Eagle Platform

One of my on-line acquaintances is developing what he calls the “Eagle Platform”: a political platform which is not closely tied to either current political party in US politics, though it draws from a slightly conservative and more strongly libertarian bent. It provides an excellent starting point for useful political conversation and can be found here at the website of DerekJames.

Since I haven’t received permission to reproduce in toto, I will just comment on two aspects of it.

The abortion and death penalty statements are not directly in line with my personal moral intuitions, but represent an excellent compromise—especially if taken together:


We recognize the inherent rights of a woman to make decisions about her own body, while acknowledging that personhood is contingent upon an individual's level of development. As a pregnancy progresses, an increasing amount of rights should be conferred to the developing child, and accordingly balanced against the rights of the mother. We agree with the wisdom of the Roe v. Wade decision, in allowing women unrestricted abortion rights in the first trimester, allowing states to limit those rights at their discretion in the second trimester, and allowing states to completely ban the practice, if they choose, in the third trimester.

Death Penalty

While the death penalty might be just in principle, for any civilized society, it is impractical. For the state to put a citizen to death, the burden of proof of their guilt must be far beyond the normal threshold for reasonable doubt, facilitating multiple appeals and a prolonged process that in itself could be considered cruel and unusual punishment. We therefore find it reasonable and humane to eliminate the use of the death penalty at the federal level as well as prohibiting states from using it.

I would avoid officially ratifying the trimester system, because I expect that as technology improves it will be possible to support babies outside the womb at some point earlier than the beginning of the third trimester. I don't see any reason why a woman should have an unlimited right to abort when she can remove the child from her body and let it live. These two concepts might be interesting in tandem, because they represent two sides of a raging debate that often go hand in hand. I would have no trouble giving up the death penalty as part of a compromise to allow full protection for viable fetuses.

The drug legalization proposal is likely to be very controversial, but I think it strikes the proper tone for further debate:


We feel that the criminalization of drugs has been a costly, wasteful, and unneccesary distraction. Recreational drugs, if regulated by the FDA, and sold under restricted conditions, would lead to less crime, less abuse, and would contribute an additional source of tax revenue.

I am conflicted about drug legalization. I have seen drug use destroy the lives of many people around me, so I am not at all indifferent to the costs of its use. But there are costs to criminalization as well, and they are under-appreciated. There is a black-market cost. Criminalizing common drugs feeds the creation of gangs and gang-warfare. Both have contributed greatly to the destruction of many of our inner-cities. Fighting those gangs and the enforcing the criminalization of drugs has led to more erosion of our civil rights than the Patriot Act ever did. Because drugs are easily hidden and greatly in demand, police have pioneered ever-intrusive search and detection techniques, and the perversion of police-forfeiture without criminal level review has gotten out of control. Furthermore the criminalization of certain organic drugs (grown elsewhere) has led to common use of far more dangerous synthetic drugs. This can be seen in the popularization of crystal-meth which can be produced at great risk in a bathtub over cocaine (a bad drug but not nearly as horrific in its effects) which is grown outside of the country and imported. Furthermore the drug trade is currently paying for terrorism, which we certainly can't like. Drug abuse is bad, but it is possible (as with the Prohibition) that criminalization is worse. Certainly we could legalize some of the currently prohibited drugs without the world coming to an end.

Anyway, I find the Eagle Party platform very interesting. Future of the Republican Party? Maybe we should discuss some of it.

Posted by Sebastian Holsclaw at November 22, 2004 1:05 PM