With definitions of left and right in flux, even among those who understood the historic definitions, it has become necessary to offer one possible solution to the crisis. This exercise is not meant to produce a document that everyone will agree upon, but rather it is designed to encourage others to peacefully contribute to the wider debate.
These solutions could be easily applied to the domestic affairs and international relations of almost any secular republic which respects mainstream religious traditions and cultures.
I. A Commitment To Sovereignty
The sovereignty of all states is absolute. No state has the right to interfere in any way with the affairs of another state, up to and including the threat or execution of war. Any state that illegally invades another will not be able to take recourse to international law if vengeance of any kind is extracted on the aggressor state by the wider international community. The sole exceptions for this provision are as follows,
a. The Reunification of Peoples
If a people who are stateless or living inside of borders they do not consider their mother country, they may conduct a democratic referendum or exercise a similar legal apparatus in order to vote to re-join the mother country. In all circumstances unilateral declarations of independence will be illegal. All such countries must vote to re-join an existing state with whom the peoples can prove an unalienable historic or otherwise compelling connection.
Under new provisions of international law, the mother country shall be forced to adhere to the results of such a decision by a displaced people except in the most extraordinary circumstances.
The state from which a people’s decide to withdraw must in all circumstances refrain from stopping the people from peacefully exercising their right to self-determination under the penalty of international law.
b. A Vote By The United Nations
As currently inscribed in International Law, in the most extraordinary of circumstances, the United Nations can agree to send or authorise a limited military contingent to a country in order to correct certain violations of the norms of humanity. This must only be exercised in the most limited of circumstances.
c. The Caroline Test
If a nation feels inexorably threatened by a nearby state, the Caroline Test provides for a limited action in order to correct this security threat. If a nation’s actions do not conform to this test, the United Nations must immediately react to restrain any further such actions.
II. Recognition of International Bodies
The United Nations must recognise major international bodies and bring their activities under its jurisdiction in certain circumstances. These international bodies form an important core of global economic, military, security and cultural exchange.
If one of these bodies acts in violation of international law, it must be subject to the same penalties as individual states.
Such bodies include but are not limited to: NATO, EU, SCO, ASEAN, OPEC, CIS, BRICS, AU, WTO, World Bank etc…
The United Nations must supervise and allow for any nation’s withdrawal from such a group in the event of a confrontation. The United Nations must furthermore protect the right for any nation to withdraw from any such body in peace and without intimidation.
III. Nuclear Weapons
No nation shall take it upon itself to encourage the proliferation of, nor threatened against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in any state.
All states will be allowed to peacefully develop nuclear technology including weapons and all such states shall be forced to declare the status and nature of such a nuclear arsenal to the United Nations under penalty of sanctions or limited military action.
IV. Free Speech and Political Parties
It is the duty of every responsible government to protect the rights of political free speech among its citizens. A nation does not have the right to prohibit the formation of any political party unless it openly glorifies fascism or religious sectarianism. It shall be henceforth understood that appealing to a particular segment of a region or state is different than an outwardly sectarian political organisation.
V. Limits On Non Political Free Speech
The publication and/or public display of any and all obscene materials must be strictly prohibited. The penalty for violating this provision shall be life imprisonment with a special circumstance of capital punishment as a sentence for those who aim to corrupt the minds of children.
Wilfully insulting a state recognised religion will be prosecuted under obscenity laws.
The practice of the occult shall be prohibited under obscenity laws.
The wider definition of obscene materials is to be determined by a broad range of experts and ordinary citizens taken from a cross section of society with a doctor of jurisprudence to make the final decision.
VI. Human Rights
The following shall be considered human rights which no state or private body has the right to prohibit or infringe upon. When such rights are not obtained on a voluntary basis in the private sector, the state must insure the provision of such rights for all citizens and their families:
–Basic medical care
–Telephone and internet access
–Education until the age of 15 with certain provisions for free higher education to those who qualify based on merit
–The right to common access to sporting and arts/cultural facilities
–The right to a clean natural environment
–The right to a productive daily activity in the event of unemployment
The definitions inscribed above shall not under any circumstances be expanded.
VII. Capital Punishment
Those found guilty of the following shall be executed by firing squad:
–Crimes against humanity
–Murder without provocation
–Rape when combined with common assault
–Making a false accusation against a fellow citizen
–Any act of theft which involves common assault or the threat of common assault
–Appearing in public when under the influence of narcotics
–The theft or vandalism of property worth more than $25,000
VIII: Medical Regulations
The state shall not regulate the practice of qualified physicians and nurses, but shall regulate the production,provision and distribution of all prescription medications and narcotics by statute.
Any doctor who is asked by an adult to perform a cruel or unusual operation shall be obliged to recommend the patient for psychoanalytic evaluation which may or may not result in said individual’s incarceration in a correctional facility for the mentally ill.
The law will provide harsh penalties for any and all medically unnecessary operations on individuals under the age of 15.
IX: The Family
The state shall allow responsible, registered religious organisations to regulate provisions of family life in most circumstances. This includes but is not limited to, ordaining marriages, confirming divorces, registering a birth, procuring non-violent rites of passage for children, making funeral arrangements.
Non-religious people will be able to enter such agreements via a legally recognised written or implied contract conducted by private parties with the oversight of a qualified lawyer should both parties seek such legal advice.
If in any case the state is made aware of a religious body engaging in practices that are harmful to children or society at large, those found guilty shall be sentenced to life imprisonment and their organisations shall be outlawed.
X: The Right To Bear Arms
The legal right to own a firearm for defensive purposes shall not be infringed upon by the state except in the cases where one one has been convicted of a crime or is deemed to be mentally unsound.
XI: Tax and Business
The state shall regulate and monitor the activities of all corporations whose annual net income is over $200,000. All small and medium sized businesses who net less than $200,000 per annum shall not be required to pay any tax beyond a basic sales tax and other taxation required by local authorities.
Monopolies of any sort shall be strictly prohibited.
Those who have ownership in a media outlet whose annual net income is over $100,000 shall be prohibited from serving as a director or shareholder of any other company irrespective of the size.
All individuals who own companies which operate in foreign nations must obtain a special certificate from the state.
XII: Individual Taxation
Individuals earning under $30,000 per annum will not pay any income tax.
Individuals earning between 30,001 and $99,999 will pay a flat rate of 14% on income excluding savings.
Individuals earning over $100,000 will pay a flat rate of 25%.
No local or regional authorities will be allowed to tax income.
XIII: Secret Societies
All secret societies will be outlawed through small private clubs of a non-sectarian nature will be allowed to operate in the private sector. All such private entities shall be forced to publish their full membership list to the public or else force being shut down.
All citizens will be equal before the law. Private sector discrimination of individuals will be prohibited in all cases except in private homes.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.