A Republican Form of Government

Copyright Ó 2003-2005, by Alec Rawls

New posts:

The website for my new book, Crescent of Betrayal is now up

(In bookstores July 2007. Pre-order here.)



Earth Day 2030: "A new eye blinked open upon the world"


Global warming's omitted variable


My original Rawls for Sheriff website got overwritten when I switched from Mac to Windows way back in 2000. At the bottom of this page I am trying to reconstitute the original pre-2000 website. Immediately below is the stuff I added since  2000, though most of my online writing over this period has been at my Error Theory blog. (I also do some co-blogging at Flopping Aces and What's Up With That?")

The main focus of my post-2000 writings on this website are the following five items:

New postings now going on my new blog:



List of postings on this site through 5/6/04

1)     My lawsuit against the California requirement that candidates for sheriff must be current or recent members of law enforcement.

In 1987 the California Sheriffs' Association sponsored a ban on electoral competition from outside of the law enforcement establishment. Supreme Court precedent requires that all election laws have the purpose of facilitating the accurate expression of the will of the voters, as by weeding out frivolous candidates (defined by the Court as candidates who do not have a serious chance to win) but this restriction is motivated by the express fear, stated directly in the legislative record, that without it the people will actually elect sheriffs from outside of law enforcement (as indeed they had been doing). The express purpose is to limit what the the people are allowed to choose, and in most audacious fashion: NO CIVILIAN VIEWPOINTS ALLOWED! Our democracy has been usurped.

That's for starters. In addition to violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the California sheriff restriction also violates the Article IV section 4 guarantee to the states that they shall have a republican form of government.  The Supreme Court has long since recognized that the fundamental principle of republicanism is, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, "that the people should choose whom they please to govern them." By expressly setting out to stop people from outside of the government from winning elections, California has attacked this principle so directly as to enable the first viable guarantee clause suit in the history of the nation. Will the courts hear it?

Update: This suit was appealed to the United States Supreme Court on September 23rd, 2003. Petition for writ of certiorari.

Update: The foolish Supremes turned down their chance to set a truly important precedent, but at least my petition to the Supremes put my briefs in proper final order. Anyone who lives in a state that limits candidacy to members of the government itself, use my brief as a template and sue until somebody wins! Not every judge can be brain dead.

2)     How to unleash police powers to the permanent extremes necessary to defeat an ever more technologically empowered terrorist threat, while at the same time greatly INCREASING protection for liberty:

Just protect liberty directly (by articulating the full ideal of protected liberty and placing it in the Constitution) instead of indirectly (by placing restrictions on law enforcement). Liberty will be much better protected (it will be protected systematically, in place of the hit and miss of indirect protection). This in turn will render indirect protections superfluous, allowing indirect protections to be largely dispensed with, untying the hands of law enforcement. If good is to triumph over evil in the 21st century, half the population must read this. Go.

3)     In addition to unleashing police powers, there is also a way that we can make our system of criminal trial vastly more efficient:

Just have juries hand down multiple verdicts according to multiple standards of guilt.

Our present one verdict system lumps the certainly guilty together with the almost certainly guilty, some of whom are innocent. This greatly limits the severity with which we can deal with the certainly guilty while imposing horrific injuries on the wrongly convicted. By the simple device of asking juries to discriminate further we can gain tremendous leverage over the guilty while greatly reducing harm to the innocent. Go.

The above "direct protection" and "multiple verdicts" schemes present the most immediately important sections of a book on republicanism that I am writing. The leverage over the guilty that these two schemes generate combine multiplicatively, not additively. Ten times ten baby. Our body politic needs a modern immune system and this is it. The criminals are history. It might even be enough to deal with the Islamists, and their descendants. For a short introduction to both schemes, and how they fit into the larger structure of republicanism, click here to view the introduction to my book on republicanism.

4)    Distrust in truth: studies in the phenomenon of illiberal "liberalism."

Those who call themselves "liberal" in America are relentlessly illiberal. Not only are they against gun rights and school choice. They are against choice on abortion (in favor of forcing people who think abortion is murder to pay for other people's abortions). They are anti-raising-your-own-children (in favor of forcing families with stay-at-home-moms to subsidize working-moms via the socialization of day-care). They are anti-freedom-of-contract (in favor of replacing the at-will contract, where merit is judged by liberty, with government oversight of merit whenever race, sex, language, religion, handicap, sexual behavior, or any other mark of “diversity” is involved, which will soon be always). They reject freedom of association and the treating of people as individuals in favor of sweeping racial, gender and other preferences imposed by law. Etcetera ad nauseum. There is virtually no issue on which "liberals" are liberal.

How to account for this astounding phenomenon? There is a profound correspondence between genuine liberalism and trust in truth. The truth is that liberty works. Gun rights work. School choice works. Freedom of contract works. Freedom of association works. Thus trust in truth leads to trust in liberty. The connection also goes the other way.  Trust in liberty leads to truth. Liberty sets up a society-wide scientific process as individuals and groups make and disseminate their own discoveries about where value lies and how to pursue it. Liberty allows everyone's ideas to be tested against reality, thereby uncovering reality, and this discovery of truth leads to trust in truth, because the truth is that only the truth matters. Thus every society is marked by competing synergies. Trust  in liberty leads to expansion of liberty which leads to expansion of truth which leads to trust in truth which leads to further trust in liberty; while diminution of  liberty leads to diminution of truth and diminished trust in truth which leads to distrust in liberty which leads to further diminution of liberty. 

This subject has long been a research topic for me. During the summer of 2003 I wrote up two short studies exposing and accounting for illiberal "liberalism." One is a "Special Report" documenting distrust in truth on the part of California's "liberal" newspapers:

Media bias in California: Why a moderately conservative electorate is represented by a left-wing legislature

The other is a dissection of the anti-conservative theory of conservatism, published in a psychological journal by four leftist "liberal" professors at Stanford, Berkeley and the University of Maryland in July of  '03:

Researchers expose the psychology of the illiberal “liberal” mind

In presenting their characterization of conservatives, who they take to be their opposites, these self-professedly "liberal" professors actually give, in photo negative, a pretty compelling picture of their own illiberal-liberal minds, and it isn't just them. Apparently this kind of photo-negative self-description has been going on for fifty years, all compiled by the four lefty professors in their glorified literature review, lending perhaps some real credence to this self-characterization by the left. Both the methods and the results of the study strongly support the connection between illiberalism and distrust in truth and help to give an account of it.

5)     The decentralized coordination of intelligence

In addition to a modern immune system, our body politic also needs a modern brain. Again, this is from my upcoming book on republicanism. Again, what I am releasing now only focuses on the most immediate need. I'm just trying to hook up that one wire that will bring a dead picture tube to life. Go.

Alec Rawls, small jpeg, 2002

What am I doing pressing a suit? I don't even wear a suit. Look at the knot on that tie.




Direct protection of liberty

Multiple verdicts  of guilt

Book on republicanism

Illiberal "liberalism"

Decentralized coordination of intelligence

Latest opinion columns etc.


Site search


Email alerts sign-up


Opinion columns etcetera

Visit my Latest Postings page to find my latest opinion columns from Newsmax, OpEds.com and The Stanford Review. Older columns appear further down the page. News about my lawsuit and entries under any other headings will be linked in on the Latest Postings page as they appear.

Also check out my Rebel-Yell political cartoon feature.


You can reach me at alec@rawls.org.  I send out a blind cc mailing list with links to new articles as I post them. If you would like to be on this list, let me know.

Please   ,       and/or     !!

Imagine if those who shared some particular set of political or cultural interests started paying for online content that they thought was worth their time. That group would gain a huge advantage because their intellectuals would be supported in our society. In particular, when the mainstream media, with its numerous little bastions of monopoly power, are almost entirely controlled by one political party, paying for content online allows alternative viewpoints to be supported.

Ideally, this support should be on a unit basis, maybe five or ten cents per short article. Unfortunately, micro-payments that small are still not supported. The PayPal fee schedule on donations, the one viable service for this kind of transaction at present, is 30 cents + 2.2%. As a practical matter, then, donations have to be lump sum rather than item by item, but this is only a small hurdle. Have you found my writings worth your time? Then please consider paying me one tenth, or one hundredth, of the value of your time (or of what you are willing to sell it to your employers for) for the time you spend here.

Eventually, this kind of scheme will enable the decentralized coordination of intelligence. As people pay for what they find worthwhile, information will accumulate about who has similar judgment about what things. (The accuracy of this information can be increased by people taking another few seconds to submit numerical ratings of merit for what they are paying for). It will then be possible to compile this feedback automatically and use it to formulate personalized predictions of what individual users will find most worth their time, based on what other individuals who display similar judgment have rated most worthwhile. Such a system will allow everyone to act as everyone else's eyes and ears, which will allow current editorial bottlenecks to be bypassed.

The accuracy of the predictions offered by this kind of "rating engine" is a function of the ratings base that it has to project from. As more people use it, predictive power will increase until at some point the predictive power will be such that payments will probably switch to the same up-front format as for other consumer goods. People will prefer to spend a small fraction of the value of their time attending to what can be expected to be worth their time rather than waste a large fraction of their time looking for what is worth their time. Efficiency and desert will both be served. Less time will be wasted, and merit will be both disseminated and rewarded automatically.  Until then, dissemination of judgment and the rewarding of merit depend on the socially concerned action of individuals. It is up to each of us to spread the word about what is worthwhile, and to pay for it, so that those who speak for us can continue to do so.

All it requires is for lots of people to take five minutes to enter their credit card numbers one time at PayPal. All PayPal wants is thirty cents a pop. We can deal with that, until we can convince them to give us something like a 12.2% fee schedule on the first $3 (the point beyond which 12.2%  becomes greater than 30 cents + 2.2%), on the condition that donators have a positive PayPal balance (in which case PayPal does not have to bill the credit card, reducing its transactions costs to almost zero, a matter of automated internal accounting). That kind of pure percentage fee schedule will allow true micro-payments. Until then, we just need to make our payments to each other lump sum instead of pay as you go. Wait till you figure you owe me a buck or two, then send it along. PayPal will come around (or risk losing out to who will) but there is no need for us to wait. As is, PayPal is offering We the People an unprecedented opportunity to break the mainstream media monopoly on who gets paid for their contributions to public discussion. Let's take advantage of it.


Site Links

Home      Latest opinion columns etc.       Lawsuit       Direct Protection       Multiple Verdicts       Book on Republicanism       Illiberal "liberalism"       Decentralized coordination of intelligence      Rebel-Yell       Site search      Contact      Email sign-up       Donate


Hit Counter


Recovered earlier version of my rawls.org website

Sometime around the year 2000 I switched from using a Mac to using a Windows machine. In the turnover, I lost the ability to hook my old Mac up to the internet. I got new website software and my old site ended up getting overwritten, despite my having put a hell of a lot of work into it. I always figured it would be an easy matter to at some point figure out how to get the old Mac stuff combined with the new Windows stuff so I could get my earlier work online again, and it probably would have been easy, but I never got around to it until now (late 2011, more than ten years later).

Citizens Safer Armed

Rawls for Sheriff Home Page

Liberty, Fairness, Friendship

Copyright and all other intellectual property rights Alec Rawls 1998/99

Welcome to rawls.org, authored by Alec Rawls. I established this site to promote my run for Sheriff of Santa Clara County in the June '98 primary elections and to make available my writings on many subjects, most importantly my magnum opus Moral Science.


Republicanism violated: only members of the incumbent regime are allowed to run for sheriff. They aren't allowing us throw the bums out!

In March '98 I sued the State of California for ballot access in the Sheriff's race. The Sheriff's association, the biggest spending lobby in the state, has succeeded in paying the legislature to ban their electoral competition. Only current and recent members of law enforcement are allowed to run for leadership of law enforcement. This is an unprecedented assault on the accountability of government to The People. For the first time in our nation's history members of the government itself have been granted exclusive privilege in the electoral process. While Supreme Court precedent requires that election laws be designed to facilitate accurate representation of the will of The People, this law is designed to limit the views that The People are allowed to express, and in the most audacious fashion: NO CIVILIAN VIEWPOINTS ALLOWED!

My suit against this unconstitutional usurpation of the democratic process for the very important office of sheriff has led to a key discovery--the actual meaning of the Constitution's Article IV Section 4 guarantee to the states that they shall have "a republican form of government"--and how it is indeed justiciable according to the letter of existing Supreme Court precedent, despite the Court's own summary statements to the contrary. The Court's actual bases for ruling earlier cases nonjusticiable admit of crucial exceptions which have simply not been represented in any case the court has ever heard. This would have changed if I could have gotten the Court to hear my case, the first properly justiciable guarantee clause case ever brought. They failed to pay attention, but my briefs lay out the roadmap for a later suit to end the gurantee clause's present state of duessitude.

To see my campaign materials and the pleadings from my suit, click on Rawls for Sheriff.

Brief introductions to my other volumes follow the button menu below.

Rawls for Sheriff

Moral Science

Mr. Knowitall

Draco is Antæus

Alec on Following

Love Poems



Rate this Page

Submit Reply

Stories that Need to be Told

Moral Science

Combining the economic theory of means with a theory of ends based on John Stuart Mill's distinction between higher and lower ends yields a complete analysis of value, from ends to means, with which numerous questions of policy and law can be answered.

Mr. Knowitall

Mr. Knowitall is my alter-ego from a topical student publication at Stanford which I co-edit called The Thinker. Since I end up writing on most of the different topics I decided to make a schtick out of it. If I know so much, I'll just pretend to know everything! To see Mr. Knowitall at his blatant best, read, for instance, Woman and Superwoman. I have been writing and editing for The Thinker since '1996. My relationship with The Stanford Review, where many of the articles in the different volumes on this web page were originally published, goes back a couple of years further. Visit either of these publications by clicking their names here.

Stories that Need to be Told

I have done a lot of soul searching over whether to tell these stories. You will see why in the end I have no choice. They need to be told.

Draco is Antæus

Also available or your reading pleasure is a solid second draft of my play Draco is Antæus, the story of a clash of titans in 7th century B. C.. Draco is the Sheriff to end all Sheriffs. Remember where the word draconian comes from? Draco punished every crime with death. Antæus must teach him how this violates the requirements of moral reason. Draco learns, and comes back with the ultimate scheme for eliminating crime.

Alec on Following

Since recovering from a knee injury six years ago I have switched from basketball as my main recreation to ballroom dance (a generic term for all the partner dances, smooth, latin and club). Ladies, you can learn by doing. The man controls your shoulders, you keep your hips with your shoulders, and that gives the man control of your feet, both for timing (rhythm) and placement. If the man can lead then you can dance the first time without knowing anything. Still, it helps to know what you are trying to learn, and the subtleties (at an introductory level) run to twenty pages. Click Alec on Following for a primer. Men, once the ladies start going dancing, you'll put in the effort to learn to lead, right? (You have to learn your steps, her steps, and how to lead her steps.) Well, go check out the dance-floors. The girls are already going! So learn.

Love Poems

For all the romantic fools out there.

Contact Information

To contact me, click the Submit Reply button that is available at the bottom of most pages.

Sincerely, Alec Rawls 8/27/99 

Copyright and all other intellectual property rights to the entire content of this website are asserted by Alec Rawls 1999. To inquire about copyright permission, click Submit Reply

Rawls for Sheriff Home Page | Rawls for Sheriff | Moral Science | Mr. Knowitall | Draco is Antæus | Alec on Following | Love Poems | Inventions | Checklist/Contents | Rate this Page | Submit Reply | Stories

Top of Page

Date Last Modified: 11/4/99
Copyright Alec Rawls © 1998