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FReeper Book Club: The Debate over the Constitution, Centinel #1
A Publius/Billthedrill Essay | 1 February 2010 | Publius & Billthedrill

Posted on 02/01/2010 7:56:26 AM PST by Publius

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To: Publius
This is a critical point. Were we to adhere to the rule of 30,000, then we would have 10,000 congressmen in the House today. This is why I've begun to think that we should maintain the House of Repesentatives on the Internet and actually have those 10,000 congresscrittters. They would never leave home, would be available to their constituents 24/7, and would work via secure server. Bribing that many congressmen would be much more difficult than bribing 435.

I've worked through this argument several times and abandoned this premise. It would take more effort to bribe so many officials, but the bribes would be much smaller and therefore more difficult to discover. For one thing, there would be 10,000 possible sources of corruption to investigate. I return to the belief that the Congress should have more members not because of the economy of bribery. The economy of scale in the current system makes it unworkable. How can one person represent half a million people living in up to twenty different towns?

The suggestion is ridiculous. It also costs a fortune to run a legitimate campaign against the incumbent. Politicians quickly learn the value of photo ops and speechifying. It gets their names out, and people rarely question the validity of the news story. The challenger has to create these media exposures for himself. This takes time and money, which eliminates many potentially good candidates. He has to convince more than 250,000 people that he is the right person for the job.

If the district contains less people, it is easier to do this. The district is not one of the gerrymandered abortions we currently use, so the people actually have things in common. If the district only has 30,000 people, or 50,000 (my preferred number) then it's much easier to reach them. You'd be surprised how many hands you can shake standing outside Wal-Mart on a Saturday morning. I can do that, even driving my little Chevy and working full time. You can do it, too. Even if our campaigns rely on BS, we have to stand in front of a group of people and smile while we deliver that BS. If we deliver enough BS, our neighbor BilltheDrill might also decide that he can run for the office against both of us.

51 posted on 02/02/2010 6:01:35 AM PST by sig226 (Bring back Jimmy Carter!)
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To: Loud Mime
"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Is that not the situation we currently find ourselves in?

Do we not have currently a single "same hands" group very much in control of all three branches of our government?

I believe we do and the "same hands" group I speak of is lawyers.

52 posted on 02/02/2010 6:25:53 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Bigun
The Republicans should be using that quote from Madison at every opportunity!
53 posted on 02/02/2010 6:41:52 AM PST by Loud Mime (Liberalism is a Socialist Disease)
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To: sig226

You cannot properly represent the people when they do not understand the proper processes of government.

As has been known for thousands of years, once the people recognize they have power, they will do all they can to gain riches from the treasury.


54 posted on 02/02/2010 6:44:15 AM PST by Loud Mime (Liberalism is a Socialist Disease)
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To: Publius
Early draft of the Constitution found in Phila.
55 posted on 02/02/2010 6:50:07 AM PST by LucyJo (http://www.housetohouse.com/)
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To: LucyJo; Publius
Re: post #55, the James Wilson info is an interesting addition to your topic for Thursday.
56 posted on 02/02/2010 6:59:42 AM PST by LucyJo (http://www.housetohouse.com/)
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To: LearsFool; Publius
>But Bryan grates on the modern ear with his statement that a successful republic would also require that property be fairly equally distributed. How would Bryan see today’s America with its disparities of wealth, some created by merit and others by government?

I read Bryan as saying, not that property ought to be RE-distributed, but merely that a fairly equal distribution of property is a necessary precondition for free government to flourish. In other words, upon seeing vast disparities of property in a nation, he would not be optimistic that a republic could thrive there.

I agree that was the intention of Bryans statement about wealth in relation to a new form of government. I'm assuming that real property (land) was what he was considering.

One way to become wealthy at that time was to acquire land at low cost and immediately cut the timber off to be burnt on site. The ashes from the burnt hardwoods (potash) could be sold at a price that would cover the cost of the land and also the labor involved. The land could then be used for farming or pasture. Even the most destitute man, if he was industrious enough and physically able, could become a landowner in a fairly short period of time.

57 posted on 02/02/2010 8:16:56 AM PST by whodathunkit (Obama will be remembered as our most whimsical President)
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To: Publius

Verse 16 and 17..native wisdom or “common sense” does tend to reside with the people.

See Daniel Boone and how he was taken to task by a constituent regarding the government getting involved in settling money upon a man who had died in service of his country.

According to Boone, while it was a worthy and noble cause, it was not the proper place of government to do such.

How many times have so called “experts” said one thing, then, 10 years later, after further study, reversed themselves?

It looks to me like Bryan has no problem with elites being in government, but, he understood having a government of just elites would tend to distance government from the people.

When one class of people runs government, government is going to reflect the biases of that class.


58 posted on 02/02/2010 8:38:18 AM PST by stylin_geek (Greed and envy is used by our political class to exploit the rich and poor.)
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To: Jacquerie
I read a review of the book in The New Republic back in '95, but I don't remember the name of it. The reviewer rehashed the entire story with -- surprisingly -- a tone of regret that it had happened.
59 posted on 02/02/2010 11:56:58 AM PST by Publius
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To: Publius

Fine Job.


60 posted on 02/02/2010 3:00:53 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: TASMANIANRED

BTT for night shift.


61 posted on 02/02/2010 3:41:38 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: Publius
But the interests of Big Business are not necessarily in the best interests of all Americans. A Southwest republic might guard the border and shoot all invaders, but if business interests held the reins of power, I wouldn't bet on that.

I agree that business is a big impediment at whatever scale the republic is. However, a countervailing situation would be that the individuals would see the effects of this open border policy in a very real sense and the people who are suffering under this would be right there to do something about it. They would also be in a better position to do something real about the problem. About the best I can do right now is confirm that people who are coming in to do my yard or construction work are legal. If not, I don't do business with them, hoping to starve the beast.

62 posted on 02/02/2010 5:54:49 PM PST by tstarr
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To: Bigun
I believe we do and the "same hands" group I speak of is lawyers.

I would say lawyers and bankers/financiers. Lawyers seem to lapse into case law discussions where the average common sense person's eyes would glaze over and would revert the discussion to where it needs to be - the Constitution. I think equally privileged and elitist are the bankers. If I were president, I'd certainly want to break up this lovefest amongst Goldman Sachs, the government, and the Fed. I was struck when Michelle Bachman asked Tim Geithner to tell her where in the Constitution it said he had the right to do (whatever it was he was doing). He acted as if he had never heard of the document. Scary.

63 posted on 02/02/2010 6:00:49 PM PST by tstarr
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To: Loud Mime

That seems to work when the representatives are insulated from the constituents. I propose to remove that insulation.


64 posted on 02/02/2010 6:54:24 PM PST by sig226 (Bring back Jimmy Carter!)
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To: sig226

Remember how they insulated themselves during their town hall meetings? They ridiculed those who believed in fiscal restraint and the proper role of our government.

Gee....just like the Nazis ridiculed the Jews.


65 posted on 02/02/2010 8:07:34 PM PST by Loud Mime (Liberalism is a Socialist Disease)
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To: tstarr

What I am speaking of, and what Madison was talking about as well, is any group with similar interests gaining control of all three branches of government.

Look closely at all three branches of our government today and see what group you think that might be.


66 posted on 02/03/2010 6:24:22 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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bookmark


67 posted on 02/04/2010 9:49:30 AM PST by federal
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To: Loud Mime
I had to look up “abstruse.”

That is one of my favorite words.

I know someone who is simultaneously obsequious, abstruse, and pedantic. He is overly fawning when addressing others, speaks in a highly professorial manner, and focuses on minute detail and technicality when discussing topics.

But he's a nice guy.

-PJ

68 posted on 02/05/2010 12:18:13 PM PST by Political Junkie Too ("Comprehensive" reform bills only end up as incomprehensible messes.)
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To: Publius
Is there room for elites in American governance, and why or why not? Is there truly a certain native wisdom resident in the People, and why or why not?

I think the problem with today's "elites" is that they see themselves as trans-national, which was probably not the case in the 18th century.

Look at the reaction by elites to the Iraq wars. They refused to show patriotism, wear flag lapel pins, even said they would not inform American military if they became aware of impending ambush.

The People, on the other hand, seem to have much more nationalistic pride in their country, and are not ashamed to openly express it, and even rejoice in it. It is from the aggregated People that we get a collective concious of what it means to be American, and why a national identity is important.

Being ruled only by people who cannot or will not articulate an American exceptionalism would lead to an erasure of ties to America's history, and the temporal responsibilities between "antiquity" and "posterity," as Paine and others often cited.

-PJ

69 posted on 02/05/2010 12:34:20 PM PST by Political Junkie Too ("Comprehensive" reform bills only end up as incomprehensible messes.)
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To: Political Junkie Too

That’s a good obsevation. There is a little too much Oxford and Sorbonne, and too little Georgia Tech.


70 posted on 02/05/2010 1:43:04 PM PST by Publius
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To: Ciexyz

Fascinating history about whiskey and how tax makes people relocate businesses.


71 posted on 03/02/2010 10:17:20 PM PST by Tamatoa (Fight for our America, Fight for our Country I fought to defend!!!)
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