Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Consent of the Governed


This nation was founded on the principle that governments derive all of their just powers from "the consent of the governed." Well, that's pretty awkward, because our federal government no longer has that consent. According to a recent Rasmussen poll only 17% of the voters feel that the federal government has "the consent of the governed." 69% say that the federal government does not have the consent of the governed. 14% are unsure whether or not the federal government has such consent.

If the Declaration of Independence was right, since it no longer has our consent, the Federal Government has lost its "just powers" over the governed, just as King George III had. Unfortunately, though they may have lost their "just" powers over us, they still exercise power. In fact they are assuming more power and control over us every day. I see an inverse relationship between the legitimacy of Washington and it's presumption of power. The less legitimate it is in the heartland, the more power and authority it assumes over our lives. They may not have any just powers left, but they more than make up for it by assuming increasing quantitites of unjust powers.

Seventeen percent is an abysmal number, but not the lowest one FEDGOV receieved in the poll. When asked the question "Do you think Congressmen listen more to their constituents or to their party bosses?" An astoundingly low eight percent (8%!) thought that Congressmen listened more to their constituents than they did to their party bosses. Eighty-four percent (84%) think the average congressman listens to party leaders more than the voters they represent. Can you think of any other issue of import on which such a high percentage of voters agree?

I congratulate Rasmussen for asking the right questions. The voters know, perhaps more clearly than ever before, what the true problem is with this nation's government. It's simply this: we have an elaborate illusion of self-government, not true self-government. In reality it has been short-circuited because in order to move up through the system, office-holders have to please a party apparatus. The two political parties are private clubs which have their own elaborate rules that block efforts at true reform. The people who run it now have measures in place to make sure that other people like them keep running it.

Jesus Christ proclaimed that "no man can serve two Masters." He wasn't wrong about that. Yet because of the party system, our Congressmen are put into precisely that position. Christ warned that people put in such a position would "love one and hate the other." Increasingly, that is what we see. The people that move up in the system are ones that love the party leaders and forsake the grassroots (while pretending not to for as long as they can get away with it). That's what the voters are seeing when they say only 8% listen to their constituents more than the party leaders.

Unfortunately, grassroots activists are too often among the last group of Americans willing to face the hard truths outlined in the three paragraphs above. The whole country knows it, but many activists don't. They are the last ones to see it because once they become activists, the system of whichever party they favor sends envoys to charm them. I don't have a problem with that, so long as the envoys sincerely mean to implement policies which the activists favor. What I do have a problem with is deceit. I have a problem with the use of personal charm to coax the activists into supporting them when they have no intention of pursuing polices the activists wanted.

I have seen too many people who got into activism waking up ten years later and realizing that while they may get invited to some luncheons, they have spent their years advocating for candidates who are never really going to do what they wanted done. Those candidates are throwing the bones of empty words and symbolic gestures to the activists, but leaving the meat of public policy to the party leaders, who in turn are serving giant (international rather than American) corporate donors. No wonder we are rushing headlong into globalism without the consent, or even at this point the knowledge, of most citizens.

But I am not going to just define the problem, though that is an essential foundation for discovering the right solution. I want to offer the solution as well, for those who have the courage to accpet it. It is contained in this 27 minute audio. For those who are in this to associate with public officials and get an adrenal rush at rallies, that is too long. For those actually interested in changing things for the better, it is a reasonable first step.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, do you think that the long train of abuses of today are worse than those of 1776 which led to the Declaration of Independence?

1:31 PM, August 11, 2011  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

No, because so much of the problem now is lack of virtue in the population itself. We are doing a lot of the abuses to each other, the government is just the middle man.

More of us have to live lives of personal virtue in order for liberty to work.

Also, in 1776 the colonists had no representation, not even the illusion of such, in the English Parliment. Here there are feedback mechanisms, but we the people are not fighting smart. For example more of us need to apply pressure from the system from outside the two parties. As long as we choose to work through them, then we are caging ourselves. It is not fair to blame the ruling class for the cage when most of us, for whatever reason, will not use keys available to us.

6:40 AM, August 12, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So unless your audio clip is about personal virtue, it won't really help?

4:06 PM, August 12, 2011  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Just because virtue is essential for self-government to last does not mean there is no point in finding the best strategy to restore self government. I believe many will "step up" once they feel like they have control over their own lives and exercise more personal responsiblity. There is a synergy here. You can do them both together. They go hand in hand.

8:18 PM, August 12, 2011  
Anonymous Petersonmswp said...

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11:31 PM, January 07, 2013  

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