Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The Founding Fathers were right after all

10 November 2022

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My blog’s title is an implicit admission that I’ve been wrong. It took me years to appreciate the checks and balances of the American democracy. Indeed, there is no national proportional representation due to the U.S. Electoral College that favours rural states above urban states (eg, California).

There have been either four or five U.S. presidential elections in which Electoral College results overruled the popular vote (ie, 1-man, 1-vote) being the years: 1824 (disputed), 1876, 1888, 2000 (ie, Bush vs Gore), 2016 (ie, Trump vs H. Clinton). Sources: AP, Cambridge, Wiki.

Without the U.S. Electoral College, America would have had 8 Democratic presidents since Bill Clinton in 1992. Note LO: it’s fair to assume that the 2004 results (ie, Bush) would also have been different if and when 2000 (Bush vs Gore) had been different. Essentially, the Democrats would have had a 30 year reign.

What would thirty years of absolute power (either Dem or Rep) have meant for American democracy?

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

Excerpt of an 1887 letter by Lord Acton (1834-1902) to Bishop Creighton

If my Lord Acton quote seems farfetched to you than take an alternative look at China and Russia. Indeed, both countries are evidence that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I suppose that the American Founding Fathers intended to prevent absolute power at all cost. Even the ongoing political deadlock, between Democrats and Republicans, is to be preferred above absolute power. Hence, I feel less anxious now over the 2022 midterms or even November 15.

Our European multi-party system is another safeguard against absolute power. A federal Europe should require a European Electoral College that favours smaller countries (eg, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands). Else, France and Germany would decide what is good for them (rather than us).

For several days, I’ve been contemplating writing about this breakthrough in my thinking. Once again, the colour gray/grey is to be preferred over black and white.

Some quotes on absolute power:

  • “Ethics and oversight are what you eliminate when you want absolute power.” DaShanne Stokes
  • “In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don’t mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power.” Saul Bellow
  • “As history has also shown, especially in the twentieth century, one of the first things an ideologue will do after achieving absolute power is kill.” Thomas Sowell

Powerful People (1974) by Gino Vannelli
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album/song

Look at the powerful people
Stealing the sun from the day
Wish I could do something about it
When all I can do is to pray

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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