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Valyooo (99.60)

What is so special about the constitution?

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August 15, 2011 – Comments (28)

Whenever somebody does not like the way our current government is running things, they say that it is not the way the founding fathers wanted it.  So what?  I find it particularly odd when so called anarchists or minarchists do this (I am an anarchist), because the founding fathers were still politicians.

Why do I never hear "the founding fathers had slaves, it is unjust that there is no more slavery".

Didn't the founding fathers escape England because they didn't like the way THEIR founding fathers were behaving?

Quoting the constitution is a weak argument.  Even though I don't like the way the government is run, saying "Well some guys 300+ years ago didn't want this" isn't even close to relevant.

Our founding fathers also rode horses...should we ride horses?

Why are we praising them anyway?  They did a better job than currently...that leads to the "x is better than y so I choose x" thinking which is why we have a two party system right now anyway.

So either you don't like government so you like neither, or you do like government so you should support change...I see no room for this line of thinking in any mindframe.

28 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM, fiduke27 (< 20) wrote:

Yea those old guys who made the constitution didn't know what they were doing. lets add the Declaration of Independence to your list as well. I mean come on, who wants "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

 Give me TV's, a couch, and hot pockets and all is good in the world.

 That's what it should read in today's time.

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#2) On August 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM, XMFSinchiruna (27.55) wrote:

This is the worst post I have ever seen on CAPS.

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#3) On August 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM, TheDumbMoney (39.25) wrote:

-1

I don't even know where to begin.

  

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#4) On August 15, 2011 at 11:55 AM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

I am in no way saying I disagree that our government should be run more like the way the founding fathers intended it to be...because I fully do support that.  I just think that quoting old politicians as Gods, to support the idea that new politicians are stupid, is absurd. I don't see it as any different than religion...oh my god from 2000 years ago said this, and I agree with it, therefore I don't need any other argument to support why I don't agree with your new religion.

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#5) On August 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

Interpreting what they meant is like interpreting bible stories...you still need logic to support your argument.

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#6) On August 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

This is exactly the response I expected...instead of a thought out argument, more people relying on "well they are the best so no debate, we should listen to them even though we dont trust politicans"...thanks for proving my point guys.

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#7) On August 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

All I am trying to say is if every country relied on "well our founders said so" rather than logic, DESPITE THE FACT THAT I AGREE WITH OUR FOUNDERS ON MANY TOPICS, we would still be a colony.

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#8) On August 15, 2011 at 12:03 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

Excellent post. The constitution has a lot of good points, but it's still a flawed documend made by flawed human beings. If it were perfect, there would have been no need for all those amendments.

And really, none of those founding fathers had any legal right to claim ownership of any part of North America.

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#9) On August 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM, catoismymotor (32.33) wrote:

Serenity now!

 

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#10) On August 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM, StoneyTerp12 (39.37) wrote:

I'll refer you to minute 2:30 of the below clip from "With Honors".  (sorry, I have no idea how to imbed videos.)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7kVDwGiRg

I'd also argue that the question about our Constitution, and the question about "our founding fathers did it" are 2 very separate questions.

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#11) On August 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM, TheDumbMoney (39.25) wrote:

"All I am trying to say is if every country relied on "well our founders said so" rather than logic, DESPITE THE FACT THAT I AGREE WITH OUR FOUNDERS ON MANY TOPICS, we would still be a colony."

Well, you're saying it poorly.

1) You are making an argument about Original Intent, but you are attacking the constitution as a document and as an institution.

2)  The fact that we should not end the discussion with what the founders thought does not mean we should reject the constitution for what, in its severe ambiguity, it actually does say.

3)  The impression that you seek to is heightened by your statement that you are an anarchist.

4)  Frankly, I don't know why anyone should care what an "anarchist" thinks of our government anyway.

5)  I think all anarchists who don't quit their jobs and seek to overthrow the government are just libertarians who want a bit more attention.

6)  Keep fighting the man as a junior stock broker, anarchist.  Soon you will bring the system down....!   ;-)

7)  The horses example is silly since that is an technological activity, not a thought or an opinion of governmental structure or of how to live; it was simply the technology that existed at the time and there is no evidence any founder thought it was only appropriate to ride horses or that future technologies were bad; the slavery example is better, as an example of the fallability of the Founders (an Original Intent rebuttal).

8)  On the limited point that what the "Founders" said is not the be-all-end-all, I agree, especially because there was an enormous amount of disagreement at the time amongst the "Founders" and virtually any time anyone makes that sort of an argument they are picking and choosing some Founder who agreed with what the current arguer wants to hear. 

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#12) On August 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM, FreeMarkets (97.22) wrote:

-1

The Constitution is the Law of the Land.  As an anarchist, you do not like laws and that is understood.  But for those of us who believe in the rule of law, the Constitution is a very important document.

Yes, the Founding Fathers owned slaves, but the Constitution has been amended to outlaw that practice.  That's the beauty of the document, it is amendable.

This country began going backwards when the Progressives decided to skip the amendment process and just find judges who would say everything the gov't does is legal.  I may think the 18th Amendment was stupid, but they passed it the right way.

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#13) On August 15, 2011 at 12:32 PM, wrenchbender57 (< 20) wrote:

Some of the ideas in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights formed a basis for our country's basic beliefs and legal system. The generations that followed took these basic ideas and interpreted them literally to mean far more than the original founders intended. And that has made our country great. The fact that women and minorities can vote now was based on the literal interpretation of the ideals stated in these documents. We were also blessed with a few founders, such as George Washington that were far more interested in people's rights and free government than in possessing power for themselves. Many other countries have not been so blessed with founders like ours, to their detriment. We all need to keep working to make the dreams or our founders come to fruition. There are some forces out there currently that are working hard at eliminating some of our freedoms and rights, and in the name of individual freedom, no less.It would be a shame if these folks succeeded.

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#14) On August 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

Just because I have a political view, what right does that give you to say I am seeking attention?  Do you protest for everything you beleive in?  Did you try to overthrow Bush?

There is no reason for your attitude....and you have no right to make fun of somebody elses profession.  You are a lawyer...thank GOD for you, because there is currently such a shortage of people in your field!!!

Should I tell you to stop your tirades of why you drool over berkshire?  Me having no opinion of government because I am an anarchist equates to you having no opinion on financial topics since you are a lawyer and not in the financial field.

 

Free markets, yes the constitution has been amended...which is why blindly quoting the original document makes no sense if you truly believe in government.

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#15) On August 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM, ElCid16 (97.79) wrote:

There is no reason for your attitude

When you drop a post like this on a public blog, you're gonna get some attitude, partner.

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#16) On August 15, 2011 at 1:23 PM, TheDumbMoney (39.25) wrote:

"Me having no opinion of government because I am an anarchist equates to you having no opinion on financial topics since you are a lawyer and not in the financial field."

No, the above statement of yours is also wrong.  The whole point of anarchism is it rejects central governmental authorities and systems.  The rejection of governmental authority is in complete contradiction with concerns about the correct functioning or interpretation of ours.  What you are doing is not at all analogous to my pontificating about financial matters: not having a financial markets expertise (as I do not), yet speaking about it, is not the same as rejecting a set of systems entirely and then purporting to hold forth about the particulars of our particular system.  (I do not reject the concept of finance and yet speak of how it should operate or be interpreted.)

But at the end of the day when it comes down to it, I really just don't respect people who say they are anarchists.  I'm sorry, I just do not.  Also, I actually mispoke a bit though, so let me be more clear:  in reality I think stated anarchists are either:  1) peurile, attention-seeking libertarians who want to seem edgy while enjoying all of the benefits of the system they purport to reject; or 2) simply utterly ignorant of history; or 3) evil, closeted seekers of tyrranical power. 

As you say, I am a lawyer.  Anyone with innate intelligence can argue a point, can create a highly compelling argument for or against either side of just about any issue.  But no argument, nor any series of arguments, is worth a thing, without common sense.  (That is why they say, in trading, that some of the worst investments are supported by the most articulate arguments.)  I am sure David in Quatar, a random poster here, has made you some very compelling arguments about anarchism.  Delightful, I am happy you have achieved a state of certainty in life.  But I don't really want to grant you any more credibility than you already have because of your excellent CAPS-game score, so I have de-favorited you, and I fully-expect you to de-favorite me.  Go in peace to the land of David in Quatar, anarchist.  As they say, I'm 25% down on my original investment, the investment thesis has blown up, and I'm cutting my losses.

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#17) On August 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM, PolSciProf (< 20) wrote:

You present some statements in your original post as facts. However, you have numerous misconceptions about the Founding Fathers, the Constitutional Convention, and American history in general that are causing basic errors in your fundamental understanding of the Constitution. There are numerous resources that you can use to gain a more accurate understanding of the Constitutional Convention including the movie "A More Perfect Union" and the HBO series "John Adams"

I'll throw out a few examples of where you're incorrect, what percentage of the Founding Fathers had slaves? During the Constitutional Convention the majority of delegates (including delegates from slave states) argued that slavery was immoral and should not be allowed under the Constitution. However, four of the slave states threatened that their states would not ratify the Constitution if it directly outlawed slavery. Consequently, the Founders tried to indirectly attack slavery by including the clause in the Constitution allowing the slave trade in 1807.

You ask, “Didn't the founding fathers escape England because they didn't like the way THEIR founding fathers were behaving?”  One, the Founding Fathers came from numerous national heritages, not all English.  Second, what founding fathers would you be referring to in England?  In its history England has never had an event comparable to our Constitutional Convention and even today England does not have a Constitution.

This brings up a second area, why did the Founding Fathers write the Constitution?  They recognized that American citizens were actually unable to exercise their freedoms under the weak government instituted under the Articles of Confederation.  This goes to the basic truth proven numerous times throughout global history that in anarchy (absence of government) people live in oppression that easily rivals the most oppressive regimes on the planet - Liberia and Somalia can provide recent examples have the rape, murder, and general chaos that occurs in anarchy.  The Founding Fathers understood that they did not want to live under the restrictions they experienced under the British Crown.  However, the American experiment would fail if the government was not strong enough to instill order and protect Americans exercising their rights. 

I don’t want to sound rude, but no one who has studied global history or political theory ever concludes anarchy is a good idea or that people thrive under anarchy.  However, if you do want to give it a try portions of Somalia come close.

So why does the Constitution and our Founding Fathers rock:

1)     Our Founding Father’s established the only representative form of government on the globe at that time.  Despite continued pressure by the monarchs representing the other countries, our country has not only survived but thrived.  Before the conclusion of two generations after the Constitution was ratified, the average American already experienced a higher standard of living than citizens of any other country on Earth.

2)     The Constitution addresses the question of not only how to control the governed but puts the mechanisms in place to ensure the government controls itself.  America is the oldest representative democracy on the planet for a reason.  Our Founding  Fathers implemented controls that limit the expansion of governmental power.  These includes the separation of powers between branches of government, the division of the legislative branch into two chambers with different means of election, checks and balances between the branches, and federalism (division of authority between the national government and the states).

3)     The Constitution with the Bill of Rights establishes a set of absolute rights.  This addressed one of the major problems with earlier democracies in which the majority exercised tyrannical control over the minority.

I could continue to list items, but what you really should do is take a basic American Government course.  Once you became more globally, historically, and politically aware, you would have the context to understand how much research our Founding Fathers did into the problem of earlier forms of government and the brilliance behind the methods employed to protect against these failings. 

Please let me know if you have specific questions.

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#18) On August 15, 2011 at 1:52 PM, whereaminow (42.34) wrote:

Val,

This could have been a great post, and it's right for you to question the Constitution, but there are some things to think about.

The question that the Constitution's authors tried to resolve was where do our rights come from (nature or the state) and how do we deal with the fact that individuals will have their rights trampled by the state in any government setup.

Those are tough issues to solve and they are absolutely relevant to modern day.  They are timeless.  The fact that some founders had slaves (a point totally overblown by Marxist historians) or that they did not have iPads is totally irrelevant to the founding of America.

I would highly recommend the book Conceived in Liberty by Rothbard which is a tremendous sweeping view of the players and their motives in the founding of America.  Not all wanted liberty, but many did and that was the struggle.

Does that mean the Constitution binds you?  Absolutely not!  You didn't agree to it and you never were consulted on it.  It has only the authority over you that you allow it to have.  

See Lysander Spooner's The Constitution of No Authority and Etienne de la Boitie's Discourse on Voluntary Servitude for more on how an anarchist approaches complusory state rule.

All the best,

David in Qatar

 

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#19) On August 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM, edwjm (99.87) wrote:

What seems wierd to me is the ppl who complain that we are not following the constitution properly are many of the same ppl that want to amend it to further their political agenda.

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#20) On August 15, 2011 at 2:11 PM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

Edwjm in post 19 basically sums up my point. 

 

dumber, the request to unfavor you is about what I would expect a 12 year old girl to ask me on facebook...but your wish is my command.

I didn't offer my interpretation of politics, I was strictly talking about how other people quote it...therefore I did not talk about something I am against.

David, thanks for the suggestions.  I am no history or political buff nor do I wish to be which is why I largely keep my beliefs to myself, because I don't have tons of examples to back it up, just common sense.

 

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#21) On August 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM, dbtheonly (< 20) wrote:

Dave,

 Just for it, the Constitution, Laws of the United States, and the laws of the State of the Union apply to you whether or not you have agreed to them.; The concept is called implied consent and applies because you choose to reside where you do. This is why the libertarian arguments about the illegality of the IRS or income tax are sure losers, felons are extradited both within the US and extra-nationally, and one can not, with impunity, decide to ignore traffic laws.

Prof.,

There are arguments about the economic advantages of prohibiting the slave trade, but I've found it easier to assert that the slavery issue in the Constitution was a compromise & compromises never make anyone happy.

I'd also like to point out that the commons have been sitting in the British Parliament since 1265.

The UK has a Constitution, it's just not written.

Don't let your American exceptionalism run away with you. The US Constitution established a solid, workable form of Government. Whether it is "better" than the Parliamentary Democracy, of most of the rest of the world, is not a subject fot the Motley Fool.

 

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#22) On August 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM, Borbality (45.49) wrote:

+1 for PoliSci prof. 

 

Easy to take for granted what you can't picture life without.

 

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#23) On August 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM, whereaminow (42.34) wrote:

db,

I have no interest in debating you. I am way too busy. But implied consent is total garbage. Your implied consent can lick my balls.

David in Qatar

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#24) On August 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

I'm not sure why I need to read up on history to debate 1) whether or not I am a fan of the state 2) why using a blind statement as logic is ridiculous.

That's like telling somebody they need to take an English course to properly tell somebody to go f**k themselves.

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#25) On August 15, 2011 at 2:49 PM, TheDumbMoney (39.25) wrote:

Valyooo, I didn't say wish, I said expected you would -- that it was likely you would.

"I didn't offer my interpretation of politics, I was strictly talking about how other people quote it...therefore I did not talk about something I am against."

Yes, you did, by identifying yourself as an anarchist.  As I said, in terms of what, it turns out after your clarifications, was your primary point, I agree with the fundamental point that how people talk about original intent is often strange. 

What I do not agree with is that original intent = the constitution as written (those are different things).  Nor do I agree that the constitution is not special.  I think it takes a true anarchist to say the constitution is not special, even if neither it, nor the understanding of the humans who wrote it, is infallible.

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#26) On August 15, 2011 at 4:46 PM, lemoneater (82.02) wrote:

Valyooo, nice to see that you are still asking good questions :).

I'm certain that there are others who can discuss the worth of our Constitution more in depth, but I will give a short illustration of why I appreciate it.

When I was much younger, I was playing Monopoly with one of my older brothers. He said this time we won't play by the rules, but I will make them up as we go. Needless, to say I didn't have much fun because the rules strangely seemed to be to his advantage.

The Constitution has done its part to keep our country stable. The ideas which inspired it are from lessons taken from other civilizations. Learn from history whenever possible! (I'm not an anarchist in part, because "throwing away the wheel and re-inventing it" seems a way to regress civilization.)

The constitution is more than a piece of parchment with elaborate calligraphy. It is principles to guide our country.

As for the founding fathers being politicians, I would say very few were career politicians. They weren't perfect, but they seemed much more in touch with the concept of ethics and the idea of stewardship than most of our current unrepresentatives.

 

 

 

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#27) On August 15, 2011 at 4:47 PM, Melaschasm (65.63) wrote:

Whenever somebody does not like the way our current government is running things, they say that it is not the way the founding fathers wanted it.  So what?

Quoting the founding fathers is no different from quoting any other philosophers.  Do you think that quoting MLK, Ghandi, Plato, or Rothbard is pointless?

Furthermore, a big majority of the American people support the rule of law.  Quoting the founding fathers is an effective and logically reasonable way to add credibility to a debate about the meaning of the constitution.

 

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#28) On August 15, 2011 at 8:04 PM, Valyooo (99.60) wrote:

It is pointless to quote somebody in lieu of providing rational analysis.

The rule of law is ever changing.  I am not sure how quoting the old rule of law in regards to the new rule of law adds much more to a debate than quoting  a democratic opinion in a republican meeting

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