Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Military Industrial Complex | The Iron Triangle Model

The iron triangle model, at its essence, is the collaboration between Congress, special interest groups (such as lobbyists) and bureaucracies. Essentially what this means is that special interests groups will lobby Congress to pass friendly regulations or conduct certain actions that will benefit the bureaucracy that is being lobbied for. One example of an iron triangle is the military industrial complex or in other words, the weapon and military technology companies that benefit from increased US military spending. "It's really about the conjunction between the military itself, the weapons contractors, and in some degree the Congress. And it deals with how they kind of work in tandem" (Huey-Burns, 2011) and each has something to gain from this relationship. "In 1961, Eisenhower warned of a "scientific-technological elite" that would dominate public policy, and of a "military-industrial complex" that would claim "our toil, resources, and livelihood" (Newton, 2010).

Military technology companies are not the only ones to profit from this relationship, lobbyists profit immeasurably as well. The more success that is achieved from lobbying Congress, the more lobbyists that are hired. It may seem obvious that companies that produce weapons or military technology and lobbyists have a lot to gain from increased military spending, but what does Congress have to gain? There are many benefits for a Congress person to support the military industrial complex. For one, they may receive financial incentives such as campaign donations from these companies for their support. Also, they may be seen as supporting the troops if they vote in favor of increased military spending. Additionally, "parts of the F-22 are built in more than 40 states" (Jonsson, 2009), and with that in mind, they may be viewed as bringing jobs to their constituency by doing so. In 2009, when the Pentagon said that it was planning on putting a "cap production of America's top-of-the-line fighter at 187 aircraft" (Jonsson, 2009) many unionized workers were very upset about the possibility of losing their jobs.

When Congress takes action on behalf of their own interests, not that of their constituency, to the benefit of private companies we should all be concerned. With a national debt over $18 trillion it would not seem wise to continue military spending just for the purpose of creating jobs. In recent years, the Republican party has been a major proponent of military spending; however, the primary beneficiary of these jobs are union contractors who are generally democrat voters. It is a strange dynamic that has been created, but it is doubtful that it will change anytime soon. There is a lot of pressure on Congress to keep spending money on military technology, but it should concern everyone when their Congress men and women become financially beholden to outside interests.

Huey-Burns, C. (2011, January). The modern military-industrial complex. U.S. News & World Report, 1. Retrieved from ProQuest (Search All) database, in the Ashford University Library.
Newton, J. (2010, Dec 20). IKE'S SPEECH. The New Yorker, 86, 42. Retrieved from
Jonsson, P. (2009, Apr 08). You can't kill F-22, georgians tell gates. The Christian Science Monitor Retrieved from

The Electoral College Debate

The founding fathers of the US Constitution had many concerns about the election of the President through direct democracy; however, there were debates on both sides. Those debates have continued today. Many Americans still do not understand how the Electoral College works and think it is unfair and undemocratic. The selection of the Electoral College is done in one of two ways: either state legislatures choose members or they are chosen by a popular vote by the citizens within a state. There are "538 people from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., called electors. According to the Constitution, they are responsible for electing the President and Vice President. The winner needs a majority - 270 - of the 538 electoral votes" (ELECTORAL COLLEGE 101, 2008).

"Support for changing election rules in the United States has been gaining momentum since the contested 2000 presidential election, which was followed by a lengthy legal battle in Florida that ultimately ended with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore" (Karp & Tolbert, 2010). The controversy about the 2000 election was primarily due to the fact that Gore won the popular vote by approximately 500,000 votes, but Bush won the electoral vote. This has lead to many calls for the abolition of the Electoral College altogether. There has also been calls to make changes to the electoral system that would alter the way it functions, while avoiding its dissolution. For example, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. has proposed a "National Bonus Plan" that would give the winners of the popular vote in each state and the District of Columbia an extra two electoral votes. This would increase the total number of electoral votes by 102. Schlesinger argues that this would eliminate "the most undemocratic feature of the Electoral College, the tremendous weight given to small states" (Bates, 2004). An example of the advantages that small population states receive from the Electoral College is illustrated perfectly with the state of Wyoming. Wyoming has three electoral votes: one based on population and two from their senators. This is the bare minimum of elector votes that each state receives. They may receive more based on population levels. "California, with a population over fifty times as large as Wyoming, has only a little more than eighteen times as many electoral votes. This means that a vote in Wyoming counts about three times more than a vote in California" (Bates, 2004).

Some who argue against the Electoral College claim that no other democratic country in the world uses an Electoral College to elect Presidents and that it goes against the concept of democracy. Others say that it gives smaller states too big an advantage in elections. There are also those who point out that it causes Presidential candidates to only focus their attention in swing states, which leads to states that will likely vote for or against a candidate getting mostly ignored. This means that voters of those states which are heavily in favor of one candidate or another have less opportunity to get in front of all the candidates, because they don't visit those states often.

On the other side of the debate, "conservatives, respecting both tradition and the rights of states, have historically supported maintaining the form of electing Presidents crafted by the Founding Fathers" (Gizzi, 2011). Additionally, the Electoral College is seen as a buffer between the presidency and mob rule. Many founders were concerned about an ill-informed populace voting a tyrant into power. Many in the revolutionary era were concerned that a "man on a white horse" would emerge in a time of crisis, supported by the people, and would seize power. These fears were not without merit, if one looks at the history of the Roman empire. Julius Caesar usurped power and became the first Roman emperor, backed by public support, resulting in the end of the Roman republic. The founders feared a repeat of this historical event and the Electoral College was a measure that they established to prevent such a thing from happening in America. Another argument for the continued use of the Electoral College is the concern that a few small, but densely populated areas may silence the voices of the many lower population states in presidential elections.

The Electoral College's affect on the leadership capacity of a President, within the bounds of the Constitution, are nonexistent. The President was never meant to be elected directly by the people. This bulwark acts as a hedge against tyrants and thus a President who possess actual leadership skills may lead through persuasion, debate and ideas. This author's personal judgement is that the Electoral College should remain, primarily to ensure that dense population centers do not have power over the rest of the country and because it has worked for us this far with only a few hiccups that were settled. To look at the way other countries do things is a blunder that America should not make. There is now and never has been a country like America. No other country in the world holds individual liberty as dearly as we do and it would be a mistake to emulate countries that do not possess our values. Furthermore, America has always lead from the front with bold, new ideas about government. It would be a mistake to deviate from this path. We look to our Constitution and history for guidance, not the rest of the world.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE 101. (2008, Nov 03). New York Times Upfront, 141, 6-7. Retrieved from
Karp, J. A., & Tolbert, C. J. (2010). Support for nationalizing presidential elections. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 40(4), 771-793. Retrieved from
Bates, Nathaniel. (2004) What Are the Arguments Made in Favor--And Against--the Electoral College? Retrieved December 18, 2014, from
Gizzi, J. (2011, May 30). GOP leaders united in defense of electoral college. Human Events, 67, 5. Retrieved from

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Brief Argument Against Obamacare | The Unconstitutional Law

A Brief Argument Against Obamacare
In the last few years America has seen an expansion of federal powers due to the emersion of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The debate continues to rage on, but there are many issues with merit that must be addressed regarding the law’s constitutionality. This essay will attempt to shed light on these constitutional issues while providing a brief history of Obamacare, discussing federal powers, individual rights, the importance of state governance and the US Constitution.
Proponents of Obamacare tout its accomplishments. As Paul John Scott wrote in his article titled Obamacare: A Hater's Guide, “The vast majority of Americans are finally insured against disaster: The percentage of people with no coverage fell by a quarter, from 18 percent to 13 percent, partly because you now must have insurance or pay a penalty” (Scott, 2014). This 5% reduction in people without health insurance coverage is considered a positive outcome of Obamacare; however, there is another side of this debate. Many Americans cannot afford the cost of their new healthcare plans. When discussing how many patients have been affected by Obamacare’s steep premiums and even steeper deductibles Dr. Flippo Masciarelli, chief physician at the Denton, Texas Community Care Center said, “There are quite a few, and I saw another one today, where their deductibles are so elevated that they can't afford them" (Angle, 2014). On, one citizen reported: “My insurance went up $400 per month and my deductible went from $2500 per year to $12,000. I now have a $6000 medical bill to pay. This plan is a disaster and is financially crushing my family” (Obamacare Facts, 2014).
The entire purpose of insurance is to protect the insured from financial catastrophe. Due to insurance premiums doubling and tripling what customers were originally paying, coupled with the massive deductible increases, Obamacare itself has become a financial catastrophe. This leads us to the debate over individual rights. Americans in lower income brackets qualify for subsidies, which will help cover the high cost of their healthcare plan, but where does this money come from? Answer: Americans who do not qualify for subsidies! Obamacare has essentially mandated every single American to buy a product and those who do not buy the product are penalized financially. This penalty has been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court as a tax and we will get to the issues that arise from this ruling, but first, let us discuss the constitutionality of the federal government forcing someone to buy a product. There is nowhere in the Constitution that expressly gives Congress or the President the authority to force American citizens to buy health insurance or any other product for that matter. So where does Congress claim to get the authority for their actions? The general welfare clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution, which gives Congress the power to provide for the general welfare of the United States. However, during the debates over this clause James Madison made several arguments that:
“the power to tax and spend did not confer upon Congress the right to do whatever it thought to be in the best interest of the nation, but only to further the ends specifically enumerated elsewhere in the Constitution, a position supported by Thomas Jefferson.” (, 2014)
            As there is nowhere else in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to mandate every American citizen to buy a product or else be penalized, James Madison, who is known as the father of the Constitution, would likely disagree with using the general welfare clause in such a manner. It is also important to note that a program such as Obamcare, which is essentially an experiment in healthcare reform, would be better off left to the States. This is because “America always is more likely to have a few wise state governments than a wise federal government” (Will, 2007). When the federal government begins conducting experiments in governance on a national level, we are more inclined to fail on a national level. Think about how scientists conduct experiments in a laboratory. Do they use just one lab rat? Answer: Of course not! They use many lab rats to ensure success of the experiment. If they get positive results with one test subject, they try to copy the conditions that lead to the success. If the federal government allowed the states to govern themselves as they saw fit, the states that were failing would look to the states that are succeeding and emulate them. Containing experiments at the state level instead of the national level would also ensure that negative effects from governmental failures would not be felt nationwide.
However, the entire premise of Obamacare is arguably immoral. The concept of taking money from one segment of society, through increased health insurance premiums, with a product that is congressionally mandated for one to buy and then giving that money to another segment of society to use for their healthcare insurance creates an ethical dilemma. By all accounts, this could and rightfully should be considered state sanctioned theft. The citizens who are paying for lower income subsidies have absolutely no option to opt out. They either pay more for their insurance or they pay a penalty. In either case their money goes to someone else’s health insurance. When someone takes something from a person without their permission that is called stealing. When the threat of force is used in conjunction then that it is called robbery. There can be no better way to describe Obamacare’s funding mechanisms.
            Let us now turn our focus to the history of Obamacare’s passage. “On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law” (Obamacare Facts, 2014). It was passed into law without a single Republican vote. According to the Galen Institute, “more than 42 significant changes already have been made to ObamaCare: at least 24 that President Obama has made unilaterally, 16 that Congress has passed and the president has signed, and 2 by the Supreme Court” (Galen Institute, 2014). As a result there are at least two central constitutional concerns regarding Obamacare based on these changes alone.
            Firstly, the President of the United States does not have the authority to change laws, create laws or nullify laws. His job is to enforce the laws. President Obama’s actions have violated his oath of office to uphold the Constitution. His actions are an affront to the separation of powers enumerated in the Constitution in order to obtain checks and balances. An all-powerful President was of paramount concern during the Constitutional Convention and these checks and balances were established as a method to prevent one person from amassing too much power.
            Secondly, as was mentioned before, the United States Supreme Court violated the Constitution when they made their ruling on Obamacare. When they ruled that the federal government has the power to lay taxes, they decided to change the wording of the law, from penalty to tax. This is completely unconstitutional. The Judicial Branch has no power or authority granted in the Constitution to change laws. If the law, as it was written, was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court was constitutionally required to rule against the law and in doing so, Obamacare would have been sent back to Congress. Instead, they opted to unconstitutionally change the law in violation of their oaths of office and creating even more controversy.
            Additionally, another constitutional conundrum has been the source of debate. This issue stems from where a law pertaining to taxes must originate. The Constitution mandates that all bills pertaining to taxes must originate in the House of Representatives. This is because they were originally the house of Congress most answerable to the people prior to the ratification of the seventeenth amendment, which gave citizens the ability to vote for their senators. As originally adopted the Constitution gave the state legislatures the responsibility to elect their state’s senators. The problem with Obamacare is that it originated in the Senate. According to George F. Will in an article on The Washington Post, “the ACA — was indisputably a revenue measure and unquestionably did not originate in the House” (Will, 2014). This is yet another clear violation of the Constitution and puts even more doubt over Obamacare’s legitimacy.
            In summary, Obamacare originated in the Senate, but was constitutionally required to originate in the House of Representatives. It has been changed unconstitutionally by both the President and the Supreme Court. It perverts the intention of the general welfare clause and it is arguably outside the scope and authority given to Congress by the US Constitution. The Constitution does not expressly give Congress the power to force American citizens to purchase a product. The passage of this unjust law has essentially created state sanctioned strong arm robbery in the form of higher insurance premiums and penalties/taxes. There is no doubt that Obamacare has violated the Constitution on numerous occasions; however, it has also created real ethical questions about what the US government can force American citizens to do. It ultimately comes down to the federal government’s implied powers vs. individual rights and this author hopes that the rights of individuals will prevail.
John Scott, P. (2014). Obamacare: A Hater's Guide. Men's Health, 29(10), 113-118. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.
Angle, J. (2014, November 4). Some ObamaCare patients with high deductibles turning to community care centers. Retrieved from
Obamacare Facts. (2014). ObamaCare Stories: Real Life Stories on ObamaCare. Retrieved from (2014). The Heritage Guide to The Constitution. Retrieved from!/articles/1/essays/34/spending-clause
Galen Institute. 42 Changes to ObamaCare...So Far. (2014, November 6). Retrieved from
Will, G. F. (2007, Dec 09). Getting past 'no child'. The Washington Post Retrieved from

Thursday, December 11, 2014

BIG Business, BIG Government Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler

My representative in the House of Representatives is Jaime Herrera Beutler. Rep. Beutler is a Republican, a member of the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on Small Business. She has voted down the Republican party line 91% of the time and has abstained from voting entirely 28% of the time (OpenCongress, 2014). In the 2013-2014 election cycle, she received approximately $1,741,301 in fundraising donations for her campaign. Those donations consisted of small individual contributions (18%), large individual contributions (49%) and Political Action Campaign contributions (33%). Many of these individual donations appear to be from corporations (Open Secrets, 2014).

It may be obvious to state, but "donors can throw around a lot of weight in elections" (Mayhew, 2011). A representative usually looks after their campaign contributors first and foremost. This is because monetary support to these representatives comes at a price. Big donors expect and demand that the representative take an active role in looking out for their interests. Rep. Beutler will obviously be subject to these corporate forces during her tenure as an elected representative. Rep. Beutler's position is highly contested, because she is a Republican is a very blue state; even members of the Republican party have been running against her.

"To win an election, a House candidate has to raise an average of $1.3 million in campaign funds- that's $2,500 every working day for an entire two-year term" (Tikkun, 2008). I would argue that her corporate donations make her less likely to concern herself with the public interest and more likely to pay back her donors. A good way to illustrate our current political situation would be to say, "we, as citizens, have handed special interests the remote control, forcing our potential leaders to grovel before PAC leaders and lobbyists to raise the funds needed to win elections" (Tikkun, 2008). Additionally, Rep. Beutler supported the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows American citizens to be indefinitely detained, imprisoned and even assassinated without being charged/convicted of a crime. It's doubtful that the average citizen in Rep. Beutler's district would agree with these tactics being used against American citizens. With that said, it is unlikely that Rep. Beutler could be considered in step with her constituency.

As previously mentioned Rep. Beutler has voted with Republicans 91% of the time. Considering the fact that she is in a historically Democrat district, it is doubtful that her constituency would agree with her actions; although, she may justify herself by proclaiming that her mere election was the constituency demanding a depart from Democratic policy. In either case, continuing to vote down any party line is a ruinous path to take. Each representative must continue to analyze how the laws will affect their specific community and it is unlikely that what is good for one community will be good for all.

Lastly, and most importantly, Rep. Beutler has abstained from voting 28% of the time! This number is outrageous! More than a quarter of the time Rep. Beutler comes to work, she fails to do her job. Does she not have an opinion on these matters? Is she afraid of how she will look? Or does she simply not have mental capacity to participate in a vote 28% of the time? It is unfathomable that a representative that fails to do their job more than a quarter of the time could be considered an effective member of Congress. If this were the private sector, any such person that had similar performance would be fired. Only time will tell if Rep. Beutler will see the same results, but she definitely appears to warrant them.

OpenCongress (2014). Retrieved from
Open Secrets (2014). Retrieved from
Mayhew, D. R. (2011). Constituency representation in congress: The view from capitol hill. Political Science Quarterly, 126(3), 510-511. Retrieved from
Should outsiders' money influence elections? (2008, Nov). Tikkun, 23, 6. Retrieved from

An Argument Against Federal Involvement In Education

After reading the history of the Constitutional Convention and understanding the debates that took place between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists one thing becomes crystal clear, there were many compromises that had to be made in order to ratify the Constitution. It's important to illustrate one compromise, in particular, when discussing centralized federal power within the constitutional framework of federalism and that compromise is the Bill of Rights. The Federalists argued that creating a Bill of Rights would imply that the federal government would have more powers than what the Constitution granted. The Anti-Federalist argued that State Constitutions had Bill of Rights and that the federal government should be no exception. Ultimately, a Bill of Rights was agreed upon; however, it's important to note that even the Federalist, who were in favor of a strong centralized government, did not support the concept of implied federal powers. Their very argument against the Bill of Rights proved that.

"American federalism has two concepts: 1.) the national and state governments share power 2.) both levels of government receive power from the people" (A Quick Study of American Federalism [Video], 2012). Neither federal nor state governments are entirely subordinate to each other... at least that was the intention. Instead, they each posses their own specific powers and hold some overlapping powers. Today; however, this is simply not the case. The federal government has expanded its power using what it justifies as implied governmental powers. The two biggest culprits of this federal expansionism are arguably the commerce clause and article 1, section 8 of the US Constitution which gives Congress the power to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. The federal government has decided that the United State's general welfare is best served by their involvement in education. As a result of this new interpretation of the federal government's implied powers "in 1965, Pres. Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and secondary Education Act as a part of his War on Poverty initiative" (Lips & Marshall, 2007).

There are some major problems with the federal government getting involved in education, but this author believes that those issues were best illustrated by George F. Will in his article in The Washington Post:

"First, most new ideas are dubious, so the federalization of policy increases the probability of continentwide mistakes. Second, education is susceptible to pedagogic fads and social engineering fantasies -- schools of education incubate them -- so it is prone to producing continental regrets. Third, America always is more likely to have a few wise state governments than a wise federal government." (Will, 2007)
There have been decades worth of statistics proving that our education system is mediocre at best, but we spend billions of dollars per year and keep getting the same lack luster results. The federalization of the American education system is obviously not working as planned. However, the lack of results has not prevented the federal government from using coercive federalism to entice states to comply with a uniformed national standard in order to received funding for education, highways, etc. The ironic part is that citizen's of the states are getting enticed with their tax money that they have sent to the federal government.

The idea of how to standardize educational results is still being developed. It is uncertain what the correct and most beneficial or result oriented way to determine how successful a school or educational system is. This topic is still highly debate to this day. Some people support standardized testing and others believe that we must teach for the love of learning and not to pass a test. This author is in agreement with George F. Will in regards to the complicated nature of educational reform. It would seem that we are in the process of a national experiment that will either succeed or fail miserably on a national level. It would likely be wise to remove the federal involvement in the education system and allow state governments to educate as they see fit. This will result in some states finding the best way to provide education through experimentation. If states fail to produce adequate results, the failure will be contained on a state level. The states that succeed in their experiment will likely have their system copied by other states who want similar results.

This process increases American chances for success and puts the power back in the hands of the states, which is where it rightfully belongs. The federal government has no business micromanaging every aspect of the country and them doing so has been proven time and time again to detrimentally affect US interests. Everything the federal government gets its hands on becomes more complicated, wasteful and less effective. Even the Federalist disagreed with implied powers and it's time we address the real issue of our ever expanding federal government.

(2012). A Quick Study of American Federalism [Video]. Retrieved from
Lips, D., Feinberg, E., & Marshall, J. A. (2007, 03). Charting a course toward better education. USA Today, 135, 70-73. Retrieved from
Will, G. F. (2007, Dec 09). Getting past 'no child'. The Washington Post Retrieved from

Monday, December 8, 2014

More Attacks On The Second Amendment In Academia

Greetings Mack Pack,

I continue to be shocked at the staggering lack of logic I find within my required college reading material. If I somehow make it out of this unscathed it will be a miracle. I keep finding myself screaming at my computer monitor as a read completely biased material coming out of REQUIRED and TESTABLE textbooks. Take at look at this:

"Or consider the Second Amendment, which states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The anti-Federalists who sought to include this amendment considered it to be crucial to the integrity of state sovereignty. It is not clear that they thought that the people necessarily had the right to purchase or possess guns. Rather, an amendment that applies to the national government means that the national government cannot interfere with the right of the people to bear arms as members of their state's militia, which is effectively the state's army. In other words, the Second Amendment, as it applies to the national government, means that the national government cannot disarm the states. This idea cuts to the core of state sovereignty, a key element of which is an army. But this was also critical for another reason. Recall that the Virginia Plan would have allowed the national government to use military force against noncompliant states. When states can maintain their own respective armies, it becomes much more difficult for the national government to do so." (Levin-Waldman, 2012)

Who does this author believe was in the militia? The people! Farmers, carpenters and able bodied men within a community were part of the militia. Where did they get their weapons from? Were they issued to them? In many cases these weapons were their own personal firearms.

Even if we take this author's argument at face value, that only the militia is authorized the right to keep and bear arms, which has been shot down in the courts, but let's forget that for a second... Even if we believe this non-sense, if the militia consists of the people, the everyday citizen, then giving the militia the right to keep and bear arms would be giving the people the right to keep and bear arms, would it not?

In Liberty,


Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2012). American government. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

How Colleges Teach Students To Be Liberals

Hello everyone,

I've been doing some college reading and I ran across this passage in my textbook:

"The Bill of Rights consists of ten amendments that establish many of the rights and civil liberties we now take for granted. These amendments deal with freedom of speech and religion, the so-called right to bear arms, the right to jury trials, the right to due process, the right to compensation if property is seized for a public purpose, the right to privacy insofar as it bars an illegal search of one's premises and possessions, and states' rights." (Levin-Waldman, 2012)

Did you notice that no other rights have "so-called" next to it? Meaning that the author was trying to elude that this may not be a right. This is how colleges try to indoctrinate young minds into becoming liberals. I see this more and more everyday and even the instructors are liberals who have a strong liberal bias in discussion groups. 

I'm fed up with the Left re-writing our history books and poisoning the minds of America's youth. This is despicable!

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

I don't see "so-called" anywhere in the 2nd Amendment. Do you?

Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2012). American government. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Balanced Budget Amendment | American Government

America is addicted to debt. "Our national debt has gone from roughly $5 trillion in 1997 to over $14 trillion today. That’s more than $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in America" (Hatch, 2011). That was back in 2011, now we are exceeding $17 trillion! A proposed answer to this problem is the Balanced Budget Amendment. If passed, the amendment would require the federal government to operate within its means. The government would not have the authority to spend more than than it earns through tax revenue. The amendment's proponents, myself being one of them, say that our level of spending is unsustainable and we are likely to have a financial collapse if we continue our current spending habits. The opponents of this amendment say that it is not the fault of the Constitution, but the fault of the American public for electing inept representatives. As Scott Lily wrote in his article titled A Balanced Budget Amendment Would Be a Dangerous Distraction: 

"The craftsmanship of our forefathers at Philadelphia seems to come under attack every time modern politicians screw up. Rather than accepting responsibility for electing incompetent leaders, it is easier to blame the Constitution. If we could only come up with a formula by which public policy could be predetermined by constitutional amendments, we would be free to elect whatever scoundrels and incompetents we chose." (Lily, 2011)

Personally, I am a Conservative Libertarian. I use this philosophy to guide my political opinions by looking at certain cornerstones that I believe in. One of those beliefs is that centralized governmental power should be extremely limited, even tied down. No other political belief surpasses this one to me, they may be equally important, but never more so. Typically, I am very hesitant to support Constitutional amendments. I, like Lily, believe that our Founders knew what they were doing when the penned the Constitution. It is very well written and I certainly don't consider myself the intellectual better of any of its authors. So why would I support a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget?

Firstly, I don't believe that our Founders would have even been able to fathom $17 trillion dollars in debt, let alone that this kind of unfathomable debt would one day be ours. They would have had no idea that our representatives would continue to kick the can down the road and continue to raise and re-raise the debt ceiling. As Lily stated, this is absolutely the fault of the American voter; however, our inept and cowardly representatives are also to blame. Secondly, the more red tape and hoops that the government has to jump through, the better! I would never support an amendment that limited the freedom or rights of the individual, businesses or state governments, but an amendment that puts even more limitations on the federal government is something that I can truly get behind! 

As far as the likelihood of this amendment getting passed... I am hopeful, but it will only happen when the American people wake up from their delusions. We cannot spend ourselves out of debt! When our President says that raising the debt ceiling will not result in our debt increasing, we have to call him out and vote him out! We cannot continue to elect representatives who treat us like imbeciles and lie to our faces. We must start electing representatives that will honor and obey the Constitution and serve the interest of the American people and not their own. This is truly the only answer; however, it is a bit of a conundrum. If we had those kind of leaders, if the American people were actually awake, we wouldn't need this amendment. However, unless that happens, this amendment will not have much of a chance.

Lastly, our federal government was never meant to have so much power. It has become a leviathan that dominates every aspect of American life. The fears of our founders have been fulfilled. States no longer have a voice in the government, thanks to the 17th Amendment. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates individuals, businesses and states everywhere in the country, never mind the fact that these regulations originate, in most cases, from an Executive agency and not Congress. We no longer own property, we merely rent it from the government like surfs to a king. We are over taxed and under represented, the very thing our founders went to war over. Our government is spending us into slavery and our children and their children will be paying for our apathy for generations. In conclusion, the less authority and power the federal government has and the more bogged down they are with red tape will serve as a hedge against the tyrannical tendencies that this government has displayed.

Hatch, O. (2011, April 25). Balanced budget amendment needed to fix national debt crisis. U.S. News. Retrieved from
Lilly, S. (2011, April 22). A balanced budget amendment would be a dangerous distraction. U.S. News. Retrieved from

Checks and Balances | American Government

The purpose of this essay will be to discuss the concept of a divided government within the confines of the separation of powers outlined in the United States Constitution. In order to begin, we must understand why the Founders of the Constitution instituted these checks and balances in the first place. America had just overthrown an oppressive government with massive centralize power and authority, after years of costly war (both in lives and money). The Founders wanted to ensure that no single person or branch of government would ever become capable of recreating the tyranny in which they had just escaped. The best way to ensure that each branch of government's powers would not become oppressive was to establish checks and balances of power that allowed other branches of government to slow or completely halt opposing branch actions. As James Madison wrote, "[a]mbition must be made to counter ambition" (John, 2011), which I believe he meant that it would be in the best interest of all branches of government to limit the powers of the each other. For example, as a member of Congress it behooves a person to keep the other branches of government limited in scope and power, because if they were to grow more powerful, their power could then exceed your own. I believe that Madison was speaking about individuals doing what is in their own best interest, which is all that one can really expect another to do.

Each branch of government has clearly identified powers and authority identified and granted by the Constitution. To name a few, Congress has the power of the purse, can write laws and declare war. The President has the power to sign a bill sent from Congress into the law, is the commander in-chief of the armed forces and can veto bills written by Congress. The judiciary has the power nullify laws, determine the Constitutionality of laws and prosecute/punish individuals in violation of laws. As Daniel P. Franklin wrote in Policy Point-Counterpoint: Is Divided Government Good For The United States, "The separation of powers design built into the U.S. Constitution guarantees a level of inefficiency in government that is breathtaking at times, especially in an era of divided government" (Franklin, 2011). With that said, what is the political landscape that we have seen as a result of these checks and balances? The political party system, which has arguably been the single most dividing force in American politics.

But is government division a bad thing or a good thing? I would argue is is not only good, but it is necessary to ensure liberty. This is because the checks and balances are only effective against tyranny if there is division within the government. For example, if the President wanted to become an Emperor and Congress wrote a law or amended the Constitution in such a way to make it possible, then we would go from a Republican form of government to an Empire essentially overnight. Now, obviously this situation is extreme, but it illustrates the point of how division in government is used to prevent such a thing. In the real world, it would likely not be in Congress' best interest to relinquish their power to an all powerful executive, which means that it is less likely to happen.

The bottom line is that was more important to ensure that the federal government did not become the leviathan that we had just struggled to free ourselves from than to expedite the governing process. Our Founders were very concerned about the natural tendency of governments to centralize and grow in power. They did everything they could to ensure the longevity of the Republic, but the rest is up to us!

John, C. (2011). DIVIDED WE FALL: THE CASE AGAINST DIVIDED GOVERNMENT. International Social Science Review, 86(3/4), 166-174.
Franklin, D. P. (2011). POLICY POINT-COUNTERPOINT: IS DIVIDED GOVERNMENT GOOD FOR THE UNITED STATES?. International Social Science Review, 86(3/4), 160-162.

Monday, December 1, 2014

An Argument Against Affirmative Action | Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility

An Argument Against Affirmative Action
            The purpose of this essay will be to make an effective argument against the practice of affirmative action using ethical theories, perspectives and logical arguments. This essay will analyze how a Utilitarian, a Deontologist, a Virtue Ethicist a Relativist and an Ethical Egoist would argue against the use of affirmative action. A case will be made by illustrating why this practice is irrefutably unethical and discriminatory.
            Affirmative action is often used to give minorities an advantage when applying for jobs, colleges or other organizations. In some cases, extra points are given on test results and in other cases companies are financially incentivized to be racially diverse. The result of these practices enables candidates, who may be less qualified to fill a position, to be chosen in order to achieve minority quotas. Affirmative action was enacted to push back against racism after segregation was deemed unconstitutional in order to get employers and the government to employ minorities; however, it is wrought with issues. As Peter H. Schuck stated in Assessing Affirmative Action:
“The framers of the 14th Amendment may have countenanced affirmative action favoring former slaves and perhaps their descendants, but they would never have approved of today’s affirmative-action programs, in which most of the potential beneficiaries are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. But regardless of whether such programs are constitutional or not, they are undesirable public policy, indeed perverse in practice.” (Schuck, 2014)
The Utilitarian
            In order to understand how an ethical theory or perspective would deal with affirmative action, one must first understand the theory or perspective. Utilitarianism is known as a consequential ethical theory, which simply means that it focuses on the expected outcome of an act, rather than the morality of the act itself or the agent involved in the act. The Utilitarian might endorse using the motto, “the ends justify the means”. The most basic premise of Utilitarianism is that the agent should choose the course of action that will create the maximum amount of happiness or utility and reduce suffering for the maximum amount of people possible. Another way to describe this philosophy is one should choose the act that produces the best results for the greatest number of individuals while creating the least amount of harm. As John Stuart Mill, the father of Utilitarianism, said in his book “Utilitarianism”, “The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Mill, 2001).
As noted by Mill, Utilitarianism takes into account actions that produce the reverse of happiness, otherwise known as suffering or harm, but any harm created can be outweighed, if sufficient utility is created as a result. For example, if the life of one person were to be taken in order to save the lives of 2 or more individuals, the Utilitarian could suggest that it is the right course of action. This is because more utility was created than harm.
When applying the ethical theory of Utilitarianism to affirmative action, there can be many ways that a Utilitarian can approach the subject. For the purpose of this essay the focus will be on why a Utilitarian might be against the practice of affirmative action. One can simply start with “The Greatest Happiness Principle” to unravel this conundrum. After analyzing the practice of affirmative action, the Utilitarian could see that more utility is created, for the greater society, when minorities are not given special or preferential treatment over the majority. The act of giving special treatment toward minorities creates more suffering or harm for more people than it helps. The logic behind this argument is rather simple; there are more individuals in a majority than in a minority, in fact, that is their very definitions.
The practice of affirmative action stands in stark contrast to the ethical theory of Utilitarianism. If anything, the Utilitarian might see more utility created when special treatment is given to a majority. This is because more utility is created for more people than is harmed by this practice. However, a moral and just person can obviously see how unjust that practice would be.
            The ethical theory of Deontology asserts that there are universal laws in which a moral or just person simply should not violate. Unlike Utilitarianism, Deontology does not look at the consequences of an action, but rather the morality of an act itself. A Deontologist would ask, “Is this act moral or just and/or does this act follow the golden rule?” The golden rule simply states that one should do unto others, as they wish others would do unto themselves. The name Deontology comes from the Greek word “Deon”, which means duty. The Deontologist believes that it is a moral agent’s duty to treat others as the agent would like to be treated; with respect and dignity. In other words, the ethical theory of Deontology primarily focuses on what a rational moral agent is obligated to do (I.E. duty), rather than the consequences of the act.
“Whatever else it does, a moral theory will tell us what our moral obligations are. Since if we have a moral obligation to act in a certain way, it follows that we have a reason to act in that way, this entails that a moral theory will tell us what some of our reasons for action are.” (Hooker, 2012)
            When applying Deontology to the practice of affirmative action, a Deontologist might think that it is unethical or unjust to give any group of people special or preferential treatment. It would violate the golden rule to discriminate against the majority and give the minority an advantage over everyone else in society. It would not follow the golden rule to discriminate against anyone, even if they are in the majority.
The Deontologist would not be concerned about the consequences of eliminating the practice of affirmative action; only that discrimination is an immoral act, even if it benefits others. It wouldn’t matter how much utility affirmative action created for minorities, or society in general, the Deontologist would be against the act of discrimination. The Deontologist would not consider the amount of suffering, possibly created, from eliminating the practice of affirmative action, only that the institution, itself, is morally wrong. Additionally, the Deontologist would not be concerned with any possible consequences for themselves, such as looking bad politically or losing votes (if the Deontologist is a politician). They would only be concerned that discrimination in all forms is immoral. With that in mind, the Deontologist could argue against affirmative action due to discriminatory practices based on race.
Virtue Ethics
            Aristotle has been given credit for creating the theory of Virtue Ethics. The ethical theory of Virtue Ethics is much different from other theories. Unlike Deontology, Virtue Ethics does not analyze the morality of an action. Unlike Utilitarianism and Ethical Egoism, Virtue Ethics does not analyze the consequence or outcome of an action. Conversely, Virtue Ethics emphasizes the character of the agent performing the action. This ethical theory attempts to seek what makes a rational moral agent virtuous as an individual. It outlines that a virtuous person will have certain character qualities, in the proper proportion and in harmony with all other qualities.
“What kind of virtues does Aristotle have in mind? He specifies a number of virtues, some of which have already been mentioned, including courage, generosity, honesty, pride, and modesty. He also mentions one that is perhaps less common, temperance, or being moderate in one's appetites and desires” (Mosser, 2013).
The Virtue Ethicist would consider if an agent’s actions display these virtues in harmony with one another or if there is one or more qualities that are in excess or deficient. According to this theory, the virtuous person should have these qualities in the proper balance. As Lawler and Salzman wrote in Virtue Ethics: Natural And Christian:
“As character state or habit, virtue not only explains why a person acts this way on this particular occasion but also why the person can be relied on to act this way always or, given human frailty, at least most of the time. Immediately, then, we can isolate three dimensions of a virtue: it is a character state, habit, or disposition; it involves a judgment of truth and choice of action; and it lies in a mean between excess and defect” (Lawler/Salzman, 2013)
When applying Virtue Ethics to the practice of affirmative action, the Virtue Ethicist would have to determine if this practice represented a harmony of the above qualities or a deficiency of one more qualities. It is arguable that affirmative action is, in essence, discrimination based on race. With that in mind, the Virtue Ethicists might think that a person who participates in racial discrimination would be deficient in one or more of these qualities of virtue. Discrimination, in all forms, is not a virtuous character quality. As a result, the Virtue Ethicist might be against affirmative action, because to participate in a discriminatory institution, such as affirmative action, would be to endorse unvirtuous qualities.
            The ethical perspective of Relativism dictates that individuals and/or societies should not be judged based upon anyone’s standards, but the society that is being judged. Relativists believe that there is no such thing as an absolute rule or law. This seems to be a rather good philosophy for those who wish to agree to disagree, rather than casting judgment. It is worth noting that if a Relativist believes there is no such thing as an absolute truth, then this statement contradicts itself. How could one believe absolutely that there is no absolute truth? It is a conundrum.
            In regards to how a Relativist would consider the institution of affirmative action there are many possibilities; however, there is a major stumbling block that cannot be overcome when applying this theory. Relativism prevents judging society. If a society is racist and minorities are being discriminated against, the Relativist might think that it is improper to judge that society. With that in mind, it is impossible for a Relativist to be in support of societal change. One can easily argue that societal change is the goal of affirmative action and by this logic the Relativist would have to be against it.
Ethical Egoism
            The ethical perspective of Ethical Egoism argues that its agents should do what they deem is in their own best interest or creates the most utility for themselves. There are similarities between Ethical Egoism and Utilitarianism in that they are both consequential ethical theories, meaning that they both considered the outcome of an action, rather than the act itself. “It might be said, following Feldman (1978, 82), that egoism is individualistic consequentialism, whereas utilitarianism is universalistic consequentialism” (Burgess-Jackson, 2013).  Opponents of Ethical Egoism have long argued that it is a selfish theory, which they argue makes it completely unethical. However, the Ethical Egoist could argue that self-interest, rather than selfishness is the driving force of individuals and that one cannot simply be expected to labor for others their entire life with no concern for their own interests. It is arguable that most people, whether intentionally or unintentionally, act as an Ethical Egoists in their everyday lives by making decisions that they feel will result in a preferable outcome for themselves. The Ethical Egoist could argue that this is not selfish, but common sense and self-evident.
            When applying Ethical Egoism to affirmative action, there are many ways that an Egoist may determine what is in their own best interest, but for now, a look from an employer’s point of view will allow the best insight into this ethical perspective. When an employer begins the hiring process, they likely hope to find the best person for the job that they wish to have filled. This would imply that they are, perhaps, looking for a myriad of qualities in a potential candidate. Some qualities they may look for in a person are experience, qualification, education, work ethic, employment history, attitude and professionalism.
It would behoove the employer to hire the candidate that best meets these prerequisites, but while utilizing the practice of affirmative action, the employer may not be able to pick the best candidate for the job. The employer may be forced to pick a less qualified candidate in order to meet an arbitrary minority quota or because a person was automatically given more points than everyone else at the beginning of a test. This less qualified candidate could require more training, might be less productive, could cost the company money or, worse, put lives in jeopardy depending on the job.
Due to the conflicts of self-interest, the Ethical Egoist could see that it is not in their best interest to practice affirmative action. The Egoist would determine that they would be better off hiring the best candidate for the job and not allowing affirmative action to determine who they hire. This might cause the Ethical Egoist to oppose affirmative action, not because of its discriminatory practices, but because it creates more harm for the Egoists than utility. It becomes a burden to bear rather than a helpful tool for the employer.
            In closing, the practice of affirmative action is morally wrong and completely unjust. It essentially creates a privileged few who have opportunities handed to them that are not based on merit, but skin color, race and ethnic background. It defies logic to conclude that the answer to the discrimination of a minority due to racism is to discriminate against the majority. How can one oppose racisms against a group of people and then simultaneously support racism in favor of that group? Discrimination in all forms is abhorrent and immoral. Based on this principle alone, a moral person could not condone the practice of affirmative action. After breaking down the above theories and perspectives, an ethical theorist could come to the same conclusion and disapprove of affirmative action. This essay has illustrated how every discussed ethical theory could produce a negative reaction in response to the institution of affirmative action.
            In this author’s opinion affirmative action is tantamount to soft bigotry! Affirmative action assumes that its recipients could not succeed without such special treatment.  It assumes that minorities are unable to succeed on their own merit and due to such inferiorities must be given an advantage over the majority. This kind of thought is not only false, but despicable in nature. Minorities should be insulted by these false insinuations and demand that this institution be forever purged from society.
Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. London, GBR: ElecBook, 2001. Retrieved from ProQuest ebrary.
Hooker, Brad, ed. Ratio Special Issues : Developing Deontology : New Essays in Ethical Theory. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. ProQuest ebrary.
Burgess-Jackson, K. (2013). Taking Egoism Seriously. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database
Schuck, P. H. (2014). Assessing Affirmative Action. National Affairs, 2076-96. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database
Mosser, K. (2013). Ethics and social responsibility (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

LAWLER, M. G., & SALZMAN, T. A. (2013). VIRTUE ETHICS: NATURAL AND CHRISTIAN. Theological Studies. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database