New Year, New You

….or something like that…

“…Yet, I confess, I see great difficulty of drawing forth a good representation. What, for example, will be the inducements for gentlemen of fortune and abilities to leave their houses and business to attend annually and long? It cannot be the wages; for these, I presume, must be small. Will not the power, therefore, be thrown into the hands of the demagogue or middling politician…”

~ Alexander Hamilton, from Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Taken by the Late Hon Robert Yates, Chief Justice of the State of New York, and One of the Delegates from That State to the Said Convention

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Ah power…the constant draw for such men of mediocre intellect into governance. In fact, this primary election season would no doubt have every single Founding Father rolling over in their grave. Simply the sheer earth-shattering stupidity and demagoguery would have them rising up and weeping for the nation they helped to create. Because this sort of thing was exactly what they hoped to avoid ( today, we won’t even begin to go into the fact the primaries were something they never intended us to have either, not a two-party system ). But oh how they feared the common people would elect men who should be anywhere but in the Presidency or the Congress or the Legislature. Because let’s face it, even in the colonial era, the Founders knew that a lot of people could be pretty ignorant. And it was the ignorance of the masses they were downright afraid of.

Almost our entire government structure is therefore a lovely balancing act. One that worries about making sure the people have power, while simultaneously making sure they don’t have too much power because the people can be so shockingly easy to manipulate and populism can be a plague. For the same reasons, all the other checks and balances between legislative, executive, and judiciary were put into place. And while in the modern era, we’re desperately trying to un-do all these checks and balances and everything good our Founders did. They are at least still holding back enough of the great breach that the country hasn’t completely destroyed itself just yet. But giving ear to those who spew inane, spectacularly ignorant rhetoric, much less electing them, that’s the real danger our ENTIRE system is meant to avoid. Because that is the downfall of a system built to defend the rights of the minority from the whims of the majority. Those people are the real end of our great nation.
Res Publica

Documentation without Representation

Alexander Hamilton, from Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Taken by the Late Hon Robert Yates, Chief Justice of the State of New York, and One of the Delegates from That State to the Said Convention

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/yates.asp
etext courtesy of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School

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