In Federalist 57
James Madison defends the House of Representatives as a just political structure that is designed to balance merit, common weal and electoral skepticism such that the right representatives can act as specialists, but not so far divorced from public confidence. Madison also discusses the political equality in republican government which promotes political equality, merit and the rule of law.
Madison argues for representative democracy, and a house which faces the electorate with high frequency, as the best means to avoid oligarchy while still attracting legislative specialists. he sees this as the best constitutional design to temper corruption through constantly facing public opinion at the ballot box, yet giving enough separation from the electorate, and a feared mob opinion, that the representative can act in the common weal or public good.
The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.
The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one, is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people.
A constant theme in Madison's republicanism is the elevation of specialists through public trust; but at the same time a deep distrust of power, corruption and special interests. Madison's solution to this is to make the specialists face the ballot and by judged by those that they would represent.
This assumes that the electorate is a vengeful one, permanently on the point of 'throwing the bums out', but this has not proved true in practice. Most electorates are two candidates or in rare cases three-cornered. Until recently, especially in Australia with the establishment of independent electoral commissions, many states suffered from malapportionment.
Madison's representatives that would face either the confidence or wrath of the electorate are intended to be purely of merit. He argues:
Every citizen whose merit may recommend him to the esteem and confidence of his country. No qualification of wealth, of birth, of religious faith, or of civil profession is permitted to fetter the judgement or disappoint the inclination of the people.
This is a republican statement of political equality. During Madison's time, Britain had a hereditary monarch who dominated the executive through accident of birth. Britain had a House of Lords that was predicated on title alone and in the House of Commons there were still rotton boroughs. Madison is stating equivocally that the qualification for public service is merit and public confidence through the ballot.
Madison continues the theme of political equality through the rule of law with:
I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.
This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.
In a Madisonian republic law is universal and as relevant to the legislature as it is the people. This is the rule of law, where no individual is above the law, not the executive, nor the legislative. To Madison a republic is the best form of government for stopping tyranny, as any tyrannical law has universal application. A good example of this is speeding tickets, NSW politicians have had to resign over speeding infractions which are arguably one of the most arbitrarily enforced of all laws.
But this is where the loophole in the republic, under its current forms, is. The executive can get around the rule of law by selective enforcement. This gives the impression of the force of law being universal, but in reality, there is no force of law where the executive chooses. This is known as the state of exception and is the biggest threat to republican constitutional order in recent times. Examples of states of exception are Guantanamo Bay and the Nauru refugee centre.
The solution is pretty simple and requires little more than codification of universalism. The system will need to allow for any individual under the jurisdiction of the government to sue the executive, themselves, or through an intermediate such that the judicial can ensure the full constitutional force of law is brought to bear on the individual.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.