Saturday, March 24, 2007

An Interesting E-mail

A friend of mine recently sent me the following e-mail, which I will share in its entirety. My comments follow.

"How Long Do We Have?

About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier: 'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.'

'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.'

'The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
3. from courage to liberty;
4. from liberty to abundance;
5. from abundance to complacency;
6. from complacency to apathy;
7. from apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage'

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St.Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:

Number of States won by:
Gore: 19
Bush: 29

Square miles of land won by:
Gore: 580,000
Bush: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by:
Gore: 127 million
Bush: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
Gore: 13.2
Bush: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: 'In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare.'

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the 'complacency and apathy' phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the 'governmental dependency' phase. If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegals and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years. Pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom."

Now, I haven't independently checked the facts outlined above. I recall seeing that Red and Blue map shortly after both Bush victories, and the concentration of color by county was the most striking.

I just found a great link - go take a look for yourself: you can see the map by county for 2000 and 2004. Curious as to why I keep emphasizing the words "by county"?

While I acknowledge that there is a threat to our Republic from electoral apathy and illegal immigration, the bigger threat that goes unrecognized is our imbalanced government. We have densely populated centers of dependency dragging the rest of the nation kicking and screaming towards socialism.

I'll re-iterate one of my strongest governmental convictions: people should have the right to decide how much government they want, but only at the most local of levels; the smallest of spheres. If the people of Chicago, IL decide they want universal health care and education provided by "the government" that's fine with me if the residents of Cook County are the ones who pay for it. So it should be for any domestic matter - be it health care, retirement security, jet skis or gold chains. As long as the burden is shouldered by the residents of the same area where the beneficiaries reside, my philosophy is: have at it.

As I've also said before, I think that a properly balanced government will lead naturally, and eventually inevitably, to a limited government. Although I doubt it, there's a chance I could be wrong about this. Isn't giving it a try worth the risk, especially when what we're currently doing is obviously not working and when "giving it a try" is really just another way of saying "following the Constitution"?

11 comments:

michael hargis said...

Y'know, I'm really starting to warm up to this "balanced government" business. I don't know if you're getting better at explaining it or I'm getting better at understanding it, but either way I agree with everything you've written here. Here's a question for you: We have the electoral college to make sure that a few highly populated states can't run roughshod over the rest of the country in a presidential election. My understanding is that the two houses of congress were supposed to serve the same function in the making of laws. The senate, being (originally) nominated by the various state legislatures and therefore insulated to some degree from the public passions, would keep the house from running roughshod over people. Do you believe that eliminating the popular election of senators would go a long way toward restoring some balance in government? If that sounds naive, at least trust that's honestly naive.

The Monarchist said...

Mr. Hargis,

Hopefully I'm getting better at explaining it, Lord knows I need improvement in that regard!

I truly think that the direct election of Senators was a major error - and you astutely pointed out exactly why. What was intended as a deliberative body to put the brakes on passions has been failing in that role.

Going back to the old way (the State Legislatures sending Senators to Washington) would return us to a more (small-r) republican form of government and less of a (small-d) democratic form.

Good observation on the electoral college, I hadn't ever considered that analogy.

-AH

JWales said...

Hey A.H.,

Speaking of Republican vs. Democrat form of government, why dont you do an excerpt on your take on the differences, and America's gradual slide into "were a democracy" that we keep getting hammered on by the President and most other politicians, MSM's, etc. etc. Why are we getting bombarded with "democracy" "democracy" democracy".

Know what I mean?

Daniel Webster said...

An interesting post here, Mr. Hamilton! I have only one issue with it: it's just that I thought "dependency" and "bondage" were (slightly) different stages of the same thing. ;)

Hargis, we envision that some day in the relatively near future there'll be "American Federalist" candidates running in elections all over the United States...under the banner of "BALANCED GOVERNMENT."

I agree with Hamilton too -the direct election of the Senate by the People of the several states was a huge mistake. I don't concern myself much with whether the intent was good or not. You know what they say about that.

And by the way, in our other conversation I should have focused my attention more on your "lust for power" concern than on the other part. Having re-read it with a clearer mind (a close family friend was in deep trouble at our local hospital last week, but all seems to be well now) I see now that you were trying to answer my question as to what we all look for in a Presidential candidate. I apologize for that.

One more thing...

If I've argued it once, I'll bet I've argued it a thousand times (and a hundred different ways) with people about the dangers inherent in turning over the election of the POTUS to the popular vote of the People...and they just don't seem to get it. Is it not that this idea of "democracy" really is taking hold of the minds of the electorate? I mean, I know that we're not a pure democracy by any stretch, even today, but it seems like we're heading more in that direction than the Federal Representative Republic direction...in the minds of the people, does it not?

Repeal the 17th amendment!

Call Me Mom said...

So, American Federalist candidates.....Have you a timeline on that goal?

The Monarchist said...

Tricky issue raised by Mr. Webster and questioned by Mom.

As I think I have mentioned, I've been getting heavily involved in politics at the city and township level. My goal has been to gain experience while attempting to change the conversation.

When the time is right, the time will be right. But I share Mr. Webster's vision that one day soon, God willing, there'll be an alternative to the status quo. Then once and for all, we can bid farewell to the Whigs. Um, I mean Republicans.

-AH

michael hargis said...

How do you propose to explain "balanced government" to the great unwashed?

Perhaps it could be said that the services that some are dependant on would not disappear, but the change would be in who signs the checks.

The Monarchist said...

That's the simplest proposition: you'll pay the majority of your taxes to the local government and they'll be better equipped (because of proximity) to deliver services for less cost, contrasted with how things are today, wherein you pay a majority of your taxes to the federal.

Of course, in my example, once the taxpaying citizens of Cook County see that they're supporting the least productive amongst them, that's when the fun begins.

-AH

Daniel Webster said...

Mom, yes, God's. :)

Hargis, some months back I put together a post entitled "Explaining Balanced Government," or something to that effect. At this moment it is still in the draft phase. The reason being not that I have much trouble explaining the idea to my own satisfaction, or to Messrs. Hamilton or Adams, but that until we can successfully explain it to others informally -that is, in general conversations like this one - then there's probably little or no point to a formal explanation of the concept put in terms, ummm, more specified...one might even say "more simplified." This here conversation, among others past and future, is a great vehicle for hashing it all out; for reducing it to universally understandable terms.

There are two main points I wish to make here: 1. that this has already been thought of and discussed among the contributers (the need for an explanation of a more formal nature), and 2. that your suggestion is duly noted and certainly will be considered as part of an explanation for "balanced government" -American Federalist style. That these services will always remain available to those who mistake dependency for liberty...at the more local levels of government...is indeed part of the strategy. The goal of course being that these services become more and more limited in scope (and size), as with the vehicle for providing them - government - thru' natural processes...if you catch my drift.

Anonymous said...

http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/tyler.asp

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.

~ Plato, Dialogues

The Monarchist said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your courageous post.

In case you missed it, I made a point of stating in the post that I didn't go back and check any of the facts included therein. Merely shared an e-mail in its entirety and the line of thinking it inspired.

But I did read your link, and acknowledge that some of the statements in that e-mail have been proven false - some of them. I do appreciate your concern for my soul.

-AH

"You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters."

~Plato, Dialogues