Politics/Law/Government

The New Constitution: Amendment XIV – basic human rights

The New Constitution

Amendment XIV

All citizens shall enjoy the right to shelter, nourishment, healthcare and educational opportunity.

Rationale

Too much mischief has been accomplished under the guise of the rabid social Darwinian dogma that people don’t have a right to a basic standard of living, a toxic ideology that over time has tended to divide the people into two camps: the haves and the parasites.

The New Constitution rejects this ideology outright and asserts that we all benefit from a society that doesn’t accept extreme poverty, blaming the underprivileged for a condition that all too often arises from the indifference of the wealthy.

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Index: The New Constitution Series

14 replies »

  1. I love it Sam, but you know who fights ideas like this tooth and nail? The folks on the bottom few rungs of the economic ladder who are barely one layoff or illness away from catastrophe.
    “That’s communism!” they’ll yell out in righteous indignation, never seeing that they’re the ones most likely to benefit.

    It’s a weird world out there friend.

    • I know, and in my spiteful moments I do enjoy the irony. But it’s a free country, and if these folks would rather starve in the streets than avail themselves of basic human rights, they are welcome to do so.

  2. YES! Absolutely! “blaming the underprivileged for a condition that all too often arises from the indifference of the wealthy.” I might go a step further. It MAY be a condition that arises by the DESIGN of the wealthy. For what purpose, one may ask? To maintain or to create a workforce that is desperate enough to do anything for virtually no pay.

  3. My first thought was “Dang Commie.” 🙂

    Seriously, this is one that you have to have some idea how you are going to accomplish. Housing inspections and then government money to fix to acceptable levels? I agree that everyone should have decent homes, food,etc. A few of these have programs in place that will need more money, but some can be very invasive.

    • As for how to do it, I say we ask the rest of the developing world, all of which is doing it way better than we are. As for how to pay for it, if we cut our defense budget by 75%, then

      a) we’d still have the largest defense budget in the world, and
      b) we’d free up over half a trillion dollars to spend on frivolities like our citizens.

      Imagine what would happen if, on top of all that, we actually required corporations and the hyper-rich to pay taxes commensurate with their wealth.

  4. My first reaction was negative to this and I have been thinking about it since you posted it. Part of the problem I have is I think you may have left the realm of constitutional issues and dipped into the area of the legislature. This seems more prescriptive than the other ammendments — I think you need tp pull back. I think there is a world of potential mischief put on the table with this one.

    • There’s potential mischief with every word in the document. We’re talking about corrupt powermongers and the lawyers who love them, after all.

      But a famous man once spoke of “inalienable rights.” If packing heat is a basic right ordained by our “creator,” then how the hell is food and healthcare not a right that ought to be articulated in a document that defines our highest principles?

  5. I don’t see a problem with this Amendment being prescriptive, but I do see the problem I’ve wondered about for some years regarding equating “rights” from particular things being done to people and their “rights” to possess particular physical resources or to be given services that can only be provided by trained professionals. If the resources or service-providers simply aren’t there, the “right” becomes meaningless. This is not to say that the commitment to providing all these basic standards of human comfort and opportunity should not be among society’s first orders of business. I just don’t see how they can be equated with any of the rights that can be provided by a governing body simply not doing something. (Even the “right to a fair trial”, which in those terms seems to demand a large infrastructure of resources and trained legal experts of various types, can instead be construed as a “right not to be summarily imprisoned” – that is, if the government cannot provide fair courts, they are not obligated, but they then cannot arrest, imprison, or otherwise detain or punish anyone.) My problem is a little with terminology (What is a “right”?) and more with shaky ground of equating non-equal things, both in publish consciousness and in the powerful people who manipulate it. At worst, I suppose, you end up with the very real possibility of erosion of rights that can be honoured (without cost) by the inability of governments to honour those that do require some cost. If a teacher shortage results in the meaning and quality of “educational opportunity” taking a nose-dive, will power-brokers not seize the opportunity to chip away at other “guaranteed” rights there is no corresponding real-world reason to deny, beyond precedent? All this said, perhaps this provision is better removed from the “Bill of Rights” to the Constitution itself. In this case, though the framers then do not “guarantee” these physical resources and skilled services as “rights”, they nevertheless stipulate that if the Government defined by this Constitution is to exist at all, a fundamental core of its purpose is to ensure the provision of shelter, nourishment, etc., as much as to establish justice, provide for the common defence, etc.

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