Lesson Six | The People Rule, But They Do Not Govern

Lesson Six | The People Rule, But They Do Not Govern

sovereignty answers the question who rules and however that question is answered tells you something very central about any country it is a fundamental question in political science we like to say who rules and why Lincoln says every nation has a central idea from which all its minor thoughts radiate that idea would be expressed in the notion of sovereignty who really does get to decide who's in charge in the American Revolution it might have been the greatest warrior George Washington fact it was he but is that how he was chosen or why he was chosen it might have been the best more boring person the oldest family and the eldest son of the oldest family and all of the British Empire and that would have been George the third but they chucked him out it might have been the richest guy one of those with John Hancock so those are competing claims that are famous in history which one did they choose how did they decide where does sovereignty lie in a country with these principles so in the 63rd Federalists one of our readings what does Madison say is unique about the American government this is complicated because it's one of the most complicated sentences the man ever wrote somebody read it the true distinction between these and the American government's lie in the total exclusion of the people and their collective capacity from any share in the ladder and not in the total exclusion of the representatives of the people from the administration of the former so the meaning of that sentence depends entirely on what ladder and what former means and it's a heck of a deal to figure that out and I'm just going to assert to you that I know what it means and you guys can prove me wrong next time but just remember that what is playing in the sentence without trying to identify whatever he's talking about former and ladder is that the people in their collective capacity have been entirely excluded from something right what is that something in America in the government of the United States and the federal government what is it that the people do absolutely none of make the laws create a judiciary branch they're not judges they're not legislatures and they are not executives over the law they are entirely excluded from the operation of the government in that odd right in England and Great Britain at the time of the American Revolution who was the executive that came to us and his ministers right and who was the sovereign right so the one possessing legitimate title to rule occupied the executive branch in Athens who was the legislature the people the people and who was the sovereign the people you know why anthems didn't last a long time I professor Paul Ray in the history department isn't you know very brilliant man it's got these three books on Sparta that's just an awesome achievement Sparta lasted a long time and he is the one who pointed this out to me I had not known it Sparta had division of powers in the Constitution where the anthems just the people would meet and they were always changing their mind and so in America it is different because unlike Athens unlike England unlike even Sparta all the sovereignty is ours we may not be governed except by our consent and we don't give it no governing all government is illegitimate except with that and of course it follows from that that in the practical operation of the government since unanimity is impossible majority rule and of course in a college in a proper College if you disagree somebody's wrong we're here to find out who's wrong and who's right well we always disagree how we ever gonna figure it out right but yeah so there's gonna be voting and there's gonna be disagreement and we're not gonna reach unanimity why is the majority the right thing seems like it's more probable that more people since it's not a mob at that time because they're voting on something in a Republican fashion that they would have considered it in a way that would refine their opinions ooh that's really novel I don't think it's true all men are created equal you got 300 people 160 want to do a and 140 you want to do not a if you do what the hundred and forty says you've got yourself an aristocracy right in other words the majority of equals souls has to stand in for the unanimous consent right and in anything not fundamental or anything that involves the ongoing operation of the government that's what you need see so the point is you're gonna have majorities rule you're gonna have representation and that gives rise to something new and Madison says that it's never happened before its unique the sovereign is the people as expressed by what I'll introduce a new phrase that Abraham Lincoln's liked the people as they express their wealth through their constitutional majority is the only true sovereign of a free people and so that's where sovereignty is that's where the right to say the legitimate title to rule is but those people the sovereign are entirely excluded from the operation of the government do you see now how the first check on the government is that we must consent but the second check on the government is that we who have the power to consent do not run the government and that second check is a check on us in the argument between the Federalists and the anti-federalists the anti-federalists argue a lot that that local is more trustworthy and they got their say extensively right because for most of American history but not lately local government did most everything the federal government is the most powerful of our governments but it's a government of enumerated powers right and so limited in what it can do supreme and what it can do limited in what it can do right but the Federalists counter is not central is better and it's certainly true that the constitutional government was called the Constitutional Convention was called to make a more powerful government at the center the Federalist answer is that every human exercise of power must be restrained by reason and there are constitutional forms that have to be implemented that can help bring that out and if the first constitutional form is representation the method by which we give our ongoing consent the second is the separation between sovereignty and power and Madison even says this just think it's it'll be great to have a big republic he says because of whispering campaign won't be very effective don't you notice in your relations with other people that it's a great thing if you can say out loud what you really mean and that all friendships depend on that and all goodwill and all sustenance of good relations means people need to be able to talk candidly and Madison says because it's going to be big it's gonna have to be more candid but also add the fact that these constituencies that we have are spread all over the place right Congress our little compact constituencies equal in population roughly but all over the country but then the Senate is these big states and then the president comes to be through a third way that's changed some over time but forever now the Electoral College barring some relation to the popular vote but also direct relation to carrying a sufficient number of states which means the president won't spread across the country right and so that means that we gotta wait for elections and to influence in elections we've got to talk to a lot of people across a vast area and Madison says that'll make us candid hard to lie you know I mean it sounds kind of funny to say that it's hard to lie in American politics because we all think politicians are all liars right but are they is this like the Soviet Union contest what they say and they'll shoot you they write the newspapers right this is a fierce battle for public opinion out in the open in America all the time and it has to go on for a long time before we actually reach a decision was it Christian who said you know it takes forever as Steve maybe who said you know elections take forever you know and you got to have a big build-up and it makes us fight Madison thinks that's good I thinks it's good good it takes time and and we can't do anything ourselves and we can't even change all the government it wants it takes at least six years to change everything in the government and that remarkable so you get consent and that gives rise to representation and that gives rise to a separation between the sovereign and the government and Madison says this has never been done before you

11 thoughts on “Lesson Six | The People Rule, But They Do Not Govern

  1. Any reliable polls about major issues such as health care, the wealth gap, gun control, and climate change prove Congress members are doing the bidding of their donors, not their constituents. Anyone ‘performing’ like Mitch McConnell in the private sector would have been terminated for gross negligence and incompetence decades ago. We should have the ability to discipline or fire members of Congress for not doing their jobs. Waiting years for just the possibility of voting them out of office is no longer acceptable. We need something similar to the ability to call for a ‘Vote of no confidence,’ like the UK. We should be able to prosecute (impeach) offenders or terminate their term in office for consistently and deliberately acting against our wills as proven by one, the evidence that most members of Congress are serving corporations, not the populace, and two, the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the government as shown by their low ‘public satisfaction’ poll results. I suspect there is no constitutional solutions other than voting and war, but is the current situation enough to push for a new solution more timely and effective than voting, but less extreme than war?

  2. If, as in our situation in our country where, in most elections, more than half of eligible voters actually withhold their vote couldn't the case be made that anyone claiming victory and the authority of the electorate under such conditions is usurping that authority and not within the right to govern?

  3. Sovereignty means no one is above, so the Lord is the only true sovereign. Have your kids read the 14th amendment where they are "subjects" and explain the difference between "the People" vs a US citizen. And if this amendment can be taken to mean the bill of rights doesnt apply to US citizens and if it could be used to "subjugate " the citizens. Then explain why alcohol was made illegal via an amendment, but now everything is illegal, like some drugs, though there is no amendment. It is my belief and understanding that the 14th has stripped the People of their identity and therefore they no longer have standing. Love Hillsdale, but the constitution was the stepping stone to usurp the power of the People.

  4. The question was asked, "Why is the majority the right thing?"
    I think the answer the girl gave was correct, if considering 'the right thing' to be 'the best or right course of action.'

  5. I’m so concerned about this end run game where state legislatures are passing bills that their statewide vote will go to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote?! No one is talking about it?!! Terrifying!!

  6. JUSTICE IS THE END of government.
    It is the end of civil society.
    It ever has been, and ever will be, pursued, until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary. Federalist 51 (1788) #MAGA #TrumpFOREVER

  7. We are about to put this lesson to the test. Either we rise to the Constitution or we lose the Republic and the Constitution, and the Union.

  8. Strength to Listen; To Try. Reach with a Smile; Act with Positive Quest that Raises All to find their way to build upon dreams.
    One that can Still Question; Willing to Learn and Improve. Relate, Observe, speak TRUTH. Thanks ~- *

  9. Thank you Dr. Arnn, and Hillsdale College. I feel truly blessed to be able to listen in, to this informative, interesting, intelligent, and important study.

  10. "Every human exercise of power must be restrained by reason." Beautiful. This sounds like the soul of "separation of powers."

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