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 thought 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 are unique in the animal kingdom because dogs have evolved the remarkable ability to live peacefully with humans. Dogs have found peace with humans regardless of our 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 wars. The nine K9 principles are modeled after the three ideal behaviors of dogs that allow them to live at peace with humans.
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. And because the K9 principles apply equally well to all people of any nationality, K9 forms a simple set of values that set the stage for worldwide appear, worldwide participation and worldwide peace.
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, referred to here as political relations, all include some element of governmental authority and regulation that is unique to humans, that isn't a part of the day-to-day interactions between humans and dogs. At the highest level, humans have organized our political relations into sovereign nation states. Sovereign nation states are further subject to international relations and international governance. Although politics plays a crucial role in both political relations and international relations, the two types of human to human interaction are fundamentally different in that there is no ultimate authority on the international stage. If your neighbor steals your credit cards and identity, he might be punished and be sentenced to jail. If the identity thief lives in a foreign country, US officials have no authority to punish the thieves, even if they are identified. The one-on-one relationships we have with our pet dogs lack these complexities of national governments and international regulatory bodies found in 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 three guiding principles for each sphere of human to human interactions: 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 we live in. The K9 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, and it embodies the ideal canine behavioral attribute of simple needs.
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 K9 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 ourselves 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 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 first known nation states developed some 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamian in response to the shifting flows of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is believed that a shift in the flow of these rivers suddenly left groups of farmers without water for their crops. In response they pooled their economic resources, and delegated responsibility to certain representatives in order to build canals and irrigation systems essential for their survival. Governments and taxation were born out of economic necessity.
The purpose of Government remains the same today, to aggregate financial resources and create structures and institutions that no individual could ever achieve, but that are necessary for everyone in society to survive and thrive. 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 aggressors in foreign nation states are just some of elements of modern human society that we have delegated to government in order to help us all thrive.
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. By focusing upon Freedom, moderates can 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 the canine ideal behavior of 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 for you "grants" you the freedom to be the person you strive to become. Social Liberalism in politics is the conviction that individuals should have the Freedom to live their personal lives in peace, without undue governmental interference. In human societies, Social Liberalism is the K9 principle that represents the ideal canine behavioral attribute of unconditional love.
Likewise, Fiscal Conservatism in politics is the conviction that individuals, and the businesses that they own or 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 the ideal ca nine behavioral attribute of simple needs to our political relations, and it mirrors the principle of Lean. Fiscal Conservatism is the belief that we should be judicious in how we spend our limited tax dollars, and it implores our government representatives to prioritize how they spend our money on the things that we all truly need to survive.
Our very first nation states in Mesopotamia formed over the need for water and food, and the scientific study of nature has given us insight into what it is that we need we truly to survive as a species. Fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, shelter from the elements, and sufficient food to eat are the four most essential items we all need to survive, and these basic items should always rise to the very top priority of government spending. The list of admirable, well meaning projects and services our government could provide us with is endless. Fiscal Conservatism is the K9 principle that embodies the ideal of simple needs and implores us to be conservative in how use utilize the limited resources of public funds in the name of the common good. And one of the most basic needs of every person and every society is protection from outside threats.
When peace is the stated goal, Preparing for conflict seems contradictory, and yet we know that "high fences build good neighbors," and German Shepard or Dobermin Pincher is a pretty darn good deterent to keep thieves away from the house.
But human history is the defined by conflicts and invasions. The world has been completely at peace for only 8% of recorded history, so the chances of experiencing war in a human life-time is high, and the best deterrent to an unanticipated military strike is investing and training ahead of time and being prepared for the worst. As man's best friend, our dogs are potent weapons that protect us from unexpected threats,
Military Preparation combined with the principle of Fiscal Conservatism leads us to societal benefits of physical and financial Security. With World Peace as the ultimate goal, the overriding hope is that Military Power never needs to be implemented. But the realities of the world we live in, where natural resources are concentrated in one place, and lacking in another, and the anger over previous conflicts run deep, and the belief systems of one people are at odds with others, there will always be temptation for one sovereign nation to invade another. The best deterent to militiary confilict is military preparation, and Military Preparation is the K9 principle that embodies the dog's ideal behavior of readiness to defend. "High fences build good neighbors," and "Walk softly but carry a big stick" are expressions that exemplify the importance of Military Preparation of nation states as an essential element of World Peace. That German Shepard or Dobermine Pincer in the living room may never bite someone, but his presence in your home helps insure that your home remains safe. Military Preparation insures that you country remains safe.
Freedom is the bedrock of our nation, and a moderate political philosophy that combines the virtues of Social Liberalism with Fiscal Conservatism prioritizes Freedom from unnecessary government interference
Providing for our safety and security is another vital concern.
The K9 principles derive from our observations of how nature solved the problem of finding peace with the human species.
Acceptance and World Peace
Adapted to international relations the ideal behavioral attributes of dogs become:
Religious Pluralism, Sovereignty of Nation States, and Unification of Nation States around shared goals.
Religious Pluralism is nothing more than the acceptance of all religions as valid expressions of an individual's freedoms and beliefs, and a straightforward adaptation of the ideal behavior of unconditional love. The connection of Religious Pluralism to world peace is obvious, as many of the world's armed conflicts include at some component of clashing religious ideologies. To embrace Religious Pluralism requires us accept different people as they are, and it draws upon our personal conviction to the principle of Loving, and our political belief in Social Liberalism, the two other K9 principles based upon the ideal behavior of unconditional love. Because religious teachings can sometimes be extremely polarizing; if my religion is right, then your's clearly must be wrong, Religious Pluralism is in many ways the ultimate form of Acceptance of our fellow humans, no matter what their customs and beliefs.
Acceptance is presented here as a benefit derived in the international sphere of human relations, but it's application to personal relations and societal / political relations is apparent. Like the other "K9 benefits" of Health, Happiness, Freedom, and Security, Acceptance by others is a universal need. Obviously, some people and some religious groups have been more subject to persecution throughout history than others, but each and every one of us has felt the pain of not being accepted for the way we look like, the language we speak, how we act, what we have or haven't achieved in society, or what we believe. Acceptance lies at the interface of tolerance of different religious beliefs implicit in the K9 principle of Religious Pluralism , and our tolerance for the Sovereignty of nation states.
There are roughy 195 independent, Sovereign nation states on our planet. In the span of about 250 years, the United States elevated itself from a cluster of colonies under British rule, to the wealthiest, most powerful, most influential nation in the world. Much of that success can be traced to the brilliance of the United States Constitution, that bestowed upon our people broad individual freedoms and individual rights, and with those rights came the unprecedented opportunity for achieving excellence and the accumulation of individual wealth.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said:
"Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free."
free people are not equal and equal people are not free. He struck out against the tyranny of oppression of communisim
does not require us, or entitle us to impose our Sovereignty of nation states is the final aspect of Acceptance. Like other K9 principles and benefits, Acceptance has a broad relevance to not only our international relations, but also to our political philosophies and personal lives.
Dogs as a species have found peace with humans through their ideal behaviors of unconditional love, simple needs, and readiness to defend. In our personal lives, we can find Health, Happiness, and Peace guided by the K9 principles of Loving, Lean, and Strong. In our political philosophy, we can find Freedom, Security, and Peace through the K9 moderate political beliefs of Social Liberalism, Fiscal Conservatism, and Military Preparation. The final sphere of human-human interactions is international relations. Most of us will never find ourselves directly involved in treaty or trade negotiations, or conversing with world leaders. But nothing destabilizes a country more than war, and arguably, the prospect of a global nuclear war is the greatest existential threat to the survival of our species. Our elected representatives only stay in office so long as they represent our beliefs.
Peace is the thread that weaves the nine K9 principles together, leading us to better health, more happiness, more freedom, more security, better acceptance, and ultimately world peace.
K9 is a coherent, harmonious, philosophical approach to politics based upon 9 PRINCIPLES that lead us to “the six results” of Health, Happiness, Freedom, Security, Acceptance, and World Peace.
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.