Saturday, July 01, 2006


America’s founding fathers (a bunch of intelligent white men) knew that tyranny of a majority was just as dangerous as that of a dictator. In devising the separate branches of government, they took different sources of political power and instituted procedures that required one to check over the other. While they saw popular movements as a source of good, they also knew that the public could just as easily support harmful policies.

The Constitution of the United States is riddled with hurdles to protect against the mood swings of public sentiment. Examples include a two-third majority vote to amend the Constitution, an electoral college to elect the president, lifetime judicial appointments, and longer terms for Senators. Clearly, they saw that 51 percent doesn’t count as to what differentiates right from wrong.

In our own local government, our own forefathers (a bunch of clever Samoan men) found an ingenious way to protect against the majority in their own way. By using our own Samoan democratic institutions, we elect Senators through our district councils making our culture, customs and traditions relevant in local government.

What has been the effect of this? We have Senators who can stand up for the unpopular thing at unpopular times. We have Senators who have no fear of retaliation at the unreliable ballot box for unpopular investigations into the ASG and its many employees who are a large voting bloc by the way.

The House by comparison has proven to be a rubber stamp for the administration. On top of that, those who were involved in prior investigations were voted out of office last election.

I may not agree with the Senate’s many wrong positions on prices, taxes and immigration, but the greater danger is to have Senators who always want to do the popular thing, which is not always the right thing.

As Mel Gibson eloquently stated in his motion picture The Patriot: "Why would I want to exchange one tyrant a thousand miles away for a thousand tyrants a mile away?"


At 1:51 AM , Blogger Stuart K. Hayashi said...

There are many ways of getting a ruler into office. A dynastic monarch inherits the crown from his father. Some officials win their position according to a popular vote. The U.S. President's victory is determined by the electoral college.

All methods of selecting a leader are equally wretched when the highest law of the land does not put procedures into place that adequately protect lives and private property from government regulations and violent criminals alike.

I wouldn't mind it at all if a popular majority elected the President of the United States, provided that the U.S. Constitution had an amendment forbidding governmental regulation of all consensual transactions among consenting adults that have not been demonstrated in court to have nonconsensually initiated physical force against the life or private property of a sapient third party.

If the government's power is adequately restrained, then it shouldn't matter as much how these bozos get their jobs.

In fact, I would support having a constitutional monarchy in exchange for the ratification of the pro-"laissez-faire" amendment I have proposed.

At 6:19 AM , Blogger Talifaitasi Satele said...

I agree. I'm hoping to provoke a response in the editorial pages in Samoa News as many have written in support of popular elections for Senators. It seems that the only yardstick those proponents seem to use to measure what government should or should not do is what the 51% majority thinks it ought to do. We are a "democracy" they say. We are not a democracy. We are a republic where democracy is a tool to run the government not society. Hopefully someone asks, "So how do we know the difference between right or wrong?" And of course, an elucidation of individual rights and all of your valid points would be forthcoming.


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