Thursday, November 09, 2006

They're Involved in Politics

Are you?

Here's a letter - specific information carefully deleted - from the local Chamber of Commerce. I've got some observations, but here's the letter...

"A Message from the President:

I'd like to thank each of you who took time out of your day on Tuesday, or before to cast a ballot in the election. As I write, the exact balance of power is still uncertain.

There are a few things that are certain. Each of the officials who will represent us in Springfield and in Washington will have to tackle issues such as the health care crisis, energy policy, budget deficits, pension plans and taxes, among others.

The Chamber will continue to reach out and offer to work with all of our officials to find solutions to the challenges we face. We can't do it alone, we need your input and your assistance. I hope you stay informed, stay engaged and stay active. You can't win in a democracy by sitting on the sidelines and the Chamber plans to be an active participant on your behalf.

Sincerely, President and CEO Chamber of Commerce"

OK, so you get the title of the post, right? The last sentence of his letter says it all.

I'd like to focus on the second sentence, second paragraph, and pose the question: how would a government respectful of the balance intended between the spheres handle these issues? Clearly, more effectively than an imbalanced government like the one we have.

God bless James Madison! As I have said many times, well, how about we just go to Federalist 45, shall we? The whole thing is inspiring, but let's focus like a laser on this...

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. "

Is there a more bulletproof principle of government; is there anything more true that this? Is there a weakness in the design at all, save from the viewpoint of one who places the State above the Person; the same one who values conformity over Liberty? We're in the mess we're in because of a deficiency in self-government and the resulting changes that must have transpired, simply had to, surely as gravity causes the apple to fall from the tree. Only a return to the principles of Federalism can effect the lasting changes necessary to the continued health of the Republic.

I'll re-phrase and second the sentiment: you can't win in a republic sitting on the sidelines.

11 comments:

Daniel Webster said...

"I'll re-phrase and second the sentiment: you can't win in a republic sitting on the sidelines."

I had a conversation, yesterday, with a customer of mine wherein he made the mistake of saying, and I quote: "I'm worried about the future of our democracy."

You can imagine how that went. ;)

The Monarchist said...

I'd have loved to have been there, LOL!

Call Me Mom said...

Our former mayor attempted to tell my son that the U.S.A. is a democracy when he was working with him on his Citizenship in the Nation merit badge. He was surprised to be corrected.

The Monarchist said...

Mom,

Webster, Adams and I have had this debate privately, without really getting a resolution. Mostly, I suppose, because there's so much room for interpretation.

Is the government we have today more of a republic or democracy? I'd say it is still a republic, but with stong democratic and even socialistic tendencies.

I'd have loved to have seen the Mayor's reaction to that! Kudos on the excellent parenting, Mom.

-AH

Daniel Webster said...

"Webster, Adams and I have had this debate privately, without really getting a resolution. Mostly, I suppose, because there's so much room for interpretation."

I'll bet you we can come to a resolution, right here, right now...

Our government is not a pure democracy by any stretch of the imagination - never has been, and likely never will be. If it ever degenerates to that point, I'm moving.

The perceptions of the People (who hold the reins of ultimate authority), however, are that it is more of a democracy than anything else, which is not the case at all. Their perceptions are also that "democracy" is the ultimate in good government, which again, history will instruct us to the contrary.

The point is, "Republicanism" (not the party, but the philosophy of government) is far superior to democracy, yet, neither is widely understood for what they are respectively. That's the reason you see a lot of governments denominated "Republics" when they're far from it.

So, there's nothing wrong with calling folks out who fly the democracy banner all the time. If they understand the distinctions to be made between the two forms of government, then you've not insulted them, you've just helped them to clarify themselves, and to be of more service to their fellow countrymen. If otherwise, then you've at least given them some food for thought.

There can be no doubt about the idea that if you repeat something often enough, people begin to believe it. That statement proves itself over and over again. This is the case with the "separation of Church and State" doctrine, Republican vs. democratic government, and so on and so forth.

So, here's the deal...

If I've ever called anyone out on the distinctions to be made between democracy and Repbublicanism, just for the sake of calling them out on it, I'm completely unaware of it. I generally have a reason for doing so, and it's generally after they've stated it over and over again, along with misconceptions about the nature of our government. For instance, I've argued with 'em over the totally absurd idea of electing the President by direct vote, the near overthrow of the federal principle by way of the fourteenth amendment, the utter ridiculousness of instituting so-called "term-limits," and etc., none of which can be deemed appropriate to our form of government UNLESS it is truly a "democracy."

Michael Hargis said...

"So, there's nothing wrong with calling folks out who fly the democracy banner all the time. If they understand the distinctions to be made between the two forms of government, then you've not insulted them, you've just helped them to clarify themselves, and to be of more service to their fellow countrymen."

Yeah, most people are pleased, eager even, to be corrected that way. ;)

Daniel Webster said...

"Yeah, most people are pleased, eager even, to be corrected that way."

Dude!, I ain't sure which one of us should be more concerned, you or me - me because I'm gettin' to where I can anticipate where it is you're most likely to challenge me, or you because, umm, I'm gettin' to where I can anticipate where it is you're gonna challenge me. LOL

You ever feel like that, Hargis?

michael hargis said...

Not really. I'll argue with a possum if necessary. Or, lacking a possum, myself.

What do you think I was challenging you on?

Daniel Webster said...

On my assertion that there's nothing wrong with calling folks out/it's not insulting them, on the democracy/Republic thing.

Your remark was not a challenge of that assertion, albeit in good humor?

michael hargis said...

Yeah, I guess so. My mom always taught me that it's bad manners to correct people. She wasn't referring to politics, of course, but to grammar, pronounciation, word choice, etc.

Of course there are situations where it can be done inoffensively, but mostly the person doing the correcting comes off as thinking of himself as some kind of professor, whether offense is taken or not.

I'm as guilty as anyone.

Daniel Webster said...

"I'm as guilty as anyone."

Me too, believe it or not. LOL

To be real honest with you I think I'm better at it in a face-to-face situation. I'm generally not taken in an offensive way in such a forum, or so I think...that's the impression I get anyhow.

That's one thing I don't care for in a forum such as this - it's hard to detect the sincerity in one's posts because you can't look directly into one-another's eyes, and so on and so forth.

Anyway, as I said, most of the time I've already developed something of a relationship, or trust, with these folks, and they've made the mistake several times in our conversations before I speak up. In this particular case the person in question had stated it to me several times. I had not even brought up the subject of politics.

But you know how it is, brother, you can't hardly write a book for folks and give them every detail. You just sorta have to skim the periphery of the subject in order to keep your posts short and sweet.

Oh the limitations of the blogosphere. ;)