, diplomatic relations, and UN membership. According to the Montevideo Convention (to whom the United States is a signatory but Syria is not) which in article 3 states that,
“The state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its conservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to legislate upon its interests, administer its services, and to define the jurisdiction and competence of its courts.”
  and in article 8 states,
“No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.”
  Together these show that the United States is bound to treat the Syrian government's defense of its own integrity against either internal rebellion or outside subversion as legal and internal and to not interfere in this conflict unless the Syrian government requests it.
  The United States being bound by this convention could be argued to not apply to Syria, which is not a signatory. However, the United States, France, and Syria are all members of the United Nations and signatories to the UN Charter, which has the legal power of a treaty. The UN Charter repeats the provisions of the Montevideo Convention in slightly different language including article 2, paragraph 4 which states,
"Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
  And in article 51 states,
 “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self- defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”
  Together, these clearly state that unless the United Nations Security Council authorizes such intervention no UN member can legally do the things being publicly debated by various members of the UN, including 'limited strikes' or 'regime change'.
  There are some claims that [paraphrase] 'the use of chemical weapons allows [some nation or group] to directly intervene in the absence of UN Security Council approval'.  We assume this is a reference the the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which permits slightly more broad action of its signatories.
  This is, bluntly, false. The CWC only permits assistance and cooperation between signatories, it does not allow various signatories to pursue unilateral international actions against other members who violate the treaty. Further, even if it did, it only permits actions by and between entities which are members of the CWC - and Syria is not a CWC signatory.

  Let us be clear; we are not so naive as to think that 'international law' is more than a vague hope for some and a thin screen for realpolitik for others. At the same time, however, treaties are meant to be as binding as internal laws upon their signatories. This is certainly the conceit of the United States as it attempts to use treaties to force internal change upon other nations in its pursuit of American tax revenue. If the United States demands that other signatories cleave to the letter and spirit of a tax treaty, should they not be expected by other nations to do the same regarding the UN Charter, the Montevideo Convention, etc?
  Certainly the United States is not alone. Great Britain was eager to likewise violate a variety of its treaties, as France remains.
  Thus, before we even grapple with the uncertainty of who is at fault for the origin of Syria's internal strife, who performed the chemical weapons attacks (and there have been at least 4), or the moral standing of any of the parties involved we must understand that this is, in the end, Syria's war to fight.

Sep 3, 2013

Choosing Illusions

  One of the most chilling concepts in theology is the idea that we choose Hell: the idea is that at the time of judgement everyone is presented with heaven, part of which is a clear, perfect view of reality, including the reality of ourselves. The damned are the ones who decide not to look, who reject reality for lies because reality is too much for them. The damned choose to be damned because, to them, eternal torment is preferable to the truth.
  Perhaps most people participating in modern politics are likewise rejecting reality for illusion.
  I have expressed my views on Communism elsewhere. It seems obvious to me that the various people and groups that still adhere to and promote Communism do so out of improper motives. They are, in the end, rejecting reality.
  Are the members of Democracies that much better at recognizing reality? The slide of Democracy to collapse is so well known and understood that some of America's founders opposed Democracy and, when they were overruled by the democratic process, warned the nation of the danger. The French First Republic was notable for the Reign of Terror, a bloodbath that presaged the horrors of the 20th Century, and for lasting barely over a decade before being transformed into an empire that started the first global war and transformed civilians and such into 'acceptable strategic targets' of war. The French Second Republic lasted only about three and a half years but was still riddled with riots, uprisings, and death and, again, collapsed into a bellicose empire. The French Third Republic fell to invasion and the French Fourth Republic collapsed under its own weight. The French are on their Fifth Republic, so far, and still cling to the idea that the concepts that created the Terror, the Napoleonic Wars, are important to France being a great nation....
  From France to Germany, the USA to the UK the rise of democracy has seen the decline of nations and, much more importantly, decline for the citizens of those nations. I am not discussing increases in material goods, I mean the legal rights and moral health of people. Considering the level or unrest visible in these nations, I do not think greater wealth replaces less freedom and degraded public morals. From the rise of nationalist parties in Europe to movements such as Occupy and the Tea Party in the USA people demonstrate that they know they are losing ground but continue to return to Democracy again and again.
  Because, in the end, Democracy is a comforting illusion. The spectacle of 'the electoral process' catches the eye; the platitudes of politicians and pundits engage the ear; the ritual of voting lulls the mind; the continual, meaningless bickering between interchangeable empty suits numbs the spirit. The flashy pomp and weightless rhetoric of 'politics' is so ubiquitous that people become sick of 'hearing about politics' and tune it out without realizing that is the goal - apathy. Yet even those who want to change, want to make an impact stick to the same pattern, use the same formulas, try to 'engage voters' and 'frame the narrative' and 'create a grassroots movement' and on, and on, and on... just like the people they wish to replace for being ineffectual (at best) or corrosive (as usual). They don't realize that they are just slapping a new coat of paint on the same Potemkin village.
  The question that strikes at the core of modern Democracies isn't 'which party should I vote for?' it is 'why is it that, no matter who is in power, things never get better?'
  Sure, this constituency might get that tax increase/break they wanted, and that group might get the program increase/cut they spent sixty million euros lobbying for, but overall things still got worse; the economy is still booming and busting with each boom a little lower at apogee and each bust a little lower at perigee; the overall burden f taxes, fees, fines, and such still creeps up each year, somehow; the burden of laws and regulations makes it harder and harder to get anything really done and done well; but once the 'electoral process' parade begins most people get in line for the ritual of casting a vote.
  The Western culture really hammers us all with the idea that political systems boil down to "Democracy vs. various types of tyranny" and has done so for over a Century. The replacement of centuries-old, stable Monarchies with Democracies was of key importance to Western Democracies after WWI and WWII and we are still reaping the fruits of these changes in the Balkans and the Middle East. But the most stable nations in the Middle East are still monarchies; Lichtenstein is a beacon of success in Europe (and the citizens routinely vote down attempts to introduce more democracy to their nation), and it seems that as the Constitutional Monarchies of Europe degrade the powers of their monarchs their nation's see their own wealth and influence degrade as well. Yet, still, Democracy is idolized.
  Certainly, some few see the issues with Democracy and go too far, rejecting all government as inherently bad, but this is just another form of accepting the illusion that there is either Democracy or nothing worthwhile.
  So, what do we do?
  Start pointing at the 'electoral process' and laughing. Long and loud. Start asking the real questions, such as,
 'But what was the real meaning of the speech? Not the signals, not the opposition to another party - the real, inherent meaning?'
 'When did your life get better because of Democracy?'
  'If your duty conflicts with Democracy, what would win?"
  And be a proud monarchist!

Aug 29, 2013

How Edan Works: The Ministries and the Cabinet

  The various elements of executive power are divided into six ministries; State, Justice, Armed Forces, Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Information. The head of each ministry serves as a member of the Cabinet. The duties of each ministry are as follows.
The Ministry of State- Responsible for the internal affairs of the Kingdom, including: maintaining a census; running the Grand Census and Royal Census; social welfare efforts; utilities and infrastructure (including transportation); housing; and the environment.
Ministry of Justice- Responsible for law enforcement, search and rescue, prison supervision, and the training of justice personnel.
Ministery of the Armed Forces- Oversees all military forces and training standards of the same.
Ministery of Finance- Oversees the Royal Treasury, Royal Bank, coining of money, taxation, and financial regulation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Oversees and manages all ambassadors, consuls, diplomats, etc.
Ministry of Information- Oversees the Royal Library, the Assembly Library, the Royal Archives, and all Royal Media including internet communications.

Aug 27, 2013

How Edan Works: Voting, Sessions, and the Government's Calendar

This 'nuts and bolts' discussion is a deeper dive into how elections work and the calendar of the government. 

  The Kingdom of Edan uses Greenwich Mean Time for all governmental purposes although local time is usually also included for ease of understanding.
  General elections for the Senate are held every two years and are overseen by the Ministry of State. Voting begins at 1 minutes after Midnight on the 1st of March and ends 1 minute before midnight on the 2nd of March, giving citizens just under 48 hours to cast their votes. In general it is believed that voting will be permitted by electronic communications as well as in person.
  In certain cases a special election will be needed. Special elections are scheduled and announced by the Ministry of State and the voting period lasts for 72 hours.
  All senate elections use the single transferable vote proportional representation system with voting groups decided by the Ministry of State as needed. It is expected that citizens will be divided into groups that select between 4 and 8 senators, probably based upon fiefdoms.
  All votes will be tallied and a complete count will be done at least twice. If more than 7 counts are required the Ministry of Justice shall assist with counts and in the unlikely event of a tie a run-off elections will be held until elections are complete.
  The Assembly (which is the Senate and the Council) has 1 session each year; a session is the period when the legislature is available to performs its duty. Each year's session lasts from March 8th and ends on October 31st unless one or both days fall upon a Sunday - if that happens the date is delayed until the following Monday.
  The session is divided into conclaves of eight weeks each with a recess of 2 weeks in between. The conclaves are periods of active legislation while the recesses are for discussion, time with citizens, relaxation, etc. The period of a session contains enough time for 3 conclaves plus an addition 4 weeks; the extra time is in case the budget process is delayed, to accommodate government holidays (which do not count as part of the time of a conclave!), or if there is a need for a special election.
  The First Senator may request a null conclave - this is, essentially, a conclave where no work is done. The First Senator may ask once per session and the King may refuse the request.
  The grand conclave is held each year on the 15th of November. On that day the tax schedule for the upcoming year is published and the King makes his address to the people on the state of the kingdom and the upcoming year.
  Members of the Council may assign a proxy to serve in their stead (usually due to illness or military service).A council member who fails in their duties to the legislature (not attending and not assigning a proxy) by lose their noble status.
  Senators must vote on each proposed law introduced during a conclave, Failure to vote in 3 consecutive conclaves means they are removed from the Senate. In an exception, once per term a senator may request a leave of absence of up to two conclaves.
  The High Tribunal meets in session from the first Monday in February until the first Monday in November. The High Tribunal may take two recesses per year, each lasting a month and each separated by at least 2 months.
  On to more direct information.
  In general the royal and noble governments do no non-essential business on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation. Emergency services will, of course, always be available.
  King Richard has created a list of days in which the government is restricted to essential work only;
  January 1st - the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  January 6th - the Epiphany
  March 19th - the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  April 1st - Constitution Day
  June 29th - the Solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
  August 15th - the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  August 19th - the King's Birthday
  August 25th - the Feast of St. Louis IX
  September 22nd - the Feast of St. Maurice
  November 1st - All Saints' Day
  December 8th - the Feast of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  December 24th through December 31st - The Nativity of the Lord and the beginning of Christmastide

  Ash Wednesday
  Holy Week and Easter Monday
  The Ascension
  Whit Monday
  The Feast of Corpus Christi

  Local nobles may set their own holidays, of course.

Aug 22, 2013

A Brief Article from Prince Nicholas [age 10]

I look around me and find a great number of things have changed in the last couple of years. Perhaps most noticeable is the state of currency. Money matters more now;about a century ago,you could be completely out of money and still survive. Farmers needed no money, only barter and their own food. Some artists could have powerful patrons who paid for you while you created.,
Sadly, in the modern world if you have no cash or income you face greater pressures and working for a patron is seen as a bad thing.
  Now don't get me wrong; money is good and makes trade easier. However, it should not be the difference between life and death.
  This also shows the lack of charity these days; we expect government or employers to do things, not us.
  And now imagine if 99% of all money vanished over night - civilization as a whole would collapse, governments would fall, there would be riots and wars.
  After all,money means everything, right?
  Please think about this and how we can make a world where money is less important.
  Thank you

Aug 20, 2013

How Edan Works: Law and Justice

  While legislation is created through the Assembly, the enforcement and judgment of law is part of the executive function. Ultimately, enforcing the law and judging the law are manifestations of the King's sovereignty and authority. Nobles share in the king's sovereignty and are therefore also responsible for enforcing and judging the law. One of the duties of all nobles is to be available to pass judgement for his own citizens. The courts are divided into two major groups, Noble Courts and Royal Courts.
   Noble Courts-
   Noble courts are run by local or technocratic nobles. Unless otherwise specified within the Edict of Enfeofment only hereditary Barons and above and technocratic Earls and above have the authority of Low Justice grants them the duty of holding court. But all those of such rank or above have such duties and obligations unless specifically excluded by their enfeofment.
   Nobles must hold court in a time, place, and manner that it is accessible to citizens. The noble may preside himself or appoint a judge to decide in his authority.
   Noble courts deal with all legal matters from within their jurisdiction that are not limited to a higher court by law or edict. They will typically deal with such things as real estate and property disputes, family law, misdemeanors, etc.
  The party or parties that lose within a noble court may appeal to the next higher noble court. Any appeals beyond that go to the royal courts.
   Royal Courts-
   Royal courts are divided into three rather broad categories and three tiers. The categories are private law, public law, and penal law. The tiers are royal courts, appellate courts, and review courts. The parties which lose within a royal court may appeal to the appellate court. In case of conflicting decisions between various jurisdictions the various cases are reviewed by the review court as recommended by a royal judge.
  If a party loses within appellate court they may appeal to the High Tribunal. The High Tribunal may accept or reject an appeal as detailed in the constitution. At any time any party losing at any level may appeal to the King. However, it is highly unlikely the King's Court will intervene unless the appeal comes after being heard or dismissed by the High Tribunal.
  EXAMPLE: Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones have recently accepted citizenship and have been granted adjoining farms in Baron White's territories. About 2 years later Mr. Jones sharply prunes back an oak tree that was shading his garden. The oak tree' trunk, however, is well within Mr. Smith's land (by 3') and the tree dies over the next year. Shortly after Mr. Smith appears at baron White's manor and requests the Baron meet in court over Mr. Smith's demand for compensation for the lost tree. Both are directed to appear at the Baron's court the next Friday.
  They both appear and Mr. Smith explains that he was expecting to receive not just shade and weather protection from the tree but many board feet of mature hardwood in the future. Mr. Jones did not ask or speak about his actions beforehand, he simply acted on what was obviously Mr. Smith's property.
  Mr. Jones counters that while he had not mentioned his own actions, he had complained to Mr. Smith many times that the shade from the tree was blocking the only good plot of garden land on the lee of the Jone's home and that he would appreciate if Mr. Smith helped him with the issue; a request that was ignored.
  Baron White asks a few questions and concludes that while both are at fault, Mr. Jones is moreso and orders him to pay 80% of the estimated value of the board feet the Baron's forester estimates Mr. Smith could have expected in 10 more years. At this point both men accept the judgement and, working with the forester and the Baron's administrator Mr. Jones will supply a certain amount of eggs and milk to Mr. Smith each week for 9 months in lieu of cash.
  But let us suppose Mr. Jones was unhappy and appealed to Duke Gray, Baron White's lord. The Duke employs a judge, so his court has such things as filing fees and court costs, which are published. As soon as Mr. Jones pays the small filing fee his penalties from Baron White's court are suspended pending the appeal.
  Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith appear at Duke Gray's court in 4 more weeks and are before Judge Green. Judge Green listens to the arguments and decides that Mr. Smith will only receive 50% of the board feet value and the court fees will be evenly divided between the two men.
  Since both men are examples of how the system work rather than reasonable men, Mr. Smith is now ready to appeal, as well. The next appeal must go to the royal courts. Since this is between two men not related to one another but no real crime was committed it goes to Public Law court. This time Mr. Smith pays the (still reasonable) filing fee and they are directed to appear in 3 weeks.
  Three weeks later they appear before Judge Rivers. he listens to both men and then decides that while Mr. Smith will still just get 50% of the board feet value Mr. Jones will pay all court costs at all applicable levels. Being an unreasonable simulacra, Mr. Jones now pays the filing fee to appeal to the appellate public law court. There Judge Ocean, for the purpose of demonstration, sides with Mr. Jones and rules that Mr. Smith will only get 50% of the board feet value and pay all court costs at all levels.
  Finally Mr. Smith appeals to the High Tribunal, which never charges fees (but can have costs). This means Mr. Smith must wait for the High Tribunals next session. The High Tribunal agrees that the example must continue and review the case, concluding that Mr. Smith will, yes, get 80% of the values of the anticipated board feet and that each party will pay the court costs associated with their own appeals.
  At this point there is still the opportunity to appeal to the King, but even examples get tired, so they do not do so.

  All humor aside, the system should be fairly intuitive. And, despite the lack of attorneys in the example above, the King intends that the Edanian legal system shall follow the English Rule on attorney's fees. Also, fines should be compensatory only; fees and costs should not be a bar to justice; and the rights of Low and High Justice cannot be impeded by the courts.

  The accreditation of lawyers and judges are the jurisdiction of the crown. Since lawyers and judges are directly involved in the king's business of enforcing and judging the law they are considered to be agents of the king and, thus, ineligible to hold a seat in the senate. It would be theoretically possible for a lawyer or judge to reject their accreditation and status as a lawyer and judge in order to run for the senate, but this would both require the approval of the High Tribunal and the king and be an irrevocable step - such a person could never practice law or act as a judge ever again.

 Because of the nature and structure of Edan it is expected that the majority of laws will be the organic outgrowth of common law practices. In the above example (when all parties were reasonable and stopped at the baronial court) there are two main precedents; that 80% of reasonable value is just compensation in similar cases and that payments can be made in kind and over time. If a similar case were to happen in the same barony a few years later over, say, a blackberry bramble, the owner of the bramble could expect 80% of the value of the bramble and the person fined could expect to pay in kind over time. Changes in situation, though, can mean changes in decisions! If the bramble were beyond a boundary fence rather than overhanging an adjoining property then the compensation could well be 100%.

  So there you have a brief overview of how the Edanian court system works.

Aug 14, 2013

Authentic Social Justice: the Core of Edan

  ">Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority"
Thus begins the catechism's section on Social Justice. What does it really mean? Well, when society allows justice to be done, you have social Justice - obviously. Social justice is part and parcel of both the common man and of leaders.
  Notice what it does not  say, however - it does not say that leaders or the common man must give justice to people or groups. It says that society (meaning the common men and leaders) are to allow people or groups to obtain what is their due. 
  In other words Social Justice is not the giving of things to people by government, it is the conditions of society that allow justice to be gained.

  The Catechism goes on to say,
"Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority: by flouting them, or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy. If it does not respect them, authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from its subjects. "
  More briefly 'human rights are granted by God, not society, and the moral legitimacy of any worldly authority or society is based upon recognizing and supporting these rights'.  Or, 'any society or authority that denies the inherent, God-given rights of Man is not legitimate'.
  So governments, whatever their nature, must support the inherent rights of its people or it will have no legitimacy and and society that flaunts these rights is also illegitimate. This is key because it means that a core contention of Democracy, that legitimacy of society and authority is derived from the will of the people, i.e., the opinions of a majority of voters, is false. If 50.1% of voters support the murder of innocents that does not make the murder of innocents acceptable, it makes the society that supports such voters illegitimate.
  Later the catechism states,
"Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity."
Or 'the inherent rights of all men are the same'. The peasant has the same chance of heaven as the cardinal; the stable boy has as much right to justice as the prince.

  It continues,
"On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The "talents" are not distributed equally...  ...These differences belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular "talents" share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures"
  More shortly, 'equality of inherent rights does not mean equality in all ways; people are tall and short, smart and dumb, skilled speakers and reticent, leaders and followers. These differences are part of God's plan and are good for all involved'. So while the peasant has the same chance of heaven as the cardinal, the cardinal has gifts and authority the peasant does not. Likewise, while the stable boy has the same right to justice as the prince, the prince has duties and obligations the stable boy never will. And this is not just acceptable, it is good.

  The Catechism then warns us that,
">There exist also sinful inequalities that affect millions of men and women...."
  In this the Catechism is speaking of when societies and leaders have or implement systems that impose sinful inequalities upon people. It continues with,
"...Their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane conditions."
  Remember how beginning of this piece we pointed out that,
"t says that society (meaning the common men and leaders) are to allow people or groups to obtain what is their due."
  This portion tells us that when society actively prevents people or groups from obtaining what is their due it is sinful.

  The Catechism concludes its section on Social Justice with,
Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this."
  Or, 'love of neighbor and charity among and between people is the solution to social injustice'.

  So the central ideas of Social Justice are quite clear; be just and allow others to obtain justice; love your neighbor and be charitable.

  But are their guidelines for rulers and leaders as to the nuts and bolts of implementing this?

  The Catechism focuses heavily on Solidarity. Solidarity has two meanings; the earning of a livelihood through work and the friendship and social charity between all people in a society. At its heart Solidarity is the rejection of class as a dividing force between people. The poor are to show solidarity with everyone, not just the poor. The rich are to show solidarity with everyone, not just the rich. Emploers, workers, farmers, artisans, men, women, etc. - all are part of society. By rejecting class as a dividing factor it is also inherently a rejection of individualism as a defining element of humanity. While we are all individuals and have individual needs, etc. no one is ever alone and just as society is an outgrowth of the family no one in a society is capable of being truly apart from that society just as no man can ever not have a mother.
  Solidarity is also much more spiritual and emotional rather than material. The goal of Solidarity isn't wealth, the goal is justice. Granted, justice often leads to increased wealth....
  Yet Solidarity is not collectivist! As we read above, justice is about the individual person; individuals have God-given natural rights, not societies or governments. In the end Solidarity is an explicit rejection of such Liberal concepts such as Communism and Libertarianism - both collectivism and material individualism are rejected as false and, thus, unjust.

  Another key element of a just society is Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the principle that,
""a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good." 
  Or as the OED states,
"The principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate, local level."
   More simply, 'as local and personal as possible'. There are many reasons for thus ranging from simple efficiency (how can a distant administrator have a clearer idea?) and moral (rights are individual, not collective, so avoid the collective). Again, this is a direct rejection of collectivism and individualism; the collective is to be avoided as much as possible, but there are times when the collective is the only answer.

  The next core element is Private Property. The Catechism tells us that,
"In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. the appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men."
  Or, 'men have a right to private property'. Indeed, private property is an element of dignity and freedom and part of Solidarity. But the Catechism also warns us,
"The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. the universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.
  In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself. The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.
Goods of production - material or immaterial - such as land, factories, practical or artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor. "
  Another reminder that we are part of a family and that we owe all good to God and, thus, we owe solidarity to our neighbors. Note as well that yet again there is an explicit rejection of collectivism ('the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise') and individualism (' legitimate goods he... ... owns not... exclusive to himself but common to others...'). Indeed, we are morally obligated to make our property fruitful because fruitfulness helps others. If we are 'middlemen' then we must be as efficient as possible so that we do not waste what could be used charitably. The Catechism later states,
"Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good"
Tied with the obligation to respect the right to private property this means that governments have the right to regulate, say, workplace safety, waste disposal and pollution, etc. to ensure the common good. So while private property is a right, it is not an absolute right. Indeed,
"Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.
The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation."
  Note how this states that waste, excessive expense, and willfully damaging your own property is immoral.  Also, the inescapable conclusion is that to be moral we must reject not just collectivism and individualism but also Communism/Socialism and laissez-faire Capitalism. Communism rejects the idea of private property, denying people freedom, security, and the option for their own justice. Socialism rejects subsidiarity and demands central planning, dehumanizing the person. Laissez-faire Capitalism rejects Solidarity and focuses on profits instead of people. The inherent collectivism of Communism and Socialism (which rejects individual rights and justice) is matched by the inherent individualism of Capitalism (which rejects legitimate authority and the common good. Thus, Edan embraces Distributism, which is no more than the consolidation of Catholic social justice.
  Here are the core ideas of Edan:
1) All citizens have a right to private property, a right to just compensation for their goods and services, and a right to enter into contracts, including employment contracts, of their own free will
2) Ownership of private property and work are both inherently good for the individual and for society. 'Work' includes physical, artistic, intellectual, and spiritual work.
3) The government has the authority to regulate private property and business for the common good.
4) Decisions should be made as far 'down' the hierarchy of authority as possible.
5) Co-operatives and guilds are preferred to unions and corporations. 
6) Government is for leadership, not charity.

Aug 13, 2013

How Edan Works - Budget and Taxes

  In the most recent post we discussed how the Assembly passes laws. There is a mild exception to this, and that is the budget. There a specific rules about the budget that must be followed;
1) The budget is (almost) the first thing the Assembly does each year (after an election the first step is to elect a First Senator – then the budget).
2) The budget is for the following year, not the current year.
3) The budget can only be based on money already in the Treasury – no debt, no loans, no estimates of future income. If the money isn't already in the Treasury, it can't be in the budget.
4) The budget cannot create a deficit.
5) If the Kingdom has an existing debt (from an emergency or other non-standard event) the budget must reduce the principal each year.
6) The budget can include reasonable fees, but cannot include items that would require nobles or citizens to fund them; i.e, an annual fee for a vehicle operator's license is OK, a requirement that each baron maintain a specific computer system without allocating funds is not.
7) Any budget item that lasts for more than 1 year requires a separate vote and requires a 2/3 majority to pass.
8) No budget item can last more than 6 years.
9) Pay for Senators is a separate item (if Senators are paid) and any changes don't take force until after the next election.
10) Until a valid budget is passed the Assembly does no other business.

The process of passing a budget:
1) The King submits his budget to the First Senator as the first proposal of the first conclave.
2) Unless 2/3 of Senators vote against the King's budget, it is passed and sent to the Council
3) Unless 2/3 of the members of the Council vote against the King's budget, it is passed and goes into effect.
4) If the King's budget is rejected the King or any Senator may propose alternate budgets.
Note: in an exception, even the King's budget proposal are introduced into the Senate, never the Council.
5) These proposed budgets only need a simple majority approval to be sent to the Council and a simple majority to be approved by the Council.
6) If either the Council or the King rejects two proposed budgets a Special Assembly is held where all Senators and all members of the Council meet as a single body.
A) The combined Assembly has one week to propose and approve (by simple majority of the total Assembly) a budget, If the king rejects the proposed budget or they fail to meet the deadline they meet for an additional week.
B) If a 4th budget is rejected by the King or the second deadline is missed the King dissolves the Assembly and elections for new senators are held as soon as possible.

Once the budget for the upcoming year is finalized the tax schedule for that same year as the budget is developed by the Minister of Finance (consulting with the King and the Minister of State). The Finance Minister has one month from the final budget approval to get the proposed tax schedule tot he King; the King has until the Grand Conclave to announce the final tax schedule.

The Result:
While a balanced budget is not a requirement (the budget could expend less money than exists in the Treasury, after all) it does prevent deficit spending or the accumulation of government debt.

How Edan Works: The Assembly

 The Assembly is the legislative portion of the government and is made up of two sections, the Council and the Senate.

The Council:
The Council is made up of the 7 to 12 nobles of highest precedence in the Kingdom. The highest ranking within the Council is the President of the Council.

The Senate:
The Senate is made up of between 8 and 120 elected members (size of the Senate is based on total national population). Voting is 'at large' and is a single transferable vote proportional system. Senators are elected every 2 years. Once elections are complete the Senators elect one of their members to the position of First Senator.

What they do:
The Assembly mainly exists to create legislation. The process is:
1) A Senator, Council Member or the King introduces a proposed law (any proposal made by the King is entered into the Council).
2) If the proposal is approved by a simple majority of the portion of the Assembly where it was introduced it is sent to the other portion.
2) The other portion now votes on the proposal. If a simple majority votes in favor of it, it is sent to the King.
3) The King may approve the entire proposal, reject the entire proposal, or approve the proposal with select sections removed. If the bill is rejected in anyway it is sent back to the originating portion of the Assembly with an explanation for refusal.
A) If the originating portion votes to uphold the proposal with a ¾ majority, it is resent to the other portion.
B) If the other portion also upholds the rejected proposal with a ¾ or greater vote, the proposal becomes law over the King's refusal.

EXAMPLE: Senator Jones introduces a proposal that says;
“All adult citizens shall be required to have a national identification card. This card must be presented when any citizen;
1) votes for Senate
2) applies for professional credentials
3) enlists in the Royal Forces
All ID cards shall be issued at such time as a person becomes a full citizen. Citizens are responsible for applying for replacement or updated cards. The database for all such cards shall be maintained by the Ministry of State. Such cards shall be paid for with funds from the Treasury.”
After a short debate 9 of the 12 Senators vote to support the proposed law. It is then sent tot he Council. Two days later the Council holds a short debate and 10 of 12 members also vote for the proposal. It is now sent to the King.
A week later the king signs the following into law;
“All adult citizens shall be required to have a national identification card. This card must be presented when any citizen;
1) votes for Senate
2) applies for professional credentials
3) enlists in the Royal Forces
All ID cards shall be issued at such time as a person becomes a full citizen. Citizens are responsible for applying for replacement or updated cards. The database for all such cards shall be maintained by the Ministry of State.”
His note to the Senate and Council reads,
“Struck the element 'Such cards shall be paid for with funds from the Treasury' as this constitutes a budget item that is not contained within the budget and further violates Article 28 Section 3 of the constitution.”
Senator Jones decides to re-introduce the proposal in full but only has 2 of 12 Senators vote for the full version – the proposal as signed by the King is now law.

The Assembly also ratifies treaties and appointments made by the King.

How Edan Works – the Balance of Powers

  The goal of Edan is to have a just, ethical, and moral government that is also as stable as possible. In imitation of the perfection of Heaven Edan is ruled by a king. The king is the Head of State and the Head of Government, highest commander of military forces, and the enforcer of all laws. Indeed, the sovereignty of the Kingdom is an extension of the king's sovereignty and all laws are, in the end, the expression of his authority.
Since men are not perfect and it is possible for a weak or unjust king to harm a nation and its people the King limits his own power by swearing to obey the constitution; in effect, the constitution is the King's oath to his people as to how he will limit himself and his government.
Nobles are also part of and an extension of the king's authority. The king grants them a portion of his sovereignty and authority and, in return, they must justly and faithfully lead those of the kings subjects in their care. The nobles and their rights and privileges are also a bulwark against a bad king – while a good king can improve things overall nobles can shield themselves and their subjects from a bad king's actions.
The constitution also empowers the Assembly with primary legislative duties. The two branches of the Assembly, the Council and the Senate, debate and formulate the budgets and laws of the kingdom, subject tot he king's approval. The Council is made up of the senior nobles and is another method for them to aid a good king and hinder a bad king. The Senate is comprised of elected citizens and is the method in which the citizens have a voice in government. Again, the Senate can aid a good king and hinder a bad king.
Together, these elements represent a solid balance of power; the king limits himself and the nobles and citizens have a voice in government, all while maintaining a strong monarchy.

Jul 24, 2013

Motivation, Means, Ends, Propaganda,and Why Telling the Truth can be Evil

  Recently a topic came up where a person who makes their living as a blogger reposted a propaganda film supposedly issued by the North Korean government. He was pointing out that the (rather long, as such things go) film seemed accurate in its assessment of American culture, especially pop culture. I objected to this for two reasons: first, the vapidity of pop culture is no secret; and second, this is actually assisting North Korea's propaganda.
  At this point the writer, and others, disagreed stating (paraphrase) 'its true, so repeating it is OK,even good'. As I tried to explain why this is not the case the response was just a series of variations of 'but its true'. But does the fact that you are stating something that is true mean you are not performing or participating in an evil act?
  Of course not!
  Once more we must point out that just as you cannot separate means from ends you cannot separate motivation from means or ends. Robbing a bank to fund an orphanage is not a good act. Raising funds through charitable means for an orphanage is good, but doing so for the internal motivation of vanity is not. Quietly speaking to a friend about his gaffes during a speech and offering to coach him on public speaking is a good act; publicly mocking him and regaling others with tales of his failures is not a good act.
  But how can repeating well-known things be improper? After all,  'defamation' traditionally means 'to harm another by revealing facts not generally known', not 'commonly known things'. Again, we must look at motivation, ends, and means. Let's use an example.
  In the 1930's various journalists, religious leaders, and others warned of the rise of organized crime in America. They discussed the influence and power of these criminal groups and urged others to oppose their bribery and threats to weaken them and return control to proper civil authority. In these cases we know their motivations (they stated what their motivations were - improvement of civil society - and confirmed it with their actions), we know their means (public discussion of facts and the presentations of strategies to oppose crime), and we know their desired ends (reduction in crime and lawlessness). Their use of the facts was good because their demonstrable motivations, means, and desired ends were neutral or good.
At the same time the National Socialists of Germany were writing about how degenerate America was, pointing out that many of its urban areas were controlled by gangsters. They were speaking of the same facts as were the journalists and reformers in America - does this mean repeating the propaganda of the Nazis was good, or at worst neutral? After all, they were just telling the truth!
  But we know the motivations of the Nazis (they told us they wished to undermine American society and weaken it, which their actions confirmed), we know their means (public disclosure of the facts), and their desired ends (the political and military defeat of the United States). So we can conclude that the Nazi's use of the very same facts was evil because their demonstrable motivations, means, and dersired ends were evil or neutral. 
  Now we must speak of association and support. During the time period of the example people who repeated and spread the articles of journalists and activists about crime were seen as doing good by educating others while people who repeated the Nazi's articles about the same facts were seen as subversive and evil. Why? After all, even if the Nazis were enemies, they were right, weren't they? Members of the various National Socialist groups in the UK and USA weren't lying, were they? So why were they looked down on while others were winning civic awards for discussing the exact same facts?
  This is because of association and reputation. The journalists and such were doing good while the Nazis were doing evil. When you repeat the words of another in a direct manner you are associating your own reputation with their actions and words; you are basically giving your assent to not just the facts but also their motivations (if known), means and desired ends (if known). Whatever legitimacy, trust, or positive reputation you have is being imputed not just to the facts but also to the motivations (if known), means and desired ends (if known).
  Indeed, this is one of the primary goals of propaganda - to tell the truth in such a way that it defames the enemies of the propagandists while also adding to the credibility and positive reputation of the propagandists by having others repeat it. This is why propaganda posters have eye-catching art, why propaganda fliers include attractive, humorous drawings, why propaganda songs are as 'catchy' as possible, and why propaganda speeches come from the mouths of professional orators.
  And why propagandists engage in defamation as much as they do in slander and libel.
  Luckily, the vast majority of such information in the world is just information; an encyclopedia has no motivation other than to present data and no desired ends other than presenting data - repeating such information has no moral dimension other than what the person repeating it gives it. But we must still be careful of what we repeat and why.

Jul 18, 2013

Non-Territorial Nations - What is Edan Doing?!

  As explained with admirable efficiency by geographer Matt Rosenberg; 
     "While the terms country, state, and nation are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. A State (note the capital "S") is a self-governing political entity. The term State can be used interchangeably with country. A nation, however, is a tightly-knit group of people which share a common culture. A nation-state is a nation which has the same borders as a State."
  This is a bit more precise than common usage, actually. While we tend to use 'nation-state' as a shorthand this can be incorrect. Take Canada - there are at least two distinct Nations in Canada (one with a Protestant English culture and another with a Catholic French culture) so Canada is a State with multiple Nations within it. Great Britain is very similar - although Great Britain is obviously a state we all know who and what a Scotsman is, correct? Scotland, which has had no territorial control of its own for quite some time (and is thus not a State) is certainly a Nation. So obviously nations can exist without control of the territory they are in. But can a nation exist without any defined territory?
  The Romani certainly think so. They announced a claim of being a Non-Territorial nation over a decade ago, a claim not just accepted by a number of academics, diplomats, and leaders but seen as a potential solution to a range of ethnic and minority issues. It can even be argued, as Elkins, Fischer, and a number of others have, that the Westphalian conceptualization of 'legitimate' States being strictly territorial has made ethnic and minority strife worse since land is a fixed asset - if you wish any sort of autonomy within the Westphalian model you must control and defend territory; all territory is already controlled and the closest to the oppressed group is most likely controlled by that group's oppressors; therefore the pressure towards violence is greatly increased. By rejecting the demand that 'legitimate' States control territory before they can engage in political, diplomatic, etc. activity you can reduce or even eliminate these pressures.
  In his works the scholar Hassner argues that the Westphalian paradigm of the nation-state is obsolete because it cannot account for the tremendous impact of everything from transnational corporations to NGOs to Violent Non-State Actors such as Al-Qaeda. He also points to the ethnic strife of Africa as distinct Nations resort to large-scale violence to control territory rather than seeking non-territorial autonomy. 
  So Non-Territorial Nations are an existing fact, long predating modern concepts of nation-states; Non-Territorial Nations as well as Non-State Actors, NGO's, Transnational Corporations, etc. are all recognized as a major factor in world events; so Edan's status as a (so far) non-territorial sovereign nation is neither shocking nor even very remarkable. Considering that the most notable, recognizable Non-Territorial Nation is the Catholic Church (does anyone really believe Vatican City is truly in compliance with the various ideas of Westphalian territorial control?) and that the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is another key example of a Non-Territorial Nation with various forms of diplomatic recognition Edan's status as a Catholic Non-Territorial Nation is likewise unremarkable. Between the Roma, the Church, the SMOM, and dozens of other groups the idea of a sovereign non-territorial Catholic group is just not that shocking - except for a few things.
  Which we will get to.
  But why start with a non-territorial monarchy? Why not start Edan as an NGO, or a lobbying firm, or a credit union, or a charity? After all, the king is very clear that Edan needs all those things. Why not pick up the 'low-hanging fruit' and start as an incorporated not-for-profit charity and work your way up from there?
  There are many very good, very worthy NGO's in the world already. There are very good Catholic credit unions, charities, and lobbying firms. But there are two things you aren't going to find that readily.
  This goes back to the goals of Edan; our goals are not to build a better bank, nor to be an efficient charity; Edan was not founded to lobby the US for more aid to Mali nor to provide emergency relief after earthquakes. While all of those activities are a legitimate and even noble way to spend your energy, they are not what Edan is for.
  Edan exists to be truly just for both its own citizens and as an example to others of what a just nation is.
  One of the things that does distinguish Edan from the Church and from the SMOM is that it is new. Edan is not an anomaly from history, as some argue about the SMOM. It is not a unique situation as some argue about the Church. Edan is living proof that the desire of people to be free, to gather together, and to determine their own destiny can be met; it demonstrates that the Westphalian model and the violence it spawns are both failed artifacts of the Enlightenment; it shows the fatal flaws of Democracy and how to remove them; it exposes the false sichotomy in current economic thought with clear alternatives.
  Edan is also not a religious power but rather a secular power. The Church and the SMOM are often dismissed as being 'religious' as if this reduced their diplomatic or cultural relevance. Edan is a Nation, pure and simple, and cannot be dismissed similarly.
  And Edan is not based upon ethnic or racial criteria. One is born a Romani or, perhaps, marries into a Romani family; people who are not born Navajo cannot become Navajo. Edan is not organized like this; while it has its own culture and identity, these are not based upon genetic heritage, making Edan universal, not racial.
  We are, yes, building a better country both for ourselves and for others to see that it can be done. 

Jul 15, 2013

After Bastille Day

O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

Jul 11, 2013

The Truly Lost

  I had an interesting encounter yesterday, one that was illuminating while failing to be enjoyable. The Kingdom is not as active on social media as we are told we 'should' be, but from time to time I will spend some energy on twitter. Yesterday I made a rather tangental reply to the tweet of a young Catholic lady. It turned out that each of us had been unclear (I blame the terse format) and off we went.
  But others, followers of the young lady, were incensed by my statement. Three young men in general, one of them in particular, were very openly angry about my statement. Despite my attempts to point out that they had made the same error as the young lady I was replying to, thus their emotions were based on a misapprehension, they grew more and more angry. Slurs, curses, and vile invective of all sorts spewed forth as this young man worked himself into a lather.
  He accused me of wishing to grind others (particularly children!) under the boot heel of tyranny; that I am a power-mad dictator in waiting, eager to oppress and enslave the entire world in my mad thirst for conquest. In between curses he also threw in such epithets as 'tyrant' and 'big government stooge' but the slur he obviously felt was the most powerful and dirtiest thing he could call me was 'statist'.
  By now you are probably making assumptions about the topic in discussion. Was he furious at me for being a Monarchist? No. Was it that I am a king? No. Was it my rejection of Democracy? No. Was it the structure or nature of Edan? No.Was it about Edan being officially Catholic? No. Was it the most common topic of outrage from outsiders, that women do not get the vote in Edan? No.
  This young man was full of rage because he mistakenly thought I advocate for a requirement that children have a permit for lemonade stands.
  Yes, his fury was about food safety permits for children. I had mistakenly thought the young lady was speaking about professional (adult) vendors and she mistakenly thought I was discussing children in their own family's yards. Regardless of my attempts to tell these young men my actual topic, they refused to believe it. I believe they wished to revel in their righteous anger.
  Early on I almost terminated the conversation, but I persisted. Why? I was curious as to how angry they would become and hoped that their emotional state would reveal why they were so angry. And I believe that these young men did teach me something, something important.
  These young men feel powerless. And this is no illusion, they largely are powerless. They were all Americans, White, male, and under the age of 26. While I read online many people calling this combination one of 'privilege', I disagree. They have no real economic power, no political influence, they have no 'leaders' who are not corporate-controlled entertainers, and there is no special-interest lobby working for them. They face barriers in many ways - poor education, expensive education, limited job prospects, a legal system that favors others, and being told they are privileged, as well. Western society has been busily redefining their role for so long and in so many conflicting ways they have no clear concept of what they should be doing or why and certainly no higher calling, which often leads to a lack of higher aspirations. Secular, unchurched, or 'post-Christian Protestant' they have no underlying moral framework, religious community, or spiritual support to call upon. In short, these young men are truly lost.
  These young men are not stupid; they felt powerless, examined their lives and concluded that they are powerless. And they are correct - in any democratic system people without wealth or pull are powerless. They then tried to determine the primary reason that they are powerless and concluded that it is because of their government. This is also largely correct; the governmental system is the primary reason they are disenfranchised. But this is actually the start of the problem at hand - once they determined that the primary reason that they are powerless is the government, they stopped asking more questions. The next logical step should be to ask 'why is the particular form of government I live in making me powerless?'. That is the step that leads people in search of alternates to the system in which they live. Instead, these young men (as well as the majority of Anarchists, Libertarians, etc.) didn't ask the next question, instead reaching a conclusion. Their investigation went something like this;

"I feel powerless. Am I truly powerless?"
  They examine their lives and determine they are, in fact, powerless.
  "I am powerless. What is the primary reason I am powerless?"
  They examine their world and determine the government is the primary reason they are powerless.
  "The government is the primary reason I am Powerless."
  "Therefore, all governments are Bad."

  Yes, I am aware that there is a fair amount of political thought about such topics as Anarchy, Anarcho-Capitalism, Libertarianism, etc. I am focusing on the majority of people who adopt these positions and why they do so. After all, a lot of the young people who do ask 'what is it about my government that makes me feel powerless?' end up becoming Communists, National Socialists, etc. because they assume anything else is better than what they have. I will need to write about that in the future.
  Once these young adults reach their conclusion, that all government is bad, then it is a short trip to the belief that any regulation is bad simply because a government must exist to enforce it. Before too long this can lead to the conclusion that any form of authority is bad and that Anarchy is the only solution.
  Again, how can you blame these young adults? They have never been taught about true alternatives to the world they live in, they have often never been trained to question. They instinctively know something is wrong and are doing their level best to identify and correct the problem. They have never been taught about morals and ethics and in the absence of knowledge of actual morality they struggle to build a framework so that they can identify Good and Evil. Since the only certainty they have been able to build for themselves is Government = Bad their natural passion for goodness and justice is funneled into opposition to government.
  Thus, belief that someone wants kids to get a permit for lemonade drives them to righteous fury. In the absence of a real knowledge of good and evil; in a society that fails to guide them to their place in the world; in a culture that mocks concepts of honor, duty, and courtesy; and in a milieu that praises license as liberty it is almost all they have.
  My question for you is - how do we reach these people? How do we break through to them and show them a larger world? How do we teach them true morality and save them?

Jul 10, 2013

Tolerance vs. Abhorrence

  What do you think or say when someone tells you they are a neo-Nazi? I assume that you at least check to see if they are just being shocking, but you probably distance yourself from them quickly. And why shouldn't you? The Nazi Party engaged in horrible atrocities and were responsible for a system of oppression that resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent men, women, and children. The swastika, the symbol of the Nazis, is banned in some places and is shunned as a symbol of death and evil. Mein Kampf, the book written by the leader of the Nazis is likewise banned in some nations and it can be difficult to find or purchase because of who wrote it.
  Now - what do you do when someone tells you they are a Communist?
  I assume that most people reading this know at least a few people, personally or professionally, that define themselves as Communist, Marxist, Trotskyite, etc. Are they shunned? Can they lose their jobs or end their careers by making their sympathies plain? They are not and they do not, not unless they are in very specific circumstances.
  Yet Communist and Communism-directed Socialist parties and states have resulted in more tyrannies, more oppression, and far more deaths than Nazis themselves ever dreamt of.
  We will avoid a discussion of if the the National Socialists were socialist since we are contrasting them more directly with Communism.
  I have long held that if I meet someone who is: of legal age; mentally capable of caring for themselves, and; educated enough to be able to read silently to themselves - and they are an outspokenly Communist, one of 4 things is true about that person:
  1) They are abysmally ignorant
  2) They are fools in the traditional meaning of the word
  3) They are morally bankrupt
  4) Some combination of 1, 2, and 3.
  At this time, and for decades, the West is in the interesting position of holding one ideology, which effectively ceased to have any political power over half a century ago, as unacceptable because it was responsible for oppression, tyranny, and the murder of over 8 million people while AT THE SAME TIME accepting another ideology which is responsible for the murder of no less than 80 million people and is oppressing over a billion people with various tyrannical regimes at the current time.
  This cognitive dissonance is stunning, yet so commonplace as to be unremarked upon in the mainstream.
  Let us look at a small microcosm of this intellectual disconnect.
  Within the world of science fiction and fantasy writers and aficionados passions can run high. For example, two well-established writers are currently under fire for referring to pioneering female writers and editors of science fiction in the early days of the genre as 'ladies' in an article praising them for defying stereotypes and overcoming prejudice.  In this milieu the writer Orson Scott Card is, currently, considered Quite Controversial. An openly devout Mormon he is guilty of publicly espousing his religious views and opposing gay marriage. For his actions in promoting his own religious beliefs a vocal section of science fiction and fantasy aficionados - and writers! - are openly advocating that Mr. Card be forevermore denied an opportunity to make a living as a writer by not just boycotting all of his works but by agitating with his employers to fire him.
  China Mieville is one of the most prominent science fiction and fantasy writers of the last decade. He is often interviewed  has received plaudits and awards from several groups, and has even been given plum assignments as writer in residence or lecturer on writing. He is also openly and proudly Marxist going so far as to run for office as a member of a Communist/Far Left party and to write a number of articles and books clearly stating his support for Marxist Communism.
  To be clear, this is a situation where members of a relatively diverse group call for the total ostracism and exile of one successful writer, including an attempt to deny him a livelihood, for stating and publicly supporting his religious beliefs as a Mormon while concurrently lauding and praising another writer who is openly and actively Marxist.
  Card doesn't want laws on marriage changed because of his religious beliefs = monster. Mieville advocates the overthrow of all democracies via armed revolution and the imposition of a dictatorship of the proletariat in imitation of a regime that was more oppressive, violent, and murderous than Hitler's Nazis = a nice job and critical acclaim.
  And Mieville is far from alone! Other prominent science fiction and fantasy authors are also openly Communist (Steven Brust an, for example); none of them are ostracized in any way for supporting the ideology that has caused more suffering and death than any other of the last 2 centuries. But if you opposes gay marriage or call a female author a 'Lady Writer' and, well, your career is in danger!
  Don't think that I am isolating a certain genre of fiction unfairly, it is just an illustration of the issues at hand.
  Just as I do not tolerate Nazis, I do not tolerate Communists. Both have proven themselves false in core premises and each has demonstrated itself capable of producing nothing more in the long run than wrecked nations and mass graves.We should abhor the followers of both ideologies with equal fervor and denounce them publicly for their embrace of violence, oppression, and death.

Jul 8, 2013

The Declaration of Independence - A Failed Justification for Perfidy, Treason, and Terrorism

  America just celebrated its 4th of July this past week, a holiday which, I must admit, is fun to watch. It does fill me with sadness to know how little Americans know of their own holiday and the origins of their own country. Today, after a pause to avoid direct offense of Americans too close to their national holiday, I wish to examine their Declaration of Independence and the history around it.
  The American colonists had greatly helped precipitate the Seven Years War, a global conflict that resulted in Great Britain incurring massive debt and greatly straining relations with the Native Americans. In an effort to both rebuild relations with the Native Americans and to curb the tensions (mainly about fur trading and such) that led to the Seven Years War the King forbade colonists from settling the Ohio Country.
  This did not sit well with a number of prominent colonists who had invested heavily in expanded trade in the Ohio Country. Indeed, this profit-seeking is what had led to the armed conflicts with French forces in French territory which triggered the Seven Years War! Another thing which many colonists despised was paying taxes, even though these taxes had been levied to cover the costs of the war which they triggered and which was largely fought on their behalf. Be that as it may, the Colonists struggled to avoid all taxes and duties and began to resort to smugglers for many staples.
  The Colonies had long been a hotbed of lawlessness and they soon elevated criminals to a position of local prominence. John Hancock was a notorious smuggler and scofflaw. When he was arrested for smuggling riots broke out amongst the colonists who agitated for his freedom so they could continue to receive their illegal goods! When the British government determined a way to provide high-quality tea (a major item in the colonies) at a price even lower than smuggled tea while still earning money for the government. The response? Hancock funded an attack that dumped this low-cost, high-quality tea into the harbor so that colonists would be forced to purchase his more-expensive, less-quality tea. How did the colonists respond to this criminal-funded terrorist act that was aimed at fleecing them? They still celebrate the Boston Tea Party, as they call it, as a blow for freedom!
  Hancock was involved with the creation of the Declaration, as was Benjamin Franklin (a philanderer, scofflaw, and con man who notoriously took the King's pay to inform Parliament and the Crown of the mood of the colonies then played both sides against each other for his own gain) and a number of other smugglers, tax evaders, and general renegades. But the selection of Thomas Jefferson to actually write the document was a perfect example of the corrupt nature of the group involved and the lionization of Jefferson by Americans to this very day is astonishing.
  In the colonies living beyond your means was common but Jefferson took it to heights that even his contemporaries found amazing. Despite having a large, productive plantation Jefferson was perpetually buried under the debt incurred by his lavish spending on food, wine, clothes, and perpetual building projects. Despite taking a full 5th of the endowment of a college where he was trustee he still left behind so much debt his heirs were forced to sell the bulk of his estate to cover his outstanding loans and bills.
  But how did these smugglers, tax evaders, con men, and other reprobates convince others, usually common men, to fight for them and their wealth?
  Those not already on board through greed were recruited by lies and bigotry.
  The Seven Years War had had a lot to do with French territory west of the Appalachians. After the war Britain now controlled that territory as well as formerly French Quebec. The Native Americans of the Ohio Valley had much better relations with the French of Quebec and were more hostile to the colonists to the East. The newly-conquered Quebecois maintained their relations with the Ohio Country. Further, many of the native leaders of the Ohio Country had rather mixed views of who controlled their territory. To maintain the peace, build better relations with the native rulers and mollify the conquered French of Quebec the King of England sensibly gave the Quebecois control of the Ohio Country and relations with the natives.
  The leaders of the American Revolution cast this as the prelude to - Catholics! Yes, many of the Founding Fathers blatantly used a fear of Catholics settling in the Ohio Country to whip up anti-British fervor with Paul revere drawing a cartoon showing the treaty that gave Quebec authority over the Ohio Country being co-signed by Catholic bishops and the Devil.
  Combined with such events as the Boston Massacre (where soldiers fired on an armed mob that was assaulting them but which the revolutionaries portrayed as an unprovoked attack) some colonists were ready to rebel against their own king. The Declaration of Independence was meant to be the paper that justified what was to happen next - treason.
  It fails.
  The Declaration of Independence is singularly bad at what it purports to do, justify treason. Indeed, I have never understood why anyone who has read it thinks Jefferson is a good writer (there is a difference between 'florid' and 'good').
  The opening is wordy but weak, essentially just an overly-long statement that the Declaration will explain why the colonies are justified in committing treason.  His statement of basic rights is rather terse, considering the lead in, and unconvincing. And his contractual theory of government makes no sense - after all, the majority of colonists wished to remain subject tot he British Crown! If he truly believes in a contractual governmental theory this is just silly.
  Jefferson then goes on to admit that treason is bad and that any rebellion must be well-justified with about 200 words when 20 would do.
  And then the whining begins.
  Jefferson then lists reasons he thinks the King is a terrible, no-good, very bad tyrant:
  1) He vetoes laws. Well, under the parliamentarian system of the day, the King could, yes, veto laws
  2) The King doesn't rubber stamp what the colonial leaders want. well, why should he? The colonies were under Royal charter and needed the King's assent to enact their own local rules. If the King declined it was no different than in Britain with the Parliament!
  3) The King continues to treat colonies differently than parliamentary districts in England. Of course he does, they are different things. Indeed, originally the colonists were eager to be different because that meant they would have lower taxes!
  4) I don't like where the King calls parliament and other such groups. Really? 'It is far' is a pro-treason argument?
  5) He dissolves our local legislative groups when they refuse to enforce the law. I think this is one of the funnier complaints. Why? Well, it shows that even if the colonies didn't have seats in Parliament they did have local version of Parliament (which is also admitted above, twice) and that these could pass laws with the King's consent (again, already admitted) and that they had refused to obey the King's alw, so they had at least some authority. In other words, some of the complaints in the Declaration nullify many of the other complaints. "We don't have access to Parliament!' vs. 'He won't let our local Parliaments do whatever they want!'.
  6) When the local legislatures refuse to enforce the King's laws he doesn't let us create another legislature just like it right away. Well, why would he? If the local legislature keeps being run by crooks, smugglers, and rebels why would he let them return to power?
  7) The King is controlling immigration and territorial expansion. So the King is controlling access to and the growth of his colonies? How dare he! I mean, its not like we just had a massive war on 4 continents about improper territorial expansion! Oh,we did? well, so what! We want to do whatever we want anyway!
  8) The King won't let us have our own judges. Well, considering the local legislatures are refusing to enforce the King's laws why would he expect local judges to be any better? I;d keep sending in judges I trust from home, too!
  9) The King is in control of the tenure and pay of his judges. So the fact that the King's judges report to and are paid by the King is an issue? Why? And how is it different from 8, 6, 2, and 1, anyway?
  10) The King has sent tax collectors, customs agents, and other people to enforce the laws we refuse to enforce. Of course he did! What else should he do?
  11) The King has soldiers in the colonies even though the local legislatures don't want them here. First, Jefferson is again admitting that the colonies have local legislatures, obviating a lot of the whining about seats in parliament. Second, the colonies are on the edge of a vast wilderness full of hostile groups and they just finished fighting a massive war. Third, since some colonists are openly urging armed rebellion, what do you expect?
  12) The military answers to the King, not the local legislatures. You mean the local legislatures that refuse to enforce the King's laws? The same ones that started the Seven Years War with colonial forces attacking French troops from ambush?
   13) Our local legislatures can't override Parliament. OK, this gives a little more weight to complaints about 'no seats in parliament', but why would colonies expect anything different than this?
  14) The King has soldiers here. Yeah, we heard you when you said that in 11.
  15) Soldiers are subject to the King and British law and Judges, not local laws and judges. Well, of course they are! And after the fiasco of the Boston Massacre, who can blame them?
  16) We can't trade with whomever we want. You are British trade colonies founded and protected at great cost to create trade with and for Britain. We know from the Seven Years War that the colonists had no trouble trading with the French during a war with the French started by the colonies, but that doesn't make it right.
  17) We don't like paying taxes. Who does? But that war you started isn't going to pay for itself! And remember that bit about how the colonies were founded by the King at great expense?
  18) Some trials aren't with a jury. OK - but how many? Are they a particular type, like contract disputes that are usually clear and a jury is only a chance for the guilty to emotionally sway other people? And is this a reason to commit treason?
  18) Sometimes we are put on trial in England. England is the source of sovereignty and the place of superior courts, so why is this a surprise?
  19) We don't like Quebec. Quebec was just conquered and is formerly French - of course it has slightly different laws than a British colony!
  20) The King doesn't let us do whatever we want. I am unsure how many different ways he can ineffectually restate this same complaint.
  21) The King doesn't let us do whatever we want. At least once more!
  22) When we really, really refuse to obey the King;s laws he sends in soldiers. Jefferson keeps coming back to just a few points and repeats them in different ways over and over without making a real point.
  23) He is putting down armed rebellion with force. Not a surprise, really, and I wouldn't expect any less.
  24) He plans to continue to put down armed rebellion with force. See point 23.
  25) Some British colonists are pressed into service to fight other British colonists who are in armed rebellion against the King. See point 23, again.
  26) We are being attacked by loyalists and Native Americans, and the Native Americans are scary. In regards to the loyalists, see point 23 yet again. And as for Native Americans, how is that justification for treason?
  27) We have been nice so far and the King has been mean. Remember, the Sons of Liberty would routinely tar and feather the King's agents (being tarred and feathered usually killed the target, if you didn't know that) and others they would outright lynch. The Boston Massacre was incited by the Sons of Liberty bringing in hundreds of armed men to attack soldiers. the Boston Tea Party was the agents of  smugglers destroying government property to force people to resort to smuggled goods. If vandalism, riots, assault, terror, arson, and outright murder are "Petitions for Redress in the most humble terms" I have no idea what Jefferson considers violent!
  28) No matter how much we threatened the King he still insisted on his laws being enforced in his colonies. I don't know why I would need to point out the issues with this.
  Jefferson then concludes with a statement that God is on the side of the murderous, seditious, tax-evading, scofflaw traitors.
  The Declaration obviously fails in its attempts to justify treason and war. With its rambling style and muddled statements I am also puzzled as to why anyone thought it an elegant document.