Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vote for "Balance of Power"

In the next few weeks ballots will be cast to elect members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.  This election is vitally important to the “balance of power” principle established at the founding of the nation.  This may seem alarmist to some, but there is clear and convincing evidence of a shift in power to the executive branch of the federal government in recent decades that has accelerated and broadened with each successive administration.

Executive power expansion is enabled by the failure of congress to assert its authority.  A modern shift in congressional loyalty from the institutions of the House of Representatives and Senate to political party has permitted an uncontested expansion of executive power.  In the past, the congress, in a bipartisan manner, rabidly defended its constitutional authority and prerogatives from encroachment by the executive branch.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moonbats and haters no more

Most people over the age of 30 get nostalgic for a time gone by – more so with increasing age. Human beings tend to remember the good and forget the bad.   But is the longing for a time gone by just nostalgic sentiment and affection for happier times or were things really better?  Like most things the answer is mixed.  Much in our lives has improved in the last half century.  But it is clear that a major shift in social relationships is underway that is decreasing civic engagement and negatively influencing political discourse.

In 2000 Robert D. Putnam provided an excellent description of the decline of “social capital” in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.  Bowling Alone documents the decline of social engagement and civic life in traditional community groups such as churches, Elks Clubs, PTAs, and bowling leagues.  The precise cause of the decline is not clear, but it appears generational shifts, social upheaval, and increasingly technology, are major contributors.