How Big is “Too Big?”


I have heard many people talk about the importance of a republican form of government, meaning that the people who are being governed have a hand in making the laws, under which they live.  I recently watched a video on YouTube that explains some of the difficulties that this form of government faces when it reaches the scale at which the US has been for some time now.  Take a look at the video and post your thoughts on the topic.

My thoughts:

Our nation has become so large that it is very much like the analogy given in the video of a 600 pound man who dies of heart failure because he is too large.  Our nation is heading toward metaphoric heart failure because of its size.

Isn’t the cause of the decline of our society the size?  The Constitution, Article I, Section II, states that the ratio of representatives “shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand.”  Somehow, I don’t know how or why, the Congress bypassed this clause without a constitutional amendment with the Reapportionment Act of 1929, which limited the size of the House of Representatives to 435.

Are we truly represented in the US government when each representative in the US House, if it were divided evenly among the citizens (which it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination), would represent about 725,000 citizens?  That’s 25 times what the constitution says we should have.  To me that sounds more like an oligarchy than a republic.  Each individual’s one vote is 0.0033% of the total.  That’s about 1/300th of a percent.  How much representation do we have when our influence is that small?

So, what is the solution?

I agree with the Constitution that somewhere around 30,000 to 1 is the right ration of representatives to people, but if we kept to that ratio we would have more than 10,000 representatives.  In Utah, where I live, even if you only count registered voters, that would be 1 representative for every 30 voting precincts.  How active would you be in your local precinct if you knew that they were one of 30 people who would communicate with your US Congressman?  But then, as the video points out, the larger the governing body, the more dysfunctional the assembly.  How would a committee of over 10,000 representatives be reasonably certain that all points of view are given an equal chance to be heard?

I am a big fan of the US Constitution.  I consider the authors to be inspired, but the lack of addressing how to handle the continual growth of the nation is one of the weaknesses of the original document that has never been addressed in an amendment.  Now that we’ve grown so large that corruption is a given at almost every level of government, how do we fix the problem?

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