Sunday, July 23, 2023

Introduction to the Constitution with Hillsdale College Professor Larry P. Arnn Videos 4-6

 Introduction to the Constitution with Hillsdale College Professor Larry P. Arnn Videos 4-6

Video 4: The Consent of the Governed

-no one among us can rule over the rest unless we give that person permission to rule

-principle of equality: consent of the governed is of fundamental importance for understanding the government of the United States

-understand the form of our government is the precursor in the Declaration of Independence

-human-all-equal in some form-this equality set them up to be governed by only their consent which gives rise to the Constitution

-connect the steps is to walk through the history of the American Revolution

Representative of the government

Why do we have consent?

-social contract: if we are equal you wouldn’t have the authority to do something to me unless I say so

-King: retaliated against the declaration-I was born to be the king and you were born to be servants so I am required to look after you and take care of you and do what is in your best interest-But you are required to do what I say-(Given to the Continental Army)

-Kings view of I was born with an obligation and you were born with an obligation-predetermined birth

-Declaration of Independence denies this-we were all born equal-so you get to be our king if we say so

**Thomas Jefferson summary view of the rights of British North America “Let those flatter those who you fear”

-Not an American art= king gets power only if people say so!

-The king’s counsel is not us-so message behind the flag “Don’t Tread On Me”

-the snake-right- born the same-you get carriage, but you don’t get to tell us what to do from it

-consent is born from equality in that way that we Americans breath it from birth

-reasoning: we believe if we work hard we can do anything

-American mindset= belief no one was better than me or I than other

-Churchill quote- “it's the principle that everybody is as good as everybody else or a little better.”

***Story: Ben Franklin-from the morally pious middle class was sent to England to talk to the king’s cabinet. Told that we are the mother country and you are the children and you must do as we say-He writes to the Continental Congress who in America did not agree

Video 5: Representation of the People

-representation is the means by which the principle of the consent of the governed is applied and maintained in the government

-without representation, the people lose their ability to consent

-a mechanism is necessary by means of which the people can regularly express their consent

-for U.S., this mechanism is the Constitution

-representation allows for citizens to entrust the governing of the country to a few people while still retaining the crucial ability to control the power of the government

-this feature provides a beneficial check both on the people and on the government, and thus is favorable to liberty

-Problem-you give people power and you don’t want them to abuse it-so how do you make the power limited at the same time? 

-How to stop from exceeding authority like the King of England

-wisdom-every human use of power required to be restrained and directed toward the good as opposed the bad-like self-interest

-One way they did that is to make the government purely representative

-we get to pick the rulers but not the rule

-consent gives rise to representation

-control on government-monopoly-politics is natural for human beings

-we live under laws-gift of speech-is the classical argument

-against kings view that there is an order of nature-I am king and you are under to obey

-founders said no-not true that once you are assigned to a station from birth you can't change it

-the government can only do what we say, so it drastically limits the overtaking of power over people 

-establishment of government after given consent-code of conduct-Declaration of Independence

-after that is established what next?

-the need a for the Constitution 

Ex. Hitler enabling act was that the government would be able to do anything they wanted to do-not need the consent of the people

-Violation of consent-Hitler’s constitution is Hitler’s will-end of rule of law when those in authority live under different laws (rules for thee not for me)

-Alot of people working to make decisions then have some form by which they indicate authoritatively what they agreed to

-Implied in middle of declaration of Independence (not like the king as ruler and what he was doing)

-consent requires representation-representation is a written way for that to happen

-mechanism for consent-so must elect people to represent 

-consent is not just agreeing there is going to be a country

-consent is the mechanism for people to oversee what the government is doing over time

-founders-world-open-democracy fails because it gives into majority rule-tyranny-but founders wanted public-interest to be above all power of the government

-Federalist papers 10: public interest:

“By a faction I understand a number of citizens whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”

-separate from the particular and temporal of any one of us or group

-part of stopping the government is what it is to the governed, but you call the government something different than the people they represent 

-representation is supposed to go and stop the government from doing things the governed do not agree

-having a Constitution means you can spread decisions out over time

-government has a monopoly of power-it has to have a society big enough to check their great power

Video 6: Sovereignty and Power

sovereignty answers the question who rules? Who gets to decide who is in charge? 

-it is difficult to see who has the supreme authority, or the final say in matters of great importance

-the principles of American government, however, require the sovereignty of the people

-they express their will through the constitutional majority, although they themselves do not rule directly

-63rd federalists says unique in America:

“The true distinction between these and the American governments, lies in the total exclusion of the people, in their collective capacity, from any share in the latter, and not in the total exclusion of the representatives of the people from the administration of the former.” 

-what latter and former means is important

-people in collective capacity were totally excluded from something-what is that something?

-what is it that people do none of it? Judges, legislatures, or are executives

-they are entirely excluded from the operation of government 

-divisions of power in the constitution

-all sovereignty is “we the people”-our consent

-why is the majority the right thing? (we will never get every person to agree)

-voting-we are all born equal-if you have 160 approve and 40 disapprove called an aristocracy so stand in for unanimous consent-majority rule

-Abraham Lincoln 1st Inaugural address-1st edition and revisions

“A constitutional majority is the only true sovereign of a free people”

-legitimate title to rule 

-1st check is we must consent

-2nd check is we who have the power to consent do not run the government-it is a check on “we the people”

-Supreme and limited on what it can do

-every human power must be restrained so constitutional forms are implemented to bring that about

-implementation of our ongoing consent

-separation of sovereignty and power 

-fierce battle for public opinion out in the open

-elections takes forever-Madison thought that was good- can’t change of all government at once-it takes 6 years

Consent + representation = rise of separation of sovereignty and power


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