Politically, the United States government finds itself in a period of unprecedented dysfunction. The Democratic and Republican parties are polarized to the point where the majority of items on the congressional agenda are mired in gridlock. New legislation, when it does pass through congress, does so strictly on partisan votes. Many new bills are written as nothing more than political posturing, their authors knowing full well that there is no chance that they will ever be enacted into law.
The gridlock is in part due to the fact that the US Congress is evenly divided. Republicans, on the political right, currently have a thin majority in the US House of Representatives while Democrats, on the political left, currently have a thin majority in the US Senate. But many, if not most Americans identify themselves as moderates, in the political center. And although the moderate vote is though to be crucial in determining the outcome of virtually every recent election, moderates as a group, unfortunately, have no true representation of their own in Congress.
Moderates have been completely disenfranchised by our two-party political system. And because we have no true representation, those of us who consider ourselves to be moderates are forced to compromise our beliefs every election when we need to choose between a Democrat on the left and a Republican on the right. One obvious solution to giving moderates a louder, more unified voice is an alternative moderate political party, with a central, moderate political philosophy. And that's where K9 comes in.
K9 is a moderate, philosophically central political party. And because K9 is based upon easy to understand principles, it's much much more. K9 is a philosophy of life, the intellectual framework of a moderate political ideology, and a recipe of nine principles for achieving world peace.
K9 gets it's name because each of the 9 principles is based upon one of the three ideal behavioral attributes of dogs that make dogs so special, those attributes that have earned dogs the moniker of “man’s best friend.”
Dogs have the remarkable ability to live peacefully with humans, regardless of their political affiliations, nationality, religion, wealth, education, intelligence, sexual orientation, gender, body order, or any other human quality that drives us apart and leads to hatred, conflicts, political gridlock, and even wars.
Elephants on the right and donkeys on the left have failed, but dogs in the center have the answers to unleashing political gridlock, and it's high time for dogs to take the lead! The good news about an evenly divided congress is that even a single elected representative committed to the K9 platform could cast the deciding vote on virtually every divisive legislative bill! An evenly divided congress means that even with a small degree of organization and participation, K9 moderates could swiftly steer the congress in a more productive direction.
Harnessing Ideal Behaviors
Compared with humans, dogs are simple creatures, and yet they have won over our hearts and integrated themselves peacefully into human society. They achieved this amazing feat based upon three simple, "ideal" behavioral attributes. Dogs give humans unconditional love, dogs have simple needs, and dogs are always ready to defend us from danger.
Human personal relations are one-on-one social interactions, directly comparable to the relationship we have between individual humans and dogs. But human societies have additional layers of complexity due to our organization into communities, municipalities, cities, states and nations. These "higher orders" of social structure all include some element of governmental authority and regulation that is unique to humans, and that isn't a part of the day-to-day interactions between humans and dogs. Sovereign nation states are further subject to international relations and international governance. The one-on-one relationships we have with our pet dogs lack the complexities of human societies. In order to adapt the ideal behavioral attributes of dogs to the complexities of human society then requires a three layered approach that includes: personal relations, societal relations, and international relations.
Health and Happiness
Adapted to personal relations, the ideal behavioral attributes of dogs becomes:
Loving, Lean, and Strong.
Loving, in the context of our personal lives, is a straight forward adaptation of a dog's unconditional love for us, and like all nine of the K9 principles, is meant to be interpreted in the broadest possible sense. Loving implies an attitude of appreciation and respect for all of our fellow humans, regardless of our differences, and is meant to include love and respect for ourselves, regardless of our history or our shortcomings. The love our pet dogs shower upon us crosses the "lines" of separation between different biological species. Likewise, the human adaptation of Loving is intended to extend to other species in nature, and the natural environment. The principle of Loving therefore can be generalized as a love, awe, and deep respect for mother nature and the grandeur of the natural world.
Companionship, shelter, food, and exercise is pretty much everything a dog needs, and Lean is the adaptation of a dog's simple needs to our personal lives. The principle of Lean reminds us of the important physical health benefits we might reap from maintaining a lean body weight. But in it's broadest sense, Lean includes an acknowledgement of the profound mental health benefits we can find in life just by striving to simplify our needs. Like our pet dogs with their very simple needs, the principle of Lean helps us learn not to overlook or discount life's most basic pleasures, like family, friends, adequate shelter, clean water, clean air, regular exercise, and adequate, good quality food. Lean encompasses the attitude necessary to appreciate and cherish what we have, rather than always searching for something better, fretting about our shortcomings, or fixating upon the endless list of possessions that we lack and might never acquire. Lean is the principle that reminds us that we only need to eat and consume as much as we truly need in order to survive, and is the concept that empowers us with the knowledge that sometimes, less is more. Lean is the K9 principle that guides us to see the "glass of life" before us as being half-full, instead of half-empty.
Strong in our personal lives is an adaptation of the ideal canine behavior of readiness to defend. The principle of Strong reminds us of the important health benefits that come from regular exercise and maintaining our physical strength. In a broader sense, Strong also includes the mental strength, and strength of character needed to keep our priorities straight in the face of challenges or temptation. Even small dogs respond ferociously when confronted by an intruder. They instinctively demonstrate strength and courage even when faced with seemingly impossible odds. Strong is the principle that drives us to strive for exercising our bodies and our minds so that we might hone our physical and mental capacities, achieve our goals, and protect our selves and our loved ones from danger.
Taken together, living a life that is Loving and Lean sets us on course to a life of greater Happiness, and living a life that is Lean and Strong sets us on course to a life of optimal physical and mental Health. By demonstrating what it takes to live peacefully with humans, dogs have the answer to the question of how we might lead healthier and happier personal lives. The three K9 behavioral principles that lead us to greater health and happiness are Loving, Lean, and Strong.
Freedom and Security
Adapted to political relations the ideal behavioral attributes of dogs becomes:
Social Liberalism, Fiscal Conservatism, and Militarily Preparation.
The purpose of Government is to aggregate financial resources and create structures and institutions that no individual could ever achieve. Infrastructure to deliver water and power and take away sewage, roads, train stations and airports to efficiently move us around, schools to educate and train the next generation of citizens, judicial systems to ensure fair treatment of every citizen, and fire departments, police departments, border security agents and military troops to defend us from dangers are just some of elements of modern human society that we have delegated to government.
The United States congress, our representatives in government, are currently gridlocked over passionate disagreements between well meaning, but completely opposing political beliefs on the political right and the political left. But when you analyze the factors driving those disagreements from the perspective of the political center, you realize that in between the right and the left, there actually is a great deal of common ground. Freedom is the foundation of the United States Constitution and a fundamental right that every American voter can proudly support. By prioritizing Freedom we find the means to combine the personal freedoms advocated for by the political left with the economic freedoms advocated for by the political right, thus building a bridge of shared values between the left and the right, between Democrats and Republicans.
Social Liberalism in the context of our political lives and political relations is an adaptation of a dogs unconditional love for humans. A dog does not judge us based upon our nationality, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, wealth, education, or any other factor. As long as it causes no physical harm to him, a dog's unconditional love you "grants" you the freedom to be who ever you are. Social Liberalism in politics is the conviction that individuals should have the Freedom to live their personal lives in peace, without undue governmental interference.
Likewise, Fiscal Conservatism in politics is the conviction that individuals, and the businesses that they operate, should have the Freedom to operate without undue governmental interference. When we teach our children not to spend their lunch money on candy or toys, we're teaching them the principal of Fiscal Conservatism. Fiscal Conservatism in this sense is an adaptation of a dogs simple needs to government, and our political relations, and it mirrors the principle of Lean. Fiscal Conservatism is the belief that we should be judicious in how we spend tax dollars and it implores us to prioritize how government spends our money on the things that we truly need to survive. The K9 principles derive from our observations of how nature solved the problem of finding peace with the human species. Expanding upon what we truly need to survive as a species, what we have learned from the study of nature, allows us to prioritize those things that are truly essential. Fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, shelter from the elements, and food to eat are the four most essential items we need as a species, and these simple critical items should always rise to the very top priority of government spending. Providing for our safety and security is another vital concern.
Adapted to international relations the ideal behavioral attributes of dogs become:
Sovereignty of Nation States, and
Unification of Nation States around shared goals.
K9 is a coherent, harmonious, philosophical approach to politics based upon 9 PRINCIPLES that lead us to “the six results” of health, happiness, tolerance, security, peace, and freedom.
Please help us put an end the the evil forces of tyranny and apathy that are threatening the constitutional fundamentals of this great Nation. Spread the word and share our K9USA.org website with like-minded moderates on social media. Run for a congressional seat in your US Congressional district as a K9. Volunteer to support K9 candidates and recruit new K9 party members. Tweet about the K9 Movement. Contribute inspirational stories to "the paper". In California, become a registered K9 at registertovote.ca.gov.*
In the simplest of terms, if more of us were guided by the ideal behavioral attributes of dogs that allow them to live at peace with all humans, more of us would get along with each other, we might find are way more easily to meaningful political compromise, and the world would be a safer place.
Donkeys and elephants have failed. It’s time for dogs to lead!
Robert Pendleton MD, PhD
* at the end of the form on registertovote.ca.gov, choose "other" from the party preference drop-down menu and type in "K9" to become a registered K9.