Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Rumination

I have been steeped in thought for some time. I have been thinking about the Civil War and its affects and the Federalist papers (don't ask, i have an odd mind) lately and have come up with a conclusion: the defeat of the south has extinguished the check on government power intended by Madison and the founders.

It is normally apostate to say anything negative about the south losing the civil war but stick with me here. In Federalist 10 Madison wrote about faction. He basically explained his plan to stop the hording masses (factions) from using the democratic system to take peoples private property. He first explains that we cannot extinguish the fire that is faction. Faction is to democracy what air is to fire (rough paraphrase). To outlaw faction would be to enact a cure that would be worse than the disease (rough paraphrase again). His plan was instead to widely distribute power. Have each state act as a sovereign entity with all powers not enumerated to the federal government. Therefore, the competing interests of sovereign states would prevent a metaphorically huddled mass of poor voters with pitchforks.

This seems to make a lot of sense. But there is one problem: states are no longer sovereign entities. Not since the Civil War. States lost sovereignty rights at Appomattox court house. North and South.

So if states are no longer sovereign then what is preventing the masses armed with pitchforks and ballots from seizing the property of the minority? Not much. We have seen the power of the federal government increase in all areas of life and there seems to be no brake peddle. The middle class acted as the stopper in the past but they have realized that there is no need to get screwed. Just join the party. Get tax cuts without sacrificing government insurance or things like corporate welfare, and continue to demand more services.

I guess Madison's brilliant architecture couldn't last forever.

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