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  1. #61
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    You lost me somewhere, but that Frenchmen sounds pretty cool.
    Annotated:

    1) More that the woman claimed she was beaten because her husband laid down an ultimatum - she was going to have to pay for bailing herself out of jail every time she got into a fight with the American Indian woman next door,
    Proclamation of 1763, Stamp Act and Townshend Acts

    2) she couldn't deal drugs out of the house anymore, and that she wouldn't need to, anyway, because his pharmacist brother would give her a drastically cut price on her pain medication.
    Townshend Acts, Coercive Acts and Tea Act

    3) Then, when she started slapping him, he restrained her wrist, until he got sucker punched by the Frenchman down the street who she'd been cheating on the husband with.
    Revolutionary War.

    And yeah, the French were the biggest badasses on the planet at that time. They managed to conquer Europe a couple of decades later, after all

  2. #62
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    I’d say 4/5 is crappy odds. I’ll keep the 1/1 thing I’ve got going with my current set-up.

    Also, I’d say the UK, Canada, and New Zealand are all examples of the type of thing many people fear a nation without a constitution will become – you couldn’t pay me to live there - and there’s no guarantee their current nature won’t radically change tomorrow since there’s nothing preventing it.
    That's rich coming from a nation that wrote the Patriot Act and uses torture when it suits them.

    There's no guarantee ANY nation won't radically change tomorrow. You think a piece of paper will magically prevent that? The only way you can minimise the risk is by having a scrupulous and scrutinising public attempting to keep the politicians in line - even then, all that goes out the window at the point of a gun.

    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    The reason the Constitution is 'sacred' is that there are actually no hard lines or concrete rules in the world and we can't allow people to spontaneously change things whenever they get a hairbrained idea, and very few who would do so will recognize if their idea is hairbrained or not.

    The rule is supposed to be that you can only amend it. It may be out dated but at least it is stable. If you can change it whenever you like, just because you don't approve of it, then it is entirely worthless.

    The time to change it will come when it is more of a problem to follow the rule than to break it. At that point it should be changed.
    Valid points.

    I think a lot of what is written in the US constitution is pretty fantastic, but there are flaws that need correcting or may need correcting in the future. You absolutely shouldn't make the changes on whims but you also shouldn't keep articles or amendments just for the sake of stability. A lot of oppressive and inhumane governments in the world have used the argument for preserving stability to justify terrible acts.

    Also you need to make sure that the is objective reasoning behind each point. It was written in the late 18th century - how fair and objective were the leaders at that time? Besides the fact it's pretty much impossible for them to have looked into the future and anticipated how dramatically US culture and society would change. A small degree of revision by successive generations is necessary to distil the flaws and minimise historical bias.
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  3. #63
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    America has a lot of it's checks and balances in the Congress itself. Congress makes laws too. And they range from flawed, scum of the earth individuals to virtuous civil servants. They represent a lot of what America is. Congress and the Constitution are said to be an exercise in compromise. And the sum total of these elements is what comprises the direction of the country. It's ineffectiveness has been challenged many times. There was some quote (I think James Madison) when he was asked about how we could leave the country's fate to this ridiculous setup. He said something along the lines of "I know no other way." I don't either. The one thing that needs to be fixed is insuring that Congress actually represent the people (for better or worse), and not corporate interests. Money and special interests are the real enemy.

  4. #64
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    @Southern Kross

    I agree, except that if the government were reasonable enough to pull off small and appropriate changes cleanly, then we would not have needed it to begin with.

    On the one hand we need revision to deal with oppression but on the other we need limits to at least provide a speed bump for the possibly stupid and corrupt.

    Appropriate changes require some kind of sense. They need to have objective reasoning for sure but that is in short supply these days.

  5. #65
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    There is no who. That’s the whole point. It is the “who,” and that was intentional on the designers’ part. It insulates us from “who” by having a superseding set of principles and statues that everyone, including the head of state, is subject to and must operate under.
    How are they subject to it? Who is holding them accountable? It's always a matter of who, because the constitution has no ability to enforce or interpret itself. Nothing you have is the result of the constitution, it is the result of what people have made of the constitution, including the decision to try to heed it or just disregard it altogether. The constitution itself has literally no more power than Moby Dick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    I’d say 4/5 is crappy odds. I’ll keep the 1/1 thing I’ve got going with my current set-up.
    It pointed out that the odds are clearly not 1/1, they're worse than 4/5.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    Also, I’d say the UK, Canada, and New Zealand are all examples of the type of thing many people fear a nation without a constitution will become – you couldn’t pay me to live there - and there’s no guarantee their current nature won’t radically change tomorrow since there’s nothing preventing it.
    Hah. Really now? I have a hard time taking this seriously, I'm sorry. What exactly are the horrible elements of the UK, Canada, and New Zealand that you want to avoid?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    1. Right, because all constitutions are equivalent and uniform in their constructs, principles and content.
    It seems quite unlikely that they'd all be equal, and of course they are not the same. Why should I believe the USA is the best one? How do we decide what's best anyhow? Since you seem to be solely concerned with what's said in the constitution and not the practical results of attempts to apply it, it seems that whichever constitution more thoroughly covers the rights and representation of the people is the better constitution. By that measure, the Soviet Union's constitution was better than the USA's, but in practice how did that work out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    2. I’d say compared to history and other countries the constitution of the United States has done a phenomenal and unparalleled job at protecting rights, representation, and democracy.
    I'd say not. At this point plenty of first world countries honestly, probably have more robust and vibrant representative democracies than the USA does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    Nothing. That’s why liberals have to fabricate fancy terms like “Living Constitution” before they can dispense with its binding power, activist judges have to perform sketchy judicial contortions (usually before getting their butts voted/thrown out of office), and professors at hipster universities have to make videos meant to sway public opinion first.
    If you're trying to defend your position, this doesn't help. You are just affirming that the constitution has no power to actually constrain anyone.

    I want to add that from this post and others you've made afterward, you've shown a particular fixation on the sins of liberals. It undermines your position as defender of the constitution to ignore the way conservatives have violated it. In pursuing such tickets as moral values, homeland security, and tough justice, conservatives have at times pissed all over the constitution. They have some pretty imaginative interpretations, too. They are totally confident that the 2nd amendment says something that it never says at all, and they are the ones, not the liberals, who like to claim that a corporation is a person and money is speech. Politicians from every corner disregard the constitution when they can. They mostly care about it when they are disempowered because it's a cheap and easy rhetorical argument for halting the politicians that are in power.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mia. View Post
    Actually I think it would be better, which is why our country is finding its freedoms and spirit slowly eroding away, and why over 50% of Americans now say they think America’s best days are behind her. Telling the constitution to frig off is a slippery slope, and each time it has been done (even though it was often said to be “temporary”) we never fully regained our original position.
    Yeah, our freedoms have been eroding ever since that pesky Alien and Seditions Act, right? You must mean it when you say slowly.
    I don't think you really understand what you're asking for. You're either rejecting the accomplishments of Jefferson, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt just to name a few, or you're apparently claiming that you know how they could have and should have done everything they needed to do without violating the constitution.


    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    Word games. A written government is a bill of rights. If you say it isn't, then provide concrete examples and quit dicking around. Honestly, I don't even really care; but if you're going to argue no constitution you should at least be able to provide an alternative.
    It was already provided, and an uncodified constitution is not an irrelevant difference, nor is a lack of a bill of rights. It's mentioned in the wiki article Peguy posted.

    An uncodified constitution has the advantages of elasticity, adaptability and resilience. A new condition or situation of government may be resolved by precedent or passing legislation. Unlike a codified constitution, there are no special procedures for making a constitutional law and it will not be inherently superior to other legislation. A country with an uncodified constitution lacks a specific moment where the principles of its government were deliberately decided. Instead, these are allowed to evolve according to the political and social forces arising throughout its history
    The thing is, codified constitutions end up working like that anyway because in practice they are so inflexible as to be hopeless. This means that the real difference between the two is that uncodified constitution is much more likely to have actual, honest documentation of its changes, rather than changing things through loopholes, ridiculous reinterpretations, and flagrant violations that people just allow to slide.

    Maybe we need a new constitution. Our current one is the oldest in the world, some people are proud of that, but is it really something to be proud of?
    Maybe we need to make it easier to amend the constitution.
    Maybe we should just start using an uncodified constitution from now on.

    These all sound like better suggestions to me than what we currently do. What I don't doubt at all is that regardless of legal changes, our thinking and our discourse must change. Adherence to the constitution for its own sake is solely the obstacle of progress.


    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    Okay, explain why I should believe you?
    Because a constitution can't enforce itself. Everything seen that is couched as the enforcement of the constitution was just a selective decision by people with power.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  6. #66
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    There's no guarantee ANY nation won't radically change tomorrow. You think a piece of paper will magically prevent that? The only way you can minimise the risk is by having a scrupulous and scrutinising public attempting to keep the politicians in line - even then, all that goes out the window at the point of a gun.
    You know what keeps it together? When people fundamentally feel that their leaders are like them, and are in their tribe. A "tribe" can be any sort of psychological ingroup, be it ideological, ethnic, racial, you name it. As long as the person's in one's tribe, most are very likely to write off any sort of action that an outgroup would see as an abuse of power, as something completely necessary.

    That brings us to a functional definition of tyranny: when your leaders are not like you and from outside your perceived tribe, and that irritates you to the point where you want to remove their power by force.

  7. #67
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    You know what keeps it together? When people fundamentally feel that their leaders are like them, and are in their tribe. A "tribe" can be any sort of psychological ingroup, be it ideological, ethnic, racial, you name it. As long as the person's in one's tribe, most are very likely to write off any sort of action that an outgroup would see as an abuse of power, as something completely necessary.

    That brings us to a functional definition of tyranny: when your leaders are not like you and from outside your perceived tribe, and that irritates you to the point where you want to remove their power by force.
    Read my post above. We've had few instances where people in this country behaved with likemindedness. Psychological in-groups is the exception. It's a nation built on (sometimes disappointing) compromises. Not in-groups. A Congressman from South Carolina might be every bit a part of his "tribe", as far as his state goes, but once in Washington, there's a fair chance that almost everyone thinks he's a douche. But his vote counts. And so does theirs. And then they end up with something they can settle on, without killing each other. Tyranny has popped it's head up from time to time, but on the positive side, they were taken care of relatively quickly (McCarthyism, Tom Delay, for example). It's not Tyranny in the Gadaffi sense, where one ideology/person sweeps up the entire nation for 30 years (or more).

  8. #68
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    And then they end up with something they can settle on, without killing each other.
    It's usually what group of brown people we want to spend billions on slaughtering this week.

  9. #69
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The government doesnt really choose to mitigate competition or conflict as it exists presently, it acts as a partisan actor in favour of the very richest.
    I don't really understand.

    When people compete, each person has different abilities and skill-levels. This is what usually differentiates between winners and losers; and the winners get rewarded for it. As the winners get rewarded for winning, they seem to get a greater freedom to compete within the rules of the game; for instance, a player could gain the freedom to tell other players how they should play as a team. I suppose modern economics would equate that with wealth.

    The government, it would seem, then has the role of both a referee and placing handicaps to make competition more fair by narrowing large gaps in competition. By adequately placing handicaps and enforcing the rules of the game, conflict is mostly avoided and healthy competition mostly fostered. The irony, however, is that the winners get rewarded with a greater freedom to compete.

    That said, I do think the government plays this role of both mitigating and favouring (increasing someone's freedom to compete). I'm probably way off, but are you then suggesting that a reward should not grant more freedom to compete, but provide something else desired?

  10. #70
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    It's usually what group of brown people we want to spend billions on slaughtering this week.
    Fortunately, this war is being wound down. If we could prosecute Cheney and Bush, I'd be all for it. That said, I don't think America has some intrinsic beef with "brown people". I'm a brown person. I'm not slaughtered. There are other factors that are exacerbating that shit in the Middle East.

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