Britain shrinks government

As our government is trying to be more “European” in asserting government control over the economy, Europe is going in the other direction.  Earlier, we looked at what Germany has done to prosper economically while the United States flounders.  Now Great Britain, in a coalition government of conservatives and moderates, is launching on a great experiment to shrink government and empower individuals.  From The Washington Post:

The Obama administration might be reasserting the government’s place in American life. But on this side of the Atlantic, the so-called Big Society vision of Britain’s new Conservative prime minister is of a nation with minimal state interference.

David Cameron’s 100-day-old ruling coalition is launching an effort to reduce the role of government, seeking to vest communities and individuals with fresh powers and peddling a new era of volunteerism to replace the state in running museums, parks and other public facilities. Supporters and opponents describe the campaign as the biggest assault on government here since the wave of privatizations by Conservative firebrand Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

The idea, one with distant echoes of the “tea party” movement in the United States, is to pluck decision making out of the hands of bureaucrats. Groups of like-minded parents and teachers, for instance, are being invited to open their own taxpayer-funded schools. The groups — not government school boards — will be able to determine the curriculum at these “free schools,” using their own discretion to make some subjects compulsory while omitting others they find objectionable or unnecessary, such as lessons on multiculturalism.

But the government’s push is also about pinching pennies in an age of austerity in Britain, which, like many nations including the United States, is heavily indebted and increasingly broke. Through the toughest budget cuts in generations, the new coalition is moving quickly to shrink the size of the state, with some estimates indicating as many as 600,000 public-sector job losses — or one in 10 — by 2015. At the same time, Cameron is backing legislation that would allow communities to take over, for instance, post office branches, staffing them with volunteers instead of paid workers.

“The Big Society is about a huge culture change, where people, in their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their workplace, don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face,” Cameron said last month in a keynote speech on the issue.

In what it calls a “radical extension of direct democracy,” the new government is moving to give citizens the right to veto property-tax increases above certain limits. In an effort to hold the public sector more accountable, it is also pressing forward with plans to have communities directly elect police commissioners while forcing the publication of more-detailed crime statistics to give residents a better picture of how local forces are doing.

The new coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is set to present legislation to dissolve the government health boards that once determined needs at public hospitals, which would allow doctors to become the ultimate deciders.

via Britain’s David Cameron seeks smaller government, more citizen involvement.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    Glad to see it.

  • Joe

    Glad to see it.

  • DonS

    The education initiative looks a lot like the charter school movement here in the U.S. Public education was a lot better when it was locally controlled — we need to reduce federal and state involvement here as well — returning it to local school boards.

    The people vetoing tax increases above a certain percentage. What a novelty — citizens controlling their government. It’ll never work!

  • DonS

    The education initiative looks a lot like the charter school movement here in the U.S. Public education was a lot better when it was locally controlled — we need to reduce federal and state involvement here as well — returning it to local school boards.

    The people vetoing tax increases above a certain percentage. What a novelty — citizens controlling their government. It’ll never work!

  • Econ Jeff

    In California, property taxes increases are limited to some low percentage (I forget the actual number). It actually hasn’t worked. CA has one of the most bloated, ineffectual, debt-ridden governments. The people still want everything, they just don’t want to pay for it. Unlimited desires, limited means. People just don’t get it.

  • Econ Jeff

    In California, property taxes increases are limited to some low percentage (I forget the actual number). It actually hasn’t worked. CA has one of the most bloated, ineffectual, debt-ridden governments. The people still want everything, they just don’t want to pay for it. Unlimited desires, limited means. People just don’t get it.

  • Mary Jack

    I hope this can offer people the hope that governments CAN become smaller.

  • Mary Jack

    I hope this can offer people the hope that governments CAN become smaller.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In line with what Econ Jeff said (@3), and in response to Don’s lauding (@2) of “citizens controlling their government,” the problem is that conservatives only appear to laud citizens controlling their tax rates, which they will naturally try to keep low. The problem with liberals is that they only encourage citizens to vote for more government programs, which they apparently enjoy quite a bit (something conservatives don’t seem to get, nor do they appear to laud this type of citizen control). It would appear, with California as something of an example, that with more citizen control, what you get are massive, and massively unfunded, government programs. And therefore massive deficits. It’ll never work!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In line with what Econ Jeff said (@3), and in response to Don’s lauding (@2) of “citizens controlling their government,” the problem is that conservatives only appear to laud citizens controlling their tax rates, which they will naturally try to keep low. The problem with liberals is that they only encourage citizens to vote for more government programs, which they apparently enjoy quite a bit (something conservatives don’t seem to get, nor do they appear to laud this type of citizen control). It would appear, with California as something of an example, that with more citizen control, what you get are massive, and massively unfunded, government programs. And therefore massive deficits. It’ll never work!

  • Joe

    The problem with California is direct democracy. Here is what our founders thought of it and why we were never intended to have it:

    “If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.”

    Federalist No. 10. One of the few very clear areas where the federal gov’t is given direct control over the internal affairs of the states is in making sure that states maintain a republican form of gov’t. Art. IV, Section 4. (“The United States shall guarantee to every state a Republican form of government …”) I think there is an argument to be made that direct democracy at the state level is unconstitutional.

  • Joe

    The problem with California is direct democracy. Here is what our founders thought of it and why we were never intended to have it:

    “If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.”

    Federalist No. 10. One of the few very clear areas where the federal gov’t is given direct control over the internal affairs of the states is in making sure that states maintain a republican form of gov’t. Art. IV, Section 4. (“The United States shall guarantee to every state a Republican form of government …”) I think there is an argument to be made that direct democracy at the state level is unconstitutional.

  • DonS

    The problem with California is certainly not the limitation on increases in property taxes (no more than 2% increase per year). It is that other taxes are not similarly controlled, and further that constitutional spending limits have been eviscerated. CA’s revenue levels have never been the issue.

    Because of the stranglehold that public employee unions have on California state government, and further because the state media is completely disinterested in reporting on the nonsense that occurs in Sacramento, the proposition process is the only check we citizens have on complete ruination at the hands of a totally irresponsible legislature. Our politicians would love to see the demise of the proposition system.

    The idea that a “guarantee” of a republican form of government at the state level equates to the right of the federal government to declare the proposition process unconstitutional, because it involves direct democracy, is a novel one, but I don’t think it’ll fly, thank goodness. Government in California is through a legislature, with the proposition process being a 100 year old counterweight to hold the legislature accountable. Federal judges are increasingly unconcerned about tradition, but I don’t think they’ll touch this one. Of course, if you had told me a decade ago that a federal judge would declare homosexual marriage to be a fundamental right under the U.S. constitution, overthrowing a state constitutional provision to the contrary, mere weeks after another federal judge ruled in favor of homosexual marriage on the basis of a state’s constitutional right to define marriage for itself, I would have laughed in your face.

  • DonS

    The problem with California is certainly not the limitation on increases in property taxes (no more than 2% increase per year). It is that other taxes are not similarly controlled, and further that constitutional spending limits have been eviscerated. CA’s revenue levels have never been the issue.

    Because of the stranglehold that public employee unions have on California state government, and further because the state media is completely disinterested in reporting on the nonsense that occurs in Sacramento, the proposition process is the only check we citizens have on complete ruination at the hands of a totally irresponsible legislature. Our politicians would love to see the demise of the proposition system.

    The idea that a “guarantee” of a republican form of government at the state level equates to the right of the federal government to declare the proposition process unconstitutional, because it involves direct democracy, is a novel one, but I don’t think it’ll fly, thank goodness. Government in California is through a legislature, with the proposition process being a 100 year old counterweight to hold the legislature accountable. Federal judges are increasingly unconcerned about tradition, but I don’t think they’ll touch this one. Of course, if you had told me a decade ago that a federal judge would declare homosexual marriage to be a fundamental right under the U.S. constitution, overthrowing a state constitutional provision to the contrary, mere weeks after another federal judge ruled in favor of homosexual marriage on the basis of a state’s constitutional right to define marriage for itself, I would have laughed in your face.

  • Joe

    DonS – its not that novel of an idea. I have seen old con law text books from the early 1800′s that expressly state it as understood that the federal gov’t is charged with maintaining the republican form of state governments. This was part of the screening process of statehood for new states that congress under took. With regard to states that were already admitted, the texts suggested that the federal gov’t could not force a state to change its gov’tal form but it could force it to leave the union if it refused to change.

    Of course, there will always be an argument over how much direct democracy is allowable before the gov’t form stops being republican. States like California are pushing that envelope.

  • Joe

    DonS – its not that novel of an idea. I have seen old con law text books from the early 1800′s that expressly state it as understood that the federal gov’t is charged with maintaining the republican form of state governments. This was part of the screening process of statehood for new states that congress under took. With regard to states that were already admitted, the texts suggested that the federal gov’t could not force a state to change its gov’tal form but it could force it to leave the union if it refused to change.

    Of course, there will always be an argument over how much direct democracy is allowable before the gov’t form stops being republican. States like California are pushing that envelope.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 8: Just to clarify the point, I did a little research. The issue you are raising was decided by the Supreme in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912). So, I guess I was wrong — the question was not a novel one at all, just long settled. The Court held that challenges to a state’s republican character are non-justiciable political questions, determinable only by Congress. I don’t think it is likely that Congress is going to interpose itself in CA’s proposition process. Short of an effort by a state to institute a constitutional monarchy or some such thing, this interpretation of Article IV, Section IV is a dead letter.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 8: Just to clarify the point, I did a little research. The issue you are raising was decided by the Supreme in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912). So, I guess I was wrong — the question was not a novel one at all, just long settled. The Court held that challenges to a state’s republican character are non-justiciable political questions, determinable only by Congress. I don’t think it is likely that Congress is going to interpose itself in CA’s proposition process. Short of an effort by a state to institute a constitutional monarchy or some such thing, this interpretation of Article IV, Section IV is a dead letter.

  • tODD

    Sometimes the strict constitutional defenders rail against “judicial activism” that contradicts the plain reading of the Constitution. Other times they just throw up their hands and say it’s been settled for a while now. So hard to tell which reaction you’ll get.

  • tODD

    Sometimes the strict constitutional defenders rail against “judicial activism” that contradicts the plain reading of the Constitution. Other times they just throw up their hands and say it’s been settled for a while now. So hard to tell which reaction you’ll get.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 10: I guess I will have to assume that you mean me :-)

    To clarify, so that you WILL know which reaction you will get, I am pretty consistent on these things.

    In my view, the U.S. Constitution exists almost entirely to define and circumscribe the limited authority of the federal government, and to ensure that it does not intrude upon the rights of the states or the rights of the citizens, the rights of the citizens being paramount. Other than the very limited enumerated powers specifically granted to the federal government, the Constitution specifically DOES NOT empower the federal government to do anything. This is my philosophy and I view constitutional jurisprudence accordingly.

    In the present case under discussion between Joe and me, he appeared to be arguing for action by the federal government (whether the courts or Congress, I am not sure) to declare California’s proposition system unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution, and to strike it down. There are a lot of things not to like about governance via the ballot box, but I would utterly oppose such an activist move, consistent with my philosophy, particularly based upon the very thin reed of Article IV, Section IV. Similarly, respective to Judge Walker’s activist decision to interpose federal authority in striking down California’s Proposition 8, I opposed his usurpation of the state’s right to pass that proposition. On the other hand, were the state to pass a law prohibiting political speech, I would support a federal court striking it down, if the state courts did not do it first, to protect the citizens under the First Amendment (a higher value than states’ rights). Similarly, court and Congressional intervention was necessary with respect to civil rights, again, because the rights of the citizens trump those of the states, and the 14th Amendment clarified the importance of Equal Protection of all of the citizens. So, if you would like to explain what you were referencing when you implied inconsistency, I am all ears.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 10: I guess I will have to assume that you mean me :-)

    To clarify, so that you WILL know which reaction you will get, I am pretty consistent on these things.

    In my view, the U.S. Constitution exists almost entirely to define and circumscribe the limited authority of the federal government, and to ensure that it does not intrude upon the rights of the states or the rights of the citizens, the rights of the citizens being paramount. Other than the very limited enumerated powers specifically granted to the federal government, the Constitution specifically DOES NOT empower the federal government to do anything. This is my philosophy and I view constitutional jurisprudence accordingly.

    In the present case under discussion between Joe and me, he appeared to be arguing for action by the federal government (whether the courts or Congress, I am not sure) to declare California’s proposition system unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution, and to strike it down. There are a lot of things not to like about governance via the ballot box, but I would utterly oppose such an activist move, consistent with my philosophy, particularly based upon the very thin reed of Article IV, Section IV. Similarly, respective to Judge Walker’s activist decision to interpose federal authority in striking down California’s Proposition 8, I opposed his usurpation of the state’s right to pass that proposition. On the other hand, were the state to pass a law prohibiting political speech, I would support a federal court striking it down, if the state courts did not do it first, to protect the citizens under the First Amendment (a higher value than states’ rights). Similarly, court and Congressional intervention was necessary with respect to civil rights, again, because the rights of the citizens trump those of the states, and the 14th Amendment clarified the importance of Equal Protection of all of the citizens. So, if you would like to explain what you were referencing when you implied inconsistency, I am all ears.

  • Joe

    The constitution does not state whether this is with the power oc congress of the fed in general, but it does clearly state that this is one of the express powers of the fed gov’t. My theory of constitutional interpretation is that it means what it says. Here it says that the federal gov’t is suppose to ensure that the states have a republican form of gov’t. Personally, if I were to write the constitution I would not include this, but the framers did. I had forgotten about the court holding that it is a political question for congress and not rightly one for the court. I don’t really have a problem with that ruling but to simply say we get to ignore this express power of the federal gov’t because we would like to limit the federal gov’t role even more then the framers did is just not any better a theory of interpretation than that of the progressives who want to expand the role of the fed gov’t beyond the role that the framers gave it.

    Calling the federal gov’t’s exercise of this expressly enumerated power “activist” is not in keeping with the express text of the document.

    tODD – just in case you are interested, I’m an originalist – not a strict constructionist. Originalism is the methodology advocated by Scalia, Bork, Thomas (to an extent). Rhenquist, Roberts and Alito (maybe) are strict constructionists. There is a difference and a good example of that difference is found in the flag burning jurisprudence. Scalia found that it is protected via the first amendment, while Rhenquist found that it is not because burning a flag is not technically speech.

  • Joe

    The constitution does not state whether this is with the power oc congress of the fed in general, but it does clearly state that this is one of the express powers of the fed gov’t. My theory of constitutional interpretation is that it means what it says. Here it says that the federal gov’t is suppose to ensure that the states have a republican form of gov’t. Personally, if I were to write the constitution I would not include this, but the framers did. I had forgotten about the court holding that it is a political question for congress and not rightly one for the court. I don’t really have a problem with that ruling but to simply say we get to ignore this express power of the federal gov’t because we would like to limit the federal gov’t role even more then the framers did is just not any better a theory of interpretation than that of the progressives who want to expand the role of the fed gov’t beyond the role that the framers gave it.

    Calling the federal gov’t’s exercise of this expressly enumerated power “activist” is not in keeping with the express text of the document.

    tODD – just in case you are interested, I’m an originalist – not a strict constructionist. Originalism is the methodology advocated by Scalia, Bork, Thomas (to an extent). Rhenquist, Roberts and Alito (maybe) are strict constructionists. There is a difference and a good example of that difference is found in the flag burning jurisprudence. Scalia found that it is protected via the first amendment, while Rhenquist found that it is not because burning a flag is not technically speech.

  • Cincinnatus

    Joe: How does that originalism work out for you, then? What’s the originalist position on, say, a national bank?

    tODD and others discern the real problem here: direct democracy. American voters, polls prove over and over again, like low taxes and lots of spending (stuff, programs, handouts, infrastructure, victories in the Middle East, etc.). This is, of course, only natural, and it has been prophesied by critics of democracy since the beginning of political theory. California’s problem is that it has constructed a system with mechanisms all too willing to indulge democratic desires, with its populace, its referendums, its hyper-partisan parties (near-caricatures of themselves), and countless constitutional amendments parts of a vast machine designed to “give the people what the want” regardless of the material constraints of reality.

    California is Imagination Land: you want low property taxes? Cool. Free healthcare for millions of illegal immigrants? Our pleasure. Incentives for business? Sure thing, as long as you let us enact a crushing regulatory regime! Etc. California was the American dream writ large–that everyone should have everything–and it worked for a while. Such experiments seldom last forever, though.

  • Cincinnatus

    Joe: How does that originalism work out for you, then? What’s the originalist position on, say, a national bank?

    tODD and others discern the real problem here: direct democracy. American voters, polls prove over and over again, like low taxes and lots of spending (stuff, programs, handouts, infrastructure, victories in the Middle East, etc.). This is, of course, only natural, and it has been prophesied by critics of democracy since the beginning of political theory. California’s problem is that it has constructed a system with mechanisms all too willing to indulge democratic desires, with its populace, its referendums, its hyper-partisan parties (near-caricatures of themselves), and countless constitutional amendments parts of a vast machine designed to “give the people what the want” regardless of the material constraints of reality.

    California is Imagination Land: you want low property taxes? Cool. Free healthcare for millions of illegal immigrants? Our pleasure. Incentives for business? Sure thing, as long as you let us enact a crushing regulatory regime! Etc. California was the American dream writ large–that everyone should have everything–and it worked for a while. Such experiments seldom last forever, though.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 12: I did NOT say that the federal government should simply ignore its express power to guarantee to every state a republican form of government. However, whenever it is exercising its powers under the Constitution, it should be circumspect and deferential to states’ rights. In the case of California, its government IS republican in form, having a bicameral legislature and a government. So it meets the constitutional standard. It would be the height of activism to read that one clause in the Constitution as empowering the federal government to prohibit a state from having an auxiliary referendum provision, especially 100 years after the fact.

    Cincinnatus, as I said above, it is NOT the referendum system which has brought California to its current precipice. The legislature is the problem, and most of the bond measures passed by the people in propositions over the years were placed on the ballot by a vote of the legislature. We have an utterly irresponsible government, completely in the thrall of government labor unions. THAT is the real problem.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 12: I did NOT say that the federal government should simply ignore its express power to guarantee to every state a republican form of government. However, whenever it is exercising its powers under the Constitution, it should be circumspect and deferential to states’ rights. In the case of California, its government IS republican in form, having a bicameral legislature and a government. So it meets the constitutional standard. It would be the height of activism to read that one clause in the Constitution as empowering the federal government to prohibit a state from having an auxiliary referendum provision, especially 100 years after the fact.

    Cincinnatus, as I said above, it is NOT the referendum system which has brought California to its current precipice. The legislature is the problem, and most of the bond measures passed by the people in propositions over the years were placed on the ballot by a vote of the legislature. We have an utterly irresponsible government, completely in the thrall of government labor unions. THAT is the real problem.

  • DonS

    In line 6 of my comment @ 14, “government” should read “governor”.

  • DonS

    In line 6 of my comment @ 14, “government” should read “governor”.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS: The legislature and the overuse of the referendum (not necessarily the referendum itself) are problems. Obviously, California’s ridiculous legislature, the product of an uber-gerrymandered state, is problematic. Obviously, too, the fact that California’s schizophrenic voters are eager to vote for Proposition 13 but also Proposition 10, etc. They are a radicalized microcosm of the American public: we want lots of programs and government money but we don’t want to pay the taxes for them. Not to mention the fact that it has resulted in an absurdly complex state constitution that is comprehensible only to lawyers.

    Again, as I said in my earlier comment, the entire political structure of California is the problem. In my opinion, it’s time to start from the beginning and write a new constitution. Of course, I don’t live there (though I do keep up with the circus known as California politics, mostly because it serves as a sort of oracle for American politics generally–pension crisis in CA today? It’ll be here tomorrow), so I don’t care except insofar as I’ll probably be bailing out your irresponsible state in the near-to-medium-future.

  • Cincinnatus

    DonS: The legislature and the overuse of the referendum (not necessarily the referendum itself) are problems. Obviously, California’s ridiculous legislature, the product of an uber-gerrymandered state, is problematic. Obviously, too, the fact that California’s schizophrenic voters are eager to vote for Proposition 13 but also Proposition 10, etc. They are a radicalized microcosm of the American public: we want lots of programs and government money but we don’t want to pay the taxes for them. Not to mention the fact that it has resulted in an absurdly complex state constitution that is comprehensible only to lawyers.

    Again, as I said in my earlier comment, the entire political structure of California is the problem. In my opinion, it’s time to start from the beginning and write a new constitution. Of course, I don’t live there (though I do keep up with the circus known as California politics, mostly because it serves as a sort of oracle for American politics generally–pension crisis in CA today? It’ll be here tomorrow), so I don’t care except insofar as I’ll probably be bailing out your irresponsible state in the near-to-medium-future.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 16: We don’t really disagree, except as to emphasis. The pension tsunami that has arrived in CA (and to the nation at large, already) is entirely due to legislation, not referenda. Similarly, the inability to tailor the state workforce to available revenue, and to adopt flexible work rules is entirely due to terrible legislation. Most of the bonded debt CA has accrued is due to the passage of referenda placed on the ballot by the legislature. In other words, many of the propositions we vote on are on the ballot because the legislature doesn’t want to do its job. Yes, there has been so called “ballot box budgeting”, the worst example being Proposition 98, which required a minimum percentage of state revenues to be spent on public education, which have worsened things. But, to blame the referenda process for CA’s woes is a real distortion of reality. Moreover, to blame in any way Proposition 13 for our state’s woes is just wrong. CA, even with Proposition 13, is ranked in the top 5 in taxation per capita. Revenue has never been the issue. It is spending, through and through, whether voted on by the legislature or the people, directly.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 16: We don’t really disagree, except as to emphasis. The pension tsunami that has arrived in CA (and to the nation at large, already) is entirely due to legislation, not referenda. Similarly, the inability to tailor the state workforce to available revenue, and to adopt flexible work rules is entirely due to terrible legislation. Most of the bonded debt CA has accrued is due to the passage of referenda placed on the ballot by the legislature. In other words, many of the propositions we vote on are on the ballot because the legislature doesn’t want to do its job. Yes, there has been so called “ballot box budgeting”, the worst example being Proposition 98, which required a minimum percentage of state revenues to be spent on public education, which have worsened things. But, to blame the referenda process for CA’s woes is a real distortion of reality. Moreover, to blame in any way Proposition 13 for our state’s woes is just wrong. CA, even with Proposition 13, is ranked in the top 5 in taxation per capita. Revenue has never been the issue. It is spending, through and through, whether voted on by the legislature or the people, directly.

  • Cincinnatus

    Yes, I ultimately agree with you. Whatever the case, best of luck with whatever part you have to play in California’s recovery!

  • Cincinnatus

    Yes, I ultimately agree with you. Whatever the case, best of luck with whatever part you have to play in California’s recovery!

  • DonS

    Thank you, Cincinnatus. I pray that it is not too late for CA or for the rest of the nation.

    God bless.

  • DonS

    Thank you, Cincinnatus. I pray that it is not too late for CA or for the rest of the nation.

    God bless.

  • Joe

    DonS – a republican form of gov’t has a little more to it than a bicameral legislature and an executive. Indeed, bicameralism has nothing to do with whether the gov’t is republican in nature. Republican in the sense used by the framers means representatives chosen or elected democratically (notice that election via a democratic process is not required to be republican) to run the gov’t. Direct democracy is the antithesis of respublican gov’t. At the time of the founding, only one half of one branch of gov’t was elected directly by the people.

    I don’t disagree that Congress should be judicious in its determination of whether a state has a resublican form of gov’t, but the deference to the state cannot be absolute or you read out an express power of the federal gov’t.

    Cincy – How is it working out for me personally? Find I guess, in fact recent supreme court cases seem to indicate that originalism his having a terrific impact on the decisions of the court. Without an amendment of some kind, there oght not be a central bank.

  • Joe

    DonS – a republican form of gov’t has a little more to it than a bicameral legislature and an executive. Indeed, bicameralism has nothing to do with whether the gov’t is republican in nature. Republican in the sense used by the framers means representatives chosen or elected democratically (notice that election via a democratic process is not required to be republican) to run the gov’t. Direct democracy is the antithesis of respublican gov’t. At the time of the founding, only one half of one branch of gov’t was elected directly by the people.

    I don’t disagree that Congress should be judicious in its determination of whether a state has a resublican form of gov’t, but the deference to the state cannot be absolute or you read out an express power of the federal gov’t.

    Cincy – How is it working out for me personally? Find I guess, in fact recent supreme court cases seem to indicate that originalism his having a terrific impact on the decisions of the court. Without an amendment of some kind, there oght not be a central bank.

  • Cincinnatus

    Ah, but Joe, Hamilton–a framer of the Constitution–believed a Central Bank to be one of the more obvious implications of the powers granted by the Constitution. Madison–another framer of the Constitution–was vehemently opposed to such a proposition. Who was right?

  • Cincinnatus

    Ah, but Joe, Hamilton–a framer of the Constitution–believed a Central Bank to be one of the more obvious implications of the powers granted by the Constitution. Madison–another framer of the Constitution–was vehemently opposed to such a proposition. Who was right?

  • DonS

    Joe @ 20: Yes, of course I was not implying that a bicameral legislature was a required form of a republican style of government. Just explaining that the primary means of legislating in CA is conventional, and that the referenda process is only an adjunct.

    Otherwise I think we agree on the requirement that the federal government be judicious in determining whether to nose its way into the rights of the states to self-govern. I never stated that deference to the state should be absolute. Obviously, a state is not free to be tyrannical or monarchical, for example.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 20: Yes, of course I was not implying that a bicameral legislature was a required form of a republican style of government. Just explaining that the primary means of legislating in CA is conventional, and that the referenda process is only an adjunct.

    Otherwise I think we agree on the requirement that the federal government be judicious in determining whether to nose its way into the rights of the states to self-govern. I never stated that deference to the state should be absolute. Obviously, a state is not free to be tyrannical or monarchical, for example.

  • Joe

    Cincy – Madison was. Originalism does not require a deep dive into implications. It requires a basic understanding of what the text meant in the time and historical context of the founding (or for the amendments at the time of passage). It is not a study in what individual framers thought were good ideas and then an exercise of warping the language to fit those individual desires.

    Hamilton wanted a national bank but he did not win the debates to have text that would actually support such a proposition included in the text of the document. Accordingly, his personal desire is irrelevant.

    That said, I don’t claim Originalism is perfect – just better than any of the other options.

  • Joe

    Cincy – Madison was. Originalism does not require a deep dive into implications. It requires a basic understanding of what the text meant in the time and historical context of the founding (or for the amendments at the time of passage). It is not a study in what individual framers thought were good ideas and then an exercise of warping the language to fit those individual desires.

    Hamilton wanted a national bank but he did not win the debates to have text that would actually support such a proposition included in the text of the document. Accordingly, his personal desire is irrelevant.

    That said, I don’t claim Originalism is perfect – just better than any of the other options.

  • Joe

    “Obviously, a state is not free to be tyrannical or monarchical, for example.”

    Or a direct democracy, eh?

  • Joe

    “Obviously, a state is not free to be tyrannical or monarchical, for example.”

    Or a direct democracy, eh?


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