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JEQuidam wrote:Part of our job is to explain these fundamental concepts to our fellow citizens so that they can begin to understand the need for representational enlargement.
I understand the distinction you are trying to make between representatives and legislators: you are calling those representatives who serve on committees "legislators". (That terminology will confuse many because the "legislative branch" is commonly understood to be the Congress.) I prefer to call all of them "Representatives" and I avoid using the term "legislators". We certainly need more representatives, not more legislators!
The following is an excerpt from "Original Meanings - Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution", a Pulitzer Prize winning historical account authored by Jack N. Rakove - pg 205:
"Was representation simply a device to replace the impracticable meeting of the people at large, in which case representatives should resemble their constituents as closely as possible? Or should representatives possess an independence of mind and a breadth of experience or knowledge that would provide a capacity for deliberation that ordinary citizens lacked? Did the "sympathy" desired of lawmakers require reinforcing the ties that bound them to the voters; or could it be attained, in adequate measure, through some act of imagination? The answers to these questions in turn reflected divergent definitions of the essential duties of representative institutions. Did they exist primarily to protect the people at large against arbitrary power by preventing government from acting without the expression of popular consent? Or did they not provide as well a mechanism whereby the people could authorize government to make law in the positive sense, actively adopting policies that contribute to the prosperity of the society and the happiness of its citizens?"
Again quoting from Jack N. Rakove's "Original Meanings":
"At the Convention, the framers struggled to move beyond their preoccupation with the mechanics of representation -- especially the dilemma of apportionment in both houses -- to secure the qualitative improvement in the character of deliberation and legislation they desired. Once the Constitution was published, however, Federalists were hard pressed to defend this conception of representation against more traditional norms to which Anti-Fedralists clung when they worried that a small and elite Congress would lack the sympathy and local knowledge needed to protect the people at large against the abuse of power."
Progress and Poverty --- Henry George
"To turn a republican government into a despotism the basest and most brutal, it is not necessary formally to change its constitution or abandon popular elections ....
.... forms are nothing when substance has gone, and the forms of popular government are those from which the substance of freedom may most easily go. Extremes meet, and a government of universal suffrage and theoretical equality may, under conditions which impel the change, most readily become a despotism. For there despotism advances in the name and with the might of the people. The single source of power once secured, everything is secured. ....
And when the disparity of condition increases, so does universal suffrage make it easy to seize the source of power, for the greater is the proportion of power in the hands of those who feel no direct interest in the conduct of government; who, tortured by want and embittered by poverty, are ready to sell their votes to the highest bidder or follow the lead of the most blatant demagogue; or who, made bitter by hardships, may even look upon profligate and tyrannous government with the satisfaction we may imagine the proletarians and slaves of Rome to have felt, as they saw a Caligula or Nero raging among the rich patricians ....
Where there is anything like an equal distribution of wealth - that is to say, where there is general patriotism, virtue, and intelligence - the more democratic the government the better it will be; but where there is gross inequality in the distribution of wealth, the more democratic the government the worse it will be; for, while rotten democracy may not in itself be worse than rotten autocracy, its effects upon national character will be worse ....
.... but in a corrupt democracy the tendency is always to give power to the worst. Honesty and patriotism are weighted, and unscrupulousness commands success. The best gravitate to the bottom, the worst float to the top, and the vile will only be ousted by the viler. While as national character must gradually assimilate to the qualities that win power, and consequently respect, that demoralization of opinion goes on which in the long panorama of history we may see over and over again transmuting races of free men into races of slaves."
TheTrucker wrote: There are about 200 committee members.
silverpie wrote:TheTrucker wrote: There are about 200 committee members.
On what source do you base that claim? According to the House website, the only member of the House without at least one committee assignment is the one from Oregon 2.
Paul wrote:I also think it is unlikely that so much power would ever be granted to so few people, specifically in the cases of the Speaker and the Committee Chairs.
HouseSizeWonk wrote:Paul wrote:I also think it is unlikely that so much power would ever be granted to so few people, specifically in the cases of the Speaker and the Committee Chairs.
This sort of power already belongs to the Speaker and the Committee Chairs. Not only is it wrong to say it's unlikely, it has already happened.
Jims65 wrote:Wow, I’m getting quite an education reading these forums. I didn’t know that there were only 200 representatives out of 435 representatives who served on committees. I assumed every representative in Congress served on at least one committee or sub-committee. This post comes many months after your original post and comments but I’m hoping can enlighten me further.
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