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The U.S. Constitution vs other nations

Nevyrmoore

AKA Ass-Bandit
But the point by doing that and the point in response to your question is the Constitution is revered in America. Old, young, liberal, conservative....as a rule Americans see it as much much more than a set of rules put in place by some men. From the comments I've seen, I don't think other countries get that.
I understand it. What I thought you were addressing was my comment about the lack of God.

A large number of times, I have heard the phrase "God given rights". But in my own mind, those rights weren't just handed to you willy-nilly. Your ancestors created those rights and made them their own in response to the English government who decided such rights were not yours to have.
 

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
Thats the interesting thing with the UK constitution(or lack of) and one of the primary reasons I disagree with holding such statutes as the US constitution or any other in such high regard. One of the most important principle within the UK constitution is that "No one Parliament is bound by the decisions of its predecessors, nor can it bind its successors." so the UK even if it wished could not have a constitution similar to that of other countries where there are irrefutable powers written in centuries gone that still govern the present day. It is simply not possible, all laws and rights must be for the present and not for the past.




Thomas Jefferson expressed the idea a couple of times that the Constitution should be rewritten every 20 years, that the living shouldn't be able to bound the yet unborn.
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Actually I was describing what you have. :lol: Your document's wording is more of proscription than permission.
Ah, gotcha, I misread you:)
 
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Sim

Registered Member
And THIS is why atheist governments often end with millions of people dead.
Mao Zedong, Josif Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Il-Sung.....there's your friends dude.
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It's not a good argument to blame atheism for totalitarian and athoritarian murders, because that implies religious governments are less prone to murder and oppression, which is not true.

In past and present, non-secular governments were just as capable of atrocities like atheist governments: Think of the crusades, absolutist Christian monarchies in the past or look at theocratic dictatorships like Iran, Saudi-Arabia or the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

You are right when you say atheism doesn't necessarily make a government better, but the reverse is not true, religion does not make a government better either.
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As for the questions whether rights stem from God -- that's hardly the only way to look at it, although some philosophers thinking about human rights (natural law) came up with this explanation.

But you can just as well support universal natural law without involving God. Other philosophers, for example, said natural law (human and civil rights) is universal, but does not stem from God, but from a natural state (an imagined original state of mankind), or from a contract of all people with each other.

Many other free constitutional states than the US do not involve the term "creator" when defining civil and human rights, and they are not any less free than the US.

Besides, even in the US constitution, it's not mentioned that the basic civil rights stem from the Christian God -- just the term "creator" is used, but further clues whether this means the God from the Bible are not given. In fact, many Founding Fathers were not Christian believers, but most were deists, IIRC, and quite a few even agnostics.

Only recently, the religious right has started to instrumentalize this ambigouos wording in the Constitution to claim the Founding Fathers had a Christian nation in mind when they created the American Constitution, which is not true -- they believed in freedom of worship and religion and did not favor one religion over another.

In fact, it could not even be more again their intentions when people claim the state should be Christian, because there is no freedom when the freedom of religious minorities, like atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus etc. are not equally taken into account as the interests of Christians.
 
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Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
I don't particularly buy the premise of the OP. Many societies have unwritten constitutions in which there is must implied freedom- it's not forbidden until it's legislated against, or a court rules against it- the UK is like this. And since most countries have Constitutions inspired by ours (after all, ours is the oldest still in force, of written constitutions at least), the general idea of a constitution tends to have this idea of government limitation.

The Bill of Rights is quite common. The UK has several equivalents, the UN has several extensive ones telling what governments cannot infringe on, and various others have analogues.
 
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fleinn

101010
..I suppose you could argue that a constitution people make their own is always special.

I'm not too sure about whether or not the US constitution really differs from the UK one (or others), either, to be honest. Always thought about the Creator who gives inalienable rights was a way of saying the rights exist, and are a foundation for figuring out what the government cannot do. So that while the wording is different, it gives the same prescription for how government can act. It's not written down in a vacuum, it's for the purpose of establishing a government, etc..

I guess some readings of constitutions will confirm p2a's suggestion, though. We have, for example, from the beginning, that the King has supreme power. He can make laws out of whole cloth, according to the constitution. :)

But I agree that the US constitution is special in the way it establishes certain rights as a foundation for government. There are a lot of guidance in those principles that extend farther than simply that government cannot prosecute people against the law, for example. And obviously it was a brave and controversial thing to choose as a foundation - and contested and tested as well.. But on paper, it's unique in choosing the foundation for government in inalienable rights, rather than a process for a governing body to operate under.

I would be careful about suggesting this automatically creates better government, though.. :) Perhaps having the threat of government- sponsored tyranny, regardless of what form it would take.. very freshly in memory when crafting laws is more motivational in that sense..
 

Screamsgutter

New Member
But what makes it so highly revered? This is what I struggle to understand...I'll try and explain by comparison;

From my perspective the US constitution is a negative liberty based on positive rights, you as an American only have freedom because it states you can have freedom. To abide by such a document in itself restricts your freedoms.

Here(the UK) we are the opposite, we have positive liberty based on negative rights. Freedom is the blank canvas to which laws are set, you can not give freedom, it is an absolute. We have laws that restrict freedom but not laws giving freedom, here that simply is not possible.

Put it this way, our freedom is the blank piece of paper the US constitution was written on, that is the only freedom there can be. When someone writes on that piece of paper, that you can have freedom, it goes against the very concept that we know of freedom. We become hypcritical if we were to do this.

As an example lets use conscription as a basis. When the US government drafts civilians for military service it goes against its very own doctrine of the rights its proposes in the constitution. How can it it do this with any legitimate measure?
Conscription - We have a saying "freedom isn't free". I believe every country currently on the planet has had to either defend itself from an invasion by another country or join an alliance with other countries for the purpose of stopping a greater threat which poses a detriment to the survival of the country and its people. Dire times often require dire actions, and those actions would only be used as desperate solutions for last-ditch scenarios. If citizens aren't willing to fight to protect the country they live in (and by association, everybody they care about living there), then neither would have much chance for survival. This time in America represents the longest stretch of decades where a draft hasn't been implemented, and that's solely due to the last fifty years being free of conflicts with magnitude to warrant it. My generation, GenX, is the first in the last 120 years to not feel the threat of a draft (closest threat was the early '90s Gulf War. I was 21 while my brother was 16). My father's generation got stuck with Viet Nam. We are the lucky ones - Gen X, Millennials and so far Gen Z.
 
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