By Guy Hatchard
The pandemic has exposed the weakness in our political system as has nothing else before. I have already written briefly about constitutional reform, but I thought you may like an analysis of some of the changes needed urgently.
Democracy has its roots in the notion of Natural Law elaborated by the ancient Greeks. Natural Law was understood to be universal — available to everyone. The sun shines on all, the oceans, rivers and lakes belong to all, the soil does not discriminate as to whose seeds it will germinate.
Celebration of these universal bounties is both logical and natural. Seasonal festivals of thanks are still honoured today all over the world. From here, early philosophical concepts of rulership and law emphasised the necessity that they benefit everyone.
We now know a lot more about the structure of Natural Law from a scientific perspective. All laws of nature can be formulated in a mathematical form known as ‘least action’. Nature is highly efficient, it does less in order to accomplish more. At its most fundamental level, its unified level, natural law is least excited, it does virtually nothing to accomplish everything. It creates the framework of time and space and the whole play of evolution. This then is the starting point of law—least-excited, universal, evolutionary force present everywhere that benefits all.
However early popular notions of the science of evolution were based solely on notions of competition and survival of the fittest. These have greatly influenced politics as well as industrialisation, and they continue to do so. The idea grew that the individual and society were somehow always in competition with Nature which they should seek to dominate. We now know the dominant driving force of evolution is actually found in cooperative systems—symbiosis involving mutually beneficial networks of genetic intelligence. Nature prefers ways in which system elements can work to mutual benefit including even for example within predator hierarchies. These networks rely on the sun, the land, the water, the seed. The great tragedy of modern competitive models of law is the misuse and degradation of these resources and the resulting challenges of climate change, pollution, and scarcity. The long term stewardship of natural resources has been replaced by the political and industrial imperatives of narrow economic interests whose benefits are not evenly distributed.
There is no doubt that political practice has not only allowed this to happen but also facilitated it. Nor has modern politics proved capable of correcting or modifying the imbalances, excesses, and pressing dangers of modern life.
Modern democratic politics has largely learned how to operate outside of constitutional frameworks—virtually above the law. Here are some of the ways politicians and parties are able to bypass the checks and balances that the early founders of law envisioned, along with some suggested reforms:
Political power is too distant from local needs and issues—politicians in distant capitals want to dictate local funding priorities in the absence of reliable local knowledge.
Remedy—any decision that can be taken locally should be taken locally. MPs should be able to vote electronically enabling them to spend more time in their constituency. MPs should be required to sit with their local councils, to acquire more locally relevant knowledge. An electronic communication system should be established so that MPs can sound out the opinions of their constituents and respond to concerns. List MPs can be similarly connected to the people they represent.
Encroaching exercise of power over all areas—governments increasingly believe that they have a right to determine the content of education and healthcare for everyone. This stifles diversity and mitigates against novel solutions for the pressing problems of modern life.
Remedy—Funding of education and health should be through a voucher system whereby each individual can decide how to spend their voucher. In this way no individual can be taxed in such a way that it forces their participation in a system that runs against their beliefs and understanding. Nor should politicians be able to control parental choice, this system was tried and failed in communist states.
A dictatorial party system—the operation of party whips or enforcers in parliamentary or congressional systems works against democracy. I was struck by a recent interview with one of our local MPs, they parried queries about pandemic legislation by saying that they had little or no role in formulating party policy and were sometimes the last to hear what had been decided. In other words, under the party system a few people at the top of the party take decisions and the party whip system ensures that all party members vote for it—a virtual dictatorship.
Whatever platform the party stood upon at the time of election can be overturned and the changes enforced. No captain of industry would run his firm by setting up two opposing teams to fight out every decision, they would expect deep consideration and measured insights. Intelligent men and women shrink from putting themselves up for political election under a system that is patently repressive of independent thought.
Remedy—party whips should only be allowed to require the compliance and vote of MPs and representatives on issues agreed in the party platform presented at election time. MPs should be allowed a conscience or free vote on all other introduced issues. This will help ensure there is full discussion of ‘new’ issues and a chance for electronic feedback from constituents, before legislation is passed. The proportional representation threshold should be reduced to one percent to enable minority views to be properly represented in parliament.
Disenfranchising citizens—the former idea of politicians was that they were servants of the people. The new concept of party politics is that rulership involves the imposition of policies on the people who are considered too naive to understand. This is especially true of legislation governing technological change. In this model, dissenters can be excluded and even criminalised, as has happened around the world with vaccination mandates. The mandates have been introduced under quick fire emergency legislation passed without considered and mature debate—a known tactic of tyranny.
Remedy—the use of emergency legislation should be constitutionally constrained and the rights of individuals strengthened. Courts are only able to enforce rights when the constitutional privileges and rights of citizenship are beyond the reach of politicians to alter. The constitution should enumerate the rights of citizenship and ensure that minorities cannot have their rights removed selectively. Legislation introducing radical technological change including genetic research should be paused and future research and development should be hedged with additional safeguards, waiting periods, and testing.
Dependence of the media—in New Zealand, mainstream media have become dependent on government handouts and funding to stay afloat. The overt precondition for support has been an uncritical presentation of the official government narrative. Investigative journalists are reporting that they are not allowed to raise any dissenting voice under threat of dismissal.
Remedy—the government should be constitutionally restrained from influencing media through financial grants, etc. Dictatorship arises if a government is allowed to benefit its supporters and disadvantage its detractors. Moreover direct and indirect foreign support for local media should be outlawed.
The influence of lobbyists—political parties are dependent for their funding on lobbyists and wealthy contributors with special interests. During the pandemic this has especially included pharmaceutical interests. Moreover a sham of independence is fostered by the appointment of committees of government advisors who themselves have special interests. For example the Skegg Committee advising the New Zealand government on pandemic policy was exclusively composed of individuals known to support vaccination as a stand alone approach.
Remedy—political parties should be constrained to rely solely on grass roots financial support of smaller amounts. The accumulation of wealth by politicians via services rendered to industry and business whilst in office should be outlawed. Revolving door commercial interests of advisors should be declared and balanced by those with independent views.
The misuse of science and technology—science is not a monolithic body of knowledge. There are competing paradigms or interpretations. Science progresses through hypotheses and experimental testing. During the pandemic one-sided presentations of scientific ‘truths’ have been a common tactic of governments.
For example, here in New Zealand the relentless public relations campaign funded by the government has emphasised complete safety of the vaccine, whereas the internal dialogue among government advisors and officials reveals a full knowledge of health risks.
New laws and regulations are being tabled that prevent the policies of government ministries from being challenged by the public in the courts and also by ‘independent’ watchdogs such as the “Advertising Standards Authority”.
Remedy—parliamentary privilege is the rule that politicians may lie in the debating chamber without fear of court action. This rule is now completely outdated. Politicians should be subject to the same laws as all of us. As the old saying goes ‘truth alone triumphs’. The government should be constitutionally disbarred from constraining the decisions of independent bodies and watchdogs.
Multinational influence—national governments can be manipulated overtly and covertly by multinational companies and organisations beyond the reach of national laws. Multinational organisations are usually predatory of national interests. This sometimes involves financial incentives or loans with strings attached, that are offered to help fund national projects.
Remedy—ownership of land and essential services in the nation should be protected from excessive foreign ownership or investment as this leads to a loss of sovereignty and independence. Lower tiers of government should be constrained from forming relationships with multinational lobby groups, as for example happened when Medsafe became a member of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities—a group heavily influenced by pharmaceutical interests.
Despite the safeguards contained in constitutions and laws, they cannot absolutely guarantee equity. There is a story told of the Mughal Emperor Akbar who sacked a corrupt official and sentenced him to count the waves by the seashore and note them in a ledger.
Akbar thought that the problem was fixed, but his advisor Bibal disagreed. So they both disguised themselves and sailed close to the shore, whereupon the corrupt official raised his voice and said the Emperor had entrusted him with guarding the waves and they should pay a fine for disturbing them.
As John Philpot Curran, jurist, orator, and Master of the Rolls in Ireland said: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”
So beware and speak up, silence now amounts to consent. A single issue constitutional party would be my preference as this can unite people from across political divides. The sole initial platform of this party would be to reform and re-energise the political process, improve safeguards, and protect individual rights.
Guy Hatchard PhD is a former senior manager at Genetic ID. He is a long time advocate of natural approaches to health and a pioneer of research on the networks of collective consciousness.