Madison would be horrified | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
December 24, 2011 · Updated 10:03 AM
To the editor:
I think that Mr. David Freed knows what collectivism means: The political principle of centralized social and economic control, esp. of all means of production, (Random House).
Historically, collectivism has had two broad segments: The socialist/communist branch, which has led to totalitarian regimes or unsustainable welfare states, and the arachno/utopian branch, exemplified by the old “Freeland” commune here on Whidbey Island and the now failing Occupy movement.
James Madison was concerned about the possibility of a majority becoming tyrannical. He wrote in Federalist No. 10: “A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it.”
So Madison relied upon a representative system to dilute the unjust power of factions to victimize a minority. He also believed that a system of defined powers would prevent overreaching by the Congress.
In Federalist No. 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”
“The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
Madison soon came to realize that a Bill of Rights would be needed. Otherwise a loss of liberty would surely result from legislation exceeding the proper functions of the federal government. He would be horrified at the mutation of his handiwork into the bloated monstrosity which we now face.