THE COLUMN: 'Our Democracy' Needs a Great Reset

Michael Walsh22 Aug, 2022 6 Min Read
Time to restore the American Republic, by any means necessary.

You know the American Republic is on its last legs when those trying to destroy it consistently refer to it as "our democracy," which is exactly what it is not and what it was never intended to be. Historically, democracies don't last long, because they quickly turn into tyrannies after passing through the parasitical stage. Democracy in ancient Greece was hardly what we might call "democracy" today, as voting was restricted males with a stake in the system. No votes for women, slaves, or helots. The young male hoplites of Athens had to complete military training as ephebes to earn their right to vote, and not simply achieve their majority, which was effectively 20; additionally they had to buy their own armor and weapons and be prepared to go to war on practically an annual basis. (Any resemblance between this society and the world of Starship Troopers is entirely intentional.) 

Modern experience has taught us that essentially plebiscitary democracies, in which the "right" to vote is applied indiscriminately, and for which there are no qualifications (in some cases, not even breathing) eventually collapse once the citizenry discover they can vote themselves money without having to work for it. Roman democracy in the days of the Republic was a horse-trading racket which gradually broke down during the civil war between Sulla and Marius into a street thugocracy. Caesar's attempt to yank the Republic back from the brink went down in a hail of knife thrusts on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. Augustus called himself Princeps (first citizen) instead of Emperor (which had been a military honorific) but by the time of Tiberius, the Republic was one in name only and Rome had become an Empire, with a command-and-control centralized leadership and a huge, strangulating bureaucracy that made itself very, very rich.

If these walls could talk...

And that is what eventually spelled its doom. But don't take it from me, take it from Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, first published in the epochal year of 1776:

Wherever the seat of government is fixed, a considerable part of the public revenue will be expended by the prince himself, by his ministers, by the officers of justice, and by the domestics of the palace. The most wealthy of the provincials will be attracted by the powerful motives of interest and duty, of amusement and curiosity. A third and more numerous class of inhabitants will insensibly be formed, of servants, of artificers, and of merchants, who derive their subsistence from their own labor, and from the wants or luxury of the superior ranks.

...it was artfully contrived by Augustus, that, in the enjoyment of plenty, the Romans should lose the memory of freedom. But the prodigality of Constantine could not be excused by any consideration either of public or private interest; and the annual tribute of corn imposed upon Egypt for the benefit of his new capital, was applied to feed a lazy and insolent populace, at the expense of the husbandmen of an industrious province.

Constantine: moving didn't solve the problem.

And here we are: a lazy and insolent populace demands that others feed, house, and clothe them at public expense, in exchange for doing nothing civically useful. And yet we are constantly told by the enemies of the Republic (who aptly call themselves "Democrats") that the "right" to vote is "sacred" and "sacrosanct," which is pretty rich coming from professional atheists and nihilists who believe only in tearing down whatever is good. Unsurprisingly, these are the same people who hate the Constitution and are now open in their advocacy of its destruction.

Let's start with this gem, by "doctors" Ryan D. Doerfler and Samuel Moyn, law professors at Harvard and Yale:

When liberals lose in the Supreme Court — as they increasingly have over the past half-century — they usually say that the justices got the Constitution wrong. But struggling over the Constitution has proved a dead end. The real need is not to reclaim the Constitution, as many would have it, but instead to reclaim America from constitutionalism.

Constitutions — especially the broken one we have now — inevitably orient us to the past and misdirect the present into a dispute over what people agreed on once upon a time, not on what the present and future demand for and from those who live now. This aids the right, which insists on sticking with what it claims to be the original meaning of the past.

Arming for war over the Constitution concedes in advance that the left must translate its politics into something consistent with the past. But liberals have been attempting to reclaim the Constitution for 50 years — with agonizingly little to show for it. It’s time for them to radically alter the basic rules of the game.

One might better say that it's time to sack both Harvard and Yale and sow salt in their ashes as enemies of the Republic and threats to the American way of life. You know, the way the Roman Republic treated the Baal-worshipping Phoenician/Levantine/Canaanite outpost city of Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War in 146 B.C., after which Carthage become a prosperous and productive Roman burg in the province of Africa until its conquest by Muslim Arabs in 698 A.D.

Gibbon: right all along.

Behind door #2 we find this gem, a cowardly unsigned contribution to the Harvard Law Review called "Pack the Union: A Proposal to Admit New States for the Purpose of Amending the Constitution to Ensure Equal Representation." A sample:

To create a system where every vote counts equally, the Constitution must be amended. To do this, Congress should pass legislation reducing the size of Washington, D.C., to an area encompassing only a few core federal buildings and then admit the rest of the District’s 127 neighborhoods as states. These states — which could be added with a simple congressional majority — would add enough votes in Congress to ratify four amendments: (1) a transfer of the Senate’s power to a body that represents citizens equally; (2) an expansion of the House so that all citizens are represented in equal-sized districts; (3) a replacement of the Electoral College with a popular vote; and (4) a modification of the Constitution’s amendment process that would ensure future amendments are ratified by states representing most Americans.

In short, we have to destroy the Constitution in order to save it. But why let the Left have all the fun? If we really want to defend our Republic -- and do away with "their democracy" -- it's time to get busy. Institutional capture is something conservatives are terrible at, in part because they don't realize our institutions of government, faith, and learning are even subject to capture. That's in part because traditionalists consistently underestimate the satanic maliciousness of the Frankfurt School and because they have not heeded John O'Sullivan's famous formulation that "any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing," often incorrectly ascribed to the late Robert Conquest.

So instead of destroying the Constitution in order to appease the Alinskyite malcontents on the Left (Rule No. 4: "Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity"), why not simply roll things back and restore it? Where that restoration point would be is open to discussion, but at the very least it ought to include the abolition of most of the amendments after 1900, starting with those of the "Progressive" era, and certainly including the 26th, another of Ted Kennedy's gifts to the country that saved his immediate ancestors from the Great Famine in Ireland.

What do you think? How do we restore Our Republic? I'll have some specific ideas next week, but the floor is now open for suggestions from those of you who do not think the United States of America was illegitimate from the jump, treasure it as one of the highest achievements of the Enlightenment, and reject central-European socialism in all its serpentine manifestations.

You want a "Great Reset"? Here's your big chance. Over to you. 

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. His latest book is Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, published by St. Martin's Press. He is also the editor of Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, coming this fall.

MORE ARTICLES

See All

42 comments on “THE COLUMN: 'Our Democracy' Needs a Great Reset”

  1. All of these ideas are nice. But NONE OF IT WILL EVER HAPPEN. Does anyone seriously believe that virtually any elected official today would agree to consider doing anything that has been proposed? Let alone get the requisite votes needed to pass any tiny bit of legislation to begin to move the needle back to a constitutional republic. The only hope is to find a mechanism that already exists, something under the radar, but has enormous power, that can be employed by ordinary citizens, bypassing our elected representatives and the rest of the vast federal bureaucracy.

    There are two ways that can be used to take back the power reserved to the people and the states. It requires no new passage of laws, no compromise between opposed factions. It simply needs ordinary citizens to excessive the power that they alone have. Perhaps the only thing needed is to find ways to tell them that. Consider the following:

    US and state laws still have mechanisms for the people to resume back their power over the government. Many US and state laws still reflect the ideals of our country’s founding.

    For example, most Americans today have no idea about jury nullification to curb improper prosecution by the government. Jury nullification gives the people power to say laws are unjust, do not apply to specific circumstances or are just plain unconstitutional. Federal and local judges don’t like that; they believe they are the sole judge of whom determines laws to be unconstitutional or unjust.

    Did you know that federal grand juries were given the power of bills of presentment in our Constitution, which is similar to the power to issue indictments which are requested by prosecutors to charge law breakers.

    Federal grand juries throughout the 1800s and early 1900s used to investigate government corruption and criminal acts by government officials and elected representatives on their own, identifying instances of potential law breaking they know of, outside of influence or pressure from the department of justice or local prosecutors and local courts, and issue bills of presentment to arrest and charge any corrupt office holder who broke the law.

    The Fifth Amendment specifically grants this power to Federal grand juries, and, many states grand juries also have this power.

    We seemingly lost this people power in 1946 when the Supreme Court issued The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The Rules deliberately make no provision for bills of presentment; they ignore the Constitution.

    It seems that the judiciary didn’t like that, what they claimed were runaway grand juries which after all are just ordinary citizens, had the power to investigate their own government and take steps to root out corrupt politicians, judges and unelected government officials. Imagine that. Government employees unhappy that the average joe had the power to terminate them.

    Do you realize that for example, any federal grand jury today, on its own, without needing permission from a federal judge or prosecutor, could investigate the FBI’s recent illegal actions taken to seize Joe Biden’s daughter’s diary, raid a former president’s home, or look into the corruption and child abuse documented in the Biden laptop and diary? Or how about a grand jury investigating the Clinton Foundation on their own or the Fast and Furious. Or countless other examples of federal wrongdoing.

    All we need is to tell our own selves in every forum we can, about the power we lowly citizens already have, and when we do exercise it, relentlessly and publicly talk about it, report on it, expound on it, support it, so our power can’t be swept under the rug.

    And I know what you’re thinking. No, this is silly, there is no such thing. Well do your own research. Think about what I’ve said here. Maybe you too might start to believe, that maybe, perhaps, in some conservative red state federal district, the spark could start. All perfectly legal, all perfectly supported by precedent, citizens again could hold the reins of power.

  2. Without going off into the weeds here is what I think needs to be done:
    1)An across the board 30% RIF (Reduction in Force) of the federal government, including the DOD.
    2)Take up one of your solutions of scattering federal agencies across the US. Dept of Ag goes to Omaha; Dept of Interior to Billings MT; Dept of Transportation goes to Detroit, etc...
    3)Strip Domestic counterintelligence from the FBI . Close down Homeland Security, and the ODNI. No more co-mingling intelligence and law enforcement.
    4) Rescind the 17th Amendment.
    5)Enact Term limits for all Federal Judges, including SCOTUS
    6)Shutdown the Dept of Education.
    7)End the federal student loan programs (and watch college tuition costs plummet).
    8)Shutdown the CDC, and reduce the size of the FDA
    These are only a few changes. But I think most of them could pass Congress. One last thing, a viable 3rd Party made up of former Dems and Republicans must be established before any of this can be done. The GOP is worse than useless. The GOP is now the "moderate" wing of the Democrat Party.

  3. I believe the key to restoring the Constititional Republic is in the States. They have the right to curtail Federal interference, and they can male compacts between them on crucial issues. No state has to allow the interference by the FBI or Capitol Police.
    A key to your solution is the 1845 Statehood Agreement between Texas and the United States.. My GGGUncle Abner Smith Lipscomb, who had been Sec State of Republic of Texas was on that 1845 Commission.
    As you will see, it reserved entirely at the option, terms, timing, and act of election, to the new State of Texas, the right to seperate it into FIVE STATES.
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/more-150-years-texas-has-had-power-secede-itself-180962354/

    Imagine the impact of that move, already approved by an act of Congress

  4. Mr. Walsh's solicitation of suggestions for restoring the Republic is certainly worthwhile, and many of the suggestions provided in response are, at least, consistent with that end. However, nearly all of the suggestions, including my own, are structural modifications: new sets of rules, restoration of old compacts, and pruning back of encroaching excesses. It may well be salutary to make the act of voting more solemn and less frivolous. Perhaps repeal of direct election of Senators is in the interest of a healthier Republic and pruning a metastasizing administrative state is essential to ordered notions of liberty. However, there is only so much good that can be achieved with tweaking the rules and reforming institutions. It is perhaps worth asking whether any Constitutional , statutory, or regulatory adjustments will accomplish much as long as a significant portion of the people believe that:

    Safety is more important than freedom;
    People should defer decisions about their own welfare and that of their families to Government-approved "experts;"
    Subjective feelings are legitimate grounds for restricting the freedom of expression of others;
    The effect of genetic make-up on biological development is a social construct;
    Ideologues care more about children than do parents;
    Children belong to the state;
    Deviation from the approved political thought assigned by elites to identity groups is a form of heresy;
    Speech is violence and violence is speech depending solely on the ideological demands of the moment;
    The ideas of a social compact and habits of good citizenship are racist;
    etc.
    Mr. Walsh referred to the Enlightenment in his request for suggestions. The origins of our Constitutional republic definitely benefitted from Enlightenment ideas of empiricism and reason against blind dogmas and insular interests. Our drift away from these foundational principles in deference to a bundle of progressive logical fallacies--appeals to authority, appeals to emotion, etc., accounts for much of our present turmoil. However, the greatest threat to the greatest Republic the world has ever known is not bureaucratic mission creep, or mediocre legislators, or lack of appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of voting, as significant as those are. The greatest threat is the civic, spiritual, and anti-human poison that lurks in identity politics

  5. “…and reject central-European socialism in all its serpentine manifestations.”

    Socialism is an economic system defined as government control of the means of production. If the government owns (i.e., controls) the means of production (business), it’s communism; if it permits “ownership” of business but controls business otherwise, then it’s fascism. They're simply two flavors of the same extreme political end.

    If Americans don’t want socialism for all of the reasons that we already know and detest, then there HAS to be a separation of the State and economics. The government exists for one reason only: to protect your individual rights. It doesn’t exist to provide a safety net to its citizens; to educate its citizens; to provide retirement pensions to its citizens; to provide healthcare to its citizens; to feed or house them or to run its citizens’ businesses. It doesn’t exist to provide services, to “improve” your life, to generate income for the State or to make you happy.

    It exists to protect your rights. That’s it.

    If you think that the government should provide some other service or function, then it is incumbent upon YOU, as a member of the Right, to demonstrate how you're NOT advocating for some version of socialism. And, just like Mr. O’Sullivan opined about right wing institutions, inevitably, ”mild” socialist states become malignant socialist states. It’s simply a matter of time and it's a matter of human nature.

    Fortunately, protection against this is precisely what we have in the federal constitution IF the Constitution is not misread. There's nothing in any of the Founders’ writings indicating that they intended the Commerce Clause to affect the nation's economic activity in any significant manner but that is how it has come to be “interpreted”, i.e., that the Feds can control any and every economic activity. Indeed, the SCOTUS determined 80 years ago that there’s literally no limit to the State’s economic reach or power. That finding is now reaching the end of its inevitable political progression.

    The Right has to understand that this cannot be “fixed”, somehow. The present limits of power of the government cannot be salvaged by trying to “cheat” reality and keep the parts of the socialist state that the Right likes. "Resetting", as a "solution", merely resets the structure of government to a more palatable political point but it removes NOTHING in the nature of government which will, eventually, "...[erect] a multitude of New Offices, and [send] hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance." Like the scorpion in the tale of the scorpion and the frog, naked government power is what it is.

    No, the government must be completely restored to its original constitutional form because of the Iron Laws of Bureaucracy, which are based upon human nature. The most fundamental of these Iron Laws is that the bureaucracy always acts to protect itself. To this end, the bureaucracy will, in short order, come to place the interests of the bureaucracy ahead of the ostensible mission of the bureaucracy, e.g., to serve the taxpayer. This is the easiest way of observing that the bureaucracy has become corrupt.

    Furthermore, the bureaucracy will, in order to protect itself, expand at any opportunity, thereby increasing its institutional power, thus acting to achieve its underlying goal: to endure in perpetuity. To this end, the bureaucracy will sacrifice part of itself to save the whole. The bureaucracy will also make any political alignment or deal that it thinks will preserve or increase its size, its status or its institutional power.

    This is simply socialism in one of its "serpentine manifestations", as you put it, Mr. Walsh. The inescapable fact is that the governmental bureaucracy will quickly come to serve its OWN interests and it will do so necessarily at the expense of the citizen taxpayer. Invariably, the citizens become "them", the enemy, even as the bureaucracy becomes ever more UNACCOUNTABLE. As such, the bureaucracy effectively becomes the Terminator, i.e., it can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with and it absolutely will not stop.

    Most importantly for the Right, it has to understand that REFORM is impossible. Even if you purge ALL the offending officials that have abused their authority, so long as the STRUCTURE (and thus, the potential power) remains in place, new abusers will NECESSARILY follow. It is the nature of the beast whether you like it or not. Yes, you have exactly the same problem if these issues are left to the state governments, but that’s another argument for another day.

    The Constitution as it is written and clearly (and historically) understood keeps the government virtually completely out of the economic realm of the Union. It is there to facilitate trade between the States, NOT to run the economy. It is not the purpose of the federal government to fund, stimulate, encourage, reward, subsidize or incentivize business activity. This has zero to do with protecting individual rights – again, the sole purpose of government. Taxes, through tariffs, are gathered to facilitate the most fundamental functions of the government – a court system for disputes between individuals, a military and a police force.

    We don’t need an income tax to fund a welfare state that is not a proper function of government. We don’t need a Federal Reserve that exists to enable the welfare state. We don’t need a Dept. of Education or any of the other bureaus which are not part of the function of government nor do we need the FBI or the other alphabet agencies for the same reason. I know that such freedom -- real freedom -- scares the hell out of most people but it’s either that or we keep what we have now. It’s our choice. Get rid of the reward of manipulating the power of government (i.e., the monopoly on force) to one’s political and economic advantage and you necessarily get rid of all of the corruption and its impact on our individual rights. It’s the only way.

  6. 1. Restrict right to vote significantly
    - Move voting age to 21. Allow states to put higher age limits
    - Prohibit people with incomes below poverty lines or anybody that lives on government subsidy from voting
    - Require civics test for voting. Use the same test that immigrants have to take to become citizens.
    (in short people with no stake in the system should not be able to vote. People also need to have understanding of the US government structure and of math (budgeting) to be able to vote.)
    2. Move to the European Parliamentary model. You need to have a President who is in charge of military and foreign affairs and a Prime Minister who is in charge of domestic affairs and the economy. President can sack the Prime Minister with vote of no confidence. Congress can sack prime minister with vote of no confidence. Congress assigns the Prime Minister after election. The state can't make laws if the Congress is dissolved. If PM is sacked, the President can assign a transitional government whose job is to schedule the next elections. In my opinion, European model is much better. If you have a crisis or new situation and the government fails to respond, governments are taken out quickly and new governments with the proper specialties are put in. In Europe 4 governments fell after bad response to Ukraine SMO. In America we still have a complete idiot (who is also compromised by his business connections to Ukraine) who will be around for 3 more years wrecking America's foreign and domestic policy
    3. Create super voter class. People who know economics or law. Economics specialist voters can vote on Fed chairman and Vice Chairman team. Law specialist voters can vote for Supreme Court justices. Have the super voters confirm the nominations of the President for Fed Chair and Supreme Court justices.. Take the confirmation of the top economic and social positions out of the hands of the Senate and give it to the super voter class instead. More people need to be involved in the confirmation process for these position that are almost as important as President. Obviously, people have to take some test to be super voters. Or you can make anybody who passed the bar exam be a social supervoter or anybody who passed a securities exam be a economic supervoter.

  7. Congress is too small to fulfill its oversight function. I think we need to increase the size of the house to at least 653 members (50%). In my ignorant opinion, the only reason that hasn't happened is because Congress doesn't want to appropriate the moneys to build themselves a larger chamber for the House.

    I also think (with reservations) that we ought to turn our larger metropolitan areas into states (the example I have in mind is Hamburg in the Federal Republic of Germany). I think we should pass a law or Constitutional amendment, if necessary, requiring the cities with populations of more than 1 million persons, and states where these cities are to be found, to hold plebiscites as to whether or not those cities should become states in their own right.

    Now, this is where it gets interesting and/or complicated in my head. Short term, the Democrats benefit in the Senate. Middle term, it's worth it, because cities like Chicago aren't distorting the representation of the citizens of the rest of states like Illinois. Long term, it's totally to the advantage to constitutionalists because the law/amendment should be written in such a way that if the population of federal city-state falls below 1 million for 2 censuses in a row, that city-state would have to petition by plebiscite for admission to it's former state (e.g., Chicago to Illinois), and, should that plebiscite fail, the city-state in question would become a territory of the United States (i.e., local autonomy, but no voting representation in Congress).

    Taking Detroit as the example par excellence: In 1950, when Detroit had a population of 1.8 million, Detroit could (perhaps should) have been a state in it's own right (just a guess, but I do guess my west Michigan grandparents would have appreciated that. Maybe not, since our politics weren't their politics.)

    In the 2000 census, Detroit's population was 951,270, which, in my scheme would put it in danger of losing its statehood. In 2010 Detroit's population was 713,777, at which time the voters of Detroit and Michigan would have to vote as to whether Detroit would become a part of Michigan once again. Assuming the people of Michigan were smart enough to want nothing to do with Detroit, (a dangerous assumption, arguably), were that plebiscite to fail, Detroit would revert to the status of a U.S. territory (i.e., local rule, but no voting representation in Congress.)

    I like the idea because it gives liberal sh*t-h*les a reason to do better.
    I dislike the idea because it gives Democrats more seats in the Senate. So we probably need to repeal the 17th Amendment. And even that wouldn't prevent a net gain to the Democrats, at least as far as the Senate is concerned.

  8. 1. Terminate the Federal Reserve Act, require a dollar backed by some commodity(ies), outlaw digital currency
    2. Terminate the absurdity of “incorporation,” applying the limits the States put on the Feds back onto the States – which is like parents setting a bedtime for the kids and the kids then enforcing it on the parents – and immediately overturn any decision based on “incorporation.”
    3. Modify 16A so that the States are responsible, via census/per-capita, for collecting the taxes necessary to support a federal budget consisting of spending ONLY on the Enumerated Powers. No Federal Budget – no taxes collected. No taxes collected for any budget line-item not supported by the Enumerated Powers at the discretion of each State; prohibit “continuing resolutions.” Privatize Social Security.
    4. Repeal 17A, 19A, 26A
    5. Immediately expel any Congressman or Senator submitting legislation against the BoR – 1A (“hate” speech), 2A (any infringement), 4A (the “Patriot” act…), etc.
    6. Give a significant sum to two recognized, philosophically differentiated colleges – say, Hillsdale and UVA? – to review the entire Federal Code, legislation and regulation, for 10A violations; conference the two results, arrive at a single group and immediately repeal/terminate all violations
    7. Terminate all federal police forces as General Police Powers are RESERVED, not DELEGATED
    8. Review all federal criminal statutes, repealing crimes duplicative of State statutes. Crimes & cops are State issues.
    9. Make public sector unions unconstitutional and prohibit the government from providing any service that can reasonably be provided by the Private Sector
    10. Mandate citizen-only, paper-and-ink only, proper photo-identification voting, and voting-age citizen-only counting for purposes of Representation and Electoral Votes. Mandate onsite-only, day-of-only voting, prohibit mail-in voting under any circumstance
    11. Set a mandatory retirement age of 65 for all government employees at any level, including elective office holders. We already have a floor age, and the amount of money & fame dictate electability mostly for those over 50.
    12. Outlaw deployment of combat forces other than when war is declared by the Congress – NOT Use of Force nonsense – war.
    13. Allow States to police their own borders, the cost of which is deducted from the taxes they forward to the federal govt (see #3)
    14. Set the size of SCOTUS to avoid future “packing” discussions
    15. Outlaw any record keeping at any level of government and within the private sector – municipal, State, federal – of statistics on race; outlaw any racial favoritism by law or regulation, public or private.
    16. RICO every major political party at least once every 6 years
    17. Require the immediate dismissal of all charges against any citizen if ANY government employee has not been charged in similar circumstance.

  9. We need to nip regulatory capture in the bud.
    Here's a couple of ideas:
    1). There's a lifetime limit of 1 federal job; no job-hopping back and forth between a government entity and the industry being regulated (or any other industry).
    2). Make it a Federal crime for government and private entities to collude. No more Sierra Club joint-planning with the Interior Department (or others) to use lawsuits as a delaying action on oil and gas leases, to cite one instance.
    3). It's already been suggested, but it bears repeating: whole swaths of the non-profit industry need to lose their ability to offer tax deductibility. If your organization lobbies the Feds or States as a part of your non-profit charter, you lose deductibility.
    4). Likewise, change the rules on standing so that environmental nonprofits.. the EDF is merely the most prominent... who exist mainly to sue the government, no longer are presumed to have standing in every case they bring.

    1. All educational and religious "non-profits," many of whom are obscenely wealthy, should pay taxes.

  10. Here are some concrete suggestions: 1. Take away the corrupting tools from the progressive toolbox. Require that all terms used in legislation and regulation be interpreted according to their meaning in the 1950 edition of the Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Novel concepts such as "internet" and "gender fluid" must be described in terms from 1950. This will discourage the common practice of usurping power and authority by "deeming," for example deeming bees to be fish, carbon dioxide to be a pollutant, taxes to be fees, a home to be healthcare, etc. etc. 2. Take advantage of the fact that the people who are most likely to bear the burdens of government policy are more motivated to vote than those who are not, and do not encourage voting by persons who are otherwise uninterested. Have election day be a single day, in person, ID required. 3. Establish a movement that discourages Senators from serving more than two terms and Representatives from serving more than four terms. This does not have to be an official agency with given authority. Simply ask candidates for office to support and commit to the limitations proposed and if they do not, campaign against them on that basis. Once this becomes a movement with its own political clout politicians will have to take it seriously. No constitutional amendment required. 4. Severely restrict the idea of "emergency powers." Require all "emergencies" to be verified by the legislature every 30 days.

    1. In the Roman Republic, the office of "dictator" was part of their constitutional system. It was severely limited in length, however, to no more than six months. What got Caesar killed was his demanding that he be made dictator for life, i.e. king.

  11. Revert to the principle of no taxations without representation. Since the house controls public purse, you should only be allowed to vote in house elections it you are a net contributor to the public purse.

  12. So why does "our democracy" need a reset? Simply stated it is because political chicanery has empowered those who bear no burdens required of a functioning democracy (indeed they create and seek to distribute those burdens to others) and diminished the role of institutions that were intended to prevent that result. The biggest change was unanticipated by the drafters of the Constitution, and that was the transfer of power from the States to political parties. It was the denigration of the geographical, cultural, and economic interests of discrete regions of the country in favor of the ideological preferences of an insular and detached elite. The fundamental change required of a "reset" is therefore to restore a preference for the interests of those that bear the burdens of making society work and a shift in power away from political parties back to the states and their political subdivisions. In doing this, it is crucial to realize that aggregation of power in administrative agencies is the preferred mechanism for partisan interests to divest states of their Constitutional authority.

  13. The idea that those who bear the burdens of making society work should have input into governmental decision-making is well-established. It is the rationale behind the "Starship Troopers" references for voter qualification. It is also found in the Constitutional provisions that only Congress can (is supposed to at least) declare war, and that all bills for the raising of revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. The idea is that representative bodies most responsive to the public should have exclusive authority to impose burdens on the people. This, in theory, functions as an optimizing mechanism for relating burdens imposed to benefits obtained. If you begin to divorce decision making from the people who will bear the burdens of those decisions, or increasingly allow people who have no stake in the wisdom of those decisions because they bear no burdens, "our democracy" begins to deteriorate.

  14. A necessary step in improving democracy is understanding its justifications and recognizing when it is being abused. It would be expected that a certain political faction whose interests are friendly to corruption will shriek with indignation that "our democracy" is being attacked when efforts are made to minimize the likelihood that democratic institutions will become corrupted.

    There are two main theories for why democracy is a good thing: the dignity of the citizen theory and the common wisdom theory. The former holds that the burdens required to maintain a functioning society should not be imposed on those who will bear those burdens without their input. This is a matter of fairness, justice and common decency. The common wisdom theory holds that what is best for society is understood by common people and their input is essential to optimal governance. It is this latter theory that introduces the corruption and infirmities associated with a romantic and idealized view of "our democracy."

  15. Mr Walsh, spot the "expletive" on! Among so many outstanding blogs and other works, this is legion. (Illusion intended.) Thanks from a former neighbor from the Northshore of MA, now in ME.

  16. In my humble opinion, the controversies regarding "democracy" tend to reduce to one over-riding concern: corruption. The proposals regarding term limits are largely attempts to counter the corrupting influence of political sinecures, and the obscene fact that legislators and government officials tend to become wealthy in mysterious ways that defy their official stipends. Corruption takes forms other than self-dealing, such as the ultra vires usurpations of administrative agencies in the service of ideological vanity rather than public welfare, and the increasingly common appeals to exigencies to justify the exercise of powers outside the limits of Constitutional authority. The example of a President, sworn to uphold the Constitution, approving the CDC extending eviction moratoria while admitting that it is unconstitutional is a prime example of this type of corruption. The use of alphabet agencies as political operatives? Corruption. Collusive lawsuits and consent decrees that favor political allies? Corruption. Prosecutors that ignore properly enacted criminal laws, or who apply them selectively in the service of ideological satisfaction? Corrupt. Deforming the meaning of common words to extend the authority of bureaucracies? Corruption.

    The important thing to note is that "democracy, is assumed to be an antidote to corruption, when in fact it is neutral. Democratic processes can be used both to counter and enable corruption. The "democracy" of Chicago is a convenient reference. Democracy done poorly is apt to cause more mischief than it solves. The key to a successful "reset" is to enhance those democratic practices and institutions that inhibit corruption and inhibit those that enhance it.

  17. Thanks, Michael! Hadn't seen your earlier piece but I know it's something that has been out there for a while. It just seems so common sense and so much easier than the eradication of this or that department, but I know the Devil is always in the details! Thanks for your work on our behalf, and I'll do what I can on my end.
    By way of introduction, I'm a 22 year Navy veteran flying helicopters, and a 13 year veteran of the Fed teaching as a professor for NDU. I have a bachelor's in English from Portland State University ( where I grew up . . . I know, I know, but don't hold it against me!), a master's from the Naval War College, and a PhD from Old Dominion University in International Relations. I say this not to flaunt my credentials but rather to let you know I've been in the belly of the beast for 35 years and have issues with where our republic is going.

  18. Another point-reduce the monies available to the Federal Government. Insist on real budget bills in Congress and not just "resolutions". It would be better for Budget bills to be single purpose so that there could be more scrutiny over funds approved.

  19. Good idea.
    Also abolish the Obama created "Selected Executive Service" or SES. High pay, bonuses along with better than private sector benefits and little chance of being fired--no wonder these folks never leave.

  20. In addition to the estimable suggestions of Mrs Reeves, I'll add:
    1) No machine voting. Period. Absentee ballots severely restricted and votes to occur on voting day only.
    2) Candidates cannot profit from funds raised for their campaigns. When they retire monies returned to donors and/or deposited in the federal treasury. No candidate loans to their campaigns at high interest rates. Severely limit "jobs" for candidate family members.
    3) Begin robust audits of so-called NGOs that actually serve political purposes. These can no longer be 501-C-3 and donations to same are not tax deductible.

    1. Voting: one man, one vote, one day. Citizens only. IDs mandatory. No absentee voting of any kind except active duty military and overseas diplomats. no early voting, no late voting. No machines, no mail-in ballots, no drop boxes. Paper ballots only. If voting is "sacred" then act like it.

  21. A repeal of the Civil Service Act, which has been instrumental in allowing a "Deep State" to grow largely undetected and without opposition. But since the people that would need to vote to repeal it are the very ones that arguable benefit most from it, that is extremely unlikely to happen. In it's place, I would love to see a drastic reduction to the operating budgets of every department, particularly the ones who are most onerous and useless (looking at you, Department of Education, Department of the Interior/EPA, Department of the Treasury/IRS, Department of Justice/FBI). Let's throw the CIA in there for good measure, too.
    After all, if we can't fire them, choke the money out so they fire themselves.

  22. No term limits without going back to the spoil system. New president, new bureaucracy, fire them all and let them reapply for every position. Otherwise you send home the people you can vote out and the unelected stay forever. I have leaned this way for some time but the past six years have convinced me. It should have the second effect of there not being enough time to rehire all those bureaucrats so they rolls will shrink.

  23. The first thing that needs to be done in a "Great (Conservative) Reset" is to propagate the message that the phrase "threat to our democracy"--which is so carelessly flung around--is moot because we don't live in a democracy. We live in a republic wherein *some* officials are elected democratically, but many others are appointed or confirmed by the aforementioned elected officials. So in other words, we need to first crush that meaningless phrase because it is incredibly destructive. I have no faith in conservative leaders to do that, but that's what needs to be done.

  24. Not just term limits. Lifetime limits of 10 years or less on the government payroll. That is the only way to get rid of leeches.

  25. Restore the selection of at least one senator to state legislatures. Eliminate the income tax at the federal level, or at the very least, provide that (a) no "special" legislation/appropriations; or (b) funds have to be raised on a per headcount basis for general welfare spending. Deem your income from labor to qualify as a property right subject to 5th amendment. Preclude the feds from doing Medicaid/Medicare and the environment outside navigable waters. Allow the states to have veto power over federal administrative rules that impact their state operations. Overrule Wickard v. Filburn. Overrule Duke v. Griggs. Overrule Reynolds v. Sims for state legislative bodies designed to be geographic in nature vs. designed as representative (this would solve a LOT of blue state insanity).

  26. Term limits are the lazy person's attempt to outsource her duty as a citizen of the republic to exercise eternal vigilance as the price for her liberty to a little piece of paper.

    California has had term limits for its elected legislators and state executives for a third of a century now and you've noticed the improvement, yes?

  27. How to save the country? 1) Eliminate federal income tax--states shall negotiate and vote among themselves as to how much to fund the (dramatically downsized) federal government. States shall have the discretion to opt out of supporting federal agencies, departments, etc. Any state that opts out of funding any agency shall not be accountable to any rule promulgated by those agencies 2) Eliminate all federal criminal code, rules, regulations, the DoJ/FBI and all other federal law enforcement agencies. 3) strike down the Interstate Commerce Clause.

    1. You don't have to strike the Commerce clause. you just have to restore the original intent. Also, restore the understanding of what the word "regulate" means, both in this instance and regarding the Second Amendment. It does not mean "to boss around." It means "to keep in good working order," like a well=regulated clock.

  28. Repealing all "progressive era" amendments is an excellent idea. At the very least, repealing the 17th would likely be the most effective in restoring the effective balance of power between DC and the various states.

  29. 1. Put the fed gov't back within its original scope (90% smaller than today).
    2. Eliminate all direct federal taxation (income tax).
    2. Reinstate the counterbalance of the states, embracing secession as the ultimate check.

  30. Since unlimited immigration and ballot box jiggery-pokery seem to be the fashionable new tactics, let's start with these remedies:
    -Any person deported for, or under an active deportation order for, a violent felony, who is later convicted of another violent felony, regardless of severity, shall be summarily put to death.
    The reason: Multiple infamous crimes should carry swift and final judgment, if an alien offender's not even supposed to be in the country to begin with.
    -Any person who attempts to alter the results of an election, by artifice, electronic manipulation, submission of multiple ballots, or by any other deceptive means, known or invented, shall, upon conviction by a jury of their peers, be summarily put to death, with no opportunity for judicial review or executive clemency.
    The reason: Electoral fraud is the ultimate affront to the consent of the governed. It is a grave offense against the very idea of representative governance. Ergo, leaving an election thief alive and in prison, only means that some patronage-based appellate judge will invent an excuse to let them go, if a governor of the offender's faction doesn't pardon them first. Punishing electoral fraud, therefore, MUST be handled directly by the citizenry.

  31. I think the easiest place to start would be to disperse DC across the fruited plain. If, as has often been noted, Federal departments and agencies are notoriously hard to kill, then end the centripetal pull of the DC leviathan and -- instead of better representation IN the district -- force the district out amongst the Americans they ostensibly represent. This would diminish the amount of rent-seeking we currently see from those drawn into the DC orbit for power, connections, and self-aggrandizement, and make Federal employment less attractive as a consequence. A Federal Republic, not only through our representatives in DC, but also through our employees spread across the nation, would be a great first step in halting the centralizing inertia we've seen for over 100 years.

  32. Actually, Starship Troopers didn't require *military* service to vote. It just had to be some public service that involved substantial risk to life and limb. You could volunteer to be a test subject for medical experiments, for example, or be a test pilot for experimental craft, or being a fire fighter, or any number of things. It just had to serve the public and be unpleasant/risky.

    And you only got the vote after retiring from federal service.

  33. Starship Troopers: No military service, no vote. Don't water it down to national service, such as Peace Corps or teaching.

  34. Alright. Let’s start with:
    —Term limits. For everyone. Including the Supreme Court and ESPECIALLY the federal bureaucracy (if it’s allowed to survive) and once one has passed beyond their term they are FORBIDDEN to work for ANY public entity anywhere.
    —All members of the federal government (career and elected officials) are subject to the rules they pass. NO EXCEPTIONS. And twinned with that…
    —No federal employee (career or elected) can receive better pay or benefits than the poorest American citizen. Minimum wage, Medicare, social security upon retirement.
    And then we start Carthaging every single institution/all the alphabet entities not set down in the original Constitution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

twitterfacebook-official