The Forrest Gump Preamble.

DJ and commenters have really gotten the “Constitution 2.0” thing moving.  I’m just starting to catch up.  But before diving into constitutional nuts and bolts (which DJ’s doing terrifically) I want an axiomatic start.  What is the Constitution 2.0 for

Of course that’s also the Founders’ and DJ’s idea, with the Preamble and the Executive Summary, respectively.  DJ eliminated the phrase “general welfare”…

This is due to the fact that the meaning of the word welfare has changed dramatically since 1787.

Exactly right, but I want to be much more ruthless.  Always oversimplify rather than overcomplicate. Make things too simple, the problem will soon be obvious.  Too complicated…?  You may never find the right answer.

So the ideal Preamble has been flensed to the bone, by Occam’s Razor.

DJ eliminated one clause, for very good reason.  But several others still remain.  Can we eliminate or consolidate the rest?  Can we boil the Preamble down to a single concept?  In my opinion, we must.  Remember that every idea, every word in the federal operating system will suffer constant assault by hackers and viruses.  Intelligent and creative people will seek to subvert it as soon as it passes and will continue so long as it exists.  The simplier this organism, the longer it will live.

So what’s the simplest Preamble you can live with?  What is the miminum number of ideas to address?  Now, if you’d like to skip the pondering and find the best one, that’s already done. It is as follows: 

We, the People, in order to maximize Liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Usually I preface statements with “IMHO”-type caveats.  Not this time.  DJ pointed out the corruption of “public welfare”.  Well, even two “basic” concepts is one too many.  It lets future hackers (lawyers) and coders (legislators) play them against each other for personal benefit. 

Take the “Tranquility” clause.  Is it absolutely necessary to the Preamble?  Tranquility is subjective.   What’s peaceful to me might be stupifying to you yet sheer chaos to DJ.  Of course we know what the Founders meant.  But it’s what they said that’s subject to abuse.  You could use the Tranquility clause to justify bribing the OWS crowd with federal funds just to get them to shut up for a minute. 

There is one (and only one) concept immune to tyrannical abuse:  freedom.  You can use “welfare” and “tranquility” and “justice” to rationalize any restraint imaginable.  Now try it with “freedom”, “liberty”, or “independence”.      

I vaguely remember coining a “Law” once before.  Too bad.  Because I like this as “Wormme’s Law”:

Any concept except liberty can and will be used to infringe liberty.

Now to search the archives…

Heh heh.  Yep, there’s a pre-existing one:

Anyone not constantly and consciously fighting for freedom is losing it.

This wormdude is a real monomaniac, eh?  Looking at both…I’ll go with the more recent as the actual law.  The original “law” seems more of a necessary inference. 

Anyway, that’s my proposed Preamble.  Please don’t whip the “anarchy” card out until after the next “C2.0” post.  We’ll get into the Founders’ major blunder.

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About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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7 Responses to The Forrest Gump Preamble.

  1. D.J. says:

    ‘Maximize Liberty’, you say? Whose liberty? Citizens’? Residents’? Everyone’s?

    A very good principle, but you also want precision.

    • wormme says:

      I see no way to make “maximize liberty” more precise. Making it more precise means clarifying the idea, not complicating it.

      Again, this is an axiom, not a recipe or procedure. The simpliest and clearest rules allow for the most intelligent and complex behavior. Operational complexities come after the axiom, after the Preamble.

      So obviously the American government is not responsible for “everyone’s” liberty. It only bears such foreign obligations as are established by treaty. But do I mean maximize the liberty of both Citizens and Residents? Of course! Will those liberties be identical here in the States? Of course not! Naturally we’d have restrictions on foreign visitors that don’t apply to citizens. No one’s making them come.

      Our government uses the “Commerce Clause” to dictate what people can grow on their own land for their own use. Giving it any duty other than liberty and you ensure its future tyranny. Try to come up with any other precept I can’t corrupt into an instrument of oppression. Any claims that my argument is outlandish will be referred to current leftist arguments.

    • D.J. says:

      I’ve been thinking about it a while, and here’s my full objection: the Federal government should not hold authority over those outside the country, so there’s no way for the government to maximize their liberty. To deal with that objection, I propose the following:

      We, the People of the United States ordain this Constitution in order to maximize Liberty to all those subject to the Federal Government.

  2. Billy says:

    Welcome back worm. I hadn’t commented on the removal of the welfare part while keeping the rest the same. My thought is rewrite the whole thing and be specific. Worms points out that a few words can get twisted. One could expand each point with details in a billeted list that follows. And to follow-up with Use Cases (Scenarios) which I mentioned before setting examples of what is and is not protected, leaving less wiggle room.

    DJ is starting with what could be the final form. Seems a list of item to include, or not include, within C 2.0 may be an easier starting point.

    * No anchor babies automatically becoming a citizen.
    * English is official language, Voting ballots must be in this language; no others required for federal elections. Sates/local govs can supersede and have other languages represented.
    * ID required for Fed elections.

    Get all the peices together, see which ones are tied together (such as voting and national language), then the draft text may be easier to build.

    IMHO.

  3. Xpat says:

    In my opinion “in order to maximize liberty” does not limit mischief by virtue of spareness of language. I’m thinking of what a government could perpetrate in the name of “maximizing liberty.” It’s not very hard! (It almost makes me think the word “maximize” should be kept away from all constitutional documents.)

    I’m not knocking the convictions behind the formulation, but the formulation in itself does not explain or even clearly express the convictions.

  4. midwest bill says:

    I just want to add that this is a great idea … reworking the constitution, for maximizing understanding, if nothing else. I hope to get time or energy or knowledge to contribute at some point. But how awesome would it be to have this kind of exercise for 8th grade students. I wonder what kind of mushy “civics” class they get these days.

    • D.J. says:

      I sent a link to the Blogfather about this topic, hoping for an Instalanche (it would have been the second one I triggered). I suggested that the exercise be used in Con Law classes. Rewrite the Constitution. Say why you did what you did.

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