Shredding the Constitution
by Desmond Rutherford
©2012 All Rights Reserved

Many of us outside the U.S.A. look on their Presidential election process with some concern, not because of how the elections are conducted, though that is also worrisome in a number of ways, but because of the nature of how the policies are represented.

The philosophy behind the U.S. Constitution is not all that difficult to comprehend. This is especially so if we examine the effects of the philosophical influences in existence when the Constitution was first discussed and written. There was a clear and decisive attempt to avoid the models of the old world Western European countries, in favour of an utopian but practical realisation of government, which avoided the pitfalls of corrupt aristocracy. No matter what the benefits were of the European aristocratic nobilities, they all too often degenerated into frivolous pursuits of the idled rich. What was achieved somewhat unintentionally under the aristocratic model, and in counterbalance to its corruption, were not only some enlightened and intelligent discussions, philosophical questions, and scientific investigations, but also justified revolts against the slavery of ordinary people by tyrants who wielded power and authority.

The division between the nobility and the peasantry had to change. It was no longer acceptable for some men to be subjected to the 'King's pleasure', anymore than it would eventually be for a woman to be subordinate to her husband's will, anymore than it would be for one group of people with a particular skin colour to be enslaved by another group with a differently toned skin.

Overall, the U.S. Constitution established many of the criteria needed to destabilise Man's tyranny over men...and women and children. Since the original documents were written, there have been many amendments that have asserted, enabled, and ameliorated the original document towards further advances of freedom for individuals and communities. All of this is echoed in Lincoln's declaration that America would be a nation of government of the people, by the people and for the people, effectively recognising it as a representative democracy, a republic.

In simple terms, this means that the majority of representatives make decisions that are binding on all the citizens. The biggest advance on this simple model is to recognise that it is an individual's right to decline to be bound by the majority's rules, but whoever does so will have to accept any consequences of their rejection of the rules. This is of the utmost importance and doesn't seem to be well understood.

The heart of democracy is not the rule of the majority over everyone; it is the right of the individual to reject the majority decision. It should be understood that any actions taken, due to that rejection, may involve consequences, but it must be action which attracts any such consequences; simply disagreeing with majority decisions is a protected state of mind for individuals and groups.

Without this right of rejection, a democracy cannot work. The democratic elective process depends on people accepting or rejecting the candidates striving to become their representatives. Abstaining from voting is another question, and need not concern us here for further discussion.

What differentiates simple Majoritarianism from the more sophisticated concept of democratic governance is that the individual representatives are increasingly constrained, in order to protect citizen's rights, from what they could do, as a majority. That such representatives are elected by secret ballot is essential. No one knows who votes for whom. The right to reject the majority decision is preserved, and what's more, the individual is protected from any consequence of his (secret) voting decision.

Inherent in this argument is the idea of minorities being protected. However the minority has some protection because it is their right to reject the majority decision, and as that is the cornerstone on the democratic process, that right is inalienable; it is a human right.
Wherever the law attempts to remove the inalienable right of an individual to reject the decision of the majority, then the democracy has descended into rule by mob decision.

By extension, if the elected majority encroaches, by legislation or regulation, on the inalienable human rights of an individual or a group, to freely pursue their own lives, then those rights have been violated. Note that those rights must be inalienable, and as such they must be common, inherent to all humans.

Confusion arises when a religion demands that inalienable rights be subjected to the laws of that religion. The Constitutional First Amendment foresaw this problem and sought to protect religion (any belief system, including non-belief) from interference by the government. The foundational premise of the democracy and the logic of the amendment also protects the individual from being subjected to the demands of religion. This effectively results in that well known concept that the State and the Church must be kept separate, and it must remain so if the U.S.A. is to retain any semblance of a representative democracy, with protections for the minorities, including individual belief.

Whilst this argument is basic to the aims of the Constitution, the current attitudes expressed by many people who adhere to religious belief indicates significant numbers who do not grasp how the state preserves their right to believe whatever they wish, while simultaneously affording that same freedom to those who do not subscribe to a particular, or indeed to any, religion.

It is a human right to think and believe what you like. It is not a human right to proclaim that others, including the government, must submit to your beliefs. If your religion leads you to believe that eating meat on Fridays is wrong, then don't do it. If your religion believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, then you should only marry someone of the opposite sex. You cannot vote to make a crime of eating meat on Fridays just because it is wrong according to your religious belief, anymore than you can tell people who they can marry. A religion can refuse to marry any couple, but they cannot instruct the state to act on behalf of their belief that meat shall not be eaten on Fridays.

What your religion must not do, does not have the right to do, under the law, is stop other people from marrying someone of the same sex; even if your religious leaders feel it is wrong. Your religion has no authority outside the jurisdiction of its own beliefs and over its own followers. Similarly, religion does not have the right to impose upon the State and its citizens, restrictions over abortion, adoption, matrimony, birth control and other personal matters pursuant to your life.

Since the inception of the U.S. Constitution, there has been significant progress all around the world in the realisation and extension of the individual's intrinsic human rights. One of those was the outlawing of slavery, which unfortunately still exists under many guises, including that of 'paid work' at subsistence levels. Another area of concern is the liberation of women, from male or patriarchal dominance, and this freedom too, is constantly being advanced as a human right.

The biggest threat to realising our freedom comes from the groups attempting to impose that which they believe should replace our inalienable human rights.

If two people of the same sex want to marry under the law of the state, hold hands in public, or do any of the other things that opposite sex couples do, then people of any religion do not have the right to object. They would be objecting to the equality of the inalienable right of human beings to show affection to each other, for each other, and by loving and living with each other. The religious do not seem to understand that when they deny the expression of love to others, they leave the door open to their own affections being denied. The only protection the religious have is their own individual status as a protected minority to practise their religion. Even if their religion does tell them to go out to convert others, they don't have the right to insist that others believe, or act as if they believe, and that includes the indoctrination of children. Those are the children who are indoctrinated in their parent's hateful religious beliefs, and who then see nothing wrong with bullying and intimidating other kids into committing suicide. And still the religious do not admit their culpability in these child victim deaths, insanely claiming the suicide is due to the child victims accepting their sexuality. They spread their insanity as if it is a Holy Relic when in fact it is a poisoned chalice.

As for the Presidential candidates for the Republican party, we have seen and heard many vitriolic statements that can in effect, be deemed as nothing short of being unconstitutional, in defiance of representative democracy, and certainly mounting a denial of our inalienable human rights. One could be forgiven for thinking that every single Republican candidate, whether at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) or not, would, if they could, shred the Constitution and use it for toilet paper.

All their cries to protect the 'fabric' of American society, and to conserve past values, fail to hide that, unlike so many of their glib failures to address the human condition, they are in fact telling the truth when they say that they seek to protect society...however, it is their own self made aristocratic mob rule that they would call 'society' and then shield with restrictive legislation to protect it. Their shrewd ignorance, their lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution, and their own megalomania means they have lost whatever compassion they may have once had. The consequence of their actions risks leaving the people without their individual inalienable human rights; once again slaves unto their self-appointed arrogant and sanctimonious masters.

Meanwhile it should be no surprise that people in every nation are seriously wondering if the Republican plan is to get the rest of the Earth's population to jump off the edge of the world. It makes one think about the idea that Heaven is not somewhere one would want to go if it is populated by the likes of those religious extremists who are trying to run things on Earth. Heaven is indeed looking more like Hell on Earth, with every passing comment from the bigots, or slogan from the Republican candidates' misinformation machine.