Improve the greatest secular document in human history? No problem…now. Not after a few centuries of power-mongers assailing and subverting it. We’ve got plenty of abuses to address. And for all their rightful pessimism about flawed humanity, the Founders still gave us too much credit. So here’s a few ideas of mine, feel free to join in.
Keep it simple and shyster-free.
The Constitution is a meta-legal document, there’s no need for it to be in Legalese. And after teeny loopholes get reamed by the legal profession, again and again and again, activist government can “legally” drive through anything. Force us to buy insurance, forbid us to defend ourselves from unlawful entry by that government.
Look at this:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
We can’t clean that up a bit? Sure, it worked fine when most people believed in limited government. But FDR changed that attitude, and modern “elitists” managed to disarm half the country. Millions of Americans can’t reliably defend themselves because local governments think they outrank the Bill of Rights.
We keep it simple. “See Spot run” simple. As simple as the idea can be communicated.
Forrest Gump simple.
Government is a necessary evil.
Look at the Ruling Class. It’s far more enraging than a pickpocket. When thieves steal your money they don’t spend it to limit your liberties. And they sure as heck don’t expect to be thanked for it.
The role of government is to minimize bad, not maximize good. In fact, I don’t think governments are even capable of doing good. This will be expanded later, and if you guys can’t fault my argument it’ll turn into an axiom.
Government is a necessary evil. At the federal level, think surgery. Think cancer radiation treatment. We need it, but no American should want it beyond the absolutely necessary.
The Founders made this obvious; what they didn’t do is make it undeniable. I’d like version 2.0 to rub everyone’s noses in the fact, repeatedly if possible. Americans should regard necessary government as Dr. Christian Bernard and excess government as Jack the Ripper.
Unnecessary government is unnecessary surgery.
And as a good friend of mine notes, “if you want fewer criminals, make fewer laws”.
Checks, balances, and negative feedback.
No one taking a federal job can join a union or vote in federal elections.
“Conflict of interest” applies in the public sector, too. This should be noted and dealt with. Unions are adversarial entities, and we won’t be creating enemies of the taxpayer, thank you very much. If soldiers can’t go on strike, neither can other government employees.
I want our public servants to get decent pay and benefits, with the best of them getting excellent pay. And they should have the best job security there is. When government is only doing what’s absolutely necessary, anyone doing that work should sleep very soundly at night. They can have the job for life, which is more than the rest of us can count on.
But in exchange, no voting. I love this idea, because it’s an elegant feedback mechanism. Anyone in government has a vested interest in expanding it. They must not be given the opportunity to do so. They are public servants, not masters. Awww, you wanna vote? Then be a tax generator, not a consumer.
As wards of the state, obviously welfare recipients shouldn’t vote either. But then, federal reallocation programs were never Constitutional in the first place. If states want to let recipients vote in state finances, let ’em. We don’t stop a pair of parents from letting their three children vote on family expenditures, do we? So go right ahead, states.
(You’ll be sor-ry.)
I’d also like to require supermajorities to pass certain types of legislation. Maybe all of it. If you can’t get two out of three people to agree to obey a law, you’re better off ignoring it at the federal level and let states do as they choose. This falls under my “maximize consent” axiom.
Of course, I have no problem with a simple majority being able to repeal a law. Thus endeth “tyranny of the minority”, such as with the Senate digging in against repeal of Obamacare. When more than half the country doesn’t want a federal law, it should not exist. Land of the Free, remember.
I know the Founders feared passion in politics, with momentary majorities making bad laws. But I’m talking about doing away with laws. You can always re-enact it if the fickle insist.
We also need to do something about regulatory fiat. Where does the Constitution permit the Executive Branch to create law? If you won’t do what’s in your job description, Congress, get a new job.
Okay, time for your ideas. But remember we don’t simply want “good ideas” in the Constitution 2.0. You know, things that could as easily be laws. Although specifics in the “checks, balances, and negative feedback” department are highly desirable. Just look for holes punched in the Founders’ intent and bring the spackle!
Over to you.