Radical Independent Party
NOTE: The R.I.P. was invented on a radio
talk show in Columbia, SC. ca. 1994. A listener
asked if printed copies were available. "Yes," the host lied. He
went home and wrote the following and faxed it to the
listener. The final paragraph was added in 2002.
The R.I.P. has no officers,
no dues, and holds no meetings.
The Radical Independent Party (RIP) is founded on the fundamental idea that government belongs in the background to secure the safety of citizens, not micromanage their affairs. Knowing that it's impossible for the governing class to follow the prescription laid out in the United States Constitution, the RIP believes Republicans and Democrats will remain in control of the nation until they run it into bankruptcy. At some point an awakened citizenry will throw them overboard and try something else.
RIP ideology is based on the quaint idea that if people are generally left alone to pursue happiness they will do a better job of it than if they are forced to run their lives according to ideas of a self-appointed elite.
Here are a few of the RIP planks:
Needs to be eliminated. Congress doesn't have the gumption to do it, so the deficits will pile up until the debt service swallows most of the tax revenues. Not to worry! If Congress can't fix it the natural forces of the marketplace will.
The War Department
Lots of waste in that department. Focus must be put on military matters and stop using the Department of War as a means of channeling big bucks into industries that make things that are of little value and are quickly outdated. Taxpayers can never afford to buy enough military might to simultaneously fight several wars. Policing the world is an admirable objective, but impoverishing people on the home front in order to achieve it is foolishness of a very high order.
Socialized sickness care has failed everywhere it has been tried, including the much touted Canadian system. That's because socialism is a much admired system that doesn't work. The Radical Independent Party believes people should be encouraged to follow healthful habits, save some money for routine medical costs, and buy catastrophic sickness insurance for the big stuff. This system would quickly remind people they are consumers with a strong interest in the cost of medical services. They will question whether seven or eight thousand dollars for the routine delivery of a baby is worth it. Midwifery may become popular again.
Everyone agrees the system is doomed unless repairs are made. Baby boomers understand they are paying into it and won't get much out of it unless something is done. The RIP recommends an overhaul, delaying retirement to 68 or 70 and providing an accounting so recipients will know when they have received everything back they and their employers deposited. The elderly poor should never have to worry about being supported by America's workers, but the rich should be encouraged to keep their hands out of their children's pockets after they get their money back. Also, the system should be trimmed to better fit the original intent. Future generations would do well to engineer a more effective method of insuring their old age.
By all means, guns should be under the control of the general population. Under no circumstances should only the forces of the government be armed. Armed whackos and kids should be stripped of their weapons and punished.
The failed "war on drugs" should be abandoned in favor of legal control. Under the present arrangement distribution of illicit drugs takes place in back alleys and other secretive places. Prices are high because of the risks involved, and the trade has drawn many young people into criminal activity. The RIP's recommendation: put drugs under the same control as alcohol and other poisons. Then establish a major national promotional campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of addictive substances, including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc.
The American welfare system has been shown to have created more misery than it has eliminated. Its programs have been especially mean to minorities. A serious national debate is necessary, and compassionate private charity ought to be resurrected. Recipients should be made aware their help is not coming "from government," but from the pockets of working people.
Poverty cannot be eliminated. It has been a part of humankind since the first records of civilization. Grinding poverty of the sort that was common through much of history has very nearly been eliminated in America.
A high percentage of homeless persons suffer mental illness or substance addiction. The homeless should be cared for and not permitted to sleep on city streets or in public parks. Such behavior should be a signal for a helping agency to move in to assist that person into a setting where he or she can mend and be led into some form of productive work.
What? Animals don't HAVE "rights." Cruelty to them should not be permitted, but to award "rights" to animals is an absurd idea.
Reverend Malthus once worried the planet would become overpopulated. Actually, nature would handle the matter when the demand for food, raiment, and shelter outstripped the supply. Well-to-do people tend to regulate their numbers. Runaway population explosions generally occur among the poorest. The notion that the planet is big enough to hold billions of more people is in error. Habitable land is finite and some stress is already occurring. But the RIP isn't going to worry about it on the grounds the matter is insolvable as long as government experts pretend that they can invent programs to alleviate overpopulation. Most government interventions create more of it, as public support of single teenage mothers attests.
In 1850 one in four pregnancies was terminated by abortion. In 1950 one in four pregnancies was terminated by abortion. In 1990 one in four pregnancies was terminated by abortion. The RIP believes making abortion unlawful won't change the statistics beyond making the procedure more difficult to attain by low income women. Having no evidence, yet, on when "personhood" occurs in fetal development, or when the soul is installed, RIP will contend that if pregnancy termination must take place it ought to be done before the embryonic stage evolves into a fetus.
People pour into the United States in search of a better life. Often it means they get taxpayer subsidy, which is a strong attraction. Welfare for immigrants should be discouraged, although closing the door to newcomers would be a mistake. Many immigrants are eager to accept work that is beneath the dignity of most Americans. A rational policy could make live-in Nannies and other household helpers widely available to the middle classes.
It'll be hotly debated. Reason and logic dictate that a person "owns himself" and ought to have some say about the conditions of his exit from life. If he does not relish languishing uselessly in a near vegetative state he should be made as comfortable as possible and allowed to perish on his own terms.
Must be kept separate as both operate in different spheres. (Natural v. supernatural.) The State should stay clear of religion unless serious squabbles break out between certain sects with the prospect of harm coming to individuals or groups.
The State assumed responsibility for training youngsters in the belief it would lead to a more loyal, moral citizenry. Parents dutifully give up their children to the government schools because of slogans such as "The children are our future." Unfortunately, this is another failed social experiment. Parents should at once assume responsibility for their offspring's education, although taxpayer subsidy could be continued in some form. The choice of where a child is trained should be that of the parents.
Parents have the right to expect their children will not be subjected to adult concepts without their permission. However, there is no reasonable argument for State censorship of adult communications. Society is self censoring of public conduct and doesn't need the supervision of an elite governing class.
Vice and Crime
The Radical Independent Party believes a distinction should be made between vice and crime, with perpetrators of crime hauled off to jail and kept there until they mend their ways. Vice, however, is another matter. Vice is harming oneself. Crime is harming the property or person of another. Vice (drug use) is filling the jails faster than they can be built making the United States first in the world in incarcerations per capita. (Russia, formerly #1, has slipped to #2.) The U.S. presently keeps many convicts in prison longer for vice (drug use/trafficking) than for murder!
Gambling (This is basically covered under "Vice and Crime," but concerned supporters of the RIP believe a separate plank is needed.)
Gambling is merely another vice. Mr. Jefferson called it "taxation for the willing." Its attraction is based upon the notion that something can be had for nothing, thus one puts money into wagers in hopes of gaining immense wealth with no effort. The question is, should it be banned? The answer is, why? It is no more possible to stop gamblers from throwing their money away than it is to stop drug users from satisfying their habit. In both cases tax revenues would be non-existent. And, in both cases these habits are their own punishment.
"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of old ones!"
-- John Cage