Thursday, June 25, 2009

James Madison in Federalist No. 62

Philip Howard's post (h/t Instapundit) reminded me of something I saw at Friesian.com on The Fiction and Tyranny of "Administrative Law". It's a quote from Federalist No. 62 by James Madison:
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

....Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner effecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens....

....What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government?...

....No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.

1 comment:

Art said...

You are right on! Thank you for your input. The health care bill that recently passed the House is a prime example of obfuscation that Madison spoke of. I will be writing my US Senators.

Art Brown
Middletown, IN