Monday, June 06, 2005

Believe it or not, but I find this draft constitution only slightly less obnoxious than the one voted down by the Dutch and French referenda of last week. While it enjoys the happy virtue of brevity so lacking in d’Estaing's late, unlamented phonebook, it does not escape that document's parallel vice of party partisanship. Constitutions are not party platforms. Whether your party's principles embrace free market reforms and neoliberalism, or a foolishly elitist brew of utopianism, socialism, transnationalism and social-justice imbecility, you still ought not to try to embed them into the governing document of a young nation. A constitution should be organized towards the goal of functional, reasonably responsive, moderately conservative governance. That is, the goal is the eventual institution of the will of the people, retarded and delayed in such a fashion as to discourage the installation of the temporary whims and sudden starts of either the people or the elite as the eternal bedrock law of the land.

Thus, a hypothetical constitution should neither establish the postive, enumerated rights of an eternal welfare state, nor enshrine the incommensurability of citizenship between the elements of a federation. I mean really, imagine if the Founding Fathers had extablished the nonresidency of citizens of Rhode Island in Pennsylvania, or South Carolina, or New York, in the founding document. We had enough problems with the South's unique notions of property, and arguing over the transferability of said property across state and territory lines. Imagine the situation if they'd have been laid on top of nontransferable citizenship.

H/T Peaktalk.

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