Size of a Political Body: Does it Matter?

When the Founding Fathers of this country (United States) attended the Constitutional Convention, they were each representing 30,000 American citizens. Compare that with todays Congress, each Congressman now representing 722,000 people as of 2014. When does representation become more of a joke than a reality?

KineKMnzTLets say that there is an election for the U.S. Congress. There are two people running in the Republican Primary, and their names are Joe Bloe and Bob the Builder. I go and look over the candidates and see what their record is (is it consistent with what they’re saying?) and what they happen to be claiming about themselves. After having found out that Joe Bloe is a Christian homeschooling dad who, after having been a Constitutional lawyer for the past 25 years, decided to serve his districts interests and that of freedom and run for Congress, I then look over the data for Bob the Builder. Bob the Builder claims to have hands on experience with the people in the district, due to his construction company, and claims he can run the government like a business (there are many reasons to why this approach doesn’t work) and fix it. He also doesn’t seem to be interested in restoring the country to its original Christian and moral foundations, but he still has big money behind him. Joe Bloe doesn’t seem to be getting all those big money donations that are likely to influence him when in office, but is receiving nearly all his money from his supporters. I decide to support Joe Bloe.

Election day shows up, and I eagerly vote for Joe Bloe, only to find out the next day that all the ads and fancy speeches given by Bob the Builder with all his big money backing won the day. Assuming he wins the final election against his Democrat opponent, am I going to be fairly represented by Bob the Builder? I think not.

There will always be unfair representation by any government, no matter how big or small it happens to be. But, are We the People more fairly represented by a smaller government or a bigger one? The answer is clear. Lets say the United States government decided to increase the amount of Congressmen and ensure that each Congressman is representing 30,000 people. We would have 10,500 Congressmen. The chance of my Congressmen, even if he supported my opinions and values, of having any influence in a Congress of that size, would be small, so small, in fact, that it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. It would be just like the democracy that the city-state of Athens boasted, with its select body of thousands of citizens voting on the behalf of all of Athens, with its hundreds of thousands of people, free and slave.

The only way that we can be fairly represented by our governments is if those governments are very, very small, and the people are willing to break those governments into even smaller ones as the population continues to grow, or vice versa. “Taxation without Representation” was once the cry of the Americans of the Revolutionary War… but our country has come to that dilemma again. This time, there isn’t a New World to flee to. We must solve this problem, and that means, limited government, and if possible, the smaller the better.

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