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  1. #1
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Default Take our country back, from the Constitution

    I totally agree with this guy, but I'm surprised at how many mainstream outlets are airing his sacrilege.

    Professor: Take our country back, from the Constitution

    I'd embed the video, but I can't seem to do it from that source.

    I've got a simple idea: Let's give up on the Constitution.


    I know, it sounds radical, but it's really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie.


    For example, most of our greatest Presidents -- Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts -- had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.


    To be clear, I don't think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago.
    Read the comments section. It is the very worst that online comments have to offer. The people commenting are going rabid. I particularly like how often they call him an idiot, but not one of them puts forward so much as a grain of intellectual substance. Rather, they just call for a fatwā against him. It is the finest example of unknowing people who think they know something.

    As I've said before, too much of America has decided that James Madison is its Mohammad and the constitution is the Koran.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Read the comments section. It is the very worst that online comments have to offer.
    No thanks. Reading internet political comments is bad for my health.

    Even if this is a comment in itself.

  3. #3
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    OMG I love this idea. Can't watch the video right now, but I've often wondered why we worry so much about whether things are constitutional. I mean, I know it's the basis of our government and everything, but isn't it kind of outdated? Why do people act like it's the Bible?
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    A lot of the ideas in it are important ones and are not found elsewhere in the same way, constitutionalism, I believe, is not a bad idea at all and dispensing with it should be well thought out and well argued.

    Not the sort of "this is old and written by a bunch of old guys and the old guys are dead and new is good and new people have ideas and new ideas should tried because new is always best/better", that I'm afraid is bullshit, as bullshit as the "sacred causes" reading of constitutions, which barely understands constitutionalism but thinks it understands the opposition to constitutionalism or at least can identify it as "the enemy", "them liberals".

    There are problems with the constitution of the US only because it has a definite vision of the US as an agrarian republic of self-sufficient or relatively independent yeoman farmers or, in another reading, plantation owners and those conditions are no longer in existence and last I checked are not conditions which anyone seriously wants to recreate or return to, most of those that do dont seem to have a full grip of the facts involved or dont care, for instance the simple difference in population, family structure etc. between then and now.

    Revisions of the constitution which recognise this or seek to take this into account or which want to adjust traditional practices or ideas with the benefit of fresh insights are fine but they need to be thought out carefully, perpetual change and change back isnt good, not in an individual and not in a social system, there has to be some kind of functional stability or stabilising factors.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I totally agree with this guy, but I'm surprised at how many mainstream outlets are airing his sacrilege.

    As I've said before, too much of America has decided that James Madison is its Mohammad and the constitution is the Koran.
    I'm not....and the entire concept of a 'living' Constitution is based on the same idea, this guy's just being honest about his contempt for the founding principles of the country, and the institutions which reflect them.

    The Koran cannot be amended through political consensus.....we just like James Madison's design, both generally and especially compared to a centralized, majoritarian state with unlimited government.

  6. #6
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I'm not....and the entire concept of a 'living' Constitution is based on the same idea, this guy's just being honest about his contempt for the founding principles of the country, and the institutions which reflect them.
    Well, he clearly has contempt for only some of them.

    There is a difference between saying the constitution isn't really binding at all and saying that it must be obeyed but must be subject to interpretation. Those are in fact the only two feasible choices. There is no way to not be interpretive with the text in the constitution (that's English 101 stuff) , and there's no way we avoid trying to figure out how to apply it to things it was never written for that the founding fathers never imagined. The world changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    The Koran cannot be amended through political consensus.....we just like James Madison's design, both generally and especially compared to a centralized, majoritarian state with unlimited government.
    The amending of the constitution opens up what I think are the biggest questions for professor Seidman. There already are ways to change the constitution, so what is he getting at? Is his problem more with the constitution or the with way it is currently regarded? The answer really seems to be the latter. He seems to be saying that we hold the constitution in such reverence that we've made actually amending all but impossible. It's been proposed for a number of reasons in recent history, but never goes anywhere. Also, if I recall correctly, it's harder to amend the constitution in the USA than any other country. Perhaps he feels the bar should be lowered.

    He is a professor of constitutional law, so he presumably has extensive thoughts on this subject.

    Drawing from the critical legal studies indeterminacy thesis, Seidman argues that because constitutional law cannot settle fundamental political disputes, constitutional legal discourse and judicial review instead act to "unsettle" them. Rather than resolving conflicts definitively, the temporary resolution of any controversy in constitutional law through judicial review leaves open the possibility that the losing side may make an equally plausible alternative constitutional argument. In this way, both the prevailing and losing sides in a dispute recognize their positions as unstable and subject to revision within the recognized standards of legal argument. As a result, both winners and losers have reasons to continue their debate within the framework of constitutional law, thereby keeping all parties at the table and consolidating the legal system.
    This seems to shed some light on what he thinks the power of the constitution are.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    In some ways, it's a good thing that some percieve it with a sort of "sacred mystique" akin to a holy text. There are many implied principles in it that should be upheld, but implications are not enough to convince people a cause is "right". You must draw upon that mystique to get some things done. Martin Luther King Jr. is a perfect example of this. African Americans couldn't vote until the 1960s. Among other things. The fucking 60s. That was just yesterday really. No matter what was in implied in the principles of this country, America ranged from lazy and neglectful to outright malicious and murderous against minorities. Everyone knew what might be implied in the Constitution, but MLK Jr. was someone who tapped into that sacred aspect to bring issues to light. To shame people, to tell them they had a duty.

    In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.


    I say I don't believe in the American Dream often, but every once awhile, I'm reminded of people like him.. and start thinking I do.

  8. #8
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Some things to consider.

    There are 5 countries in the world that don't have constitutions in the sense that the USA does. They are the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Only one of those 5 is actually the thing people fear a nation without a constitution will become.

    That leaves all the other countries on the table. So if you think about all of the countries in the world, constitutions actually have a pretty low success rate when it comes to protecting rights, representation, and democracy. What makes a constitution so important if it merely makes suggestions that can be discarded at any point?

    And finally there's the significant point the professor raised in the video. Our great presidents had doubts about the constitution and all disobeyed it. Washington might be an exception but as the first president he's in a unique situation. So would the country actually be a much worse place if our leaders did follow the constitution exactingly?
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I'm not....and the entire concept of a 'living' Constitution is based on the same idea, this guy's just being honest about his contempt for the founding principles of the country, and the institutions which reflect them.

    The Koran cannot be amended through political consensus.....we just like James Madison's design, both generally and especially compared to a centralized, majoritarian state with unlimited government.
    To be truthful there's not many of those, in fact I struggle to think of one, most of the states which I'm sure you'd consider within that category have got plenty of checks and balances to prevent centralisation, majoritarianism or unlimited government, even Sweden has been decentralising and winding up unlimited government because of expenses and minorities and minoritarianism has been valourised everywhere and every instance aways beyond what would make any sense what so ever but its not so called or conceived as the same and so escapes peoples attention most of the time.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Some things to consider.

    There are 5 countries in the world that don't have constitutions in the sense that the USA does. They are the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Only one of those 5 is actually the thing people fear a nation without a constitution will become.

    That leaves all the other countries on the table. So if you think about all of the countries in the world, constitutions actually have a pretty low success rate when it comes to protecting rights, representation, and democracy. What makes a constitution so important if it merely makes suggestions that can be discarded at any point?

    And finally there's the significant point the professor raised in the video. Our great presidents had doubts about the constitution and all disobeyed it. Washington might be an exception but as the first president he's in a unique situation. So would the country actually be a much worse place if our leaders did follow the constitution exactingly?
    The UK has a constitution, Bagehot (spelling) wrote about it, its been a long time since the divine right of kings was respected anywhere.

    The UK constitution is much more complex and long winded than the US, probably with good reason too, but equally its ignored as often too, for instance the present unelected and unelectable "coalition" of liberals and conservatives who ran on seperate political platforms achieving seperate mandates with seperate votes who decided afterwards to join together their seperate seats in the house and form a single majority and therefore become the government, hence forth implementing policy that a minority of people voted for.

    Yeah, no one complained about it, its really hard to know why but no one takes politics seriously in the UK and it is met with inevitability by an electorate which believes the lies in the papers.

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