United Discontent

George Mason’s Objections to the Constitution

Objections to This Constitution of Government

“There is no Declaration of Rights, and the laws of the general government being paramount to the laws and constitution of the several States, the Declarations of Rights in the separate States are no security. Nor are the people secured even in the enjoyment of the benefit of the common law.

In the House of Representatives there is not the substance but the shadow only of representation; which can never produce proper information in the legislature, or inspire conficence in the people; the laws will therefore be generally made by men little concerned in, and unacquainted with their effects and consequences.

The Senate have the power of altering all money bills, and of originating appropriations of money, and the salaries of the officers of their own appointment, in conjunction with the president of the United States, although they are not the representatives of the people or amenable to them.

These with their other great powers, viz.: their power in the appointment of ambassadors and all public officers, in making treaties, and in trying all impeachments, their influence upon and connection with the supreme Executive from these causes, their duration of office and their being a constantly existing body, almost continually sitting, joined with their being one complete branch of the legislature, will destroy any balance in the government, and enable them to accomplish what usurpations they please upon the rights and liberties of the people.

The Judiciary of the United States is so constructed and extended, as to absorb and destroy the judiciaries of the several States; thereby rendering law as tedious, intricate and expensive, and justice as unattainable, by a great part of the community, as in England, and enabling the rich to oppress and ruin the poor.

The President of the United States has no Constitutional Council, a thing unknown in any safe and regular government. He will therefore be unsupported by proper information and advice, and will generally be directed by minions and favorites; or he will become a tool to the Senate–or a Council of State will grow out of the principal officers of the great departments; the worst and most dangerous of all ingredients for such a Council in a free country; From this fatal defect has arisen the improper power of the Senate in the appointment of public officers, and the alarming dependence and connection between that branch of the legislature and the supreme Executive.”

It sounds very Star Wars, or if you’ve seen avatar.  But by giving the president no poltical power he is suspect to various “consultants” and bully pulpit advice.  Would a triumphrate help in this aspect or not?  3 People at once is hard for people to think about, people like the trinity but they want to focus on either Jesus God or the Holy Spirit.  Jesus Saves You Camps or Strict Presybertian Boring or Pentacostal Spirit Filled, we all choose one of the elements over the other.  I wonder if we could have a system like neon evangelion “magi” 3 compotents at once http://en.gigazine.net/news/20081201_magi_system/

Prax Guerrero on the Method of Revolution

After working tirelessly during 1906-1909 to stage a mexican revolution, Guerrero explains his methods through a circulated pamphlet

“When we resolved to fling ourselves into the fight it is because we have ideas very well placed in our heads.  The man who thinks and feels the ideas, does not fear sacrifices: he goes to them willing to give his life.  You must have seen that I am uncompromising, that many times I argue details; that I appear obstinate and meticulous, and that  I am not in conformity with the disciplined organization of the rebelious groups.  I believe that a popular revolution should be spontaneous, without leaders.  If I address you in this manner, it is because I believe that you truly love liberty… I am an anarchist; I don’t fight because I hate government, but for the love of a free humanity… Our revolution must show the manner of liberating not governing”
taken from “La vida heroica”


Philadelphia Freeman’s Journal May 16, 1787 on the Affairs of This Ruinous Situation

“It seems to be generally felt and acknowledged, that the affairs of this country are in a ruinous situation. With vast resources in our hands, we are impoverished by the continual drain of money from us in foreign trade; our navigation is destroyed; our people are in debt and unable to pay; industry is at a stand; our public treaties are violated, and national faith, solemnly plighted to foreigners and to our own citizens, is no longer kept. We are discontented at home, and abroad we are insulted and despised.

In this exigency people naturally look up to the continental Convention, in hopes that their wisdom will provide some effectual remedy for this complication of disorders. It is perhaps the last opportunity which may be presented to us of establishing a permanent system of Continental Government; and, if this opportunity be lost, it is much to be feared that we shall fall into irretrievable confusion.

How the great object of their meeting is to be attained is a question which deserves to be seriously considered. Some men, there is reason to believe, have indulged the idea of reforming the United States by means of some refined and complicated schemes of organizing a future Congress in a different form. These schemes, like many others with which we have been amused in times past, will be found to be merely visionary, and produce no lasting benefit.–The error is not in the form of Congress, the mode of election, or the duration of the appointment of the members. The source of all our misfortunes is evidently in the want of power in Congress. To be convinced of this, we need only recollect the vigor, the energy, the unanimity of this country a few years past, even in the midst of a bloody war, when Congress governed the continent. We have gradually declined into feebleness, anarchy and wretchedness, from that period in which the several States began to exercise the sovereign and absolute right of treating the recommendations of Congress with contempt. From that time to the present, we have seen the great Federal Head of our union cloathed with the authority of making treaties without the power of performing them; of contracting debts without being able to discharge them, or to bind others to discharge them; of regulating our trade, and providing for the general welfare of the people, in their concerns with foreign nations, without the power of restraining a single individual from the infraction of their orders, or restricting any trade, however injurious to the public welfare.”

– Congress certainly wants more power.  Is all this talk about States becoming obsolete ironic because its so true or is it a strange conspiracy?  I don’t think my state could protect me from the fed, that’s frightening.

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

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.” 

“Brutus” Oct 18, 1787 Perhaps This Country Never Saw so Critical A Period

Perhaps this country never saw so critical a period in their political concerns. We have felt the feebleness of the ties by which these United-States are held together, and the want of sufficient energy in our present confederation, to manage, in some instances, our general concerns. Various expedients have been proposed to remedy these evils, but none have succeeded. At length a Convention of the states has been assembled, they have formed a constitution which will now, probably, be submitted to the people to ratify or reject, who are the fountain of all power, to whom alone it of right belongs to make or unmake constitutions, or forms of government, at their pleasure. The most important question that was ever proposed to your decision, or to the decision of any people under heaven, is before you, and you are to decide upon it by men of your own election, chosen specially for this purpose. If the constitution, offered to your acceptance, be a wise one, calculated to preserve the invaluable blessings of liberty, to secure the inestimable rights of mankind, and promote human happiness, then, if you accept it, you will lay a lasting foundation of happiness for millions yet unborn; generations to come will rise up and call you blessed. You may rejoice in the prospects of this vast extended continent becoming filled with freemen, who will assert the dignity of human nature. You may solace yourselves with the idea, that society, in this favoured land, will fast advance to the highest point of perfection; the human mind will expand in knowledge and virtue, and the golden age be, in some measure, realised. But if, on the other hand, this form of government contains principles that will lead to the subversion of liberty — if it tends to establish a despotism, or, what is worse, a tyrannic aristocracy; then, if you adopt it, this only remaining assylum for liberty will be shut up, and posterity will execrate your memory.”

The Principles underlying and subverting the very liberty the revolutionaries fought to overthrow are little words like “necessary” and “proper”.  Over 230 years being able to do what’s “necessary” and “proper” has lead us to the Patriot Act (United and Strengthening America by. Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism ), the MATRIX (Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange), and selling our information to L1 (l1.com) for passport technology.

The other weak principle is incumency.  The New Jersey plan not only had term limits but re-elect limits, as in you could not be re-elected for a period of time if not at all.  This would mean politicians can’t focus on re-election until way later, this also makes the government tactically necessary not essentially necessary.  The idea was national government only had to function if specific inter-state confederate problems arose, not every time they wanted to do budget or make a decision, this could be left for us.