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Government (a Political Issue)


Whatever political system we use, whether it is a form of democracy, monarchy, dictatorship or something else, its purpose is to form a government. A government has the power to make and to enforce the laws of a country, land area, people, or organization. It has the job of doing what is needed to protect its citizens from undue harm and to help them prosper.

In general, how well a government performs its job is far more important than what political system is used. However, a better political system can help to ensure that a government does a better job. For us to determine whether a government is doing a good job or not, we will first need to understand clearly the purpose of having a government.

The goal of any government should be to make its citizens’ lives better. More specifically, its job should be to protect its citizens from things like foreign invaders, criminals and various types of disasters, and to help its citizens to prosper, to live good lives and to achieve their goals. A good government also gives its citizens the liberty and freedom to live their lives as they choose. Therefore, a government is doing a good job when it is providing, at a reasonable cost, the protection, the help, the liberty and the freedom that its citizens need and want.


Each of us may need and want very different things, and we may have very different ideas about what a reasonable cost would be for these things. This means that there may be a big difference in what many of us think our governments should be doing and the things that our governments are doing.

Given our differences, it would seem inevitable that there will always be some of us who are not happy with the job that our governments are doing no matter whether other individuals think they are doing a good job or not. Part of the problem is that a lot of individuals think or feel that our governments should work the way they want them to work without regard to how well they would end up working for the rest of us.

This situation has led many individuals to form or to join political parties and special interest groups. For the most part, the goal of each of these groups is to try to alter what our governments do and how they do things based on what its members think our governments should or should not be doing. This has meant an ongoing struggle for control of our governments and the constant changes to what and to how our governments do their jobs based on which groups have the upper hand at any given moment in time.

This has left a lot of us unhappy with how our governments are doing their jobs and with what they are doing for us. I believe that when a government is doing a good job, all of us should be happy or at least okay with what it is doing and how it is doing it. Therefore, with all our problems and with so many of us being unhappy, it is obvious to me that our governments are not doing as good a job as they should. This also would mean that our political system is not doing its job and would also need to be changed.


One way to make our governments work better for all of us is to give each of us the ability to customize our own personal versions of our governments so that they would meet each of our specific needs. In this way, if we did not like some aspect of how a government was working for us, then we could customize the way it worked so that it did work better for us.

Even with customizable governments, there would probably still be some of us who would be unhappy with our governments, especially any of us who felt the need to control other individuals’ lives. Even so, I believe more of us would prefer these customizable governments over any of the alternatives.

Of course, letting all of us create our own separate governments would lead to anarchy, but there is a way to allow us to customize some aspects of how much and in what way we interact with our governments. Although there are many government programs that all of us must participate in, there are other programs where we could have the option to opt into or to opt out of them. These optional programs would just need to be structured in a way where they would be fair for those of us who participated and for those of us who did not.


In the previous section on democracy, I have already talked about how our laws need to be changed to protect us when we are in the minority on some issues. The idea is to limit our laws to the minimum needed to protect us from being unduly harmed by others, to help us prosper, and to give us the liberty and freedom we want. By limiting how our laws control what we can do, we would give ourselves the ability to better customize the way we live our lives.

With this more limited approach, our governments would not be as involved in protecting us from ourselves or providing us with every service. However, they would protect all of us from outside dangers, and provide the services and the laws that would truly be needed by all of us.

Those of us who wanted to have other services or abide by other laws could do so individually, through some group in the private sector or as part of some government run program supported by those of us who opt into it. If we do not unduly harm others, then we should be free to live our lives by our own rules. In other words, we all could, in essence, have our own customized versions of our governments.

Let’s look at one quick example dealing with car seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws. It should be up to each of us to decide whether we wanted to wear a seatbelt or a helmet, or to live with the consequences of not doing so. Of course, those of us who do not wear seatbelts or helmets should be required to pay higher insurance premiums to cover our greater risk of injury. Since those of us who do wear a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet would have a lower risk of injury or death, then our insurance premiums should be correspondingly lower as well.

On the other hand, the law should require any of us who carries passengers to provide seatbelts or helmets to our passengers who want them. We should still require minors to be buckled up or helmeted, since they would be too young to make an informed decision about wearing them. We would also want to make appropriate insurance provisions so that passengers who do not wear them would handle any extra cost stemming from their decision.

Another example would be health care. If we were willing to live with the consequences of not having health insurance, then our government should not force us to get it. The only exception might be for emergency medical care since a hospital should not have to worry whether we had insurance or not when they need to save our life. If we did not have insurance and did not pay the bill, then our government should take care of paying the bill and should then take steps to get reimbursed by us.

Services and Programs

A similar thing needs to be done with the services and programs provided by our governments as with our laws. Our governments should not force us to pay for specialized services and programs that are geared towards special interests or small groups when they do not directly or indirectly help all of us.

If these specialized services and programs are truly important, then they should and would be provided by the private sector. For instance, many communities use tax money to help build sports arenas and stadiums that benefit only a small group of sports fans. It is usually done in the name of economic development, but I can think of hundreds of things that would do much more for the community. If the sports fans really wanted a sports team, then they should support it out of their own pockets and not force everyone else to help pay for it.

Of course, there are still many services that our governments would need to provide. For instance, it would not be very safe or efficient if we had competing militaries. We need to have a common military that would protect all of us. There would also need to be some common obligations. For instance, it would also be very unfair if each of us could decide how much we were willing to spend on our common military. It would be very difficult for our military to try to protect each of us based on how much each of us contributed to our military’s budget.

Given the need for some common services and obligations, and a desire to be able to customize our governments the way each of us would like it to work for ourselves, our governments would need a two-tiered system of services, programs, and obligations. All of us would need to belong to the first tier, which would include all the common services and programs that we all need and would enforce all our common obligations. The second tier would include a wide array of services and programs, and their corresponding obligations that each of us could select from. This “a la carte” tier would give us the ability to customize our governments to our specific needs, wants and desires.

The first tier of services would include the things that our government must provide for all of us so we all can be protected and treated fairly. These would include things like the military, police, courts, and all the regulatory agencies that ensure that we, businesses, and local and foreign governments play fair. As citizens, we would all be obligated to pay for these services and to abide by the laws needed to protect us.

The second tier of service would include those things that our government could do better than the private sector, but that all of us do not need to participate in. Of course, I am not sure whether there would really be anything in this tier or not, since it is quite possible that, with the proper oversight, the private sector could do a better job of providing everything that was not in the first tier.

Regulation and Oversight

In many areas, our governments play a regulatory and oversight role. Agencies and departments like the Food and Drug Administration, Consumer Protection Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, and others regulate and oversee various business and consumer activities to protect and to help us. They also administer various services and programs.

We could move more of the administration of our services and programs to private businesses, and then our governments would move more towards regulation and oversight. This would include adding additional regulation and oversight of the businesses that would now be administering any new services and programs.

Leaders versus Representatives

When we talk about our government officials, we often talk in terms of them being either our leaders or our representatives. In most political systems, the government usually rules over its citizens and the highest-ranking officials are considered the leaders of the state or the leaders of the country, and the government makes many of the decisions about how we live our lives. In a democracy, things are supposed to be different. The idea is to elect individuals to represent our interests in the government, but generally leave it up to each of us to decide how we want to live our own lives.

Each of us has different abilities and may or may not need help in the various areas of our lives. Some of us are good at managing our lives and do not need nor want our governments to tell us what to do. On the other hand, some of us do need a lot of guidance and do need someone to help us plan our lives.

Therefore, we need a system that will work for the full spectrum of us from those of us who are completely independent to those of us who are much more dependent. Of course, in times of emergency, there may not be time for all of us to make our own decisions, so sometimes some individuals may need to take charge of our governments and make some needed decisions for all of us.

Here again we have a need for us to have our own customized versions of our governments. Those of us who can take care of ourselves could more easily do so. Those of us who need help could belong to an appropriate group that could help us manage our lives and set up some additional rules for us to live by. Unless we demonstrated that we could not take care of ourselves without unduly hurting others, we should be free to decide whether we needed any help or not and whether we needed to join or not an appropriate group that could help us. These groups could be handled by private businesses, with the appropriate oversight from our governments.

Elected Officials

We elect people to fill a wide range of government jobs. Not only do we elect mayors, governors, presidents, and local, state and national representatives, but also judges, auditors, coroners and sheriffs. In some of these cases, it should be obvious that we need to elect someone who is highly qualified to do the specified job. For instance, a coroner should not only have medical experience, but also have specialized training in the forensic sciences.

The problem with filling most of these specialized positions is that most of us really do not have the necessary knowledge about these positions to decide who is best qualified. We must rely on the opinions of those individuals or groups who are qualified to evaluate the candidates or try to decide based on whether a candidate presents themselves in a way that makes them seem qualified or not.

A better way to handle this would be to let the experts handle the hiring and firing of individuals for these positions. It would then be the job of these experts and our representatives to monitor the job performance of the individuals they hired, and to make any needed changes. This would make our jobs as voters easier, since we would not need to evaluate individuals for positions where we do not have the expertise to make informed decisions.

By reducing the number of elected officials, we as voters can concentrate more on evaluating the candidates for the remaining positions. For those remaining positions, we would be electing individuals for the difficult, but easier to understand, role of representing our interests in our governments.

Given our current electoral process, with just 2 main political parties and separate primaries for each where only members of the given party can vote, we are almost guaranteed that extremists of some type will be elected. In addition, whoever is elected is also more likely to represent their party's interests instead of representing our interests. Instead, we need to ensure that our representatives are more moderate and represent us and do not try to force their party's positions on all of us.

To get better representatives, we need to change the way candidates are selected and elected, and how campaigns are paid for. Instead of political parties selecting candidates through party only primaries, we need to open the primaries so that all of us get a vote. We also need to use ranked choice voting so that we can vote for our preferred candidates. In addition, we need to have clean elections, or at least reform our campaign finance laws, so that we can get rid of all the outside money that comes in.

Open Primaries

With open primaries, we all will get a chance to vote for who the candidates will be, even when we do not belong to a political party. In addition, since the candidates will need to appeal to a wider audience than just members of their party, we will get candidates who are less extreme and who will be more willing to represent all of us.

When a primary is needed, all candidates would be on the same ballot, whether representing a political party or running as an independent. All voters in the given jurisdiction would be able to vote in the primary irrespective of any party affiliation and they could vote for their preferred candidates among all the candidates irrespective of any party affiliation.

A given primary could have a few candidates from each political party and a few independents. The primary could result in all the winners being from different parties, including some independents, or with all the winners being from the same party or all being independents. The result would depend a lot on the ideological makeup of who ran and who voted.

The bottom line would be a list of candidates for the general election who were preferred by more of the voters and the election of a candidate that is preferred by more of the voters. This would especially be true if Ranked Choice Voting was used for the primary and the general election.

Ranked Choice Voting

With ranked choice voting, we will be able to have more than two candidates on the ballot without worrying that one of them might end up being a spoiler. We will be able to vote for all our preferred candidates. If our first choice does not make the cut, then our second choice will be counted. Not only will our vote count, but we will have a better chance of electing someone who the majority likes.

The problem with our plurality voting system is that when there are more than 2 candidates, the votes are sometimes split between the candidates in such a way that the least preferred candidate wins the election. For instance, if 40% of the voters preferred candidate A and 60% preferred either candidate B or candidate C rather than candidate A. With all 3 candidates in the race, it is possible that candidates B and C could split the vote of their supporters and each only gets about 30% of the vote. This would mean that the least preferred candidate would win with only 40% of the vote.

If the above election were run with ranked choice voting, the results would be different. With 3 candidates on the ballot, each voter would select their first and second choice candidates. With no candidate getting a majority of the votes, the last place candidate would be eliminated. Let's say that was candidate C. If the voters for candidate C had selected candidate B as their second choice, then candidate B would get their votes. The vote counts would then be 40% for candidate A and 60% for candidate B, and candidate B would be the winner.

The important thing to remember is that the voters preferred candidate B over candidate A, and that with ranked choice voting, the voters were able to elect their preferred candidate. Another way to look at this is that if the election had only been between candidates A and B, then candidate B would have won. Therefore, ranked choice voting was able to eliminate the spoiler effect that candidate C would have caused.

Clean Elections

With clean elections, campaigns would be primarily funded by the appropriate local, state or national government. This would eliminate the need for fundraising and the extra influence that big donors might buy. Until such a time that we can have clean elections, we at least need to bar donations from individuals and groups that are outside of the candidate’s district. Our representatives need to represent the interests of their constituents, and not the interests of outsiders.

Each certified candidate would get an equal budget for the given primary or general election that they ran in. The appropriate election board would be responsible for approving and paying for all expenditures. Separate budgets might be set up for the expenditures for different types of campaigns. The money could be spent on any valid campaign expense. Candidates would need to manage their funds wisely to ensure that they had enough to last them through their entire campaigns.

Government and private groups could also sponsor debates and other events. All candidates would need to be invited and given equal time and resources to talk and to get to know the attendees. Speaking order would either be random or rotated from event to event.

During the campaign season, limitations would need to be placed on any events that are held by an incumbent in their official capacity. Since we do not want an incumbent to get an unfair advantage in the election, we need to ensure all other candidates can attend and get an appropriate amount of time at any of these events.


If we were to make all these changes, we would end up with what could be called a Moderated Democratic system. We would have a government that is moderated by virtue of what it does and by how we are represented. In turn, we would moderate the activities of our representatives. With a government that is working better for all of us, there would be much less need for political parties and special interest groups. In fact, as I will explain in more detail in the following sections, we should get rid of the role of political parties in selecting and electing our representatives.

Next Section

Political Parties - How to eliminate the partisan politics of our Political Parties.

Last Updated:
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
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