Before continuing, please read the prior post of October 3, “In Search of The Silver Bullet.”
Part 8. Reapportionment (2): A Formula to Achieve One Person, One Vote.
There is nothing new under the sun.
-- Ecclesiastes 1:9 --
They got him.
Anwar al-Awlaki, Islamic cleric-terrorist, was killed on September 30, 2011 in a drone attack in Yemen. The good news was so good, President Obama announced it.
As for the bad news …
This blog discussed al-Awlaki on numerous occasions (see posts of 4/4/11, 11/23/10, 11/12/10, 10/31/10, 10/15/10). The reason for so much attention: he was a textbook case of middle class rebellion. If you are interested in what al-Awlaki did and why he did it, go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble . After 30 years of researching the subject, I came to conclusions you won´t see on the nightly news.[i]
What could Anwar al-Awlaki possibly have to do with reapportionment?
In both cases, what is in play is the 14th amendment[ii] to the United States Constitution:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen. Thus, the 14th amendment applies to him.
Or does it?
Don’t expect CIA, FBI, or Homeland Security officials to read the Constitution, much less understand it or enforce it. Yes, I am serious. The reason is simple: they don’t have to. They are agents of the status quo, whatever that status quo happens to be. Such is their job. Fidel Castro, Obama, Nixon, Lincoln, Bush, Kennedy, Kaddafi, Reagan, Elvis: whoever the president happens to be, executive branch agents serve him. His political tendencies or personal attributes make no difference. You may think it should be otherwise -- but it isn’t. Such a transformation awaits The Second American Revolution.[iii]
As for what the status quo is today …
In 2008-2009, America underwent a revolution -- a change of, not in political systems. We no longer have a polity, the oligarchy/democracy hybrid created by Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, and the other Founding Fathers. The moment Bush-Obama gave away billions of dollars to the American archi-rich, the polity went the way of all polities. It was replaced by an oligarchy.[iv]
The continental plate shift in 2008-2009 is the second reason why the 14th amendment is ignored. Under an oligarchy, citizens are not equal. Inequality is, in fact, a defining characteristic of oligarchy. Now, it is often enjoyable but it is never rational to spend time on things that make no difference. Hence, given America’s new oligarchic political system, there is no rational reason for the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security -- indeed, for any government official -- to know or care about the 14th amendment and equal protection. Such is the new order. Get used to it, you who are reading these words.
Then again …
As for Obama, Harvard law school professors can and do ignore the 14th amendment. They, too, are (1) agents of the status quo in (2) an oligarchic political system. For them, to defend the 14th amendment would be not only a waste of time and misleading, i.e., the public would think its Constitutional rights and protections still exist, but also, and more importantly for the professors, to support equal protection under the law would potentially do something far more detrimental, maybe disastrous: jeopardize their careers.
We arrive at the third reason why the 14th amendment is irrelevant to Harvard professors. A half a century ago -- when a polity existed and people could say such things, get them published, and not be fired -- the anthropologist Jules Henry explained why:
“All great cultures, and those moving in the direction of greatness, have an elite which might be called the cultural maximizers whose function is to maintain or push further the culture’s greatness and integration….The functions of a cultural maximizer include organization (i.e., maintaining the level of integration of the culture as it is) and contributing certain qualitative features necessary to the continuance of the cultural life. His function is never to alter the culture radically. He may help to give more intense expression to features that already exist, but he never wants to bring about a fundamental change. Thus, those who have the capacity to maximize culture in this sense are among the elite in all highly developed civilizations.”[v]
Given their social role, cultural maximizers’ lack of consideration of fundamental change is not subject to “rational” argument or moral “improvement.” Today, fundamental change is nothing less than replacing the reigning oligarchy with a polity. Given that reality, and because The Second American Revolution is rational and doesn’t waste time on things that don’t matter, it doesn’t look to Harvard for help, much less salvation.
Strange isn’t it, though, how despite everything it keeps coming back. There it is again -- the 14th amendment: you can’t “deprive any person of life … without due process of law…” No need to tell you what those words mean; they are in the heart of America.
The best testimony to due process’s status of a self-evident truth is the latest display of the oligarchy’s secret inner essence: naïve, clumsy. No sooner was al-Awlaki’s death announced than White House and Justice Department pronunciamentos spilled forth defending the drone attack. Watch the officials closely, note their tone of voice and eye movements; you are witnessing an archetypal manifestation of the Blivet Trick, i.e., trying to put 10 pounds of horse shit in a 5 pound bag. Overcompensation is the first refuge of the guilty.
The oligarchs and their agents are clearly panicked by the large, loud, and growing number of people decrying Anwar al-Awlaki’s death without due process. The protestors were especially outraged at the good news announcement by Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, of all people. Hopefully, the above comments will explain the contradiction; i.e., Obama´s disregard of the 14th amendment is entirely in keeping with his triple role of (1) agent of the status quo, which is (2) an oligarchy, and of (3) a cultural maximizer. Incidentally, that the 14th amendment was enacted to fight racism is of no interest to Obama. As his refusal to abolish another residue of racism, the Electoral College (see Part 5) demonstrates, when out on the country club links with his golfing buddies, besieged by hooks, slices, bogies, and sandtraps, Obama can’t ponder incongruities. No time. Besides, gosh, it’s not nice to bring up stuff like that.
Today, a fundamental change would be to NOT disregard the 14th amendment, but to respect and enforce it. For the three reasons noted above, Barack Obama cannot participate in that fundamental change. Consequently, don’t expect him to participate in The Second American Revolution.
Anwar al-Awlaki’s death will create lawsuits and other actions, notably demonstrations.[vi] I wish the very best to all people everywhere who fight for equal legal protection of citizens no matter how despicable those citizens’ words or actions may be. In fact, out of respect for you and your fight, I would like to address you directly:
Victory in the judiciary should not be expected. Your ultimate failure at the hands of the Supreme Court will prove, once more and again, that (1) America now has an oligarchy, not a polity, much less a democracy. (2) At the top of the oligarchy sits the Supreme Court (see Part 1).
Despite your impending legal defeat, your cause is just; your battle, courageous. Equal protection under the law is the sine qua non of democracy. I hope, therefore, you will not let your eventual and inevitable disillusionment shut you up: such is the goal of the oligarchy, i.e., to get you to repress yourselves. However, the simple fact is you can’t be disillusioned without having had an illusion in the first place. It’s impossible. And you certainly had an illusion about America.
Next time, don’t try the Supreme Court; don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut.
You, Dear Reader, no doubt are starting to conclude that, in defending equal protection under the law, we are beating a dead horse. You are right -- the horse is dead. It is only with that awareness, however, that fundamental change can occur. The Second American Revolution entails nothing less than a resurrection, and in more ways than one.
In the meantime, as public awareness builds, here’s a message for Obama and his golf cronies:
Remember that horse you killed?
When you wake up tomorrow, you’d better have somebody look you over. You may have hoof marks running up and down your back.
* * *
There is a paradox in the One Person, One Vote principle:
Reapportioning solely on the basis of warm bodies counted in the census makes district vote totals vary to an unacceptable degree. When districts A and B both have 18,000 people, and 8,000 votes are cast in A versus only 2,000 votes in B, something is wrong. Picture a scale, perfectly balanced, with 8,000 grains of sand in pan A and only 2,000 in pan B: how can the weight of each grain be the same? For the same reason, It is patent nonsense to say the weight of a vote in A has the same weight as a vote in B; in truth, each vote in B has more than twice the weight of a vote in A. Despite that fact, making populations equal -- one person, one person reapportionment -- is the law of the land.
But reapportioning solely on the bases of votes cast would make district populations vary to an unacceptable degree. If districts A and B are redrawn so that each casts 5,000 votes, but 30,000 people live in A and only 6,000 in B, something is wrong. In the balanced scale image, 30,000 people in one pan would weigh the same as only 6,000 in the other: how can the weight of each person be the same? B wins again. So outrageous is this discrepancy, to my knowledge no one vote, one vote reapportionment has ever been practiced, much less allowed, in America.
The cause of the paradox is simple but fundamental. The census population and voters are two different groups. The former includes children, nonresidents, and other people ineligible to vote. The latter excludes them.
BOTH people and votes must be counted to reapportion in a manner that truly, fully, finally operationizes the One Person, One Vote principle. That operationalization is the only way that, in accordance with the Constitution -- with democracy, too -- the weight of every person’s vote will be equal.
The solution to the One Person, One Vote paradox requires first that a 2,000-year-old dictum be disproven. We can -- in fact, must -- mix apples (people) and oranges (votes).
That dictum has endured for two millennia because to disprove it requires neither inductive nor deductive but abductive logic. As Charles Peirce showed, abduction is inherently deep-seated, disruptive; its results cannot be anticipated much less controlled, which is why Harvard professors don’t practice it. That omission is ensconced in their cultural maximizer role: His function is never to alter the culture radically.
Even though equal protection under the law, equality of votes, and democracy are irrelevant today in America, we as citizens should strive to finish what the Founding Fathers left undone. The watchword of The Second American Revolution: Do It Anyway.
Consider the following formula for equalizing vote weights:
Congresional District* Population
According to The Last Census
The Average of The Total Vote Cast
in The Congressional District
in The Previous Two Congressional
General Election Years**
The Average of The Total Votes Cast
in A Precinct in The Previous Two
Congressional general Election Years
Derived Precinct Population
The “Derived Precinct Populations” are the new building blocks for constructing districts. Their physical boundaries, registered voters, voting machine locations, etc., are exactly the same as those of existing precincts.
When added up there is nothing abstract whatsoever about derived precinct populations. More on that in a moment.
The formula, it must be emphasized, does not omit actual, real life people. They are at the top of the first column: “Congressional District Population According to The Last Census.” People ineligible to vote -- children, out-of-state students and soldiers, foreign nationals -- are absolutely, definitely included.
The mechanics of the formula will not be intuitively obvious to many readers. Hence, I offer a clarifying, hypothetical case:
(1) Assume a congressional district has a population of 800,000 people.[ix] Assume, furthermore, that the average turnout in the last two congressional general election years was 400,000 votes.
The contents of the first column in the formula:
Congressional District Population
According to The Last Census = 800,000
The Average of The Total Votes Cast
In The Congressional District
In The Previous Two Congressional
General Election Years = 400,000
For obvious reasons, the result of the first column will always be greater than 1. In our example, that figure is: total census population (800,000) divided by total votes cast (400,000) = 2.
(2) We come to the second column of the formula: “The Average of The Total Votes Cast in A Precinct in The Previous Two Congressional General Election Years.”
Let us assume that the congressional district consists of five precincts. Moreover, assume our task is to build two state house districts from those five precincts. Finally, assume the averages of the total votes cast in the two elections in question were the following:
Precinct 1. 50,000 votes.
Precinct 2. 100,000 votes.
Precinct 3. 80,000 votes.
Precinct 4. 20,000 votes.
Presinct 5. 150,000 votes.
Before proceeding, note that the total is 400,000 votes. That figure appears in the bottom part of the first column of the formula.
(3) The second calculation in the formula: multiply each precinct vote by 2. The result is the “Derived Precinct Population.” Thus,
Precinct 1. 2 x 50,000 = 100,000 Derived Precinct Population.
Precinct 2. 2 x 100,000 = 200,000 Derived Precinct Population.
Precinct 3. 2 x 80,000 = 160,000 Derived Precinct Population.
Precinct 4. 2 x 20,000 = 40,000 Derived Precinct Population.
Precinct 5. 2 x 150,000 = 300,000 Derived Precinct Population.
Now comes something most readers will not anticipate:
The total of the “Derived Precinct Populations” is 800,000 -- the number shown at the top of column 1 of the formula. In other words, the total of the derived precinct populations is the same as the “real” population -- warm bodies -- counted by the census. How can that be?
What happened is this: precincts with large numbers of people ineligible to vote -- foreign nationals, children, etc. -- did not receive undue representation relative to other precincts. What the formula accomplishes is not the elimination of ineligibles but the spreading of ineligibles over all the precincts in a congressional district.
(4) As mentioned, our task is to build two state house districts. If we put precincts 1 and 5 together, we have a district composed of (i) 400,000 derived precinct population and (ii) 200,000 votes. That decision leaves us no choice for the remaining, second district: precincts 2, 3, and 4. Together, they form a district of (i) 400,000 derived precinct population and (ii) 200,000 votes.
End result: two identical districts in (i) populations and (ii) votes. What could be more equitable then that? People and votes? Apples and oranges?
The essence of the formula: the votes-cast component checks the population component WITHIN congressional districts. The population component checks the votes-cast component AMONG congressional districts.
Apples and oranges are mixed so as to control each other. Those checks and the resulting balance are One Person, One Vote in action.
[i] For a highly representative example of mainstream reporting, see CNN’s article on Samir Khan , an American citizen (New Yorker) who died with al-Awlaki. The American media doesn’t know the difference between description and analysis, information and culture. In Khan’s case CNN regurgitates the description spoon-fed them by … a terrorist and middle class rebel (Daddy is a communications executive). It becomes obvious after a few wooden paragraphs that Samir Khan had no more idea why he became a terrorist than does CNN. Had he known, he wouldn’t have done it.
[ii] The fifth amendment, which is part of the Bill of Rights, declares:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law [sic]; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Why was it necessary, some 80 years later, for the Constitution to repeat verbatim its guarantee of due process? Obviously, there was a problem.
As the prior post explained, the 14th amendment was a
“response to the notorious Black Codes. The 13th amendment (1865) had abolished slavery. Nevertheless, certain states passed laws designed to keep Blacks in a condition of servitude, e.g., they were forced to enter labor contracts, did not have freedom of movement, and could not sue in court.”
This post’s subject is One Person, One Vote, which is anchored in equal protection. Consequently, the 14th amendment is emphasized rather than the 5th. Regarding due process, however, they say the same thing.
[iii] Who gets elected president is inseparable from how they are elected. The election of presidents who disregard the Constitution and other laws will continue until campaign financing is revolutionized. Part 3 observed that “it turns out that the soaring, sky-high costs of campaigns are the oligarchy’s favorite game: heads we win; tails you lose.” Part 3 proposed a specific, concrete change.
[iv] For more on this subject, see the Unfortunate But Necessary Introduction, Part 1 post of August 22, 2011.
[v] Jules Henry, Culture Against Man, Random House, 1963, p. 31. Cited in The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion, p. 65. Truth in lending: Jules Henry was a close family friend.
[vi] Be leery of impeach Obama talk. Of course, the logic is impeccable: (i) violating the Constitution is an impeachable offense. (ii) President Barack Obama violated the Constitution. (iii) Therefore, … However, the syllogism assumes the polity and not an oligarchy runs America, and consequently that the Constitution is still in effect. In reality, the House of Representatives would have to impeach Obama (the Senate conducts the trial). The question turns on whom the House represents. At $4,600,000 per head, house members are a cold slap in the face of America’s Founding Fathers, who intended that the House represent the little people (see Part 6).
[vii] Why are congressional districts used as the basic population unit? Other units, such as counties, could be employed.
There is nothing sacred about congressional districts. However, they are convenient and appropriate. Federal courts and other government bodies, as well as nongovernment organizations, closely scrutinize congressional districts as to their equality of populations and communities of interest. As a result, the formula reapportions on an established political and legal consensus.
Reapportionment experts outside the United States, notably Europe, will find other units of population -- provinces, cantons, departments, etc. -- to be useful. The basic logic of the formula, however, remains valid.
[viii] Why use more than one election year to form a votes-cast figure? Turnout can vary significantly from year to year due to local political and weather conditions. To reduce extreme turnout deviations up or down, the formula takes two general elections and averages them.
[ix] The real number is closer to 700,000. I am simplifying things so that you will not need a calculator.