Truth Through Combat

The Tyranny of Good Ideas

The United States was not designed to be a democracy, but it has become one to its detriment. This has created a situation wherein the popularity of “good ideas” overrides the established limits on government power. We are thus left with a system of governance in which any constitutional provision can be overridden by the extent to which an idea gains in popularity.

Sure, on paper the U.S. remains a constitutional republic. But how far does one have to stretch to believe that the constitutional parchment really is the central consideration in how laws are written or in how laws are implemented? The recent outrage over AIG bonuses, for example, has generated calls to tax the bonuses at 100%, or to take other onerous measures to punish those who receive such bonuses. But, the bonuses have already been distributed — wouldn’t any such tax therefore constitute an ex post facto law?

The proposed measures would also only apply to AIG bonus recipients. Wouldn’t any such measure be a bill of attainder?

Are not both such efforts therefore unconstitutional?

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