The Federalist Papers, No. 50


The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments

Independent Journal Wednesday, February 6, 1788  - James Madison

To the People of the State of New York

To what expedient, then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the Constitution? The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. Without presuming to undertake a full development of this important idea, I will hazard a few general observations, which may perhaps place it in a clearer light, and enable us to form a more correct judgment of the principles and structure of the government planned by the convention.

In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others. Were this principle rigorously adhered to, it would require that all the appointments for the supreme executive, legislative, and judiciary magistracies should be drawn from the same fountain of authority, the people, through channels having no communication whatever with one another. Perhaps such a plan of constructing the several departments would be less difficult in practice than it may in contemplation appear. Some difficulties, however, and some additional expense would attend the execution of it. Some deviations, therefore, from the principle must be admitted. In the constitution of the judiciary department in particular, it might be inexpedient to insist rigorously on the principle: first, because peculiar qualifications being essential in the members, the primary consideration ought to be to select that mode of choice which best secures these qualifications; secondly, because the permanent tenure by which the appointments are held in that department, must soon destroy all sense of dependence on the authority conferring them. Read more about The Federalist Papers, No. 50

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Right is Right


Should Bible-believing Christians be politically conservative?

One of the surprises of my online interactions over the last few years has been the discovery that some who take the Bible very seriously are, nonetheless, leery of political conservatism, especially in its American form.

But I believe this antipathy toward conservatism is due to a combination of factors, none of which have to do with what the Bible teaches. Rather, it stems from confusion about what conservatism is, lack of awareness of relevant biblical principles and more than a little influence from popular liberal stereotyping.

To chip away a little at the definitional and biblical misunderstandings, I offer five reasons why Bible believing Christians ought to be politically conservative.

1. The Bible is an ancient book revealing timeless truths

Many have pointed out that conservatism is about conserving. More specifically, conservatism is about preserving old solutions to problems it sees as old problems. In the conservative way of thinking, human nature has not changed over the millennia nor have the problems that arise from human beings living together with limited resources.

Conservatism holds that we are not only dealing with the same old problems we’ve always had to deal with (though in new forms), but the best solutions are also ones discovered long ago. Since we are not wiser than our predecessors, it follows that the wisdom of the ages will not be improved upon much by us.

Christians who take the Bible seriously ought to have a very similar outlook. In Christianity nearly all of the great events happened long ago, and even those that are yet to come are built on the foundation of what has already happened. Believers are redeemed through a price paid thousands of years ago and are being transformed into the likeness of One who is, Himself, ancient beyond calculation (since He has no beginning).

In Christianity we see the present as part of God’s working of “all things according to the counsel of His will”—a counsel (plan) formed before the foundation of the world. And the glorious future that awaits us is, likewise, the completion of that same old, old, plan.

Plus, Christians who strive to live according to Scripture are in the habit of constantly looking back to an ancient text for timeless principles that we believe are just as relevant today as they were when God inspired them. Read more about Right is Right

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