An Objectivist Constitution

Posted by jrberts5 8 years, 4 months ago to Politics
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At some point, either in the somewhat distant future of this country or in secret enclaves hidden throughout it very soon, it will be necessary to write a document defining government and its role in guaranteeing freedom. I would be curious to see suggestions from the people on this website as to how such a document might read.


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    Posted by $ WillH 8 years, 4 months ago
    It was already written in 1776. It just needs to be followed.
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    • Posted by Rozar 8 years, 4 months ago
      The best document that could ever restrict government, and it didn't work.
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      • Posted by iroseland 8 years, 4 months ago
        It wasn't restrictive enough. The second needs to made even more crystal clear. A shall make no laws infringing free trade between consenting people. Something to set solid term limits. And finally something to make it clear that national sovereignty can not be given up to outside organizations.
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        • Posted by Rozar 8 years, 4 months ago
          Another revolution, another war, another restrictive document. It's just broken. It's not like the while thing is worthless. :/ I hope that you get your new piece of paper without much blood shed. And I hope that when you do get your piece of paper, it keeps any one human, from using force or fraud against another.
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years, 4 months ago
          And such a vision of a new Constitution, you believe, would be impervious to misinterpretation, and would resolve all questions and all issues, including those arising from such an anarchistic expression?

          Just one example of a possible flaw: should there be no laws infringing upon the free trade between consenting people of nuclear weapons?
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  • Posted by dcwilcox 8 years, 4 months ago
    It's odd that no one has mentioned Mark Levin's "Liberty Amendments." Levin discusses the fact that the states have the constitutional authority (Article V) to call a Constitutional Amendment Convention to propose amendments. Each state has one vote in the convention. All of the small states in "flyover country" have the same vote as socialist California and New York. Levin proposes amendments that would limit the power of Washington, which is the real problem. Who would want to bribe or bankroll a politician with very limited economic power?

    Article V was inserted by America's Founding Fathers to stop a tyrannical government, which anti-federalists feared would happen. As we all know, their fears were well founded.

    Right now, 20 states are at various stages of getting a vote through their legislatures to call such a convention. Georgia is closest to being first. Check out the web site http://conventionofstates.com/progress-r....
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    • Posted by IamTheBeav 8 years, 4 months ago
      I am a huge fan of mark Levin, and I believe that his proposed Liberty Amendments would do a world of good. If it were up to me, I would adopt them all, as proposed.

      That said, I think there is one thing that could be added to the US Constitution that would act as a silver bullet to solve most all of the federal overreach coming from DC today. That silver bullet would be a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). If you buy into the notion that money is power, and politicians wield power through their access to the public purse, then limiting that access to a finite number with no additional borrowing/debt would bring the real spending priorities to a head in a hurry while eliminating the billions upon billions in waste, fraud and abuse.

      I would prefer to see a world without the Federal Reserve and our money backed by (redeemable for) silver and gold, but in lieu of that, a BBA would hamstring our pols to the funds on hand. If taxes needed to be raised for some spending boondoggle or another, then there would be hell to pay come election time.

      The average person has no concept of what $17.3 Triilion is. They have no idea that equates out to $55K worth of debt for every man, woman and child currently exchanging O2 for CO2 in the United States right now. They wouldn't even begin to be able to conceptualize that every taxpayer is on the hook for $150K right now.

      When some socialist politician would suggest a raise in welfare payments to deadbeats who refuse to pay their own freight, it would be a helluva lot more meaningful to the taxpaying voter if he/she has to personally feel that sting.

      When Obama wants a $1 Trillion stimulus, how much would people (man, woman and child) howl when/if each and every single one of them would have to chip in $3200 personally. I dunno about you guys, but I'm guessing the typical family of 4 would have no interest in seeing their savings raided to the tune of $13K +/- for some supposed "shovel ready" stimulus jobs.

      Right now, the spending in DC is far and away the most destructive thing they are doing, in my book. A BBA with teeth would clamp that down in a big way, in my opinion.

      Thoughts?
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      • Posted by $ blarman 8 years, 4 months ago
        The other one I would add is an automatic twilight provision on any government program that either raises or spends money. None of these spending bills (like Obamacare) that would operate in perpetuity after being forced through the Legislature. Senators and Representatives alike would have to be responsible for their spending and taxing votes every time they were up for re-election.
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      • Posted by dcwilcox 8 years, 4 months ago
        I concur with you 100% about a balanced budget amendment.

        And frankly, I think the one proposal of Levin to have a balanced budget amendment with real teeth is the most likely to be adopted. In Levin's proposed amendment, for example, if Congress doesn't pass a budget on time, there are automatic spending CUTS. That would instantly nullify statists like Harry Reid!
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        • Posted by plusaf 8 years, 3 months ago
          I disagree... without some serious side conditions, all a 'balanced budget amendment' means is that the government can raise taxes any time in order to match expenditures, no matter how ill-thought-out those expenditures might be or have been.

          I think strong sunset laws might help, but I can't imagine ANY congressmonkey proposing one.
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          • Posted by dcwilcox 8 years, 3 months ago
            If all that happens is a balanced budget amendment, indeed it would be insufficient. But, the proposed Constitutional Convention will start with 10 of Mark Levin's 11 proposed amendments. His amendments include replacing the current Marxist-style tax code with a flat tax. That would leave the IRS in place, which I think is a bad idea. I would prefer scrapping the 16th amendment and replacing it with a national sales tax, and that would almost certainly be debated at the Convention...especially in light of what the IRS has been doing lately.

            Members of the Federal Government would have no say at all about what amendments are proposed.

            I suggest that you read Levin's book before passing judgment on a very carefully thought out plan.
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            • Posted by plusaf 8 years, 3 months ago
              Thank you. I was offering my opinion on one aspect which was described in this thread, nothing more. If I can find what I consider a reasonable fault in one item of an allegedly 'very carefully thought out plan,' I am willing to voice that concern.

              I've looked at Flat Taxes and Fair Tax proposals and found some flaws in them, too, although I currently tend to support Flat Tax policies... again, if they're well-defined and some of the unintended consequences are brought into consideration before enactment...

              http://www.plusaf.com/lessons/flattax.ht... is where I've collected some references and comments.
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    • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
      I fear letting legislatures near the constitution at this point.
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      • Posted by dcwilcox 8 years, 4 months ago
        Why should we fear the state legislatures?

        We should fear the people in Washington DC who continue to amend the Constitution by fiat, e.g., the actions of Barack Obama (Executive), Harry Reid (Legislative) and John Roberts (Judicial).

        Thanks to the Tea Party landslide of 2010, legislatures all across flyover country have become far more Republican and, more importantly, much more conservative/libertarian.

        Keep in mind that the state's cannot change even a single word of the Constitution. They can only, by a 2/3 vote, send amendments out to all 50 states. Then, 3/4 must agree in order to make an amendment to the Constitution.

        This is the only CONSTITUTIONAL way I can see to put a leash on the tyrants of both the Democrat and, sadly, the Republican parties.

        The only other options I see are to submit or revolt -- both bad options compared to a peaceful Constitutional Amendment Convention.
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        • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
          This presumes that America is worth saving. The other option is to start our own Galt's Gulch. As a professor who co-founded and sold two companies, I'm still awaitng my invitation.
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  • Posted by RobertFl 8 years, 4 months ago
    Overall, the Constitution doesn't need to be changed. The Supreme Court ruling that allowed the definition of "General Welfare" in the declaration of Ind. to be interpreted to mean, "the individual welfare" is what probably led to the problems we face today.
    Overturn that ruling.
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  • Posted by coaldigger 8 years, 4 months ago
    Until there is wide acceptance of an objectivist philosophy there is little chanced of success for obtaining a constitution based on objectivism. The work to be done is to recruit converts through education and persuasion. The enemies are all states, churches, intellectual institutions and the leaches of the world. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins outline an approach in their book Free Market Revolution that is very logical but it is a huge task to overcome thousands of years of history. I can' t see how any one living today will be around to see a significant conversion to their thoughts.
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
      I especially agree with the last comment about how no one living today will be around to see a significant conversion to their thoughts. Would anyone consider buying an island or cruise ship for Gulchers? I will gladly contribute, but can't buy the whole thing myself.
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    • Posted by 8 years, 4 months ago
      coaldigger your assessment of our current situation is correct. that is why I phrased my post the way I did. What I hoped would be discussed is something way down line for the country or something for use in an actual gulch much sooner.
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  • Posted by Argo 8 years, 4 months ago
    Sadly Americans have become way to complacent...I heard a story that in the early 1800's Congress voted to spend $100,000 on replacing an orphanage that had burned down in DC. Voters in Tennessee where so outraged that Congress would spend tax dollars on the orphanage that it caused riots... ah the good old days.
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  • Posted by jsw225 8 years, 4 months ago
    The biggest problem with the Constitution is that it didn't clearly say that a Government Official violating the US Constitution is a Capital Offense.
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    • Posted by strugatsky 8 years, 4 months ago
      In fact, there is no provision at all for what happens when an officer of the government chooses to ignore any / all parts of the Constitution. That, I believe, is the fundamental flaw of the Constitution. The second flaw, which over time allowed for it's unraveling, is the inclusion of voters that do not have a stake in the society. Those people were never intended to vote, but were not specifically prohibited. Then, comes an uneducated "do-gooder" LBJ and leaves his mark to nauseate the posterity.
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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 4 months ago
    Remember the last scene in AS? Judge Narragansett marking and crossing out contradictions in the Constitution that, said Rand, had destroyed it? Remember also he added a new clause: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade."

    Of course, the Gulch was a voluntary association of homesteaders. Furthermore, residency in the Gulch was by invitation only. Rand did not even sketch out what government the Gulch had, except to say Midas owned the valley and granted temporary or permanent leaseholds, and that the domestic and foreign policies of the Gulch, such as they were, came from the Triumvirs: John Galt, Francisco d'Anconia, and Ragnar Danneskjöld.

    My guess always was that those three constituted the Committee of Safety: Francisco as the holder of the richest leasehold, Ragnar as the captain of the "privateer" and the commander of the spy network, and John as the proxy for Midas. I would further guess that Hank Rearden joined the Committee of Safety shortly after his arrival, and Dagny was recruited on-the-fly after Francisco picked her up in New York.

    Still, we're not talking about a Committee of Safety. We are talking about a Constitution. I assume the subject is not so much the structure of the government as what sort of powers shall the government have, and not have.

    I woiuld start with a strict definition of what the taxing and borrowing powers are intended to support. I would revoke the power "to establish post offices and post roads." And naturally I would not have half the powers one sees in many State constitutions--such as "providing for and maintaining a thorough and efficient system of free public schools."
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    • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years, 4 months ago
      Do you use the term "Committee of Safety" intentionally? The Committee of Public Safety was responsible for executions during the Terror in revolutionary-era France.
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      • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 4 months ago
        "Committees of Safety" were known during the American War for Independence. They had nothing in common with the Committee of Public Safety during the French Revolution.
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    • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
      I wondered where that was. Did you just come up with that on the fly? Is Galt the president or the legislature or both?
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      • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 4 months ago
        Yes, I did come up with that on-the-fly. I simply applied what I knew about the model for a Committee of Safety to the governance, such as it was, of Mulligan's Valley as Rand described it.

        Terms like "President" or "Mayor" don't apply here. There is no legislature because Galt's Gulch operates strictly according to the principles of English Common Law. Judge Narragansett applies those as an arbiter.

        The Triumvirs of Atlantis, in their roles as the Committee of Safety, are simply a voluntary group who use their resouces for the defense of the community in which they live--or in Ragnar's case, for offensive action against the outside world.
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        • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
          That was fascinating. That was inciteful. Offensive action against the outside world hmm. there was an army that could be called into action at any minute. Do you agree?
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          • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 4 months ago
            Yes. You refer no doubt to the Air/Land Militia that Ragnar ginned up almost at a moment's notice, when word came to the valley of John Galt's arrest.

            Remember: the offensive action to which I refer is primarily Ragnar's privateering activities. Notice I call him a privateer, one who raids enemy shipping on behalf of others, rather than a buccaneer, who raids shipping for his own gain and for no nobler motive. (Does the word "privateer" refer to the captain of a private ship of war or only to the ship itself? I've never found a consistent convention on that point.)

            Notice what Ragnar did: "I have seized every loot-carrier that came within range of my guns." He then sold those cargoes either to European freedom fighters, who paid him in gold they robbed from government treasuries, or else to "customers" in the United States. I think we know who the one customer was: Midas Mulligan. That's how the valley obtained certain supplies that no one yet in the valley could make. Ragnar Danneskjöld plundered the shipments of the Bureau of Global Relief and sold some of those cargoes to Midas, who paid him in gold. Which he then turned around and deposited in Midas' bank, to the accounts of Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, and others.

            That about fits the definition of a privateer, doesn't it?
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            • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
              It's close enough. I just noticed a hidden comment that says he was a pirate. What would his significance be in the constitutional government?
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              • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 4 months ago
                To most people, "pirate" means "buccaneer."

                And to the looters, of course he's a pirate.

                A privateer, or privateersman, is a "licensed pirate." Or he is if his license lets him plunder enemy shipping.

                So "piracy" is neither good nor evil. It depends on the motive and whose side the "pirate" is on.

                The significance in a constitutional government is this: The United States Constitution grants to the Congress the power to issue privateers' licenses. I quote:

                "The Congress shall have power...to declare war, to grant letters of marque and reprisal, and to make rules governing capture on land and water."

                "Letters of marque and reprisal" are the term in international law for privateering licenses.

                Now Ragnar's case is a little special. The Gulch was "not a State of any kind," to quote John Galt. So Ragnar acted on his own cognizance. But if the Gulch had had a constitution, Ragnar would no doubt have had a privateering license
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                • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years, 4 months ago
                  A privateer carries letters of marque from a legitimate government, a nation, to carry out restricted hostile activities against enemy vessels in time of war.
                  Kings routinely issued letters of marque.

                  A privateer is no more a pirate than a National Guardsman is a Viking.

                  Atlantis doesn't even have a seacoast. It is not a legitimate nation, and cannot issue letters of marque.

                  The issue of secession was settled in 1865, the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding.
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                • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago

                  Midas owned the Gulch (Midas owned the country and the bank)-the only bank - Federal Reserve
                  Galt Proxy (someone to vote for the owner of the country and the bank someone you might have to sacrifice- legislature)
                  Fransisco wealthiest company singular
                  Ragnar CIA KGB he works offensively not only attacking at sea and air but nearby cities he gets the authority via a license
                  Reardon regulations and Supreme Court or States rights?
                  Dagney the person that finally surrendered The people lets not forget she had a temporary status visas. I have debated whether this was in the book or not.
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                  • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 4 months ago
                    If you're asking what function Hank Rearden might have served as a member of the Committee of Safety--well, I admit I'm still speculating. But remember that when Rearden vanished, a good part of his workforce vanished with him? Remember what Jim Taggart breathlessly said: "A whole bunch of them vanished! The mills superintendent, the chief metallurgist, the chief engineer, Rearden's secretary, even the hospital doctor! And G_d knows how many others!"

                    Well, suppose he defected with enough workers to start building a mill in the valley? Suppose, after his experience at the old mill (the riot and all), he had those people double as his own security force? Suppose Francisco noticed that and asked him to join the Committee and serve as a Chief of Homeland Security?

                    Dagny's contribution would be a transportation system. After she joined the Gulch, she would begin at once to build the railroad she said she could build.
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                    • -1
                      Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
                      Ragnar was intent on being a philosopher. The pirate philosopher. Working on minds that didn't belong to him by using destroying that which didn't belong to him. He is Ayn Rand.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 8 years, 4 months ago
      Any form of governmental structure can function well and in the interests of the people at large so long as those in power are benevolent - don't misconstrue this statement, I said government not economy. So, even a dictator, if benevolent, can run a thriving society. The problem is that rarely do those people or their successors remain so. Thus, over time, any system becomes corrupt as the people in the system are corruptible. The governmental systems need to have mechanisms to prevent that corruption.
      In the case of the US, allowing universal franchise, allowing citizenship based strictly on being born on American soil, and the 17th amendment have served to corrupt the government via the people comprising the elected ranks.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 8 years, 4 months ago
    It's interesting to me that so many seem to think that The Constitution needs a rewrite, rephrasing, or amended. Many quite strongly.

    No piece of paper or parchment or the words on it will ever be a strong enough deterrent to those wishing to subvert the ideals embodied in the writing. If the people living under the system of government that defies those ideals allows it's continuance, it will only get worse.

    Only when the citizenry stand up and send a resounding NO, to those in power that abuse their positions, will words on a document mean anything. And then the next generation will have to do the same.

    I think instead of hoping for some magic writing to change or alter things, this is a time in history to substantiate the old adage that 'Actions mean more than words.'
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    • Posted by 8 years, 4 months ago
      Zenphany, the best action at this time would be to get as many objectivists into as many positions in the universities as possible.
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      • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
        I am an objectivist teaching chemical, biomedical, and materials engineering at Florida Tech. It's not exactly the Patrick Henry University, but being a private university (now in the world's top 200) with no tenure and minimal politics, it's as close to what you will find other than Hillsdale College. I fund most of my own research, helped start two companies and a nanotech minor program, and work with companies rather than government.
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      • Posted by Zenphamy 8 years, 4 months ago
        True enough, but that gives results in a couple of generations, not in the present.

        I tend to believe that's going to be a little late. Though it's drastically important for the future. Much of the genius of the Founders was in their study of Locke and Smith, which at fundamental levels shared many of the same values as an Objectivist.
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  • Posted by Robbie53024 8 years, 4 months ago
    Hmmm. Why doesn't the current one work?

    Couple of additions - Supreme court only has power to decide whether the law was applied correctly as to the wording of the law and to adjudicate disputes between states.
    Also that the right to vote is an earned right, not an inherent right.
    But those could easily be crafted as amendments to the current constitution.
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    • Posted by susan042462 8 years, 4 months ago
      Since the right to vote is set forth in the Constitution, how do see it as an earned right?
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      • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
        The right to vote was restricted to property owners back then, until it was changed through the amendment process. Women and African Americans should have the right to vote. However, regardless of anything else, only producers who have taken a pledge not to take Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, etc. should have the right to vote.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 8 years, 4 months ago
          You are correct. Many (most) people aren't taught what the environment was like in the earliest years of our nation. It was not merely that some didn't have the right to vote, only property (land) owners voted. It was also common belief that the citizens militia was not some defined organization such as the state National Guard (how inappropriately named), rather every man of age (which was in the early teens, not 18 or 21) was expected to pick up their long gun and rally to protect their town, county, and state - against internal as well as external threats. And if requested, they could attach themselves to the national militia.
          The founding fathers were just as much afraid of an overbearing national government oppressing the citizens as a foreign threat invading.
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        • Posted by mccannon01 8 years, 4 months ago
          Too late for me, unfortunately. I PAID into the SS Ponzi all my working life and now that I've retired, I want the ROI regardless of what other sources of income I may have.
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          • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
            This is understandable, but unfortunate. Whether it is the continued forced "contribution" to the SS Ponzi scheme delaying the retirement of younger persons or the decreased retirement accumulation for seniors, the SS Ponzi scheme is intolerable. The restriction to "producers only" having the right to vote as I have outlined (perhaps rather poorly) below is meant as a stronger control (as in PID engineering controls) against the tyranny of a democracy voting to defund its most productive citizens. Everyone should read what the Founding Fathers wrote about how detestable democracies were/are. America was founded as a republic. With the passage of several amendments (particularly the 17th), America has become a democracy. Just listen to how few people refer to America as a constitutionally-limited republic vs. a democracy.
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            • Posted by plusaf 8 years, 3 months ago
              Suggestion, jbrenner, from this engineer/marketing-trained guy....

              shift the problem/solution methodology to one of "ok, it took scores of years to get into this mess; let's back out gradually...." Phase in the necessary changes over APPROPRIATE time spans.... want to get rid of mortgage interest deductions? Lower the deduction 5% a year for 20 years until it's gone. That's probably a lot longer than the average duration of a home mortgage.... anyone who can't adjust to that change in 20 years shouldn't own a house...

              Ditto for ALL subsidies for ALL industries... perhaps over a ten-year span?

              and so on... Thoughts?
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              • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 3 months ago
                The problems with such a gradual transition are that 1) future Congresses can't be trusted to honor what laws previous Congresses passed, and 2) over such a long period of time, at a minimum, the value of money will have been greatly diminished. By then, there is a very strong likelihood that the dollar will no longer be the world's reserve currency.
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                • Posted by plusaf 8 years, 3 months ago
                  :)... well, the issue of 'not trusting future Congresses' seems to be pretty well established and proven already, so there's not much 'more' to fear there.. :)

                  And yes, the US Dollar may, some time in the future cease to be The World's Reserve Currency, but I think that point is less relevant to the concept of backing away from The Abyss gradually and predictably, rather than the typical Congressional solutions of "let's pass this law and everything will be fixed in time for my re-election."

                  :)
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            • Posted by mccannon01 8 years, 4 months ago
              Jbrenner, these government programs shouldn't have been started in the first place, but we are stuck with them until TSHTF, or until our so called representatives find a way to privatize them. I think TSHTF will come first.

              What I wished to point out to you is your criteria for voting rights needs a bit more thought. Many of us producers had a portion of that production confiscated in the name of one government program or another and now that we are in the winter of our life spans we want the expected return or protections. When I was much younger I could see a way out of this mess before it got too bad (by gradual privatization) but by the end of the 80s or early 90s I felt it was too late. Look at the kick in the teeth Bush 43 got for bringing up the subject. Too late.

              Side note: You mentioned PID controls. Are you a process control engineer or technician?
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              • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
                I am a chemical, biomedical, and materials engineer, but not a controls engineer. I specialize in nanotechnology. I completely agree that my criteria need more thought. Most good ideas need iterated upon before implementation. Even the Constitution had its Articles of Confederation. I couldn't agree more regarding Bush 43's attempt to privatize SS; it was one of the few good things he tried to do. I am 47, meaning that I was two months two young to vote for Reagan the second time. This also means that, in a general election, I have not had anyone to vote FOR in my lifetime that had a chance to win. As an example, back in the 2008 Republican primary, I ranked Romney 9th and McCain 10th (and last) on my list of Republican candidates to consider. Thus, in a general election, I have not voted for either of the top two candidates in my lifetime. I am neither young enough to have any hope that the S will HTF in my lifetime nor quite wealthy enough to retire. The two small businesses that I was a minor partner have been bought out (actually a good thing in both cases). In addition to my professorial duties, I am considering starting a new 3D printing business geared toward printing metals for a couple of industries and/or polymers for tissue scaffolding. Both require more precision than is currently available.
                I am more like Quentin Daniels than Galt.
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                • Posted by mccannon01 8 years, 4 months ago
                  When I recently decided to retire, I was a process controls programmer for chemical making and manufacturing systems. I contracted through an engineering firm to companies requiring my skills. I've been programming since 1972. Good luck on your 3D venture.
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                  • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
                    Thanks for the well wishes. I'll need them. If you're near east central Florida and you would like to share some of your experience, I'll pay for your dinner and trip to talk to some young Galts in training. Florida Tech isn't quite the Patrick Henry University, but it's about as close as you are going to find. Your area within the chemicals business is the one that is hardest to teach in school.
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                    • Posted by mccannon01 8 years, 4 months ago
                      Interesting coincidence of events. Although my home is near Rochester, NY I am currently in New Smyrna Beach (just south of Daytona) on family business. It is taking all my time and I'm not sure if I can break away for some weeks to come. I don't need a free dinner, but it would be nice to chat. My programming skills have had me in factories all over the US as well as a couple of opportunities to live in different cities in China to work in chemical making facilities. Uh oh, wife calling and have to go, lol.
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                      • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
                        New Smyrna Beach is a nice area.
                        I live about an hour south of there, and work 1/2 hour further south in Melbourne at Florida Tech.
                        Enjoy Bike Week coming up right after the Daytona 500. If you want to come down and chat, call me at 321-749-3437. You pick the evening.
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                        • Posted by mccannon01 8 years, 4 months ago
                          Jbrenner, I've recorded the number you provided so, if you can, edit or delete the message containing it to prevent possible crank calls (you are a brave soul doing that!). I'll contact you when I get a window of opportunity when we can chat. You are correct that it would be difficult to teach all of what I do in a classroom environment. Experiencing the chemical and manufacturing environment facing real world problems while management has a hand on your shoulder asking "how much is this costing?" and "is it done yet?" as well as knowing injury (or worse) to personnel, yourself, and the environment can easily occur if you make a mistake. It can be rewarding when a system you helped bring up can process oil spill from the Gulf of Mexico and send oil one way and potable water the other. I haven't always worked with process controls. In the 80s I worked with a research team developing signal processing systems (machine vision) that could identify defects in moving web material (plastic or metal). I found myself testing it in a steel mill looking for defects the human eye couldn't see in coil stock moving hundreds of feet per minute. The end result was to be able to map and cut out or cut around defects that would otherwise end up in the canning industry or automotive industry, meaning better cans for food storage and better car bodies. Every American ought to experience a steel mill. One thing for me is it really brought Rearden steel to life.

                          I've worked with computer assisted manufacturing in many forms and in many computer languages in many different environments practically since it was invented. I certainly do not know all there is to know because the field is gigantic, but it's fascinating as anything could possibly be. I was constantly learning and that was all part of the fun. This field, the way I've experienced it, always keeps you on the edge of technology. How DO "they" really make that super thin nearly unbreakable touchscreen glass on a cell phone or tablet? Been there and seen it.

                          One of my grandsons asked me what I do and I related some of my experiences to him, but in the end I asked if he ever saw the movie "The Matrix". When he said yes, I recalled for him the scene where Neo and the Commissioner were standing on the balcony overlooking the chasm containing the manufacturing sector. The Commissioner told Neo (I'm paraphrasing here) "There are the machines that purify our water, make our food, our clothing, our energy, and many other things. Nobody knows how they work anymore but they keep on working". "Well", I told him," I am one of the 'ancients' that has a knowledge, even if imperfect, of how a good slice of it works. I can program the computers that make computers." He smiled.

                          Hey, this old guy has probably bored you enough for now and I have other things to do. Catch you later!
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                          • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
                            I am not afraid of a few crank calls. I haven't gotten any yet. I've been in mills, but haven't worked in one. However, I am thinking of buying my own CNC mill. I realize that is another kind of mill entirely.


                            While I am currently a professor, that is because my employer plays by Galt's rules, or at least allows me to do so. I have been a minor partner in two small businesses, but I refuse to do so during this administration that took $100 K of my parents' retirement money in the form of GM bonds and offered them $225 in a threatening letter. Being a professor right now is my form of strike.
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      • Posted by Robbie53024 8 years, 4 months ago
        This thread is about what one would change to improve a governing document. As such, I don't believe that the ability to vote oneself goodies without having contributed anything in the first place is stupid.
        The right to exercise control (by virtue of a vote) should be earned, and not an inherent right.
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
      The current one doesn't work because it has been followed since prior to 1913 and probably since prior to 1896. Ayn Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged that money goes to those capable of possessing it (a paraphrase). One should note that the time of America's greatest expansion was from 1865 to 1896, not coincidentally the time it best followed the constitution (or at least when those who violated it had the least impact).
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 8 years, 4 months ago
      And perhaps that a supreme court ruling could be overridden in the same manner as a presidential veto.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 8 years, 4 months ago
        This one to me sounds good, but could have really extreme secondary effects. What I would prefer to do is to explicitly limit the ability of Courts to invalidate ballot measures. When 1-3 judges can overrule and negate a State's Constitutional vote, that to me is a sign of an imbalanced judiciary.
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      • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
        Politics don't belong intertwined with court or your congressman could effect the outcome of court cases for the politically connected.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 8 years, 4 months ago
          1) You don't think that is already happening?
          2) Since it would require a 2/3 vote of both the house and senate to override, it would protect against singular action by one or a small group of legislators.
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          • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
            See every time you set up a constitutional convention you run the risk of lobbyists destroying the whole document. We have a quandry right now we are sitting in the lobbyist's lair.
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  • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
    An amendment that states the Courts shall determine the constitutionality of any law by applying the complete and literal interpretation, not implied interpretation from parts of sentences.
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  • Posted by Rozar 8 years, 4 months ago
    People always look to government to solve their problems. Then recoil in horror when the government they created tries to solve too many problems.
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  • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years, 4 months ago
    How is the U.S. Constitution deficient that it needs to be replaced?
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    • Posted by Rozar 8 years, 4 months ago
      It didn't stop us from reaching where we are at today.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 8 years, 4 months ago
        That doesn't answer the question. There are any number of reasons why the Constitution might not have been able to stop us from reaching where we are today.
        In what specific ways was it deficient that it *wasn't* able to stop us from reaching where we are today?
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        • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
          The framers anticipated the situation that we are in today, as did de Tocqueville. The framers of the Constitution crafted the part of the Constitution that Mark Levin is trumpeting as the "relief valve" for just such a situation. The problem that we have now is that we lack enough people in federal or state government to take action consistent with the Constitution. In fact, the Constitutional lawyer-in-chief has violated most of the amendments to the Constitution, not to mention the original document. Yet, we lack statesmen (or women) who view the Constitution as more important than their own political objectives.
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        • Posted by Rozar 8 years, 4 months ago
          I think it answered the question. It was deficient, I.E. It didn't work, because if it did work we wouldn't be where we are today.

          Then again you are correct that I didn't state the specific ways in which it was deficient. Though if you asked me, I think the deficiency lies in the fact that it was written on paper without any kind of free market Competition to enforce the contract if it is breached.
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      • Posted by rlewellen 8 years, 4 months ago
        We didn't stop it. We vote for them over and over never a distant runner up only the man the media pushes with their little polls and kind questions.
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    • Posted by Wolf_DeVoon 8 years ago
      It was a mistake to post anything here. This page has huge page rank on Google, and there's zero curiosity or intellectual depth on this thread. If you came here looking for information about my book, or an Objectivist philosophy of law -- sorry, it ain't here. Like the real estate promoter in Chile who never read Atlas Shrugged, most of the folks on this list (except MikeMarotta, below) wouldn't know a tort from a teaspoon.
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  • Posted by Notperfect 8 years, 3 months ago
    If James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and a few other great men did what they intended to fix the problems of the Articles of Confederation we might not be in this fix we are in today. You can read all this from the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers at Publius Huldah, Publius on the Constitution. Following the Constitution should have been easy, but some wanted a Monarchy from which they had just won a battle over. Article V states what can be done to resolve this prob. and some states are trying this method.
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  • Posted by mso_apilgrim 8 years, 4 months ago
    In conjunction with or prior to an Objectivist Constitution, may I suggest someone compile the "Objectivist Papers" (a la the Federalist Papers) to promote and evangelize among the delegates to the ratification convention.
    Or, compile an "Objectivist Manifesto", and implement it under the radar in like manner as the policies in the Communist Manifesto are observed to be implemented.
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  • Posted by JohnR 8 years, 4 months ago
    We don't need a new constitution as long as we can amend the one we have. It's already been done nearly 30 times. I especially believe that the Interstate Commerce Clause needs to be amended so that the feds can't keep using it to take rights away from the states and the people. It was only meant to allow the fed to arbitrate disputes between the states with regard to commerce. This clause has been co-opted by the feds with the help of the SCOTUS (in a horribly flawed decision) in ways that the Founding Fathers never intended. It needs to be amended to be as restrictive to fed powers as it should have been in the first place.
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  • Posted by bassboat 8 years, 4 months ago
    Mankind knows right from wrong. I would abolish all laws and leave individuals responsible for their actions. If they were sued by someone they would be tried by a jury of their peers i.e., a steelworker would be tried by fellow steel workers, a retailer would be tried by retailers. It would be up to the to administer justice, the punishment for the crime. Only murder, rape, and theft would be a law on the books. Also the loser of a lawsuit would be responsible for court costs and bot attorney's fees. Of course my solution will never happen but he asked how the document should read. My idea is that the document would not have legal mumbo-jumbo in it as all laws would be erased.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 8 years, 4 months ago
    Here's a few suggestions for the existing U.S. Constitution: the 2nd amendment should be reworded to express the original intent:
    "The right of the people to bear and use arms in defense of self, family, community, state, or nation shall not be infringed."

    Abolish the 16th amendment, or modify it to specify payment by the states for legitimate Federal responsibilities.

    Abolish the 17th amendment, and return the election of senators to the state legislatures.

    Establish term limits for not only Representatives and Senators, but for the Judiciary (probably 12 years, to reduce political influence).

    I felt the discussion had gone away from specifics.
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 8 years, 4 months ago
      Certainly Dr. Zarkov's statements are correct. The most important of these is the 17th amendment repeal. States have no say anymore, leaving them to be led around by their Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services puppet masters in the form of grants.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 8 years, 4 months ago
    I agree 100% with coaldigger who wrote: "Until there is wide acceptance of an objectivist philosophy there is little chanced of success for obtaining a constitution based on objectivism. "

    I have a couple of articles on my blog:
    An Unlimited Constitutional Government
    http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2011/...
    and "Another Example of Unlimited Constitutional Government"
    http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2011/...

    That said, if you read the archives, you will see that we have had this discussion here in the Gulch a couple of times over the last year. Put "Constitution" in the search box and eventually you will this
    http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/95...
    and some others like it.
    I launched that one based on my blog post here:
    http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/95...

    Those discussions somewhat more fruitful than the grousing here. However, as here, hardly anyone actually had a proposal and the few who did had one pet idea such as a bullet-proof Second Amendment. The subject is complicated and it deserves productive, consistent thought and discussion.

    Given the existence of an Objectivist society - just one where Reality, Reason, and Egoism were commonly and broadly accepted, however much most people disagreed or just ignored the actual technical philosophy. (For example, consider the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. We hold ancient Athens in high regard, but it was ruled by ignorant, superstitious farmers who persecuted philosophers. Still, the underlying cultural foundations encouraged those philosophers.) So, too, with a future "Objectivist" society. So, given that, what would the governments look like?

    The national government might be only a part-time biennial legislature which meets only to fund the federal courts, federal marshals, and military.

    At the local levels, the courts might be the primary engines of law, with no need for city councils and state legislatures and county commissions. Some people complain about an "active judiciary" but that is the English Common Law tradition: benchmade law. If you read John Locke's "Second Treatise on Government" you will see that the Courts were NOT a branch of government. His three were the legislature, the administrator, and the diplomatic corps. For Locke, the courts were COMMUNITY institutions that protected against the government: the king's men had to come to court of competent jurisdiction for a warrant and then they were accompanied by an officer of the court who saw that they followed the writ.

    Just sayin' here, you have to look to history and imagine the future. Science fiction rests on a fundamental paradox: we live here and now and imaging some other society is challenged by not actually living in that society. (See "Inspecting the Objectivist Theory of Government" here: http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2014/...)

    It could be that in operating "police forces" the government has NO (or very few) forces of its own, but acts as a LICENSING agency, to validate and approve qualified private firms and individuals. Ultimately, the government would hold that final monopoly on retaliatory force, but the daily operations would not be by government employees. We have seen this trend already for over a generation with lesser police services contracted out.
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  • Posted by kyllacon 8 years, 4 months ago
    The President has no power that is not specifically outlined in the constitution. The rights enumerated in The Bill of Rights are rights belonging to the individual and are not to be abridged by requiring an individual to obtain a license or permit to facilitate the free exercise of said rights. The Supreme Court can only rule on the case presented based on its constitutionality and may only judge the merits of the case presented as either constitutional or unconstitutional. The Supreme Court cannot alter language or amend any arguments presented to the court.
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