Solving our dilemma

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

To the Editor:

I’m perplexed. This paper prints an article that we’ve never been better, “When did America Stop being Great,” and then within a week prints, with permission, an article that “we are at war with ourselves.”

I could not have said it better myself. I suppose it shows that there are many differences among us. We all have different opinions and views and this is normal. What is not normal is the situation we are in today. We have groups who demand that their view is the one and only correct view and all others are to be suppressed, though you may remember not long ago the common sentiment, “while I might not agree with you I’ll fight to demand your right to say it.”

In my “opinion,” there are a multitude of reasons why we have reached this point and I would like to highlight two. One, we seem to have forgotten that we are a constitutional republic not a democracy and two, we have surpassed the manageable size for our representative government.

The ideal democracy is universal equality and the ideal of a constitutional republic is individual liberty. A democracy promises government-mandated equality, which runs counter to individual liberty. A democracy tends to give more emphasis and power to an executive who will push/force equality on the masses, which can also be seen as tyranny. In this manner the people and their representation are bypassed or run over.

Many times you will hear those promoting democracy quoting the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equally. Yes, equally under God and equally to be judged under the law no matter what the inequalities are that exist between them in society. Nowhere does the Declaration declare equality, though it does declare liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness. Democracy and individual liberty run opposite.

In surpassing the manageable size for our representative government we have a congress with a house of representatives of 435 people, which breaks down to one representative for every 750,000 citizens. Do you think this representative has the time to understand his constituents or chooses to focus on the “big fish?” Then we must increase the representation, right? Easy to say, though the functionality and efficiency of a larger body would only become dysfunctional. It has become a question of scale and we have gone beyond what is manageable to address the ills of society.

A solution could be to place more emphasis on local (self or home) rule such as state legislatures and push back against the domination of the federal government/executive. What the people of San Francisco implement may be all well and good for them, though the people of Virginia may see things differently. This is understandable and it should be left for each to do their own thing. When one tries to mandate equality across the board of such a varied and large population we end up with the situation we are in today.

There could be a happy ending, though it does mean change. We need to seriously determine if the nation must remain fixed in its current size and structure or if we could allow manageable sized blocks such states to determine their own direction without interference from the federal government. We have the recent example of Britain with “Brexit,” and their people deciding to move their own way. This is a path of freedom for the individual. We can resolve our dilemma.

Jonathan Varnell