Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In certain ways, we're more Statist than Europe

Not a comment on Obama whatsoever, but on the system we have. Although the State, as such, is much more expansive in the European Union, the basis of it there is Parliamentary democracy,  as opposed to the Presidential system, with exceptions such as France. This leads to a fundamentally different conception of what the State is, because the division between the executive and the representatives of the people in general is abolished. In Europe the Crown and the Cabinet were once one, but over time they separated, either through revolution or through evolution, so that the symbolic role of the monarch, who can be paralleled to the President, became less and less and the Cabinet itself became more important. Formally, the change started with representatives or members of Parliament submitting 'suggestions' as to who the cabinet, including the Prime Minister, should be composed of, suggestions that were approved by the Crown. Since then it's become pretty autonomous.

Because of this, the State, as such, is not an autonomous entity that is thought to lord over society, but is instead part of the administration of things, to use a Marxist term. This is very different from Absolutism, where the reverse was the case. But, here in the U.S. we still have the vestigal remains of the Absolutist way of thinking, where the President and the Executive branch have to have complete autonomy from the Legislative---or bad things will happen. What it creates in practice is a sphere separate from democratic control as a whole, where every four years we have a contest to elect a monarch that we can't do anything about for the next four years. Instead, let's abandon the false notion of a necessary division of power between the legislative and the executive and subject the executive to the direct and constant control of the people through their Representatives and Senators in Congress.

Making the Executive branch as autonomous as it is only encourages the existence of a realm of State unaccountability. 


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