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Constitutional Design Proposal

By Craig Wright | 09 Jan 2022 | Law & Regulation

     I.         Introduction

For all the benefits, the Constitution of the United States was developed in haste and through various compromises that could have been constructed in a way that better governed the ongoing processes within the United States of America [1]. Since the Constitution was created, several changes have occurred that have eroded the original intention. Notably, the Constitution of the United States was designed to create a republic [2]. The system was not designed to be democratic in the traditional sense of direct democracy, but instead acted as a proportional system that balanced the capital classes or aristocratic elements with the people’s wishes. As such, the system was designed as a compromise between both the people and vested capital interests [3].

   II.         The Problems with the Modern Secular State

The modern secular state has created a secular religion and replaced many aspects of Christianity with scientism [4]. In part, secular religions such as scientism have grown with the power of the press and accelerated because of social media [5]. For a democratic republic to work well, the free media must be based and founded on truth, and the people must be educated [6]. The debate around the role of journalism and democracy is not a new one [7]. Equally, education has been considered as a crucial part of the democratic process since the foundation of the United States [8]. It has been recognised for a century now that education presents a necessary foundation for the development of citizenship in a democracy [9]. The progressive movement has long been seeking to erode this role of education in the United States [10]. The process of eroding civic education has not abated [11].

 III.         Institutions Required Within the Modern State

Other than the aforementioned problems of scientism, education, and the press that foments discontent and promotes falsehoods, the majority of institutions within the United States are working correctly [12]. Where change is necessary, it can generally be linked to such primary factors. The main areas that have been radically altered in pursuing scientism and progress of such thought involve the introduction of activist judges into the Supreme Court and the radical changes in the political system that have been occasioned, the limitations on economic freedoms and property rights, and the disruption of civic involvement through a combination of partisan media and educational reforms [13]. Each area is briefly addressed.

a.     Economic

Starting with Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal, multiple changes to the nature of property rights started to be introduced throughout the United States [14]. The progressive and Marxist concept of scientific planning began to be too important to be left to constitutional control. Rather than leaving economic systems to the people in society, progressivist politicians started growing bureaucratic government, to introduce changes that would lead to rigid planning [15].

            Hayek noted how ignorance could not be overridden in the market [16]. Strangely, such a concept is one that even ethicists who are outside of the political economy understand well [17]. The development of systems in society came about not by planning but through innovation [18]. Consequently, the protection of private property remains as one of the paramount aspects of society. Though it is essential to educate people about their civic duty, they should then be free to innovate without restrictions from the government. Without such protection, systems fall into stasis and decay [19]. The economic changes that have enabled the widespread growth of a welfare state also undermine the incentives for people to volunteer, donate to charity, and be part of their local community [20]. Some researchers have gone as far as to recommend the abolition of the welfare state in its present form [21]. For such a strategy to be successful, it would likely need to be heavily linked to civic education and the reintroduction of education concerning Christian charity.

b.    Political Systems

The Progressivist New Deal brought with it changes other than of economic nature [22]. Following the threats to flood the Supreme Court, more progressive judges have engaged in judicial activism to the detriment of the Constitution [23]. The resulting creation of a juristocracy has unjustly weighted the power of the Supreme Court beyond the balance that it was designed to maintain [24]. The increased power afforded to judges has undermined the concept of parliamentary or republican democracy towards a system that empowers a nonelected oligarchy [25].

            The growing power of the Supreme Court in the United States has led to a system that is outside the control of either the voting citizenry or the controllers of capital property that grew the systems employing workers and enabling them to thrive [26]. If the United States is to remain as a Democratic Republic and not slide into oligarchic tyranny, limits must be set to ensure that such unelected officials constrain their actions in accordance with their legal powers [27]. To achieve such an end, it seems necessary to review the decisions of the Supreme Court and to form an institution that can challenge and possibly remove judges who do not seek to follow the letter of the law but seek to change it.

c.     Cultural

For the most part, the government should not interfere with society’s cultural or religious attributes other than to mitigate the worst aspects of human nature. One area of society that has experienced problems is presented by the media. When the Founding Fathers created the Constitution and supporting foundational documents for the United States of America, they made a provision for free speech. When they did so, they did not foresee how large media companies would become or the development and growth of the internet. Because of such developments, free speech and the necessary aspects of democracy allow people to make informed decisions.

            As Plattner argues, the growth of partisan media technologies is dividing the shared civic arena beyond the changes made by Nixon and Reagan to media rules [28]. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter create antisocial relationships and divide communities [29]. Importantly, such platforms have allowed the growth of fake news in a manner that undermines the First Amendment [30]. De Tocqueville noted that the liberty of the press holds power to sway democracies, and issued a warning of the same point concerning the future of America [31]. Mill argued that the press, and above all the periodical press, has rendered public opinion as the supreme power controlling the government in analysing its work [32]. Mill demonstrated that the newspaper press devolves into echoing the prejudices and vulgarities of the masses over the enlightened [33]. As Mill also notes, few people believed that the freedom of the press could be compatible with a well-ordered state [34].

            Such issues around the partisan news media and the more modern social media systems all stem from reporting falsehoods without a sign of truth [35]. Whilst the freedom of the press is critical, it does not equate to freedom of suppression. It also does not equate to the right to promote dissension and falsehoods. Social media has further extended to attacks against religion [36]. For the same reason, the idea of scientism not as a religion but as a concept for people of believing the scientific has been propagated [37]. It is essential to create controls that will limit the ability of social media companies to manipulate the democratic process. An issue that has been crucial since the foundation of the United States lies in educating the youth in society [38]. Without a solid moral education, democracy cannot succeed [39].

IV.         Conclusion

The Constitution of the United States was designed remarkably well. Yet, it cannot be expected that the Founding Fathers would have foreseen the rise of modern news media, let alone social media platforms such as Facebook. At the same time, the growth of government-funded education has undermined the rights of the individual to gain civic education. It is hence undermining the foundations of republican democracy in the United States.

            It is crucial to work within the political system to enable change (1 Peter 2:13). Such a process requires that we promote honest media and civic education based on voluntary engagement from educated individuals. Education is not training. It involves the understanding of virtue in the creation of rounded citizens. Although the foundations of the American Constitution and its Bill of Rights provide the people with a sound foundation for both freedom and protections, such documents could not have been created to understand the future.

   V.         Footnotes

1. Ames, Herman Vandenburg. The Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the United States During the First Century of Its History. Vol. 2. US Government Printing Office, 1897.

2. Stevens, Charles Ellis. Sources of the Constitution of the United States considered in relation to Colonial and English History. No. 26634-26637. Macmillan and Company, 1894.

3. Ibid. p. 146.

4. Moreland, James Porter. Scientism and secularism: Learning to respond to a dangerous ideology. Crossway, 2018.

5. Principe, Lawrence M. “Scientism and the religion of science.” Scientism: The new orthodoxy 41 (2016): 61.; Jaques, Cecilia, Mine Islar, and Gavin Lord. “Post-Truth: Hegemony on social media and implications for sustainability communication.” Sustainability 11, no. 7 (2019): 2120.

6. Westheimer, Joel, and Joseph Kahne. “What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy.” American educational research journal 41, no. 2 (2004): 237-269.

7. Stead, William T. “Government by journalism.” Contemporary Review 49, no. 1 (1886): 663-81.

8. Madison, James. “The federalist no. 10.” November 22, no. 1787 (1787): 1787-88.

9. Ellwood, Charles A. “Education for citizenship in a democracy.” American Journal of Sociology 26, no. 1 (1920): 73-81.

10. Mitchell, Douglas E. “PROGRESSIVISM AND THE EVOLUTION OF EDUCATION POLICY.” Education Week (1915): 17.

11. Galston, William A. “Political knowledge, political engagement, and civic education.” Annual review of political science 4, no. 1 (2001): 217-234.

12. The following work notes some of the disparities that have been promoted in use of false rhetoric: Aune, James Arnt. Selling the free market: The rhetoric of economic correctness. Guilford Press, 2002.

13. Purcell, Edward A. Brandeis and the Progressive Constitution: Erie, the Judicial Power, and the Politics of the Federal Courts in Twentieth-Century America. Yale University Press, 2000.

14. Fusfeld, Daniel R. The economic thought of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the origins of the New Deal. Columbia University Press, 1954.

15. Jackson, Ben. “Freedom, the common good, and the rule of law: Lippmann and Hayek on economic planning.” Journal of the History of Ideas 73, no. 1 (2012): 47-68.

16. Hayek, Friedrich A. “Coping with ignorance.” Imprimis 7, no. 7 (1978): 1-6.

17. MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. A&C Black, 2013. p. 105-06.

18. Yun, JinHyo Joseph. “How do we conquer the growth limits of capitalism? Schumpeterian Dynamics of Open Innovation.” Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity 1, no. 2 (2015): 17.

19. Dufficy, Rory. “Symptoms of stasis.” Overland 226 (2017): 46-50.; Kalimtzis, Kostas. Aristotle on political enmity and disease: An inquiry into stasis. Suny Press, 2000.

20. Barr, Nicholas. Economics of the welfare state. Oxford University Press, USA, 2020.

21. La Bletta, Nicole, and Walter Block. “The restoration of the American dream: a case for abolishing welfare.” Humanomics (1999).

22. Kalman, Laura. “The constitution, the Supreme Court, and the new deal.” The American Historical Review 110, no. 4 (2005): 1052-1080.

23. Wilkey, Malcolm Richard. “Judicial Activism, Congressional Abdication, and the Need for Constitutional Reform.” Harv. JL & Pub. Pol’y 8 (1985): 503.

24. Goldstein, Leslie Friedman. “From democracy to juristocracy.” Law & society review 38, no. 3 (2004): 611-629.

25. Smillie, John. “Who Wants Juristocracy.” Otago L. Rev. 11 (2005): 183.

26. Hirschl, Ran. Towards juristocracy: the origins and consequences of the new constitutionalism. Harvard University Press, 2009.

27. Lovell, George I., and Scott E. Lemieux. “Assessing juristocracy: Are judges rulers or agents.” Md. L. Rev. 65 (2006): 100.

28. Plattner, Marc F. “Media and democracy: The long view.” Journal of democracy 23, no. 4 (2012): 62-73.

29. Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Antisocial media: How Facebook disconnects us and undermines democracy. Oxford University Press, 2018.

30. Timmer, Joel. “Fighting falsity: Fake news, Facebook, and the first amendment.” Cardozo Arts & Ent. LJ 35 (2016): 669.

31. De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America… Translated by Henry Reeve. Vol. 2. Saunders&Otley, 1838. P. 265.

32. Mill, John Stuart. M. de Tocqueville on Democracy in America. Vol. 2. John W. Parker and son, 1859. p. 13.

33. Ibid. p. 335-6.

34. Ibid. p. 420.

35. Alesina, Alberto, and Howard Rosenthal. Partisan politics, divided government, and the economy. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

36. Taira, Teemu. “Media and the Nonreligious.” Religion, Media, and Social Change (2015).

37. James, Dylan. “Advocating Scientism, 1963-2013.” PhD diss., Appalachian State University, 2014.

38. Webster, Noah. On the education of youth in America. I. Thomas and ET Andrews, 1790.

39. McClellan, B. Edward. Moral education in America: Schools and the shaping of character from colonial times to the present. Teachers College Press, 1999.; Bain, Alexander. Education as a Science. Vol. 25. D. Appleton, 1879.

VI.         References

Alesina, Alberto, and Howard Rosenthal. Partisan politics, divided government, and the economy. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Aune, James Arnt. Selling the free market: The rhetoric of economic correctness. Guilford Press, 2002.

Ames, Herman Vandenburg. The Proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the United States During the First Century of Its History. Vol. 2. US Government Printing Office, 1897.

Bain, Alexander. Education as a Science. Vol. 25. D. Appleton, 1879.

Barr, Nicholas. Economics of the welfare state. Oxford University Press, USA, 2020.

De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America… Translated by Henry Reeve. Vol. 2. Saunders&Otley, 1838.

Dufficy, Rory. “Symptoms of stasis.” Overland 226 (2017): 46-50.

Ellwood, Charles A. “Education for citizenship in a democracy.” American Journal of Sociology 26, no. 1 (1920): 73-81.

Fusfeld, Daniel R. The economic thought of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the origins of the New Deal. Columbia University Press, 1954.

Galston, William A. “Political knowledge, political engagement, and civic education.” Annual review of political science 4, no. 1 (2001): 217-234.

Goldstein, Leslie Friedman. “From democracy to juristocracy.” Law & society review 38, no. 3 (2004): 611-629.

Hayek, Friedrich A. “Coping with ignorance.” Imprimis 7, no. 7 (1978): 1-6.

Hirschl, Ran. Towards juristocracy: the origins and consequences of the new constitutionalism. Harvard University Press, 2009.

Jackson, Ben. “Freedom, the common good, and the rule of law: Lippmann and Hayek on economic planning.” Journal of the History of Ideas 73, no. 1 (2012): 47-68.

Jaques, Cecilia, Mine Islar, and Gavin Lord. “Post-Truth: Hegemony on social media and implications for sustainability communication.” Sustainability 11, no. 7 (2019): 2120.

James, Dylan. “Advocating Scientism, 1963-2013.” PhD diss., Appalachian State University, 2014.

Kalimtzis, Kostas. Aristotle on political enmity and disease: An inquiry into stasis. Suny Press, 2000.

Kalman, Laura. “The constitution, the Supreme Court, and the new deal.” The American Historical Review 110, no. 4 (2005): 1052-1080.

La Bletta, Nicole, and Walter Block. “The restoration of the American dream: a case for abolishing welfare.” Humanomics (1999).

Lovell, George I., and Scott E. Lemieux. “Assessing juristocracy: Are judges rulers or agents.” Md. L. Rev. 65 (2006): 100.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. A&C Black, 2013.

Madison, James. “The federalist no. 10.” November 22, no. 1787 (1787): 1787-88.

McClellan, B. Edward. Moral education in America: Schools and the shaping of character from colonial times to the present. Teachers College Press, 1999.

Mill, John Stuart. M. de Tocqueville on Democracy in America. Vol. 2. John W. Parker and son, 1859.

Mitchell, Douglas E. “Progressivism and The Evolution of Education Policy.” Education Week (1915): 17.

Purcell, Edward A. Brandeis and the Progressive Constitution: Erie, the Judicial Power, and the Politics of the Federal Courts in Twentieth-Century America. Yale University Press, 2000.

Plattner, Marc F. “Media and democracy: The long view.” Journal of democracy 23, no. 4 (2012): 62-73.

Principe, Lawrence M. “Scientism and the religion of science.” Scientism: The new orthodoxy 41 (2016): 61.

Smillie, John. “Who Wants Juristocracy.” Otago L. Rev. 11 (2005): 183.

Stead, William T. “Government by journalism.” Contemporary Review 49, no. 1 (1886): 663-81.

Stevens, Charles Ellis. Sources of the Constitution of the United States considered in relation to Colonial and English History. No. 26634-26637. Macmillan and Company, 1894.

Taira, Teemu. “Media and the Nonreligious.” Religion, Media, and Social Change (2015).

Timmer, Joel. “Fighting falsity: Fake news, Facebook, and the first amendment.” Cardozo Arts & Ent. LJ 35 (2016): 669.

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Antisocial media: How Facebook disconnects us and undermines democracy. Oxford University Press, 2018.

Webster, Noah. On the education of youth in America. I. Thomas and ET Andrews, 1790.

Westheimer, Joel, and Joseph Kahne. “What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy.” American educational research journal 41, no. 2 (2004): 237-269.

Wilkey, Malcolm Richard. “Judicial Activism, Congressional Abdication, and the Need for Constitutional Reform.” Harv. JL & Pub. Pol’y 8 (1985): 503.

Yun, JinHyo Joseph. “How do we conquer the growth limits of capitalism? Schumpeterian Dynamics of Open Innovation.” Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity 1, no. 2 (2015): 17.

[Image source: Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Howard Chandler Christy, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons]