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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:29 pm

Sun Fin wrote:I don't object to a constitution in principle but I often find that American's obsession with it is unhealthy. I've had many debates with Americans when their only argument is: 'cos it says so in the constitution'. I know there is an irony here in that I have been accused (rightly so at times) of doing the same with the Bible but the difference is I believe the Bible is a divine document directly inspired by a perfect being, what’s your excuse for giving your constitution the same level of authority?



Because it is the foundation of our government, and the rights which it secures for us were paid for in blood. We have no rights without it. It is our social contract. Your bible's authority is opinion, our constitution's is not. It isn't an opinion that our Constitution grants the government the power to govern, or that it secures us our fundamental rights, its fact. I could just as easily say I find your reliance on a earthly, flawed, written and re-written by men document to be just as unhealthy.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:56 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:Because it is the foundation of our government


Which makes it important, doesn't need to be more then a symbolic thing. You don't need to turn it into something where, as Sun Fin says, people will oppose idea's on a, sometimes utterly vague and inaccurate, premise that it is against the constitution and thus there need be no debate.

Shikanosuke wrote:and the rights which it secures for us were paid for in blood.


and their memories should be honoured. Doesn't mean a document created so long go is infallible and should be used as a blocker.

It is our social contract.


Is it time it needs changing?

Your bible's authority is opinion, our constitution's is not. It isn't an opinion that our Constitution grants the government the power to govern, or that it secures us our fundamental rights, its fact.


Did it secure the rights of those imprisoned without trial at Guantanmo, those tortured or a number of other recent incidents? How good are your rights compared to those secured, for example, by the European Court of Human Rights? If the EU suddenly became American or vice versa, whose rights would be bettered? I don't know the answer, just throwing out the question. I really don't think the Constitution would secure your rights if America plunged into dire straits ala modern Greece or 1930's Germany.

Shouldn't your rights be secured by government and democracy? By your Culture? Are they so weak that giving up the Constitution would destroy your rights?

The example I would use of an unhealthy thing in Britain would be the NHS so yeah, we do have them.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:18 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Which makes it important, doesn't need to be more then a symbolic thing. You don't need to turn it into something where, as Sun Fin says, people will oppose idea's on a, sometimes utterly vague and inaccurate, premise that it is against the constitution and thus there need be no debate.


There should be nothing symbolic about it, and no we shouldn't entertain blatantly unconstitutional ideas. If we wish to, theres a process for that.



and their memories should be honoured. Doesn't mean a document created so long go is infallible and should be used as a blocker.


Part of this I, and the document itself, is agreed upon. It isn't infallible, and it can be changed. Theres a process. To the latter, I disagree. It should be a blocker to unconstitutional principles. That precisely part of its dual purpose.



Is it time it needs changing?


I don't believe so.


Did it secure the rights of those imprisoned without trial at Guantanmo, those tortured or a number of other recent incidents?


It did, to extents. Many of those at Gitmo have had their cases heard by our Supreme Court. Some were then guaranteed certain due process rights. Others were determined to have not have certain claimed rights.

Also don't make the mistake that the Constitution protects everyone in the world equally. Being an American provides you with much more protections than being an alien, legal or otherwise. And POWs and ECs are only given certain rights because our Constitution enables our government/leaders to enter into international treaties or enact our legislation protecting them.

How good are your rights compared to those secured, for example, by the European Court of Human Rights? If the EU suddenly became American or vice versa, whose rights would be bettered? I don't know the answer, just throwing out the question.


I have no idea. Does this court have broad and actual authority? Or it just another puppet international organization like the ICC?

I really don't think the Constitution would secure your rights if America plunged into dire straits ala modern Greece or 1930's Germany.


I do. We have explicit prohibitions against certain abuses and processes which must be satisfied before certain deprivations of liberty. The Constitution has withstood our own insurrections and our own depressions.

Shouldn't your rights be secured by government and democracy? By your Culture? Are they so weak that giving up the Constitution would destroy your rights?


Our government and our democracy are secured by our Constitution. Without the latter the former doesn't exist. The two are not separable. Our Constitution empowers our government to exist, and to protect our rights and promote democracy. That is our culture.

This might be a culture thing, but when you say 'shouldn't you government be able to do X without the Constitution'? it seems nonsensical to me. The government can't do anything without the Constitution. It exists and takes its mandates from the Constitution itself.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:02 pm

It's worth noting that me and Shikanosuke, even if we're arguing for a broadly similiar posistion, differ on quite a few relevant points of fact. I'll get back to this with my argument in a bit.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:27 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:
There should be nothing symbolic about it, and no we shouldn't entertain blatantly unconstitutional ideas. If we wish to, theres a process for that.

Part of this I, and the document itself, is agreed upon. It isn't infallible, and it can be changed. Theres a process. To the latter, I disagree. It should be a blocker to unconstitutional principles. That precisely part of its dual purpose.


Sorry, seems to make sense to combined 2 into one.

Part of the problem is that it seems, from the outside, that a fair few people actually see it as a holy writ. That it is infallible and anything that even remotely goes against it must be an idea of pure evil. That simply saying "it is against the constitution" should end the argument. I don't have an issue with you guys have a Constitution, or for it being important because of course it should be a massive part of your history, just the way it seems to become infallible to some. Just like I have no issue with the NHS, just the way it has acquired a can do no wrong holiness about it.

I don't quite get the "we shouldn't entertain blatantly unconstitutional ideas" yet on the other hand hand, we can consider it through due process. If something in the constitution is wrong or isn't working then surely it needs to be looked at and maybe changed. Just like every piece of law.

It did, to extents. Many of those at Gitmo have had their cases heard by our Supreme Court. Some were then guaranteed certain due process rights. Others were determined to have not have certain claimed rights.

Also don't make the mistake that the Constitution protects everyone in the world equally. Being an American provides you with much more protections than being an alien, legal or otherwise. And POWs and ECs are only given certain rights because our Constitution enables our government/leaders to enter into international treaties or enact our legislation protecting them.


Surely the right to a fair trial and no torture should go to everyone in the hands of your justice system? Or are you referring to other rights?

Other countries sign treaties without the American constitution. If the American constitution vanished tomorrow and the relevant passages magically turned into normal law, the world would expect America to abide by it's commitments.

I have no idea. Does this court have broad and actual authority? Or it just another puppet international organization like the ICC?


Companies and so on have to obey and as far as I'm aware, mostly do. Countries like France and Italy have done the odd ignoring, Britain so far hasn't acted against the court but may do so on prisoner voting rights. Which would be a symbolic step. In truth, not much the court can do if we won't pay the fine.

Though at the moment, we are over a decade attempting to deport a man, his defence rightly paid for by the state, to Jordan as the Court has blocked us. At no point has the idea seriously been considered by either Labour or Tory government of just flouting the court on this issue so it still has power.

I do. We have explicit prohibitions against certain abuses and processes which must be satisfied before certain deprivations of liberty. The Constitution has withstood our own insurrections and our own depressions.


I would suggest neither of our countries, even in the Great Depression or in two world wars, or even when we had to beg the IMF has descended into the hell required. I really don't think in such a time, the popular tyrant will look at the laws and go "oh it says I can't do that? What a pity, I best resign."

Our government and our democracy are secured by our Constitution. Without the latter the former doesn't exist. The two are not separable. Our Constitution empowers our government to exist, and to protect our rights and promote democracy. That is our culture.

This might be a culture thing, but when you say 'shouldn't you government be able to do X without the Constitution'? it seems nonsensical to me. The government can't do anything without the Constitution. It exists and takes its mandates from the Constitution itself.


Other countries manage a democratic, legitimate government with the Constitution, it's legitimacy based on being democratically elected and accepted by the majority of the people. Why is it impossible for that to be the case in America? Now I get the cultural importance and how it gives an extra something to the legitimacy, it gives it a sense of history so by no means calling for you to actually take it away. Just I don't think it is needed for American democracy to thrive and that the relationship can seem unhealthy.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:03 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Part of the problem is that it seems, from the outside, that a fair few people actually see it as a holy writ. That it is infallible and anything that even remotely goes against it must be an idea of pure evil. That simply saying "it is against the constitution" should end the argument.


If the principle or idea asserted is against the Constitutional principles we hold, I think it mostly should end the debate. I will grant you the proposed question of whether or not something is against the Constitution shouldn't be precluded. But things that are blatantly unconstitutional have no place with me, unless we intend to modify the Constitution.

I don't have an issue with you guys have a Constitution, or for it being important because of course it should be a massive part of your history, just the way it seems to become infallible to some.


I think something yall on the outside might get lost in translation, and I do say might because I really have no idea, is that we (and I actually can't speak for all Americans) do hold the agreed upon principles to be infallible. However, their interpretation and application many of us find fallible and disagree upon.


I don't quite get the "we shouldn't entertain blatantly unconstitutional ideas" yet on the other hand hand, we can consider it through due process. If something in the constitution is wrong or isn't working then surely it needs to be looked at and maybe changed. Just like every piece of law.


If Americans found something in the Constitution to be wrong, or errant, they have every right and ability to properly change it. We've done it multiple times throughout our history. But, as an extreme example, I'll never condone a conversation about denying free speech rights unless the conversation is essentially 'lets repeal the First Amendment'.

Surely the right to a fair trial and no torture should go to everyone in the hands of your justice system? Or are you referring to other rights?


Yes and no. It all depends on what classification you fall under. Enemy Combatants have very limited due process rights. Whether or not they even had a right to a trial, or a right to appeal indefinite detention, was hotly contested for some time. Even today, while they now have the habeas corpus rights, they do not posses a fraction of the rights a normal prison of our justice system enjoys (from counsel, to evidentiary privileges, to burdens of proof). As for torture, yes all our free from it. Your reference to torture though is a reference to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, and thats a whole different subject. Most people would not disagree with you that everyone is free from torture at the hands of our justice system, but many would also suggest we don't torture anyone either.


Other countries sign treaties without the American constitution. If the American constitution vanished tomorrow and the relevant passages magically turned into normal law, the world would expect America to abide by it's commitments.


And where they derive the authority to sign such treaties is an individual question of merit. For our country, those international agreements hold force roughly only because our Constitution granted our executive and legislative branch the ability to enter into such agreements. If the American Constitution vanished tomorrow, the government wouldn't have any authority to enforce said agreements regardless of what the rest of the world believed it to be obligated to do.


Companies and so on have to obey and as far as I'm aware, mostly do. Countries like France and Italy have done the odd ignoring, Britain so far hasn't acted against the court but may do so on prisoner voting rights. Which would be a symbolic step. In truth, not much the court can do if we won't pay the fine.

Though at the moment, we are over a decade attempting to deport a man, his defence rightly paid for by the state, to Jordan as the Court has blocked us. At no point has the idea seriously been considered by either Labour or Tory government of just flouting the court on this issue so it still has power.


Well thats too bad. This is why I'm so entirely wary of these international courts and organizations.


I would suggest neither of our countries, even in the Great Depression or in two world wars, or even when we had to beg the IMF has descended into the hell required. I really don't think in such a time, the popular tyrant will look at the laws and go "oh it says I can't do that? What a pity, I best resign."


Then I find the situation to be conjecture. Our government has waded through murky times and still abided by the Constitution by and large. Redress was available when violated. Even if such situations executive leaders have had to get Congressional support to pass legislation to enable them to do things otherwise considered unconstitutional. Its not like the President can just throw out the laws once things go bad. He doesn't have that kind of authority.


Other countries manage a democratic, legitimate government with the Constitution, it's legitimacy based on being democratically elected and accepted by the majority of the people. Why is it impossible for that to be the case in America? Now I get the cultural importance and how it gives an extra something to the legitimacy, it gives it a sense of history so by no means calling for you to actually take it away. Just I don't think it is needed for American democracy to thrive and that the relationship can seem unhealthy.


And thats the difference I'd say. Other countries somehow have elected governments which then enable Constitutions and laws. Unless through force of arms I can't imagine where they think that authority comes from. Our Constitution isn't 'something extra' or an addendum to our democratic process. It is the foundation. Without it we're just back to being revolutionaries who overthrew a previous government. We don't have a government without. No democratically elected Congress, nothing.

Now I'm not saying it isn't possible that we couldn't do it. But we'd be starting over. From scratch. And without the Constitution I don't think most people who entertain the idea that the American government has any authority over them. This is my opinion alone, but to me its the same idea yall used to have about kings. God gave the kings the authority to govern, the Constitution gives the elected representatives the right to govern. The only difference would be that our agreement gives the Constitutions its power.

That was a bit more rambling than I had desired.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby agga » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:27 am

i agree with just about everything shikanosuke is saying, although i'm not happy about a lot of it. except this:

Shikanosuke wrote:I think something yall on the outside might get lost in translation, and I do say might because I really have no idea, is that we (and I actually can't speak for all Americans) do hold the agreed upon principles to be infallible. However, their interpretation and application many of us find fallible and disagree upon.


i think that, even with the parenthetical back door making it look like a stated opinion, this can't be right. you go on to say that we have found parts of the constitution to be in error, and we've changed them - we can't have done this unless we permit that parts of the constitution, or the whole thing maybe, are fallible. we all must agree that it is *the law*, and as such it must be followed, and then we inevitably disagree on the interpretation. but the idea that anyone can really think that the constitution is in any way infallible - and i know that these people exist - seems really extreme to me. are you sure that this is what you mean?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infallible

as the root of all law in the US, the constitution certainly deserves a lot of respect, but it seems really dangerous to claim or believe that it - or some sublegal or common-law 'principles' that it appears to be based on - cannot be wrong on any count; and like i said, this conflicts with the fact that it has been changed because of popular belief that it had errors.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:40 am

agga wrote:i agree with just about everything shikanosuke is saying, although i'm not happy about a lot of it. except this:

Shikanosuke wrote:I think something yall on the outside might get lost in translation, and I do say might because I really have no idea, is that we (and I actually can't speak for all Americans) do hold the agreed upon principles to be infallible. However, their interpretation and application many of us find fallible and disagree upon.


i think that, even with the parenthetical back door making it look like a stated opinion, this can't be right. you go on to say that we have found parts of the constitution to be in error, and we've changed them - we can't have done this unless we permit that parts of the constitution, or the whole thing maybe, are fallible. we all must agree that it is *the law*, and as such it must be followed, and then we inevitably disagree on the interpretation. but the idea that anyone can really think that the constitution is in any way infallible - and i know that these people exist - seems really extreme to me. are you sure that this is what you mean?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infallible

as the root of all law in the US, the constitution certainly deserves a lot of respect, but it seems really dangerous to claim or believe that it - or some sublegal or common-law 'principles' that it appears to be based on - cannot be wrong on any count; and like i said, this conflicts with the fact that it has been changed because of popular belief that it had errors.



Thats a valid point, Agga. The document, like all documents, can't be infallible. We created a process to alter the Constitution likely exactly for this purpose. And, for better or for worse, we have changed it from time to time. I guess perhaps I was trying to portray that a majority of Americans (I believe) think that the principles which the Constitution embodies, and the specific freedoms they afford, are infallible. Not all, surely, as we agree time changes certain things. I guess we reaffirm our beliefs in said principles by parading the document which states them blatantly. For instance, I believe most Americans steadfastly believe that the First and Second Amendment are infallible principles, embodied perfectly in the Constitution.

Not sure if that clears anything up.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Strategist » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:48 am

Ignoring the arguments not related to mine as otherwise it would be too much to cover at once.

DZ:

1:
This answer raises further questions. I'm going to assume off the bat that you think a person in a dictatorship has the moral right to do something illegal as long as it isn't morally wrong for some other reason, but tell me if I'm making a mistake there.

A few questions include:

-What gives individuals the right to compel the actions of others? (Self-defence and order are one justification, but that covers only a portion of what government does)
-What justifies the division of the world into 'nations'? Do a majority of the world's populace have the power to compel a minority, or is this restricted to national groupings? If so, why? (Incidental question which may become relevant- Do 'the people' have the power to cede their sovereignty permanently?)
-Why should a democratic government be allowed to pass an unpopular law? If The People are opposed to it, then it should be invalid. If one invokes a 'democratic compact', then I could point out in response that the terms of that compact are the Constitution if you look at it that way.
-Given how little choice voters really have, how can modern 'democracies' be considered democratic? For a long time laws against the death penalty were passed even though the death penalty remained popular- propaganda by elites brought public opinion around, not the other way round. Unpopular policies aren't a rare thing that get cancelled when shown unpopular- they're a very common thing which occur a lot. Obviously there is also the question of political parties, and the seperate question of political parties and the extent to which they break promises.

If you're going to base the legitimacy of a government on its popular support, therefore, you have a severe uphill struggle.

2:
My answer to laojim works verbatim as an answer to this (excluding the third paragraph of it, which is irrelevant to your answer)

3:
Britain as it is now lacks the second element- proper judicial interpretation. I've been intending to change the subject to how to get these three elements (which I've thought a bit about already) for a little while now, as I didn't realise you'd dispute the point that these three were sufficient.

laojim:
If you have the three elements I named- a written constitution, judges who interpret the constitution properly, and a military and civil service that will side with the judges, then Drift can be prevented in all the matters that the Constitution specifies, and therefore in all the important aspects of the 'informal Constitution'. This follows almost by defintion- getting all three is the tricky bit.

If you have all three elements and all three are maintained, a state can stand up to any internal challenge. Even if the people come out on the streets in force to attempt overthrow, with modern weaponry the army can beat them back (excluding if something like the Second Amendment exists, but this is an extreme case AND such an overthrow being sucessful was what the Founding Fathers intended). A tyrant attempting to change the informal rules will be restrained first by judicial rulings, then by his civil service refusing to obey him. Without the army, he can't enforce it.

On reflection, I have made a minor mistake in that you cannot prevent "drift" in aspects not specified in the Constitution even with my three elements. However, if the matter is specified in the Constitution you can prevent it.
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Re: Gun Control

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:56 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:
If the principle or idea asserted is against the Constitutional principles we hold, I think it mostly should end the debate. I will grant you the proposed question of whether or not something is against the Constitution shouldn't be precluded. But things that are blatantly unconstitutional have no place with me, unless we intend to modify the Constitution.


The sheer idea that certain things can never be discussed seems weird to me. Certain idea's should be easily dismissed but

You have listed many reasons (culture, history, stats, feeling of safety) for why Americans are anti-gun control in another debate and given the thread title, I'll use that. Those are fair reasons to use in the debate. Someone going "nope, can't even discuss this, it is against the constitution" (whether it is or not) on the other hand seems a bad thing. If you discuss gun control and decide it won't work or isn't for you guys then there you go. The idea that it might be impossible to discuss, as some seem to deem it, just doesn't seem a good thing.

I think something yall on the outside might get lost in translation, and I do say might because I really have no idea, is that we (and I actually can't speak for all Americans) do hold the agreed upon principles to be infallible. However, their interpretation and application many of us find fallible and disagree upon.


Naturally, I'm not speaking for all Brits or Europeans. It justseems like every time there is a controversial debate (gun control, health-care, taxes), someone will use the term unconstitutional.

If Americans found something in the Constitution to be wrong, or errant, they have every right and ability to properly change it. We've done it multiple times throughout our history. But, as an extreme example, I'll never condone a conversation about denying free speech rights unless the conversation is essentially 'lets repeal the First Amendment'.


We have had a long discussion in England about media regulation and responsibility. Would we be even able to have a discussion on how media should be held to account, if we were under the American system? Or would it be dismissed before an inquiry could be launched as it might infringe the First Amendment? Sorry, your example made me wonder.

Yes and no. It all depends on what classification you fall under. Enemy Combatants have very limited due process rights. Whether or not they even had a right to a trial, or a right to appeal indefinite detention, was hotly contested for some time. Even today, while they now have the habeas corpus rights, they do not posses a fraction of the rights a normal prison of our justice system enjoys (from counsel, to evidentiary privileges, to burdens of proof).


Why should the right to a trial be contested? Isn't that a normal freedom for men not yet found guilty and presumed innocent until such a time? Will Prisoners of War be returned to freedom, even if not in America, when America pulls out of Afghanistan?

As for torture, yes all our free from it. Your reference to torture though is a reference to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, and thats a whole different subject. Most people would not disagree with you that everyone is free from torture at the hands of our justice system, but many would also suggest we don't torture anyone either.


Enhanced interrogation Techniques are pretty much considered torture over here, just with fancy words to try and get round it, and it did huge damage to the reputation of our government and secret services when they were accused of hanging people over to face it. Guantanmo and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques was so very damaging to your reputation.

And where they derive the authority to sign such treaties is an individual question of merit. For our country, those international agreements hold force roughly only because our Constitution granted our executive and legislative branch the ability to enter into such agreements. If the American Constitution vanished tomorrow, the government wouldn't have any authority to enforce said agreements regardless of what the rest of the world believed it to be obligated to do.


and America would perhaps become more mocked then it was under Bush. Even more damaging, after all you survived the mass mocking before :wink:, would be the distrust if America was seen to break agreements with such an excuse and while your super-power status would shield you for a time, it might not forever.

Well thats too bad. This is why I'm so entirely wary of these international courts and organizations.


Too bad? I don't see why, bar the ten years bit as that is clearly ridiculous (and now British courts have bailed him) but that we can't send a man off to unfair trial seems a basic principle. I'm far more concerned about the lack of democratic mandate for the EU and it's willingness to force national governments to change but that is a separate debate.

Then I find the situation to be conjecture. Our government has waded through murky times and still abided by the Constitution by and large. Redress was available when violated. Even if such situations executive leaders have had to get Congressional support to pass legislation to enable them to do things otherwise considered unconstitutional. Its not like the President can just throw out the laws once things go bad. He doesn't have that kind of authority.


I'm not sure it has done so during the recent wars. Wasn't there an accusation Obama exceeded his authority in ordering a strike on an American civilian? I assume, as he is still President, that was disproved or ruled a constitutional act? Say, for the sake of argument, President Fuzzogog the III, did break the constitution in some manner, what actually happens?

I'm not sure why, in apocalyptic scenario which unfortunately may occur somewhere in Europe, people assume President Tyrant is going to obey the rules once he has got power. Why he would obey the limits of his authority if he can get away with breaching them.

And thats the difference I'd say. Other countries somehow have elected governments which then enable Constitutions and laws. Unless through force of arms I can't imagine where they think that authority comes from. Our Constitution isn't 'something extra' or an addendum to our democratic process. It is the foundation. Without it we're just back to being revolutionaries who overthrew a previous government. We don't have a government without. No democratically elected Congress, nothing.

Now I'm not saying it isn't possible that we couldn't do it. But we'd be starting over. From scratch. And without the Constitution I don't think most people who entertain the idea that the American government has any authority over them. This is my opinion alone, but to me its the same idea yall used to have about kings. God gave the kings the authority to govern, the Constitution gives the elected representatives the right to govern. The only difference would be that our agreement gives the Constitutions its power.

That was a bit more rambling than I had desired.


I get that it was the foundation of your government and your country. Some here will point to similar documents (though not quite so blatant) that are considered the foundation of our democracy. If the Constitution vanished, America would still be seen as America and as long as the President won a fair election, the President of America. It would not be seen as British rebels or illegitimate. Now it might in America but really, should it?

Many countries got rid of their Kings and ours are meant to be figureheads :wink:

I'm not actually arguing that you should get rid of the Constitution. That would be a lot of work, sad and honestly quite needless. Just wish, like I wish we would on one or two things, some Americans attitude towards it would change.

Strategist wrote:DZ:

1:
This answer raises further questions. I'm going to assume off the bat that you think a person in a dictatorship has the moral right to do something illegal as long as it isn't morally wrong for some other reason, but tell me if I'm making a mistake there.


I might be inclined to give more moral leeway.

-What gives individuals the right to compel the actions of others? (Self-defence and order are one justification, but that covers only a portion of what government does)


How would government work if people were able to go "I'll avoid paying taxes becuase I didn't vote this lot in." How would people be protected if companies don't have to obey the laws? Government's should surely try their best to protect their people from harm and exploitation, to provide them with a decent standard of living and protection? The right for every man to justice, including a fair trial, now matter how much of a mob there is.

What justifies the division of the world into 'nations'? Do a majority of the world's populace have the power to compel a minority, or is this restricted to national groupings? If so, why? (Incidental question which may become relevant- Do 'the people' have the power to cede their sovereignty permanently?)


Not much but that is the way things are so we will have to deal with it.

There is always a balance between the majority and protection of the rights of the majority, governments and courts should ensure the majority can't, for example, expel minority for being different and protect the minorities freedoms.

To form their own nation like Scotland is looking at? Unless there are good reasons why not, I have no problem with people making their own state as long as there is a democratic referendum.

Why should a democratic government be allowed to pass an unpopular law? If The People are opposed to it, then it should be invalid. If one invokes a 'democratic compact', then I could point out in response that the terms of that compact are the Constitution if you look at it that way.


If it is that unpopular, civil disobedience like during the poll taxes of draft dodging will eventually bring the government, or the policy down. The way the current system works, at least here, you elect a package and a party with certain attitudes so don't be surprised if they go through with those attitudes and reforms. If you don't like it, vote them out next time for one more to your taste.

Given how little choice voters really have, how can modern 'democracies' be considered democratic? For a long time laws against the death penalty were passed even though the death penalty remained popular- propaganda by elites brought public opinion around, not the other way round. Unpopular policies aren't a rare thing that get cancelled when shown unpopular- they're a very common thing which occur a lot. Obviously there is also the question of political parties, and the seperate question of political parties and the extent to which they break promises.


I'm not in favour of total democracy. Or mob rule, I'm well aware the public can do horrible things. I'm quite happy with a representative democracy, though I would change elements of how ours is run if I was Constitution/Prime Minister.

I would say total democracy would have more legitimacy then ours. Just not sure it would work. One could well argue our House of Lords, a lack of meritocracy, that judges can overturn government laws puts us behind other countries on democratic legitimacy.

If you're going to base the legitimacy of a government on its popular support, therefore, you have a severe uphill struggle.


So a democratic government has less legitimacy then a tyrant?

2:
My answer to laojim works verbatim as an answer to this (excluding the third paragraph of it, which is irrelevant to your answer)

If you have the three elements I named- a written constitution, judges who interpret the constitution properly, and a military and civil service that will side with the judges, then Drift can be prevented in all the matters that the Constitution specifies, and therefore in all the important aspects of the 'informal Constitution'. This follows almost by defintion- getting all three is the tricky bit.

If you have all three elements and all three are maintained, a state can stand up to any internal challenge. Even if the people come out on the streets in force to attempt overthrow, with modern weaponry the army can beat them back (excluding if something like the Second Amendment exists, but this is an extreme case AND such an overthrow being sucessful was what the Founding Fathers intended). A tyrant attempting to change the informal rules will be restrained first by judicial rulings, then by his civil service refusing to obey him. Without the army, he can't enforce it.


The need for the miliatry to support the government and not overthrow it, the support of Whitehall to obey their political masters is important. If the army decides it can get away with an overthrow, we are in deep danger. Judges are a potential safeguard, though not infallible, and a potential problem. I still don't see how having a Constitution would prevent a tyrant however. All that we have to keep the balance is the attitude, I imagine most US army commanders would be horrified at the day of doing anything other then fighting for the elected government and know the public wouldn't forgive them, that the world would condemn them. If that attitude changes, then the problem is so very real.

I'm not sure why you insist then in apocalypse scenario, that judges, army, civil service and the population are going to be fiercely democratic, not hateful and everyone will ensure the rules are obeyed. A constitution will be useless if things come so dire that it doesn't matter what laws there are, the ruler can simply control things to ensure it gets changed. Because the system has been so broken, becuase the people have suffered so badly that the extremist offers them hope and easy villains to hate, it won't matter what it says in the laws.

3:
Britain as it is now lacks the second element- proper judicial interpretation. I've been intending to change the subject to how to get these three elements (which I've thought a bit about already) for a little while now, as I didn't realise you'd dispute the point that these three were sufficient.


Our judges do interfere from time to time, including striking down laws that breach human rights.
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