View Poll Results: Does the original intent still matter when discussing the Constitution?

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  • Yes. We should strictly follow both the letter and spirit of the original intent.

    28 35.90%
  • Yes. We should follow the original principles and then apply them as new issues arise.

    21 26.92%
  • Yes. The original intent of the Constition is important, but other factors must be considered.

    15 19.23%
  • No. The Constitution is a guiding set of principles that we can interrpret to fit our current needs.

    10 12.82%
  • Other

    4 5.13%
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Thread: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

  1. #181
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnapostate View Post
    I'm not interested in "effective" qualities if their effect is the reinforcement of limited democratic management through republicanism and checks on freedom through authoritarian mechanisms.
    That's what government does. It is necessary--the constitution keeps the process limited. I know you disagree because you are a socialist/anarchist... personally, I see more room for exploitation of people under authoritarian mechanisms within socialist systems.
    Any usurpation of private property is a usurpation of freedom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnapostate View Post
    I promote anarchism myself, as is well known, but the Constitution fails to meet even the criteria of most other Western liberal democracies.
    what criteria? You speak as if there is (or was) some form of worldwide agreement about what it "means" to be a western liberal democracy... I don't see any value in that approach at all, there's no such overarching agreement or criteria, especially prexisting the US constitution.
    Last edited by other; 10-23-09 at 11:54 AM.

  2. #182
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    Personally, I see a common sense distinction between "arms" and "ordnance." The former being typical firearms and the latter being those weapons specifically military in nature such as artillery or modern bombs--yes including nukes. Under scrutiny of original intent, I don't know of any civilians in the late 1700s or early 1800s who sprung for cannon.
    That makes sense to me, but what's the definition of what is ordinance and what is arms. Certainly I can see that a nuke would be ordinance and a hunting rifle arms, but it seems like where that line falls is what a lot of the debate is about. For example, what about an automatic ak47?

  3. #183
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    The constitution should be made to work in a changing world to my mind. Think of it as a rough framework that we use as a guide.
    The constitution is fine as it is... the Constitution puts limits on Government, not the people --- therefore those limits to Government still apply. Once they start applying to "people", it's no longer a Constitution.

  4. #184
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    That makes sense to me, but what's the definition of what is ordinance and what is arms. Certainly I can see that a nuke would be ordinance and a hunting rifle arms, but it seems like where that line falls is what a lot of the debate is about. For example, what about an automatic ak47?
    AKs = arms

    In my opinion, with regard to the orginal intent to which the amendment was written, "arms" are weapons that would be furnished by individuals that show up to fight in a militia, so they are those weapons/ammo that are needed to make oneself an effective infantryman. For instance, in the late 1700s, if the militia was called up, people could reasonably be expected to bring their own individually owned muskets, pistols, etc---they would not be expected to bring their own cannon or mortars because as "ordnance," they would have been furnished by the state.

  5. #185
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    That makes sense to me, but what's the definition of what is ordinance and what is arms. Certainly I can see that a nuke would be ordinance and a hunting rifle arms, but it seems like where that line falls is what a lot of the debate is about. For example, what about an automatic ak47?
    "Arms" has been interpreted by the SCotUS as any weapon that is 'oridinary military equipment', 'in common use at the time', and, in its use, has some 'reasonable relationship' to the role of the militia.

    In short -- it covers all firearms. Anything beyond that is up for debate, but it inarguably covers all firearms.

  6. #186
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    I don't like tying the standard to what soldiers carry because that basically means that the bar will rise steadily over time as to how much destructive force we allow civilians to have. In the framers' day one lunatic with a musket who decided to start killing people in an elementary school would get one potentially not even lethal shot off before he'd be tackled and disarmed. Today a lunatic with a machine gun could easily kill 100 people before they get taken down. A modern AK is more deadly than the cannon was in the framers' day. 100 years from now I imagine that soldiers will be carrying weapons that will make the AK look quaint. If soldiers start carrying some kind of phaser that would allow them to melt down a stadium in 30 seconds, that doesn't mean we would want every nut on the street carrying those too. As the destructive force becomes greater, so do the tradeoffs of the right to bear arms, so we shouldn't set a standard that will keep allowing more and more destructive weapons with no limit.

    That said, I'm not really sure what other options there are for a reasonable limit that would stand the test fo time, so I'm not really sure where I stand on gun control. I'm definitely not anti-gun. I had guns growing up, I used to hunt, etc. But I'm also definitely not cool with any random psychopath having the capability to slaughter dozens of people with a single flick of his finger either...

  7. #187
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    I don't like tying the standard to what soldiers carry because that basically means that the bar will rise steadily over time as to how much destructive force we allow civilians to have.
    That's the point.
    You cannot have an effective militia if the people do not have suitable, effective weapons.

    In the framers' day...
    These arguments are meaningless, unless you want to aslo consider what else they could not have imagined -- satellite television, the internet, the telephone -- and how your argument applies to them.

    That said, I'm not really sure what other options there are for a reasonable limit that would stand the test fo time
    There is none. The concept and the principle, not the technology is what matters.

  8. #188
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    There is none. The concept and the principle, not the technology is what matters.
    I disagree with that. If you believe that, work through my scenario with the phaser. Imagine that in 50 years soldiers are issued some new high tech phaser that can destroy an entire stadium and kill everybody inside in a matter of seconds. Would you support those phasers being sold to whoever wanted them? The country wouldn't last a month after that. Every year there are thousands of murder suicides. If even 10% of those decided to take a whole stadium of people down with them, our country would be in ashes. Massive scale terrorism would be child's play to carry out. If China wanted to go to war with us, instead of needing a trillion dollar military, they'd need 100 folks with valid drivers licenses or state IDs... Nobody wants those things, right?

    A principal that doesn't take into account that sort of scenario isn't a good principal. I'm looking for a principal that both meets the goal of allowing hunting and self defense and whatnot, but also gives us a reasonable answer to the phaser question.
    Last edited by teamosil; 10-23-09 at 04:24 PM.

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    I disagree with that. If you believe that, work through my scenario with the phaser. Imagine that in 50 years soldiers are issued some new high tech phaser that can destroy an entire stadium and kill everybody inside in a matter of seconds.
    We have those weapons now -- they're called tactical nuclear weapons.

    Is this weapon part of 'ordinary military equipment' and 'in common use at the time'? Can the militia use this weapon when doing what the militis is supposed to do? If so, then how do you expect the militia to be able to do its job, if the people do not have access to a similar weapons.

    And, what does this have to do with the idea that all firearms are considered 'arms'?

  10. #190
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    We have those weapons now -- they're called tactical nuclear weapons.

    Is this weapon part of 'ordinary military equipment' and 'in common use at the time'? Can the militia use this weapon when doing what the militis is supposed to do? If so, then how do you expect the militia to be able to do its job, if the people do not have access to a similar weapons.

    And, what does this have to do with the idea that all firearms are considered 'arms'?
    Right, but the destructive capability the average soldier carries around is continually increasing. Think out into the future. It will continue to increase. Is there any point along that path where you would say "ok, that's too much destructive force for an individual to have"? Or would you continue to support the principal that civilians ought to have unrestricted access to that weaponry even once it becomes far, far, more deadly than it is now?

    As for the job of the militia, what is that job? If the job is to have the capability to overthrow the government, as the framers intended, I'm afraid that ship already sailed. The real power of the military is no longer soldiers and the weapons they carry, it's the 'ordinance' as we've been calling it- bombers, cruise missles, aircraft carriers, attack helicopters, satellite imagry, etc.

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