Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

04 February 2010

Some Suggested Improvements to the U.S. Constitution

I would like to have seen the following changes made to the Constitution of the United States of America:

Add this sentence to the Preamble of the Constitution:

This Constitution defines the very limited and precisely enumerated powers of the federal government of the United States of America, whose primary purpose, shared with the states, is to protect and preserve the sovereign rights of the individual American citizen to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

Article 1, Section 8:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and with the Indian Tribes and to ensure Free Trade and Commerce among the States.

Article 1, Section 9: 

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State and no Limitations upon the Production of Articles within a State shall be made.

Add:  With the exception of bankruptcy laws, no law shall be made impairing the obligation of contracts. [Applies to States, but not Congress now]

The Ninth Amendment should be understood to guarantee the exercise of the People of their right to work, earn a living, choose a profession, trade, property, privacy, sexual expression, civil union contracts, to be unbothered, to own their own bodies, to health care, and much more, all in the context of negative rights with no obligations imposed upon others, except the abstinence of initiated use of force.

The Tenth Amendment should be used vigorously to thwart encroachment of the federal government upon state governments with mandates and regulations imposed upon them for which the federal government was given no clearly enumerated power. Examples would be the regulation of health care beyond seeing that health insurance can be offered across state lines.  The federal government has no power to declare CO2 a pollutant, as another example, though states might do so, if it were, under their police power.

Add to the Sixteenth Amendment:   Income shall be taxed at a constant rate for all citizens of the United States of America.  No obligation shall be imposed to file tax reports, keep records, or make payments of taxes upon some citizens on behalf of other citizens or residents.

Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, returning the selection of Senators to the legislature of the states.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good amendments. I might add that in addition to the repeal of the 17th ammendment, there needs to be a check on the federal supreme court 'legislating from the bench', as it did in Roe V Wade, which provides another avenue for state powers to be eroded.
Perhaps a route for state judicial override - i.e. rulings of two thirds of the states highest courts against the supreme court judgement - would suffice.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

A proper ruling on abortion rights would rest on the 9th Amendment. It would rule that a woman owns her own body and therefore has a right to an abortion, which no one is obligated to provide her.

Because the main problem with governments is always that they tend to produce too many laws, it would be good that when two-thirds of the state highest courts rule that a federal law or federal court ruling imposes an obligation upon the citizens and residents of their state, then that federal law or court ruling is null and void throughout the states. Mind the way I have worded this carefully. No obligation is imposed upon the people to obey the law. This does not mean that the state is free to impose another opposing obligation.

For instance, as applied to abortion rights, it does not mean that a state is free to force a woman to carry a fetus to delivery. Consequently, this state highest court nullification does not apply to abortion rights because abortion rights impose no obligation on anyone. It would however apply to some federal law that affected the production of goods and services within a state, required gun registration, or that prevented individuals from generating CO2, for example.

John Daley said...

Are you implying in your changes to the 9th Amendment that citizens have the right to health care? Rights come from the Creator, and should not be "granted" by the government since they do not have that power.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

John, individual rights derive from the nature of man and his needs for survival on Earth. It is not the case that I believe man's nature or the nature of life on Earth are set by God, but many do. Government at its best protects rights -- it never creates them.

I am not changing the 9th Amendment. The 9th Amendment recognizes that individuals have unenumerated rights. One of these is the ownership of one's own body, a right too obvious to have been called out for enumerated protection in the Bill of Rights. Another is the fact that individuals have freedom of conscience, which is a broader freedom than just religious freedom.

Forcing a woman to carry a fetus to live birth is to deny a woman the ownership of her own body. We cannot do that without violating her sovereign individual rights. You are welcome of course, as an exercise of your freedom of conscience, to condemn her to hell if she has an abortion, though it would seem to me that you are obliged to allow the god you believe in to make that decision. I will disagree with you as an exercise of my freedom of conscience.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Of course no one can have a right to health care, since that would impose an obligation on the part of others to act on one's behalf. I was only saying that one has a right to act on behalf of one's own health since one owns one's own body and life requires us to care for our bodies as an act of survival and if we are to enjoy such health as will allow us to live as happy beings. If one wants professional health care, one is still obliged to work out a voluntary agreement with such a professional to provide that health care.