This is the first essay delineating one of the most dangerous attacks on our Republican form of government. Please take the time to go over it. There will be subsequent postings here that will probe the intentions of our forefathers in founding our Republic and historical accounts of their efforts and debates. This essay was written with the State of Idaho in mind, but it applies to our entire Federal experiment.
The sovereignty of the State of Idaho is being attacked by a well coordinated, long running conspiracy of those opposed to republican government. The problem is that after the next census, the legislature of Idaho will be totally dominated by Ada and Canyon counties, for that is where half the population will be. Under the one man, one vote principle, Idaho will be divided into the State of Ada-Canyon and the State of Idaho. Idaho is an area of vast diversity, will these two tiny counties be capable of administrating the woes of the rest of Idaho? I think not. Idaho spent the better part of a century dividing itself into unique political subdivisions – our counties.
The legislature is the place where we iron out statewide, not local concerns. In our republican form of government, local concerns are solved by local government. The Legislature is where those counties meet to address problems that mutually concern them all. Idaho is not a couple of tiny little counties, but the vast area of 44 counties. We need the wisdom of the people and their outlook and their many diverse points of view for the Legislature to solve state wide problems. The Legislature should consist of representatives of that diversity, duly elected people that come from the political subdivisions that this state has created, the counties.
In order for the Legislature to get a true picture on how to govern our state, every county should be represented in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives. In the Legislature, every county should have one Senator, to represent the county, and at least one Representative to reflect the views of the people of that county. Of course, more populace counties should have more representatives, but the legislature should not be so one sided that those with no experience with unique local problems are allowed to dictate what course should be followed. That is why the Idaho Legislature is bi-cameral.
The essence of our freedom, republican government , is being swept away by words and deeds.
What is the problem?
We are being subtly conditioned by the words we use and the deeds we do. We daily pledge allegiance “to the republic for which it stands,” but when the media, federal bureaucrats and many of us are speaking of our government, we call it a democracy. It is not! In a democracy every one votes on every issue. Who, I ask, is informed enough to cast an intelligent vote on every subject?
In a republic, we elect from among us those whom we best trust to represent our problems and views. In a republic, the elected representative has a very large resource from which he can make his decisions – his constituency.
In a democracy, the single voter generally receives his information from a zealot. A democracy has been described as two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for supper. After all, the outcome would be fair wouldn’t it? Majority rules doesn’t it? How does this contrast with a Republic? Republican government is incremental and it is bottom up government. A decision of “what’s for supper” is a local and personal decision. It should be made by those who are going to participate. A sheep lives in a pasture with a large majority of other sheep and with no wolves. It is a place where wolves, in peaceful society, would find it tough going to find a meal. Where the sheep lives the vote would be for a grass supper. The supper that best serves the local community. In democracy it is simply majority rule. Republican government exists for the protection of the minority. The biggest minority in a free society is the individual, you or me.
In the evolution of government, individuals banded together face to face to solve problems of community. We have, over the years, determined that in order to reach viable governance, a majority vote rules. But history shows us that this is only fair when those voting have met face to face, to solve problems of mutual concern.
In Christian America, the individual is governed by the morality of the “thou shalt nots” of the Bible and is entreated to ethics by the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Since the individual is morally and ethically constrained by his religious beliefs, local problems should be solved by the local community, those closest to the problem.
The republican government evolved from the individual banding with his neighbor, and then his community, like the church, the grange, the cemetery district, the irrigation district, the highway district, the chamber of commerce, the social organizations, the township school, the voting precinct, the county government, and then the state government and ultimately the Federal government. All of this to solve problems of mutual concern. And always in small enough groups so that the protagonists could meet face to face to debate the issues which were then decided by majority vote.
As the problems became more complex and specialized, the individual, his neighbor and community began to send surrogates, representatives of their views to meetings of grander venue. This system is where democracy worked – solving problems of mutual concern face to face by majority vote, a system contrasted by the elimination of judgments of committees, kings, magistrates or judges.
When we were in school, we were taught that in antiquity there was a great democracy, the Athenian Democracy, where government became fair and the masses were valued. The simple historical truth is that this “great democracy” was not fair, and demonstrably often grossly unjust – the Athenian Democracy failed. The simple fact is that the citizens were most often uninformed of or incompetent to evaluate the issues before them, so they turned to people who would inform them – the demagogues.
The Greek word “demos” can mean the mass or crowd or group or be translated “mob.” A gogue is a teacher. The word demagogue can mean mob teacher. Who were these teachers? The ancient informers, the demagogues Demosthenes and Cleon come to mind, always eloquent, often devious with hidden agendas who could and did sway the assembly (the ecclesia) into tragic decisions. In our modern setting I hear people say “I vote for the man.” Do these people know “the man?” Not likely. They are being demagogued by the modern demagogues; the candidates, the TV, the radio and the news media all of whom give a distorted view of “the Man.”
A great social and political commentator on America, Alexander de Tocqueville, was quoted as saying that the American democracy will last until it finds that it can vote itself largess, which even the casual observer can see we are now doing.
Because of this, throughout all history all the democracies that I know about have failed, because those voting far outnumbered the doers in the society. The “have-nots” looted the haves until nobody had anything. Isn’t one of the Ten Commandments “thou shalt not covet?”
Our forefathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were masters of comparative government , especially of the governments of the past. Nowhere in their documents will you find reference to democracy. Our forefathers were all republicans.
James Madison, the father of the Constitution, hurried home from the convention in Philadelphia and showed the proposed Constitution to the great republican, Patrick Henry. Henry was appalled. He said, “Mr. Madison, you have given us a greater tyranny than that which we have just defeated.”
Madison believed that the Federal government was constrained to only the powers given it, those delineated in Article 1 Section 8 of the document. Henry believed that the minions of the new government had to be much further constrained: people in power tend to usurp more power – he insisted upon a “Bill of Rights,” which he eventually got. Henry’s particular contribution to the Bill was the Tenth Amendment.” (those powers not delegated … are reserved to the States and the People)
Jefferson alluded to the God given Rights of Man in the Declaration of Independence when he said ” … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights among these are, Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness …”
We were taught in school that our rights come from the “Bill of Rights,” but Jefferson had said eleven years before that our rights are God given.
The “Bill of Rights” was added to the Constitution to keep the minions of the Federal government from tinkering with our God given rights. Do you believe that we would have the Right to Bear Arms if the Federal government was not constrained by the Bill? Do you realize that the successful American republic, now 230 years old, is only the place in history where the individual (you and I) ever accounted for anything? – the only place in history where common men are free. Do you understand that all other forms of government, including democracies, are tyrannies to a lesser or greater extent?
Are you free when the government can compel you to do an arbitrary bidding? Has it come to you that in a majority vote, often very nearly half the people are offended, disappointed, disillusioned, angry or hurt, mentally or physically? Majority vote brings a decision to a problem of mutual concern, but when a majority vote foists an unwanted arbitrary decision upon the minority (like “Obama Care”), it is tyranny – it is called “tyranny of the majority” a recurring malady of democracies and the death of freedom.
In socialism, you are ruled, you are compelled, by committee. If a committee or the vote of a large democracy makes a law or edict that attacks your core beliefs, your ethics or your morality, you are helpless to do other than their bidding – you are not free, you are just a cipher.
The freedom that you cherish is impossible under socialism, state democracy, dictatorship or any other tyranny. In many ways socialism is more tyrannical than a dictatorship or a malevolent monarch – you can assassinate a dictator or a king – how do you assassinate a committee?
From the beginnings of the Republic there have been people who despised it. They have been working tirelessly ever since to overthrow our revolution. These people believe themselves to be the religious , cultural, intellectual, environmental or educational superiors to the rabble of the citizenry, yes, you and I. They are the minions of socialism and statism. They believe that they should be in control.
In the nineteenth century these people were avowed socialists who venerated Marxism. They failed. So around 1900 they changed their name to “Progressives.” They have been on a winning track ever since.
They started winning with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act and with the 16th, 17th and later, the 18th Amendments. But the real problems began when the thinkers in the Franklin Roosevelt administration found a chink in the Constitution, the Supreme Court. They reasoned that if they could seat five Progressive justices who would rule in their favor, the rest would be history.
In the first quarter of the 20th Century law schools all over the US began teaching young attorneys that if the Supreme Court rules, that is it – there is no Constitutional check on the Court, but they were wrong, they forgot or overlooked that which Patrick Henry had seen coming long before and had checked with the 10th Amendment.
One the first of their liberal decisions that the Roosevelt court made was the infamous Wickard v. Filburn decision that found the wheat that a farmer grew to feed the pig that he ate, none of which ever left his farm was in Interstate Commerce. This decision made a mockery of the power of Congress to “regulate commerce among the States.” (I stress the word “among.”) This decision is the key to the US government’s ability to expand its Statist claws into all corners of American life, for after all isn’t everything, in the final analysis, in Interstate Commerce? But this horrible decision was hard to mimic in other cases, so the Progressive justices had to invent another gimmick – the “living Constitution.”
This new ploy supposedly allowed them to discern the things that they believe that the founders meant to say in the Constitution or forgot to say or would say nowadays if they had the ability. In other words the Progressive Justices can read between the lines of the document and read into the Constitution anything or everything. Thomas Jefferson supposedly said that he had read between the lines of the Constitution and had seen nothing. This is where the prescience of Patrick Henry should come in. If the issue is not addressed or written down in the Constitution it is the obligation, the patriotic duty, of state legislators in order to protect the sovereignty of their State to reject it – to Nullify it.
In 1964 the Supreme Court in Reynolds v. Sims read between the lines of the 14th Amendment, under the Equal Protection Clause, and found that the Federal Courts could reapportion, contrary to state Constitutions and law, the makeup of state Legislatures on the basis of population alone. The Court totally ignored the 10th Amendment and Article 4 Section 4 that guarantees Republican government in the States. Of course, the lawyers in the State Legislatures, schooled as they were, rolled over and played dead in front of this tyrannical tragedy. After all, the Court had ruled. ( I seriously doubt if most lawyers even knew of or if they did, had ever seriously contemplated the 10th Amendment) Anyway, this decision destroyed the mini-republics, the representation of the small counties in state legislatures.
In order to get legislative districts of equal population the legislative districts of our state became the most grotesque gerrymanders it would be possible to imagine. The districts range in size from a few blocks of a major city, maybe 3 or 4 miles across to one district comprising four counties where the representative must drive 550 miles to canvass it.
If you have read on beyond Jefferson’s “unalienable” clause in the Declaration of Independence, he gives the justifications and reasons for splitting with the tyranny coming from the King and Britain. You should pick up your handy copy and read on. Jefferson railed against edicts coming from an unknowing, uncaring distant place; he pointed out that “he has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of new Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance”; he details a plethora of other tyrannies that bear startling similarities to what the Federal government now has usurped from our Constitution to oppress us. There is no doubt that we, in the present, are being tyrannized by the Federal government.
Where does the Federal government that admitted Idaho to the union “on an equal footing with the original 13 States,” get the power to administer nearly 70% of the land area of this State. What Constitutional right does the Federal government have to introduce the grey wolf into our state; or close vast areas of our range land to protect a tiny snail, or to protect sage hens, or to protect a wild flower, or a giant earthworm, or to close vast areas of forest from logging to protect a tiny owl, or to declare a patch of chaparral or a home site a wetland, or charge a man who shot a grizzly bear in his own front yard as a criminal; the list goes on and on.
Probably the most egregious tyranny, once again from the “hidden meaning” of the 14th Amendment, is the negation of the meaning of marriage that is enshrined in the Constitution of the State of Idaho. And don’t forget the woman’s right to abortion decision came from the same place.
These issues are reserved to the State under the 10th Amendment, they are issues for Idahoans to resolve, not a Deputy Assistant to a Deputy Assistant Under Secretary of Agriculture or the head of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Department of Justice or the Director of the Bureau of Land Management or any other distant tyrant.
And most assuredly, the plain text of Article 4 Section 4, along with the stark meaning of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution trumps the “hidden meaning ” of the “Equal Protection Clause” of the Constitution as to reapportionment. It is inconceivable that the States would have ratified the 14th Amendment if it had meant that that adoption gave the Federal government the right to apportion State Legislatures. As a matter of fact, the well documented Congressional debates over the adoption of the amendment directly contradict the conclusion reached by the Supreme Court. The dissenting opinion in the Reynolds v. Sims case by justice John Marshall Harlan II exhaustively documents those debates. The States have been screwed by the Progressives on the Supreme Court and the cowardly Legislature of our State has let them get away with it.
So what do we do?
The Legislature of the State of Idaho must certify a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution that mandates that each county is represented by one Senator and at least one Representative and that no representative can represent more than one county. This amendment can then be put on the ballot for the approval of the People of Idaho. If the people of Idaho approve the amendment, then it is law in this State and the Legislature will be constituted that way.
Of course, there will be push back and threats from the Federal government and surely there will be lawsuits filed in this state and elsewhere, but the Legislature should issue a proclamation that our State is asserting its rights under the Constitution of the United States to contravene of an illegal decision handed down by the US Supreme Court.
I would suppose that the Supreme Court would, among other things, file something like an injunction to stop our elections, but the people of Idaho should stand steadfast, because the power to do what the Court did is not granted under the powers of the government in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.
An illegal law is no law at all, it is unenforceable.
The people of Idaho can be assured that they have the Constitutional right to do this and that have, like our founders, if they do it, preserved the Republic.
To fail is to give ourselves over to tyranny.
As an aside and as an alternative to the present grotesque gerrymandering of the Idaho political system I would offer a much simpler and fairer system of reapportionment that shows how ludicrously ridiculous our present system is.
I propose that we take the center point under the rotunda of the state capital building as the datum for reapportionment. From this point, beginning with a line radiating out due west to the state line, we extend other straight lines radiating from the same point until we have delineated a pie shaped wheel with 35 segments. With modern computer science, it would be a simple matter to adjust the amount of arc in each segment so that the population in each would be absolutely equal.
From each segment we would elect one senator and two representatives. This would quickly and easily meet the one man, one vote mandate of the Federal judiciary, without the cries of unfairness that have so stultified the process in the past. The cost of the project would be a few of days of computer time. Of course, the wedges would present a problem for polling places, but that could be overcome by instituting “voting by mail.”
An added benefit would be that the huge urban districts would be much less centralized and therefore more diverse. Of course the voters in Boundary County would be paired with a few constituents in Boise City. Should a person in Boise care to run for office in this district, he would be only slightly more inconvenienced than some people now running in one of the gerrymanders – and this particular scenario is an outlier. Additionally, people in Ada and Canyon Counties would have a chance to experience some of the problems of rural communities. It might seem that this system does not recognize Idaho’s subdivisions, the counties. But I would remind you that the whole thrust of the “one man, one vote” ploy, benignly stated in the majority decision of Reynolds v. Sims, was to disenfranchise the rural counties. Several Idaho counties have not had representation in the Legislature for forty or fifty years.
This system would ameliorate the tyranny of large voter blocks in dense urban areas. If you are a devotee of pure democracy this system should be ideal. And the system that I have just described is without doubt fairer than the recurring 10 year gerrymandering that now passes for fair.