The Separation of Concerns – Religion and Politics

Even for the individual there’s a need to separate one thing from another for a number of reasons. Among them are the simplification of life, and the ability to get things done.

When two or more are involved, the concept becomes the more important. Among other things, if people intend to act in concert, it’s necessary for work to be allocated in such a way that one or another individual doesn’t get swamped and yet, everything needing completed is accomplished. It’s also the case that people have different areas of expertise.

I could easily come up with more reasons for the idea of compartmentalizing things, but I think you get the point. Simply put, there’s a strong argument for dividing up things needing attention for any number of reasons.

Nowhere is this concept more important, than in government. One of the most significant reasons it’s in play there, I’ve not yet even mentioned.

The Founders of the United States employed the idea of drawing lines between government functions, because failing to do so results in potential conflicts of interest. On top of this, they wished for the individual components to be able to “check and balance” each other.

One other important thing contemplated, was the idea that if all power were vested in a single entity, you would end up with an oligarchy at best and a monarchy or dictatorship at worst. Simply stated, without breaking things up, you essentially hand all power to a single governing body.

This also partially accounts for the idea of vesting the majority of power in the states and individual people, rather than the national government. By doing this, it’s presumed liberty is maximized.

You can imagine how the Founders would look at modern day America.

I say this because more and more, the country seems to be interested in putting all its eggs in a single basket, as it were.

There’s legislation occurring on the bench (in the judicial branch). There’s judgment occurring in congress—who’re supposedly the legislative, or law-writing people. There’s enforcement activity happening in both the legislative and judicial bodies. And too often, there’s legislative and judicial activity occurring in the executive.

As if all of this were not a sufficiency, then there are administrative entities primarily under the control of the executive branch, doing all three functions as well. They’re performing the job they technically ought to be, by acting in executive capacities, but they’re also creating legislation; then they’re acting as the responsible authority to determine whether the failure to meet regulatory standards should result in punishment, and what type of retribution will be employed.

It doesn’t take a genius to see we’re rapidly leaving the intent of the people who facilitated the creation of this great union in the rear view mirror.

It would be one thing if we hadn’t been given such strong reasons for their choices and corresponding actions. The problem is, we were.

Even if one were able to argue that things had changed—that what they said no longer applied—I don’t believe we could agree with the idea of doing away with what they put in place. I don’t know about you, but considering that these same ideas apply to so many other things for many of the same reasons, I find myself entirely unable to negate their logic. As well, there are a good many more concerns they may or may not have given.

Here’s where we hit the hard question, “What do we do now?” We’re here. Things are as they are. How do we fix this?

I have to admit, the problems are manifold. Further, many—maybe most—don’t have a simple answer; but solve them we must. This is not an option. We literally stand on the brink. Will the United States of America continue to be a great and profitable concern—the envy of all the World, or will we lose everything because we failed to face the hard questions.

I can make some suggestions, but it’s up to people in positions of authority to modify or adopt them and put them to work.

  1. Over the course of time, all appointed executive governmental departments must become more strongly subject to the various branches of government. They can neither be allowed to either legislate, nor perform judicial activities without oversight from the entities tasked with those jobs. Further, it’s probably reasonable to allow for the legislative and judicial entities to overrule the agencies in question when acting in the capacity of their agency.
  2. Jurists at all levels should be admonished to base their decisions on existing law, with as little interpretation as possible. All new judges and others in the judicial branch of government, should be asked about their perspective with regard to this idea and only be allowed to enter positions if they support strict legal interpretation. If there are issues with laws—short of questions of Constitutionality or conflict with existing legislation—those problems must be fixed by the legislative branch and approved by the President (unless his power to veto is overridden).
  3. Legislators should have as little authority to enforce or judge as possible. Their focus is creating law, not judging nor enforcing it. This is an “informed electorate” issue. Put simply, people need to know the individuals they help to put in office, will seek to act only in legislative capacity inasmuch as they’re able.
  4. Presidents must be willing to use the power of veto only for instances of things like quashing laws that cannot be enforced, or that overstep their enforcement authority; regardless, whether they support the law being asked for or not. Likewise, Executive Orders should typically be used to make it possible to implement existing law. No more, “I’ve got a pen and a phone.” That’s regardless of party affiliation. These too, are matters for an informed electorate. If you think the person being put up for the office of the Chief Executive will misuse these tools, they probably ought not be allowed to enter office as a result of not getting sufficient votes to be there.

These are but a few things that ought to be considered. Remember, I’m not claiming to have all the answers, nor am I claiming the answers presented may not be problematic, but I don’t need to do that in order to point out the issues.

We need to fix the current reality, that branches of government are meddling in domains in which they don’t belong. That’s clear. The how is not something I think any single individual will be able to answer; though there are undoubtedly many more qualified than am I. One way or another though, what’s happening at present can’t be allowed to continue.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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