All posts by Trevor

The US Constitution Articles I & II: An Constitutional Analysis on Achieving a Balanced Nation

Within this blog post, my aim is to assess how well the United States (US) Constitution has succeeded with meeting certain needs and desires of the people of the United States. Among these needs and desires, there is to, “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” (Preamble US Constitution, 1789). As the US Constitution was created to answer the needs of its people, I believe this would be a potent analysis of it.

All throughout the Constitution, there are statements made about there being different branches of the US government, and what duties these branches fulfill. They all hold different roles concerning the nation’s government, where each branch is optimally designed to meet their appointed responsabilities towards the people, and have the power to restrain each other, where no branch can overpower another or act unconstitutionally. For example, “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People” (Article 1, Section 2). In class, we learned additionally that the Senators are not elected directly by the people, to safeguard against public whim and potential election of demagogues. As the senate has, overall, higher powers than the House of Commons in the Constitution–for example they have the final say in Impeachments, the final say in passing any bill or bill to generate revenue, and require a higher age limit to hold office–this disallowance of the people directly electing senators safeguards the nation from leaning into popular extremism and prevents the government from having instability. In that sense, the government ensures domestic tranquility for the people.

My second assertion about the Constitution is on how well balanced the system the actions of the government reach the people. Primarily, is how the power of the US is divided between State and Federal legislatures. Certain abilities such as, “The times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” (Article 1, Section 4) or appointing, “a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress,” (Article 2, Section 1), are granted to the individual states. Whereas, the federal legislature holds the ability, “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof,” (Article 1, Section 8). Through these last three quotes, I am demonstrating how the Constitution divides the power of the government in a way which promotes the justice and liberty of the people to a reasonable maximum. As the election of Senators, Representatives, or Electors is held in the individual states, it reflects more accurately what ideas people have in the varying states (however many people would advocate for a popular vote/democratic election in place of this system), whereas tasks or issues that are unanimous across the entire US is, rationally, best dealt by the federal goverment. This way, the varying goals of the Constitution, such as justice/liberty, safety and prosperity, are best met as a balance is struck between them in their execution.

In essence, the United States Constitution revolutionized how governments worked in the past, and created a very unique governmental system. This system held many different elements all designed and arranged in a way that was thought best for carrying out its own responsabilities. Then, a balance was struck in the government to not lean too far into one constitutional goal over another, where e.g. an age limit was imposed on senators to improve national security, and any random person could be elected into the House of Representatives if the public willed it, improving liberty. It is left to wonder then, to what extent has the Constitution benefitted the people of the US, and what problems does it have?

The Declaration: A (Paradigm?) Shift of Everything

There are few areas of knowledge I would determine define ‘everything’. Among those, I include Chemistry, astronomy/cosmology, physics, and–Philosophy. By saying ‘define everything’, I mean these topics cover all knowledge the public possesses to the point where we have no more knowledge. Cosmology determines the universe has a defined limit, but what it beyond that limit? Philosophy, on the other hand, explores what is our purpose, what should our purpose be, how can we know anything, or, in the case of history, how different philosophies contrast and collide with each other. And none of these things have a defined limit; where there is no deeper to investigate. There can be no proof of these subjects yet, so why any philosophy is subject to debate. And such is the irony of The Declaration of Independance: what should our rights be, and how can there be a Greater Law?

The US Declaration of Independance states, ” all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is enough irony within this quote to make an ingot with. Primarily, it assumes this is an indisputable truth (I no doubt thought the writers of the Declaration considered their beliefs the right ones), and that really everyone has innate freedom which were designated by some divine being. How it can be possible to invent truths as strong as this, I know not. This is not theoretical, however entirely moral whim. I belive the authors of the Declaration were listening to what they felt was just, why they knew it “…necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”

I find the topic of morals (including justice, freedom, and deserved rights) very complex. It touches upon so many different topics which have undefined limits yet features in the rational and fundamental areas of social construct, government development, and sustainability (killing people for fun is morally unjust). It is so loose, and has so many different factors, I believe it cannot be defined. So many factors affect morals, which has a central and essential role in government construction. Forever, there will be a tug of war between ethics, economics, quality of life, style, culture… Everyone has there own opinions, and priorities which influence the government based upon their social stature. So rich provincial senators from Hispania will trump Sicilian farmer peasants. What the government is depends upon who is featured prevalently. What environmental, economic, and societal situations have permitted someone/someones to become the most influential idea? Should it be morals, or should it be a sacrifice of morals to reintroduce slavery for economic benefits? Or is it moral to have slaves? So I believe, it is arbitrary what morals are, dispite they are influenced by what is best for the world from the prevalent groups’ point of view.

The government of the US was experiencing a resurgence in rights and the ability to pursue one’s lifestyle unharassed. This complied with a resurgence in the size of the middle class and overthrew any rule which did not favor their beliefs. I am fascinated such a government transition has occured, after over a thousand years of mostly monarchic governments in the world. What is possible in terms of governmental progress, and what can be achieved in the future?

What is Democracy?

What is the point of democracy? What do we want to get out of the world, and how does our view of what a good government should be interplay with that goal? Is what we want happiness, is it the absolute ability to do whatever, is it total power over other people, is it equality and justice, or is it a total disregard for society, to simply accept our future rests in the hands of technology to govern us. Whatever it is, it is not unanimous. How could the world be so pleasingly simple? I would go so far as to argue the whole idea of democracy is the epitome of audacity, irrational and impossible, a concept existent merely within the sentimental construct of our minds. The thing we commonly refer to as ‘democracy’ in the everyday world is merely the persistent failure resulted from the continuous attempts tried to achieve this ideal. The day we all become satisfied becomes the day satisfaction becomes irrelevant. We would have nothing left to be satisfied about, as there is no remainder to accomplish. Us, the democratic citizen, would be reduced to a sac of potatoes to rot in front of a TV for eternity. This explains why ‘democracy’ is so fluid and exists following such different hierarchies; to attempt to achieve our ideal, we persue the democratic government from different angles, with different ideas, by people with different biases and levels of authority. To describe democracy as the majority rule is utter lunacy and is so paradoxical it is absurd. People are ever-shifting, throwing new leaders into the spotlight (or under the bus), to achieve their demands and reach what they think is freedom. However, there is no such thing as freedom, and no such thing as democracy, and these people are using their ‘democratic’ government to try and achieve a better life; in other words, they are using democracy to get even better democracy. Thus, an infinite loop is formed, frequently broken by a breach in democratic ethos, where a tyrant/tyrants, shifts the political view from the need of total equality to something else. Then, the spirit of democracy comes knocking back on the doors of the people’s minds, and what happened is undone, whether it took one, ten, or a thousand years.