HOAs & state legislatures: rule by the Prince or by the Constitution?

“Where ethical restraint is lacking, there can be no hope of overcoming problems.”[1]

With the banishment of God from government, our “unalienable” rights, which were held by the Founding Fathers to be superior to any rights granted by any government, have been declared null and void by the US Supreme Court. With no substitute standard being announced by the Supremes to guide the people, they are left to flounder. And we have floundered.[2]

In his commentary on Machiavelli’s The Prince,[3] William B. Allen provides Machiavelli’s view of politicians,

Once the obligation to act according to natural or devine standards is removed, the question that remains . . . is how to participate in the management of political appearances to secure their [the politicians’] own interests.[4]

For Machiavelli “the role of morals in politics is mainly to cultivate illusions . . . politics is merely appearance and morality is merely pretense.”[5] 

Understandably, it is not surprising that the Supremes have held that all legislation is presumed to be constitutional, placing the burden on the people to prove the unconstitutionality of a law.  With this legal doctrine, the Supremes, the 9 Men In Black, have declared that “the sovereign can do no wrong.”  But, that is not the fundamental basis of our system of government with its separation of powers, checks and balances, and Bill of Rights.  The Supremes just abdicated their function under the Constitution.  In its place, it has assigned the role of the Protector of the Constitution to the people, the average person. 

Consistent with this doctrine, the Arizona Legislature also presumes all statutes to be constitutional, perhaps because the Legislature provides checks on the constitutionality of a bill before it can be sent to the Governor for signing. (The Arizona Constitution also provides a check on statute constitutionality before signing by the Governor).

However, in spite of statements to the contrary found in the Arizona State Legislature guides for the public, the legislature and individual legislators have failed to protect the people against the violations of the Arizona Constitution as in the case of the unconstitutional SB1454. They have ignored their duties, obligations and rules for the proper functioning of the Legislative Council and the Rules Committee. (See HOA reforms, SB 1454 and the inner workings of the legislature).

In contrast to Machiavelli’s principles of government, Hadley Arkes reminds us that

The founders understood that the principal mission of government was to secure people in their natural rights — to protect them against the lawless private thugs as well as of ill-intentioned legislators (emphasis added).[6]

He quotes US Justice Wilson’s (1798) warning that

The people in sovereign office might well perform unjustified and therefore lawless acts . . . such acts, though vested with ‘legal’ authority could not fully claim nor elicit from the people an obligation to obey.[7]


In regard to the HOA amendments surreptitiously placed into SB 1454, Arizona has dropped the ball.  Arizona has fallen off the pedestal.



[1] Ethics for the New Millennium, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, p. 26, Riverhead Books, 1999.

[2]God is dead, and so, too, are our unalienable rights, HOA Constitutional Government, February 5, 2008

[3] The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli, Yale University, 1997.

[4] Id., Machiavelli and Modernity, W. B. Allen, p. 108.

[5] Id., p. 104.

[6] Supra n 3, Machiavelli and America, Hadley Arkes, p. 145.

[7] Id., p. 128.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. A former Washingon state Representative had this to say about how the legislature works: “Unfortunately, we create legislation by whether there is an interest group, not by what’s in the public interest.”


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