November 7th, 2004
|thomryng||07:26 am - Legislative Authority: Parliament|
"In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates." (The Federalist Number 51, Publius [James Madison], 1788)
Legislators make laws. In the United States, the sorts of laws they can make are strictly controlled, though this Constitutional control has slackened to the point of near non-existence. Taking the principle that the government closest to the people is the most responsive, you'd want each legislator to represent as small a number of people as practical.
The larger the number of people each Legislator represents, the more out of touch he or she is with those people, and the more influence Big Money can have.
In the United Kingdom, each MP represents about 90,000 people. By contrast, in the US, each Congressman represents more than 650,000 people. For the US to have the same level of representation as the UK Parliament, there would have to be more than 3000 Congressmen.
This is probably not practical.
Was it always this bad? Clearly not. In 1800, there were 59 Congressmen for a census population of 5,236,631, or one representative for every 88,756 people, roughly the same as that of the UK Parliament today.
What is the solution? Assuming that we don't want a 3000-member House of Representatives, the only other solution is to have a smaller country to begin with.
Well, if the government wasn't federal, then a Senate wouldn't even be necessary.
And I believe that the legislator should always have a constant contact with his or her constituency, even in terms of ratio (so a 3000-member HR wouldn't actually be that bad, I'm sure).
But yes, secession should always be allowed as an option if a state's population 1) can mature enough to ensure that political self-determination and responsibility is given full leeway and 2) cannot necessarily be represented best in a union's legislature.
Unions of the political type are supposed to exist as normalizers of relations and balancers of inequalities between different, bordering sovereignties; thus Unions aren't meant to be permanent and solid forever. If the need for the bonds between a state and a union are no longer there, then there's no need for that state to remain WITHIN that union, right?
All the more reason for why Hawai'i, California, Cascadia, and New England should leave the Union as soon as their respective citizens can mature in their general political awareness and outlook with self-determination.