Monday, February 23, 2009

National-Federal Structure as explicated in the Federalist Papers

As with any other book I've read and/or studied where I'm drawn to particular chapters or paragraphs and sentences, or phrases within particular chapters or paragraphs, over and over again for one reason or another, so it is with the Federalist Papers which is divided into 85 individual essays, many of which in their individual capacities are actually part of larger bodies of essays explaining the same topic as distinct from all others. For example Federalist nos. 30-36 are all devoted to explaining the general power of taxation as enumerated in the Constitution.

Other of the Federalist Papers take on a different characteristic; they are, insofar as they can be separated from the whole body of the Federalist essays, stand-alone essays. Such, I think, is Federalist #39 which explains our National-Federal Structure as the founders originally designed it. In fact, I think it was in studying Federalist #39 that I first began to use the phrase "Our National-Federal Structure," but that's beside the point. The point here being that I do not use this phrase without evidence or authority. Our government was originally designed to take on both national and federal characteristics as per the founders themselves, and as explicated specifically in Federalist #39.

But of course many of the federal characteristics of our original compact have since been eroded, and/or altogether abolished during the course of the 140+ years since the closing of the Civil War. Our government has since assumed, by degrees, a much larger role than originally anticipated by the founding generation, and thus has taken on more of the national characteristic at the expense of federalism. And, yes, going even beyond what was originally intended by the framers of the fourteenth amendment.

Nonetheless Federalist #39 has always been one of my particular favorites among the Federalist essays because it explains the National-Federal Structure of our government as the founders originally designed it. Read therein where we've gone astray as concerns the proper balance of the national and the federal characteristics of our Republic. But do not stop at reading it once, as this simply will not do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Further Federalism

My friend Mr. Morris posted a great video in the prior post - please scroll down and watch. I've long been simultaneously exhausted and thankful that there are a lot of people who look at the events of the world and ask "what do we do now?"

Thankful, because at least people are dissatisfied with the direction of the country; weary because of the enormous work it will take to return to our first principles. But, return we must, or fail, and take our place in history along with the other failures of men and government.

I have recently put up a couple of posts on related topics, one on the Tenth Amendment and one on good-old fashioned local action.

In time, I think our premise here will be borne out: that we're suffering from imbalance and excess, and that the only remedy for that is a renaissance in self-government through a gradual but relentless application of balanced government. There's plenty on that topic on this blog, for that matter.

I intend to be rather busy between now and April 7th, but hope to be able to post here more frequently than I have been. As always, I look forward to your comments, Dear Readers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our National-Federal Structure

The phrase "our National-Federal structure" is one I've used countless times in discussions on our form of government at this blog and elsewhere across the internet, in private conversations and debates, and so forth and so on. And it occurs to me, having just watched a good You Tube video on the very subject (although I don't think anyone has ever mentioned it) that some might get the impression from the position of the words as I've always written and spoken them, that I consider the national aspect of our structure of government to be more important than the federal aspect of same. Let me assure you, if this is your impression, that nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason I express the phrase in this order with the word national preceding the word federal is because it simply sounds better than "Our Federal-National Structure." The most important thing to keep in mind, of course, is that our governmental structure is not one or the other, but both federal and national, and preferably in that order.

The You Tube video-lecture posted below is the fifth of a larger series of lectures on the constitution. I don't know whether the series is yet complete, and I don't know at this point how many lectures are contained in the existing series. You can investigate that for yourselves if that is your desire. This particular lecture, however, is custom made for posting at this site as you shall soon see. Our friend Mike Tams should take a particular liking to it methinks. Without further ado ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus Excuses

Having written to Senator Kohl about the (then) upcoming stimulus package vote, I was not surprised to receive a reply from him. He voted for the stimulus package. I am posting this here because there are residents of other states who are no doubt receiving similar correspondence form their legislators regarding their votes on this matter.

Among other gems in his excuse missive were these:

  1. "Consumer confidence is at or near an all time low." Perhaps that's because the average consumer is aware that it is impossible to spend one's way out of debt.
  2. "The average Wisconsin family would receive a $900 tax cut this year from the legislation." Perhaps the good Senator would like to tell us how much this package is going to cost each average WI family to pay it back too? Essentially you are saying that you, in your wisdom, have exchanged $900.00 this year for untold thousands to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. I would have preferred magic beans.
  3. "I support the economic recovery package, but I do have reservations. The price tag on this bill is enormous, and I understand the opposition to this legislation by those who feel it costs too much money. To address these concerns, the Senate voted to reduce the cost of the legislation by over $100 billion through cuts in education, modernization of federal buildings, health information technology, and other areas." Well, wasn't that nice of you, a whole 100 billion. Is that sort of like when retail stores raise all their prices 30% a few months before Christmas and then declare a 20% off sale after Thanksgiving? I fail to see the savings.
  4. "I supported this compromise to help keep spending under control " The 100 billion dollar reduction in a bill that is egregiously beyond the bounds of common sense is not really a compromise. It looks more like a way to allow those legislators such as yourself a way to make yourselves still have an appearance of respectability. It failed.
  5. "This plan is not perfect, but it is a bold and responsible action " This plan is so far from responsible that you should be required to spend remedial vocabulary building time with your dictionary sir. If you had a child attending college who, with his first credit card, had amassed $100,000.00 in debt and he told you he was going to get another card that would let him spend $1,000,000,000.00 to get him out of that financial prison, would you call that responsible?

Senator Kohl, I appreciate that your response was polite. In my opinion, you and your fellow democrats have betrayed not only your home state constituents, but the nation in voting to pass this monstrosity. I think you have taken this action more out of concern for partisan politics than for the good of the country as a whole. I think each and every one of you should be recalled and replaced with people who know the difference between party and nation.