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Thread: Would you change the Constitution?

      
   
  1. #1
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    Would you change the Constitution?

    I got asked that in a thread after I suggested that the House of Representatives be changed to run on proportional representation . I thought the matter worth a new thread.

    This was my reply:

    As for re-writing the Constitution... yes, on a few points:

    1. As above, make the House a matter of proportional representation, so we get some other parties in there. If nothing else, it will allow more voices to be heard, and will probably make people focus more on substance, because there will be people watching more closely for putting on just shows. For example, getting a "looks-good" environmental law passed might be just a little hard for the PTBs when there a a few Greens sitting in the chamber, dedicated to be hawks on such things.

    2. Require every law passed -- and make it retroactive -- to be examined for constitutionality because being allowed to pass, with the point to be to make sure it conforms to the strict intent of the Constitution. That oath they all take is supposed to ensure it, but it hasn't worked; I' not sure most of them has ever read the constitution.

    3. Require them to READ before voting, and know what's in the bill if they're for it. As one method of enforcing this, allow a challenge to someone speaking for a bill to demonstrate knowledge of it to always take precedence on the floor, and the one challenged has to stand there and answer questions about it put from the challenger and from any dozen others who oppose the bill.
    On the principle that the multiplication of laws leads to disrespect for all law, those opposing any new law would not be subject to such challenge.

    4. Expand the Bill of Rights, to get some points across. Get freedom of association, freedom of expression, privacy, self-defense (the whole "castle doctrine"), in there again -- I say "again" because they are part of it already, but getting them stated explicitly would help. Reiterate the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as well with a more forceful statement. Augment things with "Freedom of Education" (Separation of School and State), and a heavy-duty one about police powers, notably restricting them to arrests only when there's a victim and sticking them with substantial penalties any time someone they arrest gets off free (including restitution for any days wasted sitting in jail before being found innocent, which constitutes punishment without a crime). Something similar for all officials, elected and non-, should go in as well; as an example of why, here in Oregon recently an official made a decision that cost the taxpayers over $100,000 to get implemented (traffic change), and then it was reversed by the department when locals were against it, and not only a vast majority of thembut also the people who had asked for something to be done in the first place! In any case of that sort, the official involved should not merely be sacked, but also required to pay back the entire amount, including any cost for rectifying the situation (e.g. tearing out the stupid engineering and putting things back).

    5. While I'm thinking on limiting the powers of government, no president should be allowed any detentions, etc. under conditions other than those required for citizens, EXCEPT (a) when in a state of declared war, and (2) with supervision by one of those Senate "select committees".

    6. Abolish the federal income tax (it was, technically, never ratified anyway) and bar the federal government from any direct taxation of citizens. Personally I'd let them have 1/5 of each state's revenues, plus an endowment from which the interest could be spent.

    7. Require all states with a state senate to use the pattern of the national senate, with one senator per county (parish, whatever), so that everyone gets a voice.

    8. Set a "sunset" of twenty years for all legislation, requiring that for an extension it must be passed with 10% more votes in favor than the previous time.

    9. Ban inheritance taxes, while permitting a law that would require up to 10% of any estate over 100,000 times the value of the minimum (or standard beginning) wage to be given to charity, and that no portion greater than that same amount be given to any one person.

    10. Do away with corporate 'personhood', and make the people running things actually responsible.

    I can think of a few more, but a list of ten (okay, there's more, if you break down my bill of rights material) seemed good.

    Think of this as a Constitutional Convention (trivia: has one ever been called for? how close did it come to happening?), and have at it!

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  2. #2

    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    I got asked that in a thread after I suggested that the House of Representatives be changed to run on proportional representation . I thought the matter worth a new thread.
    Double-dipping posts now?

    1. As above, make the House a matter of proportional representation, so we get some other parties in there. If nothing else, it will allow more voices to be heard, and will probably make people focus more on substance, because there will be people watching more closely for putting on just shows. For example, getting a "looks-good" environmental law passed might be just a little hard for the PTBs when there a a few Greens sitting in the chamber, dedicated to be hawks on such things.
    How would this be arranged so it is possible to guarantee proportional representation?

    2. Require every law passed -- and make it retroactive -- to be examined for constitutionality because being allowed to pass, with the point to be to make sure it conforms to the strict intent of the Constitution. That oath they all take is supposed to ensure it, but it hasn't worked; I' not sure most of them has ever read the constitution.
    Every law used can be challenged for constitutionality before SCOTUS, so this is unnecessary.

    5. While I'm thinking on limiting the powers of government, no president should be allowed any detentions, etc. under conditions other than those required for citizens, EXCEPT (a) when in a state of declared war, and (2) with supervision by one of those Senate "select committees".
    If you mean detentions of citizens, then that person must be a citizen of a state and supervision should be extended to that state's executive.

    6. Abolish the federal income tax (it was, technically, never ratified anyway) and bar the federal government from any direct taxation of citizens. Personally I'd let them have 1/5 of each state's revenues, plus an endowment from which the interest could be spent.
    I remain opposed to this, even though I don't like the federal income tax.

    7. Require all states with a state senate to use the pattern of the national senate, with one senator per county (parish, whatever), so that everyone gets a voice.
    Why don't you just petition your own state to accomplish this without federal intervention?

    8. Set a "sunset" of twenty years for all legislation, requiring that for an extension it must be passed with 10% more votes in favor than the previous time.
    The "more-in-favor" the second time rule is a bit ridiculous, but Thomas Jefferson, I believe, first came up with a mandatory sunsetting for all legislation. If this does come about it should grandfather in every law already on the books. That should keep Congress busy...

    9. Ban inheritance taxes, while permitting a law that would require up to 10% of any estate over 100,000 times the value of the minimum (or standard beginning) wage to be given to charity, and that no portion greater than that same amount be given to any one person.
    That's an overcomplication when it is best to leave well enough alone.

    Think of this as a Constitutional Convention (trivia: has one ever been called for? how close did it come to happening?), and have at it!
    Yeah, there was a Constitutional Convention in Pennsylvania some 220-odd years ago.

  3. #3
    Delusions of Adequacy MadeUpName27's Avatar
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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    I've got a few suggestions...

    1 - EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL AMERICANS
    Discrimination of any kind, against any group, for any reason - should not be permitted.

    2 - REWRITE THE SECOND AMENDMENT
    (Sorry, K)
    Even the most "enthusiastic" gun enthusiast must admit that - as ratified - the Second Amendment is confusing and virtually incomprehensible.
    We need gun laws that are applicable to the realities of the 21st Century.

    3 - ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
    This elitist anachronism from the 1700's has long outlived it's usefulness.

    4 - REAPPORTIONMENT OF THE US SENATE
    Senatorial Representation should be based on population - not on State Boundaries.
    The 35,893,799 people living in California should have a greater say in running our country than Wyoming's 506,000 people.

    5 - TERM LIMITS FOR ALL JUDGES
    Including the Supreme Court.
    Life-time appointments should be abolished.
    "For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews."
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  4. #4

    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    The Electoral College isn't elitism; it has to do with trying to prevent a direct election of the presidency. The Founders had a genuine and understandable distrust with the concept of democracy.

    The US Senate allows for each state to have an equal standing; I feel that it should return to state appointment as opposed to direct election of senators.

    I'm curious what you mean by term limits for judges; how long is too long for them? And, though I'm making an assumption based on your silence, why aren't you for term limits for Congress?

  5. #5
    epicAdam
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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    I got asked that in a thread after I suggested that the House of Representatives be changed to run on proportional representation . I thought the matter worth a new thread.

    This was my reply:

    As for re-writing the Constitution... yes, on a few points:

    1. As above, make the House a matter of proportional representation, so we get some other parties in there. If nothing else, it will allow more voices to be heard, and will probably make people focus more on substance, because there will be people watching more closely for putting on just shows. For example, getting a "looks-good" environmental law passed might be just a little hard for the PTBs when there a a few Greens sitting in the chamber, dedicated to be hawks on such things.
    So... we'd only have national elections? You do understand what having proportional representation would do, right? Any hope for getting back to a time where our Representatives could work across party lines would be dead.

    2. Require every law passed -- and make it retroactive -- to be examined for constitutionality because being allowed to pass, with the point to be to make sure it conforms to the strict intent of the Constitution. That oath they all take is supposed to ensure it, but it hasn't worked; I' not sure most of them has ever read the constitution.
    So... you want to be like the French, eh? That's the system they have. It's worked so well that they've only gone through five entirely new governments (and a few dictatorships) since the French Revolution.

    3. Require them to READ before voting, and know what's in the bill if they're for it. As one method of enforcing this, allow a challenge to someone speaking for a bill to demonstrate knowledge of it to always take precedence on the floor, and the one challenged has to stand there and answer questions about it put from the challenger and from any dozen others who oppose the bill.
    On the principle that the multiplication of laws leads to disrespect for all law, those opposing any new law would not be subject to such challenge.
    If you think the House is filled with procedural nightmares, I'd love to see this one played-out. Just exactly how are we supposed to know who demonstrates knowledge? Isn't that what committees are for???

    4. Expand the Bill of Rights, to get some points across. Get freedom of association, freedom of expression, privacy, self-defense (the whole "castle doctrine"), in there again -- I say "again" because they are part of it already, but getting them stated explicitly would help. Reiterate the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as well with a more forceful statement.
    I have a good idea for a new amendment too, it would ban gun ownership except for when the founders intended the population to be armed: in the event of invasion.

    5. While I'm thinking on limiting the powers of government, no president should be allowed any detentions, etc. under conditions other than those required for citizens, EXCEPT (a) when in a state of declared war, and (2) with supervision by one of those Senate "select committees".
    The President already is limited in this respect, he just ignores the Constitution.

    6. Abolish the federal income tax (it was, technically, never ratified anyway) and bar the federal government from any direct taxation of citizens. Personally I'd let them have 1/5 of each state's revenues, plus an endowment from which the interest could be spent.
    The federal government cannot tax the states and vice-versa. This is fundamental to the operation of our government. And just exactly how do you figure that the Sixteenth Amendment was never "technically" ratified???

    7. Require all states with a state senate to use the pattern of the national senate, with one senator per county (parish, whatever), so that everyone gets a voice.
    *Cues up the sounds of crickets chirping* So I guess the Constitution guaranteeing all states a republican form of government isn't good enough?

    8. Set a "sunset" of twenty years for all legislation, requiring that for an extension it must be passed with 10% more votes in favor than the previous time.
    That's the second-most idiotic thing I've ever heard. There's a REALLY easy way to get around that, simply repass the same legislation but under a different name.

    9. Ban inheritance taxes, while permitting a law that would require up to 10% of any estate over 100,000 times the value of the minimum (or standard beginning) wage to be given to charity, and that no portion greater than that same amount be given to any one person.
    For a man advocating the destruction of the IRS, this entire scheme for determinig the value of property seems quite outlandish!

    10. Do away with corporate 'personhood', and make the people running things actually responsible.
    Ahh, yes. Do away with one of the fundamental pieces of free market enterprises... you might want to catch the next flight to Pyongyang... there's a short pudgy little man running the place who would love to hear your ideas on how to further ruin the domestic economy.

  6. #6

    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    The other reason for gun ownership was in case of tyranny.

    As for corporations, there is disagreement that they are good for the free market, monopolies, cartels, collusion, and all that jazz.

  7. #7
    Delusions of Adequacy MadeUpName27's Avatar
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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICO7 View Post
    I'm curious what you mean by term limits for judges; how long is too long for them? And, though I'm making an assumption based on your silence, why aren't you for term limits for Congress?
    TERM LIMITS FOR JUDGES
    If I have to pick a number - 6 years, with the option for an additional 6 years.

    As for Congressional Term Limits, we already have them - Elections.
    I just wish that the Electorate would exercise their right to replace the ineffective, the incompetent and the inherently corrupt members of the House and the Senate - vigorously and often.
    "For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews."
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  8. #8
    epicAdam
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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by MadeUpName27 View Post
    I've got a few suggestions...

    1 - EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL AMERICANS
    Discrimination of any kind, against any group, for any reason - should not be permitted.
    Damn that would suck... so... we shouldn't bar stupid people from becoming doctors because that would be discrimination? What about keeping the blind from flying aircraft? Discrimination as well, it seems to me.

    2 - REWRITE THE SECOND AMENDMENT
    (Sorry, K)
    Even the most "enthusiastic" gun enthusiast must admit that - as ratified - the Second Amendment is confusing and virtually incomprehensible.
    We need gun laws that are applicable to the realities of the 21st Century.
    Agreed.

    3 - ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
    This elitist anachronism from the 1700's has long outlived it's usefulness.
    Nobody would know/care about the Electoral College had it not been for the 2000 election. Fine, abolish it, it's not like it does anything anymore.

    4 - REAPPORTIONMENT OF THE US SENATE
    Senatorial Representation should be based on population - not on State Boundaries.
    The 35,893,799 people living in California should have a greater say in running our country than Wyoming's 506,000 people.
    Then why bother even having a Senate? If both houses would be based on representation by population, shouldn't we just have a unicameral legislature, then?

    5 - TERM LIMITS FOR ALL JUDGES
    Including the Supreme Court.
    Life-time appointments should be abolished.
    Nah. Even if you set term limits... whoop-de-doo. All you've done is create a situation where greater numbers of inexperienced judges take the bench. One of the fundamental aspects of the law, and the courts that uphold it, is to provide continuity, even when Congress and the President may flip-flop every few years. Lifetime appointments for federal judges help provide this continuity. What is your reasoning behind why lifetime appointments should be abolished? Do you think that there is a point at which your mind is "too old" to make judicial decisions?

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Do you think that there is a point at which your mind is "too old" to make judicial decisions?
    Yes.

    Ask anyone who has ever cared for an Alzheimer's patient.
    "For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews."
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  10. #10

    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Is this merely a theoretical exercise where one makes idealistic but unrealistic proposals or a serious suggestion. If it is the former I suggest that the right to health care, an education, and housing be enshrined into the constitution. But if it is the latter I think it best to start, as they say, at the beginning. There is no mechanism for rewriting the constitution, only one for amending it. And if history is a guide it seems one can't simply delete provisions. That seems a pretty difficult task.

    Of course with a new constitution we would lose a couple centuries of interpretations of the current constitution. Civil rights laws, for example, would be wiped out. I would love it if we could write a new constitution if for no other reason than to get rid of the language distinguishing free persons, indians, and non-free persons. But I would fear more what changing the constitution might wrought.

  11. #11
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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICO7 View Post
    How would this be arranged so it is possible to guarantee proportional representation?
    I assume it's possible; a lot of the world does it. Just have statewise elections and do the arithmetic, I presume -- if the Republicans get 42% of the vote, the Democrats 41%, the Reform 6%, the Libertarians 5%, Constitution 4%, and "other", and there's 11 reps... rounding, the Pubs and Dems each get 4, and the others each one. The arithmetic gets sloppy, with rounding, but set a formula down on paper, and at least everyone would know they might get represented, as opposed to now, when a lot of folks here anyway don't vote because, as one of my mom's friends put it, "None of those cheats represents me."

    Quote Originally Posted by ICO7 View Post
    Every law used can be challenged for constitutionality before SCOTUS, so this is unnecessary.
    "Can" is the problematic word. Such a challenge now requires lots of money and getting the attention of SCOTUS. Congresscritters are supposed to do this; I just want some formal methods in place.
    Or maybe just make it so that anyone who voted for a law SCOTUS overtruns is never allowed to hold a public job of any sort again?

    Quote Originally Posted by ICO7 View Post
    Why don't you just petition your own state to accomplish this without federal intervention?
    Because it's the feds who killed it! "One man, one vote", they said, and bowed down to the gilded idol from Athens, and decreed that only the cities shall be represented.

    [QUOTE=ICO7Yeah, there was a Constitutional Convention in Pennsylvania some 220-odd years ago.[/QUOTE]

    Heh. I mean under the provision in that Constituion.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by MadeUpName27 View Post
    5 - TERM LIMITS FOR ALL JUDGES
    Including the Supreme Court.
    Life-time appointments should be abolished.
    Gotta disagree here. Lifetime appointments are the only thing that keep the judiciary independent. The alternative is to have a judiciary that is as politically minded on retaining office as the other two branches. Get rid of lifetime appointments, and you get rid of any civil liberties--not something I'm willing to give up on easily given what the majority may think of me.

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    [QUOTE=MadeUpName27;1897630]
    Quote Originally Posted by MadeUpName27
    2 - REWRITE THE SECOND AMENDMENT
    (Sorry, K)
    Even the most "enthusiastic" gun enthusiast must admit that - as ratified - the Second Amendment is confusing and virtually incomprehensible.
    We need gun laws that are applicable to the realities of the 21st Century.
    Yes, it needs to be re-written, like this:

    Since a well-organized militia is essential for the well-being of a free country, to defend self, family, home, and neighbors; to stand guard against domestic turmoil and foreign invaders; to stand guard against terrorism and tyranny, the right of every individual so capable to be armed according to his or her choice shall not be infringed, made burdensome, or diminished, and, the duty of each to go armed and stay well-trained shall not be neglected.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadeUpName27
    3 - ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
    This elitist anachronism from the 1700's has long outlived it's usefulness.
    For the sake of liberty, it should be strengthened. Personally, I suggest adding one elector per one million acres of federal land in a state -- that should make a nice balance.giving states such as Oregon another 30 or so. Capping the number from any given state at 50 would help, too.
    The whole point of the system was to avoid elitism. Presently, California just about has as much influence as all the reast of the West; California and Texas have nearly half all votes west of the Mississippi. Thus those two states are an elite, and plus just a very few others, have enough clout to tell the rest of the country who is going to lead.
    Oh -- I like my dad's idea, too: every living former President should get a vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadeUpName27
    4 - REAPPORTIONMENT OF THE US SENATE
    Senatorial Representation should be based on population - not on State Boundaries.
    The 35,893,799 people living in California should have a greater say in running our country than Wyoming's 506,000 people.
    Oh, so you want to abolish the United States,and have the Imperial Democratic People's Domain of North America?
    The people of California have their own State, where they have their say; they shouldn't have it for Wyoming, too, which is what would happen. We have this system in Oregon, and the people of the metro areas treat the rest of us as commoners, and work steadily to turn us into servants who run the rural parts of the state for their interests. If such a system got adopted at the urging of California, I would hope that the rest of the West would close the borders to California, recruit a few Canadian provinces, and go our own way. We don't need Californian arrogance to treat us like serfs.
    Breaking California into three, four, or even five States would be a better move.

    I think you have little grasp about what "United States" means or is about; you're touting mobocracy.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam View Post
    So... you want to be like the French, eh? That's the system they have. It's worked so well that they've only gone through five entirely new governments (and a few dictatorships) since the French Revolution.
    I don't see the connection there.

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam View Post
    If you think the House is filled with procedural nightmares, I'd love to see this one played-out. Just exactly how are we supposed to know who demonstrates knowledge? Isn't that what committees are for???
    Committees are places to stall, to cut deals, to kill bills without letting them be considered. If they worked -- well, consider that no one read or understood the USA PATRIOT Act before they voted, and most still don't.
    If I was dictator and establishing unalterable laws, I'd require them to be able to recite it as well, except that would just preferentially send people with eidetic memories to Congress. I'll settle for being quizzed on the floor, plus a 100-question multiple choice and short answer exam written by academics and peer-reviewed.

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam View Post
    The federal government cannot tax the states and vice-versa. This is fundamental to the operation of our government. And just exactly how do you figure that the Sixteenth Amendment was never "technically" ratified???
    That's why it requires a constitutional change, and a flat rate of state revenues.
    Ratification requires that the text approved by the states be identical and with no reservations. If you add up the ones that do not qualify by those standards, there were insufficient states approving for the amendment to be ratified. Nevertheless, an administration in need of the money declared it to be ratified and set about collecting funds.

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam View Post
    *Cues up the sounds of crickets chirping* So I guess the Constitution guaranteeing all states a republican form of government isn't good enough?
    Apparently not -- the worshippers of the god Democracy have trampled the Republic underfoot, leaving most of the country unrepresented in fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam View Post
    That's the second-most idiotic thing I've ever heard. There's a REALLY easy way to get around that, simply repass the same legislation but under a different name.
    [/QUOTE]

    Only for real idiots. People with intelligence would see through that, and--
    Oh, wait; we are talking about Congress, aren't we?

    More seriously, when the sunset rule hit, you'd be looking at exactly the same law, because it would be sitting right there on the books. And to prevent further sleight-of-hand, I'd forbid any law that just re-wrote it or re-introduced it as amendments to other bills. How to do this is known; it's been done, just never implemented.

    The Founding Fathers knew that "that government governs best which governs least". My ideas would certainly result in the government doing less, which would by that measure be a better government, but more critically I aim, with the few items we're discussing, to propose having a government which, however much it does, actually knows what it is doing.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    7. Require all states with a state senate to use the pattern of the national senate, with one senator per county (parish, whatever), so that everyone gets a voice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    For the sake of liberty, it should be strengthened. Personally, I suggest adding one elector per one million acres of federal land in a state -- that should make a nice balance.giving states such as Oregon another 30 or so. Capping the number from any given state at 50 would help, too.
    The whole point of the system was to avoid elitism. Presently, California just about has as much influence as all the reast of the West; California and Texas have nearly half all votes west of the Mississippi. Thus those two states are an elite, and plus just a very few others, have enough clout to tell the rest of the country who is going to lead.
    Oh -- I like my dad's idea, too: every living former President should get a vote.
    First you say that you want everyone to have a voice, but then you advocate giving more weight to some votes than to others--simply because the latter group lives in a less densely populated state. You ask with awe how only a few states could be allowed to select our President, but you fail to address why the majority of our country shouldn't do the same.

  16. #16
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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by MadeUpName27 View Post
    I've got a few suggestions...

    4 - REAPPORTIONMENT OF THE US SENATE
    Senatorial Representation should be based on population - not on State Boundaries.
    The 35,893,799 people living in California should have a greater say in running our country than Wyoming's 506,000 people.
    Quote Originally Posted by epicAdam View Post
    Then why bother even having a Senate? If both houses would be based on representation by population, shouldn't we just have a unicameral legislature, then?
    The members of a reapportioned Senate would still have 6-year terms, whereas the House's 2-year terms would remain the norm there. The term length correlates to accountability and political sensitivity. With six years between elections, Senators might feel more inclined to make better long-term decisions regarding foreign relations and lifetime appointments to the judiciary. In contrast, the House would provide a complementary short-term perspective regarding domestic legislation.

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by pjlikesporn View Post
    First you say that you want everyone to have a voice, but then you advocate giving more weight to some votes than to others--simply because the latter group lives in a less densely populated state. You ask with awe how only a few states could be allowed to select our President, but you fail to address why the majority of our country shouldn't do the same.
    Assuming I get what you're saying:

    The problem with the states is that some just flat out do not have a voice. No one needs three votes from Wyoming; they don't care about so few, because it's so easy to get them somewhere else.

    "The majority of our country" is a myth concocted by the press as something to talk about. They go on about "the popular vote"for the president, when there is no such thing, and should never be such a thing. The president of the United States is the president not of the people, but of the States -- the sovereign states, which we mostly forget. The people of each state vote, but the States elect.

    The Senate also gives "more weight to some votes", and quite intentionally so. It is the body where the States speak as equals, while the House is where, to use Jefferson's words, the "mob" speaks. IC07 was quite right that the election of Senators was a mistake; we were better off when they were selected by the legislatures, because then they were free of the intense campaigning, with the money and corruption that brings.

    Democracy is not a goal, or even praiseworthy; it is a tool, and a suspect one at that. As Ben Franklin put it, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb discoursing concerning what to have for dinner." THAT is what the gilded god with its "One man, one vote" hymn represents. But Franklin also added that the well-armed lamb disputing the vote is a Republic -- a far, far better place to be.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Assuming I get what you're saying:

    The problem with the states is that some just flat out do not have a voice. No one needs three votes from Wyoming; they don't care about so few, because it's so easy to get them somewhere else.

    "The majority of our country" is a myth concocted by the press as something to talk about. They go on about "the popular vote"for the president, when there is no such thing, and should never be such a thing. The president of the United States is the president not of the people, but of the States -- the sovereign states, which we mostly forget. The people of each state vote, but the States elect.

    The Senate also gives "more weight to some votes", and quite intentionally so. It is the body where the States speak as equals, while the House is where, to use Jefferson's words, the "mob" speaks. IC07 was quite right that the election of Senators was a mistake; we were better off when they were selected by the legislatures, because then they were free of the intense campaigning, with the money and corruption that brings.

    Democracy is not a goal, or even praiseworthy; it is a tool, and a suspect one at that. As Ben Franklin put it, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb discoursing concerning what to have for dinner." THAT is what the gilded god with its "One man, one vote" hymn represents. But Franklin also added that the well-armed lamb disputing the vote is a Republic -- a far, far better place to be.
    You didn't really address the disparity I asked about: why do you say democracy is not a desirable goal but then advocate it for state government?

    I understand the logic behind the Electoral College--I just happen to disagree with it. If you got rid of the EC, candidates would have no choice but to go to Wyoming and South Dakota and Mississippi because their votes would in fact count.

    Under the current system, however, it is those states, Wyoming, Sodak and Mi'sippi, that are the elite ones. They are the ones who get more weight than they deserve: perhaps what they lack in population, they make up for in ignorance. The balance of power between individual states is not what it once was. The global economy has completely integrated industry within the states; the Commerce Clause gives the federal legislature virtually unlimited power to make national laws; and for a century and a half, we have been without slavery. Federalism still serves an effective purpose in solving intrinsically local issues (education, crime), but it hardly serves as the basis for disenfranchising the residents of populous states.

    You say that democracy is not the goal, but it is based on an ideal upon which everyone can agree: the equality of people. (As a Libertarian, you'd be the first person I'd suspect to support that.) Democracy in action certainly has its problems, but the adjustments made to correct those problems tend to exacerbate them--not solve them.

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    Re: Would you change the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by pjlikesporn View Post
    You didn't really address the disparity I asked about: why do you say democracy is not a desirable goal but then advocate it for state government?
    I actually spoke against it for some aspects of state government -- look at my statement about the selection of senators.
    Democracy is dangerous; Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, and more warned us about it. It is the sort of thing that works when you have a population small enough that everyone knows everyone else, as in ancient Athens among the free men, but on a scale where a candidate can't even shake hands with every voter, it is a system that earnestly begs for appeals to emotion rather than reason, invites lies in abundant attack ads, and encourages corruption in spending both of campaign funds and of public funds. Mass democracy, to impose a designation, is what happened in Rome, and resulted in "bread and circuses", which we have again today in subtler form, and eventually led to imperium.

    Quote Originally Posted by pjlikesporn View Post
    I understand the logic behind the Electoral College--I just happen to disagree with it. If you got rid of the EC, candidates would have no choice but to go to Wyoming and South Dakota and Mississippi because their votes would in fact count.
    It doesn't happen that way; there would be even less reason to go there. In Oregon, where "one man, one vote" has been imposed throughout, candidates have no reason to visit any but five counties, those where the population is. It's entirely possible to win without ever leaving the Portland metro area, covering just three counties. Candidates just don't care about Harney, Malheur, Wallowa, or any of the counties where a living is made from the land. The same would be even more true if the United States was transformed into the People's Democratic State: the only states west of the Mississipi worth visiting at all would be California and Texas, since those two alone have more voters than all the rest combined.
    If you want to make candidates pay attention to the less-populated states, go the whole distance and let the Senate serve as the E.C.

    Quote Originally Posted by pjlikesporn View Post
    Under the current system, however, it is those states, Wyoming, Sodak and Mi'sippi, that are the elite ones. They are the ones who get more weight than they deserve: perhaps what they lack in population, they make up for in ignorance. The balance of power between individual states is not what it once was. The global economy has completely integrated industry within the states; the Commerce Clause gives the federal legislature virtually unlimited power to make national laws; and for a century and a half, we have been without slavery. Federalism still serves an effective purpose in solving intrinsically local issues (education, crime), but it hardly serves as the basis for disenfranchising the residents of populous states.
    How can a state that gets ignored be "elite"? It's only having two senators that makes anyone pay attention to them in Washington at all. And that was the purpose; the FFs knew darned well that the more populous states would just treat the less-populous as country estates without that reign on their power.
    And as I said before, the E.C., and federalism, disenfranchises no one. They serve
    to preserve liberty, for one thing; for the other, once again, there is no such thing as "the popular vote" for president, because the people, properly speaking, do not vote for president -- the States do, with good reason.

    Ah -- glad you reminded me of the raped and vivisected Commerce Clause. Read it closely, and then look at the historical background, and you'll discover that what it's being used to justify is in general the very thing it was meant to forbid!

    Quote Originally Posted by pjlikesporn View Post
    You say that democracy is not the goal, but it is based on an ideal upon which everyone can agree: the equality of people. (As a Libertarian, you'd be the first person I'd suspect to support that.) Democracy in action certainly has its problems, but the adjustments made to correct those problems tend to exacerbate them--not solve them.
    That it is based on said ideal is the only thing in its favor. Apart from that ideal, it is nothing but "might makes right!" in a different form, perhaps better put as "majority makes right!"
    Democracy is steadily giving us all the fun things that Hitler gave Germany. How? you ask? If nothing else, meditate on the fact that democracy gave us George Bush -- democracy and "the rule of law", which really means the rule of those who are in charge of the laws.

    The FFs made this country a Republic for very sound reasons. Consider for a moment what democracy could give us: some public outrage occurs just before an election, and voters flee for direction to a man considered by many to be morally upright, wise, and very firm on "the rule of law". He is swept into the White House on a landslide, and his supporters gain a majority in Congress -- not just his party, but those within it who personally and devotedly believe in their leader. Oaths of office are sworn, and this man and his followers take power...
    and out of the wings walks the man's pastor, his inspiration for all he hopes for in life: the Rev. Fred Phelps. And since they have the majority, they proceed to cut off all federal money for anything that doesn't meet their righteous standards: no more divorced women can get assistance of any sort, research on HIV is not only suddenly unfunded, but the researchers driven off any property where federal funds are used; across the country, gay bars and clubs come under federal investigations, and cities which don't pull their licenses lose their federal funds for anything at all; states carried by The Man's opponent find their requests for federal aid stalled... permanently; unwed mothers find federal SWAT teams breaking down their doors and taking away their children to be raised by "acceptable" monogamously (preferably church-married) heterosexual couples.... and after that splash in the first 100 days, they get serious.

    That's what democracy can give us -- and there are LOTS of people who would like just exactly that.
    What a Republic gives us is individual rights, State sovereignty, checks and balances... and, finally, what Benjamin Franklin praised, the well-armed lamb disputing the outcome of the vote.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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