Obligations of Government

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3 comments posted
A slightly different approach....

That's an interesting synopsis, but maybe a little too heavy on the feudal influences.

The Constitution is a contract. In its most ideal conception, it empowers a central government to provided for the common defense of the people and establish civil order which is intended to allow the maximum possible liberty to the people consenting to be governed. At the outset, we have agreed to act as if we are all equal.

Yes, there were many restrictions added in the Continental Congress. Liberty is scary. You have to have a certain amount of faith in people to let them have influence over your life. A lot of chekcs and balances were put in place to prevent the concentration of power. (These aren't working too well right now.)

Because of economic and social realities, Citizenship was initially limited to men, white men, land owners. Abilgail Adams and others plead the case for women. Early abolitionists plead the case for against slavery and for blacks. The relation of Native Americans was considered. Left to Jefferson, all would have been included, but compromises had to be made to attain ratification. Better to begin imperfectly than never at all. The intention was always there that as people became better educated, rights would be properly extended to everyone. Native Americans only gained the right to vote in 1948, so the process is ongoing. Hopefully, the ERA is next.

Because the people were largely uneducated in colonial times, the Electoral College was set up to assure that popular vote would be considered, but the final decision would be made by well-educated and informed people. It is an elitist and paternalistic attitude, but lack of education was a very real factor then. We aren't using the electoral college as it was intended, anyway, so it should be abolished. Public education and advanced communication technology renders it completely obsolete.

We're in the grips of a Military-Industrial complex now that has created a corporate aristocracy. It is impossible to run for office in America if you don't have money. They keep the cost of elections in the hands of the wealthy so that wealth and power continue to consolidate. As their power grew, they allowed a quite egalitarian voting process to devolve into a two party system, that was originally prevented by design. Both parties are equally beholden to the same Corporate Aristocracy, and "access" is parsed out by a few very wealthy families. We've become Jefferson's nightmare.

What we're going through now is a kind of birth pain. It's time for another revolution, and it's up to us. It doesn't require violence - just information, solidarity and technology. The internet will be the great equalizer if we can keep it free. We have to stop playing their game. That means demanding the best from our public schools and students. It means refusing to fight wars to line the pockets of General Dynamics and Bell Helicopter. It means we can't let them steal elections with impunity. Creating new institutions where corrupt ones now stand. It means not being afraid to name a Nazi when we see one.

So who wants a Revolution?! Anybody?

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 4 March 2005 - 11:58pm
Good points

I agree with your points. Yes modern societies have taken the king out of the equation, but look at the Middle East and elsewhere and see the feudal institutions with which we deal with on a daily basis where "royal" families run things. The world's most extensive oil reserves are run by a family that the US kowtows to. Their citizens crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center on 9/11 and we attack Iraq that was not involved. But Iraq attacked Kuwait and threatened the Saudi's. We are dealing with "royal" families whose wealth is inestimable. These are the oil cartel people who brought the US and the West to its knees.

We have gone to Canossa.

My point is that "strict constructionist" are harking back to feudal influences and corporations are feudal institutions, not matter how much glass and how high the skyscrapers they hide in.

Law and government, and even the church/Papacy, come out of this tradition in a continuous evolution. The argument that government has not social obligations in terms of education, jobs, or health care is a feudal model and, indeed, you are right Morgaine--out of step with the modern world--which is my point to the far right and their view of social programs and their argument that these are not obligations of the government. A feudal view.

So it is why I emphasized it in my post.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 5 March 2005 - 5:29am
Gotta nit-pic

This is nothing to do with feminism... so basically I agree with you on all this stuff but like the matriachist said, some of that feudal history stuff sounds like a just-so story.

And maybe it doesn't matter.... but sometimes the root of things do.

Take medieval kings/barons/war lords/princes and other satraps. At first they were not much more than brigands riding around extorting food and other things from the local farmers.

Is that actually true?

Then the war lord got sucked into handling local disputes. Not just other war lords, but locals got into some nasty stuff and this had to be handled by someone with "the muscle."

Is that really the order of events?

soon the war lord was performing justice and convening elders who recalled the local (village level) traditional "laws," fines, and customs, and even swear to the character of the people before the bench and, in effect, the "jury" came into being.

That one I know is incorrect.

For example the Dane's had a system of jurisprudence that while democratic in the extreme involved no witnesses, no jury, no prosecution. Danelaw. Everyone gathered round and voted on the guilt of the party. Thanes counted 3 votes.

Anyway I guess it matter little except sometimes history gives you a different perspective on things and that can be invaluable.

DavidByron's picture
Posted by DavidByron on 5 March 2005 - 10:40pm