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LETTER: 'Will of the people' shouldn't go unchecked

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | 4:36 p.m. CDT; updated 9:54 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In large part I agree with George Kennedy’s thoughts about politicians (both here and in Washington) apparently pursuing their own agendas, even when those agendas seem to be diametrically opposed by the will of the constituents they are supposedly representing.

He mentions this specifically in regard to the "puppy mill" law, and politicians trying to substantially change it after the people voted for it, thus disregarding the "will of the people."

There are times, though, when the will of the people needs some examination and oversight. Take, for example, California and its current economic nightmare. While part of the state government's predicament was caused by things such as the various "bubbles" bursting and illegal immigration, a huge portion was caused by unfunded mandates, voted into existence by the "will of the people." California's legislative process allows the people to vote themselves entitlements, and also allows those same voters to vote against the things that are to fund those entitlements — things like property or sales tax initiatives, for instance.

For many years, it doubtless seemed like the best of both worlds — vote entitlements for yourself, but stop any extra fees or taxes on you that would have paid for those. It's free! Right?

California is now facing the music for this kind of unfettered "will of the people."

I'm for smaller government (at a state and a federal level) and for keeping government's nose out of people's affairs as much as possible, but some oversight is obviously necessary to avoid the California nightmare.

Politicians shouldn't feel an automatic right to disregard the will of the people, but neither should the will of the people always be indulged with no review or oversight.

Scott Gray was born in California, but he definitely considers himself a Missourian. He lives in Columbia.


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Comments

Allan Sharrock April 26, 2011 | 5:12 p.m.

Great article. That sums up my thought on the "will of the people."

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward April 26, 2011 | 6:04 p.m.

Quite a contorted segue from 'illegal immigration' to puppy factories.

We would love some "review or oversight' over Mr. Gray's libertarianism.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 26, 2011 | 9:24 p.m.

We think Terry can't point out any libertarianism in the letter.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 27, 2011 | 12:39 a.m.

Except when it comes to gay marriage. Will of the people fine there eh? Bunch of hypocrites.

Smaller government, complaints about entitlements, gov't keeping nose out of personal affairs, sounds pretty libertarian to me. I

(Report Comment)
Austin Fax April 27, 2011 | 12:44 a.m.

Great commentary.

Political knowledge is unlike any other kind of knowledge in this world. Our founders knew this when they created a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC. They understood the nightmarish scenarios that could unfold when uneducated citizens vote on issues that they not only don't understand, but don't even have any basis to conceptualize. It underscores the value of our current system.

(Report Comment)
Austin Fax April 27, 2011 | 12:49 a.m.

To Mr. Dance:
"Smaller government, complaints about entitlements, gov't keeping nose out of personal affairs, sounds pretty libertarian to me."

Call it Libertarian if you may, but I call it logical.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 27, 2011 | 1:08 a.m.

If I may? It's libertarianism by definition. Also it is certainly not logical. Working against your own economic self interest isn't logical.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 27, 2011 | 1:12 a.m.

Uneducated citizens? Wow you all talk about the liberal elite and you spout off this? Again the hypocrisy from the right really stinks up these boards.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 27, 2011 | 7:12 a.m.

"What the liberal really wants is to bring about change which will not in any way endanger his position."

- Stokely Carmichael

[If this had been said by some foaming-at-the-mouth right wing radio talk show host it would be of no particular consequence, but coming from Stokely Carmichael it's absolutely fascinating.]

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward April 27, 2011 | 8:10 a.m.

Remind us again who, exactly, wants to "bring about change" which WILL endanger his position in any way"?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 27, 2011 | 8:29 a.m.

My post came about because the word "hypocrites" was used in an above post. Stokely appears to be calling liberals hypocrites. Hypocrites come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention various political persuasions. :)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 27, 2011 | 9:00 a.m.

"They understood the nightmarish scenarios that could unfold when uneducated..."

That's right!!!!

The only thing the uneducated should do is vote for their equally uneducated peers who then will treat them like the uneducated morons that you are!!!!

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward April 27, 2011 | 10:55 a.m.

Anyone who mentions 'Our Founding Fathers' ONE MORE TIME will be forced to write a 50,000 word essay on OFS's collective cacophonous ideological conflicts.

Alternatively, we will accept 5000 words on the relationship between Freemasonry, deism and puppy-factories.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 27, 2011 | 11:43 a.m.

Tim, my point is that what the letter writer wrote is indistinguishable from what a conservative, a libertarians, or a small government advocate might say, but Terry chose to use a word she thinks she understands. We know she doesn't. She can try again in her mandated 5000 word essay if she likes.

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward April 30, 2011 | 8:19 p.m.

Jeeze, what's not to understand.
'Taint rocket science.
We will sum it up for you.
"Me" and "Mine".
With various subtexts such as "Don't touch my stuff" and 'You're not the boss of me" and "Don't tell me what to do".

All that lovely freedom for me, without the pesky bother of any responsibility for my fellow humans.

The philosophy of small children dressed up like Lady Astor's pet horse.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 1, 2011 | 1:31 p.m.

Close Terry, but missing a nuance. Libertarianism is the belief I can live my life as I like, so long as my actions don't harm another person or their property.

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward May 2, 2011 | 6:05 p.m.

And so long as you can be free of any responsibility for your fellow man.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 3, 2011 | 10:08 p.m.

Terry, no one is responsible for their fellow man, but is free to offer charity or assistance as they deem necessary. Americans give billions in charity each year to causes both domestic and foreign. If you mean something else, then spit it out.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 3, 2011 | 10:51 p.m.

Yes, John, they do, but there's one huge difference. They put their financial support where they WANT to put it, and are not being forced into mandated "charity" by some government. "Charity" and "confiscation" do NOT have the same meaning.

(Report Comment)

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