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Reciprocia presents the whys, wherefores and whats of political liberty. This is not a book on conventional politics, but an examination of our natural political boundaries. The book develops a natural foundation for political liberty and builds a practical constitution. The constitution is a demonstration of the principles and an appendix to the text.
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Richard Rieben has written four books of philosophy, beginning with Reciprocia. He considers political boundaries the foundation for all cultures and the culmination of philosophy. He is a student of classical liberty and a constitutional engineer in the service of making liberty a practical alternative across cultural divides. His other books include The Libido of Liberty (available April, 2000) and Ethics for Earthlings (available May, 2000).
AN AUTHOR INTERVIEW: A new constitution of government purporting to be a ground-up renovation of political thought and structure, has been written by world-traveler Richard G. Rieben. The constitution is one half of a book of political philosophy, titled Reciprocia, that outlines the foundations of individual rights, sovereignty and the formation of governing bodies as explicit agreements of a citizenry. Mr. Rieben suggests that the formation of governments in history is seldom a conscious design and usually derives from power maneuvers. However, he asks the question, "what if government were consciously designed from a basic agreement - what would be the essence of that agreement and how would the mechanics of government differ from historical developments?"
In addition to his degree in history, Rieben, age 50, has worked in a variety of fields in the United States (carpenter, mechanic, journalist, photographer, graphics production manager, teacher) and spent the past ten years bicycling around the world.
"The jobs I've held in the U.S. have given me a range of experience in practical survival in a set culture, but my travels opened the door to the cultures of the world," said Rieben.
The unusual one-word title, Reciprocia, is Rieben's invention, a Latinization of the word reciprocity, which he believes to be the basis for effecting natural political boundaries. Rieben has taken the word Reciprocia as the name for his overall philosophy and will follow up with books on economics, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, esthetics and studies on sexology and sociology.
Rieben says that all of his books were conceived and written on the road in various parts of the world. Although he outlined the constitution back in 1986 while living in California, he wasn't able to take it farther than a brief sketch until he understood the full philosophy. "I couldn't make it consistent. I kept mixing in elements of domination government without realizing it. That was my sociopolitical environment and my historical understanding. But it didn't fit and I wasn't satisfied with it."
Asked where Reciprocia fits in the spectrum of existing political thought, Rieben says that Reciprocia is a comprehensive system of philosophy advocating individual liberty and personal responsibility, in opposition to hierarchal, patriarchal, matriarchal, domination philosophies. Politically, however, Rieben says he has difficulty forming a satisfactory answer. "The problem is that the term 'existing political thought' is a culturally biased standard. It's not the same thing in the United States as it is in Taiwan, Italy, Zimbabwe, or Indonesia. People are asking 'what is Reciprocia like compared to my culture's standard of political thought?' Well, remove the elements of domination from your culture's standard and see what remains. I did not compose a philosophy of human liberty only for Anglo-Europeans or any other group or category. Western political philosophy is a narrow field of study in comparison to the species' experience on this planet, both historically and in the planet's still widely disparate cultural diversity.
"Some Americans will say that Reciprocia fits, roughly, into a Libertarian philosophic frame. However, I am looking at the subject of human liberty from an intracultural perspective. It is an approach that really has very little respect for any culture, including American or Western culture. But it's not a philosophy that bashes cultures, either. It simply doesn't pay them court."
In regard to the Reciprocia Constitution, Rieben says that "The design of the constitution is, perhaps, a bit of science fiction engineering. It is also a work-in-progress, since it is not a utopian project. The constitution isn't intended to be imposed over people, but to provide them with a possible rallying point or, even, a point of departure to a better design. What is relevant is how this constitution breaks the traditional mold and challenges our preconceptions of what government must be.
"The Reciprocia Constitution is intended to stretch the imagination beyond conventional ways of thinking about government. Yet it remains a practical document. It doesn't theoretically propose how to set things up. As a constitutional charter, it goes ahead and sets them up in specific terms. This is where it departs from theoretical political philosophy. I regard the Constitution, which takes up the second half of the book, as an appendix to and application of the theoretical discussion that precedes it."
And what's wrong with the Constitution that we already have in this country, The Constitution of the United States? According to Rieben, "It's a great effort, it is a distinct departure from its Anglo-European roots, and it strives and struggles toward liberty. But the United States inherited domination that informs every aspect of its society and constitution. Not merely slavery and empire-building, but all the forms and fancies of domination government immemorial. The U.S. Constitution makes no real break with domination. It's just a variation of the old autocratic power structure. Moreover, as history has shown in many other countries, the Constitution of the United States doesn't work in other cultures. And with its mixed premises, it doesn't work very well even in the United States. Thomas Jefferson pointed out that the Constitution was not intended by its designers to be carved in stone for hundreds of years. And, harkening back to his Declaration of Independence, we should be ready to implement a new plan of government whenever it becomes evident that our present plan or design begins to work to our disadvantage.
"However, that said, the Reciprocia Constitution is not proposed as an alternative to the Constitution of the United States nor as an alternative to the Constitution of Tanzania nor as an alternative to any specific form of government in any specific country. It offers suggestions for improving our existing designs so that they might work more effectively in the interests of human liberty, in whatever country or region people might be interested in pursuing this objective. Reciprocia isn't addressed to a particular quarter. It is a work of philosophy and addresses the human being in all quarters."From the Back Cover:
Reciprocia is a presentation of political liberty (theory and structure) in PURE form. This is a new ideology, although not necessarily a divisive one. It is not designed in reference to (for or against) existing systems, political mythologies or platitudes, but is a PHILOSOPHICAL description of the principles of liberty (and therefore something new) as these apply to the HUMAN BEING in any culture of the world.
Reciprocia is not a book about politics; it is a book about political liberty. It is intended to help people understand what liberty consists of such that they can better realize it in their own lives and in their own societies (and in their own fashion). It is not advocating any conventional form of political revolution, but offering a revolutionary IDEA of liberty - moreover not an elusive or complex ideal but a coherent, sensible and useful one.
Reciprocia's central thesis is that THE RECIPROCITY of equal rights is the essential mechanism that makes practical sense of LIBERTY; makes it an individually achievable goal, and suggests an easy-to-implement structure for nonhierarchical government. As a demonstration, the book includes an innovative, "ground-up" political constitution and legal code.
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Book Description Berapa Press International, 2000. Condition: New. This item is printed on demand for shipment within 3 working days. Seller Inventory # GM9781930187016
Book Description Berapa Pr Intl, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1930187017