Let’s get writing on this Constitution

Revolution Harry wrote:

Here’s the first question. Do we want a democracy, a republic, a monarchy (I hope not) or something else?

First up, there’s not a bad article hereabout this question:

These two forms of government: Democracy and Republic, are not only dissimilar but antithetical, reflecting the sharp contrast between (a) The Majority Unlimited, in a Democracy, lacking any legal safeguard of the rights of The Individual and The Minority, and (b) The Majority Limited, in a Republic under a written Constitution safeguarding the rights of The Individual and The Minority.

Ranty, quite naturally, is not impressed by the doomsday scenario I presented here, opining:

I hadn’t realised it was all so….inevitable. I’ll give it up and slowly fade to grey.

The scenario I painted, where any revolution was anticipated and the preconditions created, in order to achieve the next stage in the World Government [itself a misnomer for a dictatorship but we’re getting way off topic here] and where control over the instruments of life, food, water, fuel, are in the hands of the oligarchs at the head of the federation, is not far-fetched and furthermore, is somewhat anticipated in the Christian view of the endtimes.

Ranty’s point is quite valid – should we just curl up and acquiesce, if it’s all inevitable anyway?

I say no, we do not, must not.

We fight it with all we have because to Christians, I would say – how do you know this time or that time is the end? It was clearly stated that we’d not know the time. So, we treat this time as any other time, e.g. 30s Europe, only now we’re aided by the internet [for the nonce] and have the benefit of hindsight among [and this is the important point] a far wider range of thinking people communicating than in the 30s.

I don’t mean there are fewer thinking people but that we are interconnected far better and so the kernel of resistance is embedded in far more than at that unfortunate time.

Also, this is one area where Christians and Atheists can join forces because what we all know is that the bureaucratically transmitted disease of socialism which snuffs out liberty, of which the Frankfurt School was the main cultural arm and of which the political arm is in such bodies as Tavistock and Common Purpose, is to resisted with maximum prejudice.

There are non-cooperative ways to do this and Gandhi had some things to say about that. Ranty had others. The USSR is a good case in point and I’d suggest it wasn’t so much the massive, crippling unworkability of the national socialist model but the disillusionment of almost the entire people who saw a better life out there which finally had the machine grinding to a halt and falling apart.

This is my old Fabianism coming out. If you go on the streets as a rabble rouser, you get picked off. If you proceed quietly – a little bit here, a little bit there, a placeman of our own here and one there, it might be beyond my lifetime but it’s the only realistic way to bring down a push to totalitarianism and not replace it with something worse.

Our own British [post-Union] antecedents and strong Protestant ethic came about as a result of certain things being in place, not least being Protestantism itself. Protestantism does not have to mean Calvinism. There was a way of doing things peculiarly British, that then spread around the world and spawned the eventual U.S.A., all of this despite the vanguard containing a large proportion of Them, e.g. Rhodes, Milner, Jefferson, Franklin.

To get back to what we once had, the literary vanguard which writes the stuff that people follow has to be in full cry, as Luikkerland pointed out in our launch post.

We despair that we are only a small percentage of the population – hell, was Voltaire in a majority in his time? Naturally we have to be writing things which would capture the imagination and also have the means to disseminate them. The net and the good old Samizdat are vehicles for this. We have to get real.

Harry wrote:

Do we want a democracy, a republic, a monarchy (I hope not) or something else?

… to which the answer might be a peculiar mix of all three, with the monarchy in a constitutionally defined role as the ambassadors of the country and part of our anti-socialist tradition [actually this is just to get up their noses].

Why not write our version of the American model, noting and addressing its defects?

Harry points out:

My suggestion for some sort of document or declaration that could be agreed on by the maximum number of people is really an exercise in trying to identify exactly what we want. If we don’t want to be subjugated in a new feudal system by Them, however it is presented, we have to come up with an alternative vision of the future. Surely now is the time to do this, not when the very worst has happened.

My post where he wrote this was not to try to spread doom and gloom but to point out that there are key objections to the efficacy of the street revolution.

Hell, have one by all means – it’s all part of the rich pageant of resistance. Also get into the lawful rebellion – all good stuff. Know your 1688 and other docs. Educate anyone you meet, in a gentle way, in the context of the discussion, otherwise it’s preaching. And so on. There are ways [because they’ve worked in the past] to bring the machine grinding to a halt – all legal, all within our “rights” and all with a view to going back to a pre-socialist society and in that sense, we are the loyalists.

Task 1:  Get the document written, building on Magna Carta and 1687 and disseminate it for discussion.  Have constitutional conventions, public meetings [3 people at first but later 1000s];

Task 2:  Begin the campaign on this concrete document and when it becomes civil war against the powers of repression [the leftist PTB of the moment and it is they who will start this, not us], then it goes through the well-worn stages;

Task 3:  Tweak the document, have the Declaration of 2012 or whatever and we have a new/old land starting up again.

But for us as a thinktank here, as writers,Task 1 is the main concern – get the bloody document written, so we’ve something to focus on and everyone can feel secure that that is what we are actually fighting for.  If we don’t write one, the socialists will and in fact have – Lisbon.

Let’s not just bemoan that we don’t have a written constitution – let’s start writing one. We need a group of seven or eight writers in a room together to start doing that.
This is the silly season in blogging – a good time to begin.

27 comments for “Let’s get writing on this Constitution

  1. witteringwitney
    July 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Nice idea James – all it needs to do is fit on one side of an A4 sheet, which is more than possible.

  2. July 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with “to which the answer might be a peculiar mix of all three, with the monarchy in a constitutionally defined role” and “Why not write our version of the American model, noting and addressing its defects?”

    I think having a president of one party and having them represent the counry is a problem. Plus Royalty and pagentry as it is done these days in the UK is fun.

    What about arms and the right to bear them? Or a right to sefe defence? If we have the right individual rights do we need “human” ones as well?

    • July 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Base ‘rights’, or rather liberties, on the Non Aggression Principle and you certainly do get to bear arms and defend yourself, and quite violently if need be. Of course you wouldn’t be free to use them to initiate an act of aggression and even their use in defence may well mean you’d need to be able to justify it afterwards.

      Royalty is fine when it works and poor when you get stuck with a monarch who’s either an idiot, doesn’t take it seriously, doesn’t actually want the job or is more interested in preserving the monarchy. I’d say that not only has the UK has spent more time under monarchs in one or more of those categories than it hasn’t but it’s got one at the moment and another is teed up to replace her. At least a President can be ditched after four or five years and possibly impeached even earlier. If the party politics aspect is uncomfortable there could always be a stipulation made that candidates may not be a member of a party. Personally I see this as far less important than writing a constitution that doesn’t so much restrict the government, executive, state, call it what you will, as treat it like a vicious dog that is a useful guard but must be kept permanently on a chain for safety.

  3. July 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Depends a lot on what you want a Constitution to do. The Australian one, for example, does not have a Bill of Rights like the US version, and in fact is mostly about laying out the structure of Australia’s government and how each bit functions wrt the rest. From what I’ve seen the US Constitution is similar but with the BoR addition. However, there are half a dozen or so articles before you get to the BoR. The UK does have a constitution of course, but it’s spread over various acts and clauses of acts that to the layman it’s like throwing a trifle at the wall and picking out just the jelly.

    For my money a Constitution needs to be all in one place, establish individual liberties and restrictions on government (expressed as negative rights) before moving on to systems and structure of the state, and importantly, as WfW says, the shorter the better. A4 would be good, but the bit about individual liberties I’d like to see on a postcard is possible. Leave the explanations and justification out because others will try to twist it later, and just state Something based around the libertarian’s favourite, the Non Aggression Principle, is a possibility.

    All citizens are free beings and at liberty to live their lives as they choose in any manner they see fit, defending themselves and their property against infringement of their liberty as necessary, except where exercise of their own liberty infringes that of any fellow citizens.

    And make it Article Zero so it always takes precedence over anything tacked on later.

    • July 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      establish individual liberties and restrictions on government (expressed as negative rights) before moving on to systems and structure of the state

      Agreed.

  4. July 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Interesting.. I will re-visit at the weekend and take in all of the links. I have been thinking a lot lately how a wiki-constitution of sorts would look.

  5. July 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Here is a link for your draft. Note its freshness, its frequent updates and the fact that it comes from the country with the longest standing democracy in the world!

    http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/sz00000_.html

    • Lord T
      July 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Hardly a page of A4 but seems to cover everything. Of course it expands on some basics such as everyone is equal and then writes two paragraphs about what that includes when I thought the original start said it all. Then it adds in a section on special treatment.

      Generally though it seems to be working better than anything on the planet including the US one which I think is better in many ways. I suspect it is because the US one covered so many states and holes were put in to allow a central control.

      From what I can see the Swiss model is working well but they have a completely different culture from us. For one thing most of our new generations are illiterate, lazy and unable to think logically. Who will hold their hands while they try and understand that equality means they do not get special treatment?

  6. July 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Do we want a democracy, a republic, a monarchy (I hope not) or something else?

    Not a democracy for the reasons given. It’s a numbers game – get a large enough number to agree and a political has carte blanche to do whatever they want to all the citizens, both the ones who agreed and the ones who didn’t. Tyranny of the majority ain’t for me, even if I’m not necessarily in the minority who gets the kicking. I’d sooner be free and disenfranchised than the other way round so it’s a republic that gets my vote… er, if you see what I mean.

  7. July 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Well, I’ve commented quite a bit on serious revisions to the UK constitution, whilst still remaining well within the bounds of (at least my view of) democracy: didn’t see much enthusiasm, anywhere.

    So, for simplicity, I’ll just pose a few simple questions:

    (i) How often would be the elections?

    (ii) Who would get the votes, how many, and what for and why?

    (iii) How many levels of government would there be, and with what split of responsibilities?

    (iv) How would the votes be made, and counted?

    (v) Would people be able to vote for someone (or no one) other than any of the candidates?

    Best regards

    • July 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      And your answers to those questions are, Nigel?

    • Lord T
      July 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

      Change frequently.

      1) Yearly
      2) Anyone can put themselves forward with a manifesto
      3) Difficuklt one. I’m with local to look after local issues such as bins, parking, local taxes etc. with central to look after defence and justice. 1% tax for central and max % tax for local.
      4) Made? They would be performed electronically using secure voting boxes.
      5) Only the candidates but no compulsion to vote.

  8. Revolution Harry
    July 14, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I I’ve previously spent time with some of those at the British Constitution Group. Their angle is that we have a constitution but that it has been usurped (in various ways) and is presently being removed in favour of our increasing involvement with the EU. Their remedy is for us to return to our existing constitution. In discussions on their forum (the UK Column) it was pointed out by some that our constitution may not be quite what it seems. Magna Carta being an example which to some observers merely reinforced the positions of the Barons (elites) and not necessarily the vassals or serfs (the rest of us). In addition it was pointed out that our present constitution involved a prominent role for the Crown. There was some debate as to who or what the Crown actually was. It seems that it may represent the Crown Temple or City of London, which is almost certainly a major control centre for Them. The other question was whether the Queen was the Crown or merely its representative. The Queen, it should be noted, has signed all of the EU treaties which in the eyes of many is/was a treasonous act that broke her constitutional oath. Added to that any keen researcher into the activities of Them can’t fail to see the prominent role that Royalty has (and still does) played. My own research goes a little deeper and suggests that both the Crown Temple (Templars) and the Monarchy are subservient to Rome but that’s another story. Suffice to say that merely returning to our present constitution isn’t a long term viable option.

    Having said all that we have to bear in mind that in order to be successful and not play into Their hands by creating unnecessary chaos and confusion a degree of tact may be required. It’s for this reason my suggestion of a document or declaration was a precursor to something like a constitutional convention. That is necessary, eventually, as we’ve seen but we need to get to that point with the maximum of support and the minimum of disruption.

    Leaving the EU and reestablishing our sovereign independence would be one of the key elements of the declaration. In order to do this smoothly my idea is that we would return to our existing constitution (possibly with some provision where it would be presumed that it was written for the benefit all and not just a few) . It is written, though not all in one document. It could be noted that in important ways our constitution hadn’t functioned effectively. Also that serious allegations had been made against the monarchy and the Crown in both their role and function. As such both an open, public, investigation should be implemented as well as a constitutional convention instigated with a view to either updating our existing constitution or the creation of a new one.

    On the subject of an investigation into the monarchy I don’t think it could possibly survive. For that reason and because I think a republic would be a better option, I would imagine that the end result would be a new British (or even English) republic. As was pointed out in the article James linked to any new constitution would have to have the full support and active involvement of the whole people. As such it would have to be secondary to the retaking of power by honest people of good will. That is the first step and the declaration I suggested is really about creating an agreed set of aims or basic principles that such people could agree on.

    Perhaps the primary focus of the declaration would be the recognition of each sovereign individuals God given unalienable rights. I’d add something about the sovereign nation being the best defence against the sort of global tyranny we can see being created at the present time. An awful lot flows from this with maybe one of the most important being the sovereign nation’s (that being composed of sovereign individuals) right to create it own currency.

    I could probably add some more but it’s late. I agree that fitting this on A4 sheet (or less) is desirable but possibly with the accompaniment of some additional, explanatory, notes.

  9. July 14, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I am sort of new to this sort of thing, tho I have discussed stuff like this with those interested in it before. I am finding the more a person thinks about this the more there is to think about…

    I do agree with James where I think it is quite important that any construction should state what a government is actually responsible for and that if it is not stated it is responsible for something then it is not allowed to get involved without an amendment to the constitution, voted on by referendum requiring over 75% turnout to be valid at all and a 69% or above yes vote to pass.

    Exceptions might be a state of emergency or war, but things would have to go back to how they were once that was over.

    Government employees should have their numbers limited, so should local government.

    Maybe we ought to think about Government employees being disbarred from voting in national elections while they are employed and county employees being barred from voting at that level and so on. Maybe pay them a bounty come election time in recognition of their rights being abridged.

    Laws should have a 5 year and a day ‘probation’ where at the end they need to be rubber stamped by parliament to make permanent. If not agreed by vote then they lapse. They should also be open to challenge by citizens referendum at any time, but during the probation the majority to overturn them should be 45%

    It might be good to limit the amount of time parliament normally sits, I don’t know what people think of that.

    The problem would bet to agree what government should be responsible for.

    I think religions should be specially barred from involvement in the government on an organised basis (no priests in the upper house just because they are priests), tho no bar on election of individuals on just religious grounds either. The Monarch could retain position of head of specifically Anglican versions of any and all religions.

    Maybe there should be a provision for laws to be introduced for referendum by citizens if they can get over a certain number of citizens to sponsor it?

    Again I would want the 75%/69% thing or above to vote for anything, in parliament or by referendum.

    The same goes for the law. Unless legislated against then something should be lawful. I agree with Angry exile it should revolve around non aggression with basic rights to defend and protect life and property.

    On criminal law I think presumption ought to be against the initiator like Angry Exile said.

    The first to swing a blow, the act of breaking in, that sort of thing. Influence of drink or drugs should be no excuse..

    But maybe maybe there ought to be something to cover a reasonable initiation of violence. I am imagining here a woman reasonably seeing a threat and pepper spraying a guy before he can get his hands on her.

    • July 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

      My only real criticism about your suggestions is that freedom again becomes a numbers game. Persuade 75% of people to turn out and 69% of them to vote the way you want and theoretically you could bring back slavery.

      But maybe maybe there ought to be something to cover a reasonable initiation of violence. I am imagining here a woman reasonably seeing a threat and pepper spraying a guy before he can get his hands on her.

      Actually it’s not needed. In your example it is he who has initiated violence against her, not the other way round. Nobody said it had to be a successful initiation of violence 😉 That his initiation of violence was incomplete having been stopped by a speedy, and incidentally also violent, reaction from her is neither here nor there – her violent act is not initiating aggression but responding to initiation of it from someone else. The same would apply if you were a third party and hit, sprayed, tasered or even shot him before she could get the spray out. Either act is a response and would never have occurred but for the initial act of violence toward the woman.

      All that’s needed is for it to be clear that citizens are free to defend themselves by any means they consider necessary on the understanding that you may still need to justify it afterwards. In other words if there’s genuine doubt as to the reality of the threat being responded to then you may need to be able to persuade a dozen of your peers in a court to see your side of the story.

      • July 15, 2011 at 8:32 am

        Angry, I used the “numbers game” to make it require(based on real voting patterns) a real groundswell of support to get *any* law passed and to make it fairly easy to annul it for long enough so obvious problems with it become apparent.

        Also to make it possible for citizens to challenge parliament without force and by democratic means at any time.

        I still do think the who and how of initiation of violence is sometimes not so clear to those not involved as we would like. It also depends a bit on definitions of “initiate” and “violence”, tho I do accept your point.

        • July 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm

          I used the “numbers game” to make it require(based on real voting patterns) a real groundswell of support to get *any* law passed and to make it fairly easy to annul it for long enough so obvious problems with it become apparent.

          Understood, but not quite what I’m getting at. To take a less extreme but more realistic example, the kind of smoking bans that various countries have introduced in recent years may have the kind of popular support you’re talking of, and despite the problems we now see they might even have enough support to be kept in place. But they are also deeply illiberal, overriding private property rights as they do.

          Democratic, yes, but also a tyranny of the majority, and it doesn’t matter whether the numbers are 75% and 69 % or 99% and 99% or 51% and 51%. Get enough support and you get to do as you please and use the full weight of law against those who don’t support you. If a constitution says you can’t then democracy says you may change it since it’s only a matter of sufficient support for that too. In short democracy never guarantees that it won’t turn against some of the people in it, and in fact it promises that it will do just that if there are enough votes.

          I still do think the who and how of initiation of violence is sometimes not so clear to those not involved as we would like. It also depends a bit on definitions of “initiate” and “violence”, tho I do accept your point.

          Call it aggression instead of violence if you prefer. Probably is a better term since it’s easier to accept that the aggressor in a violent situation is the one who initiates it. As far as the clarity aspect goes, I agree that it’s not always possible to say right away whose action was the cause of the event. To use your earlier scenario, did the guy really intend to attack her, thus being the aggressor, or did she misread things and hit him with the capsicum spray, making herself the one who initiated the violence and infringed his liberty to be in public without streaming, burning eyes? If it happened now (obviously where it’s banned substituting capsicum spray for something legal) it’d be left for a court to decide and we accept that if accused are innocent ’til proven guilty then we live with the fact that sometimes the court will not be able to decide for certain. It’s not a perfect system but it is fair, so I’d suggest sticking with it.

          • July 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

            You said “Democratic, yes, but also a tyranny of the majority, and it doesn’t matter whether the numbers are 75% and 69 % or 99% and 99% or 51% and 51%. Get enough support and you get to do as you please and use the full weight of law against those who don’t support you. If a constitution says you can’t then democracy says you may change it since it’s only a matter of sufficient support for that too. In short democracy never guarantees that it won’t turn against some of the people in it, and in fact it promises that it will do just that if there are enough votes.”

            I do wonder from your comment how far your support for the democratic processes, as we generally accept them go, or what you would replace it with.

            If enough people support something, even if you disagree with it, then that is democracy.

            If you are thinking of some qualification to allow a person to vote it would have to be something any average person could manage, or who would support the system?

            Some sort of Civics examination? Being a reservist?

            I do agree that individual liberties, private property rights and heavy limitations on government power should be as ‘hardwired’ as possible into any constitution. But in the end the only protection we have is an engaged committed knowledgeable informed electorate.

            That just seems not to last as people sort of loose interest. and you can’t force people to take an interest, even in their own well being, look at the Australian compulsory vote.

            I guess in the end people get the government they are willing to tolerate.

          • July 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

            Democracy is not liberty – it’s a thief dressed in liberty’s clothing, and democracy as we practise it has liberty tied up and gagged in a cellar somewhere. As I said above, I’d cheerfully wave goodbye to my right to vote for the rest of my life if liberty was what I got in exchange, so it’s fair to say that I don’t as such support democratic processes at all. However, since liberty seems almost certain not to happen in my lifetime (not least because millions of people keep voting for it not to) then democracy is, as the cliché has it, the least worst system to fall back on.

            However, that doesn’t mean we should forget what democracy is – the thief in liberty’s clothes. Democracy is better at protecting what little remains of our freedoms – or perhaps is merely less efficient at taking them from us than dictatorships – there is nothing about it that says it actually has to. In fact the opposite is true – if enough people vote to take freedom from you then your freedom is taken, end of discussion – you do not get a say in the matter, even if it’s your enslavement. Even democracy as practised, rather than in theory, is still a majority voting themselves big helpings of the product of your time and effort.

            I just don’t see that as being something we should be grateful for or proud of. Tolerate, perhaps. Live with for the time being, yes. But above all else we should never forget that it’s a distant second best and certainly should never equate democracy with liberty.

            If enough people support something, even if you disagree with it, then that is democracy.

            And there’s the problem: if enough people agree it legitimises anything – slavery, murder, robbery, potentially anything at all. That is indeed democracy, but it isn’t liberty.

            If you are thinking of some qualification…

            Not at all. That’s just tinkering and fine tuning. That’s okay – I voted for AV as fine tuning I felt moved us slightly in the right direction, but that’s still what it was. I just want a way of stopping people voting to screw me, and the sad truth is that in democracy there isn’t one. Or at least not a foolproof one that can’t be democratically changed back again.

            …in the end the only protection we have is an engaged committed knowledgeable informed electorate.

            Perhaps, but perhaps we are where we are because such electorates, like the majority of all electorates, gradually realise they can vote themselves free helpings of other people’s work. It might be what John Adams was on about when he said that all democracies end up destroying themselves. Certainly the one he was involved in creating doesn’t look in great shape, though of course they were trying to get a republic. Close, but no cigar. They’ve been banned anyway… democratically, natch 😉

  10. tomsmith
    July 14, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Why is this new collectivism with its new foundational governing document aiming to found a new state expected to appeal more than the current government of collectivist statists with their own set of very important documents and rules?

    When you ask if “we” want a democracy, a republic or a monarchy I find myself thinking that none of the above would be preferable. All have failed. I don’t want a government at all.

    How can you sell this to libertarians without appearing in a ludicrous way to offer the original problem as the solution? How can you sell it to conservatives or whichever collectivist group without offering what they demand from politics at the expense of everyone else.

    • Revolution Harry
      July 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      No government at all would surely be anarchy. Is that the system you prefer?

  11. July 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Plagiarised from the Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, American constition and a few other sources.

    Article I

    We will and grant that all Places shall have and keep all their Liberties and Free customs.

    Article II

    Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted. The right to Life shall be protected by Law. No one shall be deprived of his Life save in the execution of a sentence of a Court following his conviction for a crime for which this penalty is provided by Law.

    Article III

    The right of all Free Men to be secure in their Persons, Properties, Homes, Papers, Communications and Effects, against unreasonable monitoring, searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall be issued, except upon probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and describing the place, person or things to be monitored, searched or seized.

    Article IV

    No Free Man shall be compelled to part with their Property without due process of Law. Private Property shall not be taken for public use.

    Article V

    In all criminal prosecutions, the Accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation and to be confronted with the witnesses against him. No Free Man shall be tried for the same Offence twice; nor shall anyone be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, or be deprived Liberty, without due process of Law.

    Article VI

    The right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the Realm, than according to the rules of the Common Law.

    Article VII

    The right of Free Men to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Article IIX

    The Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion, public Safety may require it.

    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

    No Laws to Levy, any tax on Personal Incomes, Capital gains, Inheritances, Estates, Property or Gifts, shall be made;
    No public Authority, Government or Agency shall borrow monies for any reason or at any time.

    No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published annually.

    All Bills appropriating Monies shall specify the exact amount of each Appropriation and the purposes for which it is to be made; Appropriation Bills shall concern only spending of Monies and shall not mandate any other action or conduct, nor shall any Bill except a general budget Bill contain more than one item of Appropriation, and that for one expressed Purpose. Parliament shall grant no extra compensation to any public Contractor, Officer, Agent, or Servant, after such contract shall have been made or such service rendered.

    Article IX

    Every one shall be permitted, saving our fealty, to leave our Realm and to return in safety and security, except in the common interest of the realm for a brief period during wartime, and excepting men imprisoned or outlawed according to the law of the Empire and people from a land at war with us.

    Article X

    Now all these aforesaid Customs and Liberties, which we have granted, in so far as concerns us, to be observed in our Realm toward our men, all men of our Realm, shall, in so far as concerns them, observe toward their men.

    Article XI

    Wherefore we wish and straitly enjoin that men shall be free and that all men in our Realm shall have and hold all the aforesaid Liberties, Rights, and Grants well and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and completely, for themselves and their heirs from us and our heirs, in all things and in all places forever.

    • July 19, 2011 at 3:00 am

      Some very good stuff there. Lots to like, but if I may make a few comments:

      1 – No Non-Agression Principle. Several articles appear to be based on it but the NAP itself is not there. As I said earlier I’d argue for it’s inclusion in a libertarian or strongly liberal constitution as a Article 0. This is partly because it would explain the reasoning for much of the rest, if not make it redundant (for example, as I worded it earlier you wouldn’t need Article IV, VII, parts of Article VIII and perhaps X and XI and arguably III), and partly because it’s a foundation principle which is brief enough for anyone, even children, to learn by heart if they want. I kept it shorter then the Lord’s Prayer for that specific reason, figuring that if a ten year old could commit it to memory and then gain understanding of its implications later that’d be no bad thing.

      2 – We don’t appear to have anything specific in there about freedom of speech, freedom of association or freedom of religion. Implied in various places, yes, but if the NAP is not to be included yet the right to bear arms is I feel those other important liberties deserve similar treatment. The danger, of course, is that the whole thing immediately becomes more wordy, which is why I keep banging on about including the NAP.

      3 – Also on the right to bear arms, as worded there I feel it doesn’t imply the right to use the things in defence of life or property. As per my version of the NAP I’d suggest something to the effect of citizens being at liberty to defend themselves as necessary with any means they see fit. Kills two burglars with one stone. 😉

      4 -Article II seems to allow for capital punishment. I don’t want to derail this into the pro- / anti- argument but is this a power with which we all want to trust the state? I don’t trust nation states not to abuse the powers they already have over their citizens, mostly because they all do so with depressing regularity (capital punishment included IMO).

      5 – Also on Article II, it seems not to allow for imprisonment, which of course can be corrected by substituting or adding the word ‘Liberty’ for/after ‘Life’. Same thing applies to fines. However, Article V does allow for imprisonment so perhaps II and V might be rolled up into a single Article. They both cover the same topic of crime and punishment, after all.

      6 – Article VIII’s prohibition on public borrowing is tempting but I’m not sure it’s entirely desirable or even necessary given the strong restrictions (excellent, by the way!) on taxation in the same article. What if, say, a big ticket defence item is really needed but the cost is so large that it can’t help but stuff up the rest of the budget, or a natural disaster blew a huge hole in it? The only option would be to try to raise a large sum all in one go through things such as a temporary increase in GST/VAT, imposition of import duties on previously free trade, increasing whatever sin taxes exist, etc, all of which have undesirable side effects and costs. The lesser evil might well be to permit borrowing in order to spread a one off cost over 10 years or whatever so as to minimise the effect on the budget – nation states tend to get damn good borrowing rates after all, though of course the downside is that it’s tempted them to borrow so much more. But I agree that strong restrictions on borrowing are highly desirable, though I’m not sure what or how to word it. Possibly the prohibition should not be on borrowing but on running at a deficit for more than one or two fiscal years, which with your restrictions on taxation should be a powerful brake on borrowing more than the minimum necessary.

      The only other thing that springs to mind on a first read through is that the language could do with being simplified – fewer ‘whereases’ and ‘aforesaids’, normal capitalisation and so on. This is partly to make it more widely accessible and partly because I think the simpler it is the harder it’ll be for some authoritarian prick in 200 years time to try to twist its meaning. But like I said at the top, lots and lots to like in there. /thumbs up

      • July 19, 2011 at 3:05 am

        D’oh! Obviously that penultimate para should end ‘more than the maximum necessary’. 😳

  12. July 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Hell of a lot up here – am going to blend it into a proposal.

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