General Question

Crusader's avatar

Why are some individuals so vehement about retaining certain aspects of the constitution and other insights by Americas founding fathers, but entirely opposed to others?

Asked by Crusader (576points) May 27th, 2009

Modification of the constitution seems to be the province of every president now, will America ever again attempt the pure form of government espoused by the founding fathers?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

In my honest opinion, there are too many nefarious, selfish, and corrupt influences in politics and other areas that will always overtly or clandestinely scheme to prevent a sincere and honest following of the Constitution as the founding fathers originally intended.

I think each new president and his cabinet might have an agenda in mind as to how they’d like to change or interpret the Constitution to fit their needs no matter if it is beneficial or detrimental to the citizens of the country.

Even as cynical as that might sound, I will concede that there are those who want to change the Constitution for the better so that the original protections that we were promised by it so long ago will again be enforced for our protection and benefit. I sincerely hope this can come to pass but I think the road to get there will be a long and bumpy one.

cwilbur's avatar

The form of government laid out in the Constitution wasn’t pure to begin with: it was full of compromises and 90% solutions to complex problems.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Like the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause? The Religious Right have been trying to get rid of it for decades.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Hey I’m one of those who believes we need to start from scratch, but i’ll whisper that…

Blondesjon's avatar

Probably for the same reason folks only follow what they want to in the Bible.

JamesL's avatar

Ahhh but that was going to be my answer! :)

Blondesjon's avatar

@JamesL . . . answer faster :)

JamesL's avatar

...what? I’m only four days late. haha

cwilbur's avatar

@RedPowerLady: I think the problem with starting from scratch is that we’re very likely to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

As an example – the fourth and fifth amendments. The mindset of “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide” is depressingly popular, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was little popular support for including their provisions in a new Constitution.

Starting from scratch could result in a better system, but if I had to bet I’d bet on it resulting in a much worse system.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cwilbur You are right about that. But should we not try because of the negative possibility? That doesn’t get us very far in every other part of life. It would have to be run on trial and error I suppose. Or perhaps it would have to be completely “outside the box” (even though I hesitate to use that term knowing how many flutherites hate it). It would have to be “the people’s constitution” in some form so that if they did get rid of “the good parts” we would all know about it and protest or demand it changed or something of that nature. I believe it is possible but I also believe it would be a lot of work and a lot of compromise. It would also take a lot of education of all types. People are successful at this type of change in other countries but typically on a much smaller scale.

cwilbur's avatar

No, I think we should not try because of the high likelihood that what we ended up with would be far worse than what we started with.

I like your optimism that people would protest and demand that the important parts be left in. However, I’ve also seen a lot of stupidity around environmental issues, civil rights issues like gay marriage, and an embarrassingly small reaction to the USA PATRIOT Act, for instance, so I don’t share that optimism.

I mean, the MBTA (Boston’s transit system) occasionally has police searching bags and testing them for explosive residue. Refusal to submit to a search means you get asked to leave the subway system. I’m not sure how this is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, but people submit to it willingly, because “if you’re not a terrorist, you have nothing to hide.” How would that be translated into a new Constitution?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cwilbur I certainly understand what you are saying and I agree for the most part. But what I envision is a re-making of the constitution by the people vs. by the government. So that if it were done “wrong” people would already be invested and protest/demand change. Of course I understand you aren’t on board, just wanted to clarify.

How would that be translated into a new Constitution?

That is what I am saying. We need a people’s movement so these attitudes change.

cwilbur's avatar

But the people are the government—or should be, except that so many of them have abdicated that responsibility. We have some aspects of the Constitution that are quite good indeed – such as the First and Fourth Amendments—what happens if 51% of the population decides that only terrorists have anything worth hiding, and that Christianity ought to be the state religion?

If you’re going to educate people out of those views before starting from scratch, you have your work cut out for you—and if you could feasibly manage the task of education, you probably wouldn’t even need the new laws.

RedPowerLady's avatar

But the people are the government—*or should be*
Somehow we need to start building this up again.

what happens if 51% of the population decides that only terrorists have anything worth hiding, and that Christianity ought to be the state religion?

I believe you are still thinking “inside the system” and I’m somewhere else entirely and that is probably why we aren’t on the same page. I do not advocate changing it within the system we currently have.

If you’re going to educate people out of those views before starting from scratch, you have your work cut out for you—and if you could feasibly manage the task of education, you probably wouldn’t even need the new laws.

Now this is more what I’m talking about :)

cwilbur's avatar

I’m not thinking inside the system necessarily, but you do need to establish the legitimacy of the new system of laws. Consensus is logistically impossible to achieve when you have more than about 100 people. So you’re looking at votes, and then you’re talking about majority voting.

So you’re proposing a new constitution and system of government from scratch. So you decide that a 2/3 majority of people is enough to approve the new constitution—and then you find out that 2/3 of the voters are happy to eliminate the protection against searches and seizures because only terrorists and criminals have anything to hide. What do you do then? Or do you have another way of establishing the legitimacy of the new laws you’re proposing that doesn’t rely on voting?

And I think if you did call a constitutional convention to start the whole thing over again, those are the issues you’re going to deal with. Everything about our current government will be up for debate, even things like the separation of church and state and the requirement for search warrants—and there are people who will argue against both.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cwilbur I’m okay with people arguing everything. We need to. We need to educate people as well. And once we are on the same-page education wise then we can start talking about re-formulating. Until then people will likely vote for unnecessary laws. So where we start is a massive educational campaign. Tons of round-table discussions. We’ve got to start somewhere. Or I suppose we just live as-is. I’m a bit of a rabble rouser myself and would prefer to see change.

fundevogel's avatar

I think suggesting we throw the whole thing out and start from scratch completely neglects all of the things that do work. Because there is plenty that does that I wouldn’t want to compromise. What’s so wrong with just improving what we’ve got? With some exceptions the changes that have been happening to the the constitution have been positive ones, and as for the not so great ones….The 18th amendment didn’t last that long.

That’s why it’s called a living document, it is meant to change to better serve this country and it’s people.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther