Home > Political Philosophy and Current Events > Building a Better Constitution: How to Combat Tyranny, Bureaucratic Drift, and Deviation from Original Intent

Building a Better Constitution: How to Combat Tyranny, Bureaucratic Drift, and Deviation from Original Intent

I have grown very concerned at how far this federal Union of States has strayed from its original purpose, how an alliance of sovereign nations designed to raise an army to defend a continent has become a burgeoning country of its own, how the menace Abraham Lincoln declared martial law on his own citizens and conquered free lands, thus changing patriotic pride from that of “the United States are” to “the United States is”, how the statist tyrants Roosevelt and Johnson demolished the free economy which drives the world’s motor and replaced it with pseudo-socialist muck and bureaucratic tiers of wastefulness, how the federal reserve manipulates the value of real currency, and therefore real labor, thus playing the role of puppeteer to the puppets known as our lives, and how the bloated national system of regulations designed to “ensure our safety” contributes the bulk of all violent crimes every year by oppressing our rights to arms, drugs, and any other possessions we so choose.

None of the laws that made all of these actions possible are permitted under the Constitution of the United States of America. Congress was granted certain specific powers, and it was said very clearly (twice, in fact) that all other powers of regulation were to be left to the sovereign states and localities of the union. So it would be an ineffective strategy at this point to try to stop socialized medicine or interventionist warfare by crying out, “It is unconstitutional!” since we can clearly see that no one cares, and that no one has cared for a very long time, about the Constitution. Instead, we should consider how a constitution could be designed so that people would care, so that they would have to care, even centuries after the founders passed on. It is important to understand how the Union’s Constitution failed at keeping the federal government in line, and what must be done to prevent tyranny and drift from taking over.

It should come as no surprise to the rational-minded reader that the first step towards preventing drift is to remove the incentive for it to occur. In the United States of America, this incentive comes in the form of elections. To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, “No one who wants to be president should be allowed to do so.” This is because there are only two reasons why a person would want to run for any high political office. One is that the candidate wishes to gain money or fame by becoming a political figure, enjoying the spotlight in the news media and public eye and reaping the fruits of excessive salaries and protection services. The other is that the candidate hopes to improve the lives of citizens or strengthen the nation by implementing reform policies that he believes will be beneficial. Both of these are terrible for the Union. Clearly a desire for money or fame will lead a president, legislator, or governor to take actions which are attention-seeking and destructive, not to mention the simple fact that a nation being led around by a bunch of greedy low-lifes is reprehensible in itself. But even more horrifying (and much more common) is the reformist complex, the president who thinks he can help people by implementing policies and changing the structure of the government. These people are passionate about morals, which means that they have a vision in their minds for how the world ‘ought to work’, and they will invariably use their political position to impose on individual liberties to achieve that end. Every enthusiastic, passionate leader with ideals has a concept of a better world, a way that people ought to do things, a system that ought to be in place. The problem is the government has no right to be implementing systems. The means of production, the types of communication, the forms of religion and spirituality, the allocation of resources, these are all things that people with ‘a vision’ try to alter when they get into the government, and that is why a person who wants political power must never be given it.

The vastly preferable alternative to elections is one that has been proposed only rarely by even the most daring extremists, and has never been tried on any large scale in history. Federal offices must be filled by random compulsory assignment. Each county must compile a list of names of all able-bodied, adult non-felons in its area, and randomly choose a name for each position that opens in the federal government (legislators, executives, and judiciaries alike). All of these names must then be sent to Washington so that one person may be randomly selected for each office. The citizens selected must then be forced under penalty of execution to fulfill their respective terms of service to the Union.

The responsibilities of these citizens would be exactly as stated in the Constitution, namely, to uphold and administer the law of the land. Since these are not people who campaigned on some virtuous crusade for reform, they would be able to function much like a jury in a criminal trial, coming to approximately objective decisions based on the letter of the law, not their personal values or ideals about how other people should behave. By having a large legislature composed of totally random choices, a fair representation of actual American people is much easier to achieve. No more would we be plagued by elitist Congressman whose salaries prior to becoming politicians were already five times our own. No more would the president always be a neo-religious figurehead with ‘a vision’ and no sympathy for reality. Would there be idiots in Congress? Yes. But they would be idiots in proper proportion with the total population (about 10%) as opposed to our current proportion (about 95%).

Under a system of compulsory random assignment, no one would have any incentive to appeal to the public eye, there would be no bias towards selecting wealthy and visionary leaders, there would be no ‘middle-aged middle class heterosexual Christian white male who loves his daughter and drives a Chevy’ bonus for Congressmen, and there would be almost no chance of serving a second term. They would simply be ordinary people, obligated by chance to fulfill what ought to be relatively simple administrative tasks. But then that leads to our next point, making government jobs performable by every man.

The federal government rightly serves only to maintain and command an army and occasionally mediate inter-state disputes, as might occur if a felon in one state escapes to another. The only task of the appointed bureaucrats, then, would be to hire the appropriate personnel, namely generals, and raise and allocate funding as the international threat level demands. The perfect constitution must somehow protect against the Congress attempting to undertake any tasks not directly relevant to the aforementioned functions. The way to do this is by explicitly stressing certain very key aspects of legislature:

All bills involving spending must have an explicit purpose. That is to say, the legislature cannot constitutionally approve any allocation of funds via any piece of legislation that does not at its outset specify the project to which funds will be directed and the intent of that project. Then all allocation therein must directly and demonstrably pertain to that project. Legislators who introduce bills which are determined by the courts to obscure the goals of their funding would be decommissioned and have their salaries retroactively revoked. For as long as any law remains in effect, its allocation of funding would be liable to be charged at any time if reason is found to believe that the funding does not actually direct serve the project outlined at the beginning of the bill.

All bills of any kind must have a particular objective outlined in a clause no longer than eighty words. Bills must consist entirely of this objective clause and pages of definitions and administrative procedures. All text that is not included in the eighty words must be defining terms or processes; no mandate or regulation may be present in any bill except in the first eighty words. In this way, we avoid bills that have dubious functions, or that are simply too long to read and understand.

All bureaucrats must be allowed to be charged at any time with violation of their duty to uphold the Constitution, specifically and directly, if it is discovered that they have attempted to obscure the purpose of a bill, alter the original intent of the Constitution, or otherwise avoid transparency in the legal process. If they are convicted of intentionally corrupting transparency, they must be decommissioned and have their salaries retroactively revoked. To prevent people from trying to get decommissioned to avoid serving their terms, an additional penalty of a year in jail should be appended to those who are convicted within the first year of their terms.

All taxes must be collected in the form of gold. Yes, gold. Money must not be drawn from our incomes before we see it. It must not be silently stolen away in sales taxes. The federal government, whenever it needs funding for a program, must send a bill to each American household with a specific weight of gold. That bill must include the name of the act for which it is allocated, and must include the eighty-word objective clause on the back side of the page. That way, every American will know exactly what his money is being spent on.

The bottom line here is pretty simple. Eliminate elections, eliminate the bias towards corrupt government. Make budgeting transparent, and make taxation explicit. Hold Congressmen responsible for trying to conceal their motives. When this happens, people will be able to serve their rightful function as watchdogs and maintain freedom and Constitutionality in these United States of America.

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  1. Alarmed
    August 13, 2009 at 10:03 PM

    Reformist ideals come from humans’ sympathy and empathy, and neither one is legitimate by objectivity. Your perfect world would be worse than a Randian dystopia. Extremism is always wrong in an imperfect existence.

  2. Diogenes
    August 13, 2009 at 10:30 PM

    Woah… Hold on. You’re tired of executives and Congress changing the structure of the government and infringing on the peoples’ rights so to rectify this you are going to change the structure of the government and infringe on the peoples’ rights? Such a radical reform would be changing more to the structure of the government than all the good-willed bumblers that ran for presidency could combined. Also, by forcing people to serve their country as a politician, you are arguably infringing upon one of the very basic rights all citizens are guaranteed – the pursuit of happiness.

    Being a politician is a full-time commitment. One must read through hundreds of bills and discuss with other politicians in order to collectively reach a decision on each; the process can take several weeks. By drafting in the “average” citizen(I put ‘average’ in quotes because I still am skeptical that somewhere along the line race, religion, etc. wouldn’t be factored in) all you will wind up with is undedicated, apathetic people who, generally, have little knowledge of our political system and a slight grudge for having their careers put on hold in order to do mandatory government work.

    I firmly believe that this solution would leave us with Jimmy Carters in every office. The entire government would be dysfunctional as a whole, and if an emergency ever did happen we would lack the organization to fabricate a solid plan of action. I would also like to point out that one of the major advantages of having re-elections is that every politician has an incentive to listen to the people(with whom sovereignty ideally lies in a republic). By reducing the chances of serving multiple terms, people will be less likely to care about the will of the people.

    Another point, you said in your entry: “if it is discovered that they have attempted to obscure the purpose of a bill, alter the original intent of the Constitution, or otherwise avoid transparency in the legal process. If they are convicted of intentionally corrupting transparency, they must be decommissioned and have their salaries retroactively revoked.” This kind of negative incentive will only further decrease the productivity of such a Congress, as people will not want chance having their salaries retroactivily revoked after having the careers clobbered by Washington. Thus, the individuals in this Congress would be less likely to add anything useful to a bill, for fear of it being judged an obstruction to transparency.

    I personally believe that the problem doesn’t lie with our Constitution, but rather with the government. The federal government has become much too powerful, so powerful that indeed they have forgotten who holds the sovereignty in this country. They forget that it is they who work for use, that at the end of the day, WE pay THEM to do their job. If we can only revert back to the original plan for our government, many of our problems will disappear.

    The largest hope I have now is that the Republicans will reform and step up to go back to the forefathers’ plan, or that another group, say the Libertarians(Ron Paul had a surprisingly large network of support this previous election) step up and become the new primary conservative party. This new party could stop things before Obama gets another term and start the healing process. Popularity for Obama is plummeting rapidly, perhaps public opinion will be so poor at the end of his term that the Democrats, in turn, will be forced to reform, and we can move forward to a productive political system.

    As usual, your post was very intriguing, offering several thought-provoking ideas. Keep up the good work, Jason 🙂

    • Diogenes
      August 14, 2009 at 4:57 PM

      http://www.theonion.com/content/video/human_rights_group_campaigns_to

      This link is relevant to my previous post….

    • Danna
      August 14, 2009 at 5:38 PM

      “…all you will wind up with is undedicated, apathetic people who, generally, have little knowledge of our political system and a slight grudge for having their careers put on hold in order to do mandatory government work.”

      Slight grudge? I imagine it would be a major inconvenience for most people, to be honest. Two thumbs up to your response, Diogenes.

      Yes, Jason, the government is way out of control, but I agree with Diogenes that your ideas aren’t the way to fix things. I would uproot my family and move to Canada before submitting to a mandatory term of office.

  3. Alarmed
    August 14, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

    1: Healthcare
    2: military protection from invasion, social liberalism, and choice of profession
    3:necessities are met, wants are up to you.

    Are you sure we were not intended to be somewhat socialist?

    I choose to say our nation was not formed by perfect people, and the ideas were flawed.

  4. DrD
    September 17, 2009 at 7:35 PM

    With regard to the statement that “making government jobs performable by every man” would be required, I would object. I say this because in 1985, my husband and I moved from the Midwest (Minnesota) to the Northeast (Maryland). In Maryland, we discovered an area of the country where the traits of slovenliness and stupidity seemed to co-occur on a regular basis. So regular, in fact, that even routine Saturday errands would routinely require inordinate amounts of time and typically produced so many errors, they would spill over into Sunday. The simple act of grocery shopping became something to fear and over time produced PTSD symptoms.
    This lethal mixture of slovenliness and stupidity affected not only line staff in virtually all forms of business and industry, but also supervisors. More importantly, while such blending could also be found in Minnesota, it required considerable time and effort, as it was quite rare (e.g., it was “the exception to the rule”). This seemed in part, because when it occurred, it was consequated (punished). In Maryland, the mixture dominated (e.g., it was “the norm”). It did not seem to be related to race or gender. In many cases, it occurred independent of SES and as a result, it too was consequated, but in a positive way (it was reinforced).
    To “pluck” individuals for government jobs at random (where those from our East Coast experience would have an equal chance of being selected as those from the Midwest) would I fear cripple our nation’s government even further (e.g., could government administrative tasks be reduced to a level even simpler than that required to fill a grocery bag in less than 20 minutes or combine an order for a burger with one for fries in less than an hour?).
    Having left that realm where slovenliness + stupidity were “the norm” approximately 10 years ago, my husband and I were able to regain our balance, living now in a region where friendliness, pride in one’s work, and a basic level of intelligence are the norm.
    In the last 8 months, however, I have grown very concerned because it has become clear the virus is no longer contained in isolated geographic “pockets” of the country. Instead, it appears to be spreading across the country. Last month, watching TV broadcasts of town hall meetings across the US, I saw that dangerous combination of slovenliness and stupidity in citizens from all walks of life. Before my eyes, person after person could be seen shouting, lacking even basic manners, focused only on him/herself and nothing or no one else; and clearly lacking (or unwilling to use) the cognitive abilities needed to understand important (and not all THAT complicated) issues and concerns facing this country. Reason, logic, and basic decency were no where to be found.
    Thus, I fear your plan no longer has practical application because this lethal virus seems to have spread and would make selection of random citizens a dangerous proposition. Until the virus is eradicated or at least better contained, I think we might need to have an alternate plan (perhaps one that would cover the next 8 years).
    Such a plan was in fact put into practice in November, 2008, when we elected a new President. Looking back, it is clear that our previous President (in all likelihood) had contracted the lethal virus, as he showed signs of both slovenliness and stupidity (and the symptoms grew more severe over his term in office). While Americans who likely were also infected found comfort and consolation with this person in office (e.g., they felt he was just like them; the guy next door; someone to have a beer with), the consequences of having someone with those traits in a position of power have put our nation in its current state of economic crisis.
    But the new President shows no evidence of either trait from the virulent combo. Instead, he appears hardworking (driven, in fact), he takes pride in his work, and most importantly, he is considerably brighter than most Americans. While some feel threatened by this (and those infected lack the ability or drive to even process and understand this), to paraphrase Jon Stewart – Don’t we want a President who is smarter and brighter than we are — smarter than our next door neighbor???
    I applaud the thought you put into the plan above – but sadly I must say I think it is no longer practical to consider its implementation.
    For more information, check out this posting:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-smart-president_b_253996.html

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