Term limits are one of the most difficult political innovations to implement. The problem lies in the inherent conflict of interest of politicians. In the United States Congress, for example, two-thirds of both houses need to vote for a constitutional amendment to be passed. Yet, as we have seen, it is human nature for those who have long held power to prefer to see their whole country put to fire and sword rather than give up power.

The fact that the Founding Fathers left the problem unresolved was no accident, no more than was the other great problem they left unresolved: slavery. In both instances too many preferred their own selfish narrow interests as career politicians to those of future generations. The bloodshed of the Civil War is on their hands. Likewise, there will be a great cost if the implementation of term limits is left unresolved. America will continue to gnaw at its own innards until it is too weak to defend itself against China. This is why it is imperative that the Constitution, by supreme effort, be changed.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove