United Discontent

Cato VI 1787 Section on the Growth of Tyranny and Incumbency

A key theme to Anti-Federalist thought which I enjoy is the relation of the people to it’s government.  People usually think of this in terms of how one would build a machine differently, as if I want one thats fast and light and  you want one that is slow but stable.   Most people debate in this fashion, my machine versus yours.  A key theme to anti-federalist thought is that the role of the government is that its function is different, and the role of the people is to constantly impeach and keep the power in check.  In the United States of America today we consider it a privelege to get to select the candidates to vote for, but the real privelege, lies in the ability to remove people from the seat of power once they are in power, not let them be re-elected.   Yet we see time and time and again, incumbency even though only 12 percent of the United States is happy with Congress over 90 percent receive incumbency, just like the 27 percent pay raise for CEO’s in 2010 of fortune 500 S and P companies with only .2 percent of directors of companies for stocks lose their jobs even with a volatile market, we do not punish people by not re-electing them or taking them out of power.  We don’t want to be so impolite.  Cato, in this brilliant essay, talks about the eventual corruption of power under one national consolidated government:

In every civilized community, even in those of the most democratic kind, there are principles which lead to an aristocracy—these are superior talents, fortunes, and public employments. But in free governments, the influence of the two former is resisted by the equality of the laws, and the latter by the frequency of elections, and the chance that every one has in sharing in public business; but when this natural and artificial eminence is assisted by principles interwoven in this government—when the senate, so important a branch of the legislature, is so far removed from the people, as to have little or no connexion with them; when their duration in office is such as to have the resemblance to perpetuity, when they are connected with the executive, by the appointment of all officers, and also, to become a judiciary for the trial of officers of their own appointments: added to all this, when none but men of opulence will hold a seat, what is there left to resist and repel this host of influence and power. Will the feeble efforts of the house of representatives, in whom your security ought to subsist, consisting of about seventy-three, be able to hold the balance against them, when, from the fewness of the number in this house, the senate will have in their power to poison even a majority of that body by douceurs of office for themselves or friends. From causes like this both Montesquieu and Hume have predicted the decline of the British government into that of an absolute one; but the liberties of this country, it is probable if this system is adopted, will be strangled in their birth; for whenever the executive and senate can destroy the independence of the majority in the house of representatives then where is your security?—They are so intimately connected, that their interests will be one and the same; and will the slow increase of numbers be able to afford a repelling principle? but you are told to adopt this government first, and you will always be able to alter it afterwards; this would be first submitting to be slaves and then taking care of your liberty; and when your chains are on, then to act like freemen.” – Cato

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George Mason Quote 1787

Another Pre-Constituion Ratification Signing Prophecy from George Mason, Ironically trying to stop Mason infleunced aristocracy

“This government will set out a moderate aristocracy: it is at present impossible to foresee whether it will, in its operation, produce a monarchy, or a corrupt, tyrannical aristocracy; it will most probably vibrate some years between the two, and then terminate in the one or the other.”