General discussion


The United States Constitution

By neilb@uk ·
This is the most quoted document in the threads in TR. There's not a thread goes ten posts without a reference to the constitution or one of the Amendments.

I come from a country without a written constitution. We have a mixture of written sources, constitutional conventions, legal precedent, royal prerogatives and simple custom making up the "British Constitution". We can change our constitution with an Act of Parliament in exactly the same way that we would enact any simple law. I like that as I feel that the constitution evolves with the country and the times. It also seems to work! It's only recently being threatened - at least in its uncodified form - by the Human Rights laws and (perhaps) a European constitution.

So my Stateside chums, what's so special about The Constitution? This thread was prompted by a post suggesting that the document should be part of your school curriculum. Should it? What does it give you that I don't have? Then I'll see if I can find something that I have that you don't!

Neil :)

p.s. As I'm on a course next week, I'll have to leave you to fight it out amongst yourselves during the day...

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Physical vs conceptual nexus

by deepsand In reply to The commerce clause is th ...

While I both understand & concur with your assessment of the abuse of said clause, its application still requires a physical nexus, whereas the doctrine of implied powers provides but a conceptual one; the latter being exceedingly more vague & pliable than the former.

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Circa 1861

by Too Old For IT In reply to Physical vs conceptual ne ...

The South should have freed the slaves, then fired on Ft. Sumter. The outcome might have been very different, and the U.S. a better place.

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part of curriculum

by jdclyde In reply to The United States Constit ...

It was recommened this week that it should be part of the curriculum (which sadly, it is) because the citizens should know the rules and govenrment that run the country.

The problem is it is boring and people just don't care.

It really is sad just how ingnorant many of our citizens really are.

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2 problems .

by deepsand In reply to part of curriculum

1) In general, with respect to our form of government, most schools seem to teach the what, but not the how and why.

Ask most people about the Federalist papers, and you'll get blank stares. Ditto re. the 2 opposing doctrines, those of strict constuction & implied powers; this, despite the fact that such forms the basis of the difference between most political debate in the US.

2) Most people don't care to know. Some of this is owing to they're having resigned themselves to the notion that they are powerless to effect meaningfull change, and that any efforts in toward such are of no value. For others, it's a simple lack of desire to learn anything over and above the minimum required for their existence.

This is not a new problem. Our Founders were well aware of the fact that in order for a people to be self-governing they must first possess the requisite character for such. This was of such concern to them that they both set the bar for amending our constitution quite high, so as to guard against a tyranny of the majority; and, lest there be any doubt with regards to certain powers that the Federal Sovereignty did not possess, they set forth the Bill of Rights, in the form of Amendments I through X.

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I'm so ignorant that...

by nighthawk808 In reply to part of curriculum

...I didn't even realize we still HAD a Constitution. Didn't that thing just get in the way of the War on Drugs and the War of Terror? And besides, who wants freedom since it gets in the way of convenience so often?

Besides, don't Americans receive all their rights straight from God himself, so who needs a Constitution? After all, Christians are his chosen people--well, not any old Christian; Republican Christians--well, not any old Republican Christian; wealthy, campaign-donating Republican Christians, but you get the point. Bush told me that God said Americans don't just have the right, but they have the DUTY to drive MUV's (Moron Utilized Vehicles) that get 13 MPG while at the same time complaining about how high gas prices are. Apparently God isn't real good at the whole supply/demand economics thing.

Anyway, do you know how inconvenient it is to try to drive around a trophy wife, an AKC-registered Golden Retriever, and a girl who plays soccer, karate, piano, softball, lacrosse, and is a member of the glee club, ski club, and student government while at the same time having four bags of organic, pesticide-free, free range tofu in the back? Who needs a planet when you've got an MUV the size of a planet?! And if the Constitiution gets in the way of my Ford Excursion, I'll leave tire marks all over it during my 20-mile commute from my McMansion in the suburbs. I've got more important things to worry about than liberty; after all, there's paper to push, money to make, and tax loopholes to find. Let's see the Consitution say anything about _that_!

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I completely agree

by jdclyde In reply to I'm so ignorant that...

you are ignorant.

Edited because I forgot emoicon. It came off much harsher than intended without it, ya know? With it, it is funny as H E double stixs! B-) :^0

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by nighthawk808 In reply to I completely agree

What were we talking about again?

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I was just agreeing

by jdclyde In reply to Huh?

with the title of your last post!

Was I typing too fast for you? :0

disclaimer: too much coffee and redbull this morning or something, so watch our everyone, JD is coming through! :^0 B-)

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My .02 USD

by cubeslave In reply to The United States Constit ...

The US Constitution is harder to change because it is supposed to function more like a computers BIOS. Each of the states is a component, which can do things internally as they see fit, so long as they follow the general rules.

You don't want people changing the basic underpinnings of how the nation is supposed to function willy-nilly any more than you want any old piece of software rewriting your system's BIOS.

Prohibition (and all the problems it caused) is just one example of what happens when the constitution gets changed because of political fashion.

As for your question, Yes, I think every US School child should have to study the US Constitution, Bill of Rights.

If we included Logic and Critical Thought that would really shake things up politically.

One of the reasons this nation is in the state it is in is because our educational system has stressed "the three R's" and giving the right answers on standardized tests.

No child being left behind seems to be more important than any children learning to think for themselves.

Unfortunately this means that an annoying number of voters are now conditioned to respond to a set list of buzzwords and canned phrases without any thought or discussion.

Personally, I think the "powers that be" like it that way.

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