The Limitarian

Citizen 2.0

Democratic Limitarianism: What and Why

Inasmuch as our democracy requires an informed and rational citizenry, that which is necessary to permit of informed and rational citizenship we shall provide where it is absent and protect where it is threatened. Inasmuch as freedom demands more than the democratic selection of one’s masters, we shall extend the role of government intervention only to these protections and provisions and no farther.

To achieve these limited ends, all constitutional means may be considered and none may be sanctified. Thus each generation of Americans may best govern itself and – in keeping with our great national tradition – provide that the next generation may govern itself even better.

The Downfall of Issue-Based Politics

Turn off the lights, the Party’s finished

  • Issue-based politics creates a system in which two parties are forced to adopt opposing sides for all politically-balanced issues in an arms race for votes and funds.
  • This ensures that the ‘base’ of both parties will represent not the mainstream of national interest, but rather the hardest core of issue-based partisans.
  • This partisan fundamentalism ensures that, at any given time, roughly half of politically motivated citizens will stand in strong opposition to the governing party.
  • This ensures that the role of the minority party’s elected representatives is, first and foremost, adversarial – to hamper and obstruct the opposition’s issue-oriented agenda at all costs.
  • This places the governing party in the untenable position of trying to pursue an agenda for which it can expect virtually no support from the opposing party – which, in a democracy, ensures only limited success.
  • This limited success inherently saps the political will of the governing party’s political base, ensuring the party’s eventual usurpation by the opposition.

Issue-based politics divides America’s political will into two halves and hitches them back-to-back, ensuring a maximum of effort with a minimum of effect as each side, finding itself momentarily the stronger, drags the nation forward a few steps before tiring and being dragged back again.

Voting for the candidate who cares enough to lie

  • Issue-based political parties must assemble their coalitions by pandering to partisans of every politically-balanced issue.
  • The adversarial nature of American democracy ensures that a party that rises to power on an infinitely diverse political coalition will only ever pursue a fraction of its promises, and will be lucky to win even a measure of success on any of them.
  • Thus, the overwhelming majority of members of even a successful coalition can count on complete, unmitigated disappointment.

When being forced to promise everything ensures that politicians will accomplish nothing, voters learn to elect rhetoric because they know it’s all they’re going to get.

The Alternative to Partisanship: Democratic Limitarianism

Limitation in scope: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” not “Everything is worth doing … poorly”

Whereas partisanship creates an issue-based ‘land grab’ for all politically-balanced issues, Limitarianism identifies the limited set of matters which it considers the proper purview of a government and disavows political involvement with any matter that rests outside that set.

Real viability, not false victory: What works, not what wins

Having identified those matters which it may rightfully address, Limitarianism pursues an open-ended methodology for identifying and implementing solutions. Rather than clinging to a pre-conceived notion of the ‘right’ method, all ideas are considered and no ideas are sacred in the effort to achieve outcomes that produce measurable movement towards explicitly stated goals.


Executives replace demagogues: Where the legislative process encourages the development and deployment of functional solutions, adversarialism becomes immediately unpopular. A candidate that can point to functioning accomplishments will defeat a speech-maker or an obstructionist.

Ghettoization of partisanship: As mainstream America coalesces around the pursuit of workable solutions, partisan ‘bases’ become rump remnants of the bad-choice parties. This limits their voice in government, and requires the remaining voice to moderate and self-police.


Democratic Limitarianism rests upon the principle that American freedom is best promoted by American democracy, and that American democracy is best maintained by limiting government interference to those activities that enable America’s citizens to best operate that democracy.

As a democracy can only function to the degree that its citizens are able to make free, rational and informed decisions, the government shall confine itself to:

1)      Ensuring access to that which such decision-making requires, and

2)      Defending citizens against that which may threaten such decision-making

Thus, the proper role of government consists of the public provision of the following:


Obligation to the citizen: The mechanics of reason

A citizen’s judgment must be inhibited neither by insufficient instruction in the mechanics of reason nor by the deadening influence of instruction that denies those mechanics. Hence, that each citizen shall receive access to a course of instruction must be assured – and equally, no single curriculum or method of pedagogy shall be enshrined as sacrosanct.


Obligation to the citizen: Functional knowledge of means, method, and measurement

Transparency of the method whereby legislation is created is not merely necessary for citizens to trust their government, but for them to effectively select it. Thus, though there is no necessity that good government policy should be any more comprehensible to the layman than good medicine or good engineering, all legislation must include its specific goals and articulate the means and goals by which its success may be measured.


Obligation to the citizen: Independence from fear

As fear inherently clouds judgment, for the good of the American democracy it is essential that the American government protect its citizens against fear of death or injury from:

Domestic threats The government shall protect its citizens in both body and property by the rigorous enforcement of stringent regulations against both conventional crime and institutional default.

Foreign threats The government shall protect its citizens in both body and property from assault by both foreign states and non-state actors.

Social insecurity The government must assure its citizens a circumscribed baseline of comfort and dignity (including access to such medical care as is required for the preservation and maintenance of life and health) regardless of economic circumstance. The government can and shall not deprive qualifying citizens of this support, nor shall it expand this support beyond that required for the provision of this baseline.

Environmental hazard The government must protect its citizens from environmental hazard by preventing such hazards when possible  and responding to them when necessary.

In all these instances, the government shall pursue these ends to the degree deemed necessary for success, without regard for the independent interests of third parties. In pursuing these ends, all proposed solutions may be considered and none may be sanctified. In all other instances, the government shall not act to impinge upon the actions of its citizens in any way or for any reason.

Electing partisanship ensures, at best, that your freedoms will be taken in a manner more or less of your choosing. Electing Limitarianism ensures as much freedom as can be had in a democracy, and guarantees that no government action is either permanent or beyond a citizen’s control to challenge and change.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: