Today's Politicos vs The Words and Deeds of The Founders
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Separation of Powers

“(T)he great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. “  Federalist 51

For over two hundred years the Founders’ plan, described by James Madison in Federalist 51, worked reasonably well. The Founders were cognizant of the danger of demagoguery, but believed that good sense would ultimately prevail. The nation has proved them wrong, not once, but twice.

The Founders did not foresee that Congress would willingly surrender its law making authority to executive agencies and then stand silent while the chief executive arrogated congressional prerogatives to himself. A year ago the president said, “Where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves.” Separation of powers, “f’get about it.” The silence from the media was smothering.

He is doing what he said he would do faced with an obstinate Republican majority in the House and a divided Senate. His arrogant assurance of infallibility is coupled with a will to power so great that opposition is now intolerable. That explains why Mr. Obama is intent, not on finding solutions to America’s manifold problems, but on vilifying Republicans. The Republican Party must be delegitimized so the electorate pulls mostly Democrat levers in 2014. Only then will President Obama be fully empowered to do what he came to do – transform the nation to match his vision of social and economic justice.

Some have called the Republican Party the stupid party for failing to make the case for liberty against an all-controlling state. There is something to be said for that assessment. However, the founders made the survival of their of plan contingent on an educated and self-sufficient electorate electing honorable men. There is that, too.


1 Jim at Asylum Watch { 02.06.13 at 1:17 pm }

Have you read this American Thinker article? I would be interested in your opinion of the point it argues?


2 Marcia { 02.06.13 at 7:26 pm }

Thank you for calling attention to the American Thinker article. I share the author’s view that the anti-federalists made many interesting arguments.
We cannot know whether Montesquieu’s prerequisite of republics of a “limited geographic scale” would have worked or would, as the federalists insisted, have led to constant strife and ultimately warfare. The European example is not encouraging, as the federalists pointed out.
On the other hand, E Pluribus Unum worked pretty well. Although its original meaning was the forging of a nation from thirteen colonies, it also describes the diverse people who make up America. Instead of religion or ethnicity, Americans are defined by allegiance to a set of ideals. Or they were.
But that was before academia set out to denigrate the ideals and the diversity peddlers, aided by the sheep-like assent of the popular culture, concentrated on making out of one many.
Moreover, both the anti-federalists and Madison should be judged in the context of their time. The European powers, as the federalists warned, would certainly have seized the opportunity to enlarge their sphere’s of influence on a continent made of weak and fractionalized “republics.” If not for Madison, we might now be speaking German, Spanish or French.
Whether strict division between the three branches of government would have prevented the weakening of the states is debatable. Could any plan of government withstand the assault on constitutional restraints choreographed by progressives determined to expand government and shrink liberty? Finally, although it is true that the federal government weakened the authority of the states, it is also true that the states have been willing conspirators. All it took was for Congress to discover that it could “bribe the public with the public’s money.”


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