"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes." --James Madison--"Notes on the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention, 1787."
One of America's leading Founding Fathers was James Madison of Virginia. He acted as a moderating force between the future Federalists and anti-federalist factions during the founding of our nation at the Constitutional debates at Philadelphia in 1787. He also was a major force in getting the key states of Virginia and, (through his co-authorship of the Federalist Papers) the state of New York to adopt the Constitution leaders of both main political parties revere today.
"The Father of the Constitution" (and, later, Fourth President of the United States from 1809-1816) guided his fellow delegates by reminding them of the pluses and minuses of past governments going back to the time of the Ancient Greek city-states, the Roman Republic and the leagues and confederacies and kingdoms that emerged after its fall in Western Europe.
Many today, looking at the qoute above, might be tempted to see that his remarks about "the majority trampling on the rights of the minority" is aimed at a class of people who would bring down civil society from below. Perhaps that was a fear in 1787. But who really is "the minority " in Washington today? We are!
I submit that, in an era where huge corporations are considered persons and legal-eagle lobbying mouth-pieces have more power than constituents in the Congress and the state capitals, we are threatened. It is the ordinary public citizen who is "out-voted" by the fiat of unlimited campaign cash.
I wonder if Madison would be surprised by the current state of affairs in the proliferation of big-money Super PACs and large-scale lobbying and "earmarks" and loopholes and of-shore accounts for big business? How much would he big shocked by all these corporation situated technically in places like Nevada and Delaware but solely for tax purposes?
And all the other off-shore money schemes we see rich individuals and companies like Appleand Google--who make most of their profits in the USA engage in shady loopholes to evade taxes through moving about from the Cayman Islands or Bermuda or, in Google case, Ireland?
Perhaps not all that much.
Alex Marshall in an editorial in today's "New York Times: "Someday, Madison warned, companies could grow so large they “would pass beyond the authority of a single state, and would do business in other states.” To make sure the companies remained accountable to government, he said the federal government should “grant charters of incorporation in cases where the public good may require them, and the authority of a single state may be incompetent.”
In other words, a National Companies Act."
Maybe companies who want to do business in the largest economy in the world---and are protected and enhanced by state local and federal government supports and the American citizen as worker and consumer--- should pay for the privilege just as ordinary citizens do.
See article in the link below: