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View Diary: Rep. Hank Johnson to introduce bill to stop providing military equipment to local police forces (194 comments)

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  •  US constitution conceived as a minimalist document (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, Pluto, vetter, Phoenix Woman

    Whose purpose was only to outline the structure and powers of the federal government: to define the tool but not dictate its use.  What I perceive about more modern constitutions is their tendency to codify what the US Constitution either takes for granted or regards as matters of law or personal conduct beyond the "proper" scope of a constitution.  After all, many of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention saw a bill of rights as superfluous.

    You see this in the tendency to look to amending the US Constitution as a "nuclear option" to settle issues once and for all and either create or foreclose vast expanses of behavior, explicitly on the part of the state and implicitly on the part of the people.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:45:36 PM PDT

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    •  The US Constitution can no longer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, Heart of the Rockies

      …be amended, so that is a moot point. It is correctly regarded as "entrenched." The barrier is too high in the 21st century.

      Jefferson said it must be rewritten every 19 years -- because no living generation can be ruled by laws written by a dead generation. It kills generational sovereignty.

      While I do believe in high courts, no one in the world pays attention to the US Supreme Court anymore. They were once held in high regard, but they are now irrelevant in the 21st century -- and rarely cited -- because they are bound by an obsolete and morally compromised agreement with an embarrassing bastard birth that no amount of patching can fix.



      For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.
      - Albert Einstein:  Leftist, socialist, emo-prog, cosmic visionary.

      by Pluto on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 02:11:16 PM PDT

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      •  Jefferson was a romantic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto

        There's a pretty big gap between "living Constitution" thought that allows changes in interpretations (if not the words themselves) and "penumbras" and the punctuated equilibrium that Jefferson suggested.  I fear that the latter would be dangerously destabilizing: the fundamental relationship between citizens and the state totally redefined as many as three times within a human lifetime.  There's also simply no way that a constitution for the whole US could be written today, unless it was written by a narrow and homogeneous group and only sold to the rest of us.  A constitutional convention like that of 1787 would quickly degenerate into fragmenting of the Union and possible civil war, as attempts to form a government always do when there are such fierce divisions of identity and values amongst the people who are supposed to be governed by a single entity.  There's also the question of which of at least two living adult generations would be the one writing the laws by which all the others will live by: the young or the old?

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 02:50:45 PM PDT

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        •  Yes, he was a romantic. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Visceral, JVolvo, Phoenix Woman

          Of course, the human lifespan was much, much shorter when the relic was written with a feather on a sheep's ass. So, his 19 years probably made more sense back in those ancient times.

          Otherwise, I so agree with you. It would be impossible to write a constitution for the entire US -- in no small part because we have a Civil War that has been actively raging for over 160 years.

          It's pretty clear that the US will have to break up into autonomous regions in fairly short order. The nation simply cannot afford itself as it is and those pressures will intensify as parts of it revert to desert and die.

          It's a conversation the country needs to have as soon as possible, but I can't think of a way to introduce the topic without everybody having a psychotic episode.



          For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.
          - Albert Einstein:  Leftist, socialist, emo-prog, cosmic visionary.

          by Pluto on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:02:35 PM PDT

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          •  plenty on the right are happy to talk about it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto, Phoenix Woman
            It's a conversation the country needs to have as soon as possible, but I can't think of a way to introduce the topic without everybody having a psychotic episode.
            Plenty on the left too, but we tend to get caught up on the morality of sanctioning Wingnuttistan - we have to save all the conservatives too, you see ... "And what about all the liberals in Texas?!"  Practically speaking, the problems of partition are going to be managing the inevitable population transfers (and making sure aggressive ethnic cleansing doesn't break out, especially with an eye towards influencing where the borders get drawn), integrating millions of people who've shown up with only what they could carry, dealing with trade issues and the loss of tax revenues (the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into 8 countries ignited a local depression), and in our case, dividing up the world's most powerful military.

            Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

            by Visceral on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:22:39 PM PDT

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            •  I was thinking we could have (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kay3295, Phoenix Woman, raboof

              …a consortium of Leaders in the Middle East come over and draw the borders for us. And oversee the transition.



              For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.
              - Albert Einstein:  Leftist, socialist, emo-prog, cosmic visionary.

              by Pluto on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:52:32 PM PDT

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              •  if the point is to make sure it all blows up (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pluto, Phoenix Woman

                Borders drawn by people ignorant of local identities, loyalties, and interests is what caused the problems in the Middle East.  Logically any borders they drew would have the same effect on us.  I don't know what you'd expect to achieve other than some weird kind of proxy revenge; if so, you're targeting the wrong people - the corpse of the Ottoman Empire was divided up by England and France.

                New England, Greater NYC, Appalachia, the Black Belt, the Lowland South, North Cuba, Scandihoovia, the Driftless Area, Chicagoland, Farm Country, Cow Country, Cascadia, Mormonia, El Norte, Teksis, NorCal, the Bay Area, SoCal, Desert, Hawaii, Alaska, and that's just for starters.

                Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

                by Visceral on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 04:14:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I actually have an extensive collection (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Visceral, Phoenix Woman

                  ….of proposed maps of regions based on all sorts of demographics, economics, geography, and even global geopolitical connections. You are so knowledgeable about all of this, I would be very intrigued by your take. Many times I've wanted to publish them, but it's hard to frame it conversationally.

                  Meanwhile, your caveats, above, about divisions are really amped. There is no reason at all that there should be anything contentious about migration. There is every incentive for decency toward people; the punishment for a region being shunned economically would be too drastic to risk. Additionally, there would still be a general union, and all kinds of wonderful benefits for participating. Why do people always look upon things like this as a disaster rather than a joyous occurrence and a great deal of fun and friendly competition and hosting and tourism and celebration.

                  People are so terrified of change and creation these days. The US is a rich nation, and once the international murder-sprees cease, the people can enjoy their bounty together. Given the geography of the US, there is really no reason for an extensive military. It is the safest, most protected location on the planet.

                  This is the greatest folly and most profound waste in the history of mankind. It is the source for all the hardship that Americans suffer. And it can finally end:



                  For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.
                  - Albert Einstein:  Leftist, socialist, emo-prog, cosmic visionary.

                  by Pluto on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 04:50:11 PM PDT

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                  •  I look at historical examples (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pluto
                    There is no reason at all that there should be anything contentious about migration. There is every incentive for decency toward people; the punishment for a region being shunned economically would be too drastic to risk. Additionally, there would still be a general union, and all kinds of wonderful benefits for participating.
                    In particular the partition of British India where millions of people died and millions more were displaced, and the slow breakup of former Yugoslavia.  Nobody was ordered to move, but many people felt that they had to anyway - or would want to eventually - since the countries being created were explicitly intended to be dominated by particular ethnic/religious groups.  At the end of the day, the US isn't hypothetically breaking up because we all like each other and get along great.  The hope is that we'll all be better neighbors than we've been roommates.

                    The "greater union" troubles me because it seems to defeat the purpose of partition.  It won't accomplish anything to create many out of one if we all end up with an EU-style transnational federation empowered to dictate policy to its constituent nations.  It would only become yet another forum for "think local, act global" conflict and manipulation by an elite or become even more hopelessly and uselessly gridlocked than Washington is now.  OTOH corporations hate borders and tight-knit "we really are all in the same boat" populations willing to defend them.  I would prefer a large number of narrowly targeted vehicles for cooperation; in my mind this would make the cooperation far more likely.

                    I would like to see your ideas for how this country really breaks down.

                    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

                    by Visceral on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 07:21:18 PM PDT

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          •  A romantic AND a hypocrite (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto

            When he wrote that "all men are created equal", he reserved the thought that some are more equal than others.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:11:35 PM PDT

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            •  True. (0+ / 0-)

              Perhaps it was more like cognitive dissonance.



              For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.
              - Albert Einstein:  Leftist, socialist, emo-prog, cosmic visionary.

              by Pluto on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:19:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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