The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Is it time for change?


If so, what form should that change take?

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door


It's how we evolve, socially and culturally. We look at the generation before us and see the mistakes and vow to correct them. It's only a problem when we fail to see the good things that they did, when we dismiss all because of the flaws. And there will always be flaws. We are human, after all.

When the Colonies rose against the Crown in the mid-1700's, America was not united. The people were pretty much divided into thirds; for, against, unable (or unwilling) to choose. But you do not need a majority to start a revolution. Just 10% can do that and keep it going for many years. To win, you need at least 20%. These are my numbers and they are rough ones. I am sure someone, somewhere, has made a study of it for a doctorate thesis and will be able to refute them. But I do not think by much.

I would say the first 50 years of the existence of the US were turmoil. A government was established but it was too weak and the state governments too strong. The individual states feared too strong a central government. So the Constitution was written, dividing the government into three parts, placing restrictions on each division's power, and protecting the rights of individuals. The last was an afterthought and are the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. Contrary to the beliefs of some, no rights were granted to the people by that document. The rights were simply documented and ruled inviolate.

But people are forgetful. And they are also willing to cede some freedom for security. We do it as individuals all the time. It's called compromise. The problem is that there are always those who seek power and they will take advantage of that willingness. They will also take advantage of apathy, laziness, indifference, fear, and passion.

We have arrived at, I believe, a crucial point in our history. A point where a sufficient number of us desire change. A significant number want a complete change. There is great danger in that. There is that old warning... Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I believe that when we say we want change, we really mean we want the bad things fixed and the good things encouraged. The problem is what is "good" and what is "bad" may be interchangeable in so many people's eyes.

That desire for change is what brought about the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation was insufficient to hold the states together. The states squabbled among themselves.
Chaos loomed. Change was needed. A convention was called, delegates were sent from each state. Much arguing ensued, debates over the extent of power of the central government, the individual rights of states, and the Articles of Confederation were scrapped. Out of that convention, which was called to fix the "bad" things and enhance the "good" things, an entirely new government was formed. A different form of government than any in the history of civilization.

It was not perfect. What is? It left slavery in place and it did not grant universal suffrage, for examples. But it was also designed to change itself through the will of the people. It took almost one hundred years to end slavery and that change almost destroyed the nation. It would be another 60 years before women were granted the right to vote in all elections.

But it had the power to do that; to change itself. That is, I think, its greatest strength and its most exploitable weakness. We have made many changes in the last 100 or so years. Rapid and radical changes. We are in the midst of yet more radical changes. The arguments for change always cite danger in not changing, exploit fears of the future, exploit crises that are real or manufactured.

The people cannot remain complacent in all this. They must become aware, they must become involved... even if only to vote intelligently. By vote intelligently, I mean not vote based on name recognition or party affiliation. The biggest threat to this nation is the career politician.

13 comments:

Bagman and Butler said...

The problem for all politicians -- not just the career ones -- is that, even if they mean well, they need to stay in office in order to get anything done. This means they have try and please everyone. This is impossible, of course. And trying to do it turns all of them into idiots.

Gregory said...

the last line holds so much truth... once elected it is the job of the career politician to get re-elected

T.C. said...

Do you advocate one-term politicians?

Other than that, you have one mean goatee.

Douglas said...

B&B, If most politicians were one or two termers, they would learn to get done what needs to be done in the time they have.

Gregory, yes, the focus is lost and the campaign becomes the job.

T.C., I don't oppose them.

zeusiswatching said...

All systems are corruptible. We are always at the mercy of ourselves and our willingness to look the other way when we should be doing something to reverse the corruption.

Douglas said...

Zeus, it has been my observation (and I am not alone) that we love our corrupt pol while disliking those of our neighbors. Nothing will really begin to change until we end our own corruption.

Steven said...

The Bill of Rights wasn't an afterthought. The framers fought about this issue, too - the Constitution was written with individuals' rights being sacrosanct...some of the framers thought that was good enough, while others said that the most important rights need to be stated explicitly. The argument against that? If they codified a set of rights, then things would degrade to the point where the state would ONLY recognize those rights, and ignore the whole "people should have as much liberty as possible as long as it doesn't infringe on others" ideal.

So, anyway, the faction that wanted the BoR got it, and we are definitely to the point that those are pretty much the only rights recognized by the state. So, +1 to the wise men who knew that would happen.

As for source, the Federalist Papers - but don't remember who was arguing what.

Steven said...

Oh, guess I could have researched for 2 minutes before posting.

Federalist No. 84

Douglas said...

Steven, that wasn't the only thing I got somewhat wrong. It was only 10 years under the Articles. I contend that the BoR was an afterthought. As you said, the drafters of the Constitution did not see the need for the BoR. It was only after the Constitution was written that the BoR were proposed. I was taught that the BoR was promised in order to pass the Constitution and gain ratification by the states. The Amendments of the BoR were not all ratified until 1791.

Douglas said...

Zeus, it has been my observation (and I am not alone) that we love our corrupt pol while disliking those of our neighbors. Nothing will really begin to change until we end our own corruption.

Douglas said...

B&B, If most politicians were one or two termers, they would learn to get done what needs to be done in the time they have.

Gregory, yes, the focus is lost and the campaign becomes the job.

T.C., I don't oppose them.

Bagman and Butler said...

The problem for all politicians -- not just the career ones -- is that, even if they mean well, they need to stay in office in order to get anything done. This means they have try and please everyone. This is impossible, of course. And trying to do it turns all of them into idiots.

T.C. said...

Do you advocate one-term politicians?

Other than that, you have one mean goatee.