Restoring the Republic

Paul Jacob has written a fantastic article in which he recommends more democracy as a potential cure for the poisoned republicanism that we now have:

I wish that we lived in a republic as imagined by the best of our founders. But Ben Franklin’s great aphorism was a warning as well as a statement. And it is apparent that Americans have not heeded the warning. We have not kept our republic. Not that keeping a republic is easy. Franklin’s co-conspirator, Thomas Jefferson, explained: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

…Three democratic reforms provide the first steps to returning our government to its Constitutional, republican roots:

1. Term limits at local, state, and federal levels, for all elected executives and representatives.

2. The right to initiative and referendum by citizens in every state and locality, for Constitutional as well as statutory enactment and repeal.

3. Require a vote of the people for tax increases and borrowing money.

The latter is a particularly good idea and works very well in Switzerland, where the people recently voted down an expensive expansion of the St. Gotthard tunnel that the government had overwhelmingly approved. They have also consistently, (and wisely) voted down member ship in the European Union despite the furious efforts of their politicians. Theory is fine and all, but it is no substitute for hard data and the facts demonstrate that the “mob rule” of referendums in both the USA and abroad works far better than leaving fiscal matters in the hands of a corrupt cabal of long-term office holders.

It should be interesting to see how the American Left, despite its eternal championing of “democracy”, will contort itself into pretzels explaining why it won’t support this proposed empowering of the will of the People, if Jacob’s idea proves to have traction.