*whole not while
A slight note about an odd thing or two I saw a while ago, and I probably won't revisit this thread again after this. Libertarians would not necessarily enjoy a crippled legislative branch, as the executive branch has over time quite expanded beyond the legislative branch's expectations. The executive branch had over time sought to expand its usefulness and knowledge in many areas, and thus, grew exponentially, leaving Congress trying to catch up. In order to do so, it created a great many committees, with the intention to be informed and able to do its job to combat the executive.
A slow, inefficient (in this sense, inefficiency in politics) congress, would allow the executive branch to be further seen as the responsive and responsible branch of the American government.
Lastly, should and will distinctions become slightly difficult to maintain once one says "law". Ought congressmen to be informed and responsible for legislation they vote on? Surely. Should we pass a law to make the ought become a measured reality? This is where the idealism stops, and reality comes into play.
Last edited by Fiddytree; 07-26-09 at 05:51 PM.
"We all of us know down here that politics is a tough game. And I don't think there's any point in being Irish if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart eventually."-Daniel Patrick Moynihan, December 5, 1963
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"
Cicero Marcus Tullius
Steadily, over time, the Executive Branch in the form of the office of the President has slowly been asserting more and more control and authority over government functions that the Departments and Agencies enact. This power is being taken away from the Legislative Branch made up of the committees and subcommittees of the Senate and House of Representatives that has the power of oversight of executive Departments and Agencies.
Now, one pro of more the President to have more authority over the government and independence from Congress is that the government can act quicker and with more decisiveness. This is because the Executive Branch has only one person as it’s head, the President, who has enormous authority over the Departments and Agencies. One person can make decisions much faster than any group of people.
The con of this is that the powers of the President goes more and more unchecked. There are fewer balances against his authority and therefore more potential for abuse of power. While one man can execute government functions quicker than a group, it is easier for one man to become corrupted by that power than a group. This was why a system of checks and balances was instituted in the Constitution.
This is what civil libertarians fear: that eventually the office of the President will assert, take, or be given more and more powers over the government that Congress will no longer have the ability to act as a proper check against it. Without a proper check, the President will become less of an office of executive power and become more of a democratically elected temporary dictator.
I use the term “dictator” here in the strictest sense - that is, whoever is President dictates how the government functions and it will be so without opposition. The earliest term for dictator was during the time of the Roman Republic; the Republic had the ability during times of emergency to appoint a person a “dictator” who shall have total control of the government for 6 months before being required to relieve that power. This was because in case of an emergency the Senate or other government bodies made up of groups would act too slowly and with too much bickering. So “dictator” here means one who has absolute authority but for a limited amount of time.
Nowadays, however, “dictator” has acquired negative connotations, especially in democratic countries. This is because it is quite rare for anyone who possesses absolute authority to give up that authority, or to use that authority without abusing it. Such abuse of authority from King George and his Parliament was why the Founding Fathers instituted a democratic republican government in which powers are explicitly separated and there are checks between them so no one branch acquires too much power to abuse it and engage in tyranny against the people.
Now, with executive orders the President issues directives to executive Departments and Agencies by fiat - he knows how to interpret such orders and has no check to resist his commands. Basically, this doesn’t need to be applied to the President when he writes executive orders, which has the full force of law, because he knows what it means.
With Congress, however, you have 100 Senators and 435 Representatives and they are all writing bills that are discussed and debated in subcommittees, committees, and Senate and House chambers. It’s hard enough just getting Congress to pass legislation - requiring them to read the entirety of a bill before voting would only increase the difficulty of Congress to do it’s Constitutional duties.
And increasing the difficulty of Congress to do it’s Constitutional duties can only de facto increase the power of the Presidency, which, as has been said before, has overreached it’s authority.
Personally, I think there are better reforms for such things. I think it would be better if Congress adapted a rule similar to what Parliament adopted in that the text of a bill can only deal with legislation that is alluded to the bill. For example, if the bill’s title is something like “The Fair Rivers and Waterways Act,” legislation in it can’t have defense appropriations or spending for roads. All the legislation can deal with is rivers and waterways.
I think that such a reform would be better for reading legislation and making legislation more focused so Senators and Congressmen won’t be able to sneak minor line items into a bill that will obviously pass.
Of course, I wish more politicians would have read the PATRIOT ACT. It might not be legislation if they did.
What, and miss a chance to look tough on terrorism, without actually doing anything?
Not a chance in the world.
I'm already gearing up for Finger Vote 2014.
Just for reference, means my post was a giant steaming pile of sarcasm.