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  1. #91
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Ideas have more power than men with guns, in the long-term. Which, of course, is what all of this is really all about.....if you succeed in delegitimizing an idea, it loses most of its power.
    Does the power of an idea depend on a document? Is it constrained by one?

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    That's the problem with 'critical' legal theory.....it disparages the concept of the 'rule of law', thereby undermining the utilitarian benefits of celebrating and pursuing it.
    Rule of law does have utility, but you're really being utilitarian you have to weigh all things against each other. In the big picture, rule of law doesn't have so much utility that we should become frozen by the strictest adherence to law for its own sake.

    Quote Originally Posted by freeeekyyy View Post
    Nobody has to listen to leaders either. The only thing they really have to listen to is the power of a gun. I guess the military is the ultimate leadership of the country according to that logic. The constitution has power because there are people backing it. They have power because there are others backing them. Power comes through unity. If people unify behind the constitution (which they have for over 200 years) it has power.
    In the strictest and lowest degree, yes, societies are held together by what is known as the monopoly on legitimate violence. It's probably the clearest way to draw border between the fuzzy things that different social territories are. The possession of this monopoly is something that even the USA and North Korea have in common.

    However, there are occasionally powers other than physical violence. If you are in the right position, you could potentially project power with money well enough to even deter violence against you from those who might try to take it. Violence is still the most typical and basic form of power, though.

    The thing is, humans have a number of things going for them psychologically that means we can often figure out when we'd get a better deal by not being violent. Lord knows we're far from perfect, but we can do it well enough that human society has become gradually less violent over time. Technology has often helped make this feasible, but it still comes down to our judgment to actually take advantage of it and make peaceful social contracts. But don't doubt for a second that even today's social contracts are ultimately guaranteed by the threat of violence. It goes all the back to the example of the stationary bandit vs the roving bandit. Everything has just been a development of that model.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  2. #92
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the USA never experienced the King's Peace under the rule of the Justices of the Peace who took arms out of private hands.

    So the USA came to democracy with arms still in private hands, and now these same cold dead hands won't give up their arms.

  3. #93
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Does the power of an idea depend on a document? Is it constrained by one?

    Rule of law does have utility, but you're really being utilitarian you have to weigh all things against each other. In the big picture, rule of law doesn't have so much utility that we should become frozen by the strictest adherence to law for its own sake.
    When that document is the 'supreme law of the land', the socialization aspect of said ideas is greatly amplified, and the impact of antithetical ideas lessened.

    You're right, but that's also no reason to willfully 'jump off the slippery slope'-the rule of law has sufficient utility, and its pursuit so fragile, that purposefully undermining it, even for very good reason, should cause great moral discomfort and anxiety (both individually and collectively) in order to minimize the frequency of such occurrences. The Louisiana Purchase was a justifiable exception, but 99%+ of the time that is not the case.

  4. #94
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What if there's a fresh set of amendments today which support health spending or economic demand management?
    I don't think 'positive rights' should be included in the Constitution, but rather left up to tax, spending and regulatory policy-otherwise there is too much leeway for judges to legislate from the bench, for politicians to justify restrictions on 'negative rights', and the utilitarian value or viability of any 'positive right' is far too dependent on constantly changing variables.

  5. #95
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Guaranteed, huh? Who guarantees them?

    I was quite serious about those things I said should be considered. I was really interested in what responses some of the more loyal constitutionalists had. I'm just going to post them yet again.

    ------------
    What makes a constitution so important if it merely makes suggestions that can be discarded at any point?

    So would the country actually be a much worse place if our leaders did follow the constitution exactingly?
    Maybe it is kind of like talking from time to time with your Significant Other about things that are bothering you in the relationship, or generally communicating how you feel. Yes, you both know each other very well, and some would say that means there's no need to express your feelings and thoughts to each other, since "they should know". But the constant communication can help resolve issues that come up, pre-emptively or otherwise. The Constitution is "redundant" in the sense that people believe those things whether or not they're written, and a government will break it when it wants because no single person can forcibly stop it, but the "dialogue" that it creates between the national will/conscience/values and the arms of government could foster that same kind of strength of relationship. And since you're talking about outstanding statistics, remember that our Constitution is one of the longest-lasting (by some standards, the longest) continuous governments on Earth...which is my point about the strength of such a relationship. I wish voters would remember its flexibility and options more often, though, true.

    Maybe there is also something to the idea that principles and rules work best when allowed some flexibility. A typical American example: Speed limits on the interstate highways are usually 70 miles per hour, but police often make it an informal rule not to bother issuing any warning about it unless you exceed 80 at least. And that's because most people drive about 75 to 80 mph anyway. Remember that laws, and therefore governments, are formed with the purpose of structuring society in a way that everyone can practically live together from day to day, so laws only make sense within that framework. So a written constitution stating what the government is/is not allowed to do has several presidents, congresses, and popular opinions that impinge on it, but loosening that might also loosen the bounds people take within that. (Such as raising the speed limit to 80 might see people driving at 85 to 90) It's a concept, in any of those scenarios, that I really don't like , but when accounting for human behavior, maybe it's a pretty solid way to work.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  6. #96
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Which is what the Amendment process is for.

    The thing is, what one person considers 'flaws' another person considers virtues....what many of the people who disparage supporters of the Constitution as characters out of Fiddler on the Roof really seek is the capacity to fundamentally change American institutions without broad-based support among the disparate states and districts.
    That, too.

    The reason for all this "veneration" of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers, the Flag, is because as many have noted, our country is formed based on political ideals. The classical liberalism expressed in those documents and institutions is our own unique "national religion," and that creates some weird conflicts that you wouldn't see in other countries...but overall, I like that as a national basis for our society.

    The OP posited "Maybe we should write a whole new Constitution" -- I think it would look quite similar to the current one if we would, because we still value most of the things that put those guidelines onto paper to begin with, and "Maybe we should not have a written constitution at all" -- Again, I think the laws that would be just sitting there on the books, while more fluid, would generally reflect the same sentiments and structures in place now.

    Is the OP's real issue with the underlying values of the Constitution itself, our national religion? Because I think those will be more difficult to thwart or destroy than some document. And that's the ultimate point. If you really want to change someone's mind, you need persuasion, not force. Also why the more fundamental changes to our system have been informal, rather than written/formal. That's persuasion at work.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  7. #97
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I don't think 'positive rights' should be included in the Constitution, but rather left up to tax, spending and regulatory policy-otherwise there is too much leeway for judges to legislate from the bench, for politicians to justify restrictions on 'negative rights', and the utilitarian value or viability of any 'positive right' is far too dependent on constantly changing variables.
    Dude I've got to say I really like you but sometimes you post shit like this.....

  8. #98
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Dude I've got to say I really like you but sometimes you post shit like this.....
    On the plus side, his stance is too insane to ever be promoted as a real policy, so... it's not like it matters.

  9. #99
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    When that document is the 'supreme law of the land', the socialization aspect of said ideas is greatly amplified, and the impact of antithetical ideas lessened.

    You're right, but that's also no reason to willfully 'jump off the slippery slope'-the rule of law has sufficient utility, and its pursuit so fragile, that purposefully undermining it, even for very good reason, should cause great moral discomfort and anxiety (both individually and collectively) in order to minimize the frequency of such occurrences. The Louisiana Purchase was a justifiable exception, but 99%+ of the time that is not the case.
    I must admit, I am rarely afraid of slippery slopes, because odds are whatever it is that's supposed to send us down one has already happened a long time ago. Disobeying the constitution is certainly no exception.

    I'm quite curious, why do you make exception for the Louisiana Purchase?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  10. #100
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    The USA is a country of ideology rather than a country of history and this is reflected in the Constitution of the USA.

    By contrast the Constitution of Australia is a working document of how to govern. The Australian Constitution is devoid of ideology.

    Unfortunately, under the influence of the USA, attempts are being made to introduce ideology into our Constitution. But fortunately we have made it difficult to change our Constitution so we continue to operate with a practical work-a-day document.

    And naturally we keep in mind that ideology is -

    1. predigested thought

    2. it serves interests

    3. and has a demonology

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