Skip to comments.The Wisdom of Divided Government
Posted on 07/02/2014 7:05:09 AM PDT by Kaslin
House Speaker John Boehner recently shocked many of us when he announced that he is planning a lawsuit against the president for abuse of power. Many Americans feel that a harmonious working relationship between the branches of government has been seriously compromised in recent years. But when Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in 1831 to perform an in-depth analysis of the American phenomenon, he was impressed with our well-structured divided government and its separation of powers.
The writings of the founders of this nation certainly referenced the Bible frequently, but they also paid homage to the writings of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, who wrote prolifically about political theories. One of his most well-known works is "The Spirit of the Laws." In this book, he eloquently argues for the concept of separation of powers.
That argument seems to emanate from the Bible's book of Isaiah, 33:22, which states, "The Lord is our judge (judicial branch), the Lord is our lawgiver (legislative branch), the Lord is our King (executive branch)." Certainly this system of government has worked well for us in the past, helping to establish the United States of America as the most powerful nation the world has ever known within a relatively short period of time.
In order for a divided government to work, each branch must respect the other two branches. There always have been and always will be squabbles between the branches, but the big problem now is that the executive branch has decided to ignore anyone with whom it disagrees, including Congress.
Nowhere was this blatant disregard of Congress more clearly manifested than in President Obama's inappropriate "recess" appointments of three people to the National Labor Relations Board. He redefined the word "recess" in order to appoint individuals who might have a difficult time obtaining congressional approval.
This administration seems to have a penchant for redefining words to make them conform to its ideology. Obviously, if an individual can redefine anything anytime he wants to, he can manipulate virtually any situation into a favorable position for himself. If he is clever and no one notices, he can fundamentally change the foundational fabric of a society.
Passing a law in the usual legitimate fashion and then unilaterally changing that law is another thing this administration seems to cherish. Obamacare is a prime example of this tactic. For example, it would be like a ruler and his council passing a law against the growing of Brussels sprouts, much to the pleasure of his constituents. He then discovers that his favorite brother, who lives in Province A, is the largest farmer of Brussels sprouts in the region and is also his biggest financial supporter. He then unilaterally amends the law to exclude Province A, much to the displeasure of the populace, about whom he cares nothing. The point is that it is inconsistent with fairness to establish rules and then change them in the middle of the game without the consent of the other participants.
This article and many others could be spent detailing all of the instances that support the argument for executive branch overreach, but the truly important thing is to begin asking ourselves how we can reestablish a truly cooperative and harmonious balance of power aimed not at the enhancement of one political party or the other, but rather at providing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the people. This is clearly what the people want, as indicated by their voting to put a liberal president in the White House and a conservative majority in the House of Representatives. The people of this country are not comfortable with runaway government in either direction.
Some will say that previous presidents issued even more executive orders than Obama. In some cases, this is true, but it is not the number of executive orders that is important. Rather, it is the effect of those orders, how they impact society and what precedents they set. When something is clearly wrong, citing a previous misdeed by someone else does not serve as adequate justification. This is like the kid who gets in trouble for hitting someone and says, "He hit me first." Because there is so much childish behavior in Washington, perhaps government officials need the same explanation as the children who fight: No one should be hitting anyone, and we should divert that energy to understanding the nature of the conflict and resolving it.
Civil conversations obviously would go a long way toward helping us as a nation to solve our problems. However, as Saul Alinsky said, "Never have a conversation with your adversary, because that humanizes him, and your job is to demonize him." This is why we see so much name-calling and finger-pointing these days, which is antithetical to our success as a nation.
When the pendulum swings once again to the right, it is vitally important that people with common sense govern according to the Constitution and in a way that respects the separation of powers. There can be no picking and choosing of laws to enforce, and no favoritism. The only special-interest group that should be considered is the American people.
Well put, Dr. Carson.
Females respond positively to the concept of “working together.”
Advertising aimed at females often stresses the idea of “working together.” Women have a built-in bias toward choosing a solution that results from “working together,” or a product that “works with your body’s own chemistry” to make you feel better, or be prettier.
Women have a deep-seated belief that pretty much any problem can be solved “if we just work together.”
The push and pull of all the various powers is what preserves liberty. See my book at the website in my tagline.
. . . the founders . . . also paid homage to the writings of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, . . . "The Spirit of the Laws." In this book, he eloquently argues for the concept of separation of powers.
He sure did.
Book IX: Of Laws in the Relation They Bear to a Defensive Force.
1. In What Manner Republics Provide for Their Safety. If a republic be small, it is destroyed by a foreign force; if it be large, it is ruined by an internal imperfection.
To this twofold inconvenience democracies and aristocracies are equally liable, whether they be good or bad. The evil is in the very thing itself, and no form can redress it.
It is, therefore, very probable that mankind would have been, at length, obliged to live constantly under the government of a single person, had they not contrived a kind of constitution that has all the internal advantages of a republican, together with the external force of a monarchical, government. I mean a confederate republic.
This form of government is a convention by which several petty states agree to become members of a larger one, which they intend to establish. It is a kind of assemblage of societies, that constitute a new one, capable of increasing by means of further associations, till they arrive at such a degree of power as to be able to provide for the security of the whole body.
The Framers put Montesquieu into practice in a new sort of republic. A republic of republics, which was foolishly cast aside in 1913. There is no substitute for returning the states to the senate.
Well said, Dr. Carson. From your mouth to God's ears.
Unfortunately, we are in a race. IMHO, there have been several things recently (SCOTUS decisions for example) that indicate the pendulum may have at least stopped its leftward journey and might be slightly going the other way.
Can the left "make enough hay" (more and more freebies to the gibbsmedats, etc.) to prevent the rightward tilt?
Then along came the Wilson administration and the direct election of Senators, which allows money from one state to affect elections in another state. Originally, state legislatures selected senators, making it impossible to pay off enough state legislators in any one state to push thru a person whose values run counter to the will of the people. So, the "Progressives" pushed thru yet another measure that centralizes power. BTW, that was the same year they pushed and got the federal income tax amendment.
And Prohibition, as well.
Actually, it was cast aside in 1861.