Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The President Is the Commander-in-Chief

As is well-known, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States. The reason is that the Constitutional Convention was very wary of the possibility that we might wind up with a Constitution in name only. For example, the Roman Emperors were, at first, not dictators. (Roman dictators were term limited anyway.) They were instead the Commander-in Chief of the armed forces. (ObSF: Francis X. MacHinery in They Shall Have Stars by James Blish.) The Constitutional Convention was trying to avoid that by ensuring that the President is the Commander-in-Chief instead of someone outside the Constitution. In other words, the armed forces must commanded by someone who can be defeated for re-election, can be impeached if necessary, is term-limited, and whose budget can be cut. It does not mean he has absolute power.


Anonymous Cambias said...

MacHinery wasn't a military commander in Blish's novel. He was a not-very-subtle conflating of Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover. The President is mentioned in passing as a charming but utterly clueless "Man on a Horse" with no real power.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Well... I think the idea was that the head of the FBI is potentially more powerful than a mere general.

7:25 PM  

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