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Response to shagsak (Reply #63)

Fri May 11, 2012, 06:46 PM

67. Hm. But isn't the point of federalism and republicanism (small f and r, respectively) ->

 

precisely to act as a balance of power for the excesses of democracy, so that the rights of the few might not be trampled by the whims of the majority?

In fact, if I'm not mistaken the above describes in brief the whole point of the executive branch in the U.S.'s still novel system of gov't - to ensure that we retain the character of a secular democratic republic into perpetuity. Which is to say, to moderate the rapid changes of direction of which pure democracy (aka "mob rule" or "ancient Athens" finds itself prey. In the case of the USA, that means the Feds trump the States, or the Civil War was for nothing. It wasn't that long ago, if you're idea of history isn't limited to the pruriently recent. The Ute tribe of Colorado was expelled in 1897. New Mexico wouldn't be a state for while, yet, and it wasn't alone of our 50 stars.

I would go so far as to say, and not be alone in saying so, that Israel is the closest thing the world has seen to pure democracy since Athens. It is that very directness of democratic processes that leave it subject to the whims of the mob. One day, 2-state OK. Another day, 2-state go to sheol, and there's nothing "leadership" can do except plead with the religious leaders for mercy. That's how small-d democracy can translate into big-T Theocracy. An eventuality which I think we can all agree we want to avoid.

To sum: this experiment, this secular democratic republic, takes a long view on intervening in the evolution of social norms. It's unfortunate, but it's also more responsive than either a pure democracy, or an ideologically pure republic. It HAS given us, on the plus side, say the civil rights movement.

But what does it say about us as a nation that we NEEDED the civil rights movement? That we HAD slavery, or COMMITTED genocide against Native Americans? All past tense, inescapable black marks on our collective permanent record, if we are, as I am, white men.

It's not an easy thing. We deal with it with greater aplomb than the right wing, but we aren't perfect. How can we improve?

I struggle with this, and apparently it is a spiritual struggle, for here I am waxing on about it in the Religion group at DU. I choose you all. I choose this. I choose to engage, even if sometimes I'm an ass and you are, too. I choose to remain, to intrude, to continue.

And that's why "man makes laws... just sayin'" can go fuck itself sideways, my friend. It truly can, and you and I know it. The Man has shown his hand - the Leviathan's laws cannot be enforced. That's what's meant by "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." His power is subject to our consent.

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Hm. But isn't the point of federalism and republicanism (small f and r, respectively) ->
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