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America Is Living James Madisonís Nightmare
The Atlantic ^ | October 2018 Issue | Jeffrey Rosen

Posted on 09/23/2018 10:37:29 AM PDT by thecodont

James Madison traveled to Philadelphia in 1787 with Athens on his mind. He had spent the year before the Constitutional Convention reading two trunkfuls of books on the history of failed democracies, sent to him from Paris by Thomas Jefferson. Madison was determined, in drafting the Constitution, to avoid the fate of those “ancient and modern confederacies,” which he believed had succumbed to rule by demagogues and mobs.

Madison’s reading convinced him that direct democracies—such as the assembly in Athens, where 6,000 citizens were required for a quorum—unleashed populist passions that overcame the cool, deliberative reason prized above all by Enlightenment thinkers. “In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason,” he argued in The Federalist Papers, the essays he wrote (along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay) to build support for the ratification of the Constitution. “Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: jamesmadison; presidents; socialmedia; ushistory
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1 posted on 09/23/2018 10:37:29 AM PDT by thecodont
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To: thecodont; Publius

Ping.

5.56mm


2 posted on 09/23/2018 10:42:01 AM PDT by M Kehoe (DRAIN THE SWAMP!)
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To: thecodont

Bump for later read. In those very few discussions I allow myself to be drawn into involving liberals, it is inevitable that the lazy, sloppy use of the word “democracy” as a descriptor for our government must inevitably be corrected. It’s getting annoying, frankly, how few people comprehend the difference between our Republic and a democracy.


3 posted on 09/23/2018 10:42:54 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (Apoplectic is where we want them)
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To: thecodont
This is part of The Atlantic's alarmist "Is Democracy Dying" issue about Trump "building an autocracy."

America already changed massively in Madison's lifetime with the election of Andrew Jackson, and changed again a century later with Wilson and the Roosevelts and LBJ, so Madison's America has been gone a long time.

It's not an awful article, though, and not as Trumpophobic as others the magazine has published.

4 posted on 09/23/2018 10:52:28 AM PDT by x
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To: thecodont
Voters in several states are experimenting with alternative primary systems that might elect more moderate representatives.

What can "moderate" possibly mean when you have two Democrats running against each other? When both candidates favor a nanny state, differing only in the quantity of oppression they advocate in the name of "progress," there can be no moderation.

5 posted on 09/23/2018 10:56:19 AM PDT by BenLurkin (The above is not a statement of fact. It is either satire or opinion. Or both.)
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To: 14themunny; 21stCenturion; 300magnum; A Strict Constructionist; abigail2; AdvisorB; Aggie Mama; ...
Federalist/Anti-Federalist ping.

A thought provoking article, even if it comes from "The Atlantic."

6 posted on 09/23/2018 11:01:49 AM PDT by Publius
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To: Publius

It is very interesting


7 posted on 09/23/2018 11:03:28 AM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: rustbucket

Ping


8 posted on 09/23/2018 11:04:06 AM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: thecodont

But it misses the main point which is the international funding of our media- of our Public Square.
That was never imagined by the Founders and no structural counter was created.

One example: How can the media fairly treat the subject of imports when they are dependent on the revenue from ads for those imports?


9 posted on 09/23/2018 11:13:52 AM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat/RINO Party!)
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To: thecodont

Repeal the 17th Amendment. Go back to state legislatures appointing the Senators.


10 posted on 09/23/2018 11:14:52 AM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: thecodont
America's Founders, including Madison, never envisioned that, as early as the late 1800's, American citizens would begin to allow a Liberal/Progressive movement to commandeer, direct and control a so-called "public education system" which would systematically remove the ideas of liberty outlined in the Declaration of Independence and framed into the most remarkable document of individual freedom/government limitation ever imagined.

One after another, America's Founders believed that a citizenry who understood the source and nature of their Creator-endowed rights, liberties, and laws to secure them would fiercely protect them for their posterity.

Sadly, by the end of the Centennial Year of their independence, forces who self-identified as "Liberals" (now, "Progressives") began to erode and erase the ideas of liberty and to replace them with counterfeit notions, notions unanchored in the ideas of liberty and law.

Today, we see what that departure from principles has wrought!

11 posted on 09/23/2018 11:20:11 AM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: Publius

Thanks, Publius! See my post—posted before I read yours. So sad to see the current dark Progressive nightmare being played out in this land of liberty and light.


12 posted on 09/23/2018 11:23:09 AM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: thecodont
Madison feared that Congress would be the most dangerous branch of the federal government, sucking power into its “impetuous vortex.” But today he would shudder at the power of the executive branch. The rise of what the presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called the “imperial presidency” has unbalanced the equilibrium among the three branches.

There is no mention of how the 17th amendment contributed to this "unbalance."

If an "imperial presidency" arose, it's because a Senate of the states was converted into a body of mini-presidents. Instead of being secure in their seats as long as they supported the interests of their respective state legislatures, Senators competed alongside Presidents for votes in their individual states. The main difference is that the President has to do this in 50 states, while Senators only have to do it in one state.

Senators who have to compete for campaign funding for votes will think twice about holding a President accountable to he Constitution, because taking such a bold position will lead to counter-attacks during their own campaigns for office. Senators who were appointed by their state legislatures did not have to fear an "imperial president," because they would have their state governments at their back. Today, they only have their parties for support; their state legislatures have been made irrelevant.

-PJ

13 posted on 09/23/2018 11:25:38 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (The 1st Amendment gives the People the right to a free press, not CNN the right to the 1st question.)
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To: Jim from C-Town
Repeal the 17th Amendment. Go back to state legislatures appointing the Senators.
. . . a good thing which, on the one hand won’t happen, and on the other could be sidestepped by state legislators of the same irresponsible stripe which passed the 17th Amendment in the first place.

My suggestion, in lieu of that, would be to pass an amendment making senators the running mates of governors. You wouldn’t be able to keep the six year term for senators, but at least the Governor of the state would then have some responsibility for the actions of the state’s senators.


14 posted on 09/23/2018 11:28:16 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (Journalism promotes itself - and promotes big government - by speaking ill of society.)
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To: Political Junkie Too
a Senate of the states was converted into a body of mini-presidents.
I would put it differently. Senators do not represent their state governments, they represent the people of their states. Or, if you will, society within the borders of the states.

It is the perennial project of “progressives” to conflate “government” and “society” - and that is precisely what the 17th Amendment does.

SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;

the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices.

The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.

The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil . . . - Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

15 posted on 09/23/2018 11:35:48 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (Journalism promotes itself - and promotes big government - by speaking ill of society.)
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To: Political Junkie Too

Agree with all your points.

Add that the people learn of their Senator’s actions not from a state organ but only from an internationally funded “national” one.

Senators are very exposed to the wishes of the ‘national’ media. Representatives not so much since there are so many of them the ‘national’ media can’t single many out for praise or criticism.


16 posted on 09/23/2018 11:44:42 AM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat/RINO Party!)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
I have gone further to say that Senators do not represent the "the people of their states," but rather, the people of their parties.

Parties cross state boundaries, and people within a state are of many parties. Those in a state of the opposite party will say they feel unrepresented, while others will say that people outside their state are influencing what goes in within their state.

It's party bloc politics that drives the Senate these days, because it's the parties that fund 33 of the most expensive elections that occur every two years. Repeal the 17th amendment, and we repeal the massive transfer of wealth from parties to Senate candidates. Just like we've seen with the Obamacare power grab of 1/6th of the national economy, it's the control of money that drives power politics. If we can dry up the spigot of campaign cash from parties to candidates, we can dry up much of the power that parties exert on us.

Senators would have to spend more time representing the people of their states, either directly or through their state legislatures. They would have to work towards getting their people to vote for sympathetic state house candidates, so those legislators can vote to send the Senator back to Congress.

This kind of Senator would be less inclined to align with an imperial president, and more inclined to side with their state in opposition to an imperial president.

-PJ

17 posted on 09/23/2018 11:49:08 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (The 1st Amendment gives the People the right to a free press, not CNN the right to the 1st question.)
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To: mrsmith
Representatives not so much since there are so many of them the ‘national’ media can’t single many out for praise or criticism flattery or derision .
18 posted on 09/23/2018 12:03:40 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (Journalism promotes itself - and promotes big government - by speaking ill of society.)
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To: thecodont

Atlantic? No thanks


19 posted on 09/23/2018 12:08:18 PM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: Jim from C-Town
They should also have the power to remove them. A given individual should have a maximum term of six years, and a maximum number of two terms. The states should be able to remove them at will or at least have a recall provision.

No more permanent Washington based governing class.

20 posted on 09/23/2018 12:12:39 PM PDT by pierrem15 ("Massacrez-les, car le seigneur connait les siens")
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