Re: Does the U.S. legislative branch need an overhaul?

William Thompson proposes an overhaul of the legislature which he contends is predicated upon an outmoded conception of the functioning of the human mind.


This idea presupposes that the purpose of legislature's design is to replicate the process of human thought. I would contend that the division between the "land-owning" elite in the senate and the "uncouth merchants and farmers" in the house was not meant to give representation to different aspects of human thought. That there were to be two houses at all was not inevitable. The outcome of the Constitutional Convention was due more to political compromise than to any adherence to the notion that the machinations of the government should reflect those of the human brain.

Thompson suggests that the Senate was supposed to be filled with cultured, thoughtful men while the House with rash, crude farmers and merchants and that this fact denotes the intention for the legislature to be composed of a house of reason and a house of passion and for the whole to represent the dichotomous nature of human thought. However, both houses are filled with humans. Both Senators and Representatives are capable of high reason and base desire. So the difference between the chambers was not supposed to exist only in the particular qualities of their component legislators, but in their structural design. The Senate is at a greater remove from the passion of the "rabble" because Senators are only accountable to their constituents every 6 years. The House is more passionate because it's Representatives are held accountable by the masses thrice as often.

Back to the point, the legislature was never intended to reflect the "complex dynamical systems of the brain," and therefore reforming it to do such would be to repudiate the founding generation that put into motion the greatest constitutional government ever conceived. Which I don't feel is a good idea. Additionally, I think it is chronocentrically arrogant to suppose that we have a such greater understanding of the functioning of the brain and of human thought and emotion that we might create any better a representation of it than our forefathers could.

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