Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Founders set up the country to limit drastic change

After nine hours of sleep, I was up at 5:30 a.m. and decided I should try and clear off the dining room table a bit. For the first time in I don't know how long, I actually got to do more than skim a newspaper.
I don't subscribe to the Sunday Globe but we get it at the office and I was able to check out the Ideas section this week and came across this excellent column by Elvin Lim: ["No change"].
Lim lays out the historical case on how and why the nation will never get expansive "change" due mainly to the separation of powers and the convoluted and difficult process to amend the Constitution. It's a pretty good read.
I think now, the next step, is to look at how the electorate is influenced by advertising and rhetoric, and whether or not those influences have a drastic effect on election outcomes. I won't use the word "educated," as in, "the American people need to be educated ..." since that has all kinds of arrogant connotations to it that I personally find offensive. Some folks are just firm in their belief systems and all the "education" isn't going to make a bit of difference, something that is perfectly fine since this is, after all, America.
But it is clear that both sides of the political spectrum don't really understand that 1) we live in a Republic, not a "democracy," and 2) the system is set up to not create the sweeping changes many people want to see from the federal government, whether they are "Obama zombies" or Tea Partiers. My friends on the left need to propose their major changes in the form of Constitutional amendments if they want a European-style democracy. My friends on the right need to understand that, yeah, there is waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal budget and it is so big and expansive that it will probably always be there. The best we can probably do is chip away at it and the influence of corporations too, while we're at it.


Jeremy said...

We've done all kinds of things to speed up the change. Electing Senators instead of state legislatures appointing them (and being able to recall them....). Electing a presidential ticket instead of electing the top two as president and vp. The 14th Amendment, forcing the federal bill of rights on the sovereign states. Delegating the congressional authority to print and regulate the value of money to the Federal Reserve bank (a private corporation). All of these things and more have slowly centralized the government and made the change more extreme and rapid.
The federal government has gotten involved in regulating, taxing, controlling so many things that it never used to have anything to do with. We didn't even have lobbying untill WWI because there was no reason to lobby didn't create all of the moral hazard we now have. Sorry for the rambling comment!

Tony said...

Yeah, but those are pretty dated changes though and not drastic when you consider 234 years of history, right?

Jeremy said...

If you look at where we started and where we are now, it's pretty drastic.
We're slaves to the federal government, and it does whatever it wants, regardless of the law.
I've spent alot of time studying history, and large centralized governments don't end well, lots of people end up in poverty, starvation and worse.