Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Constitution of No Constitution: Part I

I am about to utter words that, for some, will be sacrilege. Therefore, be you warned that if you are of a lesser intestinal fortitude or find your mind tightly shut on such issues, then read no further, for I am about to take to ground an American institution that for some stands unassailable.

You have been warned.

Let me open with the full broadside, that you may take is all in with one sweeping, and perhaps reeling motion:

The Constitution of the United States of America is a weak document.

Allow me now to compound my crime by adding insult to injury:

In some ways it is actually horrid.

And now for my explanation. Do not misunderstand, the spirit of the document is laudable. In fact, I will say that as a first attempt at establishing a free land upon the fundamentally flawed concept of the nation-state, integrating the ideas of individual rights and freedom under such a model, it was quite good. This, especially given that it was done during a time and in a culture wholly marinated in Empire and the broader historical context of several thousands of years of ever expanding tyranny and other forms of political disease.

Just consider for a moment what it must have meant to undertake that endeavor. The basic notions of equality and rights were largely unheard of in practice, the dictates of the Magna Carta notwithstanding,. The mental gymnastics required to dope this whole thing out was probably well beyond the ken of most people in that day because the most fundamental assumptions upon which the endeavor was based rested far past the daily experiences of all the peoples of Empire.

Therefore, given that the Framers had no prior experience in terms of putting such concepts to practical work, I'd say they did an admirable job.

We, however, are smarter than they were in this narrow channel of consideration. Not more intelligent, mind you, but smarter because we have the benefit of an additional 225 years of history upon which to draw in hindsight. We have seen depravity that the Framers perhaps knew in theory was possible, but for whom the notion was just that - a speculative concept. I personally question whether they could have readily accepted as anything more than a horribly depraved conjecture the idea that tyrants such as Stalin and Mao would one day exist, butchering people in the ways we know and take for granted as mere historical facts.

They were not stupid men, nor naïve, but they grew up during a very unique era in human history: the Enlightenment. What did they see? Yes, there was still plenty of war and stupid politics, which of course drove much of their cogitation in the design of their Republic. But all that still occurred within a moral framework that limited the actions of all but perhaps the three or four most horrifically demented lunatics in the western world. Warfare was conducted with a sense of honor where brave (if otherwise misguided, by today's standards) men stood in opposing ranks, exchanging gunfire and then running each other through with bayonets.

The superior men of this enlightened age had dispensed with the stupidities and corruption of the churches, which had wreaked endless havoc upon the world for eleven centuries. In their eyes, and for better or worse, the world was evolving away from superstition and toward science. I can readily imagine that in their minds there was every good reason for cautious optimism; to believe there was a chance for the race of men to come to new understandings of their places in the world and to mend fences between one-time foes. Is this not a delightful thought; the end of rampaging political stupidity, endless hatred, and the horrific destruction and waste that come with men venting their anger upon each other?

Whether realistic, I can see a strong motivation for such men to want to believe that the world was heading toward becoming a better place in slow but definite fashion. They were setting a trend that stood to change the world and, so far as I can see, there was no particular reason for them to suspect that it would all go wrong to the degree and in the manners to which the race of men must now endure. Their writings clearly indicate a keen awareness of the hazards in all of this, but that does not mean they did not possess the basic optimism to which I refer.

I do not believe they imagined it possible for a single man and his regime to murder people by the tens of millions. Do you for a moment think that they would have considered it likely that men would devise methods of mechanized mass slaughter and would then set them loose on each other? I am not even sure they had the mental capacity to go there hypothetically because they had no experience with such things. The Industrial Revolution was yet to manifest. Just look at how silly science fiction movies from the 50s, 60s, and even 70s and 80s look to us. The original Star Trek series where computers still used tapes as storage media, now makes us chuckle in these respects. It was difficult, if not impossible, to get away from the limitations of that vision because imagination can stretch only so far and retain its plausibility in the minds of the people of the era in which it was conceived.

And so I believe it may have been this way for the Framers. They contrived their Constitution based on their best understandings of how the world of men operated. They would not have had the level of distrust that we do because as bad as their tyrants were, they could not compare with those of today, if for no other reason than those of past eras did not have at their disposal our modern technologies. We possess the benefit of being the survivors of Stalins and Maos; we know about mechanized warfare, and nuclear bombs, and chemical weapons, weaponized biological agents, the power of media to mold thought and perception into forms that must have the likes of Jefferson and Patrick Henry spinning like gyros in their graves. Our reality was, most likely, wildly beyond anything the Framers would have deemed even remotely likely.

We know what they could not have imagined. We see the mind-bending depravity to which men now plunge, not as matters of survival or even open and conscious corruption, but because they have been trained to crave it, to seek it out, and to practice it at every opportunity. Our Founders would barely believe what they saw, were some of us to go back in time and fetch them forward to this day. I believe it would be so incomprehensibly shocking to them that they would be unable to accept much of it. It certainly would break their hearts, I suspect.

Because of that, I see very little possibility that they could have designed a better architecture than that which they gave us. Their base assumptions about the world and men were founded on what had come previously, and to that degree it was sound. It would not be reasonable to have expected more than this of them. Therefore, we owe them a debt of gratitude. Likewise, we owe it to ourselves, THEIR posterity, to correct the errors of the past based on what we have learned in the intervening time. To my way of thinking, that means a new foundation upon which the land in which we live rests.

Their Constitution was, at best, an instrument meant for a nation of men who are ready and willing to make good use of their fundamental intelligence and learning, in pursuit of the maintenance of all that makes men worthy of their places in the Book of Life. It was meant for men of a certain minimal moral character. It was meant for a population with characteristics that no longer exist in sufficient statistical predominance to have the necessary effect on the whole. All of the personal requirements tacitly specified by the Constitution are now largely extinct from the people of America, and that is a very real, very immediate problem of enormous significance and import.

The ever diminishing presence of these qualities rings the death-knell not only for human freedom in America, but as a result of that death, the extinction of hope for the race of men globally for what could be endless generations to come. We are, each of us, witnessing as participants what may well prove to be the single greatest tragedy of all recorded human history. When America goes to Davey Jones, that will likely be it for the world for a very, very long time.

I do believe not only that the Constitution can be improved, but that it behooves us to design and contrive its successor. But where the constitution speaks primarily in terms of institutions and their powers, we now need to speak in the superior voice of fundamental principles and must do so explicitly because, unlike our forebears, we see that a dangerously large proportion of the body of men cannot be trusted to maintain the levels of proper learnedness and moral integrity that are required by a free land where the individual's claims to life are well understood and respected.

I started that very endeavor about 25 years ago when I decided to write for myself a constitution that would represent a quantum improvement over the current fare. I learned a lot for the exercise, which revealed to me that one cannot contrive a document that is perfect and self-preserving. It demonstrated that people are the key element because without them, there is no Constitution in the first place, nor are there any politics, morality, and so forth. The sole location where all of this exists and operates, and pursuant to which reality alters is the region between the ears of men. This fact is extremely important, if one wishes to hold a broader and firmer understanding of the way things work in truth and reality. The world is effected by us from the inside out, and not otherwise. Our thoughts form our realities and the power in that is immense beyond containment. If we really want the things we claim to desire, then onus rests with us to alter mind first and foremost, because wherever mind goes, Brother Ass follows.

My initial goal was to write a constitution for a nation-state to replace the current fare with one of greatly improved design. During the last few years, however, I have come to view things a bit differently. I am no longer concerned with nation-states as they commonly exist and operate, nor with anarchies. I have realized that the labels one affixes to these sorts of social arrangements matter not as much as other considerations. They are, in fact, impediments to the realization and retention of proper states of human relations because humans who seek power over their fellows have the unstinting habit of redefining those labels to suit their goals and objectives, which prove rotten in virtually every case.

Consider labels such as "liberal" and "conservative". What was once called "liberal" is now "conservative" or, more likely, "libertarian". "Progressive" is now the functional equivalent to "communist" or "socialist". That which once defined "conservative" no longer holds. In these ways, labels show themselves the weak instruments that they are in terms of retaining their meaning. Language, as a general rule, is grossly discounted in its import and significance by the average man, whom I call the "Meaner". That attitude relegates and indeed dooms such labels to a status of "dangerous" at best. All of this contributes to the general theory that on the average, men cannot be trusted to do the right things with frequency such that they do not trespass against their fellows. Therefore, the need has arisen to put into explicit language the minutiae of the principles and its derivative Immutable Law of human relations.

If "law" as currently commonplace is replaced with correct and complete principle, the potential to see the resurrection and flourish of freedom becomes very real and looms large in one's eyes. It is principle that holds primacy in terms of supplying abidingly correct values for men because those are not subject to the arbitrary whim and caprice of those people who find themselves in positions of "leadership" and for whom the temptations of power lead them to all manner of atrocious behaviors, destructive of their fellows.

What is needed is a document whose very structure focuses on the functional role of governance, as set into a rationally justifiable perspective by wrapping it in the context of the fundamental nature of human rights. What we now have, rather, is one that emphasizes the elements, features, and characteristics of government, which almost of necessity shifts the mental focus away from the human rights it purports to defend, in large part due to the set of tacitly held assumptions upon which that approach is based. It speaks of institutions notably more the rights of men which may well be due to the fact that in their minds these rights were so obviously extant that they required comparatively little mention. That, of course, is no longer true; the Framers wrote not to the man of lowest possible denominator, but rather to one of a far higher caliber. This was perhaps the greatest blunder they had made, perhaps never realizing the depths to which the average would fall in a mere 225 years. Another hazard engendered in those sorts of mental constructs as expressed in the institutions specified in the Constitution is that they have a very long history in human affairs of taking on lives of their own, growing invariably into monsters that turn on their creators and consuming them in the end.

A fine example of such lies in the concept of "government". The term itself is naught but a mere notion - a mental shorthand to denote a body of men who discharge certain functions of governance. It is a most unfortunate word, for it is of the sort that people are wont to begin taking as a thing in sé. This, of course, is purest nonsense and folly. There is no such thing as a government, in itself, yet people constantly refer to and regard it as if it were. The Framers made this horrific mistake when they referred to the powers of government, rather than those conditionally granted by the people to their fellows for the purposes of governing always on the behalf and pleasure of the former and never that of the latter.

Governments can be nothing other than monsters because taken as things by people, rather than subsets or arrangements, people themselves become the life of those monsters. Such creatures can never be mastered for very long, the choice there for wishing to be free of the jaws invariably being kill or be killed. This is a fundamental truth of human life that, thus far, we have been unable to escape and my suspicion is that so long as we remain human, this truth shall also remain.

Therefore, the architecture I sought avoids government to a degree surpassed only by pure anarchism which, ideal a form of governance as it is, may not be practicable in a world dominated by those who have been so deeply trained to the presence of the tyrant's foot on their necks and his whip upon their backs. What is familiar is comfortable and people seek comfort above all other things, regardless of form or how alien one man's flavor may seem to another. We live in Empire as have our forebears for thousands of years. Removing it in its entirety, even if possible, cannot be done except in slow measure. Therefore, at least for the time being we are constrained to remold Empire into the form least offensive to proper human freedom and relations. I do believe this is eminently achievable in terms of the human ability to contrive the right environmental foundations. The only question that remains outstanding is whether sufficient humanity craves freedom and the prosperity that flows naturally therefrom to actually screw up the nerve and the will to take that first and most difficult step, which is to alter mind.

That has been at least the partial goal of my project. To alter perspective - perception itself - by specifying a body of principles in a way that I hope would appeal to more people than it would repel. I have no idea whether I am absolutely on the right track, but my approach seems reasonable to me. Perhaps the absence of "tits and beer" will doom it to failure - I cannot say, and so that is why I here post what I have thus far contrived. In the document I speak not of institutions, but of roles. This is, I believe, a fundamental departure from any constitution on the planet that is in current effect, though I may be wrong given I've not read so many of them. But I do know the most common patterns of thought and perception in such matters and I feel fairly confident that nobody has beat me to the punch in terms of not only the basic mental approach, but conceptual architectural structure as well.

To date I have specified not the governmental entities and structures, but rather the functions of governance, rights of men, and how the two relate to each other not only philosophically, but in terms of actual practice. Equally importantly, I show the proper relationship between the rights of men and the functions of governance.

Therefore, let us now take a look at what I have wrought. It is by no means complete, nor is it perfect. But I do believe it is a reasonable beginning and present it to the world in the hope that interest in helping to perfect the concepts set forth herein may arise in some. I hold no naive illusions of this ever being realized, but I do firmly believe that the exercise and the resulting work, if sufficiently perfected, may serve at the very least as an initial enticement and a guide to others to view the matters therein addressed in a different way from that which now commonly infests the minds of otherwise intelligent, well meaning, and good people. It is my hope with this, above all else, to provide a basis for perceptual metamorphosis, that people may come to see themselves and their fellows in terms of their interrelations in ways they had never before considered.

Once again, where mind goes...

The Document itself shall be presented in several parts in successive posts, which shall be put in place forthwith that those whose interest has been awakened need not wait for installments.

Until next time, please accept my best wishes.

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