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Who Am I?

I am Gary Scott Martin. I am the oldest of three children and the only son of Conrad Lee Martin, Jr. and Loretta Ollie Thomson. (May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.) I am a first-generation Californian. I was born in Long Beach, lived briefly in Santa Maria/Orcutt, grew up in Nipomo, went to college in Los Angeles and Palo Alto, and have resided in Tehachapi for my entire adult life (excepting the academic year of August 1985 through August 1986, spent in Palo Alto). I have been married to Kathy Ann Nusbaum since 1978. We have a daughter and a son. We have five grandchildren. We have been parishioners at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church here in Tehachapi since we were newlyweds. I am a 1974 graduate of St. Joseph's High School in Santa Maria, California; a 1978 graduate of the University of So

The Health of the Great Republic: Currently on Life Support

Allegorical Representation of the Death of the Venetian Republic, 12 May 1797

The instability, injustice and confusion introduced into the public councils, have in truth been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have every where perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. (James Madison, Federalist #10; Nov 27, 1787)


The United States of America exists today as a constitutional republic and as a representative democracy, because of the work of a unique group of 55 men who met in Philadelphia between May 25 and September 17, 1787. They were astute students of the history of government and dedicated to not only design, but to establish the best possible national government for the fledgling American states. These men are known as "Framers of the Constitution" and were the delegates to the Constitutional Convention convened in response to the evident failure of the first system of American national governance under the Articles of Confederation.

After the Convention was concluded, three of the intellectual leaders of the Convention, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, wrote a series of 77 essays supporting and explaining the newly proposed, but not yet ratified, Constitution. These essays were published in three of the major newspapers of the time between October 1787 and April 1788. Eight additional essays were written in the summer of 1788 and published in New York newspapers as the State of New York debated ratifying the Constitution. These essays are collectively known today as The Federalist Papers, and serve as the best means we have of understanding how the Framers intended the Federal Government of the United States of America to function.

The basic principle of the popular government (government of the people) that the Framers devised is that the best government is local government. Consequently, the powers of the states may only be limited by the Federal Government where it is in the best interests of the citizens of the nation to do so. Madison and the other delegates to the Constitutional Convention spent considerable intellect, energy, and debate devising the checks and balances that are necessary to enable a strong Federal Government without undue compromise of the civil rights and civil liberties of its citizens or the legitimate rights and interests of its constituent states.

In many respects, Federalist #10 is Madison's vision of how the compromise between strong national government and the rights of its states and its citizens may be achieved. While Madison's system has served to maintain a balanced government up to the present day, current political and social conditions both in the United States and in the global society now threaten the ability of Madison's system to control what he termed "the violence of faction," and, consequently, to prevent the failure of the constitutional republic.

The World is Changing

Large-scale social forces that have been in motion for centuries are remolding the world before our eyes. By the end of this century humanity will be substantially different in composition than it is today. Despite the efforts of conservative elements of society in the United States, Europe, Russia, and China, the forces of the change are apparently beyond the immediate control of social movements or even governments.

Human fertility is declining across the globe. The world's wealthiest and most powerful cultures, those of Northern and Western Europe and of North America, showed the first indications of declining fertility in the 18th century and it has been steadily falling in wealthy cultures since the mid 19th century. The total fertility rate (TFR) of the wealthiest cultures is now well below the replacement rate. The TFR is the average number of children born to each woman over her lifetime. The replacement rate is the TFR required to to maintain a stable population, approximately 2.1, accounting for both child mortality and the birth of slightly more males than females.

Over the last 150 years, the trend toward decreasing TFR has been spreading inexorably from culture to culture, from nation to nation. The wealthiest East Asian nations now have the lowest TFRs on Earth, about 1.2. As a result, the populations of Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Macau are declining rapidly. The TFR of the United States is about 1.6, meaning that its population is not already decreasing only because of steady immigration.

The global TFR will likely pass through the replacement rate within twenty to forty years (2040-2060). By the end of the 21st century, the global human population have will have passed its maximum and begun an indefinite period of decline.

The most obvious causes of this immense change are two: 1) The economics of increasingly urbanized populations do not favor large family sizes, as traditional single-family agricultural lifestyles do 2) More importantly, as family size has decreased, women have acquired greater access to education and to economic and political power. Women continue to make progress toward regaining the equal social status that they likely possessed in our nomadic forager prehistory. Notwithstanding the progress women have made, true equality cannot be achieved in less than a few more generations for reasons discussed below.

As a result of these demographic forces, at work for centuries, there will be both proportionally and absolutely fewer Europeans (including Ethnic Russians), Americans of European Descent, and East Asians in the world human population of 2100. There will be both proportionately and absolutely more Sub-Saharan Africans and South and Central Asians. These are inevitable outcomes of the current worldwide fertility rates. The inertia of this change is so great that, no matter how much it may upset some people, it cannot be stopped or even slowed significantly. There is, in fact, evidence that even concerted government action to increase fertility is not able to significantly alter this trend.

Understanding the Nature of Popular Government

How does this dramatic, though slow-motion, change (referred to below as the end stage of the Demographic Transition), relate to the political climate in the United States? How has it driven the Great Experiment in Government of, by, and for the People to the brink of death? James Madison, in Federalist #10, gave us the intellectual tools necessary to understand the current condition of the Great Republic which he, and the other Framers, designed.

As Madison wrote in November of 1787:

Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments, never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. (Madison)

What did Madison mean by "faction?" In his second paragraph, he tells us what a faction is:

By a faction I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. (Madison)

Violence of faction is meant to imply political, rather than physical, violence. Simply put in today's language: violence of faction is political conflict between factions. Madison further contends that there are only two methods of controlling "the mischiefs of faction:" 1) removing its causes, or 2) controlling its effects. Madison contends there are, in turn, two ways of "removing it causes:" destroying the liberty essential to the very existence of factions or "by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests." The second option seems to have been beyond the ability of every known totalitarian government in history, causing them to rely on the first: destroying the liberty to form factions.

Madison quickly rejects "removing the causes," as a viable method of controlling the violence of faction.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it is worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life because it imparts to fire its destructive agency. (Madison)

He then moves on to a vigorous exposition of the nature and danger of factions:

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them [everywhere.] A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; have in turn divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other, than to co-operate for their common good. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government. (Madison)

In Madison's enumeration of the kinds and vices of factions, we see that the human beings of today are not significantly different from those of 235 years ago. Madison then argues that controlling the effects of faction depends upon both competition and cooperation between multiple minority factions. He argues that stability of a government of the people is only achieved through this combination of cooperation and competition:

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote: It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government on the other hand enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest, both the public good and the rights of other citizens. [emphasis added] (Madison)

In the design of the Constitution of the United States, we see this principle of competing and cooperating factions at work constantly. The Senate is designed to keep large states from ganging up on small states. The House, on the other hand, is designed to keep minority interests from impeding the work of the National government. The division of powers between the branches of government is meant to divide us into multiple minority factions, each competing for the favor of the government. Madison, and the other delegates to the Constitutional Convention, sought to the balance the benefits of a strong national government with the risks that it entailed. Therefore. Madison's system relies on both competition and cooperation between multiple minority factions to function properly and ensure the protection of the rights and liberties of citizens from their Federal Government.

The Impacts of the End Stage of the Demographic Transition on American Society

Cultures, and the nations that are their expressions, are organic, as well as dynamic. Dynamic implies that cultures are constantly changing, even though this change is often slow, measured over generations, rather than years. Organic implies that cultures possess existence as more than a simple collection of individuals, this gives them the inertia that makes them resistant to change.

The organic nature of culture is seen in its ability to persist over many generations and through dramatic changes in environment, technology, and constituency. It can be seen in the initial strong antipathy of the predominantly Protestant American culture, over several generations, to Catholic Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants. While they were initially subject to blatant discrimination, they were later absorbed by and adopted the dominant culture which now celebrates their ethnic holidays like St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day. In can be seen in the facts that even those violently opposed to Mexican immigration into the United States eat Mexican food and guzzle $5 margaritas on Cinco de Mayo. Admittedly, it has been far easier for those of European ancestry to find acceptance in American mainstream culture than African-Americans descended from those brought here involuntarily, Muslim immigrants, indigenous North Americans, or even Hispanics.

While the culture of America remains Eurocentric, as well as androcentric (male centered), the demographic transition is impacting both of those aspects of American culture. The androcentric aspect is more directly affected. Women, at least those of European descent, have made faster progress toward equality of social status than those of non-European descent, regardless of gender. Today, substantially more American women than men are attending college. This educational difference will eventually aid women in overcoming the other historical societal disadvantages that they have faced and continue to face.

The Eurocentrism of American society is weakening more slowly than its androcentrism, even though non-European minorities are becoming larger and more visible in American society. However, the Eurocentric bias of American culture will likely never disappear entirely. While Americans of European Descent are destined by the demographic transition and the number of immigrants in the United States today to become a minority by approximately 2045 according to projections of the U.S. Census Bureau, they will then be the largest minority and will not be dislodged from their position as the dominant cultural influence, due to their long history of advantage.

The cultural understanding of these revolutionary demographic forces within American society is poor. This has resulted in the fracturing of American society into two separate cultures which possess two very different sets of beliefs about the current situation, as well as the coming changes. The more socially liberal culture understands (correctly) that these changes are inevitable and seeks to capitalize on them to propagate its view of the world. This culture, however, does not understand that the organic nature of culture means that social change is measured from generation to generation, not from year to year. Thus it does not understand the strong resistance to the cultural changes driven by the demographic transition that has emerged and is growing. The more socially conservative culture wishes to restore what it sees as the lost greatness of American society and to turn back the clock on the demographic transition. Neither culture understands the strength, tidal nature, or the slow pace of the forces at work. The socially conservative culture is therefore swimming against a current that it ultimately cannot overcome, while the socially liberal culture is unable to understand why the change that it desires takes so long, requires so much work, and generates so much resistance.

Human societies, as well as some animal societies, involve the formation of "in-groups" and "out-groups." In-groups are groups which a particular person is a part of, strongly identifies with, and is loyal to. Members of in-groups naturally see themselves ("us") as different from, and in some way superior to, others ("them"). Any group that a particular person does not belong to as a member, and thus competes with or even feels animosity toward, becomes an "out-group." This natural process of forming social groups encourages competition, limits cooperation, and encourages beliefs in the superiority of one's in-groups over one's out-groups. This process is innate in humans. It has benefits in that it promotes cooperation within in-groups, enabling achievement of goals that are beyond the reach of any single individual. However, it also has the disadvantage of limiting cooperation between groups.

Anthropologists and sociologists would tend to argue that the progress of human civilization has come through the creation of increasingly larger and thus more diverse in-groups. Cultures are ultimately defined through the in-group/out-group paradigm. Cohesive nations have historically depended upon a large and cohesive dominant culture to bind them into a strong in-group. However, no nation is composed of a single culture. All nations have minority cultures and even counter-cultures, which form in opposition to strong cultures.

Academic understanding of the rise of the United States to prominence on the world stage centers on its size, great natural resources, and its diverse culture which has been relatively tolerant of, perhaps even supportive of, social and technological innovation. The diversity of American culture poses a conundrum. While most great nations have been characterized by a single, strongly-dominant culture. The importance of immigration to the United States and the associated diversity of its people have constantly introduced social turmoil. America's strength has ultimately been its ability to tolerate higher levels of social change than other national cultures. Apparently, the dominant U.S. culture has now reached the limit of its flexibility. The previously tumultuous, but still unified, dominant culture appears to have now split into two, incompatible cultures.

Political Changes in American Society

Over the last 45 years, as the coming social changes have become more evident, the American political system has been profoundly negatively changed. Prior to the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 60s, the two dominant political parties were both coalitions of multiple factions. While one was more socially liberal than the other, the overall difference was relatively small. The most conservative Democrat was not likely to be very different from the most conservative Republican. The same was true to a lesser degree on the liberal side. However, the Civil Rights Movement corresponded with the beginning of a profound ideological and cultural realignment of the two parties. Within the next fifty years, both parties became ideologically and culturally aligned blocks, much more coherent groups. Political scientists refer to the current party alignment in the U.S. as the Sixth Party System. In Madison's language, however, in the Sixth Party System, both parties have become single, unified factions.

It is apparent that both parties still contain multiple factions. However, the ideological and cultural alignment of the two parties has served to enforce a partisan division, such that, with only extremely rare exceptions, no faction within either party is able to join with a faction of the other party to accomplish a political goal. Thus, even while the parties do contain multiple factions, the cultural and ideological divide serves to render them as single factions in effect.

Since the two parties operate as single factions and those factions are presently closely balanced, we have a situation in which the U.S. Federal Government is profoundly unstable. When one party controls the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, as is currently true, we are nominally in the condition of having a majority faction in control of the government, contrary to Madison's design. We have two controls remaining in place to protect us from a majority faction:

  1. The Judicial Branch of the Federal Government (lifetime appointment of Federal Judges and Supreme Court Justices is meant to foster the judicial independence necessary to act as a buffer against the tyranny of the majority), and
  2. The precedent of the super-majority necessary to break a filibuster in the Senate.

If that super-majority requirement were eliminated or weakened, an important protection against the violence of faction would be lost, as politicization of the process of nominating and confirming Judges and Justices appears to be steadily weakening the protection offered by the independence of the Judicial Branch.

One of the more important duties of Congress enumerated in the Constitution is to appropriate funds for the operation of the Federal Government. The ideological and cultural divides between the parties and resulting inability to cooperate with the opposing party, have made it increasingly difficult for Congress to meet its obligation to pass appropriations. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 established the present process for passing these required bills. The responsibility for the passage of each year's appropriations are divided between twelve separate subcommittees in both the House and the Senate, with each responsible for drafting and passing a separate appropriations bill, which then must be passed by both house of Congress and signed by the President prior to the beginning of each Fiscal Year on October 1. Appropriations, like other bills, become law only after passage in both houses and being signed by the president or after passage in both houses and passage of an override of a Presidential veto by Congress. Since 1977, Congress has passed all twelve bills on time only four times: 1977, 1989, 1995, and 1997. The last year in which Congress actually was able to pass all twelve individual appropriations was 2006. However, the last of those twelve bills wasn't passed until May, eight months into Fiscal Year 2006 (FY2006). In 2013 Congress failed to pass a Continuing Resolution and in2018, the President refused to sign a Continuing Resolution sent to him by Congress. In both cases, the Federal Government was forced to cease operations because the Congress and the President failed to perform their constitutionally mandated duties. Consequently, a clear pattern exists of Congress being increasingly unable to perform its constitutional duty to appropriate funds for the necessary activities of the Federal Government.

In 42 of the 46 fiscal years since 1976, at least one continuing resolution has been required. Continuing resolutions are simple bills that allow Federal Government Branches (Congress and the Federal Courts) and Executive Branch Departments and Independent Agencies, to continue to spend money at the rate authorized for the previous year. Continuing resolutions are both harmful and wasteful, especially for Executive Branch Departments and Independent Agencies, as they do not allow new programs to start and they over fund programs which are ending. The fact that Congress is unable to come to agreement on spending bills is an indication of the degree of dysfunction that currently exists within Congress. The shutdowns of 2013 and 2018 are further indications of increasing partisan division resulting from increasing cultural division. This dysfunction perfectly illustrates Madison's concerns over violence of faction.

The increasingly severe dysfunction in Congress has left the President to address, via Executive Order, policy questions that, by the Constitution, are in the domain granted to Congress. As a result, the power of the Executive Branch is increasing due to the inability of Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to legislate. The current logjam and instability of the Federal Government must at some time end, but it is still unclear how that end will come.

Socially reactionary, nationalistic movements devoted to restoring the previous Eurocentric and androcentric dominant culture have been growing in strength in Europe and in the United States. These movements are frequently labeled White Christian Nationalist movements as these are seen by the adherents of these movements as key characteristics of the previous dominant culture. These characteristics stand in stark opposition to the increasingly globalized and diverse society which is emerging. These nationalistic movements are generally sympathetic to authoritarian regimes such as the Russian Federation and favor authoritarian leaders, as well as weakening of democratic norms and popular governments. This is because the reactionary elements of society recognize, at least implicitly, that democratic norms and popular government must inevitably reflect the emerging, more-diverse culture. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened at this time because the Russian government believed that these movements were now strong enough to prevent the liberal democratic western nations from uniting to aid Ukraine. The events of January 6, 2021, and the increasing strength of the socially reactionary movements indicate that there is now a real risk that the United States Government will fall in a totalitarian takeover similar to the fall of the Weimar Republic. That is one way that the current period of instability of the U.S. Federal Government could end. There are clearly people who favor, and are working toward, that ending.

Of the scenarios that do not involve a totalitarian takeover, the most likely is a collapse of the current two party system, known as the Sixth Party System by political scientists. Such a collapse has happened twice before in the history of the United States, both collapses involved the dissolution of conservative parties. The First Party System is considered to have ended with the dissolution of the Federalist Party following the 1820 Presidential Election. The Second Party System ended with the 1856 collapse of the Whig Party. The Third through Sixth Party Systems have all involved the reorganization and movement of factions between the Republican and the Democratic Parties, rather than the collapse of a party. The Democratic Party is actually the more stable party at the current moment. The Republican Party is deeply divided over the events of the 2020 Presidential Election and could splinter. The 2022 midterm elections will probably be a turning point in its future. If the Republican Party regains control of both houses of Congress in the midterms, the faction of the party currently in control will be strengthened, at least temporarily. In that event, the 2024 Presidential Election will be another critical test for the Republican Party as it is currently constituted.

Trends in Conflict

The end stage of the demographic transition would seem to favor the liberal culture of the United States. Young voters are generally more liberal than older voters. As a result of immigration, there are also an increasing number of voters of non-European descent. Traditionally such voters have predominantly supported the Democratic Party. However, there are exceptions: Cuban Hispanic immigrants tend to vote Republican. There was also an unexpected increase in Republican support among Rio Grande Valley Hispanics in the 2020 Presidential election. The rising tide of the Eurocentric and androcentric reactionary movement clearly animates the present-day Republican party. Political scientists had previously thought that younger voters and voters of non-European descent would have made the Democratic Party significantly stronger than the Republican Party by this election. They did not correctly account for the rising strength of the social reactionary movement and its embrace by, you might even say takeover of, the Republican Party. The ability of the socially reactionary faction of the Republican Party to retain control likely depends upon the outcomes of the 2022 midterm and 2024 Presidential elections. Failure to recapture the Presidency in 2024 could lead to the collapse or reform of the Republican party. On the other hand, a Republican recapture of the presidency, along with control of both houses of Congress, would create an environment more favorable to a subsequent authoritarian takeover of the government, as the socially reactionary elements of society fight against the rising tide of the socially liberal culture.


The political situation that has developed in the United States over the last fifty years is one of increasing cultural division between two approximately equally strong political parties. These two parties are essentially separate cultures with incompatible values and beliefs. This situation is described by Madison in Federalist #10 as the greatest fear of proponents of popular governments. In the current cultural and political environment of the United States, the Federal Government oscillates between periods of united government, during which the party in control operates as a weak majority faction, and periods of divided government, during which the Federal Government is nearly completely dysfunctional. As a result, both the power of the Presidency and the instability of the Federal Government continue to increase. There is a real danger, at present, that the Constitutional Government of the United States will fall in an authoritarian takeover, possibly involving physical violence. If that does not happen, the most likely scenario will be the collapse of the Sixth Party System involving the conservative party, leading to a realignment of factions between the parties. In either scenario, increasing social and political turmoil will result over the foreseeable future.


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Who Am I?

I am Gary Scott Martin. I am the oldest of three children and the only son of Conrad Lee Martin, Jr. and Loretta Ollie Thomson. (May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.) I am a first-generation Californian. I was born in Long Beach, lived briefly in Santa Maria/Orcutt, grew up in Nipomo, went to college in Los Angeles and Palo Alto, and have resided in Tehachapi for my entire adult life (excepting the academic year of August 1985 through August 1986, spent in Palo Alto). I have been married to Kathy Ann Nusbaum since 1978. We have a daughter and a son. We have five grandchildren. We have been parishioners at Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church here in Tehachapi since we were newlyweds. I am a 1974 graduate of St. Joseph's High School in Santa Maria, California; a 1978 graduate of the University of So