Tonawanda News


December 11, 2012

We have never been a nation of majority rule


Tonawanda News — Except that assumption would also assume that “progress” is a good thing and that the “principle of majority rule” is a true tenet upon which this nation was founded. But as I’ve already said, it wasn’t.

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner,” according to the author James Bovard.

And that’s precisely why the filibuster needs to remain in effect. The sheep need protection from the wolves.

Of course, in years past, the Senate was a much more thoughtful and responsible body where moderates from both parties outnumbered the radicals and everyone worked together to compose bills they knew would pass. In fact, the Senate was designed to be just that. That’s why there’s only 100 of them. And that’s why (originally) they were appointed by their respective states, chosen not for party affiliation but for their ability to work together and come up with reasonable solutions to the nation’s ills.

In this manner, the Senate also was designed to temper the more whimsical tones of the House. But the 17th Amendment screwed that all up and gave the people the power to directly elect senators.

The reason filibusters have increased exponentially over the past few decades is because the bills put forth in the Senate have become less and less reasonable and more and more partisan. It could actually be offered, then, that the filibuster’s design is working exactly as intended, preventing a tyranny of the majority.

Which is exactly why we don’t live under “majority rule,” but rather a complex design created by our founders to protect us from ourselves. Because in the end, we’re both wolves and sheep.

Scott Leffler is a self-proclaimed Constitutional scholar. He's also a ginger. But we don't talk about that. Follow his Tweets @scottleffler.

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