The Left's Attack on the Constitution

The Left's Attack on the Constitution

-- Arthur Purves, FCTA president / 2018-09-28

On August 9, 2018, the New York Times ran an op-ed, entitled "Think the Constitution Will Save Us? Think Again." The op-ed, upset that Hillary Clinton lost the presidency despite winning the popular vote, calls the Constitution an "outdated relic", wants majority rule, and accuses the framers of the Constitution of "subversion of democracy".

The founding fathers did want restraints on democracy because democracy too easily succumbs to demagoguery. Office seekers resort to falsehoods, half-truths, and unsustainable promises. The op-ed quotes, and does not dispute, James Madison's comment in The Federalist #10, that "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention." The op-ed omitted Madison's further comment, that democracies "...have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

Therefore, instead of a democracy, the framers created a republic.

What is the difference between a democracy and a republic? The all-important difference is that a republic has a senate that is appointed and is not popularly elected.

The Roman Republic, which lasted five hundred years, was governed by consuls, the people (plebeians) and the senate, which was appointed by the consuls and censors. The British Parliament consists of the popularly elected House of Commons and the House of Lords, which is partially hereditary and partially appointed by the prime minister and monarch. The appointed "upper houses" block demagoguery from the popularly elected "lower houses", just as the plebeians and Commons could block power grabs by the "upper" houses. Each is a check on the other.

In the original Constitution, which followed the Roman and British models, senators were not popularly elected but were appointed by state legislatures. This meant that senators did not have to demagogue to get elected and could act as a check on the House of Representatives (the "People's House"), which was popularly elected and susceptible to demagoguery. Equally important, a senate appointed by state legislatures gave states a check over the federal government.

However on May 31, 1913, this was undone by the 17th Amendment, which called for the popular election of senators. The 17th Amendment for all practical purposes transformed the United States from a republic to a democracy. Both legislative houses are subject to demagoguery of popular elections, and states lost their check over the federal government.

Now the founding fathers' reservations about democracy are being realized. Defense, which the founders regarded as a principal role of government, is only 15% of federal outlays, while entitlements and interest on the debt are 63% of federal outlays. The deficit is 22% of the budget, and federal debt is greater than the GDP for the first time since World War II. Republicans who suggest reducing entitlements to prevent unsustainable debt are demonized by Democrats, who advocate for more entitlements. In fact, the New York Times op-ed advocates socialized health care.

Republicans surrender without a fight. First the Left undermines the republic with the 17th Amendment. Seeing no opposition, a century later the Left now wants to discard the Constitution because, as the op-ed correctly observes, the Constitution as an obstacle to socialism.

In fact the op-ed advocates eliminating the senate and instead having a unicameral legislature, i.e., only a House of Representatives. The French Revolution had a unicameral legislature, which led to terror and dictatorship. One wonders if this isn't the hidden agenda of the authors of the op-ed, who acknowledged and did not dispute with Madison's warnings about the volatility of democracy. Democracy leads to demagoguery, entitlements, bankruptcy, panic, the collapse of government, followed by fighting in the streets.

Of all people, Republicans should be defending the republic, or more accurately leading the fight to restore the republic. Republicans need to counter Democrats, who want democracy, i.e., majority rule without senatorial restraint, and who are now flirting with socialism.

The best defense is a good offense. To counter the Left's demands to abolish the senate, the first plank in any Republican platform, national or local, should be to repeal the 17th Amendment, revive states' check over the federal government, and restore the republic.

Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." Just starting a national discussion about the states' need for a check on the federal government and about the grey area between democracy and demagoguery would be a major step forward. Republicans will not win a contest that they don't enter. This contest is about saving the bulwark of our liberty, namely the Constitution. It has been under attack for a hundred years. It's time Republicans entered the contest. Otherwise one day we may wake up and find we have neither a republic nor a democracy. 97超级碰碰碰碰久久久久_一线完整版在线观看免费_日本三级香港三级人妇三