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Defenders of the Constitution.....a Question.

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posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 12:58 PM
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There are lots of threads here on ATS that go along the general lines of "it's time to take back our government from the powers that be and get back to following the constitution the way it was intended." My question here isn't about whether we need to truly take that radical step. I don't know if the time is right or wrong.....if the "revolution" needs to be by ballot or bullet. For the purposes of this thread I don't even care if we need to do anything at all.

What I'm pondering is this - If we were, as a people, to decide that enough is enough and that a radical change was needed....why would we go back to a constitution that was designed by our forefathers over 200 years ago? The constitution as it was originally written was clearly written with the world situation of 200 years ago in mind. There were things the founding fathers did not envision. I'm sure they could not have imagined the world as it is now in its post-industrial revolution state with the advent of globalism and all that brings with it.

The founding fathers were wise and realized that the constitution need to be flexible and therefore they included the necessary provisions for amending it over time. This is clearly one of the constitution's greatest strengths, which has allowed it to survive as long as it has.

It was not created perfect, however. The balance between state and federal powers has always been a tenuous one; so much so that it had to be "settled" at the point of a gun during the civil war. Even that wasn't a final answer to the issue though. Even now the various state and federal government entities frequently bash .s in the courts over this law or that regulation.

My main question is therefore twofold - do we want to reinstate the constitution as it is now or should we come up with a new document....keeping the best of what makes the current constitution great and "fixing" any problems with it. If we do decide that it need to be improved......what changes would the ATS community suggest?

I kind of suspect this might quickly turn into a flame war and if it does I wouldn't blame the mods for completely deleting the thread. It isn't how this post is intended though. For me it's an interesting intellectual exercise to try to design something better.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by total_slacker]

[edit on 1-4-2010 by total_slacker]




posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:01 PM
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The US constitution is the single greatest government document in the history of the world. It has been the envy of many nations, and the model for many more.

The thing that people miss is that the constitution was written as a living document. It was made to be adaptable. Yet we panic any time it becomes clear that it needs to be changed.

The current constitution DOES need some revision, but it certainly shouldnt be scrapped all together.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:06 PM
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If I may:

The United States Constitution is really elegant in its simplicity. It is not the all-encompassing judicial code, just the backbone of it. Separation of powers, checks and balances, legislatures based off of both geography and population, these are all brilliant ideas!

Any revisions it may need as well can be accomplished through the amendment process, so there is already a mechanism in place for updating it. The way I think about it is quite simple: Why tear down a beautiful and master-crafted home just because it needs a new coat of paint?

Edit: Besides remember what happened when the European Union tried to hard to make a "modern" constitution with tons of handouts and very specific compromises, it failed horribly.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by ProjectJimmy]



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:08 PM
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What the founding fathers envisioned still exists today.

It is called Tyranny of Government.

The document was written purely to combat this Tyranny, by protecting the Liberty of it's Citizens.

Thus the Bill of Rights. (Citizen's Rights, not Government Rights)

In fact, the Constitution only orders the Government to follow the rules. It's mention of citizens is by listing Rights that are to be Protected BY government FROM itself!

The Constitution would easily be applicable in ancient Rome 2000 years ago, or in Nazi Germany 60 years ago. Or hell even today.

Places that especially need legal protections from government abuse of their Liberties are places like Iran and North Korea, where the government is especially brutal and oppressive.

The Constitution is one of the only legal documents worth keeping, as it's purpose is clear and perfectly applicable to just about any situation that involves the words "Government" or "Authority".

[edit on 1-4-2010 by muzzleflash]



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:17 PM
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reply to post by captaintyinknots
 


The Constitution is most certainly NOT a living document. That is a position taken by statists as a means to change the constitution for the purpose of either removing rights or granting the government unprecedented authority.

I recommend reading on what a living document actually is.
The Californians think that their State Constitution is a living document, 500 amendments later and it is now a complex system of taxation and restriction. Give people too much power and they will abuse it, and this is why I reject the notion of a living document, as changes to our SUPREME LAW should not be taken lightly.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 


I agree.

I mean, if people start saying "well, we're just updating it to keep it relevant in modern times" where exactly will that end?

Two words:

Slippery

Slope

And it IS a simple document, and for good reason. Look how many lawyers and politicians we have trying to twist and distort our rights as they see fit, so they can accomplish their personal agendas.

The less words, the less chance of people trying to F*K with it, and the less people who will be confused. For example, "the peoples right to bear arms shall not be infringed," How the hell do people read that and say "well we need gun control lets make them illegal." Hello? thats not a option. Unless the people vote on it, our leaders should stick to what we have, its worked thus far, and the US is still a great place. IMO



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:24 PM
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Lets break down the first line, shall we?


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,

A more perfect union? You misworded...didn't you mean to say "a perfect union?"...using the words, "more perfect union" suggests that it wont be perfect and will need to adjust as times change...but lets move on.


establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,

Sounds good so far...courts, general happiness, the ability to repel invaders...I am following you...clearly they forgot to pen in "and invade countrys that may or may not have WMD's"...musta been late.


promote the general Welfare,


whoops, stop the press...general welfare? what kind of socialist facist obamanation nonsense talk is this?
What the hell is the definition of welfare? here we are


Welfare or welfare work consists of actions or procedures — especially on the part of governments and institutions — striving to promote the basic well-being of individuals in need. These efforts usually strive to improve the financial situation of people in need but may also strive to improve their employment chances and many other aspects of their lives including sometimes their mental health.


Hmm...yep, the founding fathers were liberal commie pinkos...we should toss it out. I dont want a constitutional America where we are providing general welfare to the people of the US.
Time to revolt...against the founding fathers....


and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Liberty? WTF? Wait...whats the definition of liberty now?


•freedom of choice; "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes"

Wait...so if some gay dude wants to get married to another gay dude, we supposed to sit by? or if someone wants to smoke a plant, or have a gay man in the military...etc etc..



Has anyone read this progressive liberal trash?





posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:25 PM
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The more I study the U.S. Constitution, the more I start to believe it was a "divinely inspired" document. Seriously though, the Constitution is one of the, and arguable, THEE best legal documents ever created. As someone before me has posted, the Constitution was not intended to be an all encompassing document, it is the core for all others! And I disagree with the person that said the Constitution is a living document. This argument is used to often and in my opinion is a ploy to errode away the constitution. Again, if you follow the tenets of the Constitution with other laws the balance of protection of personal liberties and the protection of society are usually maintained. I would suggest people read the Constitution at least once and if you really want to be a student of it, read the federalist papers as well...The founders of this nation were genious'.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by projectvxn
reply to post by captaintyinknots
 


The Constitution is most certainly NOT a living document. That is a position taken by statists as a means to change the constitution for the purpose of either removing rights or granting the government unprecedented authority.

I recommend reading on what a living document actually is.
The Californians think that their State Constitution is a living document, 500 amendments later and it is now a complex system of taxation and restriction. Give people too much power and they will abuse it, and this is why I reject the notion of a living document, as changes to our SUPREME LAW should not be taken lightly.


I said that the constitution was WRITTEN AS A LIVING DOCUMENT. Not that it is one. The reason it is not is the people, not the document itself.

I highly recommend you read a bit of Paine, Washington, Jefferson, and the others, in regards to whether or not the document was written to be living.

No one is suggesting that changes should be taken lightly. Those who framed the constitution expected changes would not be taken lightly. But they expected that changes and adaptations should be made.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:30 PM
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In response to the OP,

The general consensus (of people who are fans of the Constitution) is that our rights, and our founding documents are meaning less and less every day.

Our current regime keeps finding ways to sidestep, and in some cases even dismiss entirely our rights as envisioned by the founders of this country.

People like myself live in a constant state of frustration seeing how this great country is being subjected to political thuggery and corporate greed.

Whats so great about the Constitution, is that the founding fathers foresaw this current state of affairs, and included provisions that protected the people in the event that the government must be dismissed, either forcibly or otherwise.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by total_slacker
 


I would not be likely to trust the average, modern American to write anything tenable or workable - certainly no one on ATS. Also, for those of us who subscribe to the idea of human devolution, the idea of being governed under an antiquated document is fine, the older - in fact - the better.

However, I don't think that binds us to accepting constitutional perfection, keeping in mind that many people wrote and spoke vigorously against it. I note the following passage from John Mercer as he was pleading with New York and Virginia not to ratify it ...

The most blind admirer of this Constitution must in his heart confess that it is as far inferior to the British Constitution, of which it is an imperfect imitation, as darkness is to light. In the British Constitution the rights of men, the primary object of the social compact, are fixed on an immoveable foundation and clearly defined and ascertained by their Magna Charta, their Petition of Rights, their Bill of Rights, and their effective administration by ostensible Ministers secures responsibility. In this new Constitution a complicated system sets responsibility at defiance and the rights of men neglected and undefined are left at the mercy of events. We vainly plume ourselves on the safeguard alone of representation, forgetting that it will be a representation on principles inconsistent with true and just representation; that it is but a delusive shadow of representation, proffering in theory what can never be fairly reduced to practice. And, after all, government by representation (unless confirmed in its views and conduct by the constant inspection, immediate superintendence, and frequent interference and control of the people themselves on one side, or an hereditary nobility on the other, both of which orders have fixed and permanent views) is really only as one of perpetual rapine and confusion. Even with the best checks it has failed in all the governments of Europe, of which it was once the basis, except that of England.

I think we can embrace the spirit of the founders while admitting their faults. I think the constitution is one of those. True monarchy is the only form of government that has stood the test of time.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 02:44 PM
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Our founding fathers were indeed great men with keen insight to the dangers of government. They went out of their way to create a constitution that was both simple to understand, and adaptable to future events.
Not only did the founding fathers spell out the limits of each branch of govenment, they even went so far as to reiterate those limits in the 10th amendment.
even the amendment process was intentionally made to be a slow and arduous task, thereby encouraging limited admendments.

alas the founding fathers did not in their wildest dreams forsee the ludicrous, insane, twisting of the interstate commmerce clause that has brought so much grief to our nation.
The constitution is a living breathing document that as it stands ,without modification provides the necessary and framework and limitations of a government of free men. All of the problems we currently face in our federal government can be traced back to not adhering to the constitution as written.

Its time the states reasserted their rights and forced the federal government back into its constitutional limits.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by SaturnFX
a constitutional America where we are providing general welfare


Except the US constitution says promote the general welfare. Wealth redistribution (including Medicare, Social Security, etc) is not best described as a promotional activity (nor do those programs increase the general welfare). And even if it did, wealth redistribution seems to involve violence against others and therfore still would not be allowed even if the wording was "provide general welfare". I mean do you think it specifically has to state "provide general welfare without taking people's property without permission"? Is that not implied?

I think there is very little wrong with the constitution, if anything. What seems to be wrong is that people don't take it literally word for word and think that it actually means exactly what it says and no more.

The core of progressivism is wealth redistrubition and that is nowhere in the constitution. Therefore, the constitution is not progressivist.

It is however very old-school liberal in that it is a very libertarian document. It is also very liberal in that it represents a very dramatic change from how the system works now. However the system as it works today is not all that far from what most self-described liberals want. That is why the "coffee party"(polar opposite of the tea party) looks at themselves as "well respresented in congress" and seems to think this whole thing about the US falling apart will get all better over a few cups of coffee.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by civilchallenger]



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by civilchallenger

Originally posted by SaturnFX
a constitutional America where we are providing general welfare


Except the US constitution says promote the general welfare. Wealth redistribution (including Medicare, Social Security, etc) is not best described as a promotional activity (nor do those programs increase the general welfare). And even if it did, wealth redistribution seems to involve violence against others and therfore still would not be allowed even if the wording was "provide general welfare". I mean do you think it specifically has to state "provide general welfare without taking people's property without permission"? Is that not implied?

I think there is very little wrong with the constitution, if anything. What seems to be wrong is that people don't take it literally word for word and think that it actually means exactly what it says and no more.

The core of progressivism is wealth redistrubition and that is nowhere in the constitution. Therefore, the constitution is not progressivist.

It is however very old-school liberal in that it is a very libertarian document. It is also very liberal in that it represents a very dramatic change from how the system works now. However the system as it works today is not all that far from what most self-described liberals want. That is why the "coffee party"(polar opposite of the tea party) looks at themselves as "well respresented in congress" and seems to think this whole thing about the US falling apart will get all better over a few cups of coffee.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by civilchallenger]


"Promote" is not synonymous with "promotional activity."

There are valid ethical and constitutional arguments delegitimizing the role of the federal government in social welfare - yours is not one of them.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 04:01 PM
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If the constitution was so perfect way back in the beginning, then why have we as a people seen fit to amend it 27 times? I doubt there are many in the crowd who would argue that the first 10 amendments were truly necessary to ensure that the document represented the vision of the original signers so I think it's fairly safe to say that most of us would want those changes to stay in place.

How about the other amendments? Looking back on it now it seems hard to believe the 18th (prohibition) was ever a good idea. It's a shame it took as long as it did to rid ourselves of that one.

Why did it take more than 100 years to decide that women should also be capable of participating in the political process?

Within the confines of this thread we have the capacity to offer up suggested improvements. Let's not be shy about it.

Here - I'll go first. I'd like to see an explicit right to privacy of my personal information - similar to the approach they enjoy in europe. I'd like to know that when I choose to provide private information to a company in the course of a business transaction, that they would not have the ability to resell that information to each and every other company who expresses an interest in owning a copy of it.

I'd like to see some of the lofty principles expressed in the preamble (promote the general welfare) and in the declaration of independence (all men are created equal) explicitly stated as having some legal authority. If those had been in there from the start we probably wouldn't have needed amendments 13, 15, 19, and possibly 26.

Those are just a couple of examples.

The founding fathers were wise, but by no means were they perfect and especially not divine. I see no reason to think that reasonable people of our generation cannot do as well as they - especially after having the good fortune of a couple of hundred years of hindsight to see what worked and what didn't in our current governmental system.



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by total_slacker
If the constitution was so perfect way back in the beginning, then why have we as a people seen fit to amend it 27 times?


By that logic James Madison is superior to God. God had to publish a whole sequel to his first book. James Madison only needed 2 pages of amendments.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by atreides]



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 04:15 PM
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I would agree there is room for improvement. However getting back to the original organic document is a good place to start in my opinion. First thing I would remove is the commerce clause and all provisions for taxation. The commerce clause has been abused beyond measure and is the excuse for almost every encroachment of government we have endured.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. In my opinion this is the fatal flaw in the Constitution. For the power to tax against ones will is building your foundation on theft. If we build a foundation on theft then we get what we have today. If we can steal a little here and there under color of law why not more and more and that is exactly what has happened. There are other ways to fund government that i won't get into on this thread.

The other things I would do is clarify that the document is a restriction on the federal government not the people and that the states have not rights only the people do and clarify many of the amendments and add that it is the right of the people to protect thier rights with force if the government fails to protect them.

Bottom line is it is still just a document and only as good as the people are willing to live up to it and protect against encroaching on it.

[edit on 1-4-2010 by hawkiye]



posted on Apr, 1 2010 @ 04:24 PM
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Do you consider the Founding Fathers the Signers (the signers of the Declaration of Independence) or the Framers (the authors of the constitution)? I consider the former the Founding Fathers as the United States came into being and existed for 14 years before the constitution came into force.

Among the Signers it was Richard Henry Lee who introduced the motion to declare independence from the UK and was one of the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was also one of the loudest and most vocal critics of ratifying the Constitution. Other opponents of the Constitution included Patrick Henry ("Give me Liberty or Give Me Death!") and Sam Adams (the first Tea Partier).

The constitution was a product of backroom deals and political compromises. To say that it has worked is premature. The U.S. isn't even 250 years old. As a republic Venice last 800 years before it collapsed.



posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 11:05 AM
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Great Thread TS. And well written.

one thing I would like to see added is an amendment on the party system. No where in the Constitution does it say we need to have political parties. But they quickly developed during the second presidency. I don't think it is possible to have elections without parties, because people are going to naturally adhere to one set of thoughts or another, but a change regarding allowing a third party to participate needs to be considered. I believe making it so hard for a third party to be considered is unconstitutional in itself. Now that I am saying that a party whose ideals is all chairs need to be green and all secretaries should require thier hair to be blonde be allowed, but the restrictions need to be loosened, not too much. Or the election ballot will end up the size of a phone book of candidates.



posted on Apr, 2 2010 @ 01:52 PM
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No Treason
The Constitution Of No Authority
Lysander Spooner

Read it.

Tom Woods: Where Do Rights Come From?
fascistsoup.com...

Watch it.




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