One of the best descriptions I’ve heard of the U.S. Constitution comes from one of Dave Rubin’s interviews and says that the constitution is the rules that govern the people that make the rules.
I don’t think that people really appreciate that. The U.S. Constitution was meant to be our last line of defense (well next to our guns) against our government controlling our lives. It was meant to be something we could point to and say “thems the rules so leave us the hell alone.” The idea of the Constitution being a “living breathing document” basically destroys that defense because we’re now saying it can mean whatever the people in power want it to mean at that moment in time.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand where you “living breathing document” people are coming from. I’ll paraphrase Ice-T in “Fuck: The Documentary” when asked about free speech and the Constitution. “The Constitution said I was 3/5ths a person. Why the fuck should I care what it has to say?”
Definitely a valid point, but that is also kind of my point. The Constitution without a doubt had problems with it when written and still does today. It was written with the understanding that it could be made better in the future and there was a process in place for that by adding amendments, or if some dramatic change occurred we could always rewrite the whole thing. Which brings me to my point…
A while ago I mentioned Github and linked to a video about how it could be used to write laws. Later, I remembered hearing about a project using Github to write a new constitution whether it was in that video or some where else. Either way I decided to go see if I could find that project, and what I found was the .
Now here’s the thing. There are plenty of problems with this particular project. First is is a libertarian constitution. I don’t have a problem with that, but I realize plenty of people would. Second, for being a libertarian project, it’s kind of run like a dictatorship in that anyone can submit changes to it, but the person that created it gets to decide if those changes get applied. Now you can fork it and/or start your own project, but if you want to contribute to the one everyone else is the owner has to approve it.
However, absolutely none of that matters in the slightest and here’s why. The beauty of this project isn’t in the final product because let’s be honest it’s mostly just mental masturbation and will never get implemented anywhere. The beauty of this project is in the Issues and Pull Request tabs. In these tabs are all the discussions that the contributors are having about what should go into their constitution and why. It’s literally like watching the Constitutional convention unfold before your eyes. For a political junky like myself it’s absolutely fascinating to watch how this all unfolds.
However, that’s not the best part. The best part is this. Imagine if every single high school student was required to participate in one of these before graduating high school. How much drastically different would our society be if every single citizen knew from experience what went into making a constitution. And just to make sure they took it serious, let classes compete against each other for like a million dollar prize to be split between the students in the winning class. That million dollars would be the single greatest investment of tax payer dollars ever used.
Since that will never happen, we should totally just start a nonprofit to do this. Hmmm… Food for thought.