A philosophy for good lives and skillful politics.
Young man, I salute your overall intentions, but you may end up banging your head against a wall, because the irrationality and corruption that plagues your country has a lot to do with institutional constraints that were put there at the country's founding. Compare the U.S. on various indices of well-being - lifespan, child poverty, infant mortality, and inequality - and you will find that the U.S. significantly lags every other advanced industrial country. This is not because Americans don't know how to solve these problems, these shortfalls exist because of institutional structures built into your political system. You have a constitution which is far more difficult to modify than any other modern industrial country. The country has changed since the eighteenth century and the country's constitution should reflect that change. You have state governments in charge of Federal elections which leads to gerrymandering, illegitimate restrictions on voting, and results in manifestly unrepresentative government. In Canada, which also has a federal system, voting is a federal responsibility and any changes are instituted by an impartial nonpartisan elections board. You have an ancient "Electoral System" originally instituted to favor the slave owning states, which subverts the democratic process, and allows Presidents to be elected by a minority of votes. You have a Supreme Court which has been captured by conservative Christians, whose decisions have supported big business over democracy - (Citizens United) and Christian doctrine over democracy (Dodds), as well as being a tool of the armaments industry. The Dodds decision alone has resulted in a growing division between "red" and "blue" states, and some degree of inter-state chaos. The election of a President (Trump) who was manifestly unfit to serve as a President was an obvious sign of serious, perhaps fatal weaknesses in the American democratic project. Your emphasis on Ethics is important. Trump's blatant corruption and the corruption inside the Republican party that he controls, and the media system in the U.S. that has broadcast his fire hose of lies are a direct cause of the present atmosphere of deceit and immorality in American political life. This cannot be changed by trying to change people's attitudes, the system needs to be overhauled, and, unfortunately, that is even less likely to happen. Your country is heading towards civil war, and everything that the extreme right is doing, including refusing to enact any reasonable form of gun control, is accelerating that movement towards chaos and dissolution.
Methinks this is The Liberal Trap all over again. This is a practical, analytical, factual evaluation of "how we ought to do it". Sadly, The Facts Don't Matter. Politics is, at root, not based on rational discussion and wise decisions but instead is emotional (Kahneman System 1). Your analysis does not once deal with the insatiable desire of politicians to get and maintain *power*. That's sorta' practical (they can't do anything without it) but getting it and reveling in it is emotional, as is their inability (in most cases) to let go of it. Without taking into account the emotional forces involved in politics, any rational analysis is doomed from the start. Good, but doomed.
"Politics is bad, but why?"
The author spends gallons of ink purporting to address this question, but to my mind never even comes close. Politics is bad because it involves ripping people off and doling the money out for supposedly worthy needs. This will ALWAYS lead to corruption, and to people focusing their energies jockeying for a good spot at the feeding trough rather than being productive in any way.
America will continue its downward spiral until it returns to founding principles: government should do NOTHING other than protect people's liberties from intrusion.