Friday, June 25, 2010

The Tyranny Of Accountability

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air links to an NPR piece (via Instapundit) decrying the fact that politicians are being held accountable by their constitutents. Ed notes:

When the founders created Congress, they had two separate constituencies in mind. For the House, they wanted Representatives who would be accountable to the people, while for the Senate they wanted members accountable to the state legislatures that were the natural check on federal power. (Later, the 17th Amendment made Senators accountable to the general public instead.) They formed this body in answer to the tyranny of distant nobility and politicians with no accountability whatsoever to those whom they would rule. A representative government, they concluded, would be the antidote of tyranny.


In any case, accountability is not tyranny; it’s the exact opposite of tyranny.

Consider this Washington Examiner column making the case that a policy-making court needs to be have the same kind of accountability that a legislature does.

There are two kinds of government: an accountable government or an unaccountable one. Nobody wants an unaccountable government (noboy intelligent, anyways), so the only question is how the government is to be held accountable. The original Constitutional framework provided that the states would hold the Senate accountable while the people held the House accountable. The election of the President was regulated through the electoral college to prevent populist democracy, while judges were monitored through the Presidency, the Senate, and the possibility of impeachment by the House.

Utopian visionaries lament that they are not allowed to force their social engineering programs on people. If only they were allowed to force people to obey without the threat of accountability! They could create heaven on earth!

Thomas Friedman recently said, "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages." But the rule of law requires that government be held accountable. This is how Judge Napolitano reacted to the idea that the justice requires making government unaccountable:

Accountability is the foundation of the rule of law. If we tear down the laws in our quest to punish the devil, then what laws will there be to protect us?

Those who support big government oppose the repeal of the 17th Amendment because they don't want lawmakers held accountable. It's easier for people to hold their state and local governments accountable, but national politicians are loyal only to their party and to their special interests.


Stephen said...

Poor Shepard, he's been too conditioned by the government to understand basic problem.

Brian said...


I have to say these two videos say it all and define the fight in simple terms, and that is reason verse emotion. In both cases Judge Napolitano and St. Thomas More reacted to a given situation with reason whilst Shepard Smith and Master Roper react with emotion. Without reason emotion is a dangerous state of mind.

Our founders applied reason carefully and at almost every step of the way during creation of this country. This country needs to return to reason, not reason alone for that is the world of the technocrat, but reason together with emotion. That is world of the right ordered human.