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Rules for the exercise of Power - Ensuring safe government.

(Ref: p1401)

If it is to be accepted that government is necessary and that laws and rules are necessary it should and must also be accepted that the business of creating and maintaining and doing government should not be simple, easy or effortless. On the contrary, it is a serious and grave business which must be the result of the expenditure of immense quantities of time, effort and struggle. The effort to make government just and principled must be made if it is to contribute to a just society. The superficial complexities of this new way of government are not merely bureaucratic overhead but are instead a vital part of the process of making government just and safe and fail-safe.

Admitting failure in advance is simply admitting to being no more nor less than a living, breathing Human Being.

Therefore, it is necessary that steps be taken in advance to mitigate the effects of the inevitable failure to be perfect. The effects of a failure, for any reason, to exercise 'government' to these highest possible standards, will be mitigated with the aid of the following defaults. In the following, the definition of default is :

  1. the position or angle or attitude to take as a first point in an issue,
  2. the position to take if the issue is not easily resolvable at 'design stage',
  3. the position/angle/attitude that will occur willy-nilly in the absence of positive effort to prevent it.

This is an attempt at making 'failure' ubiquitously fail-safe at design stage. The default is certainly not what is to be aimed for, it is what is to happen if all else fails. To paraphrase someone, possibly Carl Sagan, I can foresee many reasons why we SHOULD make government fail-safe, but we MUST make it fail-safe for the many reasons I cannot foresee.

(Ref: p1402)

Whenever there is to be any exercise of power by one person over another, an act of 'government', the following default rules will be applied in the following order of precedence, explicitly and in writing :

  1. The formalising of any exercise of power by one person over any other person should be sponsored by ten named, identifiable, public servants; one primary, two secondary, three tertiary and four quaternary sponsors, who will be solely and entirely responsible for the continued existence of this authority. If the primary sponsor fails to, or ceases to wish to, be responsible for the authority the onus passes to the secondary sponsors who will be required to be unanimous in their decisions. In the event of these two similarly ceasing to exercise sponsorship the tertiary sponsors take over and will also have to be unanimous. If the quaternary sponsors assume responsibility but do not, or cannot, or do not wish to, exercise it appropriately the authority for this exercise of power will forthwith cease to exist, automatically, instantly and with no regard whatsoever for the consequences. (2010)
  2. The necessity for any exercise of any power by one person over any other person is to be established as existing.(2020)
  3. Where exercise of power is necessary, the amount of power is to be minimised to the greatest extent possible.(2030)
  4. The power authorised is to be allocated in equal shares over the maximum possible number of people.(2040)
  5. Where the maximum possible number of people receiving power is few, or one, the amount of power is to be minimised to the greatest extent possible.(2050)
  6. Where power can be authorised at more than one level in an institution, organisation or public body then the power will be vested at the lowest level in the hierarchy possible.(2060)
  7. The sponsors of the authorisation of this use of power will have no power of enforcement nor any penal power in the case of infringement.(2070)
  8. The sponsors of the authorisation of this use of power will be required to formally answer the question 'If this power was directly exercised over me, personally, would I accept it as just?'(2080)
  9. Default to power always being given from below, never taken from above.(2090)
  10. Default to permission for a person to do anything they wish, behave in any way they wish and have anything they wish being assumed and automatic unless specifically prohibited.(2100)
  11. Default to prohibition of any act, behaviour or possession being a last resort.(2110)
  12. All formalising of any exercise of power by one person over another will have as an integral component a time limit, defaulting to the shortest time possible, for which the authority will exist before the authority automatically, mandatorily, inevitably and irrevocably ceases, no matter what the consequences of this happening by accident, carelessness or other mistake.(2120)
  13. Default to authority being given the least scope, over people, units of government or geographical extent but framed in such a way that any other unit of government may adopt it on the nod, if but only if, the people who will be subject to this extension demand it and also meet the fail-safe criteria and conditions, but are not obliged to do so.(2130)
  14. Default to total freedom of all information unless positive effort and explicit necessity is required for suppression.(2140)

(Ref: p1403) Whenever a public body, quango, institution, regulatory authority, monitoring authority, law, regulation, rule or guideline is to be created, it is to have the following characteristics at a minimum, by default :

  1. Default to maximising diversity, variety and choice.(2150)
  2. Default to separating the sponsor of this creation from any enforcement authorised, and any penal action or sanctions authorised by it.(2160)
  3. Default to having no built-in facility for disciplinary action against anyone exercising any authority given to this creation; such action must come from outside and require positive effort.(2170)
  4. Default to total freedom of information, every single aspect possible being on the Web or other public place in as near real-time as reasonably feasible.(2180)
  5. Default to designing these structures so that those who obey the authority vested in them are rewarded in preference to those who do not obey being penalised.(2190)
  6. Default to penal or disciplinary action or sanction against either the exerciser of power or the subject being a last resort.(2200)
  7. Default to having a built-in mechanism for automatic feedback about failure.(2210)
  8. Default to designing laws etc to be of greatest benefit to the largest number of people over the greatest area but then enact them over the minimum number of people and area. The structure will allow the local area to have a choice of selecting this ready-made law if it wants it at a local level. This is not top down one size fits all power.(2220)
  9. Default to satisfying the highest purpose of government possible, the spirit not the letter, so that multiplying laws do not negate each other.(2230)
  10. Whenever something is created its creation has some effect on something or somebody else. This effect is a change for a person, somewhere. All creations must therefore take place with a built-in process for change management.(2240)
  11. Default to any new law or regulation having a very precise purpose, which is as narrow as possible, and contains no clauses or mention of issues outside the obvious scope of the overall statute.(2250)

(Ref: p1404) Other defaults :

  1. No authority to exercise power of one person over another is to be immune to alteration or abolition, except this one.(2250)
  2. Default to privacy in all issues of personal choice and behaviour and non-governmental actions.(2260)
  3. Default to the assumption that all resources of all kinds are finite, whether we think they are or not. This is fail-safe. We may get away with the opposite, we will get away with this.(2270)
  4. Default to always making actions help cure the disease not the symptoms of the disease.(2280)
  5. Default to the positive, what can be done, leaving the negative to 'others' and not 'meeting the Devil half way'.(2290)
  6. Default to basing all decisions, laws, practices and designs on the longest possible time-scales with 100 years as the most important scale, shorter times becoming less important. No matter what the apparent relevance of such time scales the questions must be formally asked, answered and judged.(2300)
  7. Default to all expenditures of public money being ring-fenced at 'design-stage' so that the planned and ultimate sources and destinations for money are clear and impossible to conceal.(2310)
  8. Default to setting a time limit for all decisions in the public domain, with mandatory arbitration to settle impasses or indecision. Arbitrators to automatically check the problem for signs of 'vicious circleness' and 'wrong-questionness'.(2320)
  9. Default to designing laws and authorities which are 'obviously and naturally' right so that compliance is natural and easy, infraction less so.(2330)
  10. Default to designing laws and rules so that failure and infraction are assumed to happen and that such failure and infraction may not necessarily be deserving of blame or censure or penalty. Allow an element of laziness and laxity. If an infraction teaches society anything, such as that the system has a flaw, let the offender off, lucky this time.(2340)
  11. Default to the acceptance that 'shit happens'. Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people. Tough.(2350)
  12. Default to giving the treatment of people absolute priority over the treatment of things. In the long run things, whether nuclear submarines, chocolate teapots or bank balances are cheaper and easier to fix or replace than people.(2360)
  13. Default to creating laws or structures which are applicable or usable by the whole Human Race not just poeple in our neighbourhood or country or of our skin colour or language. These are re-usable, multi-purpose, 'efficient' creations.(2370)
  14. Default to imperfection. Perfection is not achievable so efforts to attain it are subject to the law of diminishing returns, ultimately too expensive, wasteful, difficult to create and slow to create.(2380)
  15. Default to imperfectly fraud- and corruption-proof so the cost of 'guard-labor' is minimised.(2390)
  16. Default to not destroying pre-existing wealth or the means to create wealth in the future.(2400)
  17. Default to redistributing wealth by consent of the wealthy so they do not lose the will and spirit to create wealth in the first place.(2410)
  18. Default to re-defining wealth in ways which assist in its creation rather than ways which contribute to the misery and poverty of others.(2420)

QUESTIONS (Ref: p1499) (Contact us)

  1. The word 'default' has negative connotations for some. How can we re-word this section to make it sound more elegant to all and yet capable of becoming a legal set of statements which could be formalised into law?
  2. What do you dislike about this page?
  3. How can it be improved?
  4. After looking at this page do you think you understand what the page is for?
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