November 3, 2006

The Laughable US Constitution - separation of powers

The idea is fine - to prevent a dictatorship by separating power into different areas, and by having a system of checks and balances.

Where it should be done: separation of Head of State from Head of Government. The former is a ceremonial and symbolic, like a respected but powerless Monarch, the latter is political and transitory, like a Prime Minister. By combining the two roles in one person, that person can stifle criticism of their poor government record by accusing critics of unpatriotically attacking the Country Itself.

Where it should not be done: separation of legislature from executive. These functions are essentially the same, and the people should have the right to elect a government which will can be seen to act effectively, without each side playing a blame game of deliberate confusion. Otherwise, ineffective government (but not small government) is one result. Lack of accountability is another. Corruption is another. Voter alienation and apathy is yet another.

Where it should be done: taking the Supreme Court away from both legislature and executive, and leaving the appointment of Justices in the hands of the legal profession. "Separation of powers" is a joke if politicians are going to appoint Justices on party lines, and Justices are then going to appoint the President on party lines!

Where it should not be done: bicameral legislatures. Two legislatures of equal weight leads to gridlock, confusion, lack of accountability, voter alienation, etc. One legislature strong because elected, the other weak because appointed, is no solution either, but leads to corruption and legislative review by rich status-seekers who have bought their office.

But money politics is another topic.

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