View Poll Results: What should be done with the Founders' ideas?

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  • We should build upon them, but not completely transform them.

    50 70.42%
  • They need to be fundamentally transformed.

    6 8.45%
  • They're dead. Who cares what they thought?

    7 9.86%
  • Other (please elaborate)

    8 11.27%
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Thread: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

  1. #131
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    They also provided the amending process in the Constitution which allowed the addition of enfranchising women and blacks and abolishing slavery to that very document.

    Gosh. That was mighty white of them.

  2. #132
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Their sacrifices are no greater than ours today- 1069.

    "Posterity-you will never know how much it has cost my generation preserve your
    freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
    -

    John Quincy Adams


    What sacrifices of ours today? That was a shameful response to the real one's
    who did. Today our society is driven into corruption as we go down the road
    and disgrace the past of its determination to defend and protect our freedom.

    I must reccomend that you reread History if you have not.
    Last edited by The Silver Eagle; 05-16-10 at 02:49 AM.
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  3. #133
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The "republican form of government" that the Founders guaranteed to all states and the federal government was originally limited to white male property-owners. Pretty much the DEFINITION of limiting power to the elite members of society.
    Except not all property owners were rich or "elite."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    There's nothing inherently bad about the idea of diffusing political power; that just didn't happen to be one of our Founder's ideas.
    That's were you're wrong, limited voting is a check on rampant populism.
    Which is just as dangerous as a monarch or dictator.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Technology has caused society and economics to change, which in turn necessitates change in government. It is absurd to think that it is desirable (or even possible) to run a government the same way that it was run in 1789. Our Founders wrote a constitution for an agrarian society of coastal member states, where few people had an education beyond grammar school, where communication took weeks to travel from one end of the country to another, where the average life expectancy was about 37, where there were about three countries in the entire world engaging in substantial international trade, where wars were fought by foot soldiers with muskets, and where human beings were treated as chattel, beasts of burden, or pests to be eliminated.
    So barring slavery and equality for women and minorities, what changes are there, that are so significant, that The Constitution needs to be updated for?

    People are the same, they just hold different prejudices and views on discrimination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I merely pointed out why it's ridiculous to venerate the Founding Fathers. They were fallible politicians, nothing more.
    Why should we limit self governance?
    Essentially when you "update" or change the meaning of The Constitution, you are going to limit self governance more.
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  4. #134
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    Their temper tantrum at tax increases was justified, because they had no say in the government that increased said taxes. Given that the colonies were being exploited by a government that had disenfranchised them, their reasons for war were not the least bit silly. They also provided the amending process in the Constitution which allowed the addition of enfranchising women and blacks and abolishing slavery to that very document. Which isn't even to mention how abolitionist and pro-Native American rights, and even women's rights, many of them were.
    Just to add something here, we didn't have to change The Constitution to include minorities and women.
    We had to recognize them for what they were, humans.
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  5. #135
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    What sacrifices of ours today? That was a shameful response to the real one's who did.
    I've got a son in the army during wartime. Trust me, it's a sacrifice. Not one I made willingly, either. But one I have no choice but to live with.
    Yet my sacrifice is nothing compared to other moms in my position, whose children have been deployed and will not be coming back.

    Did the Founding Fathers ever fight in combat? Did they send their children to do so?

  6. #136
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    Their ideas created the richest and most powerful country in the world.
    To some extent their ideas created a platform for which future technological, economic, political, and demographic developments could create the richest and most powerful country in the world. But the basic mechanism of the Constitution itself? Not so much. If the exact same Constitution had been implemented in, say, Ethiopia in 1789, do you think Ethiopia would today be one of the world's richest and most powerful countries? I highly doubt it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    Of course they weren't perfect, nothing is. But it's the best that's come so far, even after all the centuries since.
    Two points here:
    1) Past performance is no guarantee of future success.
    2) What makes you think it's the best that's come so far even after all the centuries since? Personally I think the abolition of slavery and giving women the right to vote was an improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    That the Constitution was a compromise is important, and undercuts part of your argument. The founding fathers were a group of very different men, and mostly didn't agree on anything. But the Constitution is important for being the one thing that they could all agree on. All but three in the Constitutional Convention signed the resulting document.
    What's your point? Does it make it more relevant to today's world just because it received near-unanimity in Philadelphia in 1789? Are you suggesting some of them accurately predicted what the world might be like in 2010, and felt such an affinity for their remote descendants that they factored that into the policies they wrote into the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    So yes, some of "their" ideas are outdated. But basically none of those ideas made it into the Constitution, because there were men there who had more modern ideas on those things.
    Slavery? Counting people as 3/5 of a person?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    And it's ridiculous to characterize the Constitution as something created by "various ideas floating around at the time". It took 4 months to get some 50 people to all agree on something that would last
    How does that negate the characterization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    and included an amending process, just in case
    Just in case? Are you suggesting that some of the Founding Fathers believed their document was perfect for all-time and should never be amended?

    Aside from the human rights abuses, the amendment process itself was one of the grossest miscalculations our Founding Fathers made when writing the Constitution. It's not their fault; they couldn't possibly know that their country would grow to span a continent of 50 states. It is ridiculously difficult to amend the Constitution now. While I'm not suggesting it should be easy, I am suggesting that we've had more than 17 good governance ideas in the years since the Constitution was first ratified. The fact that the amendment process is so difficult is, in fact, the primary reason why a strict interpretation of the Constitution is impractical.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    and under the conditions, nothing could just be thrown in there as whimsically as you characterized. Only the best ideas could make it through.
    There were plenty of ideas that were whimsically tossed into the Constitution. For example, the natural-born citizen requirement to be president. This was done for the sole purpose of excluding Alexander Hamilton from ever seeking the presidency, not for any deep philosophical reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    Their temper tantrum at tax increases was justified, because they had no say in the government that increased said taxes. Given that the colonies were being exploited by a government that had disenfranchised them, their reasons for war were not the least bit silly.
    Then they proceeded to establish a government of their own which disenfranchised the majority of its people. Very principled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    They also provided the amending process in the Constitution which allowed the addition of enfranchising women and blacks and abolishing slavery to that very document.
    Almost every constitution in the world - democracy and dictatorship alike - has SOME kind of amendment process. That's hardly a sufficient justification for the fact that it was not included.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav
    Which isn't even to mention how abolitionist and pro-Native American rights, and even women's rights, many of them were.
    Yet somehow none of those things found their way into the original Constitution.
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  7. #137
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by The Silver Eagle View Post
    "Posterity-you will never know how much it has cost my generation preserve your
    freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
    -

    John Quincy Adams
    What's the point of that quote, other than to show John Quincy Adams' blatant narcissism? What exactly did his generation do to preserve our freedom? Fight a pointless war with England that ended in a draw? And JQA wasn't even involved in *that*.
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  8. #138
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Further reasoning on why voting was restricted to property owners, this should help put away the idea that it was solely because they were racist, sexist, elitists.

    "The true reason of requiring any qualification, with regard to property, in voters, is to exclude such persons as are in so mean a situation that they are esteemed to have no will of their own. If these persons had votes, they would be tempted to dispose of them under some undue influence or other. This would give a great, an artful, or a wealthy man, a larger share in elections than is consistent with general liberty."

    Voting in Early America : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History Site

    Gee I wonder, was he predicting the future of what we live in today.

    And some call these guys ideas outdated.
    Last edited by Harry Guerrilla; 05-16-10 at 03:48 AM.
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  9. #139
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Except not all property owners were rich or "elite."
    So your definition of "elite" differs from mine, big deal. The Founding Fathers wanted to expand political power from the British aristocracy (maybe 5% of the population) to white male land-owners (maybe 15% of the population). How principled of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    That's were you're wrong, limited voting is a check on rampant populism.
    Which is just as dangerous as a monarch or dictator.
    Please tell me you didn't just argue that disenfranchising women and blacks is a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    So barring slavery and equality for women and minorities, what changes are there, that are so significant, that The Constitution needs to be updated for?
    Well, it depends if we're going to follow an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, or a living document approach. If we follow a living document approach, we needn't change very much at all in the text of the Constitution.

    If, on the other hand, we're going to follow an originalist interpretation, then the Constitution is horrendously outdated and needs a major overhaul. 1) We need to change the amendment process to make it easier to change the document in the future. 2) We need to expand Congress' powers to include environmental protection, financial regulation, maintaining an interstate highway system, health care regulation, and telecommunications regulation. There are probably others, but those are the ones I can think of offhand. 3) We need to clarify what powers the president actually holds during war time, and we need to update what a "war" is and who declares it. 4) We need to add the Federal Reserve as an entirely new branch of government, with checks and balances on/from the other branches. 5) We need to explicitly add a right to privacy to the Constitution...and the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens from invasions of privacy, whether they come from other citizens, corporations, or governments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    People are the same, they just hold different prejudices and views on discrimination.
    Whether or not "people are the same" (whatever that means) is irrelevant. The WORLD is vastly different than it was in 1789, and it is absurd to think that there is some ideal form of government that is best for all people in all eras of history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Why should we limit self governance?
    Essentially when you "update" or change the meaning of The Constitution, you are going to limit self governance more.
    Because we no longer live in an agrarian autarky, where being left alone is sufficient to let people prosper.
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  10. #140
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Further reasoning on why voting was restricted to property owners, this should help put away the idea that it was solely because they were racist, sexist, elitists.

    "The true reason of requiring any qualification, with regard to property, in voters, is to exclude such persons as are in so mean a situation that they are esteemed to have no will of their own. If these persons had votes, they would be tempted to dispose of them under some undue influence or other. This would give a great, an artful, or a wealthy man, a larger share in elections than is consistent with general liberty."

    Voting in Early America : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History Site

    Gee I wonder, was he predicting the future of what we live in today.

    And some call these guys ideas outdated.
    Actually that's a perfect example of how their ideas are outdated. Let's consider the economics of vote-buying for a second. In the modern world, it makes no sense. How much do you think the average person would be willing to sell their vote for? I would guess somewhere between $20 and $100. Putting aside ethical questions and just considering the cold, hard economics, that's a huge amount to pay for a vote. You'd be able to get many more votes for the same cost if you ran a television advertisement or radio spot.

    Obviously those options were not available to people in 1789, so vote-buying may have been a serious threat. But it's a great example of how technology completely changes it. Any candidate who engaged in vote-buying today would not only be unethical, but an economic illiterate.
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