17A010 Executive Disorder by Jim Davies, 3/7/2017    


I did take a measure of pleasure in the President's first in-office use of his signature phrase, "You're fired!" He promised to clean house, and he's doing it; Sally Yates of the Justice Department said the DoJ would not defend his Executive Order to ban certain Muslims from entering the USA, so he gave her the boot. There is only one boss.

At the same time, I can admire her fortitude; if everyone working for government declined to obey illegal orders there would be less of it left, and if they declined to obey immoral ones there would be nothing left at all.

It all prompted me to check the history of EOs. How come a Prez can act like a dictator?

Apparently they go back all the way to George Washington, but most of them are merely administrative decisions consistent with the President's duty to carry out the law as written by Congress, affecting only the Departments under his management. The fun starts when he issues EOs affecting people outside those Departments - us - so making what is, in effect, new law; all by himself.

I didn't know, but the appalling decisions to forbid gold ownership and to intern Japanese Americans were EOs, issued by FDR - who holds the record for putting out over 3,500 of them. It's all very well to claim that they are "subject to judicial review" but that process can be very long delayed, and in any case is performed by a Supreme Court whose members have been chosen by Presidents. With some exceptions, therefore, this all has the marks of an oligopoly if not of an absolute monarchy.

As noted in the Wikipedia article on this subject, "There is no constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits executive orders." Fancy that! Presidents from the get-go have been exercising a power they were never granted by that charter, even if we assume for the moment that any of its apparent grants of power were valid in the first place; they were, in fact, no such thing, as I showed in Terms of Association.

So far, then, we can discern two separate uses of the same phrase:

(a) Orders the Prez gives to his own staff, which the Constitution says he is empowered to employ and direct so as to fulfill his duties, and

(b) Orders he gives to anyone else, effectively usurping the alleged role of Congress.

The first of these is improper only to the degree that the Constitution is improper, but the second of them is improper absolutely, and yet for a long time past Presidents have not been impeached for issuing them. Seems nobody cares.

Perhaps they care (in Congress) if the party controlling it is D when the Prez is R, or R when the Prez is D. But when the combination is DD or RR, he gets a free pass and so society ratchets gradually towards a dictatorship.

Does that matter? - not much. It would probably be worse than the democratic republic the founders pretended to set up, but the difference isn't worth a lot of fuss. What matters rather is to scrap the whole miserable structure of rule by anyone other than the owners of the lives being ruled.

"Scrap", though, isn't quite the right word - for it implies that some superior force or authority is doing the scrapping, and then we'd be worse off than before because superior authorities would not graciously fade away after their final trip to the trash heap. That's been the problem with every violent revolution in history. What's needed rather is an implosion or evaporation, a process that leaves nobody in charge at all.

That will happen very simply, but can come about only when there's nobody left who is willing to work for the ruling class. Grunt-less equals power-less. No other way exists, that I can think of. Can you? - if so, email me a one-para summary of your proposal.

Until then, TOLFA is doing the job.













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