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August 14, 2011 AD
The 17th Amendment has led to monopoly government
The Industrial Revolution brought America railroads which needed to run freely across many State lines, coast-to-coast radio and telegraph communications, and automobile production lines which needed oil which needed automobiles to use their oil and interstate highways for the cars to travel on.
There was a problem though -- The 50 States with their 50 individual State laws were a serious burdon to the industrialists of the Industrial Revolution.
So they scared Americans into changing the fundamental foundation of the Constitution to accommadate them.
The very powerful U.S. Senate approves all laws from the House of Representatives, approves all judicial appointments of the President, judges all impeachments including that of the President and the Supreme Court, and approves all international treaties.
Whomever controls the Senate controls America and prior to 1913, the States controlled the federal government and kept is small.
In order to get the 17th Amendment passed, the industrialists had to first convince Americans that their own State government and especially the governments of other States were bought and owned by the industrialists (themselves), and that this corruption had spread upward into the federal government through the State legislators' appointment of U.S. Senators.
As the story went -- If ONLY, the Senators could be elected in direct DEMOCRATIC elections by honest, clean American voters, instead of selected through State-level political payoffs, then America could have a federal government honest enough, clean enough and powerful enough to take on and slay those monstrous corporations.
Therefore, the "Mass Media Monopolies" convinced Americans that they could slay the "Business Monopolies", by allowing the creation of a federal "government monopoly", no longer answerable to the States, but only answerable to the voters who selected the Senators -- voters who received all their news from the "Mass Media Monopolies" owned by the Industrialists.
It was a pure stroke of genius -- that is -- on the part of the industrialists!
The following "Reasons" for the 17th Amendment explains the creation of the 17th in greater detail....
Reason #1 : The corrupt Senate was unresponsive to the will of the people - more democracy was needed
You have to ask yourself a few fundamental questions here...
If these bought and paid for corrupt State legislators and by extension corrupt Senators wanted the 17th Amendment, wouldn't common sense dictate that the "fix" would be far worst than keeping the status quo established by the Founders?
Reason #2 : The Senate was corrupt because the States were corrupt
OK, let's assume that a railroad lobby had paid a boat-load of money to buy off some State's legislature for right-of-way. Say they had to "buy" 51 of some 100 State legislators to select their man for the U.S. Senate. But does it take a stretch to believe that the railroad lobbyists actually loved cutting out the middle man of the numerous State legislators who were themselves answerable to the people?
Now they could pay the one Senate Candidate directly. A savings of 51 to 1 in campaign funding, right?
The State legislators would no longer be as influenced by the special interests, but didn't the special interests just readjust their focus from the States to the Federal?
Are we better off today or worst off?
Reason #3: The Senate was corrupt because of the concentration of power due to the Industrial Revolution
The advocates of the 17th Amendment gave propaganda to the American public that direct election of Senators would help correct the loss of power of ordinary citizens caused by the massive power concentration of the newly created industrial concerns such as Rockefeller's Standard Oil, and Henry Ford's automotive empire.
The argument went that the Industrial Revolution was not dreamed of by the Founders, and so the 17th was proposed as a counter balance to the consolidated power of the industrialists.
In fact, what the Founders never dreamed of was the industrialization and concentration of "free speech" into the hands of an elite few, and that in fact, MASS MEDIA was the propaganda machine which proposed the 17th Amendment, which in return gave them the power over the masses, not the industrialists.
Sure the industrialists could still afford to buy political advertising in the mega newspaper chains or the massive nation-wide radio concerns, in fact, they bought up all the mass media, therefore, these industrial "free speech" propagandists were not afraid of the voting instincts of direct elections of U.S. Senators, because they already knew they were effective in controlling the House of Representatives.
Remember, the House voted to pass the 17th as well; thereby proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the House was just as much a part of the industrial elite system.
Reason #4 : Modern communications renders intermediaries, like state legislators, obsolete
Of course, many are just now learning that "the daily newspapers" and "telegraph facilities" are themselves a dangerous intermediary -- destructive of democracy, by filtering what the voters see and what they hear.
When you start hearing of eliminating all the middle men in Congress with DEMOCRATIC Internet voting by all, then be very afraid.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that State legislators, in the business of politics, as our representatives, are in a much better position to know the truth of the matter at the federal level than the ordinary man in the business of making computers or health care products or even who just works at Walmart and who is thinking more about making it to the kids soccer practice than about thinking hard over the implications of current policies of the Fed or the Middle East.
Reason #5 : The Founders would have wanted more democracy
Wrong. Dead wrong!
In the first 11 years, the Founders first revolted against abusive monarchy only to find themselves burdened with abusive majoritarianism. They abhorred dictatorship in any form, whether from one man as King or from 51% of the population as the majority. Democracy would always have had 49% of Americans as slaves under the tyranny of the 51% majority.
Henceforth, the Articles of Confederation were thrown out, to be replaced by the Constitution, with the ideal in the minds of the Founders that majoritarianism (i.e. DEMOCRACY) was to be rejected with just as much vigor as they would reject another King.
The Founders wanted INDIVIDUAL rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and knew that a majority could and would deny life, liberty and property to the disfavored much more quickly than a single King would think of doing.
No more different than for a King, the Constitution's framers also saw the will of the people as a force to be restrained and refined, not unleashed and encouraged. The framers were not for mob rule. Mobs riot and murder, as they did in France -- at the time of the writing of the Constitution --undergoing its French Revolution descent into hell, with the dictator Napoleon lying in wait at the other end of the tunnel through hell.
For a perfect example of why you do not want a mob -- even when at its best -- just think of your neighborhood HOA.
Let us make this perfectly clear -- one man-one vote does not automatically lead to freedom and liberty. America had more freedom when women and 18-year-olds could not vote, and black men received freedom without ever casting a vote.
"Theoretic politicians have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions."
Jame Madison was well aware that true liberty means many people going many different directions -- liberty cannot require an ant hive of uniformity.
A vote of the majority could vote against liberty as well as they vote for liberty.
The checks and balances of a House ran by the People of local districts, a Senate ran by the State legislatures, a President selected by all the States together (in practice today, selected by the people of all the States), would insure that no one interest would dominate any other interest.
Reason #6 : The rights of the powerful cannot be allowed - only the rights of the common man
For almost 2,000 years, England has had a King, a House of Lords and a House of Commons. The King represented both the Lords and the Commons. All three had to agree before a law was considered anywhere near just.
The American Constitution forbid both a House of Lords and a King. Those powers are not directly represented in American government, but were protected by the elites in the State legislators when the States sent their "ambassadors" to run the Senate.
All was well and America prospered.
Then came the American "House of Lords", owning the mass media, to manipulate the pure greed of the American "House of Commons", talking them into gathering yet more power to themselves by passing the 17th Amendment and the result is that America is not prospering now.
Reason #7 : If we can select House members from among our ranks, then why not Senators as well.
House districts have always been a days ride or two by horse to traverse it. States may take a week or more to traverse. Each man can personally know a candidate for his House seat, or know a trusted friend who can vouch for the integrity of the candidate.
Not so with a Senate campaign. Citizens get their information through second or third hand sources. This is where the media-Scribes play a major role.
Permanent campaign machines are created. Tens of millions of dollars are needed to fund a Senate campaign, requiring of course, the special interests of the industrialists to fund.
The State legislators were in a much better position to select someone from among their ranks. Someone they personally knew and worked side-by-side with.
Reason #8 : Senators were already being elected by the people in many States, so all the States should be required to do so
By the time the 17th Amendment was passed, 2/3rds of the State legislaters had already abdicated their duties to select a competent Senator.
Many States did so by having a popular candidate for the Senate represent the interests of all the others in their party. These candidates were placed on the primary ballot and the popular Senatorial candidates had to canvass the State for votes like any other politician. The popular Senatorial candidate would guarantee the less popular local State representative to win the election, so that he would then vote in the popular Senate candidate to the U.S. Senate.
State legislators became nothing more than electoral college style electors.
This perversion of the original intent of the Constitution led to far more corruption than was originally present, which in tern, and as many time we have noticed, led to calls for more of the same.
The 17th Amendment, instead of requiring the 2/3rds of the States not doing so, to fulfill their duty to select competent ambassadors to the Federal Senate, instead, forced the other 1/3rd of the States to abrogate their responsibilities and have the people themselves try their best to select two persons from among the millions of people within their State.
The rest is history.
Source: C. H. Hoebeke (The Center for Constitutional Studies)
Democratizing the Constitution: The Failure of the Seventeenth Amendment
Article located at:
Last Hope for America
Christian Libertarian: Harmonious Union
Church and State
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"Checks and Balances"
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