Freakonomics is topical and provocative with this week’s episode asking ‘Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?’
In the hot seat is legal scholar and University of Chicago Professor Eric A Posner. Professor Posner argues that whilst the US is not a dictatorship in the way that we’ve come to understand that term from the 20th century, it has strayed a long way from Madisonian constitutional ideals.
In a memorable part of the podcast, Professor Posner puts his views into very plain English:
And it turned out to be pretty nutty for many of the South American countries that followed the constitutional pattern laid out by the Founding Fathers. Emulating the American system produced
Emulating the American system produced first gridlock, then anger and finally the strongmen who got things done by ignoring the constitutions. So why has the US not descended into similar chaos?
So why has the US not descended into similar chaos? The answer is a combination of strong presidencies, an evolving role, Executive Powers and use of the ‘bully pulpit’.
Has America gone too far? There are plenty of constitutional purists who would say yes.