New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: As a reader of NewMars forum, we have opportunities for you to assist with technical discussions in several initiatives underway. NewMars needs volunteers with appropriate education, skills, talent, motivation and generosity of spirit as a highly valued member. Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

#1 2001-09-14 07:52:20

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

The first two Articles of the Constitution deal with the Legislative and Executive Departments of the Martian planetary government. All years are Earth years. Summaries below:

Article 1. Legislative department
Section 1. The legislative bodies

The legislative body for global issues consists of a duma and a senate. The duma has 500 members, drawn from a lottery of all Martian adults (20 years old). Meets every year to discuss issues and stays in session for as long as necessary.

The senate consists one elected member from each settlement larger than 500 people (amount increased later) by Australian ballot. The senate is effectively in session permanently.

Section 2. Powers granted to the congress

Duma elects executive council via Australian ballot. Senate elects a third of the members of the Global Environmental Court (GEC) and half of the constitutional court, also by Australian ballot. The congress (senate and duma) can pass laws regarding taxation, defence, commerce, immigration, finance, criminal courts and policing systems.

The executive council reviews all laws passed by the congress, and can veto them. This veto can be overriden by a two-thirds congress vote.

The GEC and constitutional courts will also review all laws passed by the congress and a veto by these courts cannot be overriden. However, a veto will provide grounds for rewriting the law if the congress sees fit.

Article 2. Executive department
Section 1. The executive council

Formed of seven members, elected by duma every four years. Must be Martian citizens and over 20 years old. The executive council elects one council president via Australian ballot, and also elects officers for administration and so on.

Section 2. Powers of the executive council

Commands global police and security force for planetary defence, to uphold and enforce the Constitution. Has the power (with review and approval of congress) to make treaties with other political and economic entities in the Solar System. Elects one third of GEC and half of the constitutional court.


Commentary by Charlotte Dorsa Brevia

Article 1: Government by jury duty is rarely put in place but has always been interesting. Mars has actually done it - the duma is refreshingly unprofessional and has not always been a driving force in legislative matters. However, the duma's symbolic value in never-seen-before levels of 'normal' citizens participating in the government has strengthened civic resopnsibility, etc.

Article 2: The seven member executive council reflects the Swiss system, depersonalising the executive functions of the government. Conflict within the executive is inevitable but easily resolved by votes.

The Australian ballot is used so often as it makes voters vote for at least three candidates, placing them in order of preference and points are awarded on a weighted system. This encourages candidates to seek second and third place votes and 'reach to the Other'; apparently on Earth this has healed fractured electorates and on Mars, with strong views abounding concerning terraformation and so on, it was deemed very useful.


My commentary

I think that the idea of government by jury duty is certainly interesting but it does assume a certain amount of interest and education for the duma members concerning politics. It might be that if anyone is selected for the duma, they will automatically become interested due to their heightened powers and responsibilities. However, that really does remain to be seen.

As for education, I can't speak for the Martian colonists but I would hope that they would have a better (and more unbiased) grasp of current affairs than people on Earth. I wonder if it would be too easy for members of the duma to be swayed by strong personalities or administrative assistants. Undoubtedly there must be a large amount of goodwill for the duma to work well.

The advantages of a duma are strong, though, as described by Charlotte's commentary, both symbolically and representationally.

On the whole, I would hesitantly agree with idea of putting this system of a duma into practice on Mars although of course that would depend on the exact situation.

The Senate seems pretty uncontroversial to me, as do the powers of the congress. I also quite like the idea of the Executive Council, which would prevent such an imbalance of ideologies that we see in many democratic countries today in respect to public opinion.

KSR creates a bit of confusion here with his reference to the 'Australian ballot'. Strictly speaking, the Australian ballot is the system where the names of all-competing parties and candidates are grouped on a single sheet of paper, to be marked by the voter; this is clearly not what KSR meant.

What he did mean was the Alternative Vote system.

According to the comprehensive ACE Project website, the advantages of AV do include 'reaching to the Other' and AV can heal divided societies. However, it does have some minor disadvantages.

AV is not a proportional representation system, and neither is it a First Past the Post system; it is set up such that the winning party has an absolute majority of the votes (in a way, anyway).

A problem with AV is that it can be difficult for some voters to understand that they have to rank candidates in order of preference; this is notable in third world countries where the electorate is unfamiliar with such systems. I doubt that this will be a problem on Mars, though.

I feel that AV is quite an 'advanced' voting system and is more inclusive than others. While it is not necessarily more representation than other systems (it certainly isn't when it comes to direct proportional voting), it does mean that no votes are wasted (as can occur on both FPTP and PV).


Links

The Administrative and Cost of Elections Project is a highly comprehensive and objective source of information about the entire election process, with over 13000 individual webpages. Its partners include the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

If you're at all interested in how elections work, I would recommend that you take a look at this website.


End notes

I would be interested to hear people's opinions on the duma and possible voting systems, and also if there is anything objectionable about the senate or executive council.

<!--EDIT|Adrian|Sep. 14 2001,5:13-->


Editor of New Mars

Offline

#2 2001-09-20 09:30:29

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

The duma is a lottery to choose 500 people to represent Mars? This branch of the legeslative is then counter balanced with the Senate- which has elected represenatives from any settlement with 500 or more people?

So what is the upper limit of senators? 12, 200, 3,000,000?

By having a lottery for the duma, wouldn't it be possible for some areas to have ZERO represenatives in the duma- it's all based on luck of the draw. Who is the controlling entity of the lottery? Can you refuse if you win? If you can refuse, then aren't you setting up a lottery for those who wish to govern? Is that fair?

Next you have the duma, which is chosen randomly pick the executive council- maybe I'm not a gambler, but is it particulary wise to have a bunch of random people, pick another branch of government?

Also, having the duma decide who will be the executive council seems a bit short sighted since one of the PRIMARY roles of the execuitve council is to veto any legislation passed by Congress that they don't like- the DUMA put them there, odds are, the executive council will be a rubber stamp.

You also have the DUMA picking the courts- then the DUMA picked executive council picks the other half of the courts- this is incredibly stupid. You are allowing the duma, picked at random (not represneting any type of majority or will of the people) to decide ALMOST THE ENTIRE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT.

I am sorry, this idea, as stated, is bad. Go back to the drawing board.

Offline

#3 2001-09-20 12:42:02

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

To reply to your points in turn:

I imagine that the upper limit of senators will be kept at a fairly constant level (perhaps 500, to equal the size of the Duma) by ratcheting up the minimum settlement size required for one senator. So early on perhaps the minimum settlement size might be 500 - as the average settlement population increases, the minimum size increases to 1000, and so on.

The lottery (I imagine) would be a completely random draw of every single adult above 20 on Mars; I'm sure there'd be some sort of electoral commision with independant third party observers to oversee the process. Those who are chosen are not allowed to refuse.

About the election of the executive committee - well, look at it this way. In our current electoral systems, you have a bunch of random people, millions in size, who pick the head of state. In this hypothetical system, you have a bunch of random people, 500 in size, who do the same.

There are two clear differences - firstly, on Earth, everyone gets to vote for the head of state. On Mars, they don't. However, statistically 500 is a pretty good sample size that will reflect the opinions of the population and I'm quite sure that the votes of the 500 would be within a few percent of that of the general population, if it were to vote.

Secondly, those chosen for the Duma will be a much more informed group than the rest of the population and they will have much more information available to them. As they say, for a good democracy you need an informed electorate and in this case the Duma will be supremely informed - indeed, it's their job to pick a good executive committee.

I wasn't clear about the Duma - they are chosen anew every two years, and they only meet once a year. Therefore, their role in formulating legislation is limited compared to the elected Senate. Besides, it is very unlikely that the Duma will act as a single entity - it's not as if that occurs in political systems on Earth, so the role of the executive council as rubberstampers will probably not be an issue.

I think you're a bit confused about the Duma and courts. The Duma 'only' elects the executive council and formulates legislation - that's all. The Senate are the ones who elect 1/3 of the GEC and half of the constitutional courts, not the Duma. Yes, you could say that executive council (who elect a further 1/3 of the GEC and the other half of the constitutional courts) could act as the puppet of the Duma, but just as the Duma is not going to act as a single entity, neither will the executive council.

I understand that there will be some concerns about the fact that the Duma - a random sample of the world population - get to elect the executive council. However, look at it this way: if you don't trust the Duma, then how on Earth can you trust the world population, who are in fact [i:post_uid1]less[/i:post_uid1] informed than the Duma? You have to give the general population some credit here.

Furthermore, apart from electing the executive council, the Duma has far less power than the Senate, who are elected representatives of the entire world population.


Editor of New Mars

Offline

#4 2001-09-20 16:02:06

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

The premise of the Senate is sound. You have elected representatives who's constituents and interests are clearly defined- those who elect know who is elected, and vice versa. Each Senator is ultimately beholden to the electorate that placed them in a position of authority; there is an inherent accountability. You are also establishing that the electorate can become informed enough to elect representatives to a federal level of government.

You then counter the Senate with the Duma. The premise of the Duma is unsound in its current form. You have 500 people, chosen at random, FORCED to serve in a leadership position regardless of personal desire or motivation. You do not address the issue of divesture and conflicts of interest- given that the DUMA is mandatory, and it is a position of authority, will people be forced to give up personal holdings for the sake of a two-year stint in Congress? Will people be forced to give up lucrative business or education or family requirements due to governmental requirements? As suggested now, they would- you are then in effect creating a system of government that is inherently punitive to those who have the bad luck to be chosen.

Furthermore, the role of the DUMA and how they relate to the rest of Mars is poorly defined. The Senate knows whose interests they must represent- the DUMA is beholden to no one; they can do as they please since they were placed in their positions by chance. Who are their constituents? All Martians? How can 500 people adequately represent all Martians? You are in effect making a congress full of 500 (American) presidents since they have to answer to EVERYONE.  If the DUMA merely represents themselves, you are advocating that only 500 people on Mars, chosen at random, get to decide laws and who sits on the executive branch.

One of the benefits of a bicarmel legislative branch is that it provides a counter balance (in the case of America it balances geographic area against population size) in legislative matters. How does the DUMA provide an effective counter balance to elected representatives?

In addition, with the DUMA, you have a gaggle of people, responsible to no one, choosing the Executive Branch. You are in effect saying that random sampling of a population is just as accurate and representative of ACTUAL government by voting and representation. You are advocating a lazy form of government that is open to greater corruption and manipulation.- Those who wish to join the Exec Council will try to gather votes among the DUMA, promising them whatever is necessary- but each individual in the DUMA answers only to themselves, not the Martian population. The Senate by the way, the ONLY portion of the Martian government ACTUALLY elected directly by the populace, has little influence over who will be in the Executive Council. The DUMA picks the Exec Council, which picks half of the courts (the same as the Senate).

You place too much power into the hands of un-elected officials. You claim to have faith in the 500 Martians having the ability to become informed voters- why can't that same belief be extended to the Martian population at large?

"Secondly, those chosen for the Duma will be a much more informed group than the rest of the population and they will have much more information available to them."

You stated that those chosen for the Duma are done so at random- how does that necessarily make them more informed than the rest of the population? You also state that they meet once a year, how does that enable them to be more informed then the rest of the population?

"Furthermore, apart from electing the executive council, the Duma has far less power than the Senate, who are elected representatives of the entire world population."

No, the Senate is elected by each settlement- there is NO worldwide representative save for the DUMA, but I believe the inherent weakness of that instution is apparent to you.

Forced governmental leadership by random sampling- next will be long term planning by opinion polls...

Offline

#5 2001-09-20 17:38:34

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Actually, I would see service in the Duma as something like jury duty, but only moreso; a civic duty, if you will. Of course, if those who are chosen have extenuating circumstances, e.g. severe illness, I'm sure they would be excused. But not in other parts.

I think perhaps you are assuming too much here, in that Mars will be an identical society to America or other western nations. If we look at nations such as Israel, where military service is compulsory, or the Netherlands, where wages are much more level than in the USA, the idea of 'government duty' is much more natural.

I have never stated that a sample of 500 citizens would be the same as having the entire population vote, statistically, and indeed in any case I believe that the Duma, in its current form, would be much less powerful than the Senate; I feel you give the Duma too little credit and the executive committee too much.

The 500 citizens who become members of the Duma meet once every year, that is correct, but they meet for as long as they require in order to conduct their business. They would each have an administrative staff and more resources and time available to them to make the relevant decisions [i:post_uid1]than anyone else on the planet[/i:post_uid1] - as I said, it is their job to make these decisions, and it is the job of their assistants to ensure that they are as well informed as possible. It is simply not possible for all members of the population to be quite as well informed as the Duma, unless every single adult on Mars was given the same time and resources - which of course is not feasible.

The executive council picks half of the constitutional courts and 1/3 of the GEC, not 'half of the courts'. The EC would never be a puppet of the Duma, for the reasons I have made clear before - it's illogical to believe that the Duma would be some sort of homogeneous community with identical opinions. Yes, they are only 500 people, but by and large they will reflect the opinions of the general population.

I will admit that you have to put a certain amount of trust in the Duma to make their decisions for you, but you will also have to bear in mind that it's entirely possible that you yourself could become a member and since the sample is random across the world population, yes, I would say that it is representative of the world population to quite a high degree.

In addition, I would not be surprised if the definition of 'settlement' is altered so that the world is split up into constituencies so that all Martian citizens could vote for members of the Senate. But this is of course something to be debated, however I think that the limit on settlement size was place more to limit the total number of senators rather than to limit voting to large cities.

I think what KSR is trying to achieve with the Duma is a twofold difference from what you suggest, in having the world population elect the executive council.

Firstly, he is trying to press home the possible benefits of government by jury duty, thus emphasising an 'average' citizen's involving in planetary affairs and showing that even your average Joe on the street can affect change. This could well bring about a new atmosphere of civil responsibility.

Secondly, the idea of an informed electorate is being pressed here. Assuming that the entire world population is taking part in voting for the Senate anyway, having a highly informed Duma who have the time and resources to commit to making an intelligent decision on whom to elect to the executive committee (as opposed to some of the more irresponsible voters that I'm sure we all know of personally) is possibly preferable to the alternative. It does require a certain amount of trust in your fellow citizens but as I have said before, you do need to give credit to their intelligence.

I put my faith in 59 million of my other UK citizens for every election, and I know for a fact that many of them will make extremely ill-informed decisions. I would rather put my faith in 500 well informed citizens.

So I do agree that there is a need for worldwide representation of some kind, and I do think that the election of the Senate should be altered to that regard. However, I also feel that the Duma has its benefits and should not be written off quite yet. Indeed, it is already clear that governments set policy by opinion polls, which in fact are startlingly accurate of the population opinion - whether or not they admit it or it is democratic.


Editor of New Mars

Offline

#6 2001-09-21 07:08:56

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

You speak of the Duma as "civic duty"- in my country, voting is a "civiv duty". You will allow some to opt out of the Duma due to extenuitating circumstances, but otherwise, people will be forced to serve in a LEADERSHIP role. Many might not wish that responsibility, is it truly effective government when you force people to lead, instead of having them choose to lead?

I also find it disturbing that you ignore my issue about conflicts of interest and divesture of investments. How can you require individuals to make ethical choices when their own self-interest is apparent? How can you expect individuals to divest themselves financially or personally for only a two year forced service?

I don't believe Mars will be identical to American society- I don't believe it will be identical to any society. However, my experiences within my own country allow me to view this proposal and see some of the defeciencies it does not address. It also allows me to point out where things might not work, since my thinking is that if it dosen't work here, then it won't neccessarily work anywhere else. I am questioning the value.

You also keep contending that the Duma is LESS powerful than the Senate. On what do you base that on?

The Duma answers to no one. The Duma picks the Executive Council, and by association, they pick who decides half of the courts (1/3 EC). The Duma has the same legeslative powers as the Senate.

The Senate, which is actually voted in, and answers to their electorate get to pick the other half of the courts (1/3 EC). That's it. What am I missing?

The proposal, as stated, will allow "the average joe" to come to the seat of government, with the stipulation that he may go once all legeslative matters are completed. You are in effect holding them hostage- they may not resume their normal lives until the governmental task is completed. The staff that is provided to the Duma will have the real power since the Duma represenatives will never have the chance to "learn the ropes".  They get to go to the government house TWICE. No more.

Since the Duma is composed of 500 people, and the Duma picks the Exec Council, I am assuming that the Duma suggets who it would like to elect. Of course the names given to the Duma will no doubt come from their experienced staff hired by lord knows who, and regulated by no one. In order to elect anyone, a majority of the Duma votes would need to be secured- this means that politcal parties among the Duma (pre exsisitng perhaps) would form- or that individual Exec Canadites would make enough "prid quo pro" (lets make a deal) deals as to get elected- you now are instutionalizing graft and corruption.

I really enjoyed KSR's books about Mars- they were a bit dry in character development- he merely used the characters as a means to paint his vision of Mars- however, this form of government is a bad idea. Please address the following concerns:

Conflict of interests in the Duma.
What Checks and balances exsist to keep the Duma in check? Who do THEY answer to.
What check does the Senate have over the Executive Council? Why are they allowed NO say in who sits on the Council?
Who elects the other 1/3 of the Environ Court? Why are they not allowed to elect anybody to the Con Court?
Must legeslation be approved in both houses of Congress, or is only one sufficient?
If legeslation must be passed in both houses, how can the Duma be expected to keep up with the Senate which is in session year round?


  " I put my faith in 59 million of my other UK citizens for every election, and I know for a fact that many of them will make extremely ill-informed decisions. I  would rather put my faith in 500 well informed citizens."

I as well- where I differ though, is I would rather have a say in whom I deem to be "well informed", instead of having chance decide for me.

But hey, you play dice with your god- what do I know.

Offline

#7 2001-09-21 15:36:34

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Now, to show that I can provide positive feedback:

Why not alter the sturcture of this proposed government?

Keep the Senate as is (for now). Allow the Council Chair to be elected by a popular vote. The Elected Council Chair then chooses the other members of the Council, which are approved by the Senate.

All legeslative proposals are conducted by the Senate- only THEY get to pass the laws.
The Executive Council can veto any bill passed by the Senate.

The Duma, now meets once a year, and is composed of 500 (for now) represenatives. They are elected once, and only once. The sole purpose of a Duma represenative is to review all legislation passed and approved by The Senate and the Executive Council. The Duma also reviews all legeslation that is veto'd by the Executive Council.

If the Duma decides that legislation previously passed should be revoked, it is revoked. Only the Duma may override any Executive Council Veto. Only The Duma may cancel any legeslation passed by the Executive Branch and the Legeslative Branch. The Duma meets for as long as neccessary (up to one year). The Duma would also elect the remaining con courts and environ court openings.

Court appointmentments should be for life (or a very very long term limited to only one term) and openings are filled only for the slots vacated (ie slot held for Senate is only filled by Senate when judge vactaes a senate judgeship)

How is that for engaging a wide array of the population- one year allows a high turnover- the sole purpose of the Duma is to allow the public to overturn any legeslative or executive laws that are incongruent with opinions and values.

You have ACTUAL representation and you have actual checks and balances for all points in the system.

Offline

#8 2002-01-09 00:12:19

Zak Tolley
Member
Registered: 2001-10-09
Posts: 7

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Personally I think the idea of a Duma selected by a random drawing is a fantastic idea. In the US, there were never intended to be career politicians, merely citizens who would serve their country for a term or two and then return to private life. I think that in a martian constitution there should be serve limits to essentially outlaw career politicians. Also I think their should be some minimal requirements for serving in the Duma. Certainly one should at least have to display some basic knowledge of the issue at hand and have at least a high school ( or the equivalent ) education.

Offline

#9 2002-01-20 14:28:18

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Personally I think the idea of a Duma selected by a random drawing is a fantastic idea. In the US, there were never intended to be career politicians, merely citizens who would serve their country for a term or two and then return to private life.

One of the advantages of having a randomly selected Duma is that such a body wouldn't have to pander to wealthy, self-interested groups in order to campaign for office.   It would also prevent self-interested groups from convincing their own puppets to run for office since the drawing would be purely random.  I don't think the framers of the Constitution, as you hinted at, thought we'd have Phillips Morris and Enron bankrolling candidates that are more interesting in protecting Corporate America than they are in protecting the rights of citizens.

Updated by Moderator 2021/09/22


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

Offline

#10 2002-03-06 00:23:18

Karl Evans
Banned
Registered: 2002-03-05
Posts: 4

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Personally, I would like to see a government that has its hands in my dealings as little as possible.  Let's make some good use of the Sunset Clause...feared by bureaucrats, hated by writers of self-serving laws.
   It goes like this: once a law is enacted, it expires after a set amount of time.  Laws that make sense will pass every year (or whatever) without problem.  Troublesome laws will be rewritten year after year until they work.  Stupid laws (read "most of them") will go down in flames and good riddance.  Agencies set up "by law" will get booted off the public trough as soon as they are outdated.  I think we'll end up with fewer laws, which would make for easier enforcement, and a smaller bureaucracy.

BTW, not to be TOO irrelevant, but can we come up with a better name than Duma?  I appreciate the roots, but I'd hate to be on it and be called a Dummy  ???   Even the Japanese "Diet" always seemed a clumsy name. (Who likes to be "on a diet?"  Yes, I know it's different.)

Offline

#11 2002-03-11 21:43:40

Zak Tolley
Member
Registered: 2001-10-09
Posts: 7

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

I agree with Karl Evans that one of the provision of the constitution should be that all laws include a 5 or 10 year sunset clause. Such a clause get's rid of one of the dumbest laws in the US in 04', I belive that all laws should have such a device attached.

I also feal that the role of goverment on Mars should be fundementally less intrussive then the modern American goverment. Things that need to be dumped on mars should be.

A.) A steped income tax system and the 'capital gains' tax. All these do is to punish the sucessful and discourage other to improve there circumstances.

B.) Social programs of all strips. Over half of the tax money collect in the US is simply redistributed. This is a travisty to the principals of which the US was founded on, and punishes the sucessful. Social programs such as Medicare and Medicad, along with social security took the goverment into places that it had neither the authority or mandate to preform and remove a significant percentage of a persons wages from their direct control. These courupt quasi comunist institutions and pratices should not be repeated on Mars. The goverment of Mars IMHO should be as close to 'natural freedom' as Locke described it as is possible within the bounds of civilization.

Offline

#12 2002-03-12 15:01:12

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

With respect to this "bare bones" government thread, has anyone read "The Mystery of Capital" by Hernando de Soto?

He argues, persuasively I believe, that a strong government is necessary for capitalism to function at all. Freedom to own property is crippled without efficient secure systems to allow the safe and transparent marketability of property (with recourse in the event of fraud or even simple breach of contract).

In the 3rd World, famers sell hogs 1 at a time with the buyer inspecting each animal before making payment. In Chicago, a hog trader can sell/buy 100,000 hogs by twitching a finger. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange requires a complex system of laws to function with the power of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice ultimately backing the whole thing up.

As for property rights, who, or what, creates legitimate property rights in the first place? Whatever natural (or God given?) property rights one may possess, unless those rights are recognized and defended by a powerful government, such property rights are essentially worthless.

I believe we must consult Locke for creation of the proper Martian govenment, but we must also consult Hobbes as at a minimum a "Leviathan" is needed for control over the money supply - unless you want private banks to issue private currency without an FDIC to insure the first $100,000 in deposits.

Without the FDIC and the FBI, many more people would hoard gold coins in their basements, which would very greatly reduce the productivity of the USA and European economies - and thereby deprive us of the wealth needed to settle Mars in the first place.

I stand by a comment I posted in another forum, which predicts that Mars and other celestial bodies will eventually be owned by those people/corporations/groups who most skillfully deploy the cleverest lawyers, the biggest guns and the most money.

. . .lawyers, guns and money. . .

Offline

#13 2002-03-12 15:27:12

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

I am grateful to Zak for his recent post - it helps confirm a "pet" theory of mine which is that settling Mars and other celestial bodies will allow humanity an opportunity to re-live the Enlightenment and reconsider all those 17th and 18th century philosophers we so dreaded reading in school.

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith and (gasp!) Karl Marx?

With some George Orwell for perspective.

Engineer-types may get us to Mars but history and humanity majors will decide who owns what!

Offline

#14 2002-03-13 00:03:33

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

[Hernando de Soto] argues, persuasively I believe, that a strong government is necessary for capitalism to function at all.

Yeah, this should be self evident, though. Funny how the system that professes to be most free is in actuality the system which requires lots (excessive ammounts, imho) of security.

I stand by a comment I posted in another forum, which predicts that Mars and other celestial bodies will eventually be owned by those people/corporations/groups who most skillfully deploy the cleverest lawyers, the biggest guns and the most money.

What about the Moon treaty? I hope, for the sake of humanity, that we rationalize before going too far with this. I truely don't want to live in a Blade Runner-esque world where power is delegated to those at the top. Though I think such a world won't be able to exist once supply and demand are factored out of the equation.

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith and (gasp! Karl Marx?)

Where are the anarchists in there?  tongue

Oh, right, anarchy philosophy isn't taught in school. wink


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

Offline

#15 2002-03-13 12:22:20

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Social programs such as Medicare and Medicad, along with social security took the
goverment into places that it had neither the authority or mandate to preform and remove a significant percentage of a persons wages from their direct control.[/quote:post_uid0]

I fail to see how the government, i.e. the PEOPLE, i.e. SOCIETY, have no obligation to help others within our society. Programs like Medicare and Medicade provide the meas for those without adquete health insurance to recieve adaquete health insurance (debatable about quaility).

What would YOU tell all the women and their babies who recieve prenatal care through medicade?

Offline

#16 2002-04-09 19:31:02

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

What would YOU tell all the women and their babies who recieve prenatal care through medicade?[/quote:post_uid0]
Not to be too blunt, I'd tell them that if their means are limited to the point to where they require government assistance to reproduce then perhaps they should take steps to avoid doing so. While it may be cold to consider leaving people to deal with their own financial misery (which is not always their fault) it is also wrong to expect those who earn wages to bear the yoke of the state welfare apparatus. It is bad enough having been introduced late in America's development, having such a system at the inception of a Martian colony would cripple it and remove a major motivation that people would have for settling there.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

Offline

#17 2002-04-13 23:01:46

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Not to be too blunt, I'd tell them that if their means are limited to the point to where they require government assistance to reproduce then perhaps they should take steps to avoid doing so.

What you're missing is that their conditions put them in that position in the first place (which you do admit to ‘not being entirely their fault’).

If you have no concern for these people, perhaps then you should live their life for a little while. Maybe then you'd understand what it's like, and express what you'd call, ‘pity.’


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

Offline

#18 2002-04-14 15:09:12

Michael Bloxham
Member
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Registered: 2002-03-31
Posts: 426

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

I hate politics big_smile


- Mike,  Member of the Clean Slate Society

Offline

#19 2002-04-14 15:15:23

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Me too.  big_smile


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

Offline

#20 2002-04-16 07:47:02

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

While it may  be cold to consider leaving people to deal with their own financial misery (which is not always their fault) it is also wrong to expect those who earn wages to bear the yoke of the state welfare apparatus. [/quote:post_uid0]

Is it wrong to have the "State welfare apparatus" take care of those whose wages helped support the system to begin with afetr they are done "bearing" the yoke?

Medicaid and medicare were both designed to help those Americans who can least afford proper health care. This helps people get vaccinations, neccessary sugeries, life enabling and medically neccessry perscription drugs, emergency care for unexpected emergencies (imagine that), preventive medicine, etc.

The vaccinations alone help to protect the rest of society, of course, we could always allow infectious disease to run rampant...

Or maybe you prefer to watch your grandparents live on cate food as they quickly slide into dementia caused by diabetic shock becuase they can no longer afford the high price of medication on their retirement savings because their pension fund was desolved when Enron collapsed.

Yeah, less government, and less taxes is a great banner to fly-ending  programs like Medicare and Medicaid under the wonderful idea of "liberating America" sounds good, that is until you think it trough.

What I have found is that those who argue the loudest for an end to one of these programs knows the least about what it does, how it does it, and why it is so vitally important.

Cobra Commander, thanks for the reply, but go play with GI Joe until you have something intelligent to add.

I don't hate politcs, I hate stupid people in politcs... What!? You mean EVERYONE in a democracy is in politics? ####, that's the problem.

Offline

#21 2002-04-16 10:44:36

Aaron Chester
Member
Registered: 2002-02-28
Posts: 18

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Everyone has spoken their concerns about the power of the executive and legislative and how it should be divided.  However, no one has questioned the power of the judicial branch. 

I am wary of giving the judiciary the power to review all laws and change or veto those laws without question.  This is what is occurring now in the US.  Instead of going through the process of actually changing the Constitution, judges are rewriting it and other laws to fit their political views.  This creates in essence a superior branch of the government.  Power is held in the hands of 9 people who are not elected but rather chosen. 

If judges were elected to their position then this could be remedied, because if they changed a popular law than they could be voted out.  However, this would cause judges to become even more political than they already are.  The only answer is to limit the judicials ability to review laws. 



I agree with those who argue against the welfare state.  I believe that the welfare state breeds laziness and stagnation.  I also agree with clark when he says that there has to be a safety net.  We could take William Bradford's suggestion and make a law that says if one does not work than they do not work.  This of course would modified to leave out the extremely handicapped.

Offline

#22 2002-04-17 12:37:21

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

I am wary of giving the judiciary the power to review all laws and change or veto those laws without question. [/quote:post_uid0]

Time for US Government 101, repeat after me:

In America, not a single judge in all the land, can CHANGE a law. ONLY the Legesilative branch (Both houses of Congress) can change a law.

In America, not a single judge in all the land, can VETO a law. ONLY the Executive branch (president) can veto a bill. A bill is what a law is before it has been ratified by both Houses of Congress, and signed and approved by the President.

The Judicary may only REVIEW a law, and only if someone contests the law- which means a CITIZEN, or group of citizens, of the US feels that the law is somehow unfair. The Judicary branch reviews the complaint to see if it is credible, then assess the complaint (in this case, the complaint about the CONSTUTIONALITY of the law).

This is what is occurring now in the US.[/quote:post_uid0]

No, what I describe is what is happening in the US.

Instead of going through the process of actually changing the Constitution, judges are rewriting it and other laws to fit their political views.[/quote:post_uid0]

The Judical branch has no power to change the Constitution. In other words, the Judical Branch is INCAPABLE of actually changing the Constitution. In order to change the Constitution, an ammendment must be proposed and passed by Congress, ratified and agreed to by 2/3rds of the States (each individual State has a State Assembly which ratifies the ammendment) and signed into law by the President. If you can name ONE Constutional ammendment that has been created or changed by the Judical Branch, I will mail you $1.

Judges are not rewriting the laws to fit their politcal views, they are interpreting the laws, and the constution based on their philosphical (and unfortunetly, politcal) beliefs. There is nothing wrong with "interpreting" a law based on their own personal view, after all, that's why they are judges- becuase they are expected to interpret laws passed by Congress and figure out how they apply (of it they apply) to the cases brought before them.

This creates in essence a superior branch of the government.  Power is held in the hands of 9 people who are not elected but rather chosen.[/quote:post_uid0]

They are chosen by The executive branch, and confirmed by the legestlative branch- every part of the system gets a say in who is going to be a judge- that's the fundamental check and balances that allow for compromise in choosing judges.

Again, the Judges can only INTERPRET laws and the constution- that is what governs their decisions. Any law that conflicts with our Constution is struck down becuase the Constutiopn is basicaly a Master list of what the government can and cannot do. It's fairly easy to see this in action: Someone, somewhere passes a law that prevents you and I from speaking our mind in our home- that is illegal since it violates my personal privacy (in my home), and my free speech, so the law is struck down.

However, if the same law is passed as a Constutional Ammendment, then the Judical branch can't do anything, and the law is considered legal.

If judges were elected to their position then this could be remedied, because if they changed a popular law than they could be voted out.[/quote:post_uid0]

Not all popular laws should be protected- whats wrong with expecting a law to stand on its own, why should "popular" laws be exempt from judical review?
Before you answer, Jim Crow laws before the Civil Rights movement used to be VERY popular- that dosen't make them right.

The only answer is to limit the judicials ability to review laws.  [/quote:post_uid0]

Wrong. The judical branch is the ONLY branch of government that PROTECTS the Constution. It is what prevents a despotic regime from taking over and trashing our liberties. They don't make laws, they don't make policy- they only review disagreements and decide who is "right" based on their interpertation of law.

The Judical Branch, as is, allows for peaceful resolution of conflicts between opposing parties within the US. It prevents abuse of the minority by the majority, after all rights are universal and immutable, irregardless of "popularity".

Learn about the US government before you start to critize it- there's plenty to complain about, but your argument as is, is, well, wrong.

Offline

#23 2002-04-17 14:48:21

Aaron Chester
Member
Registered: 2002-02-28
Posts: 18

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

Wait a second!  U.S. Government 101?  This is a legitimate argument, don't just dismiss it out of hand!  You are right to point out that the judicial branch only [b:post_uid4]reviews[/b:post_uid4] and is [b:post_uid4]appointed[/b:post_uid4].  However, when a law is reviewed and declared unconstitutional it is [i:post_uid4]vetoed[/i:post_uid4].  Also, when the constitution is "reviewed" and is reinterpreted by the Supreme Court to mean something different than it was at first intended then they [b:post_uid4]are[/b:post_uid4] rewriting the Constitution. 

The most noticeable case of this was the Dred Scott case in which the Supreme Court upheld a law that was clearly unconstitutional.  In this case "conservative" judges used their power to give new meaning to the Constitution.  In recent years we have seen "liberal" judges use "interpretation" as a way to rewrite the meaning of the Constitution.

However, this message board is not supposed to be about US politics, but Mars politics.  My only worry is that judges can sometimes be given more power than they deserve.  This can cause judges to be more powerful than the rest of the branches and they can use that power in a wrong way. As Lord Acton said: "Absolute power, corrupts absolutely."

smile

Offline

#24 2002-04-17 15:51:57

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

However, when a law is reviewed and declared unconstitutional it is vetoed.[/quote:post_uid0]

No, it is not "vetoed", it is declared NULL and VOID becuase it is considered an ILLEGAL action on the basis that it conflicts with a set of rules that dictate what the US government can and cannot do. When a law is struck down, it is the Judical Branch telling the rest of Government that what they did is NOT ALLOWED.

Also, when the  constitution is "reviewed" and is reinterpreted by the Supreme Court to mean something different than it was at first intended then they are  rewriting the Constitution.  [/quote:post_uid0]

So your beef is that YOU don't agree with the interpertation of the Constution by the Judical branch- either become a Judge, or work to create ammendments that will codify your law (whatever they might be) so that it GOVERNS their future decisions. Allowing the Judical branch to interpret the constution also allows for a flexible government that can change with the times. Also, you neglect how the Judical Branch interprets laws- it is also based in large part on past precedent and Common law.

Sounds like you are upset that the some Judges have a different take on some things than you, I wonder, do you think Referre's have too much power? Should only POPULAR referre's be allowed to make decisions, and only if those decsisions conicide with the fans watching the game? That in a nutshell is what you suggest we do to our Judical Branch.

The most noticeable case of this was the Dred Scott case in which the Supreme Court upheld a law that was clearly unconstitutional. [/quote:post_uid0]

And WHEN was that case? It is the height of arrogance to apply our current views on the historical past. Jefferson slept with his slaves, so by our standards, he is a beast- yet, when we evaluate his actions in the framework of his era, his actions are less despicable. The same happens with "interpreting" the laws.

In this case "conservative" judges used their power to give new meaning to the Constitution.  In recent years we have seen "liberal" judges use "interpretation" as a way to rewrite the meaning of the Constitution.[/quote:post_uid0]

No, it is just a different take on the same material brought about by current views, social norms, public sentiment, precedent, the case at hand, etc.- if we allowed NO interpertation, we would end up with a static government that is unable to cope with a change in technology or social norms. Again, look at the litany of BAD laws that have been struck down- you are effectively arguing that this is a BAD thing. You should quit now.

My only worry is that judges can sometimes be given  more power than they deserve. [/quote:post_uid0]

What power do they have? They can't make public policy. They can't make laws. They can't ENFORCE laws. All they can do is say, "Hey, this isn't right- STOP."

The Judical Branch is able to deny the Executive Branch the legitamcy of Tyranny through legeslation, and it denies the Legeslative Branch the power to opress by overturning the rule of the mob.

The Judical Branch is the ONLY portion of the government that stands between us and tyranny- for the simple reason that it dosen't MAKE laws, and dosen't enforce them- it just gives the thumb up or the thumbs down. What specficaly do you feel is being denied you by the Judical Branch?

This can cause judges to be more powerful than the rest of the branches and they can use that power in a  wrong way.[/quote:post_uid0]

Then those individual Judges can be REMOVED. Why do you want to throw the baby out with the bath water? You have yet to establish any credible reason that supports your claim that the Judical Branch is in need of reform.

This is a legitimate argument, don't just dismiss it out of hand![/quote:post_uid0]

If I had dismissed it, I wouldn't have bothered to respond. I appreciate your take on this, but if you want to make your point, you'll need to think it through a bit more.

smile

Offline

#25 2002-04-18 11:11:57

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: KSR Constitution Articles 1 and 2 - Legislative and Executive Departments

The point I was trying to make was simply that most of the people who will want to pioneer Mars will be motivated by a desire to make a new world and a better life for themselves, they'll want to make their own way and govern themselves to a degree unthinkable on over-crowded interconnected Earth. Any kind of welfare system is something that should gradually form as a nation develops, trying to hardwire it into a Martian government before it can even stand on its own will very likely destroy its chances of survival. Now is not the time to work out the details of a Martian welfare state, let the Martian population deal with it when they are ready to decide for themselves how much of a burden they want to place on the shoulders of society and how much is the sole responsibility of individual citizens.

     Remember, liberals unwilling to tolerate ideas other than their own are not liberal at all. Let's try to keep the hostility in check and try to have a rational discussion like civilized people.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB