chas For President? (part 3)

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How would you like to work for just a few years and collect a pension for the rest of your life?  How would you like a better health care plan than the average worker can afford?

Well, of course, no one would consider those bad deals at all, but then we all also know that it isn’t going to happen.  Not for us anyway.

Anyone who has read the writings of the Founders knows that elected office was considered an obligation, a duty of responsible citizenship, not a job opportunity for life.  The responsible citizen would lend his skills in service to the Republic for, at most, a couple of terms (as Washington demonstrated) and would then return to the home and life that had helped hone and develop those skills.  Yet today, and for the last 100 years or so, being an elected official has become a job for life, since incumbency and manipulating the shapes of electoral districts has allowed even bad representatives to remain in office for as long as they choose.

There are, of course, reasons that individuals wish to remain in office.  The pay and benefits are pretty dang good.  You get free money from others to run for office, and anything left over is yours.  There are: lots of fun; free travel (often including your family members at government expense!); more money if you are on committees, and most are on at least one; free health care; an almost instant pension.  Therein resides the problem.

Service is supposed to be…, well, service.  The opportunity to provide service to the public is itself the reward for holding office among right-thinking people.  The necessity of representation cannot be overemphasized, especially as the Republic grows, but it does have to be true representation; the service has to be representative of the people’s will, since the people, not the government, are sovereign.  We tire of the arrogant and paternalistic: “the people aren’t smart enough to understand, so we’ll just do what we think is the right thing for them.”  Garbage!  It is the will of the people that should be presented, because under the scheme of our Founding fathers, that is all that is relevant.  So here is the next change that should be made into law, perhaps by constitutional amendment:

Congress shall be in session no longer than 4 months of any calendar year.  Hence, pay will be reduced accordingly, pensions will be eliminated, and benefits shall be supplied only during that active session.

The finer points of that concept, of course, would need to be tweaked, and there might need to be an emergency provision allowing for longer sessions in case of true, bona-fide, non- manufactured emergency, but the intent of the enactment is to eliminate the costly perquisites of what is supposed to be service, not unlike jury service, but which has become bloated into a misshapen vehicle of pretention, pomposity, privilege, self-protection, self-promotion, and arrogant disregard for founding premises.

Another basic and self-evident principle of self-government suggests that laws should be understandable by the people.  A bill or law that is hundreds or thousands of pages long, which is frequently not even read, let alone understood, by those voting on it, and which accordingly cannot be timely studied and comprehended for advice and comment by those to be affected by it prior to its passage, runs counter to the notion that our servants are serving us. What benefit is it to those being represented to be inflicted with laws that none can understand, and whose meaning is lost in incomprehensible, and sometimes inconsistent, legalisms? Many pieces of legislation coming out of Washington these days are hodge-podges of last-minute compromises and pork that merely serve to provide full employment for lawyers and to supply quid-pro-quos for legislative patrons and stooges, but they have nothing to do with properly serving the needs of the sovereigns, who we must constantly remind all are the people of the Republic.

Did you know that Congress starts every new session (that is every 2 years) with 30,000 bills to work over and through?  In the end, it comes down to about 3,000 that make it to committee.  That means that if only 10% of that work product makes it to the floor, representatives vote on a bill almost every day of the year, including weekends.  Who in their right mind thinks we need that many laws or bills?  Does that sound like self-government?  Does that sound like limited government?  Does that sound like government that is only “necessary”?  Every piece of legislation that is passed, except that which fully repeals a previous law, erodes the universe of overall liberty, with liberty being defined by the absence of government involvement in people’s lives and decisions and relationships and activity.

Then too, concept of self government only works if people are committed to a certain quantum of self-control.  Otherwise, we would be electing people to instruct us how to behave, how and what and how much to eat, what we can say or think, where we can travel and not travel, what we can do in regards to worship, and whom we can and can’t associate with.  That would rip asunder the liberty-based foundations of the Republic.  But, sadly, we have allowed a bit of that to creep into relationships between individuals and government, and quite increasingly, over the past many decades, a condition which Alexis de Tocqueville aptly labeled a “soft tyranny.”

And that bleeds us into the last topic for now.

Private property and Liberty are inseparable; they are joined at the hip as Siamese Twins might be.  “Property” is really the fruits of one’s essence and efforts.  It is the outward manifestation of individuals’ inner worth; it represents one’s enjoyment of other rights, the various express ones such as freedom of speech, association, thought, press; and certain unalienable ones such as the pursuit of happiness, and the industry from the sweat of one’s brow, and the efforts of the heart and hands.  It is wrapped up in the definition of the self.  One of the great founding concepts of this country is land ownership, an incident of property rights.  The very idea of that for the regular individual was fairly foreign to 17th and 18th century England.  But it became a fundamental tenet of American liberty, and its importance is, among others, that it gives each person a real stake in the future of the country.  Sadly and ominously, that tenet is increasingly under attack by wrong-minded souls.

Due to misguided signals by the United States Supreme Court, legislature after legislature have been using eminent domain to violate what the Framers thought they were protecting by way of the 5th Amendment takings clause. Indeed, it does not overstate the point to humbly suggest that we could solve our energy crisis once and for all if we could figure a way to harness the energy produced by the Framers spinning in their graves regarding what the national government, and all of its branches, have been doing with regard to that fundamental protection, and with regard to other fundamental structural and substantive matters that they thought they had defined and protected for all time.  To be sure, even though eminent domain, the detour around the takings clause, has its legitimate purpose, government stealing people’s private property to give it to other, profit-making private enterprises to capitalize on the increased tax revenue generated by that private enterprise, which is increasingly in vogue, is NOT one of them. That is sheer, governmental theft, writ large.

This is one area where a properly led and constituted Federal Government, and especially national judiciary, should exert its power on the subordinate governing authorities to preserve the regime of liberty envisioned by the Framers.  Let us not be fooled into thinking that tyranny by hundreds is any better than tyranny by one.

As a side-note, one other area of concern, a practice that should be eliminated or sharply curtailed, is the increasing trend of allowing unelected officials in various agencies to promulgate administrative regulations and guidelines that have the effect of law, but which were never voted on by the legislative branch and signed by the executive.  This form of functional law-making grants political cover to those in Congress, since they can whine “it wasn’t us,” but it serves the same liberty-invading/restricting role as if Congress had passed it. Remember the new “law” that we can no longer choose to use incandescent bulbs, after a certain date? That “law” came about by the mere stroke of a regulator’s pen, yet it invades all of our houses, it affects the liberties of us all, it impacts choices all of us should be able to make.  It is emblematic of the tyranny of regulationism, the regulatory state, which is a pervasive “Fourth Branch” of government never intended by the Framers yet is far more liberty-intrusive, on a day-to-day basis, than the actions of the other branches.

It is law in all ways, except for 2 things:  1. The people have limited control over the mechanism which brings it about.  Had Congress passed the regulation, they could be voted out of office, but that is not the case with these appointed regulators.  They are generally toast after a change in Administration anyway, but their regulations live on until changed, if ever.  2. The regime of regulationism continues the expansion of Federal Power and all that it brings with it: loss of liberty, restrictions upon freedom, forfeiture of recourse to redress of grievances against the government, etc.

Nothing in the Constitution gives such invasive power to other than the Congress, and then only in a limited fashion.

Let us look at the fork in the road, one tine pointing toward liberty, one tine toward tyranny, and, recalling the choice the Framers made, let us embrace their choice, down the road of liberty.  We, as a people, are the ones responsible for the course of our government, since we are a self-governing society; we are the sovereigns.  We, the people, have the power, unless we surrender it to others.  If we surrender it to others, we have thereby voted for tyranny, a vote by which we would have rent asunder the glorious scheme for which our Founding Fathers bled and read, fought and argued, killed and debated and wrote.

Next:  Summation

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9 Responses to “chas For President? (part 3)”

  1. Gini Says:

    I join in ~~(((CLAPPING)))~~ loudly! 🙂

  2. outdoor chaise lounge chairs Says:

    I lately came across your blog and have been learning along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very frequently.

  3. Frank C Says:

    Chas,
    Another great piece. I agree limit Congress to 4 months..it would limit the damage they could do. Our Founding Fathers intended this to be a “part time” service and not life long job.

    I hope you tackle the Congressional budget and White House budget.

    Frank
    ===========================
    It is certainly a topic worth consideration Frank. Any time you think of a topic don’t be shy. I’m always looking for ideas.

    chas

  4. gwenfl Says:

    Very powerful thoughts Chas and Cap! I am in awe of you both. Another thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing
    =========================
    Thank you for reading. It has always been done for you that do read and continue to support the effort.

    chas

  5. Sterling Says:

    Well, I shall be happy to shout it then, at the top of my lungs and from my rooftop, or anywhere I make the opportunity!
    ================
    Point them here. cap manages to shout with a whisper. 😉

    chas

  6. Sterling Says:

    LOL, chas, LOL!!! I don’t know if you believe me or not, but I really did originally type shout, but then I remember one time when you and I were talking, that I said something similar and you said that shouting wasn’t your style!!! LOL, I guess you changed your mind? 😉
    ==============================
    You are correct. I did say that and I still believe that. But it is indeed something that needs to be shouted.

    chas

  7. Sterling Says:

    My friends and family tire of me endlessly using the word tyrants and tyranny. They are fatigued with my use of those words on my blog and in my personal assessments of our government in the last few years. They think that I should have been born 250 years ago. I think that I should cry louder, and that others should cry with me. I think that not only have I not used it enough, but that they and the other governed in this country do not understand what it is and the effect that it has had, not only on their everyday lives, but on their futures and the future of their children. Soft tyranny is such an accurate term because it explains why the citizen doesn’t realize that tyranny is alive and well and growing. It’s quiet intrusion into our lives does not belie its sinister nature.

    Thank you chas, and cap, for these very thought-provoking entries.
    =======================================
    Sterling,
    I don’t believe you should cry tyranny, I think you should be shouting it at the top of your lungs from your roof top. As Jefferson said; “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”. The actions by our Government over the last 60 years show this statement to be true.
    chas

    • capmotion Says:

      Sterling, one thing your friends and family should realize is that the Framers were not concerned with poles sounding in “right” and “left,” or “conservative” and “liberal,” but instead were animated by the pole which had tyranny at one end and anarchy at the other. It was their debate that we embrace, not our debate that we manufacture.

      At the tyranny end [their word] was King George, and at the anarchy end was what occurred upon the political singularity which occurred when we threw off, in a instant, King George and we were flailing around for some agency of control. We first experimented with the Articles of Confederation, but that was too close to the anarchy end for effective governance, especially in time of war. So, we quietly met and gave birth to the Constitution, which moved us away from the anarchy end, in the direction of but still far from the tyranny end, and which gave us certain enumerated controls. But we have been inching in the tyranny direction for over a century, so that we come ever closer to King George, whether we be called “liberal” or “conservative,” because neither is truly originalist. At this point, tyranny looms in the visible distance, and whiting out the term will not erase the ominous substance.

      cap

  8. Colleen Says:

    Chas & Cap, Wow! I can hear the loud sound of applause in my head, I sure hope you both can
    =======================
    Thank you Colleen.

    chas
    ====================================
    That is kind of you, Colleen. One thing that we would hope is that all who are within the “sound” of this digital “voice” would at least obtain a copy of the Constitution and start reading and studying it, with an eye toward the realization that the Framers set up a government of enumerated and specifically delegated powers, a new thing in governance, and that the national government could only do what was expressly authorized, largely in Art. 1, section 8. It was to have no “inherent” powers; those lay, to the extent they existed, in the states and in individuals, with the 9th and 10th Amendment serving as the closing bookend, with the preamble the opening one. “We the People … do ordain….” opens the glorious experiment, and “The powers not delegated … are reserved… to the people” closes it.

    capmotion

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