28 October 2008

Speaking of voters

Irrational or otherwise...

As I mentioned in my previous posting, I’ve been re-reading Plato’s Laws lately. The Athenian has some comments on what sort of people “electors” should be:

It is a fact clear to everyone that, the work of legislation being a great one, the placing of unfit officers in charge of well-framed laws in a well-equipped State not only robs those laws of all their value and gives rise to widespread ridicule, but is likely also to prove the most fertile source of damage and danger in such States…. Let us then…mark this result in dealing now with…polity and State. [I]t is necessary, in the first place, that those who rightly undertake official functions should…have been fully tested…from their earliest years up to the time of their election; and, secondly, that those who are to be the electors should have been reared in law-abiding habits, and be well trained for the task of rightly rejecting or accepting those candidates who deserve their approval or disapproval. (751b-d , emphasis mine.)
A law-abiding electorate. We have that. We also have law-abiding public servants. There is only one law: our desires. Choosing public servants is very easy: identify those candidates who promise to give us our desires and give some evidence of being able to pull it off. Obama is going to give us healthcare; so is John McCain. That’s all some people need to know. Obama is going to “fix” the economy; so is John McCain.

But whether they are lawfully empowered to do these things is another question. It’s also a relatively unimportant question. The federal government is the sole arbiter of whether its actions are unconstitutional. The federal government has informed us that it is not unconstitutional for it to interfere in places like markets, schools, workplaces and such.

So. There you have it. Law abiding electorate. Law abiding public servants.

And to think: Some people out there are concerned that the Iraq War may be illegal.


About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
View my complete profile

Blog Archive