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Welcome to FirstPrinciples.US  

The content of this site is now available in a print version and an e-book version. 
The title of
both is:

First Principles: Self-governance in an Open Society

The intent of this website and its companion print and Kindle e-book editions is to investigate, from a big picture perspective, the state of American, and by extension, democratic representative government around the world.  In the U.S. there are two telling polling realities.  The numbers are not from any single survey, but reflect averages over the past several years.  The first is the percentage of U.S. adults who believe what they hear, see or read in the mainstream media--a figure that rests between 20 and 24%.  The second is the approval rating of the U.S. Congress--which often lies between 12 and 14%, with polls since 2008, for the first time ever, showing Congressional approval frequently in the single digits--sometimes as low as 5%.  

President Abraham Lincoln is often quoted for his observation that you cannot fool all the people all the time, but in the case of Congress, the press, and the White House, it seems they have all fooled themselves into believing they can do something along those lines while achieving an almost exact opposite result.

When fewer than half the people don't like the job the president is doing, that seems believable. To begin with, because the country is somewhat evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, at least half the population is already leaning away from supporting any president from the opposite party--thus it is easy to see why presidential approval ratings historically rest around 50%. How much that number varies from the median is really a measure of how much the independent voters and the president's own party members approve or disapprove of what the president appears to be doing. And, of course, for the average voter, appearances are almost everything.

When more than three-quarters of Americans disbelieve what the media offers in its content it would seem time for that group to take stock--but they refuse. Whether out of arrogance, self-delusion, or hope that defies reality they often editorialize the news and slant or distort their coverage and reporting in a manner that is both transparent and, apparently, simply not believable.

But the most damning numbers come to the fore in Congressional approval ratings--which have finally dropped, at least for a time, to just 5%. And this is where and when action can and should trump the fantasy world in which members of Congress seem to live. The fact that 95 out of 100 citizens think their representatives are doing a poor or terrible job, and those representatives continue to act as though nothing is different, nothing has changed, and no one cares what they do--means, to use the words of all parents who have ever dealt with teen-age children, it is time for a reality check. A check on the power, actions, intentions, and, yes, corruption of those elected to do the people's business.

First Principles offers a journey back to where all our governing efforts began. It brings to the fore the tools and comprehensions that allow for rational governance in a real world. It returns to square one.

By using the menu bar at the top of this site or the pages of the print or e-version to re-open an  understanding of how government is designed to and can work, each and any citizen can help change our course.  And, if there is one lesson that is often repeated, and is of paramount importance, it is the understanding that every single one of us can make that difference.  We are not hampered by our singular status, in fact, that is our power.  Government is and can be the sum of our many small, individual acts, but those acts must occur. First Principles explores what those actions should be, but most importantly it tells us why and how they must occur. When we understand the "why and how" of government, both its methods and its goals, then actually making government happen in a rational manner becomes not just possible, but real.

Thus, welcome to First Principles. The tools and comprehensions are here for a journey in self-governance that will allow us to leave our children something we know will work--because that was the reality during the American Century, the twentieth century, that we can attain in the twenty-first if only we act.

First Principles: Self-Governance in an Open Society 
Print or e-book edition

Visitors to this site are now able to purchase a print copy of First Principles through any online book seller. An e-book version is also available from Amazon.

The print and e-book versions have been produced in response to the number of people, from Alaska to Albania, from Zurich to New Zealand, who have been downloading some or all of the contents of this site. Both the book and the Kindle version offer the entire web presentation in one volume.  The print version is priced at less than the cost of the ink, paper, and time it takes to retrieve the site's contents from the Internet. There is no difference between the book version and this website, however, the e-book version, because e-books do not have page numbers, does not have an index.  As always, the entire contents of First Principles: Self-governance in an Open Society will continue to be available here at no cost to the reader.

Our e-mail contact is: tomtripp19@gmail.com and we welcome your comments, suggestions, or questions.


Thomas N. Tripp
January 2017

"Reviews and analyses of books every thinking conservative should read.  A journey through the works of those who understand where we came from, who we are, and where we ought to be going.  It is a journey worth taking yourself." 

             -- David Keene, Former Chairman,
                The American Conservative Union
Past President, National Rifle Association
               Editorial page editor, Washington Times

  This book is everyman's guide for a return to sane government.   
  It offers rational step-by-step commentary yet honestly observes
  that nothing will happen without our participation.  It doesn't 
  suggest Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but it does demonstrate 
  what can be done from Main Street.

Copyright 2017 by Thomas N. Tripp

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
Published in the United States of America by Black Sheep Farm Press, Wilson, Wyoming.

No part of this book/site may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except for a reviewer, educational professional, or student, who may quote brief passages in a review, treatise, article, etc.  Members of educational or other institutions wishing to print or reproduce part or all of the work for classroom use, or publishers who would like to obtain permission to include the work in an anthology or who would like to use extensive portions of this site, should send their inquiries to Black Sheep Farm Press at editor.firstprinciples@gmail.com.

   Print edition ISBN: 978-0-9814967-0-2  
Print edition LCCN: 2008900489



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