Rewrite the Constitution

(Apologies if this topic is U.S.-centric, but I’m most subject to U.S. laws, so they’re the ones I’m most interested in.)

It’s been almost a quarter of a century millenium since the U.S. Constitution was written. We have had a lot of time to see the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. government. Surely in that time we’ve learned something about the art and science of government. So, if we were writing it today, we would almost definitely write it differently. What would you change?

I think my one big change would be voting reform. I would like to see a system that allows for more than two candidates, and that tallies votes in a more sophisticated way to reflect public opinion. There are a several more complex voting systems that would satisfy this, and the Wikipedia article on voting systems is fascinating. The smallest change from our current system would probably be a single-winner system like Ranked Pairs or Schultz, in which votes are in the form of an ordered list of candidates, and which much better reflect the desire of the populace. Alternatively, a multi-winner system could be used for some elections, such as congressional or senate elections when multiple spots are up.

Also, I would make it a lot clearer that there is a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. I would probably use the phrase ‘wall of separation.’

EDITED (thanks, Silhouette)

Just to catch this one early, I think you mean ‘almost a quarter of a millenium since the U.S. Constitution was written.’

I am a Brit, so I might be wrong, but just thought I’d give you a heads up to edit ur post if not - feel free to delete this response before u edit too.

The first things that need to be done immediately is to clarify or delete the Commerce Clause which has been used to justify every bit of socialist crap since Social Security, and repeal the 16th Amendment justifying the income tax. Replace it with the FairTax.

Almost as important would be to require the states to have citizens earn the right to vote by passing a test on their knowledge of the Constitution, taxes (that money isn’t just printed), and simple American History. It would be a very simple test only, that any 5th grader who hadn’t sleep walked through the first four grades could pass–not even a tenth as hard as the test candidates for naturalized citizenship have to take. Of course the Democrats would howl bloody murder. “How would any of us ever get re-elected? Who could we demagogue?”

TS. Try honesty for a change. No wait, that would only make things worse.

The Constitution does not state that the right to vote may not be abridged on the basis of ignorance. Any citizen could spend two weeks and earn the right to vote if they needed to learn what the schools didn’t teach them in the second grade to begin with.

Finally, reassert the authority of the states by repealing the 17th Amendment which established the popular election of senators instead of having the state legislature select them as representatives of the states themselves. The House of Representatives represents the people.

After we instate a mandatory (simple) test for voting, let’s do another (simple) one for PARENTING directly thereafter. If any moron can vote, then why do we still allow any moron to breed, as well? Are not the results just as disastrous as electing morons in the first place? We bred them. Now they vote AND lead. Let’s not repeat our past mistakes.

I am talking like 1+1=2, and “The cat is a noun”, Q&A.

Rewriting the constitution in this day and age would be essentially impossible. Bipartisanship is through the roof and every jonny jerkoff with a blog or podcast would be screaming their opinions louder than ever. The politics in this country are a mess and people seem more interesting in scoring politcal points than actually fixing problems. To decide on a new foundation for this country now would be like letting a million drunks take the wheel.

TPT, CI, I’ve thought about the voting test before, but one problem I find is in determining who gets to write the test. Simple wording differences could drastically affect elections when applied across the entire country. And the meaning of Constitutional clauses and amendments is not always clear: the second, for example, can be interpreted as securing the right to bear arms to individuals, or securing the right for the people to form arms-bearing militias.

No-body, I agree with you completely; that’s why we’re having a few enlightened individuals suggest changes :smiley: The change I suggested, to change the way we vote, is in large part a measure to take power away from the political parties we have today. I think the entrenched interests of the Republicans and Democrats are a corrupting force on our government, and I think Madison would agree with me.

Another change I would suggest: flatten out government. Similar to TPT’s suggestion to give power back to the states, I would take it farther, creating stronger and more participatory local government structures, and taking more power away from the federal government.

Also, two new rights: the right to information, and the right to relocation. The second is necessary to make greater state power possible, ensuring that you can always go to a different state if you don’t like the laws of the state your in.

Have any of you heard of futarchy? It’s a form of government using prediction markets to devise policy. It’s intriguing, and would require a complete rewrite of the constitution to enact.

A couple of notes. First, states that whine the most about the federal government are also the biggest welfare states,
by that I mean they take in more federal government money, than they put into the pot via taxes. Chances are the red states are
bigger welfare states than blue states and … -

So there is our proof about taxes.

Now as far as state getting more power, that ship has sailed. States simply cannot do the things we expect of them by themselves.
Immigration is a fitting example, the reason ARZ passed that stupid law was because they felt the feds weren’t doing enough, why the feds,
because a state on its own cannot handle the influx of immigrants. And such matter as defense and homeland security cannot be dealt with
on a state level either, states cannot be trusted to do the right thing in almost any matter. I point out Virgina recent flap about promoting the
confederacy without noticing that the basis of the confederacy was slavery.

Voting needs to be done on a national level to prevent the 2000 disaster, so the feds need to take over all, ALL, voting matters in the U.S.
No more local or states being in charge of voting.

We need to see the truth about the states ability to run matters and they aren’t very good at all.


It’s now, or in the aftermath (good analogy though).

You don’t understand. When I said 5th grade simple I meant it. I might have even been over-stating it. I’m talking questions like what are the three branches of government, what are the deductions the government takes from your paycheck, what country did we fight the Revolutionary War against, how can a candidate manipulate voters, do candidates have to tell the truth? No personalities allowed. Total no-brainers, you can retest every week AND, we’d teach the test. They’d just have to remember it from the 10 page cheat sheet on the walk from outside the test room to the chad-free answer sheet. And there’d still be a 30-50% no-show/failure rate (the sloth/apathy factor), because it would have to be on your own time and couldn’t be taken concurrently with or in the same location as your driver’s license test. It would, in the words of Ulysses Everett McGill, “flush the chumps”.

I’d volunteer to administrate the test, putting the fear of my 3’ rod into their little minds if they so much as messed with their blinders or gag. And if they needed to be excused, I’d say OK…see you next week.

^ What Painful Truth just said. There are word phrases, by the way, that are universal. “I speak English.” = “Yo hablo Inglés.” = “Je parle anglais.” Now, we can identify the noun, verb, and subject/object without much difficulty, correct? I mean, this is easy to understand. Or, at least it should be. If somebody is stupid enough not to understand the very words they speak, then you are telling me that these kinds of people should VOTE or LEAD NATIONS or PARENT???

Hell no.

I’m not saying they won’t understand the questions, but that there are multiple legitimate interpretations of the questions. Painful Truth, your question “how can a candidate manipulate voters?” could be correctly answered “by talking about religion” or “by praising the nanny state,” and it will depend who’s providing the multiple choice answers.

I don’t think there’s a neutral way to create a test. Even very simple questions like “what country did we fight the Revolutionary War against?” can be part of a game of disenfranchising the right voters. I don’t know for sure, but I’m willing to bet there are simple questions like these that Republicans tend to know more readily than Democrats, and vice versa, would you agree? I’m thinking, Republicans might tend to know more about the founding and the revolution and such, and Democrats might tend to know more about the civil rights era. I’m not saying that the difference is drastic, but if the difference is just a few percentage points across the whole country, it could drastically affect our elections.

Another problem is that a test taken in ones free time favors those with free time. An single individual working two jobs and taking care of her kids by herself won’t be able to find the time to take the test, whereas a 9-5er with a nanny will be able to squeeze it in much more easily.

Peter, I think you raise a good point. If states have more freedom from federal regulation, they should also have less support from federal aid programs. If everyone in the US is spending money on a state, they deserve a say in how that state is conducting itself.
But I think you overstate the problems with state sovereignty. Yes, states make mistakes, but there’s not really anything all that wrong with it. John Dewey referred to the states as “the laboratories of democracy,” where different approaches could be tried, and part of the value was that the states could make mistakes and learn from them.

I think you don’t fully understand the purpose of voting in America. It is a system originally designed to find out which decisions are supported by a given circle fo people - but it is not used that way anymore. It is mainly a controlling device - a way of keeping the masses calm and under control by giving them the impression that they are deciding, making politics. But they have no part in which candidates are being put forward, no vote in setting the programme that is to be debated, no voice in the determination of the context of the elections, no way of breaking through the artificial dichotomy that is being presented to them to allow for a choice.

If your plan would be presented, the masses would wake up to the idea that the constitution does not apply - all men are not considered equal, and, if lethargy hasn’t crept too deep into the bones, they would probably revolt in some way. Which is to be avoided - hence, the illusion of ‘free’ elections.


No, the Republicans generally, would be more knowledgeable period, which is a major obstacle to disenfranchising the ignorant. It never should have been given to them in the first place. And I submit that the number of Democrats who are victims of demagoguery is a much larger proportion than of Republicans because they are more focused on integrity rather than on their leaders merely telling them what they want to hear. An excellent indication of that is the fact that there are so many Republicans and conservatives who criticize their own, while Democrats defend anyone with a D behind their name to the total sacrifice of all reason (e.g. Jim Crow).

And speaking of race/civil rights, you’d be wrong there. It was the Republicans who got the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts passed over the opposition of mostly Democrats. Martin Luther King was a Republican, as was his father, and the race war-lords are still doing tap dances around King’s belief that we should be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. The death of focus by a majority of voters on character is directly proportional to the lack of it in our elected leaders (e.g. JFK to Uncle Teddy). It was the Democrats who ascended to power with The War on Poverty, The Great Society and affirmative action.

And if Democrat knowledge of the foundations of our country is lacking, don’t pander to it as we’ve been doing, fix it. If questions are questionable such as voter manipulation and unbiased answers can’t be found, dump it. But we absolutely need minimally informed voters. We can’t just ignore 40 years of our children being dumbed-down to the benefit of those politicians who instituted that result.

Now you’re resorting to hyperbole. If they can get away to vote, they can take the time to take the test once in their life. And why is it that there are always Democrats available to be bussed in from states away for demonstrations–and voting. And no it’s not their dedication–except maybe to keeping the handouts coming so they can continue to veg out the rest of the time on the couch. Not sayin’ all Dems are that way, just that their proportion is much larger.

That doesn’t seem to be true. It definitely was once true, but in the most recent presidential election, education level favored Democrats. But that’s sort of besides the point.

We could craft a set of questions that would favor Democrats, and one that would favor Republicans, or even more fundamentally, one that favors federalism versus one that favors state sovereignty, or individualism vs. collectivism, what have you. As such, the decision of how to shape the test becomes as important and political as the election that it influences. It adds another gameable layer to the political process.

I believe businesses are required to give employees time off to vote.


CI hit on the prime issue in an oblique sort of way with his comment about parenting.

Funny, I’m seen as a “liberal” but most of the things that need to be done BEFORE we try to re-write the constitution are of a most conservative nature.

First and foremost. The problems we face all funnel back to the issue of citizenship. Just what is a “citizen” of this country? The dumbest definition ever as policy. You just have to be born here or be naturalized by knowing what is assumed known by the privileged by birth.

If you want coherent consistency the first thing you do is make citizenship an earned position and not just granted by birth.

So what does earned mean? To be a citizen it means:

  1. Gathering enough education to be viable in the occupational work force.
  2. Learning how to balance a check book, and knowing the costs of credit.
  3. Knowing what marraige is - and isn’t no matter sexual preferences.
  4. Knowing what parenting is - and isn’t. (thank you, CI)
  5. Learning enough critical thinking skills to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Add whatever seems necessary to the list, but the bottom line is you aren’t a citizen until you are capable of getting through your life WITHOUT COSTING ME ANY MONEY!

Now the fun part: Parents are responsible for seeing that their children can pass the “test” of citizenship. Not only are they responsible, but they remain responsible until each becomes a citizen. Whether that child is eighteen or forty, they are the parents responsibility. After about three generations, we now have real citizens capable of making informed decisions.

We supply a safety net for those who are blind-sided by circumstances beyond their control, but in the main, a citizen is expected to care for themselves. This rids us of entitlements and the host of other cradle-to-grave crapola programs that keeps our so-called citizens suspended in childhood.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. That’s the guarantees we should all enjoy. But only if we are willing to earn those rights. All that just for being born? What a dumb idea.

Could any of this actually happen? Hell no. But it is fun to think about…

Sort of on this topic, there’s a good number of people in Alabama who are actively seeking to have the constitution rewritten here.

Check this out, (copied from wikipedia):

At 357,157 words, the document is 12 times longer than the average state constitution, 40 times longer than the U.S. Constitution, and is the longest still-operative constitution anywhere in the world.

The Preamble runs:
We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

The President of the Constitutional Convention stated in his inaugural address that their intention was “within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this State.”

Rights to freedom of property need to be more clearly expressed. We also do need more voting rights provisions, accurate and fair voting, no voter machines and all that shit. Also the legislative process could be altered so as to include more public input in the form of secure online personal voting on individual issues. That goes into the main thing the Constitution needs: a media rights clause. We need the right to free expression in media, the right to local control of media outlets and broadcasting, the right to disclose ownership and control of major media corporations. That also ought to include absolute prohibitions on government and media collusion. And more restrictions on government and business collusion in general would be good.

That being said, the other major thing to change in the Constitution is to add the provision that the federal budget needs to be balanced every year, just like state budgets currently need to be. That would pretty much solve most of our problems. Also along with that, the Constitution needs to make it explicitly illegal to rent out our monetary process and currency minting to foreign or private interests, which is what we have now with the Fed.

Oh, and public officials must consent to waiving a great deal of their rights to privacy in terms of financial information. The American people ought to have the right to know the details of who and what is contributing to their politicians.

And it goes pretty much without saying that corporations and organizations of any kind, profit or non-profit, are not “individuals” and do not have individual rights of any kind. It is pretty pathetic that this would need to be explicitly stated in the Constitution, but unfortunately it seems necessary to do so.

Tent, what do we do with non-citizens? Expel them? Deny them rights? It seems that need to be secured at least a minimal right to prove themselves citizens, but what about, e.g., the right to object to a system that denies them the rights of citizens?

That caught me off guard. Voting machines seem to be absolutely essential to fair and accurate voting information. There are systems that can reliably collect voting information using computers that aren’t subject to gaming, and I think that’s much preferable to hanging chads human error.

This hasn’t worked perfectly for states. There should be something in place to keep the deficit down, but deficits aren’t inherently bad, as most car- and homeowners will tell you. If you can get a low-interest loan and use the money to produce more value than you own, it’s a very smart decision to take out the loan. In a society like the US, which is (was?) a global leader in higher education and innovation, it’s virtually guaranteed that being in debt is worthwhile, because there is a net gain from the loan.

I absolutely agree, especially since ordinary citizen’s privacy is going to be reduced to nil over the next few decades.

The may be true, but the liberalization and over-feminization of education over that last generation has had a very deleterious effect. They thought a black deserved a chance, particularly one as clean and articulate as Obama–and how could we possibly go wrong with “hope & change”. Never mind his total lack of experience and Saul Alinsky/Chicago political machine background. People have been raised and taught to emote, not think. Also, I think the Democrats still have a large share at the low end.

Those problems can be avoided as I’ve pointed out. Of course, no matter how far backward you bend, there will always be those who will fight to keep the largest power base they can get away with, and so will never agree to anything the opposition comes up with.

Because most state governments, like the federal government, aren’t held accountable, or run by responsible representatives. … n31428758/

So, are the feds gonna bail out the basket cases like Cal-e-FOR-nia? With What? They’re $14 trillion in debt.

Perhaps they can be reliable, but here in the US they are corrupted and capable of errors. There are good documentaries out there that catalogue this. Diebold, etc make machines that are designed to be accessed and manipulated. Anything done on computers can be corrupted, of course. The more you computerize the voting process, the more potential for error you get.

The best way to administer voting is to design a non-computerized system which avoids the hanging chad sort of problems. That is not impossible, and could easily be done. We dont need to give away our voting to machines and the unknown programmers and operators of those machines. We need a simple system where you physically mark something that cannot be changed or forged, a clear record of that vote, an open transparency of the counting process, and a means by which the votes are later re-checked for accuracy.

The problem is that government doesnt spend its own money, it has little incentive to remain fiscally responsible. The individual can take out loans and be responsible because he/she has to bear the consequences as an individual of those loans. Government beuracrats do not.

History shows us that when governments start manipulating currencies and taking out huge debt, it doesnt end well. This is because the nature of what a government entity is does not coicide well with the nature of debt spending - there is an almost absolute lack of incentive for responsibility. And even if it begins responsibly, over time it will tend to irresponsibility and corruption. That is also the nature of government.

Plus, an individual who fucks up and takes on too much debt can file for bankrupcy and start over, and in fact this is an inherent part of the debt system. If we are to take the debt system to the level of government spending, we cannot pretend that this option is off the table - we need to admit that it is possible that our government will, as a result of its debt spending, become insolvent. And that is something we should not accept, we should never accept that possibility as a given, rather we ought to institute systems which prevent it at all costs.

Individuals can recover from bankrupcy and financial mismanagement - a government spanning an entire nation of millions of people should never be allowed even the possibility of this, however.