United Discontent

The Iron Triangle

It’s our job to expose the power structures that lie within government that need separating and checking.  Ideally government’s job is to seperate and keep power in check, but regardless the citizenry should be constantly on guard for any such structures.  Now, what is bewildering is what was once a barnacle becomes something permanent.  Such is the case for the Iron Triangle.  Wikipedia describes it as  “In United States politics, the iron triangle is a term used by political scientists to describe the policy-making relationship among the congressional committees, the bureaucracy (executive) (sometimes called “government agencies“), andinterest groups.”  Political scientists have a special word for it

The Iron Triangle

This Iron Triangle Is A Commonly Accepted Power Structure In Government

It wouldn’t take very much to show that our founding fathers would be against such interests.

Here is a great example from CATO (where the cato institute got it’s name from) an ANTI-FEDERALIST from November 22nd 1787, written to New York,  his 5th paper publish.

“And here I cannot help remarking, that inexplicitness seems to pervade this whole political fabric: certainty in political compacts, which Mr. Coke calls the mother and nurse of repose and quietness, the want of which induced men to engage in political society, has ever been held by a wise and free people as essential to their security; as, on the one hand it fixes barriers which the ambitious and tyrannically disposed magistrate dare not overleap, and on the other, becomes a wall of safety to the community — otherwise stipulations between the governors and governed are nugatory; and you might as well deposit the important powers of legislation and execution in one or a few and permit them to govern according to their disposition and will; but the world is too full of examples, which prove that to live by one man’s will became the cause of all men’s misery. Before the existence of express political compacts it was reasonably implied that the magistrate should govern with wisdom and Justice, but mere implication was too feeble to restrain the unbridled ambition of a bad man, or afford security against negligence, cruelty, or any other defect of mind. It is alledged that the opinions and manners of the people of America, are capable to resist and prevent an extension of prerogative or oppression; but you must recollect that opinion and manners are mutable, and may not always be a permanent obstruction against the encroachments of government; that the progress of a commercial society begets luxury, the parent of inequality, the foe to virtue, and the enemy to restraint; and that ambition and voluptuousness aided by flattery, will teach magistrates, where limits are not explicitly fixed to have separate and distinct interests from the people, besides it will not be denied that government assimilates the manners and opinions of the community to it. Therefore, a general presumption that rulers will govern well is not a sufficient security. — You are then under a sacred obligation to provide for the safety of your posterity, and would you now basely desert their interests, when by a small share of prudence you may transmit to them a beautiful political patrimony, that will prevent the necessity of their travelling through seas of blood to obtain that, which your wisdom might have secured: — It is a duty you owe likewise to your own reputation, for you have a great name to lose; you are characterised as cautious, prudent and jealous in politics; whence is it therefore, that you are about to precipitate yourselves into a sea of uncertainty, and adopt a system so vague, and which has discarded so many of your valuable rights. —

Is it because you do not believe that an American can be a tyrant? If this be the case you rest on a weak basis; Americans are like other men in similar situations, when the manners and opinions of the community are changed by the causes I mentioned before, and your political compact inexplicit, your posterity will find that great power connected with ambition, luxury, and flattery, will as readily produce a Caesar, Caligula, Nero, and Domitian in America, as the same causes did in the Roman empire.”

Also a great example of the use of a paper to mildly influence people.     The constitution is nice too

Section. 9.

Clause 4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. (See Note 7)

Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

Clause 6: No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

Clause 7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

Clause 8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

Who has time to read this kind of nonsense except for crazy people like me? 

Anywhoo,  We see many instances of such a triangle.  The problem is how to stop it.  Some people think the solution is honest men,  but have you ever seen a show where there is a president who always talks to like 4-5 people in black suits?  Usually the cabinet, but sometimes some other form of council, like game of thrones where it is a eunic and a mastere.  The point is, there lies certain people in power that do not change, despite who may be in the seat of the throne.  These people cannot simply be routed out by election alone, what to do with such people?  Many of these people we can identify by name, they are probably one of the 14 thousand of the elite.  Or more likely a position we do not even know.

Any Ideas?  We need them more than ever!  FRESH ONES!


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