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Rewriting the constitution

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Moose, I was not referring to you.

Oh, I know. I was just pointing out that making fun of the left can be fun, even if you don't include similar jabs at the right.

...ask Как тебе зовут?

Is that "Jak se mas?"

Sounds great - I don't think irrational discrimination violates anyone's rights, even if I don't like it (and even if the things you mentioned aren't necessarily irrational reasons to discriminate anyways). But now I'm curious what language you would write the Constitution in, and how you determined it? And if some laws are in one language, and some laws are in another, aren't you effectively requiring lawyers and justices to know both languages in order to accurately interpret the laws? Once the Constitution is written, I think there would be a sound basis to require all other governmental proceedings to use the same language as the Constitution, including laws, to reduce contradictions between parts written in different languages. But then the problem is how to choose that language - do we use the one most of the country speaks, one that an arbitrary minority speaks, or one that nobody knows yet?

Unless I'm mistaken, Ayn Rand was in favor of choosing an official language, based on the one spoken by the majority. I can't seem to remember what essay that was in, though. Maybe someone else knows.s

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I understand the argument against government employees voting, but why not contributing to political campaigns? That sounds awfully like McCain-Feingold. If I'm a federal employee, the money I make is still mine, and I have the right to do with it what I will.

Strictly speaking, I would argue that if you work for the government, you are not "making" money. The goods which that money represents had to be created at some point prior to being given to you. The amount you are paid and your job security are tied to the governments ability to get more money. In the market, your pay scale and job security are directly proportional to the degree of economic freedom and your personel abilities. Donating money to a campaign is a way of influencing policy. My contention is, that in order to encourage a free market friendly government, it is necessary to have a clear relationship between the self-interest of the voters and policy shapers, and the market.

Consider the difficulty in changing something so obviously evil and flawed as social security. You would have to convince one of the most sizable voting blocks in the country (AARP type folks) that it is in their best interests to not have the $1200 they steal from me at gun point each month. Just not likely to happen. They have a direct vested interest in the immorality.

Another example is the teachers union. 2nd largest lobbying group in the country. I know quite a few business owners and not a single one of them could afford to eat if they were to work the 180 days/ year required of the "underpaid" teachers. So when it comes time to vote on whether to increase taxes to pay teachers more, they are going to, by and large, vote yes regardless of what economic harm will result.

In theory, unlike now, there should never be enough government employees to influence an election, but a little insurance that it stayed that way probably wouldn't hurt.

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Strictly speaking, I would argue that if you work for the government, you are not "making" money. The goods which that money represents had to be created at some point prior to being given to you.

So, by this logic, all money that is obtained (just to humor you) by federal employees does not actually belong to them, but to the government. If a federal employee can't contribute to Bush's campaign because he did not "make" the money then, by the same logic, the government has the right to tell that employee not to buy Exxon-Mobil gasoline, because it amounts to supporting a government-hated "monopoly."

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So, by this logic, all money that is obtained (just to humor you) by federal employees does not actually belong to them, but to the government. If a federal employee can't contribute to Bush's campaign because he did not "make" the money then, by the same logic, the government has the right to tell that employee not to buy Exxon-Mobil gasoline, because it amounts to supporting a government-hated "monopoly."

ok...I see the problem. Just an idea. Not sure how to escape that. I guess my trust for capitalists and distrust for bureaucrats got the best of me. Any ideas on how to practically insure that people are not able to vote away my rights for their own interests? Because that is my major concern. The only other option that occurs to me is to wait for that paradigm shift where everyone(or at least a clear majority) act in their longterm rational self interest, which requires a level of idealism that I can't honestly buy into.

Without an answer to that riddle, I see little benefit in constructing even a perfect constitution. Even rights which are expressly stated are almost wholly ignored. Take for example "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed so long as they wait seven days and acquire the proper permits and do not attempt to buy anything which could be used to fully automatize the weapon and....." Or somethin like that. Unless it is actually properly enforcible they are just words with meanings which can be reinterperated and ignored. I can see it now. Article 7 The government shall have no power to levy taxes. Instead we will have sales tariffs and income fees.

Up until the 1830's in the US, property ownership was a requirement of sufferage. I understand that they had similiar concerns and that was their attempt to slow the apparently inevitable shift. Property ownership seems to be a poor estimation of economic vestedness. A CEO who lived in an apartment would be disqualified. Doesn't really make sense. I thought this might be a better way to insure moral voters.

To answer your question, yes, of course it belongs to them. But the paper they owned would possess no value if other people somewhere didn't produce anything. I hadn't thought about the ownership factor of the money. I assume that to be consistent, you could not keep them from voting either since that would interfere with their liberty to act. So ideas?

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But the paper [government employees] owned would possess no value if other people somewhere didn't produce anything.
If the government is legitimate, then its employees do produce value. A cop produces value just as a private security guard does; a judge produces value just as a private lawyer does. The values are not physical, but they are values.

I think that if a constitution is properly constructed, the question of who votes is not so important, because voters will be disallowed from voting away your rights for their own interests. Universal franchise to non-criminal adults seems the simplest way to go.

You're perfectly right that an ideal constitution won't deter a citizenry that is determined to change it. As an exercise in activism, writing an ideal constitution is of little or no value. The circumstances that would allow such a constitution to be adopted pre-suppose a fundamental change in political philosophy. In large part, the change has to come first, the constitution will merely document what people believe to be the right type of government. (Once written, though, a constitution becomes a powerful mechanism not just because it acts as a check on errant voters and legislatures, but it is accepted as philosophical truth by future generations.) I read David's intent to be something other than activism and more an exercise of concretizing the idea that "a good constitution could be written".

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I read David's intent to be something other than activism and more an exercise of concretizing the idea that "a good constitution could be written".
That is absolutely correct. If we cannot shoulder such a task, it's hard to imagine Congress ever doing so. Objectivism take the long view of political change. Politically speaking -- and concretely speaking -- what is our goal? Yes, capitalism, but "Capitalism" isn't a legal framework. How do you answer the question "What's to stop judges from just ignoring any capitalist principles in the law and returning to collectivism and altruism"? In my opinion, the first half-dozen articles do.

With a good constitutional foundation, as you say, it's simply impossible for them to vote in politicians who will confiscate your wealth. My personal opinion is that who votes is one of the least important questions, and who gets elected is much more important -- it seems to me that we should be talking about competency tests for lawmakers.

[i'd like to point out that I have in mind including an unbreakable set of fundamental principles, specifically, that the first 2-3 articles cannot be repealed unless the entire constitution is repealed and the nation qua political unit is dissolved. Those are such fundamental political principles that people must say "This national no longer functions", in order to get rid of them.]

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At the moment, I am most interested in sharp criticism of that handful of foundational clauses.
Good idea. I'd add into Article 1 that (good) government is *necessary*. If government is not (explicitly) necessary, everything else is moot.

Also, the prime conditional of validating laws as necessary seems to be "protecting the rights of the government's subjects." However, there are difficulties in making clear exactly what those rights constitute. It may be clear to us that protecting one man's rights doesn't ever require violating other men's rights, or that patent laws should protect the first person (and not protect subsequent people) to independently invent and register a certain patentable good, but I don't think a strict interpretation of the draft (as is) would definitively answer such questions.

One alternative is to instead use "illegalize the initiation of force by individuals" as the conditional of validating laws as necessary. I think "initiation" and "force" are much easier to strictly interpret than which particular actions are derivative of the right to one's own life. In addition, I think this approach largely circumvents the problems of having to either enumerate or determine derivative rights.

The problem is that a Constitution, no matter how explicit, will always be dilluted by time and by retarded Supreme Court decisions.
Loose interpretations are justified by a loose constitution. But if a constitution is more explicit as to what is and is not allowed, then the only way a judiciary can dilute the constitution is outright violating its principles - leaving no room to say that their judgements were sanctioned by the constitution.

None of us are lawyers or have studied historical law with any great depth? Who here has thoroughly read and examined the constitution that was to be, before Jefferson edited it?
Lawyers?? We don't need no stinking lawyers! :lol:
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Have you heard that there are secessionist movements in New Hampshire and Vermont?

http://www.republicofnh.org/

They refuse to share implicit responsability for the predations of the US and declare that the government no longer bears any relation to the union they originally joined.

You're not the only ones who want the good old constitution back.

Okay, this guy is a Christian and he may have different solutions to the problem. Just wanted to let you know. :lol:

Edited by Felix
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No law or constitutional provision shall be valid except as it is necessary to protect those rights.
Certain things -- police searches, wire-tapping, making a witness testify, taking possession of private property in some emergency situation -- have an appearance of the violation of one person's rights in the attempt to protect the rights of some other person. From all these instances, one would need to draw out the principle of what is and is not acceptable and place it in some important clause of the constitution.
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About Taxes, Instead of hard legistating means of payment, instead mandate a maximum percentage of income per people that the government can take legally from law-abiding citizens, fines could still exist in the legal system.

This would probably have be mean the elimination of rate taxes, like sales tax so the heavy spender and light spender both pay the same amount of taxes given income, and taxes on savings (all acumulation) like a property tax which is paid for by previously earned income and already accounted for in previous fiscal years.

Also, in keeping with the spirit of this action, a constitutional limit on the amount of debt that can be held by the government must be placed, because that is money to be paid by future taxpayers by either future taxes (by collection) or future inflation (by printing money). Suddenly a government has to work with limited funds, forcing a nice "starve the beast" affect and killing the unneccessary parts of a government.

My personal favorite number for the flat income tax rate would be somewhere in-between 10 and 20 percent, although considering what we know about free enterprise, even 5% or 1% could suffice in a prosperous free market, property rights economy.

Other ideas

"The Government shall only give payment to parties directly providing a service to the government, excluding taxpaying."

Also in the preamble, get rid of "general welfare" it gives too many left-wing wackos ideas...

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  • 5 months later...

I was wondering if anyone has written a constitution based on Objectivist ideas. This summer I am going to begin writing a constitution as a intellectual exercise and could use some input. Although I do not consider myself an Objectivist because I do not believe I fully understand the philosophical case behind it I do understand the economic and historical case for capitalism. Has this ever been attempted by anyone else in the Objectivist community?

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I was wondering if anyone has written a constitution based on Objectivist ideas. This summer I am going to begin writing a constitution as a intellectual exercise and could use some input. Although I do not consider myself an Objectivist because I do not believe I fully understand the philosophical case behind it I do understand the economic and historical case for capitalism. Has this ever been attempted by anyone else in the Objectivist community?

I was on a mailing/discussion list(yahoo, I think) where a fellow was doing something along those lines. I didn't follow closely, but if I remember correctly, he actually found a lot of useful ideas in the confederate constitution. You might read that for some ideas. Obviously it was an attempt at improvement over the US Constitution so it may have value.

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I was on a mailing/discussion list(yahoo, I think) where a fellow was doing something along those lines. I didn't follow closely, but if I remember correctly, he actually found a lot of useful ideas in the confederate constitution. You might read that for some ideas. Obviously it was an attempt at improvement over the US Constitution so it may have value.

This is exactly the kind of thing I am interested in. I would appreciate a link very much. I am using the US Constitution as my starting point but am making very large changes and additions. Right now I am primarily concerned about limiting the government to its only legitimate duty of providing security and protecting individual rights. Only after I have perfected that will I move on to trying to define "how" the government should go about doing its only legitimate job. Thanks in advance

Edited by Solid_Choke
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This is exactly the kind of thing I am interested in. I would appreciate a link very much. I am using the US Constitution as my starting point but am making very large changes and additions. Right now I am primarily concerned about limiting the government to its only legitimate duty of providing security and protecting individual rights. Only after I have perfected that will I move on to trying to define "how" the government should go about doing its only legitimate job. Thanks in advance

sure

http://groups.msn.com/AtlasShruggedCelebra...nstitution.msnw

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  • 1 month later...

I wrote one for Australia, based on Objectivist ideas, several years ago, when I went by the handle of Legendre on the IRC (this was late 90's). I haven't touched it in years, now.

It's thorough and a more or less complete draft, lacking only reasonable detail on transitional material. I used to have it uploaded on my old blog (The Usurer), but I gave that up and the server has since bit the dust. I still have it as a Word document, so anyone who wants it can get it by email if they want. I notice there is an attachment system for this forum, and at 436bk it is within the 2mb limit. I can't see anything in the forum rules that says I can't attach it now, but nor do I want to breach any understandings or unwritten rules so I wont consider that until I am more familiar with this forum.

That being said, I do not want to give the impression on my first post in this forum that I am yet another who is focussed on politics. No, I know better. Epistemology is key. Instill that, and in due time everything follows so easily it will almost seem effortless. That doesn't mean ignore politics, and I don't regret the time I spent on writing it (it is nearly 4 times the wordcount of the actual US Constitution), only that now is not the era in which to get enthusiastic about it or promoting it.

Table of Contents:

Pt 1: Bill of Rights

Pt 2: Operation of Commonwealth Government

Pt 3: The Legislature

Pt 4: The Executive

Pt 5: The Judiciary

Pt 6: Interaction between various governments within Australia

Pt 7: Transition

Pt 8: Changes of the Constitution

Sc 1: Oaths

Sc 2: Detailed provisions for transition

Sc 3: Amendments to the Constitution

JJM

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I don't see an issue with an attachment. My thought would be that the fundamentals would be the section on rights, and the rest is relative gravy... though essential for a real constitution. If the section on rights is small enough to fit into a post, how about posting just that section.

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Total word count is 26,096. The Bill of Rights is over a third at nearly 10,409 words.

Yes, the idea that this is excessive has occurred to me. :)

The rest is mostly a cross-breed of the actual constitutions of the USA and Australia, with a few bits of my own devising, so you are quite right in your assessment of fundamentals.

Fine, I will make it an attachment. I experimented with making it plaintext, which cuts file size to 150k, but that makes the thing unreadable.

JJM

Aus_constitution.zip

Edited by softwareNerd
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