Emil Franzi: Two bad ideas that are anti-representative government

By Emil Franzi

America was not founded on democracy or non-government or any of the other half-baked historical utterances from both left and right, but on the expansion of an ancient principle – Representative government.

It comes in many forms but it simply means you get to pick who governs you .

You will always be governed by someone. Anarchists can’t even function in a wildly primitive society. Try Tucson in the 1850’s and 60’s. There was a Presidio on paper but the scruffy town until the next decade when the US Army was in charge was basically governed by native tribes and the de facto Governor of Southern Arizona and New Mexico was a guy named Cochise. Tucson was part of Dona Ana County, New Mexico until 1863.

Made it hard to call the sheriff or get a marriage license as those functions hadn’t quite matured.

The original  premise was to elect as many public officials as possible and for the first 150 years or so of the nation we did. They usually had short terms making it easier to replace them. Most offices were also partisan giving the public officials reminders of why they were elected.

We allowed that to erode greatly in the 20th Century, replacing the standard one year term with a two and then a four. The BS given over that was too many elected officials spent their time keeping constituents happy and avoided big policy decisions.

What was wrong with that concept? The newly emerging technocratic  policy wonks didn’t like it. (When Porfirio Diaz’s ruled Mexico, they were called “Scientificos”.) They didn’t like political parties either because they were rivals in the policy area inclined to doing what was popular. As opposed to what was “needed.”

The newest version of Scientifico in this country and worldwide also stretch for more control by two more raids on representative government – term limits and “neutral” redistricting giving us more “competitive districts” and putting an end to “Gerrymandering”.

Both Term Limits and “competitive districts” contradict  the fundamental concept of representative government. NeoLiberals and their technocrat allies love both. Too many supposed conservatives fail to recognize the total contradiction of what they profess in joining them, as do most libertarians. Some old liberals are left who know better too but far too many on the Right have bought into these “needed evolutionary reforms”.

Wrong again.


Emil Franzi is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner.



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