Post by Carl Ballard
FW Con is nuttier than even the typical Republican nut. And I don’t think repealing the 17th amendment is on the table. But this has more currency on the right than you’d think. And a lot of Republicans won a lot of races the other day based on things that I didn’t think were on the table recently. So, may as well swat this stuff down.
The 17th Amendment made senators elected by the people, rather than the state legislatures. This had a reverberating effect on all parts of the constitution, namely, the abandonment thereof. Todd Zywicki at The Volokh Conspiracy explains.
Yes, the biggest problems today can totally be traced back to too much democracy. In the Senate.
It is important to note that the constitution set in power a government in a precarious balance. All the evil in men’s nature was set in opposition to itself, while all the good was magnified and multiplied. That is, the yearning to be another man’s master would be frustrated in the federal government, while the yearning to protect men’s freedoms would be amplified.
And what better way to protect freedoms than denying the freedom to vote for one of the chambers of Congress?
The senate was to be composed of a bunch of elitist snobs who disdained American democracy, that is, the actual power of the people to determine their government. These elitists were to temper the will of the people as expressed in the House of Representatives.
If you were writing a piece in about how important it is to keep Senators elected by the people, you probably wouldn’t have to change a word. Personally, I think the Senate is too much like that now, and we should do what we can to weaken it compared to the House.
Now, imagine the people electing a brand new House of Representatives in a throw-the-bums out fashion like we see today. Now imagine that congress goes into session and starts proposing all kinds of strange things that disrupts the way government is setup and working. The natural reaction from the senate is to say “No, thanks.” But how can they say it?
They can make a logical case, appealing to our better nature? They can run ads saying how the other side is wrong? They can engage in active democratic debate?
If the say, “no thanks” in the way they’d like to say it, by pointing out how stupid the people are, then the people will rightfully become upset with the senate and work to replace them through their state legislatures. Any corporate executive knows that even if the board is on your side, if the shareholders get upset with you, the board will quickly change their opinion of you as well.
They can’t call their constituents a bunch of fucking retards. What a loss! And really, the goal is to be less accountable than a CEO is to their shareholders?
So that’s off the table. What methods remain?
Stating their case clearly.
Really, the only way the senate can effectively argue against the will of the people is to put the argument in terms of our natural rights and the constitution. Does this sound familiar? This is what the Supreme Court has to do every day, at least now that the senate doesn’t do it for them.
The Supreme Court oversteps its bounds all the time, and should throttle the hell back.
If we want the constitution to be important, then we have to make it the only useful tool in the senate’s hands.
Senators can’t invoke the Constitution today!
Now that the senate is elected directly by the people, the reaction people have to an opposing senate is to simply wait two or four more years to replace them along with the House. In fact, oftentimes a sweep is enough to change the balance in the senate as the mood of the people change. This means the senators are nothing more than big representatives, where 2/3rds can safely ignore the will of the people at any given time.
This paragraph argues that Senators should be less accountable and complains that Senators aren’t accountable enough. Awesome.
Is it any wonder that the constitution has eroded under such a system? The Senate need not argue about the constitution. They only have to appeal to the people’s emotions, the same way the House does.
The worst abuses of the Constitution (by both parties) are done by the executive branch.
And so the only branch of government who considers the constitution is the Supreme Court, and even then, it is not always in their interest to do so.
The Constitution in this case being Gardner’s interpretation where the Interstate Commerce Clause has no meaning and Republican presidents can invade any country at any time for any reason, and if you disagree you’re committing treason.
Folks, if we want to enshrine the Constitution as the law of the land, we have to repeal the 17th Amendment. We have to surrender the power to elect our own senators and establish a body of elitist snobs whose only weapon to defend their snobbery is the constitution. This, tempered with a raucous and wild House, a power-hungry president, and a judicial system whose sole purpose in life is to convince people never to bring a case to court, and you have the makings of a wonderfully balanced government. A government that only unifies on questions that protect all of the people’s rights, and never aligns when only a small group of people are to be served.
Folks, this is fucking insane.
Democracy can be our friend, but it is still our enemy. We must temper democracy with republicanism, and we must temper republicanism with dictatorship and democracy, and so on and so forth. That is what separation of powers and the balance of power is all about: taking the best parts of all the forms of government and using them to subdue the bad parts of other forms of government.
I literally have no idea what he’s talking about with dictatorship and democracy (it’s for a future post, that I can’t wait to read). No, there are no “best parts” of a dictatorship. Seriously, fuck.
One day I’ll write an article about why we need to eliminate the popular vote for president. It has something to do with the fact that our best presidents have been dictators unpopular with the people.