Stupid Shit a Parliamentary Dum-dum Says
- Note: I first posted this as a Facebook note.
Back to the issue of presidentialism vs. parliamentarism.
Mr. Orion Dumdum, owner of an absurd Facebook group that advocates parliamentary system in the Philippines, made the following ill-informed, knee-jerk, ignorant rant about the concept of ‘electoral college’:
“1) The USA is the only Presidential System among the entire group of all Presidential Systems to have never experienced a disruption that toppled/destabilized it.
“2) The reason why the USA has endured and avoided the same disruptions that the others experienced is because among all the other Presidential Systems in the world, the USA does not elect their president through direct voting, but instead uses the Electoral College.
“3) The Electoral College acts like a parallel Parliament whose sole duty is to elect the President and Vice President.”
I’m sorry… He’s not just an ignoramus; he’s a dishonest IDIOT as well. Observe Orion’s attempt to blindly glorify parliamentarism by dishonestly, shamelessly robbing presidential system of its classical features or attributes. In fact, Orion’s comment shows the utter weakness and many contradictions in his ‘anti-presidential’ arguments. It shows that he’s merely attacking a ‘presidential’ straw man whenever he attacks presidential system. What exactly is that “presidential system” he’s trying to attack? Well, based on his online rants, it’s America’s presidential system, which he described as the “most dangerous import” of USA. Still, Orion doesn’t have enough brain cells to understand that USA’s presidential system is utterly different from ours. That a FORM of government cannot be compared with a computer OS.
I offer the following analogy:
- Computer OS = POLITICAL/ECONOMIC SYSTEM, such as capitalism, socialism, mixed economy, etc.
- APP software = FORM OF GOVERNMENT, such as presidential system, parliamentary system, variants of the two, etc.
A political system is embodied in a nation’s constitution or charter. It defines the relationship between the individual and the state. You can know a nation’s political/economic system by simply looking at the charter’s general principles, bill of rights (which may not exist in socialist charters), national economy and patrimony, etc.
A form of government, on the other hand, refers to the structure of government, political offices, the manner by which the people elect their leaders, functions of public officials, etc. It’s just an add-on. It can be modified, changed, or improved in accordance with the political system or aspirations a nation/country adopts.
Observe that any country that applies presidential or parliamentary form of government can have either capitalistic or socialistic policies. But most countries today are mixed economies (a combination of capitalism and socialism, or freedom and state control).
As to Orion’s hilarious post, here’s his utterly dishonest style: He begins with the admission that USA is doing well, or that its presidential system is not that problematic, and then claims that all of this is due to the country’s electoral college. However, he ends with the propaganda-argument that USA’s electoral college “acts like a parallel Parliament”, thereby solidifying his hilarious claim that parliamentarism is superior to presidentialism.
As expected, his sheep loved his post.
Here’s why Orion is utterly ill-informed and politically clueless.
FIRST. The electoral college is not, strictly speaking, a feature of America’s presidential system. It’s actually a distinguishing feature of USA’s federalism. This is why Orion needs to properly understand the concepts, differences and relationships of the following terms: presidentialism, federalism and republicanism.
SECOND. The electoral college was first applied in USA and invented by the founding fathers to support their federalist system. Federalism is simply a political implementation of the concepts of LIMITED GOVERNMENT and CLASSICAL REPUBLICANISM. Orion and his sheep should read the Federalist Papers to properly educate themselves. They should start with Federalist Papers 10 and 39. Federalism opposes the idea of national government. It simply means that the States CREATED the Federal Government, not the other way around.
Federalism supports the principle of LIMITED GOVERNMENT, because according to Madison, “the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.” It also supports REPUBLICANISM because, again, according to Madison: a Republic is “a government in which the scheme of representation takes place”.
THIRD. Orion and his sheep should read Hamilton’s Federalist Paper 68, wherein he outlined the concept and purpose of the Electoral College, which pertains to the mode of selecting the US President and Vice President. Remember that there are three branches of a Republican government: the executive, legislative, and judiciary. The legislative branch is essentially composed of STATE representatives and senators. Since States have authority and “rights” of their own and are independent of the Federal government, the executive branch must therefore be properly represented by the States (which created the Federal government) through an indirect election. This doctrine of State independence was reiterated in the landmark case National Federation v. Sebelius, which quotes Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 45– “The independent power of the States also serves as a check on the power of the Federal Government: “By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power.”
In Federal Paper No. 68, Hamilton argued: “The process of election [electoral college] affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”
Related commentary: On America’s Federalism and its Conformity to Republican Principles
The problem is, many Americans still don’t understand the raison d’être or rationale behind the adoption of electoral college. As already explained, the main reason is America was conceived as a Republican government, not a Democratic one. Like Hamilton, Madison feared the ‘tyranny of majority’, which is what the concept of democracy is all about. He was worried of what he called “factions”, which he defined as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”.
Wait! Was Madison presciently describing the features of our Party-List System, which was conceived to serve the interests of diverse social groups?
This establishes the very simple fact that the concept of electoral college, which a few knee-jerk, clueless Filipino parliamentarists dishonestly try to associate with parliamentarism, is fundamentally, historically presidential.
Now, I’d like to offer a word of caution to critics of the American system.
America’s founding fathers, who were all intellectual giants during the Age of Enlightenment, codified or built the entire American political system just like the way great computer programmers codify computing programs. The system they conceived is so complex that it might be loosely compared to a computer OS (e.g., Mac OS or Microsoft OS), with its tens of millions lines of code. As with an OS, all it takes to destroy everything is one wrong bit (misinterpretation).
One bit of misunderstanding of America’s political system could cause someone to make tons and tons of fallacious statements or arguments.
One needs to understand the philosophical basis of the entire American system. It was based on Individualism or Individual Rights.
The founding fathers asked: Why should we form a government?
Answer: To protect man’s rights. [Read the Declaration of Independence by Jefferson].
They asked: But how can we protect rights?
Answer: Limited Government. [Read the Federalist Papers].
They asked: How do we limit the national government?
Answer: Federalism and Republicanism.
The conclusion is, Orion doesn’t know the facts and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
But let me get things straight…
If America’s presidential system is OK due to its electoral college, which, according to Orion, “acts like a parallel Parliament”, then what’s the purpose of attacking the Philippine’s presidential system, which is not even a ‘carbon copy’ of USA’s form of government?
The answer: PROPAGANDA.
Do these flips even understand the sheer contradictions in their failed, stupid arguments? There’s a term for this ‘intellectual’ madness. It’s MEDIOCRITY and INTELLECTUAL BANKRUPTCY.