EDITORIAL: One law for us, another for you
This is antithetical to republicanism, but apropos of socialism, or oligarchism.
More below the fold.
The California politicians view themselves as above the law, or more likely that the law is for the little people, and to clarify, they ensure they are never the little people through legislation. This is anti republican:
"Classical republican writers maintained that to be free means to not be dominated--that is, not to be dependent on the arbitrary will of other individuals. The source of this interpretation of political liberty was the principle of Roman law that defines the status of a free person as not being subject to the arbitrary will of another person--in contrast to a slave, who is dependent on another person's will. As the individual is free when he or she has legal and political rights, so a people or a city is free insofar as it lives under its own laws. [...]
Classical republican theorists also stressed that the constraint that fair laws impose on an individual's choices is not a restriction of liberty but an essential element of political liberty itself. They also believed that restrictions imposed by the law on the actions of rulers as well as of ordinary citizens are the only valid shield against coercion on the part of any person or persons. Machiavelli forcefully expressed this belief in his Discourses on Livy (I.29), when he wrote that if there is even one citizen whom the magistrates fear and who has the power to break the law, then the entire city cannot be said to be free. It can be said to be free only when its laws and constitutional orders effectively restrain the arrogance of nobles and the licentiousness of the people.
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Action regulated by law is free...not when the law is accepted voluntarily, or when it corresponds to the desires of the citizens, but when the law is not arbitrary, that is, when it respects universal norms (when it applies to all individuals or to all members of the group in question), aspires to the public good, and for this reason protects the will of the citizens from the constant danger of constraint imposed by individuals and therefore renders the will fully autonomous."
Republicanism by Maurizio Viroli
The Californian politicians are no longer acting as republicans, but as oligarchs.
Viroli makes the case for republicanism:
"Unlike a natural science, political science proceeds not by inventing new theories to replace old ones but by rediscovering and refining forgotten ideas and themes; and sometimes the work of rediscovery helps actual political practice. It is with this in mind that I am proposing this consideration of republicanism, written from an Italian perspective for English-speaking readers.
Republicanism in its classical version, which I identify with Niccolo Machiavelli, is not a theory of participatory democracy, as some theorists claim, having in mind more recent sources. It is, rather, a theory of political liberty that considers citizens' participation in sovereign deliberation necessary to the defense of liberty only when it remains within well-defined boundaries. Maintaining that sovereign deliberations--deliberations that concern the whole body of citizens--must be entrusted to the citizens themselves, republican theorists derived their principle of self-government from the Roman law that "what affects all must be decided by all." The idea was that self-interest would recommend to citizens that they deliberate for the common good, since those who participated were all equally affected.
If sovereign deliberations are entrusted to a large body rather than a small one, it is more likely that the council or legislature will have the political strength to carry out the common good against factional interests."
In the end, to be valid laws must be applied to all universally, determined fairly after a deliberative process of the entire electorate/citzenry. What the Californian politicians have done is segregated themselves from the whole, as a special group, entitled to special protections, or exemptions from the law, through a process which was not debated by the entire citizenry, but which was enacted regardless.
Obamacare was similar, with the law being finally written only moments before it was ratified. There was never time to read the law let alone time for the citizenry to read, deliberate, debate, and inform the legislature of their positions. But the point behind oligarchy is not to listen to the populace, but to hoard power for themselves, and to act in their own interests, not the interests of the citizenry.
Read Viroli's book, it is very good, well written, and sadly unlikely to be applied anywhere outside of the US. It is the foundation for a functional political system, and if we are going to resolve our many political issues, this can act as a reasonable roadmap. It is not perfect, but it is a very good start. Sadly most of our political problems today have happened because we have strayed since the founding in Amending the Constitution of the United States foolishly with such Amendments as the 16th (the income tax), 17th (direct election of Senators by the people), and 18th (prohibition) Amendments. We went on a tear of stupid during the early 20th century, we solved the problem of the 18th Amendment with the 21st Amendment, but have yet to resolve the myriad problems arising from the 16th, and 17th Amendments. We should and soon.
California should rein in its errant politicians, and force the issue.