By Art Robinson, Ph.D.
Most congressional candidates are now busily telling voters what they will do if they win a seat in Congress, or retain the seat they already occupy.
Our nation’s founders intended that Congress would have relatively little to do. Respected members of their communities were selected to serve as public servants for brief terms as caretakers of our Constitutional republic. Each member is constrained by oath to follow our Constitution, which merely instructs these members to protect our lives, liberty and property from all threats – primarily threats from foreign invaders and from our government itself.
Congress has come a long way since then.
In continual violation of their oaths, members of Congress have arrogated to themselves almost total control of every aspect of our lives – a control they grudgingly share with the executive and judicial governmental branches and enforce through a vast complex of bureaucratic apparatchiks.
Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who while in office rigorously adhered to the Constitution, earned the nickname “Dr. No” because he so routinely voted against unconstitutional actions by the U.S. Congress.
And the American people have been taught that they live in a “democracy” wherein they are entitled to vote away the lives, liberty and property of their neighbors if they can get 51 percent of the vote. The original idea was that congressmen would be elected by majority votes – not that the freedoms of Americans would be determined by such votes. The founders were very clear about this difference.
Our freedoms are God-given. Congress has no just authority to change this.
So, in 2018 what should we do? Grumble as we scurry about beneath the feet of our masters? Join the system and seek congressional preference for ourselves? Or vote for principled members of Congress in the hope that our fellow Americans will do this too, and that a majority of the members will return our freedoms to us?
Most grassroots Americans are trying to do all three of these things simultaneously. And since our current members of Congress arise from these grassroots, I am optimistic that many, perhaps even a majority, would like to return to our Constitution, too.
In the meantime, most Congressmen would probably like to exercise their current power with wisdom. But wisdom must be coupled with knowledge, and few if any members of Congress possess the knowledge to cast wise votes on the myriad issues now before them. Even if a member did have that knowledge, that member has only 1 vote out of 435 in the House, or 1 vote out of 100 in the Senate. Each is a bit player in a vast enterprise. Is there a way to do more?
I believe there is.
Each congressional office has desks for about eight or so political staffers. These staffers are busy making the member feel important, advising him on voting for the special interests that keep the member in office, and interfacing with the public. Mostly they are aspiring politicos working their way up the ladders in the Washington swamp. Each effectively has the powers of a member of Congress, except for the power to vote.
Within the Capitol building the staffers can speak to and write to everyone else, hold meetings in the many conference rooms and participate in all the many interpersonal activities within the building, except speaking and voting on the floors of the House and Senate. The staffers, to a very significant extent, affect the actions of Congress. And importantly, they exercise very great control on the level of knowledge in the Capitol building.
If elected to Congress, I would replace the political staffers in the Oregon office with real people. In this way, our office could have a much greater influence on wisdom in the Congress.
Consider, for example, MIT’s atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen, who is one of our nation’s greatest scientific authorities on the issue of human-caused global warming. An eminent scientist, Professor Lindzen is also an articulate public writer and speaker. Ordinarily, he is allowed to speak for 30 minutes or so to a congressional committee every couple of years. The idea is that the exalted members turn their ears occasionally toward Professor Lindzen – very occasionally.
What do you suppose would happen to congressional knowledge on this issue if Dick Lindzen were to occupy one of those eight desks in my office for several months, with the full powers of a congressional staffer? I guarantee the level of congressional knowledge on this issue would increase a hundredfold.
I told Dick Lindzen that if I win a seat in Congress, he has lost his vacation. In reply, he sent us a campaign contribution.
Another example arises from the great importance of the timber industry in Oregon District 4, which has the finest stands of Douglas fir in the world – but is prevented from using this resource by unwise decisions made by the U.S. Congress.
Therefore, the desk next to Dick Lindzen’s should be occupied, on a rotating basis, by a sawmill owner, a log mill sawyer, a log truck driver and a timber faller. When that timber faller throws one of those long Oregon chain saws over his shoulder and walks down the halls in Congress, they will never forget it. And, his seminar on work in Oregon forests – across the hall the next day in the Capitol building – will have standing room only. He will speak in the language and dialect of his working people. I guarantee that the denizens of Congress will learn this language!
That timber faller will be there day after day. Each day he will sally forth from that desk spreading needed knowledge about Oregon forests throughout the Capitol building.
We’ll need an education desk, too, occupied by real teachers. And an energy desk for the men and women who actually build and operate, with their own hands, America’s energy technology. And a border-control desk with people who actually personally protect our borders.
Should Wall Street have a desk and the bankers who flood our nation with fiat money and debt? Yes, they should – right beside the desk with experts on honest money as specified in our Constitution and the virtues of a debt-free nation.
That’s seven desks already, and we still need one for merchants from the main streets of Oregon District 4’s towns and cities – the entrepreneurs who struggle to do our nation’s business under the yoke of runaway taxation and regulation that wears them down and costs our communities millions of real jobs.
Perhaps we can squeeze in ten desks, but the list of real Americans includes a great multitude of specialties that have arisen in a nation of free people, but who are now suffering from the diminution of their freedom. We rotate as many of these as we can through several-month tenures within the two-year term. Who knows if a member who does this will see a second term? Who cares? We could do a lot for our nation with a program like this in just two years.
Put real people in the Capitol building! If we do, the members themselves will gradually realize that they, too, can be real people, and our nation will be better off.
Arthur Robinson, Ph.D., is a research professor of chemistry and co-founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. After co-founding the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine with Linus Pauling in 1973, Robinson, his wife, chemist Laurelee Robinson, physicist Martin Kamen, and later joined by Nobel-winning biochemist R. Bruce Merrifield, cofounded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in 1981. Robinson has also directed the Petition Project, which has obtained the support and signatures of more than 31,000 American scientists for a petition opposed – entirely on scientific grounds published in peer-reviewed journals – to the hypothesis of “human-caused global warming.”
Robinson is currently running for U.S. Congress in District 4 of Oregon. He has been nominated by District 4 Republicans to run for this position in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. He has also received the nominations of the Constitution and Independent Parties for this position and has served as state chairman of the Oregon Republican Party.