James Madison’s Flawed Logic, and Why Government Cannot Possibly Function According to “Justly Derived Authority”

“…the rulers who are guilty of such encroachment exceed their commission from which they derive their authority and are tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.” ~ James Madison, ‘A Memorial in Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments’ – 1786

What Madison fails to see is that one cannot establish an Authority and then expect that that Authority has any obligation to him at all. For if one is sufficient and capable to act (exist) on his own behalf, then no authority is needed; only cooperation. If Authority is needed, then it is implied that one is not sufficient, nor capable, to act on his own behalf. In which case, by what reasonable argument can he expect Authority to regard anything he thinks or wants?

The answer is: none

Authority will only ever act according to its “derived consent” or the “people’s mandate” when it is in fear of the people. This, of course, undermines both its point and its definition. Which is why Authority, once established, makes, as its singular priority (with the overt support of “patriots” like even Madison, himself), the assurance that it is never in such a position. Which is why all governments get bigger, not smaller.

Madison’s mortal flaw is his attempt to synthesize consensus and coercion. This is simply impossible by the very nature and definition of the concepts.

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