Walk a Kb or Two in my Moccasins- Nobody 'splained it to me like that!

Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Human Behaviour - creating a Kingdom in a democracy

The American Revolution was fought over the perceived arbitrary and unfair actions of a King - one person who was the source of governmental Authority (sovereign) and held all the ultimate executive(decision-making) power in the British Empire.

The Americans wanted to be consulted or at least have a representative to present their point of view before new taxes and/or restrictions/confiscations were enacted.

The 13 Colonies overthrew that King. They then needed to create a source of governmental Authority (sovereignty) for their new republic.

They chose to vest the sovereignty of the new United States in the people collectively and then put in place a Constitution that granted/transferred Authority to Act (in specified, particular areas of administration and law) from the sovereign to the government.

In all types of government systems (theocracy, autocracy, oligarchy, plutocracy, democracy etc) there is always a source of sovereignty, agents of executive action, laws, judges and a land mass with a population.

The agents are given some degree of Authority to Act by the sovereign, laws are created to enumerate that Authority and describe punishable acts (and corresponding penalties) or outline rules of taxation, the judges enforce the laws and ensure the agents do not over-step their Authority or the law and the people simply try to live on the land under the laws.

All types of government can be Good or Bad - long ago defined by political thinkers as: Good government attends to the needs of the governed, Bad government attends to the needs of the governors.

Kings can be 100% benelovent, 100% malevolent or some combination of both. Philosophers have said the ideal form of government is a benevolent autocracy where one (wise, generous and careful) person makes all the decisions and leads the people to achieve a better life.

Finding such a person AND getting them on the throne are the only tricky parts of this set up. Then next tricky bit is ensuring that the wise, generous and careful person doesn't get carried away with BEING King.

This worry occurred to the framers of the first and second American Constitutions, the Canadians and Brits who thought-through the BNA Act and was also described in the 'Book of Human Behaviour" in 1 Samuel 8:5-17

6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.
7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.
9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.
11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.
12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.
15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.
16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use.
17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.
18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us.
20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king." Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Everyone go back to his town."

So why is this 'King, Sovereignty" business my concern and yours?

Because counter-balancing the natural tendencies of Human Behaviour is one think that's hard to legislate.

Notwithstanding an ably designed system to split governing into 3 equal, side-by-side, double-checking, elements, the American governors have abused the powers given them - they have increased their share of powers granted from the source of sovereignty (the American people collectively) and created a new colossus in the image of the one they tossed out.

Similarly, notwithstanding an even more ably designed system with 4 hierarchical levels of double-checking elements, the Canadian governors have subtly nullified the double-checks on their actions and gathered all the powers of the sovereign (the 'Crown', embodied in the office of Queen of Canada) and created a kingdom inside Canada (replicated on a smaller scale in each province) and take turns wearing the crown and sharing the spoils of the Treasury and land with the "one who brung' them. (ed. NB Neither the 'people' nor the 'citizens' are included in the sovereignty of Canada OR granted any absolute rights in the Constitution.

This was never intended, indeed (in both cases) the opposite of the original purpose of both Constitutions has come to pass.

What'll we do?

Discussion about the American situation is for another day, although their experience of problems and solutions can be just as instructive today as it was in 1867 for the Fathers of Confederation.

In Canada, it's quite simple. Go back to square one. Re-start following the provisions for Executive & Legislative power-sharing as-written in the BNA/Constiution Act 1867-1982.

Let's call it re-Confederating as in re-birth.

Let's rejoice that a perfectly suited solution is right under our noses and can be put into play without any discussion or debate - it already IS the supreme law of the land.

We've just been too trusting, too benignly neglectful, too not-learned in the law and simply not as vigilent as we might have been. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Fortunately Canada is an abundant country, the people are resilient and forgiving and we ARE able to start again.

But this time we'll be aware of the potential pitfalls and have full-knowledge of the 'rule-book' to use as a measure of government and governors good or bad civil service.

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