fbpx

Publius’ Conservative Values

Late last month, constitutionalists marked the publication 230 years ago of Federalist 1 with reveries about Publius’ call for Americans to rise to the occasion and show the world that governments could be founded on “reflection and choice” rather than “accident and force.”

But the dichotomy is problematic, as is evident from the hand of that paper’s author, Alexander Hamilton. Taking the reflection and choice/accident and force sentence out of context might lead one to infer that the Constitution was the product of reason abstracted from experience. That is decidedly not Hamilton’s position, even within the four corners of The Federalist, which is why today—the anniversary of Hamilton’s second contribution to the series, Federalist 6—is just as significant.

No sooner had Hamilton let the speculative genie out than he turned his attention to rebottling or, perhaps more aptly, rechanneling it. Among the most compelling indications of Publius’ innate conservatism happens to be that the reflection and choice that emerge from The Federalist as a whole are modest and grounded.

Federalist 6 pertains to the danger of internecine rivalries between states in the absence of a strong central government. But it is as significant for its method as for its conclusions. Hamilton bases his argument not on speculation but on “the accumulated experience of ages.” It is this—experience, not abstract theory—upon which Federalist 1’s “reflection” is to be exercised, pursuant to the making of deliberate and sound “choice[s].”

Consequently, Federalist 6 isn’t only about the nature of commercial republics or the proclivity of polities toward conflict, but also about the method of political science. Hamilton identifies his choices clearly. Suggestively, he dismisses as “projectors in politics” those who count on a pacific relationship between the states. Their plans and predictions are founded on air. Hamilton, by contrast, looks back into the concretely known, enjoining his reader: “Let experience, the least fallible guide of human opinions, be appealed to for an answer to these inquiries.”

Hamilton returns repeatedly to the differences between off-the-cuff speculation and on-the-ground experience. In Federalist 8, still detailing the possibilities of interstate conflict, he declares that “these are not vague inferences deduced from speculative defects in a constitution . . . they are solid conclusions, drawn from the natural and necessary progress of human affairs.” Federalist 15 calls experience “that best oracle of wisdom.”

Nor does his writing partner, James Madison—author of some of The Federalist’s boldest appeals to reason—much disagree. In the course of Federalist 14’s famous appeal to reason, Madison writes:

Is it not the glory of the people of America, that whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to over-rule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience?

Notice that what Madison rejects is “a blind veneration” of the old and traditional, which conservatism does not require. Conservatism requires giving the past due deference as an accumulated storehouse of wisdom and experience. What Madison calls reason is not the abstract, speculative reason that repels the Burkean. It is, rather, rooted in “good sense,” one’s “situation”—that is, concrete circumstances—and in what “experience” teaches.

Similarly, Madison’s Federalist 37, which delineates the difficulties the Philadelphia Convention faced, points to experience as a guide even as it acknowledges its limited scope in the American constitutional context:

The most that the convention could do in such a situation, was to avoid the errors suggested by the past experience of other countries, as well as of our own; and to provide a convenient mode of rectifying their own errors as future experience may unfold them.

The succeeding paper adds that any errors in the Constitution result from a lack of experience and, crucially, that only future experience will reveal them. Earlier, in Federalist 20, Madison had called experience “the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred.” He proceeds in Federalist 52 to call experience “the guide that ought always to be followed whenever it can be found.”

Any reader of The Federalist is familiar with Publius’ method of historical inquiry, which ranges from the experience of Greek confederacies to that of medieval and contemporary Europe. By Federalist 85, the concluding paper, Hamilton—having begun the enterprise with a call to “reflection and choice”—has come full circle. There, referring to David Hume, Hamilton writes:

The zeal for attempts to amend, prior to the establishment of the constitution, must abate in every man, who is ready to accede to the truth of the following observations of a writer, equally solid and ingenious: “to balance a large state or society (says he) whether monarchical or republican, on general laws, is a work of so great difficulty, that no human genius, however comprehensive, is able by the mere dint of reason and reflection, to effect it. The judgments of many must unite in the work: EXPERIENCE must guide their labour: TIME must bring it to perfection: and the FEELING OF inconveniences must correct the mistakes which they inevitably fall into, in their first trials and experiments.” (Emphasis in original.)

Hume rejects “mere” reason and reflection, by which he means the isolated individual speculating in the abstract. Such is the case for Hamilton too. Between Federalist 1 and Federalist 85, Hamilton’s presentation of reflection has grown more nuanced. He has shown us on what he expects the public and its representatives to reflect, which is experience.

The dichotomy of Federalist 1—reflection and choice on the one hand, accident and force on the other—was never a neat opposition. Experience is rife with accident and force; such is the condition of those burdened with this mortal coil. Reflection upon experience can shape choices.

For this reason, William Gladstone’s famous tribute to our Founding—that “the American Constitution is the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man”—ill befits the efforts, and also the ethos, of the convention in Philadelphia. Quite deliberately, the delegates confined their innovations to those areas to which experience did not speak. Where it did, they closely adapted long-developing colonial forms. That speaks to their essential conservatism.

By contrast, the mythology according to which 55 oracular figures descended on Philadelphia, posted guards, and concocted a government fuels the hyper-rationalism on which Progressivism, with its Wilsonian calls for constitutional reform and its Lippmannite demand for scientific public policy, is based. Since they did it, the argument goes, there is no reason we cannot—on the contrary, there is every reason we should try.

If Federalist 1 is read in rhetorical isolation, surely it constitutes an “accident” from the perspective of a person born in 2017 that he or she is “force[d]” to accept a Constitution written in 1787. The document binds on the basis of a sustained, generational exercise of “reflection and choice”—reflection on experience that is not merely instructive but also authoritative. That is what makes it a conserving rather than a reforming document, and what makes The Federalist an essentially conservative book.

Reader Discussion

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.

on November 14, 2017 at 09:21:41 am

Well said!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 14, 2017 at 11:10:57 am

The title “conservative Values” is an oxymoron. As Allan Bloom noted in his introduction to his literal translation of Plato’s Republic, “Values” is a relatively recent invention that in no way means “the good” of prior and genuinely conservative uses.

As Canadian philosopher George Grant once put it in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “Values language is an obscuring language for morality used when the idea of purpose has been destroyed.” Exactly.

Speaking of “conservative virtues” makes sense but of the commodity language of “values” which ambiguate, individualize and relativize all at once, one can do the only genuinely conservative thing: avoid “values language” altogether.

read full comment
Image of Iain T Benson
Iain T Benson
on November 14, 2017 at 11:47:31 am

l'm always uncomfortable when people attempt to deify COTUS. lt just isn't that special. The Federalist was an attempt to sell the populace on it, and the A-F responses were salient criticisms.

There were an array of latent flaws in COTUS. Some (e.g., the codification of slavery) we have fixed and others (e.g., the imbalance of power between small and large states), we haven't. We ought to be learning from experience, and refrain from treating COTUS as some sort of divine decree.

Current affairs expose its weaknesses again. Our ability to remove a mentally ill Chief Exec is inadequate, and money in politics has transformed our democratic republic into an oligarchic kleptocracy, not unlike Putin's Russia.

The Federalist is a work of advocacy. The Framers didn't try to reinvent the wheel, so much as tried to improve on it. To the extent they cleaved to what worked in the past, they were conservative. To the extent that they experimented with ideas that had never really been tried, they were progressive. But at the end of the day, we can jettison those labels and simply say that they were practical.

The above is an entertaining and well-crafted essay that really doesn't prove much of anything.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 14, 2017 at 13:01:11 pm

Thanks, Trevor, for deigning to provide us the view from Mount Olympus.

read full comment
Image of Paul137
Paul137
on November 14, 2017 at 13:38:32 pm

And the Presbyterians begat the Grandees who begat the British Whigs who begat the Federalists who begat the American Whigs who begat both the Conservatives and the Progressives. Its all about a strong central government run by the right sort of people who will maximize profit and protect private property above everything else.

read full comment
Image of EK
EK
on November 14, 2017 at 14:44:10 pm

"the imbalance of power between small and large states"

WHO says it IS a problem?

Oh yeah, those who a) distrust or dislike the Federal Structure, b) those who conveniently forget that the House of Reps IS the "fix" for the imbalance and c) (guess what) those who are still upset that the Fat (CROOKED) Lady in a Pantsuit lost presumably because of the "imbalance of influence of the Small States.

As Anthony Hopkins, in Legends of the Fall, so ably commented when his son was threatened, "Screw 'em"!!!

Ya got the COTUS that you got - NOT the one you want! - Ha!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 14, 2017 at 15:54:20 pm

lf you ask someone from Montana, no problemo! lf you ask someone from Cali, it's a BlG one. And if you ask someone from Puerto Rico ... Trump MURDERED people with scandalous neglect.

That we got the COTUS we got doesn't mean it shouldn't be changed. My point is that it is far from perfect, and has an array of serious defects.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 14, 2017 at 16:34:22 pm

"..Trump MURDERED people with scandalous neglect."

Surely, you jest as i cannot believe that someone with your native intelligence would be willing to accept the rantings of that dingbat Mayor of San Juan and not consider the opinions of the Governor of the commonwealth.

As for "perfection", it may be that the COTUS we have had *expounded*, after Marshall, et al, is simply not the one we were bequeathed. After all, one could argue that Marshall wasn't expounding anything; rather, he had a mind to *expand" COTUS. Then again, it could be a simple type-setting error by the printer who first published the decision; expand and expound ARE kind of similar!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 14, 2017 at 19:30:31 pm

gabe: "that dingbat Mayor of San Juan"

Your extreme right-wing is showing. You ask the people of PR, and they will tell you that the response was criminally negligent, and there is record support for that position. And l am sure that YOU have the native intelligence to know that the Governor has to blow smoke up Dolt45's skirt if he wants to get any help from the Feds. Trump is a petulant septuagenarian child.

As of October 29 -- that's almost six weeks after the storm -- one in three PR residents don't have potable water. People are dying from waterborne illnesses. Texas and Florida voted for Dolt45; PR couldn't. You do the math. Republicans just hate poor people of color, l guess.

While you are preaching to the choir about Marshall and Chase, and the judiciary would be under control if we had retained the original COTUS, a lot of problems are structural, and are outside the Court's jurisdiction. The argument that Wyoming should have as many Senators as California cannot in equity be defended, and there is no compelling argument for retaining that arrangement. (l don't think that a more equitable Electoral College vote distribution would have affected the 2016 election, fwiw.) And to have 5,000,000 Americans without the right to vote? To even state the case is to refute it.

You want a Constitution that never existed. So do your opponents. (l'm actually arguing with a gun-grabber on another blog, who champions a LC because it gets him to where HE wants to be.) Although he 'went out of the case' to do so, Marshall made a compelling argument (it is pure dictum) for judicial review, and l can't say that that wasn't what the Framers had in mind. Robert "Brutus" Yates pointed out the flaw in the system, and his observations were prescient.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 14, 2017 at 23:34:27 pm

Trevor does go on -- so much so that it's now impossible to reply directly to him.

Nevertheless, he wrote (at 7:30 p.m.), "And to have 5,000,000 Americans without the right to vote?" So it's worth pointing out that Puerto Rico residents don't pay federal income taxes.

read full comment
Image of Paul137
Paul137
on November 15, 2017 at 00:53:09 am

There are plenty of flaws in COTUS that are directly the consequence of the design of 1787. Some of them:
-- Territorially based representatiton all but ensures the prevalence of special interests in Congress. Almost by definition the representative must appeal to local interest to be reelected. Madison was right to think that it is harder for special interests, or factions, to dominate a small district, but he was dead wrong in thinking that simply getting a bunch of men elected by the factions in their local district in the same place to magically respond to a more general (that is, more broad) interest. By this time, of course, proportional representation had not been invented yet. The difference between them is a matter of degree, only that in a proportional representation system the coalitions that have to be built are much broader. Not to mention that manipulating electoral districts are tools for factions to hold on to power.
-- The Constitution contains a lacuna on how officers of the executive are to be removed. Finally, the political settlement was the only the president can remove officers, even though he has to seek Senate approval for some of them. This eliminates the responsibility of ministers. This is an often neglected component of the growth of the administrative state. The complaint is that Congress can't or won't control the administrative agencies. Well, with responsible government Congress could control those who control the administrative agencies. It is curious that at the time COTUS was written, responsible government was being developed in Britain and in the Continent. Responsibility, however, can be massively destabilizing. This is also a factor in the perennial problem of the US government: when Congress and the President are from different parties, there is no way to overcome gridlock. If Congress passes a bill, the president vetoes it. If the President implements a policy that the Congress doesn't like, then they can only implement extreme measures like defunding to stop it. If the Congress passes a law and the President signs it, he can then simply ignore it, and Congress has no remedy. And neither Congress nor the President can go to the Supreme Court directly to slolve the impasse.

read full comment
Image of Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa Pérez
Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa Pérez
on November 15, 2017 at 02:54:12 am

"The Constitution contains a lacuna on how officers of the executive are to be removed."

But Article II, Section 4 reads "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

That makes it sound like cabinet members can be impeached, but I don't know if it's happened.

(Article III judges have certainly been impeached and removed.)

Ah, Wikipedia says that cabinet members and members of Congress **can** be impeached. There's one example of each: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States#History

read full comment
Image of Paul137
Paul137
on November 15, 2017 at 05:27:39 am

Paul, residents of DC do ... and where is THElR voice in Congress? "Taxation Without Representation" is emblazoned on their license plates.

The weird status of P.R. and the District is just one of the many problematic aspects of COTUS, which is my point.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 15, 2017 at 05:52:03 am

Perhaps we are all just missing JMP's point. As Paul points out, Section 4 of Article ll empowers Congress to impeach anyone of consequence for certain specified acts of malfeasance, but that appears to be beside his point--which seems to be more about the bureaucracy, and the scourge of gridlock:

"The complaint is that Congress can’t or won’t control the administrative agencies. Well, with responsible government Congress could control those who control the administrative agencies."

Both Madison and Washington fretted about the problem of faction, and not without cause. Two grotesque examples of the problem are in the news: the Roy Moore kerfluffle, and this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/world/europe/embassy-moscow-kgb.html

That's right, folks! The American taxpayers are paying the KGB to provide security for the American embassy. lf there was any doubt that Comrade Trumpsky was Putin's baitch, that should finally be put to rest.

There is precedent for expelling Roy Moore (see Bob Packwood), should he be elected. But if not for the problem of faction, the Republican Party would be having kittens about now. Can you imagine what Hannity would be saying if HRC had hired one of Putin's goons?

lt's all about the Republican kleptocrats who got bribes from the plutocrats delivering value in the form of tax cuts for their bribes. Keeping the majority. COTUS is a failure, and we're watching it unravel before our eyes.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 15, 2017 at 10:04:35 am

Dawg:

Yep! We can argue all we want about "structural", LC vs Originalist, "factions, etc - BUT the real problem is that we are RULED by a bunch of flaming douchebags who in their wisdom deem it proper to hire a firm with clear attachments (affections for, perhaps) a foreign intelligence service to assure "security" at our Embassy.

Can we not at long last admit of the insanity that has overtaken our leadership?

Now as for laying the blame ofr this upon The Trumpster, that is another matter. I doubt he was even aware of it?
Recall the old adage: Personnel is policy. There are still some 25,000 *expert* employees of the State department. Would you be willing to wager on their political / ideological affiliation?

BTW: Surely, you are not contesting "judicial review" Clearly, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, Wilson, etc etc recognized this. No, the problem is the "expanding" of COTUS by the progeny of Marshall and his pre-SCOTUS preference for a more Hamiltonian view of Federal power.

I still blame the type-setter - Ha!

As for "gridlock" - Bring it on!!!!
I would think that you would also feel that liberty is secure in inverse proportion to the amount of legislation passed by the Legislative.

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 15, 2017 at 10:56:01 am

Dawg:

BTW:

"And to have 5,000,000 Americans without the right to vote?”"

Well, they HAVE had the opportunity to VOTE on whether they shall become part of the Union.
Guess what - they voted against it. To whom, then, should their inability to vote be attributed.

Then again, neither may residents of American Samoa vote; or for that matter, (except of course in Minnesota) may Somalis vote - Ha!

As for Puerto Ricans voting in Federal elections - the answer is No AND yes. Should a Puerto rican have residency in any of the 50 states he or she may, and do (as evidenced by my own boyhood precinct in NYC) vote in Federal elections, Indeed a neighbor of mine with residences in both SanJuan and NYC regularly voted in elections.

As for DC, you do recognize that the intent was to deny to the Legislative the ability to provide preferential treatment for the Federal District and to not allow the District to assume ascendancy over other regions / States of the Union.
Well, then again, maybe you are right - as the District does seem to have achieved ascendancy over all and has now spread its *ascendancy over its suburbs (Virginia is BLUE).

Lastly:

As for my "right-wing" bias, have to decline the *honor* but would gladly afford you the leftist version.
RE: The Trumpster and Puerto Rico hurricane. Are you not aware, or unwilling to recognize that the Municipal Union workers in Puerto Rico, under the contro, as always, of the Democrat Party REFUSED to unload needed supplies and further failed to distribute said supplies to the populace.
Seems Puerto rico is akin to New Orleans, where the corrupt DEMOCRAT Mayor, Ray Nagin, having improperly and corruptly disbursed Federal funds for the construction, maintenance and repair of the dikes to his cronies then went on to blame the sitting President.

You got the government you got in New Orleans and Puerto Rico - not the government you imagine!

seeya

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 15, 2017 at 12:45:07 pm

gabe: "Well, they HAVE had the opportunity to VOTE on whether they shall become part of the Union.
Guess what – they voted against it. "

Per CNN, 6/12/17:

"Puerto Rico on Sunday overwhelmingly voted for statehood. But Congress, the only body that can approve new states, will ultimately decide whether the status of the US commonwealth changes.

Ninety-seven percent of the votes in the nonbinding referendum favored statehood, an increase over the results of a 2012 referendum, official results from the State Electoral Commission show. It was the fifth such vote on statehood."

l know that conservatives are anti-science, but anti-math???

gabe: "To whom, then, should their inability to vote be attributed."

The Republican Congress.

gabe: " Are you not aware, or unwilling to recognize that the Municipal Union workers in Puerto Rico, under the contro, as always, of the Democrat Party REFUSED to unload needed supplies"

Fake news. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/oct/03/blog-posting/fake-news-posts-blame-puerto-ricos-truck-drivers-r/ Our indigenous conservative fraudsters put the Russians to shame.

gabe: "where the corrupt DEMOCRAT Mayor, Ray Nagin, having improperly and corruptly disbursed Federal funds for the construction, maintenance and repair of the dikes to his cronies"

From Bloomberg:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency is investigating a controversial $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid, a no-bid award that has spotlighted the agency’s poor record of policing similar grants and drawn scrutiny from its watchdog.

Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC, a Montana-based company that had just two full-time employees prior to beginning its work in Puerto Rico, was selected last week by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to lead the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s hurricane-ravaged electrical grid with the expectation that the money would come from FEMA.

“FEMA has significant concerns with how PREPA procured this contract and has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable,” FEMA said in a statement Friday, noting that it hasn’t reimbursed Puerto Rico yet for the contract and that it can withhold payments procurement procedures aren’t followed."

You were saying?

The two constants in our government are corruption and incompetence. And here, the blood here is plainly on Republican hands.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 15, 2017 at 13:53:09 pm

Yes, I WAS saying:

Your link on the "fake news" is not so clear cut as you would wish it to appear.
MOREOVER, even if *essentially* correct in some elements, THERE IS NO CONCEIVABLE WAY that one may equate the peculiar difficulties associated with the transportation infrastructure of Puerto Rico and the (admittedly somewhat understandable) reluctance of the Puerto Rican Teamsters to not leave their own families and transport critical supplies with a deliberate effort to MURDER citizens of Puerto Rico by the Trumpster (which you alleged).

As for New Orleans, I AM STILL SAYING IT. Democrat corruption was the root cause of the problem which was then exacerbated by criminal behavior on the part of the citizenry AND the Police.

As for the Whitefish contract, I agree 100%. Fire the SOB who awarded the contract.

Now here is another one: In Houston, FEMA is refusing to provide funds to Churches that were damaged / destroyed by the hurricane. This strikes me as a valid example of the Federal government doing actual damage, unlike the Puerto Rican situation where exigent circumstances are a major contributing factor.
BTW: A Texas court has ordered FEMA to not discriminate against religious institutions in disbursement of relief funds.

As for Statehood:

Turnout was only TWENTY THREE PERCENT -
TRY DOING THE MATH ON THAT!

Previous referendum on statehood have varied with a high of 61% favoring statehood - then again, turnout was less than 60 %.

So what does it all mean?

Not too dissimilar from the recent *vote* in Catalonia, perhaps; where when push came to shove, the *support* for independence (statehood, in this instance) disappeared.

So I AM STILL SAYING! -Ha!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 15, 2017 at 13:58:11 pm

Everything Russia is on Trump's radar. :)

Curious that you should take this tack after five years of Benghazi. HRC wasn't in the chain of command, but did that stop Trey Gowdy?

Guaranteed that no one in the bureaucracy bought off on that one.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 15, 2017 at 14:19:03 pm

Actually, Hillary was not only in the chain of command, she actually set events in play and this was to be her GRAND geo-political strategy - supply weapons to the Syrians elements AND it was she who concocted the scheme to get rid of the now nuetered MadDog of the Desert
AND
when requests for additional security were made, she and her underlings denied them on multiple occasions.

And the BIG difference between the Fat Lady in the State Department Tent(dress) was that these were her adoring acolytes. Can you, in all honesty, say that the 25,000 plus Staties are devotees of The Trumpster?

C'mon, man!!!! No it seems to me that the Staties have been calling "audibles" since the orange=haired One has come in proximity to the Swamp known as Foggy Bottom.

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 15, 2017 at 15:19:07 pm

The executive can do a lot of harm without committing high crimes or misdemeanors. I'm saying that cabinet members and the President should be removed for policy mistakes and even disagreements. Otherwise Congressional policy and Executive policy can differ fundamentally, resulting in gridlock, and neither policy being fully implemented. Unlike, for example, in the Westminster system. The framers simply modified the the colonial frame of government, apparently oblivious (even Hamilton, with his so-called British Plan) to the kind of system that was emerging in Britain at the same time.

read full comment
Image of Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa
Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa
on November 15, 2017 at 16:03:59 pm

Well "the kind of system that was emerging in Britain at the same time" MADE parliament SUPREME and it is one of the factors that exacerbated the then growing discontent felt by the Colonists with British rule. Indeed, a number of Colonists, in letters to the King, implored the Crown to *restrain* Parliament and North.

Also:

1) Gridlock is NOT an inherent fault in the system - it is an integral part of it and as one who appreciates the potential for mischief among the Legislative, I will repeat: "The security of liberty is inversely proportional to the amount of *LAW* passed by the Legislative." Britain's "unwritten" constitution is constantly modified by the Parliament as Parliament is Supreme. I'll take my written COTUS, with all it's real and imagined defects, thank you.

2) As to proportional representation, is that not the *function* of the House of Representatives wherein the amount of representation is a function of population. Recall that this is a *Republic* not a democracy; thus, it may be fair to say that we have a proportionally represented Republic.

3) And as for "territorially based representation, let us not forget that we are considering a Federation of STATES, each of which were supposed to have an equal footing, as States, in the Federation. Such a structure was intended to limit both the power of the Central Government and the potential coalition of some "factious" collection of other States.
Unfortunately, some "experts" in the new (19th century, German school) *science* of government deemed it proper to propose and pass the 17th Amendment thereby radically changing the relation of States to the Federal Government and ultimately leading to the "nationalization of politics (and political parties.

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 15, 2017 at 16:55:04 pm

Fake news, from sociopathic RW nut-jobs with an agenda. Next thing you know, you'll be apologizing for Roy Moore.

How do you solve the problem? 1-800-NAT-GUARD. Fly in 200 people to drive the gas trucks, so that locals can get to work. How hard was that?

How do you solve the clean water problem? First, you tell people to collect water in bottles before the storm hits. Then, 1-800-GET-BRlTA. Distribute supplies before the storm hits if possible--send tuna and Spam to the sturdiest facilities.

And why didn't Trump waive the Jones Act?

Given the ease with which these problems should have been solved, and given the well-known racial animus in the conservative elements of our society, the residents' suspicion that TrumpCo's neglect was intentional --and therefore, murderous--is not without foundation.

As for the statehood referendum, the fifth utterly futile straw poll isn't going to draw the same interest as a Presidential election (55% in 2016). By Trump standards, the earlier one was a landslide.

Color me unimpressed by your false claims. l'm just calling you out for making them.

Gabe: "As for New Orleans, I AM STILL SAYING IT. Democrat corruption was the root cause of the problem"

This is your problem: You're too damn tribal! Conservatives walk on water, but libs cavort with Satan himself! (And they think the same of you.)

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 15, 2017 at 17:36:56 pm

Well, if the status quo is good policy, then I agree. But otherwise, no.

The only branch of government that supposedly represents the States is the senate, where all States have equal representation, and where the senators are elected by the people of the entire State, not a congressional district. Further, there are many federal parliamentary systems.

The problem is that the strong separation of powers is not the same as the mixed constitution: that is, monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. That was meant so that each part of the society of the ancien régime had a say in how the government worked. But, the strong separation of powers doesn't work quite well with the traditional executive, legislative and judicial division of powers, especially in the executive-legislative relationship. For one, supposedly the legislative sets policy and the executive carries it out, and the judiciary watches that individual rights are not violated and to resolve disputes that arise from the policy set by the legislative. But with a strong separation of powers, you have a legislature that in theory sets policy, but has no ability to make sure that the executive sticks to it. And, it gives the executive a lot of discretion in executing policy, and even in making it, thus violating as central principle of the rule of law. This is not normally a problem, because the executive is elected on more or less on a basis representative of the whole country. But when they differ (for many reasons, but mostly because the executive has a longer term than the House of Representatives), neither side is able to carry out the policy that they want.

In a parliamentary system this is not the case because the government is really a committee of the legislature called the Cabinet, elected and maintained in power by a substantial coalition.

read full comment
Image of Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa Pérez
Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa Pérez
on November 15, 2017 at 17:43:31 pm

l'm an expert cynic, but l am also a stickler for evidence. Whereas l suspect strongly that Syria was all about a gas pipeline to Europe--and that Bonnie Parker Clinton had her finger somewhere in that pie--operations was somewhat beneath the Empress. Gowdy found a comedy of errors, but there was no pantsuit in sight.

As for requests for security, there you go again. Tribal. No $$$, no security. That one was on Republicans.

gabe: "Can you, in all honesty, say that the 25,000 plus Staties are devotees of The Trumpster?"

Foreign service people, military officers, and line prosecutors are supposed to be apolitical, and generally are. They don't care who's driving the bus. A lot of what they do is help little guys like us when we are abroad. An ambassadorship is what you get if you are a big-dollar donor. Ambassadorships are quite literally for sale. Big difference.

No way that the pros would have done this. Too much history with Russia (see our Embassy during Reagan, and what went wrong).

When you say "Deep State," l think lke's "Military-lndustrial Complex." The arms and munitions dealers, who foment strife for profit. Erik (DeVos) Prince of Blackwater. Dick Cheney of Halliburton. They loved HRC, and seem to be doing just fine under Trump.

Don't conflate the ClA with State.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 15, 2017 at 19:20:44 pm

Errhh!

The Trumpster did waive the jones Act.

The Air Force colonel cited in your link also indicated that troops were going to be brought in to deliver supplies - yet, by the very evidence in your link, this will not in and of itself eliminate the problem as the roads and communication systems were destroyed.

But Yeah, since you say so, We may as well impeach that murdering Trumpster - ON YOUR SAY SO!!!

BTW: As for a "landslide" ask Billy Boy about his 43% vote tally. Ya got the election system you got, brudda - not one that produces the outcome you desire.
Oh, yeah that's right - this must be one of those *fundamental defects of COTUS" you are always ranting about.

And what is this "racial animus" again.

You, even one so *brilliant* as you cannot simply posit such a defect in a whole segment of the populace and expect others to accept it.
Then again, given the frequency of the charge, and the ever expanding list of "competing" ideas, attributes and behaviors which are deemed by LW moralists such as you, I have come to view this particular pejorative as a welcome "salutation - one which indicates a willingness to observe the world as it is not as some social justice warrior imagines it to be (or needs it to be in order to sustain their jaundiced view of humanity and their OWN moral superiority) ; as an unwillingness to follow the herd AND as a recognition that not all members of certain groups are so monolithic in disposition, attitude and behavior as are those members of the *Evangelizing" Left.

So thank you for the compliment!!!! -Ha!

Now, I am going to check the TV listings to see if Ancient Aliens are on. I could use a dose of the "plasticity of plausibility" that is on a somewhat higher order than discussing events / ideas with you.

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 15, 2017 at 19:28:52 pm

" No $$$, no security. That one was on Republicans."

How in the world do you arrive at that. The Dems (Obamaites and Clintonistas) were in power - not the dopey GOP! And no one made requests to the GOP committees in congress for the "specific" enhamcement of security in Libya - the requests were made to TheHillaryBeasts underlings at State and State Diplomatic Security Services who went ahead and hired local "militia types" to provide security. This in spite of the fact that The HillaryBeast had ample klnowledge, or suspicion that security was not up to par, having been previously informed that her planned "processional coronation" tour was going to have to be changed.

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 16, 2017 at 01:32:28 am

In other words, Trevor does not like an election, so he's dressing up a fake and politically motivated quack declaration on Trump's sanity as a pretense.

read full comment
Image of Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson
on November 16, 2017 at 10:03:32 am

gabe: "The Trumpster did waive the jones Act."

....but not until more that a week after the fact. You do it before the storm hits, organizing essential supplies before landfall.

gabe: "as the roads and communication systems were destroyed."

A satphone costs about as much as an l-phone. $100K, and you have essential communications for the entire island (one for each of the 78 municipalities, and more for the larger ones).

What do you do? Plan ahead. 72 hours beforehand, they knew there was a high likelihood of a direct hit. The satphones could have been distributed in a day, and fuel could have been diverted there in a week. There is no excuse for the anemic response.

gabe: "We may as well impeach that murdering Trumpster – ON YOUR SAY SO!!!"

Spectacular incompetence is not a ground for impeachment and besides, all l have said is that the PRs who say it have a point.

gabe: "As for a “landslide” ask Billy Boy about his 43% vote tally. "

What about it? You claimed that the PRs didn't want statehood, and l pointed out that they voted support for it by a landslide (61-39). That was the equivalent of Nixon over McGovern, Dude! Bottom line, your "facts" are wrong.

gabe: "And what is this “racial animus” again."

Those were just "fine people" in Charlottesville....

gabe: "You, even one so *brilliant* as you cannot simply posit such a defect in a whole segment of the populace and expect others to accept it."

You seem to have no problem imputing a similar array of defects to every Democrat. Kind-of my point. You have some pretty foul people in your coalition.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 16, 2017 at 12:07:51 pm

"You seem to have no problem imputing a similar array of defects to every Democrat. Kind-of my point. You have some pretty foul people in your coalition."

Just to set the record straight:

I am like that old dog that doesn't bite - But he does BITE BACK!!!

FINALLY:

"but not until more that a week after the fact. You do it before the storm hits, organizing essential supplies before landfall. "

Yep, that assumes that The Trumpster, not to mention all the vaunted climatologists ACTUALLY knew how devastating the storm would be! Benefits of hindsight and all that!

Oops, wait a minute (says Homer simpson) I forgot, of course, you *EXPERTS*, by virtue of your credentials PRESUME to have sufficient knowledge to predict the intensity of storms, the damage likely to result, etc - Oh yeah, JUST LIKE YOUR ABILITY, as experts cum experts, have been so successful managing / predicting economic and social outcomes.

Nope, this old dog will go back and rely upon his own nose!!!!

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 16, 2017 at 13:01:04 pm

gabe: "Yep, that assumes that The Trumpster, not to mention all the vaunted climatologists ACTUALLY knew how devastating the storm would be!"

They DlD know with high probability that it would be a Cat 4/5 and it would be a direct hit at least 3-4 days out. We've gotten pretty good at that.

The satphones should have been in place before hurricane season. Solar power stations sufficient to power them are portable. Fuel tankers do ~400 mi./day; if one left NYC two days before, it would have been there 1-2 days after.

gabe: "I forgot, of course, you *EXPERTS*, by virtue of your credentials PRESUME to have sufficient knowledge to predict the intensity of storms, the damage likely to result, etc"

They got scoreboard.

gabe: "JUST LIKE YOUR ABILITY, as experts cum experts, have been so successful managing / predicting economic and social outcomes."

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/360444-trump-economic-adviser-stunned-after-few-ceos-say-they-will-invest-more-if-tax Proof that the tax bill won't stimulate growth.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 16, 2017 at 13:07:58 pm

Bob Corker. Besides, the remedy would be "President Pence." Ergo, the election would not be overturned, but a mentally-ill incompetent who may well be the target of blackmail by a hostile foreign power would be removed from a position where he has already done irreparable damage.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 16, 2017 at 16:25:40 pm

"... mentally-ill incompetent who may well be the target of blackmail by a hostile foreign power would be removed from a position...

Wait a minute, The Hillary Beast (who meets all of the criteria listed in your mini-jeremiad) DID NOT win the election; thus, there is no need to remove her Fat Corrupt BUTT from anywhere - other than some Wall Street Bankers or *Canadian* (i.e. russian) proxy's LAP.

Get a grip on yourself, dog. Rome HAS NOT spoken even if you believe that your self-imprimatur is sufficient.

read full comment
Image of gabe
gabe
on November 16, 2017 at 17:02:48 pm

ln your world, the Rs are always on the side of the angels. Tribalism. You are what Madison and Washington warned us about.

Have you ever held elective office, gabe? You only have so much money, and you have to prioritize. Niggard Republicans forced State to do so, and Ambassador Stevens died as a result.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase
on November 16, 2017 at 17:05:29 pm

Good LORD, gabe! No one is going to put Bonnie Parker Clinton in the White House! A President Pence is a lot less likely to have us end up glowing than Dolt45.

read full comment
Image of Trevor Chase
Trevor Chase

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.

Related

electors

Wanted: Faithful Electors

While there is considerable flexibility for evolution in the presidential selection system, that flexibility has its limits—the electors must elect.