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Saturday, February 12, 2005

 

Back to government

The ongoing attempt to wrestle my knowledge base into usefulness continues. I've mentioned before that the middle parts are under-represented, and at present the social institutions are badly underdeveloped.

Within that category, historical analysis demands that I give attention to government, although all the others have a claim on my attention.

I've been adding pages and notes throughout government, but I'm most interested in particular governments, and using these as a basis for any theorization. I categorize governments by levels, including international, national, and sub-national governments. International governments include worldwide agencies, particularl the UN (which has severe weaknesses as a "government"), and regional bodies, such as the European Union or NATO. But these aren't my primary focus. National governments are still more important on a world basis, and I'm most interested in the United States government. I've been watching the West Wing on Wednesday nights, so I may begin commenting on it. I particularly noted last week the subplot on the proposed constitutional for Belarus, and their note that while the US has the president as Commander in Chief, it is Congress that has the power to declare war. This, of course, is part of the system of "checks and balances" that were intended to keep one particular branch of government from becoming too powerful. The comment that the US "lucked out" isn't just luck; it comes from the fact that George Washington was a man of integrity who both refused to be made king and refused to use the army against the Continental Congress, and his precedent endured. Presidental governments in other countries have from time to time been afflicted with presidents who have been less scrupulous about their use of the military against other bodies of government. How to prevent such a takeover, if there is a serious danger of such, is one of the things that would need to be addressed.

I am also which includes things such as US State, county, and municipal government, and I can start making notes on those that are closest to me.

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