Monday, February 28, 2011

"Constitutional Compound Republic"

What the heck? Can anybody tell me what this means? Compound?? What?!!

The Utah Legislature thinks it can dictate Civic Education? Big Brother, anyone? This would be so silly if it weren't actually so dangerous.

Think about it for a minute. The Utah State Legislature dictating by law how teachers are to teach Civics with clear political dogma involved. Does the Legislature need a Civics lesson? Maybe one on the First Amendment? How about one at the ballot box or the Republican caucus system dominated by the excitable extremes of the conservative party? This is exactly where moderates - and there really are a lot of them out there even in Utah Republican-land, need to get enthused, excited and organized. Maybe Bob Bennett can lead a revolt in the next round of caucuses!

Anyway, for the record, the best description I ever heard of our form of government is the wonderful compromise language of a democratic republic. A small "r" republic because we have have representatives of the people running the government and small "d" democratic because the process to choose them is for the most part democratic (but only as it developed in the 20th Century, particularly with the Seventeenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-sixth Amendments, and especially the Voting Rights Act of 1965). I read a book on this from a course at BYU 30 years or so ago The Founding of the Democratic Republic by Diamond. According to Amazon it's still barely in print but I have a copy if you want to borrow it. It will do you a bit better than all the Glenn Beck the Utah Legislators are apparently reading. Please get a clue, people!

[to follow this discussion further, click here.]


  1. So once again, it's proof-texting the Federalist Papers (51) to promote state power in arguing for the two sovereigns theory. Fine, the tension was intended but the past 220 years of Constitutional History do mean something as do the Amendments I cited. And you all know where I come out on this. Not with the Slaveholders, not with the Segregationists and not with the Utah Legislature trying to dictate what we should think and who we throw out of our borders.

    Oh, and Google also shows that this is directly out of Beckian/Skousenite dogma. Just google it yourself. I refuse to link to him.

    (Federalist 51 links to 10 as well to argue for the large republic that diffuses factions and potentially oppressive majorities. So you can proof-text this however you want. And I don't think Madison expected us to govern ourselves exactly the way he would have. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been so willing to "compromise" with all his buddies in the convention so we could actually have a Constitution for all time if we can only survive the Utah Legislature.)

  2. Please, dear friends. I'm only trying to save the Constitution. It boggles the mind that anyone can say, "If only we could go back to the original ideas of the Founders!" and ignore the issues of internal improvements, tariffs, Indians, national bank, slavery, Dred Scott, civil war, birth-right citizenship, separate but equal, industrialization, workers rights, two World Wars, segregation, women's vote, red scare, minorities' votes, war powers, 18-year-old votes, international cooperation, a global economy, and all the rest of 220+ years of Constitutional history!!

  3. What is even more disturbing is that the legislature is trying to take an economic system (socialism) and label it as a form of government. The Republicans in Utah have shifted so far to the extreme right that they have become guilty of the very "big government" mentality they claim to despise. Basically, we have a scary situation where they are actively passing legislation to indoctrinate students with the Republican Party Platform in order to completely stamp out any future political opposition. Perhaps they need to read a history book on Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. They also co-opted education to spread their ideology. Political party control of education is a sign that a government is no longer controlled by the people.

  4. This is just an Orwellian attempt to remove the words "democracy" and "federal" from the vocabulary taught in schools in utah. The United States of America is a Constitutional Federal Republic. There is no reason to replace federal with compound. Newspeak anyone?

  5. I must not watch Beck enough, because I still don't get this whole semantics war. People keep yelling at me "we don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic!" To which I say, "yes, and . . .?" Is there a whole manifesto behind this statement, or is it as superficial as trying to make the title Republican sound more valid than Democrat?

  6. Dr. Plewe-
    Thanks, but I'm not sure myself. So I hope your question is rhetorical because I certainly can't answer it. I'll keep trying to figure it out, though.


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