Skip to comments.The 17th Amendment and Consent of the Governed
Posted on 06/14/2014 2:02:26 AM PDT by Jacquerie
From Charles de Montesquieu Spirit of the Laws, When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils, but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles.
There is a fundamental contradiction in the structure of our government that is responsible for the increasing turmoil weve witnessed these past few years. Media pleas to get along and compromise reflect snowballing social and political tensions.
Unimaginable only a decade ago, our rulers in Washington, DC prepare for societal collapse. Rather than deal with the sickness that afflicts our republic, they respond to the symptoms, through billion round ammo purchases, and administrative agency task forces to investigate, stymie, and prosecute political opponents.
Like a steam boiler with a disabled governor, the building pressure in a deeply divided American society threatens to blow up in racial, economic or police state violence. We see the collapse of society and free government all around and wonder what exactly happened, and what we can do about it.
The source of our long term ailment is simple to diagnose.
Definition: In free government, the institutions upon which the constitution acts have representation in the government. The Framing generation knew this as Consent of the Governed. We must restore this maxim before it is too late.
In the American system, any proposed law that could garner the support of the House of Representatives and a Senate of the States was likely to be acceptable to the people and the states at large. This embrace of both the people and the states into our government served to reduce the possibility of infighting and social disorders among a more or less homogenous people.
The concept of free government wasnt new in 1787. It is as old as the ancient Greek city-states in which the people participated directly in a government that acted on them. Likewise in the Roman republic, where patricians and plebs alike participated. Under the British system, the whole of society, the commons, lords and king had their place in legislation. Our very own Articles of Confederation constituted free government because the institution which the government acted upon, the states, had representation in the government. Notice the people were not represented under the Articles of Confederation. It wasnt necessary because the government did not act on the people.
Thus, in broad terms, these free government designs were/are stable systems, for no group was empowered to dominate and oppress another by virtue of the absence of that group from the government. Consent of the Governed.
That changed horribly in 1913. For the first time in history, an institution that had a legitimate and necessary place in free government, the states, walked away and subjected themselves to the caprice of the people. With passage of the 17th Amendment, the United States was transformed overnight from a federal republic into a large, unwieldy democratic republic that held arbitrary power over the states. While the Constitution still acted on the states through numerous clauses, the states were not represented. Despite popular representation in the House and Senate, free government for the states and the people they protected was gone. Not Consent of the Governed.
Booting the states from our system of government makes as much sense as booting the people. It makes no sense.
In order to remain a free government with passage of the 17th, every clause in the constitution that affected the states should have been repealed. Thats right, every one. The states were no longer represented, and therefore the government had no legitimate power over them. Passage of the 17th left behind a federal constitution without federalism.
The cynic would immediately point out that removing these clauses is impossible. The people, states, and the government they created are intertwined in their duties, functions and responsibilities. That is correct. Remove all of the clauses that affect the states and the remaining contradictions would likely lead to violence and dissolution. IOW, what we face today.
The 17th Amendment was a blind alley to arbitrary, despotic government. Republican freedom cannot be restored until it is repealed. Consent of the Governed. Article V to restore our federal republic.
Freepmail me to join or jump.
...and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
One might argue that those states not ratifying the 17th amendment are exempt from it.
Seems okay to me. What am I missing that you see as so troubling that we need to repeal the 17th Amendment? Please tell me.
Prior to the 17th amendment, which provided for popular election of Senators, the state legislatures elected the Senators.
Senators thus represented the institution of the State, while the State's Congressmen represented the people of the State.
The 17th Amendment is thus a major reason why the states have lost so much power to the federal government over the past 100 years.
under the guidance of Democrat president woodrow Wilson the 17th amendment was ratified in 1913
I agree with the author that the 17th amendment is the issue that has caused the downfall of the Republic.
However, the author failed to address that the states had to ratify the amendment for it to be put in force. The states did themselves in.
Repealing the 17th amendment would go a long way to bringing America back to a Federal Republic.
few people understand the importance of that distinction
I don't see how you can make that argument unless you also want to argue that those states that didn't ratify the 13th Amendment can still have slavery or those states that didn't ratify the 2nd Amendment can totally ban gun ownership.
Uh, no I did not fail to address that.
Get rid of automatic tax withholding too. Make people write a check and move tax day to Oct 31, right before the election.
Which is why that without the 17th Amendment David Dewhurst would currently be the junior senator from Texas, Bob Bennett would be the junior senator from Utah, and Thad Cochran would be getting ready for the general election.
IDENTIFY them. Understand their tactics. DEPOPULATE them from the body politic.
But when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own wills; the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives. When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, to plan ahead; the law does all this for them. Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property. - The Law; Bastiat
The author of The Spirit of Laws has shown by what art the legislator should direct his institutions toward each of these objectives.... But suppose that the legislator mistakes his proper objective, and acts on a principle different from that indicated by the nature of things? Suppose that the selected principle sometimes creates slavery, and sometimes liberty; sometimes wealth, and sometimes population; sometimes peace, and sometimes conquest? This confusion of objective will slowly enfeeble the law and impair the constitution.- The Law; Bastiat
When a politician views society from the seclusion of his office, he is struck by the spectacle of the inequality that he sees. He deplores the deprivations which are the lot of so many of our brothers, deprivations which appear to be even sadder when contrasted with luxury and wealth.
Perhaps the politician should ask himself whether this state of affairs has not been caused by old conquests and lootings, and by more recent legal plunder. Perhaps he should consider this proposition: Since all persons seek well-being and perfection, would not a condition of justice be sufficient to cause the greatest efforts toward progress, and the greatest possible equality that is compatible with individual responsibility? Would not this be in accord with the concept of individual responsibility which God has willed in order that mankind may have the choice between vice and virtue, and the resulting punishment and reward?
But the politician never gives this a thought. His mind turns to organizations, combinations, and arrangements legal or apparently legal. He attempts to remedy the evil by increasing and perpetuating the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder. We have seen that justice is a negative concept. Is there even one of these positive legal actions that does not contain the principle of plunder? -The Law; Bastiat
Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.-The Law; Bastiat
This is the seductive lure of socialism. And I repeat again: These two uses of the law are in direct contradiction to each other. We must choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free.- The Law; Bastiat
Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation.-The Law; Bastiat
Repeal the 17th. DISMANTLE their collectives.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States
Now that Bennett, Dewhurst and Cochran each work for a couple hundred legislators who keep very close track of their votes, what is the chance they will risk their jobs, and vote to the detriment of their states?
Would they even consider consenting to sitting judges hostile to the 10th Amendment?
By the design of the Framers, it was expected that less than virtuous men and states would look out for their interests. By doing so, they would keep the new federal government in its constitutional box.
The system worked well before 1913. It will again.
And on a side note...
Outside money influence and “cross-over” voting to pick your candidate will screech to a halt...
And in a state that has a few big cities that dominate in population the LOCAL state rep gets ONE vote to elect his senator. I’m sure the citizens in upstate NY are just thrilled with Chuck Schumer...
We would bring back representation to ALL citizens in a state...
I'm not sure I understand your question.
The people are not now represented in Congress.
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