Throughout all of recorded history there have been those who rule the rest of the people. They have used various ways to maintain their position as the ruler. Some have claimed Divine right to rule while others have claimed a natural right because they are better in some way (stronger, smarter, etc).  The results are basically the same, a family or group is set up as being in charge and a large body of rules are set up to maintain them in power.  There is always an extensive rationalization to explain the duty everyone has to backing the order.  Duty to the country or to god or whatever fits the narrative.

The people in charge rarely give up the job willingly except for some as they near the end of a long life.  This usually makes changing rulers an unpleasant and often messy business.  Thus the founders of the US stated that it is usually better to endure a poor ruler than to revolt.  Only when the abuse from the ruler gets unbearable should one consider the use of force to do so.

A few societies over the centuries have tried to create a way for an orderly transition.  When the ruler gets to old or dies it is already known who is next in line so there is no need for a struggle.  This is generally good for the society and therefor fairly easy to maintain.  The real problems come when the ruling class gets to feeling they have the right to take advantage of their position to treat the rest of the people unjustly.  Unfortunately, most people, as soon as they perceive that they have power and influence over others, they begin to feel they have the right to do whatever they want.  Our founders where well aware of all this so they tried to set up a system in which the rulers would serve only a short time and then move on with their lives.  They also knew that a country needs some stability so they devised a system where the terms of the various rulers would last for 2, 4, or 6 years as well as balancing the powers of the various rulers.

Now after over two hundred years we find that we have traded the rule of the royal family for the rule of the career politician, many of whom come from the same families over generations.  The new narrative is that the career politician should rule because the people want them to, they are smarter, they care more, and because they have dedicated their lives to public service.  Thus the families of career politicians are every bit as Nobel and Deserving as any royal family ever was. As is often said, ” The more things change the more they stay the same. “.

In the so far never ending struggle between liberty and tyranny, we continue to search for a way to keep our rulers basic nature in check.  Perhaps we should try to eliminate the problems with the career politician by only allowing a single term and then sending them home, for a while at least.  This may help to give us statesman rather than politicians.  Maybe then our leaders will be able to keep perspective and know that they are part of us not our betters.

3 Comments for this entry

  • Shirley says:

    Our current system of no term limits (except for the president) has created a situation of nearly guaranteeing lifelong politians who have no idea what life is like beyond the beltway. Even those who honestly intend to stay “only” one or two terms, end up seduced by the power and perks that come with the job and find themselves unable to just walk away. The voters won’t bring in someone new because then they lose the seniority which puts their reps in charge of key committees with the ability to send more pork back home…which keeps them getting reelected. Congress will never derail their own gravy train, so the only way to do it would be for the states to each ratify an amendment to their state constitution, providing term limits. A tough battle if nobody is willing to be the first.

  • for Rick Harvey says:

    I strongly agree with the single term concept. To many politicians convince their constituents that they are indispensable and therefore, must be kept in office. My solution to this would be to not only have a single-term policy, but also prohibit any fund raising or campaigning for at least a year after holding the office. Instead of working at the job for which they were hired, (elected) most politicians use the majority of their time in office planning how to get re-elected. How many employers in the private sector would continue to pay an employee who spent most of their time looking for a better job, instead of working on the job they were paid to do?

    • Shirley says:

      Exactly. I really like the idea proposed here of mandatory waiting periods between leaving office and being elected again, to the same office or any other. It would force them to have some real-life experience outside the beltway, and it might make them a little more likely to cast the unpopular, yet necessary votes to get our economy back on track. They won’t do that if they are too worried about how a controversial vote will go over in the polls.

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