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Forum Post: The Constitution is just a piece of paper

Posted 3 years ago on Nov. 13, 2011, 6:49 p.m. EST by Dionysuslives (170)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The only reason your "rights" exist is because the state regards it as politically advantageous not to take them from you. In the event that social dissidents provide a sufficient threat to both its institutional stability and its claim to ethical/moral legitimacy, the Constitution won't be worth a thing unless its printed on kevlar vests.

34 Comments

34 Comments


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[-] 4 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 3 years ago

The Constitution is actually a contract. It is a contract between the people of the United States and the government structures that serve them.

It will remain politically advantageous to adhere to that contract so long as the people demand that it be so.

It only gets complicated when interpretation of the various amendments comes into dispute.

Your right to privacy for example. Your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Private industry is even now tracking more data on you than could possibly fit in the room where you are - where ever you are.

Are they not subject to the provisions of the Constitution? Presumably they are protected by it - from the government - but does that not give them a responsibility to adhere to it as well?

Am I to presume that I have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure from all comers? Or just the government?

I say I have that right, period. Corporations have no right to track my buying and spending habits. They do not have that right - they instead have the obligation as entities controlled by citizens also protected by that contract to protect my right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Private industry has no right to seize data that pertains to any aspect of 'me.'

I maintain I have that right. Unfortunately I cannot enforce that right.

Not without your help.

So.

Tweet.

Corporations Have No Tongues!!

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

Bottom line: the state has guns, tanks, and people trained to use them. If the state ever decides that, following Machiavelli, "it is better to be feared than to be loved," the Constitution won't be worth the paper its written on. Any institution that has the power to "give" you your "rights" also, by implication, has the power to take them away - by sheer brute force.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 3 years ago

well come and get it then.

Or do you think it might be possible that my neighbor might actually be inside that tank?

You didn't watch what happened in Libya, did you. Too bad, it might have proved educational.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

I was too transfixed by the riots in London after police murdered Mark Duggan.

[-] 0 points by motherof4 (44) 3 years ago

Whoa there! Declaration of Independence: "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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…"

Get it? Not rights given by the government?

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

So rights given by God and merely implemented by the state? This would sort of imply that the state is God's mouthpiece on Earth, wouldn't it? I don't know about you, but this strikes me as more than just a little creepy.

[-] 0 points by motherof4 (44) 3 years ago

Puhleeese….I've assumed that I'm talking to an educated person here, don't slip into the ridiculous. Are you or are you not familiar with the philosophical underpinnings of the D of I and the Constitution?

There is nothing creepy about either.

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

I'm familiar with European social contract theory but, if there's a specifically American philosophical tradition that diverges from this school of thought, feel free to educate me.

[-] 1 points by motherof4 (44) 3 years ago

Quite similar.

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 2 years ago

A new effort has been started to Occupy The Constitution. This effort launches a new Direct Democracy tool called the National Opinion Collection System ( NOCS ). This tool creates a process to capture ALL the comments of EVERY citizen about major social issues, elections and bills before congress. This effort is described at http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction

[-] 1 points by Daennera (765) from Griffith, IN 3 years ago

Please see George Carlin on just how ironclad your "rights" really are.

[-] 1 points by invient (360) 3 years ago

George Carlin would agree with you if he were still around...

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

Lol, always liked George Carlin.

[-] 1 points by Vooter (441) 3 years ago

Well, the state can go ahead and take away all the rights it wants, but members of the state are then going to start dying. It's their choice....

[-] 0 points by l31sh0p (279) from Sand Fork, WV 3 years ago

Why do you assume the state is out to screw us over? 'Social dissidents' and 'sufficient threat' seem to be contradicting.

Your vernacular is broad, but so are your ideas.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

Yes, my vernacular is deliberately broad but I do not see how its contradictory. Am I wrong in thinking that a social dissident is someone who poses a threat to the existing social order?

[-] 0 points by l31sh0p (279) from Sand Fork, WV 3 years ago

Another extremely broad statement. How do you expect to make any changes when all you do is speak in a way that has no sustenance?

Being demeaning towards the document that initially guided this country in the right direction sure as hell doesn't help your case either.

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

"The right direction" according to what criteria? The simple fact that a document has achieved culturally sanctified status does not make it immune to criticism.

[-] -1 points by l31sh0p (279) from Sand Fork, WV 3 years ago

This country is so beautiful that the document itself gives you the right to criticize it.

You have a better idea for America than the Constitution? I'm all ears.

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

My ideas pertain to the future of life on this planet, not to America as a self-contained nationalistic bubble.

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by l31sh0p (279) from Sand Fork, WV 3 years ago

Then why are you bitching about a 'piece of paper' that only governs America?

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

Because blind faith in the US Constitution is indicative of a broader social tendency towards blind faith in bureaucratic structures to preserve individual and social autonomy.

[-] -1 points by l31sh0p (279) from Sand Fork, WV 3 years ago

Assumption of my faiths show ignorance.

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 3 years ago

"Dionysuslives" = TROLL

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

The word "troll" is a convenient internet catchphrase for "people I disagree with." Social decorum in no way precludes you from having to consider ideas that you may find distasteful.

[-] 0 points by motherof4 (44) 3 years ago

Dionysuslives, I think that even you don't really bellieve what you wrote in your essay and that you're just trying to be provocative in order to create a flow of ideas in response. While police powers can be invoked and strict laws can be enacted, such as the Patriot Act, the essence of the Constitution has never been truly jeopardized by any social dissident. And surely OWS doesn't even come close to that.

Perhaps you don't remember the trauma of 9/11, but this situation is a day in the park compare to that. No one is questioning the security of our form of government over this.

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

I am absolutely trying to create a flow of ideas but I also absolutely believe my initial statements. And I remember full well "the trauma of 9/11,"not to mention how it has subsequently been used as moral leverage to silence dissent and justify military expansionism.

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 3 years ago

"Dionysuslives" writes : ..."the Constitution won't be worth a thing..."

Spoken like a true TROLL, who is quite happy to ignore the FACT that by law WE THE PEOPLE hold power in this country. And OWS is trying to uphold the Constitution against the 1% who have basically staged a COUP against the American People!

"Dionysuslives", if you are capable of shame, now is the time to feel it. Your contempt for the Constitution only equals your contempt for the American people!!!

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

If you have a compelling argument to present, then present it. But spare me the guilt trips.

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 3 years ago

I have no control over your feelings. If you feel guilty, perhaps you should ask yourself why.

As for myself, I will say that your cynism is nauseating and I will repeat that your contempt for the Constitution only equals your contempt for the American people!!!

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 3 years ago

Somebody cue the world's smallest violin.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 3 years ago

from mr chomsky -As the framer of the US Constitution, James Madison, warned, a parchment barrier offers no protection against tyranny. Words on paper are not enough, as history most eloquently informs us........ and a bit more - More generally, to quote the anarchist writer Rudolf Rocker in a classic study 80 years ago, "Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace." A stronger and sharper version of Madison's principle. .......... now a long one - the last one.........The same principles apply to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which on superficial reading seems to protect freedom of speech. Until the 20th century, protection of freedom of speech rarely received authorization from the courts. After the first World War, there were some famous expressions of support for freedom of speech by Supreme Court justices, but these were in dissents to Court rulings, and the dissents were quite weak. Severe violations persisted, backed by the courts, among them the notorious Smith Act, which banned teaching, advocacy, or association that might encourage overthrow of the government, in the judgment of the courts -- not unlike the reasoning that the Turkish government is employing today in its repressive actions.

It was only 50 years ago that the Supreme Court began to reach decisions that carried the US over the threshold of serious protection of freedom of speech, in fact to a level beyond anywhere else in the world to my knowledge. From 1959 to 1974 the Supreme Court dealt with more freedom of speech cases than in its entire previous history, a reflection of this new concern for essential human rights. The context was the rising civil rights movement. The first major victory for free speech was in 1964, when the Court struck down the law passed in 1798 that ruled that criticism of the government is a crime, the doctrine of seditious libel. It should be noted that the doctrine remains in force in other Western countries, including Britain and Canada, where it has recently been invoked. The 1964 US Supreme Court decision set a very high standard for the charge of libel. It overturned a libel suit that charged the New York Times with defaming the State of Alabama by publishing an advertisement by Martin Luther King and civil rights leaders that protested the brutality of racist law officers. Again, that should be familiar here.

Under the impact of the activism of the 1960s, the Court later reached an even higher standard, one that I believe is unique in the world. This 1969 decision bars only speech that incites imminent criminal action. So if you and I intend to rob a store, you are carrying a gun, and I say "shoot," that is not protected speech. But short of that circumstance, speech is protected. The doctrine is controversial, but at least in my opinion, it sets a proper standard. Adopting that standard would be one mark of true enlightenment.

In a review of "the history and reality of free speech in the United States," legal historian David Kairys points out that "no right of free speech, either in law or practice, existed until the transformations of law" between the two great 20th century wars. "Before that time, one spoke publicly only at the discretion of local, and sometimes federal, authorities, who often prohibited what they, the local business establishment, or other powerful segments of the community did not want to hear." He stresses the important point that "the periods of stringent protection and enlargement of civil rights and civil liberties correspond to the periods in which mass movements posing a credible challenge to the existing order have demanded such rights," including the right of free expression. The major agents of defense of civil rights have been the left, labor, and other popular movements, forcefully in the 1960s.

[-] -1 points by motherof4 (44) 3 years ago

TIOUAISE = Lives under a bridge to scare people away

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

All I know is that if I go to certain places, i.e. the airport my, Constitutional rights are suspended.

If I have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in order to insure the continued assurance of a free state then, as film maker Michael Moore asked, where's my (access to purchase) cruise missle? Where's my RPG? How can a Patriot be reasonably expected to defend his homeland from tyranny? I thought that was the intent of the article.

If we have to defend our selves and our country from it's own military how are we to do it? AR15s? A 20mm sniper's rifle?