Daily Archives: August 14, 2010

It’s Time To Retire Both Political Parties

The Democratic Party has been in existence since 1825; the Republican Party since 1854. Both have failed the Country miserably.  Perhaps the time has come when we should think about abolishing both parties and establishing a new method for selecting candidates for elective office.

Conventional wisdom among conservatives is that we need to take over the Republican Party and regain control of Congress in the next two elections. That is not something we need do, it is something we absolutely must do if we are to have any hope of changing the direction the country is going.

Assuming though, that we are successful in returning Congress to Republican control in November, and assuming we are also successful in returning the Republican Party to the control of conservatives, then what? Is there any logical reason for continuing to give conservative support to it in the future? Political parties are a lot like service businesses, only with voters instead of customers. The service it provides to the public is finding and publicizing candidates for office. Conservatives have, for generations, given their time and money to the Republican Party with the expectation that its candidates, once in office, would enact legislation designed to protect our liberty and defend our Constitution and way of life. What person, in his or her right mind would continue supporting a business that never delivered the service it had agreed to provide?

Who would patronize an airline that never took them to the destination their ticket called for? Who would continue to employ a security firm to protect their business if thefts kept increasing year after year? That is exactly what we are doing with the Republican Party. Conservatives keep volunteering their time and donating their money, yet they never get what they work for and pay for. We have been conditioned to believe that strong political parties are necessary for the functioning of government. That may be true — but, we need to reexamine that assumption and, at a minimum, rethink what it is that we want our political parties to do for us.

There is no legitimate reason, based on our Constitution and founding documents, for allowing political parties to exercise the amount of power they have today over our government and the choice of leadership we have as citizens. When the Founders were designing our government with its balance of power, they designed it to balance the powers between the different branches of the federal government and between the federal government and the states. They did not and could not have envisioned that the stability of our nation and the security of our liberties would depend on a balance of power between two political parties.

For diagrams depicting the differences between the government established in 1989 and the government existing today see here and here.

The power of political parties has increased concurrently with the decline of federalism in our national government. The founders did not establish the United States as a consolidated “nation state”. The federal government was established by the Declaration of Independence as a federation of nation states, primarily for the purpose of mutual defense and international relations. The nature of the United States is described by Thomas Jefferson in the final paragraph of the Declaration.

“…These united colonies are and, of right ought to be free and independent States;…that as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.”

This is the last occurrence of the word “colonies” in the official documents of the U.S. From that time forward, citizens of the various states considered their state to be their “country”. Whenever the word “country” appears in the personal writings of that era, it almost always refers to an individual state, rarely to the “United States” as a whole. The Declaration declares the states, in their individual capacity, to be free, independent, sovereign nation states, equal to any other nation state such as Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, etc. It does not present them merely as parts of a larger consolidated “nation state”. Later governing documents, based on the Declaration of Independence does not change the fundamental nature of the states described in the Declaration. The essential and fundamental nature of the states in their declaration of independence, and in their successive governing documents is state sovereignty and independence.

Recognizing the shared threats to the individual states posed by other nations, and the common interest of the states in a few other issues, they organized an “umbrella” government for the common defense and certain other matters of common necessity. The Articles of Confederation, ratified by the states in 1781 describes this federation as,

…“A firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.” (Article III)

To preclude any attempts by the Federation to impinge on the individual sovereignty of the various states, they included this statement in Article II:

“Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

With the Articles of Confederation the states relinquished a small portion of their sovereignty to the “umbrella” government, namely, the powers of war and peace and the unfettered right to form alliances. All other powers were retained by the states.

Our second governing document, the Constitution of the United States, did not alter the fundamental sovereign nature of the states. The only additional sovereignty, of any consequence, relinquished to the federal government was the power to directly tax citizens rather than assessing the State Legislatures for the tax monies necessary to administer the federal government; granting the federal government the right to regulate interstate commerce to insure free trade between the states; coin money and operate the postal service; and the establishment of a national judiciary. The previously delegated powers of war, peace, and international alliances were also restated. Other than that, the states retained their full sovereignty.

Either by malicious intent or oversight, the statement of sovereignty contained in the Second Article of the Articles of Confederation was omitted from the Constitution. However, it was added at the insistence of the Anti-Federalist, with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments ratified in 1791.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

With the formation of the Democrat Party, organized by Andrew Jackson in 1825, the real power of government began to shift from the people to political parties. For the past hundred and eighty-five years the two major political parties have competed with each other for the reigns of power. Party power has increased until today we are ruled over by an oligarchy consisting of the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the President, and the so-called “swing vote” of the Supreme Court, each representing the needs of their respective parties rather than the needs of the people and the states. Lip-service is given to the “sovereignty of the people” by allowing them to choose which of the two political parties will rule over them for the next two, four or six years. The constitutional form of government established by the Founders has all but been forgotten.

If we are ever to regain the liberty and freedom left to us by the Founding Fathers, it is imperative that we throw off the power exercised over us by political parties. This cannot be accomplished in one or two election cycles. Because of the six-year term of Senators, multiple election cycles will be required. However, it can be done with the concentrated and focused efforts of the American people. We can pass on to the next generation a free republican form of government envisioned by the Founders or we can pass on a socialist oligarchy, the choice is up to us.

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