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Forum Post: OccupyTheConstitution Liberty

Posted 5 years ago on Feb. 1, 2012, 9:33 p.m. EST by Nanook (172)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The word LIBERTY is at center stage in many current discussions. It is prized as one of the fundamental values in society. So, it is very ironic that the word "liberty" doesn't show up much in the Constitution, and is certainly not defined there. It is referenced in the Preamble, and Amendments 5 and 14

Amendments 5 and 14 use the word LIBERTY in a way similar to its use in the Declaration of Independence, which is the definitive statement we all know. The Declaration states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal, that they are ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR with certain UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, that among these are life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of Happiness." The problem is, the Constitution does NOT affirm what the Declaration says.

Amendments 5 and 14 use the word LIBERTY in a way much closer to its use in the Declaration of Independence, which is the definitive statement we all know. The Declaration states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal, that they are ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR with certain UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, that among these are life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of Happiness." The problem is, the Constitution does NOT affirm what the Declaration says.

The Declaration says LIBERTY is an UNALIENABLE RIGHT. To drive home the “sanctity” of liberty, the Declaration says that RIGHT was “endowed by the Creator”. Yet people who claim the Constitution is perfect as it is, either through ignorance or DENIAL ( i.e. hypocrisy ), refuse to face up to the fact that the Constitution allows both the state and federal governments to take away that right. In the Constitution, instead of being UNALIENABLE, LIBERTY is only prevented from being taken away WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW!

So, when the people who control the law become corrupt, there is no protection at all. We see this all the time. And in the current climate, with U.S. prisons withholding the liberty of more people than all the prisoners in all the countries of Europe put together, this is a very serious problem. Ironically, this hypocrisy is highest among those who claim to hold the highest religious convictions.

The objective of this discussion page is to dig deep into the basic meaning of LIBERTY, and to think about when and how society should have a responsibility to protect it or take it from someone.

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[-] 2 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 5 years ago

So, when the people who control the law become corrupt, there is no protection at all.

William Findley of the Pennsylvania legislature argues that calls for a new Constitutional Convention is a dissolution of the social contract, whereby the citizens are returned to a 'state of nature', or 'outside the law'.

Hugh Brackenridge of Princeton agrees.

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

WHAT ARE THE BOUNDS OF LIBERTY?

When we talk about liberty, what do we mean? To most people, liberty means FREEDOM. The dictionary says, the quality or state of being FREE; power to do as one pleases; freedom from physical restraints. The problem is, people have a grossly idealized image of the word "freedom". They believe such a thing can actually exist. IT CAN'T. Read that again. Our "idealized" notion of FREEDOM can not exist! As soon as one human wants to do something another does not want to do, and they have to do it in the same place, freedom goes out the window. One person's "right" to shout obscenities is in direct conflict with another person's "right" to peace and QUIET!

So, the real challenge is accepting that, in society, liberty has to be restricted. That sets a key goal: we need to MINIMIZE the limitations on liberty. Easier said than done. BUT, this observation very accurately summarizes the problem: a. Society has failed to broadly acknowledge that freedom MUST be limited in a society; b. Society has failed to describe broadly acceptable equitable principles for creating BOUNDARIES for human behavior. The result is, in a complex, highly populated, high technology "modern" world, we are still trying to apply "wild west" social rules. In fact, based on discoveries discussed at A3society.org, the reference to the "wild west" is too lenient, and therefore misleading. Most humans are still trying to solve this complex riddle using mental abilities optimized for survival on the Savanna 10 million years ago. Anyone who says our society works by the process of "survival of the fittest", UNFORTUNATELY, is exactly right. And THAT, as I said, is the real problem. Because, as we clearly observe in nature, the way "nature" runs the roulette wheel, millions upon millions of creatures ( i.e. the 99% ) DIE at every step to allow only a few ( the 1% ) to play the next round. If human society does NOT change this game soon, nature will surely step in and do it.

On that optimistic note, let's start from the assumption that freedom needs to be bounded. How do we do it? Well, we can start from specific examples and see if we can resolve problems with each of them. Here are some current hot buttons: Pollution; nudity; pornography; censorship of radio, TV and movies; gangs; clothing and hair styles in schools; CAMPING IN CITY PARKS; holding a public office but not enforcing the rules associated with that office; raiding the pension funds of millions of U.S. citizens… Obviously, each of these needs to be solved. But a reasonable list is very long and would take a long time to deal with. What we need to do is find PRINCIPLES which resolve many situations at one time. Ugh oh? Another "easier said than done" problem. Why? Because society has known about this problem since Aristotle. People have tried very hard to solve it, got themselves classified as philosophers for their efforts, but still left us without answers. What I'm saying here is that getting to a solution is VERY VERY difficult. But most important, what this says is we can't just keep using the same approaches that were tried in the past. We need new models.

So, that's the challenge for this comment. Anyone on earth ( yes, China, Russia, Arabia, Norway, Chile – 100 years old, or 10 years old – any occupation or no occupation ) who has a suggestion about new ways to explore this issue, here's the place to let your voice be heard. The NOCS project will provide you the same respect as anyone else. And to give you an idea about what some of those new approaches might look like, check out http://A3society.org .

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

HYPOCRISY OF THE CONSTITUTION

The words of the Declaration of Independence say LIBERTY is ENDOWED BY THE CREATOR as an UNALIENABLE right. So, how can we hold those words in such high regard and then allow the government to ignore them by letting humans make laws describing situations where liberty can be taken away and procedures to do it?

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )