As the conversation has evolved, we’ve tripped across a number of issues that need addressing. As anticipated, our readers have thought of things that I didn’t.
I have found myself devoting more and more energy considering language – specifically, how might we best lawyer-proof the wording of a given clause. The more I do so, the more I come to think that this is counterproductive. If we were all sitting in the New Constitutional Congress in Philadelphia, yes, that would be essential. But we aren’t, and I have not the faintest hope that this little exercise will ever find its way beyond the borders of S&Rville. So the purpose here, despite how I have formatted things, is to articulate broad principles, not necessarily to dedicate hours to phraseology.
I’m now thinking that the final form of the document should be less about nailed-down wording and more about a plain-language statement of concepts. For instance, instead of trying to figure out how to word Rho’s observations on a citizen’s right (or the lack thereof) to carry a next-generation man-portable laser weapon, why don’t we just say that this amendment includes future generations of man-portable energy/laser weapons?
What do our readers think?
Specificity would kill any Constitution. I vote for plain language statements of principle, especially when those statements adhere to reining in a government that has become both corporate and opaque.
Articulate what would be better for all, Sam.
I agree with Dr. Denny. As far as your example above just substitute personal weapon for firearm should fix the problem.
As the good Doctor says, simple clear thoughts now, in hopes of making it all the more difficult for Otherwise and his phalanx of zombie corporate lawyers to wreck it later.
And as to this bruised little plum of pessimism, “I have not the faintest hope that this little exercise will ever find its way beyond the borders of S&Rville.”, Samuel you’re such an Eeyore sometimes!
Human thoughts are rarely unique to one individual. If you’re thinking this, we’re thinking this, then the odds are hundreds if not thousands of others are thinking similar things. Think of humans as a neural net, and as individual synapses start firing neighbors follow and a wispy gauze of an idea can soon light up millions of minds.
One of my all time favorite movie lines was spoken by Donald Sutherland as Sgt Oddball the tank commander in Kelly’s Heroes…”Enough of the negative waves man!”
“more about a plain-language statement of concepts.” Exactly what do you mean by this? How will it be enacted? What if someone later comes up with laser-language questions?