Saturday, June 4, 2011

Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment?

Your argument for a balanced budget was fairly well reasoned.

The problem is, as we well know, nothing happens in congress without someone (or everyone) on both sides of the aisle lumping on their pet projects, but that's the subject for a whole other discussion, and congress likes to spend like a child on an allowance with an unlimited debt ceiling.

Congress and the American public need to be reminded who the parent is and who is the errant child in this scenario.

Personally, I think campaign reform would go a long way to remedying this situation,…

The above was a comment from “Tim the Enchanter” on the Denver Post blog site.

My response:

Previous attempts at campaign reform have not helped. To borrow from your parent/child analogy, the American people need to "grow up" and stop bugging their parents, i.e. the government, for more than the parents make.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy..." ~~ paraphrased from Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian.

Human nature never changes much. :( People vote (and do) what is in their own best interest, not of society in general. This is why Socialism, and its next step, Communism, can never work. People do not work for the best interest of all, just as George Orwell so aptly illustrated in "Animal Farm." This is why capitalism, even with its flaws, is the only economic system that can be sustained, because its premise is built around real human nature - for each person to work for what is best for them.

The issue arises, though, of how to best govern in a capitalistic society. In socialism and communism, the government controls the economy so the two can be combined, but not so in capitalism. Pure democracy sounds good in theory, but the will of the majority can trample on the minority and even worse, not even be good for the majority. Just like giving a spoiled child what he wants is not always in his best interest, "the people" can vote themselves money until the economy collapses.

In reading some of the controversy at the time on how to best structure the Constitution, my thought was that the framers of the Constitution, especially Madison, were brilliant. His insight into human nature was astounding. Perhaps that is why they set up a Republic versus a Democracy. For a fuller understanding of the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, either pure or representative, please see:

In brief, an excerpt:

"Madison’s observations in The Federalist number 10 are noteworthy at this point because they highlight a grave error made through the centuries regarding Democracy as a form of government. He commented as follows:

'Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.'

Democracy, as a form of government, is utterly repugnant to--is the very antithesis of--the traditional American system: that of a Republic, and its underlying philosophy, as expressed in essence in the Declaration of Independence with primary emphasis upon the people’s forming their government so as to permit them to possess only "just powers" (limited powers) in order to make and keep secure the God-given, unalienable rights of each and every Individual and therefore of all groups of Individuals.

A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate."

My understanding of the goal of our Constitution was that the House of Representatives was to be the "people's house" - where the will of the people had a voice in the government. The Senate was to be the more reasoned voice, comprised of legislators who were not directly elected by the people - true statesmen - so were freer to vote what was in the greater interest. In that regard, the Seventeenth Amendment, which in 1913 established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote, may not have been a positive change. In looking at ways to fix our government, repealing that amendment may be a good start.

While this type of discussion is highly philosophical, it is needed to understand why this country has almost spent itself into collapse. The big question - is there a way to recover from here, or will the U.S. fall, as has every other great civilization thus far in history. We are now writing the next chapter in the big history book of life.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent post Lady Burke. We appreciate it. The Founders feared democracy. They realized as classicists that no democracy, including that of Athens lasted very long. (See my , The Last Democrat post). When they spoke of Democracy they did so as a synonym for a Republic subject to majority rule and subject to a constitution, now savagely damaged, that existed primarily to impose limitations on totalitarian government. It is now failing in this noble purpose-not that it is not clearly and well written but because those in power ignore or subvert its plain words much as they did in Dread Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. For which see my new book Renegades, coming out July 26.

    You do offer a valuable service to your fellows by seeking to explain in plain words how critical is our Constitution. Jeff Crank is a great guy to offer us this forum. Keep writing. Best Regards Robert