Posts Tagged ‘17th Amendment’
If you’ve never watched the republic video linked to in the top right corner of this website, may I suggest you make it a priority to understand there are only 2 forms of government. There never has been a lasting form of government other than a type of totalitarian government, and a republic.
In the scriptures we see various examples of this. Kings wield sovereign rule in 2 ways. Righteous kings (benevolent dictatorship) included King David (Bible) and King Benjamin (Book of Mormon-BOM), and wicked kings included King Ahaz (Bible) and King Noah (BOM) [sidebar: back in 1993 after President Clinton had been in office a year, I wrote a list of about a dozen parallels between his governmental actions and that of King Noah as found in Mosiah 11--it gave me a new perspective for how King Noah may have been a real schmoozer with the people and not just some fat gluttonous fellow as depicted in Arnold Friberg's picture].
We also see conniving individuals in the scriptures who formed what the BOM calls “secret combinations” so they could achieve dictatorships and bring all the people under their power and control. An example of this would be Amalikiah (BOM).
It will be recalled that in the Old Testament, the Lord had given Moses the law and they had a system of representatives to offload the burden from Moses. Someone was appointed over 10, 50, 100, etc… This was a republican form of government. A written law existed and the people had a scheme of representation.
Later, Samuel the prophet gave the people judges but the people found them corruptible so they demanded a king so they could be “like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5). How many people in America today are clamoring for us to be “like all the nations.” Where are “all the nations” today? They are either under totalitarian rule or quickly getting there by use of democracy.
Democracy is a dangerous form of government because it devolves into anarchy over time as the people lack the ability to closely watch all the issues and they begin to only vote for the things that benefit them and not the country. The passing of the 17th amendment was a breakdown of the separation of powers to hold the voice of the masses in check by those specifically put in place to represent the voice of the state (ie. to strip away the protection of states’ rights).
What did it mean when the people in Samuel’s day wanted to be like “all the nations?” The Lord answered that in 1 Samuel 8:7.
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
Turning to a dictatorship is a rejection of God. Why? Because the primary element in worshiping the Lord is found in the principle of agency, or the freedom to choose. God doesn’t force you to worship him and he doesn’t force people to be good. He lets their own actions speak for themselves. When we choose to do good and charitable things, we are blessed for it. When we do evil, we are cursed. When we choose to have a king, we reject the one true King which is God. We can find many examples in the scriptures of wicked kings leading the people to do sin or bringing them into bondage by government policies or by morally weakening the people to the point that outside forces easily conquered them.
Concerning America, one Book of Mormon prophet wrote:
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.” (Ether 2:12)
I believe our Founding Fathers were divinely inspired to set up a republic in America precisely because that is the only form of government that preserves agency and allows people the freedom to choose to serve God. They rejected the government of the king of England because God is King. Our freedoms have rapidly eroded over the last century the further God has been pushed from public dialog and from our schools.
Concerning democracy, the word doesn’t appear in scripture, but the word republic does appear one time in the LDS canon. Doctrine & Covenants 98:3 states:
“We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.”
There are only 2 forms of government. A republic that is upheld by the voice of a moral people, or a form of a dictatorship. When people lose their morality and their worship of God as king, they embrace destructive government policies which tell them what to do and how to live and as that monster grows, liberty is destroyed.
To those that come across this article and believe socialism is taught in the scriptures, including the teachings of Jesus, may I refer you to Marion G. Romney’s classic talk, “Socialism is not the United Order.”
If any of you would like to read a paper I wrote on why socialism is the devil’s plan, please click here to read my LDS perspective on freedom and agency.
Connor has posted a great article on the concept of nullification which also deals with the loss of states rights under the 17th amendment. I encourage you to read it here:
Here is his article’s introduction:
“There has been plenty of chatter in the past year about “state’s rights” (more correctly termed “state’s powers”, as political entities do not themselves have any rights) and the tenth amendment to the Constitution which provides that any power not expressly delegated to the federal government is reserved to the states, or to the people. Concerned citizens of all political persuasions have rallied around the banner of federalism to promote abolishing or restricting federal programs and replacing them with state-based alternatives, or nothing at all.
For all the noise being made by the cacophony of individuals frustrated with the federal government, however, few either understand or are willing to embrace the two key components that would make their goals a reality, rather than a slogan painted on a banner for a tea party protest. In order to demand—not ask—that the federal government limit itself to its constitutionally delegated authority and nothing more, states themselves must have representation in the federal government, and they must nullify any federal law that is clearly outside of the scope of federal jurisdiction.”
He also posted this very different video on Thomas Woods being interviewed by a Zombie about his new book Nullification… It’s pretty funny, especially the end.
The Salt Lake Tribune reprinted an article from the NY Times entitled “Why state legislatures should not pick U.S. senators.” The author points out how a wealthy robber barron named William Clark, essentially purchased a senate seat by paying off his state legislature. Actions such as these led to the creation and passage of the 17th amendment which put the election of senators into the hands of the people.
The author correctly points out that this is corrupt politics at its worst. However, he is incorrect in his assessment of the 17th amendment.
When the Founding Fathers created our government, the “checks and balances” we often talk about came because of the conflict designed into the system. Each branch of government has the ability to strike at another branch. The congress with its House and Senate has to pass legislation through both. The Senators used to be appointed by the states to further enhance the conflict so that when House members who were elected by popular vote made promises to the people, they could be held in check by those who were looking out for the State interests and wouldn’t have the same body they were looking out for. Senators were to protect the interest of the states while Representatives were for the interest of the people.
It would have been far better that instead of passing the 17th amendment, we had made it a felony to contribute to a state legislator if you were running for federal office. If we had done something like that rather than put the 17th amendment in place, we wouldn’t have the outcry for states’ rights these days because the states would still have an advocate in the Congress.