Our first president, George Washington, lamented the idea of a party system, but our second President, John Adams, seemed to understand that with the type of government they had just created the two party system was inevitable. In order to allocate more power to proper representation and therefore to the people, a reformation of, or really just an addition to, our federal government is required.
The current two party system leaves very little room for true discrepancy within the respective parties. It actively promotes that people, particularly our representatives, with slightly differing ideals to forgo their minutia in thought and rally around the party’s core platform. This occurs because the citizenry understands that if they do not always push for the party that holds a simple majority of ideals they will be vulnerable to the other party ruling and enacting laws that vastly differ with the citizen. Citizens must sacrifice their slightly differing, less popular in the party, beliefs in order to keep the most agreed upon positions from being destroyed by a politician of the opposite party.
For example, a staunch fiscal conservative who believes in the right to bear arms, states’ rights, and the 4th Amendment often has to sacrifice his belief in the 4th Amendment in order to make sure a Democrat who is fiscally progressive, anti-gun, and for centralized government isn’t voted in. This is essentially the core of the old adage, “throwing your vote away voting for a third party”. On certain points, the adage is partially correct. There is no room for minuita in current politics and to demand all of your ideals be met is to potentially sacrifice most of your ideas to the “wolves” of the other side.
The following proposal is an attempt to solve this problem; to allow the binary (two party system) thought pattern that most people are oft to fall into, while also promoting an outlet wherein the slight differences between ideals can be given power.
What I propose is the addition of a fourth branch of the federal government.
At its core this 4th branch of the federal government will be adorned with the power to say “No”. “No” to any and all laws that may come from Congress, be approved by the Judicial system, and signed by the President. A new final barrier to any change in government. The “Final Veto”.
Adorned with the Final Veto and head of this 4th branch of government will be an innocuous figure I will call “The Will”. “The Will” can be a singular person, a selected official, counsel, a group of people, or even the populace in its entirety. Who has the distinction of being “The Will” will be determined by the “institute” currently in power of the 4th branch.
The “institutes” in the 4th branch draw their name from current institutions (like Cato, Heritage Foundation, and Brookings institute) as the current institutes would be most prepared to meet the requirements (which will be laid out later) for becoming The Will and obtaining the power of the Final Veto. This is not to say that another organization can not become a contender. More than likely as time progresses new institutes will rise either by an emergence in new thought or fragmentation within an institution due to an impasse in thought.
In order to be considered an institute, an organization has to meet a few relatively easy criteria:
- Have a written set of ideals/beliefs
- Have a basic organizational structure
- Have a certain amount of supporters
Have a Written Set of Ideals/Beliefs
In order for citizens to join one of these groups with the full knowledge of what it means to join, the institutes must clearly state their goals and ideals in the form of documents, such as mission statements.
On their website, CATO states that their organization is dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.
This would be sufficient for a stated mission goal since mission statements do not need to include theories of strategy or tact. More often than not, the mission statement within an organization will not change as this is the core selling point by which the organization will gather supporters.
An organization’s positions and prescribed solutions are required to be clearly stated also. Positions and prescriptions will most likely change more often and be more malleable as new research and argumentation is conducted within and between the institutes. By what means the institute chooses to change their positions and prescriptions is up to their discretion, but their positions must be stated in some official manner. This is so that a civilian interested in joining/supporting the institute can not be mislead.
This requirement will ultimately be something that the institute is motivated to do themselves as to do otherwise (like not state what their intended goal is or to have conflicting positions) would cause dissatisfaction in their ranks and would assuredly cause the institute to crumble over time.
Have a Basic Organizational Structure
Written in their bylaws or stated somewhere in their organization, the institute must clarify how the organization will be structured, how “the will” is chosen, and by what processes they will use the final veto. This is needed as the other branches of government (mainly the legislative and executive) must be able to correspond with those that have the power within the institute regarding if they would be apt to use the Final Veto on a piece of legislation they are working on.
As mentioned in previous paragraphs, how an institute selects who becomes The Will or how the Final Veto is enacted is left to the sole discretion of the institute. It can range from a single person elected by direct voting to lifetime appointments based on heredity if so desired. An institution can only go as far as its supporters are willing to allow it to before they are enticed to leave for another, more fitting institute.
Like the last section this is done to their own advantage as any sort of misinformation or chaos is highly likely to bring the institution crumbling down after a single use (or misuse) of the Final Veto.
Have a Certain Amount of Supporters
More ambiguous, and less necessary, than the two other requirements, an organization ought to have a certain amount of people who support their positions and ideals.
A supporter is someone who ascribes to the institutes ideals and intentions when in power as The Will, but also, to a lesser extent, their plans for advocacy when not the will.
To be considered a supporter of the institute, they must be a registered member of the institute. In practical terms, I believe the process a person would have to go through to be declared a supporter would be akin to how one declares their party membership or party preference.
To be considered an institute, I suggest looking to the founding fathers who prescribed that 60,000 people constituted being worthy of representation in the Federal government. As such, I say that if an organization can acquire 60,000 supporters that it be lifted to the ignominious position of institution and all the duties and benefits that entails.
This should be done for the more pragmatic reason of preventing bureaucratic overflow of the branch system with insignificant organizations or even possibly ONE man organizations. It also prevents the likelihood of their being a “good salesman” who instead of gaining supporters on the merit of his ideals instead gains them on the merit of interpersonal relationship. Also, as the 4th branch of government, an institute is responsible for corresponding and advising any bill creators in the legislative and somewhat in the executive. As such, it would behoove the process to have an amount of people willing and able to perform what would almost certainly be the day to day task of advising and guiding lawmakers.
Once a organization is deemed qualified to become an institution of the 4th branch, it is now able to be considered for the position of The Will and take over the power of the Final Veto. The process by which an institute becomes The Will is through a lottery system executed by the Judiciary (as they are the most likely to fairly do so). The amount of bids an institute receives in the lottery will be determined by taking the institute’s number of supporters and dividing it by number of supporters in the institute with the lowest number of supporters. In this way each institute will receive the same likelihood of becoming The Will as the portion of the population they actually represent. The benefit of doing it this way is that all ideals will have a chance to become The Will while also allowing for institutes that share some similar ideals to be still weighted higher than a fringe ideal. All institutes are respected equally, but not held equal.
CATO: 2.4 million members / PRI’s members (60,000) = 40 bids (50% chance)
Mises: 1.5 million members / PRI’s members (60,000) = 25 bids (31.25% chance)
Brookings: 840,000 members / PRI’s members (60,000) = 14 bids (17.5% chance)
PRI: 60,000 members / PRI’s members (60,000) = 1 bid (1.25% Chance)
More than likely, the institutes will have their own head quarters somewhere in DC so that they can more easily work in parallel with the other branches. This is because the 4th branch of government and The Will do not have a set term date.
The Will and the power of the Final Veto that comes with it is instead a one time use power per “term”. Meaning, that once the reigning institute uses the Final Veto on a piece of legislation a new lottery is started and The Will is potentially passed onto another group.
During this new lottery process two/three actions will occur before the drawing:
- Supporters will be given a final opportunity to change institutes
- The number of supporters and the institutes chances will be recounted and recalculated
- The Will will be unleashed to veto as they see fit.
Supporters Change Institutes
Times change and so do the ideologies of people. As such, it is important to give people and chance to change their support and more closely align with their personal ideals. During the time that any Institute is in power, people will be able to freely change their institute support. However, when the Final Veto has been used and the immediate lottery process begins, people will have a set amount of time to change their support. My baseless reaction is that 10 days from the use of the Final Veto is enough time for any “last minute changers” to respond, but this is a pragmatic issue that can be solved at a later date.
After the time frame above, all people will be locked in to their chosen institute or out of the process entirely. This allows for a set and official amount of bids to be calculated for the lottery without any discrepancy in what the citizenry find to be the “correct” count. As prescribed in previous sections above, the institutes will be recounted and recalculated according to the lowest institute. If any recounted institute is found to be beneath the prescribed threshold of being deemed an institute then they will lose their institute position and not be considered for the next lottery.
The Will is Unleashed
During the recounting and new lottery, The Will will be allowed to veto any and all passed bills as they see fit. This is needed in order to prevent a chance at subterfuge by the legislative and executive branch. Specifically in mind is the other branches passing an obviously bad bill that the 4th branch will have no choice, but to veto and then quickly voting and passing the true bill they wanted during the recounting
The first lottery is held and the Mises institute is drawn as The Will. Mises has a chairman as the head of the institute who was elected there from a board of trustees who in turn have good standing and seniority within the institute. The Mises institute takes their place in the 4th branch of government and begins to work alongside the legislative branch to advise on what may or may not be Final Veto’ed. Ignoring the Mises caucus advise, the legislative branch continues on with a piece of legislation that calls for the doubling of tariffs on all foreign goods and the president signs this piece. The chairman at the Mises caucus knows that this goes against their institutes’ ideals and free trade is high on their supporters’ priority list of things to defend. So, the chairman decides to use the Final Veto and stops the bill from becoming law.
This kicks off the next lottery and supporters are recounted and given their last chance to switch. During this time the Chairman of the Mises Institute also vetoes some of congress’ pet project spending bills. The counting occurs and it seems that some of Mises supporters did not agree with veto because of the surrounding situations in the job market. The counting time ends and the lottery is pulled again. In an unlikely event the Leninists with their 62,000 supports are drawn in the lottery. The people are all the none to happy, but expect that they will not be in power for long.
Time and time again, election after election, it is shown that our current system of government is hard pressed to allow for serious difference in ideals to be expressed. At best we get a representative who talks not along party lines, but whose votes still hold the party line. With this fourth branch there is no motivation to band together under one banner. Why would they? A Pro-Second Amendment, but anti-tariff person would gain no benefit by bolstering the ranks of another Pro-Second Amendment and pro-tariff institute as they would also veto any anti-2A policy.
At its core this addition to the system creates a race or struggle between the leviatons of ideals instead of the people themselves. In a time when more and more people are looking to politics and the state for their moral guidance, I believe this will lessen the tension we see in daily life while also increasing the amount of debate in the higher levels of epistemology, giving those seeking a place for respite somewhere to express their ideals. Meaning that people who are searching for meaning and purpose in a more and more religion-less world will have an outlet for guidance in their 4th branch institutions. In this way, the 4th branch of government not only acts as a force for better presentation, but also and in a more intangible way, will satiate the more esoteric cravings of a more and more secular populace.
Instead of a wholesale change, like many are calling for, I believe that the addition of this 4th branch of government will succeed in giving power to differing opinions and better representing the actual wants of the individuals that make up Western society. The Bernie-socialist wing can have a say on how democrats legislate while in power, libertarians can voice their dissent from all sides, those concerned with border security or social justice will too get a chance to hold some power over the two party majority. This is an important factor in maintaining the balance of power. Unlike other propositions for popular vote or epistocracy. No one side would truly gain an advantage.