What is your "ideal" constitution?

BornInCantaloup

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On the national level, our democracy has largely been good. Certainly more good policy by policy than those elected to create and enforce those policies, more of the time. And if the total demos is bad, well that's awful, but that's the reality. We could surely as a demos agree on tempering ourselves with layers of government, more or less as we do now, but the current form has largely produced a government to often be conservative, and more reactionary than progressive in my lifetime.
You use words but I don't think they mean what you think they mean. Words were given to you so you could be understood by your brethren.
What do Good, Bad, Tempering, Conservative, Reactionary and Progressive mean to you ?

Do you believe that if we all do our best, then the world will become a better place ? Please, see Imperialism and Extraction of Resources.
The Socialist Internationale was international. It died in 1914 and was never revived. The Global Economic War emerged (which we shall know as the GEW from now on) and it never stopped. Economic Cooperation is a sine qua non condition to a Healthy Global Democracy (which we shall name HGD despite it may never see the day).
The American democracy is the nastiest of all democratic jokes and not only on domestic grounds but on foreign soils as well. And this is a fact (that I will not bother authenticate).

For starters, let's actually divide Powers : Executive, Legislative, Judiciary.
 

BornInCantaloup

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Yeah, I'm sorry I picked on you, it wasn't fair. I confess I was overwhelmed by the amount of specificity I found your argument.
As I recall, it went like that :
"We do good, mostly good, good is good. We could do more good if bad was worse but, overall, that's out of our hands. Some people we call demos they're bad and they make us look bad and that is worse. Bad demos, bad. To do things more good, we could do things different more like we are doing right now even though we know it's bad."

Thank you for your contribution.


For the record : Reactionary, Conservative, Progressive and other terms (Liberal) hold very different meanings depending upon context. What is the subject ? None of those terms are inherently positive or negative. Conservative, for example, is not a holistic term, it doesn't encompass. However, it can target. Same goes for Progressive, etc.
 

Lexicus

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I'm not sure I understand the precise role you'd like from the judiciary. If they're popularly elected the same as the legislature, aren't voters just going to elect identical ideologies to both branches? Isn't the judiciary likely to just rubber-stamp whatever the legislature passes then? Like I said, perhaps I'm just misunderstanding

The point of the judiciary branch is to enforce the constitution and the law, basically, yes? So, I think it's pretty obvious that the constitution and the law do not have a transcendent meaning that is outside or above history. What this means in practice is that, basically, in the event of disputes about what the constitution and the law mean, the answer is that the interpretation of the majority of citizens should ultimately prevail.

I mean, @AmazonQueen says you need the judiciary to be insulated from popular will because sometimes you need someone to unpopularly affirm the rights of the accused or otherwise stand up for genuinely oppressed minorities.

I don't disagree with that, exactly, but in the US right now we have a judiciary insulated from popular will not only in the sense that a magistrate who can lose the popular vote but still win office appoints them for life, but that all of them are drawn from an elite group that moves through a set of elite institutions (private schools, elite universities, elite clerkships, etc) that deeply alienate them from the experiences of most Americans. And the result seems to be a Supreme Court that is stripping away people's rights left and right. You have the Dobbs decision of course, but then also the Vega v Tekoh decision which is the latest in a long line of cases dating back to the Reagan administration where right-wing federal courts and the Supreme Court have generally eroded the ability of citizens to seek civil relief from police misconduct while at the same time making it more difficult to hold police officers accountable for misconduct using administrative and criminal law.

Most Americans are broadly in favor of police reform, abortion rights, gay marriage etc. so I see a court insulated from popular opinion exploiting that insulation to carry out a right-wing agenda that would never succeed if carried through the federal offices that actually are elected. In any case, far fewer people would feel their rights in danger right now if, across the board, the US government were more responsive to popular will.

Anyway, the role of the judiciary doesn't change in my proposal, it's just that I much more directly subject the judiciary to popular will and ensure that the popular interpretation of the Constitution will prevail over interpretations that privilege elite interests.
 

AmazonQueen

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The point of the judiciary branch is to enforce the constitution and the law, basically, yes? So, I think it's pretty obvious that the constitution and the law do not have a transcendent meaning that is outside or above history. What this means in practice is that, basically, in the event of disputes about what the constitution and the law mean, the answer is that the interpretation of the majority of citizens should ultimately prevail.

I mean, @AmazonQueen says you need the judiciary to be insulated from popular will because sometimes you need someone to unpopularly affirm the rights of the accused or otherwise stand up for genuinely oppressed minorities.

I don't disagree with that, exactly, but in the US right now we have a judiciary insulated from popular will not only in the sense that a magistrate who can lose the popular vote but still win office appoints them for life, but that all of them are drawn from an elite group that moves through a set of elite institutions (private schools, elite universities, elite clerkships, etc) that deeply alienate them from the experiences of most Americans. And the result seems to be a Supreme Court that is stripping away people's rights left and right. You have the Dobbs decision of course, but then also the Vega v Tekoh decision which is the latest in a long line of cases dating back to the Reagan administration where right-wing federal courts and the Supreme Court have generally eroded the ability of citizens to seek civil relief from police misconduct while at the same time making it more difficult to hold police officers accountable for misconduct using administrative and criminal law.

Most Americans are broadly in favor of police reform, abortion rights, gay marriage etc. so I see a court insulated from popular opinion exploiting that insulation to carry out a right-wing agenda that would never succeed if carried through the federal offices that actually are elected. In any case, far fewer people would feel their rights in danger right now if, across the board, the US government were more responsive to popular will.

Anyway, the role of the judiciary doesn't change in my proposal, it's just that I much more directly subject the judiciary to popular will and ensure that the popular interpretation of the Constitution will prevail over interpretations that privilege elite interests.

That would suggest you need to extend the pool you're choosing your judges from, not that you need to elect them.
We began doing this with more female judges, more judges from ethnic minorities 30 odd years ago. They are much more diverse now than they were in the 70-80s.
 

warpus

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Personally, I reject the authority of the state.

So, anarchism? How would a constitution work in a state without any sort of central authority? It seems that in that situation you could write whatever you want on a piece of paper, but nobody would care.

My ideal constitution:

- Would guarantee equal rights to citizens no matter your gender, ethnic background or religion.. with a couple minor exceptions for women only gyms and being able to hire actors of a certain race if needed, and so on..
- Would guarantee an acceptable socioeconomic mobility level for all citizens, as well as a robust social safety net. The constitution would spell this out to be an important objective of the government as a whole
- Would guarantee universal healthcare for all citizens so they never have to worry about going broke should they require medical attention
- Would guarantee freedom of speech, movement, religion, and other related freedoms to its citizens.. within reason. i.e. no yelling "FIRE" in a brothel and getting away with it
- Would guarantee "Freedom to Roam" for all citizens - the ability to legally traverse public and private lands for recreation (within reason, the way it's done in Norway for instance)
- Would require the state to regulate the country & economy to some degree, in a way to promote a sustainable future. i.e. polluting companies would not be welcome, those who embrace green tech would be supported, etc.
- Would guarantee cheap secondary education for citizens, within reason. (look at how Germany does it, for instance. It's not free, but it's a huge improvement over certain other western nations)
- Would enshrine a clear separation of church & state
- Would guarantee a robust democratic framework present in the country at all times, on all levels of government
- Would establish sustainability as one of the more important long-term objectives of the government
- Would establish the ownership of all natural resources in the country to the citizens as a whole. All citizens would profit from the use or sale of these resources, whether directly or not. Also see: Norway
- Would ban the "First past the post" style of democracy
- Would guarantee the existence of a technocracy-styled panel of experts who are required by law to weigh in on every applicable federal decision. How this all works exactly: TBD
- Would require political parties to participate in public debates in order to receive funding
- Would establish an independent body that investigates police units & the RCMP, when required
- Would establish very specific & clear rules regarding gerrymandering
- Would guarantee a "Right to repair" for all citizens, within reason
- Would guarantee the state to support Net Neutrality
- Would guarantee as absolute transparency as possible. Every single government decision & document to be posted online for all to view, if they want. Exceptions: State secrets, UFO wreck location spreadsheets, etc.
- Would enact significant penalties for politicians who accept bribes, work against the public good, or break the law in any other way
 

Hygro

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Yeah, I'm sorry I picked on you, it wasn't fair. I confess I was overwhelmed by the amount of specificity I found your argument.
As I recall, it went like that :
"We do good, mostly good, good is good. We could do more good if bad was worse but, overall, that's out of our hands. Some people we call demos they're bad and they make us look bad and that is worse. Bad demos, bad. To do things more good, we could do things different more like we are doing right now even though we know it's bad."
It's alright I don't feel picked on. I will say, though, that's not at all what I wrote. If you read it again it's pretty clear the demos is the voting populace and I said we the demos pretty consistently leans more good than the policies our government enacts in our name.
 

João III

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So, anarchism? How would a constitution work in a state without any sort of central authority?
All Earthly kingdoms are inherently corrupt and without authority; therefore, the only source of authority is God

Spoiler Matthew 4:8-10 :
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’


See the Sermon on the Mount—as much a political manifesto as a religious text.

"And the observance of his five commandments will bring peace upon the earth. They all have but one object,—the establishment of peace among men. If men will only believe in the doctrine of Jesus and practise it, the reign of peace will come upon earth,—not that peace which is the work of man, partial, precarious, and at the mercy of chance; but the peace that is all-pervading, inviolable, and eternal. The first commandment tells us to be at peace with every one and to consider none as foolish or unworthy. If peace is violated, we are to seek to re-establish it. The true religion is in the extinction of enmity among men. We are to be reconciled without delay, that we may not lose that inner peace which is the true life (Matt. v. 22-24). Everything is comprised in this commandment; but Jesus knew the worldly temptations that prevent peace among men. The first temptation perilous to peace is that of the sexual relation. We are not to consider the body as an instrument of lust; each man is to have one wife, and each woman one husband, and one is never to forsake the other under any pretext (Matt. v. 28-32). The second temptation is that of the oath, which draws men into sin; this is wrong, and we are not to be bound by any such promise (Matt. v. 34-37). The third temptation is that of vengeance, which we call human justice; this we are not to resort to under any pretext; we are to endure offences and never to return evil for evil (Matt. v. 38-42). The fourth temptation is that arising from difference in nationalities, from hostility between peoples and States; but we are to remember that all men are brothers, and children of the same Father, and thus take care that difference in nationality leads not to the destruction of peace (Matt. v. 43-48)."

It seems that in that situation you could write whatever you want on a piece of paper, but nobody would care.
Indeed, this is already the case

"The commandments for peace given by Jesus,—those simple and clear commandments, foreseeing all possibilities of discussion, and anticipating all objections,—these commandments proclaimed the kingdom of God upon earth. Jesus, then, was, in truth, the Messiah. He fulfilled what had been promised. But we have not fulfilled the commands we must fulfil if the kingdom of God is to be established upon earth,—that kingdom which men in all ages have earnestly desired, and have sought for continually, all their days."

Spoiler Luke 17:21 :
"nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
 

Arwon

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- Would ban the "First past the post" style of democracy
[...]
- Would establish very specific & clear rules regarding gerrymandering

Properly doing the first essentially achieves the second. If you're writing a constitution from scratch these days, of course you'd have it be proportional representation rather than single member districts.

- Would guarantee as absolute transparency as possible. Every single government decision & document to be posted online for all to view, if they want.

This means everyone's income tax records be viewable to the public, like in Scandinavian countries. Is this your intent here?

I think it's fine, but some people not accustomed to it might be hesitant about it.
 

Zardnaar

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Properly doing the first essentially achieves the second. If you're writing a constitution from scratch these days, of course you'd have it be proportional representation rather than single member districts.



This means everyone's income tax records be viewable to the public, like in Scandinavian countries. Is this your intent here?

I think it's fine, but some people not accustomed to it might be hesitant about it.

Maybe not. There's varying levels of bad with FptP. We didn't have gerrymandering before we went proportional.

Polititians should have no role in drawing electorate boundaries.
 

Arwon

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Still having single member FPTP districts is one of the big problems with MMP.

But the point is, with proper PR, there's not really any district boundaries to gerrymander in the first place. Many forms of list PR just use for electorates the pre-existing administrative units of a country, or the country as a whole.

Even with STV of a decent magnitude, although districts do have to be drawn, the vagaries of counting and quotas and the size of the electorates make boundary manipulation for partisan outcomes largely pointless.
 

Zardnaar

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Still having single member FPTP districts is one of the big problems with MMP.

But the point is, with proper PR, there's not really any district boundaries to gerrymander in the first place. Many forms of list PR just use for electorates the pre-existing administrative units of a country, or the country as a whole.

Even with STV of a decent magnitude, although districts do have to be drawn, the vagaries of counting and quotas and the size of the electorates make boundary manipulation for partisan outcomes largely pointless.

True but people like their local representation.

You can still abuse district seats though.
 

Zardnaar

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Well they do when they get a MP that suits them.
Ask a Tory in Scotland how represented they feel by FPTP.

.I was referring to MMP. We still have electorate seats because tradition and representation for Maori who had their own seats.
 

warpus

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Properly doing the first essentially achieves the second. If you're writing a constitution from scratch these days, of course you'd have it be proportional representation rather than single member districts.

"Of course" seems obvious to some of us, but IMO it has to be spelled out, as not everyone would be on board with this.

It doesn't automatically eliminate gerrymandering nonsense either. For instance, we have gerrymandering here in Canada, but we have strict rules about it, so it isn't a complete circus like in the U.S. I would want gerrymandering rules enshrined in the constitution, so politicians can't screw around with it like they do south of the border.

This means everyone's income tax records be viewable to the public, like in Scandinavian countries. Is this your intent here?

I think it's fine, but some people not accustomed to it might be hesitant about it.

I was moreso interested in keeping the government accountable to the public. This line in my constitution would open up government activities to the public, as much as possible. Your own personal documents would be fine (unless perhaps you work for the government)
 

BornInCantaloup

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It's alright I don't feel picked on. I will say, though, that's not at all what I wrote. If you read it again it's pretty clear the demos is the voting populace and I said we the demos pretty consistently leans more good than the policies our government enacts in our name.
I've thought about it and I present you my apologies for acting like a rude panda. It was uncalled for and in poor taste.
I'll accept that my inability to understand a post points out towards my own shortcomings.
 

Arwon

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For instance, we have gerrymandering here in Canada

Elections Canada deliberately draws nonsensical district shapes for partisan political advantage?
 

Arwon

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How so? What are the district boundaries drawn to gerrymander? Do they protect incumbents?
 

Lexicus

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How so? What are the district boundaries drawn to gerrymander? Do they protect incumbents?

In the US non-partisan gerrymanders have existed for a while as a way of ensuring black voters have meaningful representation.
 
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