Obama and the Mother of All Tyrannies

Anyone who's had a casual conversation with his neighbors or is cognizant of reality TV should already be petrified of democracy.

Anyone who's had a casual conversation with his neighbors or is cognizant of reality TV should already be petrified of democracy.

But if the Supreme Court—or, as Barack Obama likes to refer to them, an "unelected group of people"—overturns Obamacare's individual mandate, the president says that the court would be taking "an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."

To begin with, as usual, much of Obama's rhetoric isn't exactly accurate. A "strong" majority did not support Obamacare. (Parliamentary maneuvering in a Democratic Congress was needed to pass it.) It would be neither unprecedented (unless you count the way it was passed) nor extraordinary to overturn parts of a federal law. (The Supreme Court has done it many times.) And a court that restrains democracy is not an activist court as Obama implies, but typically one that's just doing its job.

But though most of the criticism of Obama has pointed out that the president has issued a "warning" or an "attack" on the judicial branch—and, let's be honest, all people do it when it suits them—it is his misguided case for democracy that should worry us most. Because, believe it or not, a small unelected group upholding individual liberty is a huge improvement over the opposite.

Alexander Hamilton argued that the court protects (or should protect) the deeper will of the people, because the Constitution represents our overarching values. Newly instituted laws, on the other hand, could often reflect fleeting emotions, lack of knowledge or flawed politicians.

Hamilton also claimed that federal courts would be the "least dangerous branch." In this he was surely wrong. Even if the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court this summer (and it seems to me that there is some premature celebration on the right), you might want to remember this: The court is a single judge away from only occasionally caring about enumerated powers or ignoring them altogether.

Take a nugget from Justice Elena Kagan, who, as solicitor general of the United States, argued that banning books would be acceptable if those books were considered politicking by a government agency. During the Obamacare arguments, she said that "the federal government is here saying, 'We are giving you a boatload of money.' There's no matching funds requirement; there are no extraneous conditions attached to it. It's just a boatload of federal money for you to take and spend on poor people's health care. It doesn't sound coercive to me, I have to tell you."

A boatload of government money is indeed a gift. Unless, I suppose, you're one of the saps paying for the cargo. But people like it! More than 50 percent maybe. Now, that's not to say taxation is unconstitutional, but it is to say this justice can't even comprehend how forcing even one individual to buy something might be problematic. And I can assure you that if Americans were asked to vote to get boatloads of money from government, democracy would quickly become a lot more expensive.

Democrats have fought hard to undo safeguards against direct democracy, attaching a morality to a process that can do both good and bad. They have created ballot measures to do away with the Electoral College. They'd like Washington, rather than localities, to dictate nearly everything. The mere mention of states' rights puts you in league with the Ku Klux Klan.

Why not? Democracy allows rhetoric, false empathy and emotion to pummel rational thinking—so it's no wonder so many politicians thrive in it. The Supreme Court, however, should rise above democracy, not give in to it. That's the point.

David Harsanyi is a columnist and senior reporter at Human Events. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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  • Tim||

    "This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you."

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Eric Holder's got your back. They caused people to die = terrorists.

  • Suki||

    Take a nugget from Justice Elena Kagan, who, as solicitor general of the United States, argued that banning books would be acceptable if those books were considered politicking by a government agency.

    Would love a link to that one! Not defending Kagan or doubting you one little bit. It is just such a strange mindset (expected on her part) that she would argue to ban the book instead of arguing that the government should not distribute the book.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    It was in her defense of McCain Feingold. She was asked if it would be ok to ban a book that was released within 60 days of an election, and the last sentence of the last page endorsed a candidate. She said yes, ok to ban that book.

  • Suki||

    +100 thank you

  • Suki||

    I must have misread if those books were considered politicking by a government agency as the book was published by a government agency, rather than ruled politicking by an agency.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It was in her defense of McCain Feingold. She was asked if it would be ok to ban a book that was released within 60 days of an election, and the last sentence of the last page endorsed a candidate. She said yes, ok to ban that book.

    And the reason this woman is not currently swinging from the gallows is because....?

  • Arf?||

    And the reason this woman is not currently swinging from the gallows is because....?

    They did that in France and Russia and look at those places now.

  • Suki||

    They aren't Utopias yet?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Zeb||

    She's a lawyer. It's their job to argue whatever they are paid to argue.

  • coma44||

    She's a lawyer. It's their job to argue whatever they are paid to argue

    A main reason she should ne be a Judge then.......Money should not have any leverage over the Constitution.

  • Brutus||

    She revised and extended her remarks afterward, but only to offer a vague, pointless distinction without a difference as to the point at which the FEC would be allowed to ban books and movies.

  • kinnath||

    It saddens me to know that she is younger than I am, so I will probably have to listen to more crap like this the rest of my life.

  • Suki||

    OT: MLK was murdered a few decades ago today.

  • o3||

    rest in peace

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    And he's still dead. No zombie MLK...yet.

  • T||

    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson divvied up the corpse to prevent that from happening.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    That could very well be the smartest thing they've ever done. Could you imagine a zombie MLK? His charisma alone would be enough to get almost the entire black community turned into zombies.

  • wareagle||

    and how would this make the black community different from the political monolith it already is?

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Well at least they're not all flesh eating living-dead.

  • Zeb||

    They don't usually try to eat you now, for one thing.

  • Brutus||

    It might look something like the last movie review in this clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4w4vQM7MiU

  • some guy||

    Anybody else remember the Boondocks episode that brings MLK back in the present day? Good episode...

  • Brandon||

    Yep. Also the episode that got the series cancelled.

  • ||

    I read the headline as "Mother of All Trannies" and was weirdly disappointed.

  • Matrix||

    still thinking about that article from yesterday, are we?

  • ||

    That, and the Obama Tranny Nanny headline from a few weeks back.

  • Mensan||

    I'm glad I wasn't the only one. The misreading part; not the disappointed part.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maximizing individual liberty should be our highest and primary goal. To do that, tyranny of any kind must be avoided. Tyranny can be just as bad if it's exercised by one guy, an oligarchy, or the "will of the people." Or even some combination of the above.

    The Constitution not only includes loads of checks on majoritarian power, it also goes out of its way to protect minority interests. The First Amendment, for instance, doesn't just protect speech that the majority approves of.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If people actually learned Civics, they'd agree with you Pro L.

    Sadly, they don't.

  • KPres||

    Instead they learn "democracy = freedom" and too many of them are too stupid to wonder what the 49% minority thinks of all this "freedom".

    Everything shitty is justified in the name of Democracy. Libertarians should stop conceding it as the best of a bad institution and start attacking it as inherently illiberal, which it is.

  • Zeb||

    I've been arguing for a while that the main good that democracy provides is to inject enough randomness and inefficiency into the political system that no one can become too powerful or fuck things up too quickly. Democracy is not freedom, but it slows down the decline in freedom a bit.

  • Brutus||

    I think you're optimistic, HM. The draw of getting something at the expense of someone else is just too strong for a lot of people, be they welfare moms in East STL or pirates in neckties at Goldman-Sachs.

  • ||

    The First Amendment, for instance, doesn't just protect speech that the majority approves of.

    But, but...HATE CRIMES! Why are you a bigot, Pro'L Dib?

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Kwittheshitz Hadenough is the one who can be offended in many ways at once, so I'd say I'm the only person who should be protected by hate crime legislation. "Say, that thing you did, it upsets Pro Libertate--HATE CRIME!!!!! [Points and screeches à la Donald Sutherland]"

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good to have you back, doc.

  • o3||

    interesting that lenin described democracy as tyranny of the majority also.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, to justify imposing a different kind of tyranny. That's not the libertarian goal, unless freedom is a kind of tyranny in itself. Sounds like some believe that--"Too many choices! Help me stop myself!"

  • ||

    Remember the promise of a tyrannical leader: "I will protect you from yourself."

    Name me one, one, leader with tyrannical tendencies to outright despotism, that didn't make this type of promise!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Name me one, one, leader with tyrannical tendencies to outright despotism, that didn't make this type of promise!

    Genghis Khan. He was pretty honest in saying that he just wanted to kill or enslave you.

  • ||

    That's exactly what Tony, and people like him, purport to believe. It makes me sick.

  • T o n y||

    You don't get to pretend that the radically different form of society you'd have--realizing full well it will never be supported by democratic majorities--is some kind of default form that is immune from scrutiny. I say my form of society is the freest, so there. Doesn't mean I get to impose it.

  • ||

    Did you just say "so there" as an argument? WTF dude, we aren't 10 year olds.

    I'm sorry, but me telling you that it is my life and you don't get to tell me how to live it, as long as I am not harming another human being in doing so, is not radical or different (seeing as how that's exactly what we say when we tell the government to butt out of reproductive issues).

    If you are taking from some to give to others, you do not have freedom, you have slavery. But I don't expect you to see that since you believe that it's okay to take from some to give to others as long as you get to pick who gets what.

    And don't bother pulling out your tired roads and police, since everyone pays for those through property and gas taxes.

  • T o n y||

    You pay for police even if you never use them. Taking from you to provide a service to someone else.

    Similarly, you pay for a safety net you may never use. But you may. Think of it all as universalized insurance. There is no inherent moral distinction between roads and police and a safety net. You may want different services than I, but that's just a policy difference, not the difference between freedom and slavery.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You pay for police even if you never use them. Taking from you to provide a service to someone else.

    I'd GLADLY move to a system that works on a pay-per-use basis for police matters.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So... why not insist that everything be under the category of a "safety net [we] may never use"?

    C'mon, Tony... don't be candyassed about it. Go for the gusto.

  • T o n y||

    The police certainly qualify for that definition.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "my form of society is the freest"

    Pull the other one... it's got bells on it.

  • KPres||

    Last I checked, all the Lenin lovers are on your side, O3.

  • o3||

    leninism - its the other brownshirt meat!

  • Doctor Whom||

    Hitler ate sugar.

  • SugarFree||

    My point exactly.

  • Silver Fox||

    The Constitution not only includes loads of checks on majoritarian power[.]

    Liberals: And this is why we can't have nice things! Jerks!

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The Democrats don't believe in direct democracy.

    The only thing they believe in is expanding their power over everyone else and they will use any propaganda device to advance that objective.

    If they believed in direct democracy, they would advocate everything be voted on by a national referendum. Obamacare wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell.

    And it didn't have a snowball's chance in hell under the normal operating model we have for represetative democracy either. That's why they pulled all sorts gimmicks and broke the normal rules of how bills are handled in the House and Senate.

    Furthermore, they have long viewed teh courts as a tool of forcing their vision on the masses regardless of what the people think. (as in Roe vs Wade).

    The only reason they are yapping this bullshit now is because for once they're afraid the court might not roll over and give them what they want.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They've done quite a bit over the years to push for letting the people, who they think they can manipulate enough of, make decisions. The direct election of senators, the more recent bitching about the Electoral College, the constant attacks on federalism, etc.

  • ||

    The direct election of senators

    The 17th amendment was bad enough, but if IIRC, that shyster hack Jeffrey Toobin had the gall to suggest the election of senators based on the apportionment of a state's population, effectively creating another HoR. On steroids.

  • ||

    I'm dubious that undoing the 17th amendment would change much re: the direct election of senators. What would help would be an amendment that made every state pay for all federal spending earmarked for, or spent in, their state.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If I were given the power to rewrite the Constitution, I'd have a slate of corrective (and interpretive amendments). No one change is going to solve the problem.

  • db||

    I've been thinking about this for a while: what would a libertarian constitution look like? Assuming a constitutional republic is the most appropriate form of government for achieving a libertarian society, how would its founding documents read? Would another form of government be more appropriate? What if we found ourselves in a new land with the ability to write these documents?

  • SugarFree||

    For one, it would have to spell out the full implications of self-ownership rather than relying on the argument that they are self-evident. And still couch it in negative rights terms, of course.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It would depend on what kind of libertarian you're talking about. For minarchists, I think an improved version of the Constitution, with more checks and balances and more clarity about the absolute limits of government would do it.

    For anarchists, on the other hand, I have no idea. Nothing? A big contract on a few key points that might need agreement?

  • SugarFree||

    A big contract on a few key points that might need agreement?

    The neutral third-party in a contract dispute can become a de facto government very quickly, especially if they also enforce the penalties for breech.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Penalties for breeches? Are you positing some sort of crypto-anarchist commune where pants are the sole illegality?

  • SugarFree||

    Yes, we must all become Donald Duck for true anarchy to rein.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Is that you or all anarchists?

  • SugarFree||

    I am staunchly anti-pants. This is widely known.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Don't impose your antidisestablishmentpairofpantism on us!

  • SugarFree||

    I'm not some sort of pants fascist. I just think people would be better off pantless. If you want to wear pants, knock yourself out.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, that's what you say now. But people with pants will slowly disappear under your system.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    One of my friends described my junior year by using a quote from me:

    "I took a nap cause I was tired, and I took off my pants...cause fuck pants."

  • db||

    Well, to me, as a minarchist, it would require a combination of simplicity and specificity that our existing constitution has not demonstrated. I'm really jnterested in exploring what specific language would be needed. The general principle of limiting gov power is easy to conceive; harder to implement. If a const convention were ever called in the next few decades it would behoove libertarians/minarchists to have something worked out ahead of time. This includes gamng various scenarios for the real workings of a resulting government. I would argue that, princie aside, it would also be in the best interests of anarchists to be involved in the process rather than being in the position of complaining about whatever the outcome is. I realize this parallels the voting/nonvoting arguments but from a practical standpoint I tink the stakes are much higher (deciding structure of government vs officeholders).

  • Pro Libertate||

    Are you kidding? They'd shoot us at the door.

  • JW||

    what would a libertarian constitution look like?

    I'd put a clause in the beginning of the document, all caps, bold and blinking:

    YOU ONLY HAVE THESE POWERS DELEGATED WITHIN THIS DOCUMENT. IF IT DOESN'T SAY THAT YOU CAN DO SOMETHING, YOU CAN'T, FUCKHEADS.

  • SugarFree||

    Ezra Klein-bot 2283:

    "Does anyone even know what Fuckhead even means? 'Bear arms'? How could they have possibly known about personal anti-photon weapons back then? Do you have the right to yell 'QUARGLEBOCK!' in a crowded hypertheatre? I have to go wash off my strap-on."

  • Zeb||

    I always feel like the constitition's authors were too concerned with sparse and elegant prose style. Cut all of the poetic bullshit and say what you mean explicitly:

    1A - You can say what you want to and publish what you want to. The only exception is fraud or libel, and even then, no prior restraint. Freedom of religion is guaranteed, no laws about religion.

    2A - You can have any weapon that a single infantryman can carry for your personal use/self defense. Exceptions: you are a duly convicted violent criminal or you are batshit insane.

    Etc.

    Could use some work, but you get the point.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Perjury is okay then?

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Perjury is not essentially a type of fraud?

  • Zeb||

    Like I said. Needs some work. That was off the top of my head.

  • rac3rx||

    I think the elegant prose was just the formal writing style of the day.

    Think about how much writing styles have changed just over the past 20 or 30 years.

    Hell in another decade, we'll all be writing in LOLCats.

  • db||

    So basically it needs to be written at the second grade level to account for future interpreters' weaknesses. NO DEPENDENT CLAUSES, NOHOW!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've been rethinking the Censor. Rather than it being a political body incorporated into the Constitution, it should just be a secret squad of assassins with a fanatical devotion to truth, justice, and limited government.

  • JW||

    I've been rethinking the Censor. Rather than it being a political body incorporated into the Constitution, it should just be a secret squad of assassins with a fanatical devotion to truth, justice, and limited government.

    So, a Moderator is what you're thinking about, only with a slightly larger scope. I like this.

    #JWMOD

  • strat||

    Nothing less than 4x power will do. See for yourself.

  • Zeb||

    PL, you ever read any of Frank Herbert's ConSentiency universe stuff? Your censor sounds almost like BuSab, but less cynical.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, I haven't, but I should.

    I got the Censor from the Roman Republic.

  • db||

    I think a preamble would need to contain a brief discussion of the guiding principles, sort of like a basis of design for a process. The current preamble can be misread to imply a broader scope than the contemporary discussions would support. The goals of limiting power need to be explucitly stated including and artful phrasing of your concept of enumerated powers.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm dubious that undoing the 17th amendment would change much

    If the Senate represented the state governments, do you think that 26 states would be suing to have Obamacare repealed, or would it have simply not passed the Senate?

    What about unfunded mandates?
    Do you think a Senate that represented the states would pass them?
    Or legislation that puts conditions on the return of federal highway funds?

  • Pip||

    ^^THIS^^

  • jacob the barbarian||

    The 17th is still not enough. The 16th has to go as well.

  • ||

    While the intent in the COTUS was that Senators represent states and hence be chosen by state governments rather than by the people it doesn't actually say so. Before the 17th Amendment several states already had elected senators and the pressure to expand was there.

    It just would have taken longer. Even without the 17th I suspect every state would have elected senators by now.

  • Loki||

    Article 1 Section 3: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof*, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

    Superceded by 17th Ammendment

  • ||

    Thanks for that correction. I should have checked instead of going by memory.

    In spite of that language, the fact is that [b]y the early years of the 20th century, the legislatures of as many as 29 states had provided for popular election of senators by referendums.

    I believe that that trend would have continued without the 17th and that by now every state would have popularly elected senators.

  • Mo||

    A popular vote for president and senators is not direct democracy. It would still be a representative democracy. I suggest you read this Wikipedia article before you embarrass yourself further.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy

  • Pro Libertate||

    Where did I say they were pushing for direct democracy? All I said was that the Democrats have pushed things in that direction. Which is true.

  • ||

    That is true.

    Look at Congress. Under both TEAM's direction, they have willingly ceded more and more authority to the Executive Branch. Look at all those czars. The Senate has ceded more appointment authority to the Executive Branch with less oversight and confirmation responsibilities from the Senate. Oh, and with ObamaCare making HHS Sebelius almost literally an unaccountable monarch, along with the other secretaries, but HHS is the most sweeping and blatant. And Congress can't do squat since the appropriations have already been baselined.

    This is looking more and more like a direct democracy if you ask me. I used to think local and state governments were more corrupt than national government. I have been disabused of this notion.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I mentioned below initiative and referendum as another move towards a more democratic system. That's direct voting on issues. While initiatives and referenda are often mediated by the legislature and the courts, they still involve direct voting on specific issues.

    Also mentioned below--why no federal initiative and referendum? You'd think that would be on the agenda of someone, too. Is it just a logistical concern for why we don't?

  • ||

    Also mentioned below--why no federal initiative and referendum?

    Why bother when things are centrally managed and distributed? Anything else, like the biometric devices to prevent fraud, would be purely window dressing, like the TSA. When has the TSA foiled a terrorist plot? Moreover, why would the vote matter when central control has been established by willing apparatchiks?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, from the "We love power!" perspective, the illusion of purer democracy could be useful.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Maximus: I will kill Commodus.
    Proximo: Why do I want that. He makes me rich.

  • Mo||

    The initiative and referendum systems date back to the early 20th century and are currently supported by both the right and the left.

  • Pro Libertate||

    As are virtually everything else--WoD, welfare, progressive taxes, Pax Americana, what have you.

  • Zeb||

    What, did you forget about Mike Gravel?

  • Zeb||

    That doesn't sound like direct democracy to me, GM. They are making regulations that no one gets to vote on. Wouldn't that be the opposite of direct democracy?

  • ||

    Wouldn't that be the opposite of direct democracy?

    Direct democracies require strong centralized authority to be viable.

    They ultimately collapse under their own regulatory weight when it becomes apparent centralized micro-management is necessary to implement and enforce a direct democracy.

  • ||

    Oh so you think that they should just have to win a popularity contest instead?

  • Mo||

    I do think the electoral college system that we have is an obsolete mess. It also leads to all sorts of wacky pandering to states that are important due to their makeup in exchange (see corn subsidies) for places where there are actually people. Going to a NPV system would be superior and would benefit northeast and west coast Republicans and Texan and southern Democrats.

  • kinnath||

    As a native Iowan, I can tell you that Iowa's limited number of electoral votes rarely have an influence on the general election.

    This country has huge farm subsidies because major ag-processing companies (e.g., ADM) make huge contributions to politcians, and because the subsidies depress food prices which makes liberals feel all warm and fuzzy.

  • Susan Anthony||

    The National Popular Vote bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded by states in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all system, not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states. It ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate.

    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning candidates in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates.

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

  • Susan Anthony||

    With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power, not an attack upon it.

    The Electoral College is now the set of dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s presidential candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes, was not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, in 2012 will not reach out to about 76% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

    More than 2/3rds of the states and people have been just spectators to the presidential elections. That's more than 85 million voters.

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

  • Susan Anthony||

    States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

    Section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state.

    The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

    The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote.
    National Popular Vote has NOTHING TO DO with direct democracy. Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a representative democracy, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

  • ||

    Politicians from both major parties are for democracy when it would benefit the statism they are pushing for, and agin it when they are fighting against the other parties statism.

  • o3||

    "If they believed in direct democracy, they would advocate everything be voted on by a national referendum."
    _
    really? u mean like local school board elections, mayors, & state lotteries?
    no? perhaps u misspoke then

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    So the members of your local school board are decided by a national vote? Interesting but overly complex I think.

  • o3||

    that's what PL wrote

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    So you quote Gilbert and ask a nonsense question. Then when called on it you say Pro Lib wrote something which I can't for the life of me find in his couple of comments under Gilbert. I think you need some new glasses o3, maybe some that don't have that giant liberal smear down the middle.

  • o3||

    no my mistake, not PL.
    Gilbert wrote that.
    thanks

  • Pro Libertate||

    What?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    What makes you think any of those things would exist under a direct democracy?

  • o3||

    dunno, it was ur hypothesis

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Sorry o3, I just can't find what the fuck you're saying. Really, new glasses, ones with clean lenses.

  • o3||

    "If they believed in direct democracy, they would advocate everything be voted on by a national referendum."
    _
    gilbert wrtoe that piece of radio entertainment

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Ahhhh, I think I begin to see where your insanity is leading you. You're using semantics to distort the context of Gilbert's statement. I got it now.

  • o3||

    axe gilbert what he meant.
    until then, i'll take him at his (written) word.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I wonder if we actually will see a push for pure democracy any time soon? You could, for instance, start letting people vote from home, maybe utilizing biometrics or something to lessen the fraud (can't be eliminated, of course).

    From there, how far is it to voting regularly on a whole host of issues? It's a damned shot easier to vote this way than to meet in mass assembly, even at the local level. I could see an argument put forward that representatives are just inherently corrupt and add nothing to the process. And initiative and referendum are a step in that direction (why don't we have these at the federal level, incidentally?).

    If we get that, we can drop the Constitution and start doing fun stuff like ostracism (derived from ὄστρακον, referring to pottery shards used for kicking people out of Athens, which means that everyone should invest in pottery).

  • fried wylie||

    *invests in Pottery Barn*

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was going to write exactly that, then decided I was being too cute.

  • fried wylie||

    Ostracism works way better when the pottery shards have amateurish glaze-work haphazardly splotched all over them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I won't stand for insults of classical Athenian pottery!

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Hey, your kid made that ashtray just for you and that's how you treat it? You're the heartless monster you keep accusing others of being.

  • fried wylie||

    You're the heartless monster you keep accusing others of being.

    Projection, duh?

  • 0x90||

    Take away the taxman's gun and let the people's vote actually mean something. Don't explicitly change anything other than that -- all else follows, if you stipulate that and extrapolate. Of course, it is also ridiculous to expect this one change to be realized, and indeed, the very act of reasoning about the why is one of the most effective methods for stripping the varnish from the true nature of the situation.

  • 0x90||

    Take away the taxman's gun and let the people's vote actually mean something. Don't explicitly change anything other than that -- all else follows, if you stipulate that and extrapolate. Of course, it is also ridiculous to expect this one change to be realized, and indeed, the very act of reasoning about the why is one of the most effective methods for stripping the varnish from the true nature of the situation.

  • sarcasmic||

    Democracy is great because it allows you to, through a majority vote, use the government to commit acts that would otherwise be criminal.

    Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
    -Bastiat
    http://bastiat.org/en/government.html
  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    You mean two wolves and a sheep should decide what's for dinner?

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    No, they get to vote on it. The best part of that is that each wolf will just assume that the other is going to vote for a nice sheep dinner so will stay home on election night. The sheep, being the only one to actually show up at the polling station, gets to pull the lever for a nice meal of oats and barley.

  • o3||

    the real purpose of democracy is to create the illusion for the voters of their participation & therefore prevent armed revolution (again). >to that end, gop voter supression harms this real purpose.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    When did the New Black Panther Party join the GOP?

  • Loki||

    I was wondering that myself. I wouldn't have thought that they would have much in common with the R's. Perhaps they've made peace over their shared hatred of teh gays.

  • o3||

    u mean like the 12 ex-cons in the NBP?
    or maybe u mean the militia movement?

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Apparently the extreme lack of content in some of your comments is just your method of making sure you always have something to gripe about. I'm not even sure what these two questions mean.

  • SugarFree||

    He is the sound of one-hand not even bothering to clap.

  • dunkel||

    methinks the noises that spew from Orrin are the sound of one hand fapping.

  • o3||

    Soc Indv Sparky|4.4.12 @ 12:33PM|#
    When did the New Black Panther Party join the GOP?
    _
    my questions were based ur writing sparky.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    I'm sure they were. Unfortunately they were devoid of any meaningful content.

    Please tell me which of these you are referring to with NBP.
    For the second question, are you implying that militia groups belong to the GOP?

    In either case, please explain how either group is using voter suppression. I'm a big fan on minimalist writing o3, but putting random words to page doesn't actually accomplish anything.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Personally I prefer the corporate shareholder version of representatiion.

    For federal elections, each taxpayer gets one vote for every dollar of taxes he paid the previous year. Those who pay no taxes would get no vote.

    The liberal democrats would be wiped out of the executive and legislative branches.

  • Mo||

    Urban residents typically pay more in taxes than rural ones, they also tend to be team blue.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Urban AREAS may tend more to toward team blue but I doubt it can be proven that urbanites paying the majority of taxes in those areas are team blue.

  • Matrix||

    Want more votes? Pay more taxes. Could be easy to wipe out the deficit.

  • Brendan||

    I'd prefer using voter rolls to levy taxes.

    Everyone is required to pay taxes, but the only collection method is voter registration records.

    Each year, you get a bill for your share of the total bill. The more people registered to vote, the smaller the bill.

    If you don't want to pay, you give up your say.

  • Ex Nihilo||

    I would rather have a system whereby you have to show that you paid more in taxes than you recieved back from the government.

    Pay taxes - get to vote.
    Don't pay taxes - no vote.

    That way the people paying the bills get to say what the bills will be.

  • KPres||

    You'd probably end up with a tax structure more progressive than the current one.

    And a progressive tax that I like? Never thought I'd see the day.

  • ||

    That would be great if we could start at zero and work our way back up, but it would be insane right now with a, what, 3.6 trillion dollar budget.

    As it stands, isn't each person's yearly portion of the "bill" something like 12k? There is no way I'd be able to pay that, let alone the 36k they would want for my whole family.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I support anything that brings us to the coolness of a Phillip K. Dick/William Gibson Cyberpunk future.

  • Ska||

    I'll just try my hand at Shadowrun.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    I hope you have a 100lb bag of d6s.

  • Nephilium||

    Just for you Ska:

    Shadowrun Returns

  • Ska||

    Nice, I would contribute to that project. I'm just starting my first 4e campaign in a homebrew Miami setting, and am ready to get my coke addled runner set up in Little Havanna.

  • Nephilium||

    Kickstarter is killing me recently, with the Wasteland 2 project, Leisure Suit Larry, Shadowrun Returns, and several other interesting games.

    It's been close to 10 years since I've played any pencil and paper RPG's...

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    If that comes out as d20 or d% it might be worth looking into. The ton of d6 model they used originally was just a bit much.

    Ska: My group tried 4e and we hated it. In our opinion it's MMO the boardgame. Good luck.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Oops, nevermind Ska. I totally misread your post.

  • Ska||

    I guess you're talking 4e D&D? I've heard a lot of complaints, I've been playing Pathfinder. People are iffy about what 5e will end up being and have basically lost faith in Wizards and whatever they do.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Yes, Pathfinder is what my group moved to as well. We took a shot at 4e and found it just like a tabletop version of World of Warcraft. Each class gets a slate of abilities they can only use one time per encounter or one time per day. It just isn't the standard tabletop RPG everyone grew up with. We've also pretty much given up on WotC, their takeover was probably the worst thing to ever happen.

  • Rob||

    Does that mean we would we have quadrillion dollar "Gipper" notes?

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    New Yen is the way of the future my man.

  • Pip||

    What we are seeing in Obama is a desperate man. A cornered dog. It will get worse and worse as he struggles to internalize the inevitable.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Not being an Obama fan, I still think it's inevitable that he'll beat Romney.

  • Pip||

    Read Ann Althouse:

    President Obama, may I give you some campaign advice?
    I'm independent, moderate, and pragmatic, and I voted for you in 2008 because I thought I saw those qualities in you. I still see those qualities in you, but the you that has those qualities is one of two Obamas, and the other Obama — Radical Lefty Obama — is a person I will not vote for.

    I think you alternate between these 2 personas, and I sense that you've done it for so long that it feels normal and comfortable to you, but I want to urge you to pack up Radical Lefty Obama and stow him away with the rest of your Harvard Law School memorabilia. I know you — the Moderate Obama — have impressed some very useful people over the years by parading about as Radical Lefty Obama.

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2.....-some.html

  • Pip||

    Romney should run of the idea of "The Two Obamas"

  • ||

    Shit Flopney doesn't have the stomach for it. Flopney can go Tuff Gai on Newt, et al, but he won't on Pestilence Obama, for fear of being Hillaried (which will happen anyway. When the DNC get through with Flopney, he'll look more like a Kleagle than Robert Byrd.)

    Which I find incongruent: If you can go full metal negative on your primary opponents, why can't you do so on your national one?

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    He should run on the idea of "The Two Romneys" also, just to stay in character.

  • ||

    Two Romney's enter, one Romney leaves.

    Or a claymation celebrity death match between the two Romney's and the two Obama's.

  • wareagle||

    Ann's wasting her time. The Obama she voted for is for show, brought out at campaign time to put a happy face on liberalism. The one she does not like is what he is.

    As is the case with all people: don't listen to what they say, watch what they do. Moderate O talks; Not-so-moderate O acts.

  • T||

    Revealed preference wins every time.

  • Drake||

    Unfortunately, she got it backwards. The real Obama is the Radical Lefty. Moderate Obama is an act that he puts on during elections - while winking to the real lefties to let them know he's just pretending.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm independent, moderate, and pragmatic, and I voted for you in 2008 because I thought I saw those qualities in you. I still see those qualities in you,

    Good. God.

    Seriously, words just fail.

  • JW||

    Seriously, words just fail.

    Yeah, I had the same thought.

    Lady, you do realize that all of that is the same person. Like it or not, you voted for both. It's a package deal, you twit.

  • John||

    She is generally a very smart and reasonable person. She is living proof the country went mad in 2008.

  • R C Dean||

    I dunno, John. Anyone who claims that they still sees "independent, moderate, and pragmatic" qualities in Obama has, at a minimum, a real bad blind spot. Real bad.

    She did good work, and has generally shown good sense, on the whole Walker v. Union throwdown, but man . . . .

  • Lord Humungus||

    I didn't like Obama (or McCain) from the very beginning. A Chicago pol - my mom is from the area so I know it well - is not to be trusted.

    I suppose we can blame Bush for this mess of a presidency.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    But for every 2008 Obama voter who's undecided about 2012, you can probably find two 2008 Obama voters who would vote for him again even if he nuked Iran, because he's on the correct side in THE WAR AGAINST WOMEN!!!!!!!

    Combine that with Mitt Romney's obvious weaknesses as a candidate, and I think Obama wins re-election comfortably.

  • o3||

    yep
    and the VAST majority of hispanics & women say so

  • KPres||

    Re: women voters...

    "In a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney, women voters back Obama 49 percent to 45 percent..."

    http://www.politico.com/politi.....17411.html

  • John||

    Don't confuse Orin with facts.

  • BakedPenguin||

    And if Flip Flopney picks Rubio as Veep, that could really change his poll numbers with Hispanics.

  • o3||

    mittens aint the STATE-level gop war on women which obama cant, just cant remind women about. and the electorial college cant, just cant take state voting into account.

    and hispanics already know which party hatez em sum.

    done dealio heffe

    so who's running against hillary in 2016?

  • John||

    Obama loves Mexicans. That is why he keeps deporting so many of them. Whistle past that graveyard dipshit.

  • Zeb||

    Romney's sort of Mexican.

  • o3||

    no habla wingnut

  • Pip||

    "and the VAST majority of hispanics & women say so"

    Si los medios no.
    No significa anal.

  • Number 2||

    "Democrats have fought hard to undo safeguards against direct democracy, attaching a morality to a process that can do both good and bad."

    Except, of course, when direct democracy results in caps on spending, caps on property taxes, legalization of marijuana, restrictions on gay marriage, restrictions on abortion, etc. In those cases, the people are acting like an unruly mob and we need the courts to put them back in their place.

  • sarcasmic||

    Let the people a vote so they think they have a say, and when they get it wrong go to the courts.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    They beat us because they love us.

  • dunkel||

    They love us, therefore they beat us (mercilessly). Battered voters, all of us...

  • Loki||

    Another thing to consider is that "threatening" the courts for not doing your bidding is the kind of thing that banana republic thug dictators do. Usually as a precursor to disbanding the courts altogether and suspending the constitution.

    Not that I think Obama's going to try anything like that. I'm not quite ready to be fitted for a tinfoil hat yet, just pointing out the slipperiness of the slope he's on.

  • Pip||

    Cornered. Dog.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Another thing to consider is that "threatening" the courts for not doing your bidding is the kind of thing that banana republic thug dictators do"

    And this is another instance that clarifies the overwhelming liberal bias of the mainstream media.

    If a Republican president had said that sort of thing about some pending court decision on something, they would be howling like a pack of wolves about it.

  • wareagle||

    banana republic thug dictators, the Chicago Way. Really, what's the difference? This is who the man is. It's who he's always been but that aspect is easy to hide when everyone kowtows to him. Tell Obama 'no' and this is what you get.

  • Zeb||

    The Chicago way indeed. I think that calling him a radical leftist or Marxist or something like that is a bit much. The main evil thing about Obama that his supporters won't admit is that he is just another machine politician from the crookedest political machine state that there is.

  • Pip||

    But in citing Lochner, the president showed himself to be in over his head.

    The full name of the case, Lochner v. New York, should be a sufficient tip-off. In Lochner the court invalidated a state labor regulation on the ground that it violated the "liberty of contract," which the court held was an aspect of liberty protected by the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause. (The legal doctrine at issue, "substantive due process," refers to the meaning of "life, liberty and property" under the Due Process Clause.)

    Lochner, which was effectively reversed in a series of post-New Deal decisions, did not involve a federal law--contrary to the president's claim--and thus had nothing to do with the Commerce Clause, which concerns only the powers of Congress.

    It's appalling that any president would have the effrontery to lecture the Supreme Court about a pending case. It's astounding that this president, who was once a professor of constitutional law at an elite university, would do so in such an ignorant fashion.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....TopOpinion

    Cornered. Dog.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    We'll see in November as hordes of people wanting to keep their free stuff show up to vote. I think the Republicans are Evil message is going to sway enough of the population to keep him in office for another term.

  • John||

    Doubtful. He has lost independents. And most of the free stuff brigade vote D every time or can't be bothered to vote. And it is not like the Republicans won't give people plenty of free ponies.

  • Pip||

    It doesn't change the fact that when it come to the Law, as this WSJ piece clearly shows, he's an idiot.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    I think you're being overly optimistic. I think the majority of voting Americans don't give two shits about the law and will do whatever the talking heads on the TV tell them to do. I think you'd be surprised just how many people think the TSA is doing an awesome job keeping us safe and how many people are of the "if you have nothing to hide" mindset.

  • John||

    It amazes me how stupid and thin skinned Obama is. A President of either party has at his disposal and army of hack journalist and low rent Congress creatures to do his bidding. A President never directly takes on the Supreme Court. That is what he has his hack journalists and congress creatures for.

    A President stands above the frey and protects the office. That way he has nothing to lose. If an attack backfires, no worries, it wasn't not him that made it. If it works, great maybe if it is really effective he will venture an opinion on it for the final blow.

    That is being a President 101. And Obama ignores it. He is either completely stupid and doesn't understand that. Or he is so hot headed his advisers can't control him. And he just can't help himself but to say and do stupid things when someone dares to question him.

    The more I look at him, the more I think he is going to lose this fall. I don't see how he has the self control not to continue to do stupid and self destructive things.

  • fried wylie||

    "Obama arrested by his own SS Guards after embarking on a coke and booze fueled rampage of a local DC neighborhood..."

  • BakedPenguin||

    "his own SS Guards"

    Godwin!

  • fried wylie||

    Secret Service?

  • Pip||

    "A President stands above the frey and protects the office."

    There's no "O" in "leader"

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "There's no "O" in "leader"

    And there is no leader in "O".

  • o3||

    but there is in "won" !

  • T o n y||

    A 5-4 decision to strike the entire law will reek of politics. The entire law is not at issue, after all.

    He can say whatever the hell he wants, as free speech applies to him as it does to you--who I'm sure have always been calm and measured in your voiced opinions on court rulings.

  • ||

    But a 5-4 decision that upholds the law would just be sound judgement, right Tony?

  • sarcasmic||

    If the individual mandate is struck down, then the rest of the law should be junked.

    I live in a state with guaranteed issue, and health insurance costs three times what it does in a neighboring state that does not. That's through my employer. For individuals purchasing it on their own and not through work it is practically impossible. Who can afford $15K a year for health insurance?
    Add preexisting conditions on top of that and, without forcing everyone to purchase insurance, it will become prohibitively expensive for everyone.

    Of course if you are one who wants single payer this is a good thing that you can disingenuously blame on the free market.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "A 5-4 decision to strike the entire law will reek of politics. The entire law is not at issue, after all."

    Nope.

    It will reflect the fact that the Democrats did not put a severabiltiy clause in the legislation.

    No severabilty clause?

    You get no severability.

    It's as simple as that.

    KEEPING any of absent an explicit severability clause would reek of politics.

  • John||

    1. Shoving the law down the country's throat without a single opposition vote reeks of politics. It is more than a bit fucking rich for its supporters to now cry about a 5-4 decision.

    2. Congress specifically took the severability clause out of the law as a political compromise. So there is no way the Court can read one in. The rule of law demands the entire law be upheld or struck down.

  • ||

    Don't bother Tony with rule of law. He'll just turn around and spout off something about how we only want government that we like and fuck everyone else.

  • sarcasmic||

    Well, duh! If you don't want the government to do something, then you don't want it to do anything!

    Inaction is action.
    Not giving is taking.
    Not taking is giving.
    One can have a right to private property and also have a claim to the property of others (what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine).

    I think that about sums up Tony's arguments.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Of course he can say whatever he wants. But that gate swings both ways; if he says something stupid and thin-skinned he can be called on it. He can be criticized and laughed at.

  • T o n y||

    And does your rule of presidential decorum apply to presidential candidates as well? Newt's made actual threats to the judiciary if it were to rule in a way he disagrees with.

  • ||

    Maybe you missed the articles where we lamblasted Newcular Titties for his comments.

  • T o n y||

    Maybe I missed the part where faux outrage is meant to be taken as real outrage.

  • ||

    Oh, I forgot you're a mind reader and know exactly what we all think and really feel.

  • ||

    So? Newt is an asshole, for threatening the judiciary, among so much else. Presidential candidates say stupid things to fire up the base. Presidents, particularly law school grads, generally know better.

  • Zeb||

    And it's not even the first time he has ignorantly lectured the SC. Thin skinned and incompetent.

  • fried wylie||

    Direct Democracy is only "bad" if the process actually completes.

    My plan is to replace all the "representation" and elections with internet forums.

    People will forever be too busy arguing with each other to ever pass any laws. Enjoy.

  • Loki||

    That's crazy enough that it might just work.

  • thejerk||

    Inb4 teh mods ban me.

  • Robert||

    This is just so much wheel spinning. You can't get away from the fact that no matter what the details are of the arrangements, human beings are still ruled by human beings. Does it matter much whether A tells B who tells C who tells D who tells E who tells F what to do, or A tells F what to do directly? Does it matter whether it's a committee of 10 or of 10 million? Does it matter whether it takes a big volume to specify a rule, or just a sentence?

  • GILMORE||

    You're right! Geez, I never thought of *that*...

    Divine right of Kings? Constitutional federalism? Ppppt. No diff!! Rule of MAN not of LAW!

    Since we're reinstituting serfdom, do you mind getting back to your salt mine, por favor?

  • sarcasmic||

    Does it matter whether it takes a big volume to specify a rule, or just a sentence?

    Yes, as a matter of fact.

    When rules are simple and easy to understand, then they can be easily followed.
    Outcomes can be predicted because anyone can understand the rules.
    That is rule of law.

    When they are extremely complicated and difficult to understand, then they become effectively meaningless.
    Outcomes are determined not by what the rules say, but by who is interpreting them.
    Rule of law becomes rule of man.

  • R C Dean||

    Nicely done, sarc.

  • John||

    What RC said SARC. Great post.

  • 0x90||

    Surely paraphrasing someone else's words, but: an overabundance of law is functionally equivalent to no law at all.

  • John||

    The way to create a proper tyranny is to create so many laws that it is impossible for all of them to be properly enforced or complied with. That way everyone is a criminal if you just look hard enough and the prosecutor has the ability to be completely arbitrary in the enforcement.

  • 0x90||

    Surely, you were supposed to end that with "and don't call me Shirley."

  • Bingo||

    Beautifully said!

  • Robert||

    Interesting you take that tack, because the shorter the rule, the vaguer and more likely it is to depend for its oper'n on someone's discretion or interpret'n rather than having all the particulars specified.

  • ||

    Yeah cause things like "Thout shall not kill." are so fucking vague.

  • Robert||

    As stated, it sure is! Kill what? under what circumstances? As stated, it's an absolute prohibition on killing anything, any time, for any reason, and surely you don't mean that.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Does it matter much whether A tells B who tells C who tells D who tells E who tells F what to do, or A tells F what to do directly?

    Obviously you've never played Grapevine.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    By golly you're right!

    It just doesn't make any difference who tells who what to do.

    We'll let Charles Manson out of the slammer to come over and supervise your family so you can better demonstrate the principle.

  • Robert||

    So you tell me what you're going to have to replace democracy (gov't by the district -- the demos). If people are going to make decisions about people, then unless you really do have someone in mind, Manson or whomever, do you see anything better than counting equally the wishes of everyone who is potentially subject to the rule? That's what it ultimately boils down to anyway, just that you might make the machinery to accomplish that more or less complicated.

    You say gov't by laws, not men. But who makes the laws? It's still men. Gussy it up all you want, you can't obscure the basic fact.

  • Wat Tyler||

    No one rules me, Robert, I am an individual citizen, and self-governing.
    Rulers are for subjects, not independent people.

  • GILMORE||

    Hey! The upside? We're *not as bad as Argentina*... yet -

    But note the tactical application of, "we're doing it for *your health*" PLUS "it will stimulate the domestic economy"-rationale in this doozy =

    Argentina bans imported books = suggesting foreign-made ink can *kill you*

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/.....g-from-ink

    Argentina actually qualifies as libertoid dystopia = *everything* they do is just hideously wrong.

    CATO's take = http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....-concerns/

    I like their point, re: "Its Krugertopia!"

  • A Serious Man||

    America is an odd system: we have by far the most participatory democracy in the world. No other democracy allows regular people so much influencce on the formation of parties and the nomination of candidates.

    But at the same time our republic severley limits the influence democracy has through its framework and separation of powers. So basically having a highly partipatory democratic process combined with republican checks and balances retards the accumulation of power by one faction by creating a volatile and chaotic system. I think that is a good thing and should be left alone.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, this exactly. The value of democracy is volatility, randomness and inefficiency.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    No offense to this writer but he has obviously never read his history or has forgotten it.

    Why do we have an electoral college? Why did they go through all that trouble to create one?

    The reason is, one must remember when the US was founded. We didn't have computers, didn't have phones, didn't have trains, we only had horses. The reason the college was created was so that a group of people could vote, get to a decision and then instead of everyone riding to Washington to vote, only one rider (rep) was needed. It is the same reason why the States are divided into counties. No one border of a county could be more than a day's ride away from the Courthouse.

    There are two major reasons that this method is completely outdated. Firstly, your College rep. can change his/her mind and vote for a completely different candidate. Secondly, our technology has progressed to the point a TRUE democracy could exist, not just a Republic.

    Now, before you start calling me liberal, I have been a steadfast Republican for 30 years, since I could vote. I believe in "one person, one vote." The Electoral College obviously precludes this by its very definition. Intelligent people realize things have to change with the times. It's called progress.

    If we as a nation truly want to be represented fully, we must abolish this antiquated system!

  • Zeb||

    The question is whether true democracy is desirable, not whether it is possible. It is certainly more possible now than ever, given the state communications technology.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I thought the reason for the electoral college is that if all the electors got together in one place they could be more easily bribed, eg, by foreign powers.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Plus, they didn't want Congress doing the electing - see previous reason. Plus separation of powers.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And popular election = mob rule (were they wrong?) and states with wide-open voter qualifications would suffer vis-a-vis states which had stricter qualifications.

  • R C Dean||

    Speaking of not being acquainted with history.

    The Founders were very well versed in classical history. They were, thus, quite familiar with the direct democracy of Athens, and its periodic descent into mob rule.

    Aside from logistics, they had very good, historically based, reasons for eschewing direct democracy.

  • Drake||

    Agree with all except the "periodic" part. I would describe it as "meteoric," "spectacular," and "suicidal."

    The Syracuse campaign was the most spectacular failure of Democracy ever.

  • Ken Shultz||

    In addition to Athens, I understand they were great admirers of Sparta.

    Also, for the founders to be so enamored with democracy, they sure put some onerous conditions on the eligibility to vote.

    I mean, when you consider the restrictions on women, free black people only being allowed to vote in a few states, Native Americans being completely, not to mention the property ownership qualifications, it doesn't sound like democracy to me...

    It sounds more like wealthy white men should be free to make the rules for everyone else.

    If someone reintroduced an amendment today to disenfranchise everyone except wealthy white men from voting, would we still call it "democracy"?

    I wouldn't. Not today.

  • Drake||

    I would call it awesome.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Then you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • John||

    Secondly, our technology has progressed to the point a TRUE democracy could exist, not just a Republic.

    If you think a true Democracy is what the founders intended, you don't get it.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    Yes, they wanted a democracy. They studied the Greek fathers well. They wanted to have a similar system. They realized it was not practical at the time, so they took the lesser route. Please note that the gov't of the US is based on parliamentary procedure, which is truly democratic. The idea to extend it was debated over and over, it was not an over and shut case. Please read the biographies/autobiographies of our founding fathers for reference. The final form of the Constitution was a compromise.

    How in God's name could it be considered mob ruled unless of course those in power don't want the people of America to have a voice? Let's just hear what they say and vote our own way anyhow. Sounds like Democratic talk to me, all the power in the White House, no power to the people.

  • Drake||

    I hope you are being sarcastic.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Yes, they wanted a democracy"

    No they didn't.

    Try reading what some of the founders actually wrote on the subject.

  • Silly ol' Bear||

    I have! That's why I state what I state.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Seems to me that the founders took special care to make sure that no one mistakenly thought our rights originated with or came from the government--despite our politicians being democratically elected.

    Didn't the Civil War reinforce the idea that our rights are not a popularity contest.

    Freedom of Speech is the freedom to say unpopular things--no matter what 51% of the voters say.

    Freedom of religion is the freedom to believe unpopular things--no matter what 51% of the voters say.

    The founders made it so some things are not left to democratically elected politicians or the voters to decide, i.e., this was purposely designed not to be inappropriately democratic in important respects.

    And thank goodness for that.

  • T o n y||

    Some things don't include taxes. Or even having your life taken for the state. That's what's so fucked up about the wailing over freedom. The government can detain, imprison, and execute you. But don't it dare force you to insure yourself against health costs!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Some things don't include taxes. Or even having your life taken for the state.

    They had to amend the damn thing to make us pay taxes the way they wanted.

    I would by no means argue that the Constitution is perfect, by the way.

    I would argue that having your life taken by the state isn't something the state does--according to the way the founders framed the Constitution.

    That's done by a jury of your peers.

    "Peers" means specifically that it's not done by the state. A jury of your peers--not the state, not elected politicians--decide whether to deprive you of your life, liberty or property.

    Jurors don't run for election, and according to the founders, the state cannot decide to deprive you of your life, liberty or property. A jury can. The state cannot do so without your consent.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Notice Tony's repeated disdain for "freedom".

  • rac3rx||

    "...it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions."

  • rac3rx||

    "A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union."

  • rac3rx||

    "The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended."

    --James Madison (a.k.a. the primary author of the Constitution)
    Federalist #10

    Now fuck along, little retard bear…

  • sarcasmic||

    Intelligent people realize...

    Blah blah blah if you don't agree with me you're not intelligent blah blah blah...

    Typical liberal argument.

    Just because you're a Republican doesn't mean you're not a liberal.

    It just means you oppose abortion, that's all.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You mean like Rudolph Giuliana and Arnold Schwarzenegger?

    (I misspelled Giuliani but decided to leave the misspelling as I found it)

  • Thomas||

    Any bill that, according to Pelosi, we have to pass so we can know what's in it is unacceptable in my book. I am completely unable to wrap my head around idea of Obama as a Constitutional Law scholar. *shiver*

  • feitian||

  • Rabban||

    I think you are missing a key aspect of the Electoral College system. It limits the power of voting strongholds. If you did away with it, then some politicians (let's call them Democrats for example) would shovel all the money possible at a few major urban centers in large population blue states and fraud it out to cover the difference. Which is essentially what they do already. The power of this tactic is limited by the EC in that buying the support of every urban voter in CA, NY, NJ, MI and Chicagoland is worth only as much as getting 51%. The having to spread out one's appeal aspect of the system has some downside (more earmarks to buy everyone) but prevents the hyper corrupt executive elections they have south of the boarder. With strongholds trying to outdo each other in fraud offs.

  • Paul Jacob||

    David Harsanyi usually makes a lot more sense. What is he arguing against: democracy? voting? or a pure democracy that has no constitutional limits at all on what a majority can do?

    He writes: "And I can assure you that if Americans were asked to vote to get boatloads of money from government, democracy would quickly become a lot more expensive."

    But 24 states have a so-called direct democratic option via the citizen initiative process. Has it been used by citizens to spent a lot of money on themselves? No. It has more importantly been used to cut taxes, require super-majorities of legislators to raise taxes, block attacks on private property via eminent domain, limit politicians terms, require gov't transparency, etc.

    Meanwhile, Washington, where there is no citizen initiative or "direct democracy" option, is drop-shipping crates of new dollars borrowed from China to every special interest, if not every neighborhood, they can find. There seems to be a new entitlement program every time there is a new president, and as the spend-fest is passed by politicians, polls show the public is in opposition.

  • Wat Tyler||

    "Has it been used by citizens to spent a lot of money on themselves?"

    One word, Paul Jacob - CALIFORNIA

  • Paul Jacob||

    David Harsanyi also argues that, "Democrats have fought hard to undo safeguards against direct democracy, attaching a morality to a process that can do both good and bad. They have created ballot measures to do away with the Electoral College. They'd like Washington, rather than localities, to dictate nearly everything."

    Democrats HATE the initiative process at the state level, that is, office-holding Democrats. (Many office-holding Republicans do, too.)

    The "democracy" they desire isn't the direct democracy of people voting on a law at the ballot box -- along with a requirement that the law, if passed, must be constitutional. Instead, the DC Dems (and Rs) want the "democracy" of elected officials doing whatever they damn well please, without regard to what the people want and with the hope of escaping any constitutional restraint via the courts.

    True, there have been initiatives "filed" to effectively allow states to get around the Electoral College. But not a single state's electorate has ever passed such a measure. Not one. Meanwhile, a number of state legislatures have passed such measures.

    Frankly, both parties in power in DC want all decisions and money to flow through DC. Has anyone anywhere failed to notice this? But it is certainly not through any sort of "direct democracy" that they are making their power-grab.

  • Paul Jacob||

    There is one country in the world that has a robust system of initiative & referendum at the canton (state) level and at the national level: Switzerland.

    The Swiss enjoy the highest per capita standard of living in the world. They've never attacked another country. They have far more sound money than does the U.S.

  • Wat Tyler||

    The punditocracy is having a field day saying that Barry doesn't know about Marbury v Madison.
    Not true - he is fully aware of what it means, but they can't wrap their minds around why he really said what he did concerning judicial review of Congressional acts.
    When he said that, he was talking to his followers, telling them in effect that majority rule, or mob rule, the will of the people, acting through Congress, trumps any judicial decision, and if the SCOTUS rules against him, they can just ignore it, because the PEOPLE have spoken.
    In effect, he is inciting a lynch mob against the SCOTUS, and I have little doubt that some thugs from SEIU or the Black Panthers will make threats on the lives of some Justices.

  • b2b website||

    good

  • b2b website||

    good

  • Trade Leads||

    I think you are missing a key aspect of the Electoral College system. It limits the power of voting strongholds.Jurors don't run for election, and according to the founders, the state cannot decide to deprive you of your life, liberty or property. A jury can. The state cannot do so without your consent.

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