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  1. #21
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Considering the region, I thought it was fairly obvious that this is the sort of thing she was getting at.
    If so, then a.) she chose her words very poorly, and b.) that does not excuse explicitly dismissing the United States as one of several possible sources, particularly after she mentioned the importance of free speech rights, which are simply not as well protected in virtually any other liberal democracy.

  2. #22
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    If there are other constitutions which have a framework fundamentally designed to address the kinds of issues pertinent to Egypt right now than the U.S. constitution, what is the problem with recommending those as better examples from which to work?
    Like I said earlier, she dismissed the US Constitution on the basis of relative obsolescence, not situational appropriateness (if she meant to do otherwise, she chose her words very poorly); I'll listen again, but I don't remember her mentioning anything specific to Egypt that is different from other new democracies.

  3. #23
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    If so, then a.) she chose her words very poorly, and b.) that does not excuse explicitly dismissing the United States as one of several possible sources, particularly after she mentioned the importance of free speech rights, which are simply not as well protected in virtually any other liberal democracy.
    She talked about free speech right before she made her "anti-U.S. constitution" remark, which is why I also thought it was obvious that she meant, "I would not look to the U.S. constitution [when it comes to addressing human rights.]

    If she chose her words poorly, it's only because they were ripe pickings for wingnuts to take out of context and sensationalize. How dare she say something without thinking strategically about what her political enemies might do!
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  4. #24
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    She talked about free speech right before she made her "anti-U.S. constitution" remark, which is why I also thought it was obvious that she meant, "I would not look to the U.S. constitution [when it comes to addressing human rights.]
    Last I checked, free speech was a rather important human right. And frankly, with the exception of the things covered by the Civil Rights Act (which I would support being made part of the Constitution), I regard the human rights protections in the US Constitution to be, at the very least, no worse overall than that of more recent Constitutions, and in many ways quite a bit better-i.e. the US Constitution should not be summarily dismissed from consideration.

    Look, if she simply meant that Civil Rights Act stuff should be explicit in the Egyptian Constitution, then all she has to do is clarify that's what she meant; her actual words imply something quite different.

  5. #25
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    lol. So much fuss over saying it's old and that Constitutions that aren't hundreds of years old might be more relevant, particularly from a human rights perspective (not much regard for those when the US constitution was drafted).
    It would be more correct to say that equal rights under the law for non-white male landowners were poorly regarded....and for about the fourth time, this concerns the contemporary Constitution, not the one that existed over 200 years ago.

  6. #26
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Like I said earlier, she dismissed the US Constitution on the basis of relative obsolescence, not situational appropriateness (if she meant to do otherwise, she chose her words very poorly); I'll listen again, but I don't remember her mentioning anything specific to Egypt that is different from other new democracies.
    Here's the transcript version:

    Let me say first that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don't care, then the best constitution in the world won't make any difference. So the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution - first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.

    [...]

    You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary... It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution - Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?
    First of all, how could she be dissing the US constitution if she is explicitly recommending its freedom of speech provisions? Second, I think it's clear that when she says "I would not look to the US constitution in the year 2012" that she meant it in the context of human rights and judiciary independence, which she thinks are of particular importance for Egypt, and which have been more thoroughly addressed (or at least, more focused upon in specific ways that would be helpful to Egypt in particular) in other constitutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Last I checked, free speech was a rather important human right. And frankly, with the exception of the things covered by the Civil Rights Act (which I would support being made part of the Constitution), I regard the human rights protections in the US Constitution to be, at the very least, no worse overall than that of more recent Constitutions, and in many ways quite a bit better-i.e. the US Constitution should not be summarily dismissed from consideration.
    Again, read the transcript or watch the video closely. She states explicitly that free speech as we understand it NEEDS WITHOUT QUESTION TO BE INCLUDED IN EGYPT'S CONSTITUTION. As far as human rights, it appears that she's saying there are other examples that would better serve Egypt's specific needs (I'm sure you're aware of the issues that religious and ethnic minorities, women, gays, and detainees have faced in Egypt both now and especially in the recent past, yes?) which does not seem unreasonable, nor does it at all imply that the US constitution is worthless.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Look, if she simply meant that Civil Rights Act stuff should be explicit in the Egyptian Constitution, then all she has to do is clarify that's what she meant; her actual words imply something quite different.
    She was speaking generally, and no, her words do not imply what you think they imply. That's just you reading into it what you want.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    First of all, how could she be dissing the US constitution if she is explicitly recommending its freedom of speech provisions?

    Second, I think it's clear that when she says "I would not look to the US constitution in the year 2012" that she meant it in the context of human rights and judiciary independence, which she thinks are of particular importance for Egypt, and which have been more thoroughly addressed (or at least, more focused upon in specific ways that would be helpful to Egypt in particular) in other constitutions.

    Again, read the transcript or watch the video closely. She states explicitly that free speech as we understand it NEEDS WITHOUT QUESTION TO BE INCLUDED IN EGYPT'S CONSTITUTION. As far as human rights, it appears that she's saying there are other examples that would better serve Egypt's specific needs (I'm sure you're aware of the issues that religious and ethnic minorities, women, gays, and detainees have faced in Egypt both now and especially in the recent past, yes?) which does not seem unreasonable, nor does it at all imply that the US constitution is worthless.

    She was speaking generally, and no, her words do not imply what you think they imply. That's just you reading into it what you want.
    1.) Because she goes on to explicitily dismiss the US Constitution from consideration in the event she were writing Constitution in the year 2012. The implication being that anything worthwhile* in the US Constitution is done as well or better in newer Constitutions. In other words, the US Constitution is inferior overall to most other Constitutions in liberal democracies.

    2.) In the first place, if she meant for that comment to apply only to specific aspects of the US Constitution, she should have specified that. In the second place, even if limited to those aspects, she is still saying that the US Constitution contains nothing worthwhile* regarding those aspects that isn't done as well or better in newer Constitutions-otherwise, there would be no reason to dismiss the US Constitution as one of the several sources Egypt should draw from.

    3.) If the US Constition is excluded from consideration, then the free speech rights will reflect only those of the recommended Constitutions. And yes, I'm quite aware of Egypt's many problems, several years ago I even wrote a paper regarding the optimal type of Constitution for its situation (which is why I was so quick to suggest the Mexican Constitution as a good basis for the legislative and electoral systems).

    4.) As are you; if they do not imply at least what I think they imply regarding overall human rights and judicial independence, then there is simply no reason to specifically exclude the US Constitution as one of many sources regarding those aspects of the Egyptian Constitution.

    *(Edit): A further implication is that anything unique to the US Constitution is a defect or an irrelevence rather than something worth considering in new democracies.

  8. #28
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  9. #29
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    U.S. Constitution as Quran.
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  10. #30
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    lowtech, do you want Ginsburg impeached for this?
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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