16 May 2010

Undeterred Watchwords

Undeterred Watchwords

We the People, probably the most powerful three words ever written. We the People, not by the authority of deity, not by royal grant or decree, but We the People empower ourselves to ordain and establish this Constitution. We the People are doing this to form a more perfect Union of People into a form of government. We want Justice under the law. Everyone is equal under the law. We want no special exemptions, exceptions, titles or privileges for anyone. We hope to insure domestic tranquility, peace at home to promote the general Welfare. Mostly we desire to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and out Posterity. We, us here and now are that Posterity.

When you look at the US government today, sometimes you have to wonder if the government has maintained that original vision. The rest of the original Constitution mostly sets up a government by defining roles and powers. The constitution became the overarching gold standard against which all other laws were and are compared.

Then it’s almost like they said oops. We got so busy and involved dividing up the powers that we forgot we started out to create personal liberty. We better ensure it stays there. It was implied, but we better put liberty in writing, so the Bill of Rights was created. Almost everybody’s favorite amendment is the first one. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” These rights are commonly referred to as freedom of expression. Mormons love this amendment because it lets them practice polygamy and close their temples to unworthy outsiders. Gays and lesbians simply adore this amendment because it lets them have pride parades and celebrate diversity. Pagan witches worship this amendment because they can celebrate their rites free from persecution. It’s a hit the BDSM, fetish and body modification communities because they get to do their thing. Notice that each of the groups mentioned is a minority in one way or another.

When I thought hard about the purpose of government. I asked my self if any government at all is really necessary. After all most people are law abiding peaceful citizens not in need of an outside authority or enforcer. I finally came to the conclusion that government is a necessary evil, necessary to protect ordinary people from people and organizations that are big, bad and mean. The government’s purpose is to serve as a source of justice for injuries suffered, to protect the little guy from the big guy. The Constitution was set up so any minority is protected from a tyranny of the majority. People supporting unpopular ideas are protected from having to conform to the mores and values of the majority. Usually when a law is found unconstitutional it’s the result of a majority trying to impose their values on a minority. Which is why California’s Proposition 8 and anti-polygamy laws are unconstitutional. They impose the will and values of the majority on an unpopular minority.

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