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'...almost one-third of respondents appear to believe that the religious views of the majority should rule....'
September 12, 2007 7:54 PM   Subscribe

37% beleive the media shouldn't be allowed to "freely criticize the U.S. military about its strategy and performance."; 55% believe the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. The State of the First Amendment Survey.
posted by orthogonality (77 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by exogenous at 7:59 PM on September 12, 2007


48% believe that spelling should be checked on MeFi posts.

53% believe that pedants should be shot and 68% that sneaky snarks make snide snacks.
posted by sien at 7:59 PM on September 12, 2007


100% of Hildegardes can't get past that spelling error, no matter how many people think pedants should be shot on sight.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:01 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


31% are high school grad or less.
posted by MythMaker at 8:09 PM on September 12, 2007


eye doant zie watz rowng wedth tzeh schpaillinkg. yoo paiple kneat glazcis.
posted by zennie at 8:11 PM on September 12, 2007


Tell your statistics to shut up.

“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” Aaron Levenstein
posted by Eekacat at 8:11 PM on September 12, 2007 [28 favorites]


Most Americans would gladly surrender every right in the Constitution so long as they could be sure their neighbor would also have them taken away. Who would miss them? Not one in a thousand says anything dangerous.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:13 PM on September 12, 2007


They should have totally asked Miss Teen South Carolina these questions.
posted by four panels at 8:13 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


The right to practice one’s own religion was deemed “essential” or “important” by nearly all Americans (97%); as was the right to “speak freely about whatever you want” (98%) and to “assemble, march, protest or petition the government (94%),”

Once you get past the confusion over the use of the word "God" in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, etc,you have one of the most open-minded societies in the history of the world.

Sorry, I know that's not the opinion I was being led towards here.

37% beleive the media shouldn't be allowed to "freely criticize the U.S. military about its strategy and performance."
And I'm with the 37% here, if "freely criticize ... about ... strategy" includes giving away secrets about troop locations, etc. But I only say that it point out how open to interpretation these kind of questions always are.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:17 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


oops. "But I only say that TO point out "
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:18 PM on September 12, 2007


"the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" -- President/Founding Father John Adams

From the Treaty of Tripoli; as a treaty this is "the supreme Law of the Land" equal to the Constitution.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


73 Percent Of Americans Unable To Believe This Shit
posted by bradth27 at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2007


I dont see whats so shocking here. You have to be some kind of serious idealist to not write off 30-50% of the people. Oh, its very un-PC to say stuff like this but its true. All through history idealism was kept alive by a small % of the elite.

The bottom feeders have always, without exception, been against progress, expansion of rights, etc, except when it suits them directly. For instance there's probably no shortage of blue collar guys out there who will join any rally about shortening the work week or expanding socialist protections for retirement and workers comp but wouldnt be caught dead support gay rights or immigration rights. That doesnt mean that gay/immigration rights are a bad idea, its just your support base is very different, even though both parties would agree that equality is the best thing out there.

Religion clouds the issue even more. People that this, obviously, very personally. On top of it, as a christian majority nation, the US has a lot of disinformation floating around about church and state.

Maybe I'm becoming an optimist but the fact the 63% (or a nation of 300 million peeps) think the media can say anything is pretty damn impressive. I guess my keg is half full.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:25 PM on September 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


*of a nation
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:26 PM on September 12, 2007


"the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" -- President/Founding Father John Adams

yeah, trust me, I know. But the average person ambushed on the street or phone to take a survey just isn't as familiar with the treaty of Tripoli as they are with the Declaration of Independence or, say, the back of a dollar bill.

Sure , it isn't wonderful that people have these misconceptions. But the body of article goes on to say that almost everyone values freedom of religion, so the "OMG red state fundies want everyone to love Jesus or die" interpretation doesn't really hold up to close examination.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:28 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


How important are these rights?

...the right to practice your religion of choice:
Essential: 74%

...the right to practice no religion
Essential: 57%

Demonstrators should be allowed to express themselves through protest while standing on public sidewalks or streets as a funeral procession passes by.
Strongly disagree: 46%

Musicians should be allowed to sing songs with lyrics that others might find offensive.
Strongly disagree: 30%

Teachers and other public school officials should be allowed to lead prayers in public school.
Strongly agree: 42%

A public school teacher should be allowed to use the Bible as a factual text in a history or social studies class.
Strongly agree: 33%

Would support a flag burning amendment: 38%

=====

So, this survey is basically saying that about 30 to 45% of the American people are old skool fundies who think you have the right to practice any religion you want, as long as you're not an atheist(?!?), have freedom of speech, but not on a public street during a funeral or to burn a flag -- and all the illogical stupidity that comes along with a position like that.

So, yeah, it describes modern America perfectly.
posted by Avenger at 8:30 PM on September 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


The bottom feeders have always, without exception, been against progress, expansion of rights, etc, except when it suits them directly.

it's easier to believe that - that way one doesn't feel so bad about exploiting them, or about trying to get political power by speaking in their name

For instance there's probably no shortage of blue collar guys out there who will join any rally about shortening the work week

that shows you how little you know about blue collar people, doesn't it?

the majority LOVE the damned overtime and a minority would like a shorter week - remember, less hours, less money

and yes there are some who support gay rights and immigration rights, too
posted by pyramid termite at 8:35 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Scary. Maybe we really are screwed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:55 PM on September 12, 2007


They should have totally asked Miss Teen South Carolina these questions.

"The First Amendment: is it a good thing or a bad thing?"

"Ummmmm..." ~*flutters eyelashes*~ "....Good thing!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:56 PM on September 12, 2007


The bottom feeders have always, without exception, been against progress, expansion of rights, etc, except when it suits them directly. For instance there's probably no shortage of blue collar guys out there who will join any rally about shortening the work week

Before I decided at 28 to go to college, I worked a number of blue-collar positions at factories, steel plants, machine shops, etc.... and I can tell you this - I don't remember anyone bitching about the 40-hour week.

Quite the contrary, I remember all of us volunteering ( and often begging) for overtime - just to be able to pay the bills.

Oh, and a big "fuck you" for lumping all of the blue-collar workers into the "bottom feeder" category. In my experience, the higher you go up the food-chain, the shittier people are.
posted by bradth27 at 8:56 PM on September 12, 2007 [7 favorites]


GABBA GABBA GOOOOO!
posted by homunculus at 8:58 PM on September 12, 2007


It's interesting that on many of these questions the poles (i.e. "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree") have many more votes than the middle-ground answers. At least there are a lot of people out there who believe "strongly" in the same things I do.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:06 PM on September 12, 2007


Oh, and a big "fuck you" for lumping all of the blue-collar workers into the "bottom feeder" category

Touchy arent we? The fetishization of the worker didnt work in the USSR and it isnt working here. Sorry if I offended your politcally correct sensibilities.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:13 PM on September 12, 2007


drjimmy, you're an optimist. Of course people think the right to practice their own religions and voice their own opinions are important. Ask them about the right of the dirty hippy nutjobs next door who can't be bothered to mow their goddamned lawn and let their kids run wild ferchrissakes what kind of neighborhood do they think this is? to practice their religion and express their opinions, and you'll see some different numbers.
posted by enn at 9:14 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


there's probably no shortage of blue collar guys out there who will join any rally about shortening the work week

Slight derail, but I, for one, am sick to death of those constant noisy rallies demanding shorter working weeks! Those things are far more of a serious public nuisance than the monthly Critical Mass rides.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:24 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think maybe somebody's misunderstanding the question. "The right to practice your religion of choice," does not mean that you get to choose the religion for everyone else. Yet, I think that's how a lot of the fundies are answering it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:28 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


And about half of all people are below average. Film at 11.
posted by ilsa at 9:31 PM on September 12, 2007


Look on the bright side people: two thirds of Americans are not fascists.
posted by pompomtom at 9:31 PM on September 12, 2007


I disagree with the headline, and this is not all bad news for liberals, by the way, you MetaFilter-snarks-who-don't-read-the-actual-report. Yeah, the US public is religious, so the usual weirdnesses are there, but, overall, this is uplifting stuff:

*The stats are essentially staying the same from 1999, after swinging out of whack post-9/11. Less people than ever support an amendment against flag-burning, for example.

*98% of people say that it is important that you can practice any religion you want. 89% say it is important that you can practice no religion. That doesn't sound like "one third believes that a majority religion should rule" as the FPP title says.

*93% say a free press is important. 98% say that freedom of speech is important.

Can't we look at the bright side for once?
posted by blahblahblah at 10:09 PM on September 12, 2007


The fetishization of the worker didnt work in the USSR and it isnt working here.

from your link

A full 49 percent of blue-collar men and 38 percent of blue-collar women indicated in a January '03 Roper poll that they would vote for Bush in 2004.

well, that means that if the vote had been up to blue collar workers exclusively, bush would have lost

do the math

Sorry if I offended your politcally correct sensibilities.

sorry if being a factory rat and a blue collar worker means i actually know what the hell i'm talking about

you don't - period - you are talking about MY world, MY people and YOU don't know us
posted by pyramid termite at 10:11 PM on September 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


83% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Also, this is just moar proof democracy is for chumps.
posted by chlorus at 10:16 PM on September 12, 2007


Oh, and the 'working class hero' is a myth, kind of like Jesus, Allah, or the Easter Bunny.
posted by chlorus at 10:17 PM on September 12, 2007


It's interesting that on many of these questions the poles (i.e. "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree") have many more votes than the middle-ground answers. At least there are a lot of people out there who believe "strongly" in the same things I do.

I have been reading Stenway's book on authoritarianism, and one of the things she says is that both authoritarians and libertarians are more aroused and active when stressors are applied, the former in search of punitive/protective big daddy, the latter in defence of perceived threats to their rights. I'd guess that there is more than usual stress in American society right now that is making people with any inclination at all hew more strongly to their particular thing.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:17 PM on September 12, 2007


A full 49 percent of blue-collar men and 38 percent of blue-collar women indicated in a January '03 Roper poll that they would vote for Bush in 2004.

well, that means that if the vote had been up to blue collar workers exclusively, bush would have lost

do the math


OK - 49% of blue collar men & 38% of blue collar women said that they would vote for Bush.

However, only about 50% of Americans actually vote, so that amounts to 98% of blue collar men who vote, and 76% of blue collar women who vote.

Bush would have romped it in.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:29 PM on September 12, 2007


>you don't - period - you are talking about MY world, MY people and YOU don't know us

Bullshit. Half of blue collar men expressed the wish to vote for Bush. In 2004. After EVERYTHING. There's one word for that: fucking stupid as shit. Granted, in 2000 I can see the whole "we was tricked" argument, but not in 2004. The appeal to the everyman is flawed as the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be (and as this fpp proves).
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:34 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this the part where damn dirty ape distributes the happy drugs, so we can all live in a world where what he thinks about the working man even matters?
posted by nasreddin at 11:07 PM on September 12, 2007


The appeal to the everyman is flawed as the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be (and as this fpp proves).

And who, exactly, do you consider to be "non-bluecollar"? I assume they all voted Democrat in droves, right, because they've become so enlightened from sitting behind a desk and shuffling paper and playing Solitaire while their boss isn't looking?

But I see your point. Stupid people shouldn't be allowed to vote, they can't be trusted. It can all be like Pol Pot in reverse.

damn dirty ape, your country is defined by the sum total of all the people in it, not a document. If x% of them disagree with some ideal that you consider to define that country, well I'm sorry to break it to you, but that just means the ideals that define your country appear to be x% out of step with the beliefs of the population. I'm not saying that's a good thing. And there are sure a lot of people out there who have been educated stupid and are easy prey for being fucked over by the powerful. But you can't complain about people believing whatever they want to about religion, or free speech, or press freedom - if sufficiently enough of them believe these things, then that alters the ideals that define the country. Constitutions can be amended. And people don't choose what country they're born into - of course not every American is going to support and agree with every single law and every single right and every single amendment.

People define a country, "countries" don't dictate the ideals of their people.
posted by Jimbob at 11:10 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


blahblahblah wrote:

98% say that freedom of speech is important.


Are the 2% that voted no the 2% that control the media?
posted by any major dude at 11:14 PM on September 12, 2007


the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be (and as this fpp proves)

Hey, I'm a blue collar worker! And yet the most right-leaning politician I've ever voted for is probably a stinking pinko when lined up against any mainstream candidate dda's ever pulled a level for. Funny thing, that 49th parallel. Must be something in the water.

This fpp proved you're myopic snob who has happily bought into the American Culture WarTM and managed to ruin Planet of the Apes for me a little bit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:23 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you know which other country was defined by its people?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:27 PM on September 12, 2007


Touchy arent we? The fetishization of the worker didnt work in the USSR and it isnt working here. Sorry if I offended your politcally correct sensibilities.

No, you offended me for referring to my entire family of hard working blue-collar workers as "bottom-feeders." I wasn't even thinking about my "politcally correct sensibilities" - I'm not even sure what "politcally" means. Sounds swedish.
posted by bradth27 at 11:30 PM on September 12, 2007


The appeal to the everyman is flawed as the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be

but you know what REALLY bugs me about my co-workers at the factory?

it's the way when i'm in a hurry, i keep tripping over their knuckles as i walk

Do you know which other country was defined by its people?

definland?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:33 PM on September 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


no way!
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:52 PM on September 12, 2007


Kirkiracha, treaties are not equal to the Constitution. In 1957, SCOTUS declared that if a treaty contradicts the Constitution, the treaty is void.

"this Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty."
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:53 PM on September 12, 2007


it's the way when i'm in a hurry, i keep tripping over their knuckles as i walk

I can sympathise. No matter how often I tell them to leave a clear space for me to pass when they prostrate themselves before my gleaming white collar, somehow they're just too damn thick to carry out my instructions.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:57 PM on September 12, 2007


SCDB, this is John Adams we're talking about. As much as the 1957 supreme court and Scalia can talk about the intentions of the founding fathers, John Adams knows better. And where does the Constitution contradict the Treaty of Tripoli when it states "the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion"?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:47 AM on September 13, 2007


Bullshit. Half of blue collar men expressed the wish to vote for Bush. In 2004. After EVERYTHING. There's one word for that: fucking stupid as shit. Granted, in 2000 I can see the whole "we was tricked" argument, but not in 2004. The appeal to the everyman is flawed as the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be (and as this fpp proves).

The working class doesn't vote much in the USA, but the segment that did voted Democrat in 2004 by a fair margin. In terms of votes, Bush's base then were solidly bourgeois, as you would expect from his policy and ideology. Look at that graph - see all those people earning between $0 and $30,000? That's 55% of the USA's population. See how they voted? And that's in an election that Bush won.

Don't be scared of the working class; by and large they know what's going on, and who is responsible. The problem is that they are discouraged. You shouldn't be spitting on them, you should be trying to get them to vote.
posted by stammer at 1:13 AM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Can we have those 37-55% have their citizenship handed to an illegal alien who can actually answer the question?

Kill two birds with one stone.

Ok, so there would still be a huge (new) bunch of illegals, but the next election would be interesting :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:21 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Half of blue collar men expressed the wish to vote for Bush. In 2004. After EVERYTHING. There's one word for that: fucking stupid as shit.

Do be careful. You're coming tenuously close to being an idiot.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:29 AM on September 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


see all those people earning between $0 and $30,000? That's 55% of the USA's population. See how they voted?

That's 27.5% of the voting population, though - because half those people stay home.
See those people making more than $50K?
75-80% of them show up to vote, with the percentage increasing by income level.
That's about 30% of the voting population, and why we currently have the president we deserve.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:55 AM on September 13, 2007


These numbers are from 2000. It's only gotten worse since then.
income   %    vote   %
quintile pop. rate   voter pop.
lowest   14%   51%    10%
2nd      18%   55%    15%
3rd      20%   69%    20%
4th      23%   76%    26%
highest  25%   80%    29%
The top 48% of the population economically is represented 55% at the polls.
The bottom 52% of the population is represented 45% at the polls.

It's not that poorer people don't vote their interests - it's that they don't vote at all.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:45 AM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


blahblahblah re: the bright side. No, I can't, because it isn't really that bright.

The problem is that we're seeing yet another itiration in one of the classic political trends. People will almost universally support *GENERIC* and sweeping declarations of rights, freedoms, liberties, etc. But as soon as the specifics get involved a vast number of those same people who supported the freedom in general will turn around and stomp it. Which is what these statistics show.

Its kinda like the same sex marriage issue. If you ask people: "Should the government extend over 1500 special rights to some people while denying them to others?" the answer will be, nearly universally, not only no but hell no. But when you ask "Should the government give hetrosexuals special rights that it denies to homosexuals?" the answer is yes.

Its easy to say "Yup, I support freedom of religion". It isn't so easy to support freedom for snake handling Pentacostals, atheists, Muslims, Satanists, Scientologists, etc.

Or take free speech. Even for liberals who generally do try to be intellectually honest about free speech, its difficult to say "free speech includes Ann Coulter, neo-Nazis, the KKK and Rush Limbaugh"

93% said that freedom of the press was important. 37% believe that, somehow, that doesn't mean the press can criticize the military.... You see how it goes? Freedom in the generic is endorsed, freedom in the specific is rabidly opposed.

Which is why when a judge actually applies the text of a constitution (state or federal) which has broad, sweeping, declarations of freedom and equality, they're immediately attacked for being horrible, "activist judges".
posted by sotonohito at 4:04 AM on September 13, 2007 [12 favorites]


Yes but , F(x)=[1/[(2ps)^(1/2)]]e^-[(x-mi^2)/(2s^2)] , where -inf<x<inf , s=sigma , p=3.14

Which pretty much proves my point and why it is am not getting too much laid these days !
posted by elpapacito at 4:17 AM on September 13, 2007


eh, fuck the first amendment.
posted by koeselitz at 4:33 AM on September 13, 2007


People will almost universally support *GENERIC* and sweeping declarations of rights, freedoms, liberties, etc. But as soon as the specifics get involved a vast number of those same people who supported the freedom in general will turn around and stomp it.

I would be interested in hearing your opinion on how that fits into a debate that's in the news in Australia at the moment:

- We don't have a bill of rights. We don't have freedom of speech guaranteed in the Constitution or anything like that. We're still pretty-much going it Magna Carta style.

- A number of people - judges, politicians, academics, civil liberties campaigners have suggested that we should have a bill of rights. Every other major democracy has something. England introduced a bill of rights a decade ago, and they've apparently seen a great improvement in freedom of the press and openness of government as a result.

- In response to this, a whole pile of "conservative" commentators have come out and called the idea a stupid liberal fantasy. Australia doesn't need a bill of rights! It will only be written by a bunch of commies anyway, and we've done well enough without one. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

And a significant proportion of the population have lapped this attitude up - people I know have told me they've caught taxis, and the taxi-driver spent the journey rallying against a Bill of Rights for Australia.

So what's that all about? A "Bill of Rights" is a very general idea, a very vague, nice notion of "freedom" - so why would people be down on it? By my understanding, both conservative and liberals in the United States have good things to say about the rights given in the Constitution...they might each be supportive of some more than others, but the general principal of document defining the rights people have, and their freedoms, is generally accepted. So why would such a generic freedom be so quickly rejected by a fair proportion of the general public in Australia?
posted by Jimbob at 4:59 AM on September 13, 2007


Or take free speech. Even for liberals who generally do try to be intellectually honest about free speech, its difficult to say "free speech includes Ann Coulter, neo-Nazis, the KKK and Rush Limbaugh"

Because it doesn't. That's a faulty comparison. "I hate Jews" is free speech. "The Jews should all die" is free speech, though the right to say it in a printed column is not. "Let's kill some Jews" is a crime.

You're offering as examples sources that made statements that violate the rights of free speech into the incitement of activities that violate others' rights. Of the four people/groups you mentioned, Limbaugh is to the best of my knowledge the only one who has not actively called for certain Americans to be murdered. That Coulter wasn't investigated for calling for the killing of a Supreme Court Justice in a public forum is one of the most offensive attacks on the integrity of free speech in recent memory.

There is no constitutional right to be employed by a private company that mass-distributes copies of your thoughts. Ann Coulter should not be printed in a single newspaper in America because she is a horrible writer who incites criminal activity. She should not have a column for editorial and legal reasons. This has absolutely no relation to the establishment of a healthy and effective first amendment in any way whatsoever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:06 AM on September 13, 2007


x% of Americans believe that in the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms," "the people" implies a collective -- not an individual -- right, but that "the people" implies an individual right in all the other amendments.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:11 AM on September 13, 2007


Because no other amendment is prefaced by referencing the necessity of an organized militia. It's the shortest amendment to the Constitution; I'm always confused why so many people seem to hate reading half of it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:23 AM on September 13, 2007


I am going to read you some rights protected by the U.S. Constitution... the right to privacy

The Constitution says nothing about this. Various members of a single branch of government have from time to time cited an imaginary, unwritten portion of the Constitution to support this 'right,' but I've read the damned thing a few times and I sure haven't seen it.

Yes, I know about the "penumbras" and the Court's bizarre definition of due process. I'm just irked that this survey would include a judicially-invented Constitutional right, rather than sticking to the ones that are explicitly enumerated therein, particularly since the Constitution itself doesn't grant the Supreme Court the power to do anything of the sort.

(And no, I'm not a supporter of any of the various conservative social or political causes that tend to deny the right to privacy simply because they dislike the practical results of its presumed existence (e.g. Constitutionally-protected abortion and gay sex). I just think it's detrimental for the Court to 'interpret' the Constitution like it's "The Yellow Wallpaper" in ninth grade English.)
posted by Makoto at 6:15 AM on September 13, 2007


People will almost universally support *GENERIC* and sweeping declarations of rights, freedoms, liberties, etc. But as soon as the specifics get involved a vast number of those same people who supported the freedom in general will turn around and stomp it.


Forgive the minor derail, but that brought to mind one of my favorite Phil Ochs songs:

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
Of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
As long as they don't move next door...

posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:18 AM on September 13, 2007


The Constitution says nothing about this.

it doesn't have to

[Amendment X]

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

posted by pyramid termite at 7:05 AM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Re: the Treaty of Tripoli, meh. I am as much of a separatist as there is, but I think this is a weak argument. The Treaty of Tripoli was signed in 1798 with a Muslim nation--the statement that the United States is not a "Christian nation" was likely included to convince the Tripoli government that the United States intended no holy war against the Muslims. The full Article 11 states:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
In any case, the Treaty was renegotiated 8 years later and the article containing that phrase was dropped.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:23 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Constitution says nothing about this

The Bill of Rights contains a whole bunch of privacy protecting amendments. It is really silly to argue that the right to privacy is entirely manufactured by some activist judiciary when it has been established form the get-go.
posted by boubelium at 7:23 AM on September 13, 2007


Various members of a single branch of government have from time to time cited an imaginary, unwritten portion of the Constitution to support this 'right,' but I've read the damned thing a few times and I sure haven't seen it.

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The rights listed in the Constitution are not the only rights people have, and the government does not grant rights to the people. James Madison:
It has been objected also against a Bill of Rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:24 AM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bullshit. Half of blue collar men expressed the wish to vote for Bush. In 2004. After EVERYTHING. There's one word for that: fucking stupid as shit. Granted, in 2000 I can see the whole "we was tricked" argument, but not in 2004. The appeal to the everyman is flawed as the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be (and as this fpp proves).

Man, you're such a dumbass. It was the rich, college educated people who put bush into power in 2004. Sorry. Poor people voted against him. Perhaps not overwhelmingly, but still.
posted by delmoi at 7:26 AM on September 13, 2007


a judicially-invented Constitutional right

Where again in the Constitution does it say "The people shall not wrap their pickles"?
posted by trondant at 9:00 AM on September 13, 2007


There's two kinds of people in the world -- optimists, and realists.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:04 AM on September 13, 2007


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, enacted five and a half years before the Treay of Tripoli, begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Therefore, of course the United States of America is not founded upon the Christian religion nor is it obligated to massacre Muslims.

As for the Treaty of Tripoli, the text is of the treaty is here and the Wikipedia article on it is here (see also the Wikipedia articles' External links at the bottom).

(I was working on a wordier, wittier and more detailed comment covering more aspects of this "controversy" when Firefox crashed, something to do with mouse wheel scrolling, and I can't find it encached on my drive; assuming Mefi doesn't save what's in the Preview box so a Mod could just send it to me, I might come back later and try to redo it if I feel like it, if the issues and facts I tried to address therein are still absent from this discussion at whatever point after I've gotten enough coffee and so on.)
posted by davy at 9:34 AM on September 13, 2007


Half of blue collar men expressed the wish to vote for Bush. In 2004. After EVERYTHING. There's one word for that: fucking stupid as shit.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:34 AM on September 13


Blue collar workers didn't vote for Bush because they are stupid, they did it because they couldn't vote for that faggot Kerry.
posted by four panels at 11:57 AM on September 13, 2007


Although I take issue with the entire idea of substantive due process, as it depends on the assumption that the same wording in the Fourteenth Amendment means something other than what it does in the Fifth, it should be noted that neither the Ninth or Tenth Amendments have ever been considered to apply to the states, except in the sense that the Tenth protects the states against encroachment by the power of the federal government. Additionally, the Court has for the past twenty-plus years refused to consider any cases brought on Tenth Amendment grounds.

I agree that on its face the Ninth Amendment reserves for Americans a theoretically limitless number of rights, but the Court has never used it as their basis for declaring the existence of any legal right. One possible reason for that is mentioned in Larry Tribe's quote in the first link above. Personally, I think it's because the Court only tends to discover rights that can be exercised against the states, and serve as a means of extending federal power: for example, states making partial birth abortion illegal is unconstitutional, unless Congress wants to do it.
posted by Makoto at 12:01 PM on September 13, 2007


Also, re: the other conversation that's taking place in this thread, here's CNN's 2004 presidential election exit poll demographics.
posted by Makoto at 12:05 PM on September 13, 2007


It was the rich, college educated people who put bush into power in 2004. Sorry. Poor people voted against him.

Sorry, just not true. The heartland vote has gone Republican since Reagan. They have been exploited by appealing to their cultural fears - abortion, gays, libruls, etc. The economics side of the equation, although it has gone directly against working people, has never been part of the campaigns; the "culture wars" have been used as a smokescreen to pick the public's pockets.

I highly recommend the book What's the Matter With Kansas? if you are interested in this phenomenom.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:00 PM on September 13, 2007


Benny Andajetz: So do you dispute the CNN exit polling results Makoto linked, which show 55% of the vote from people earning under 50,000 going to Kerry (vs. 44% going to Bush), while 56% of the vote of the more-than-50,000-a-year earners went to Bush (vs. 43% for Kerry)? Do you have any better stats you can cite?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:14 PM on September 13, 2007


“the everyman isnt the enlightened thinker some make him out to be (and as this fpp proves)”

And yet we allow fellows like my good man here to vote.
‘I’m sorry sir, I’m unable to assist in any of these matters’
posted by Smedleyman at 2:35 PM on September 13, 2007


(yes, there’s the implicit point made there in Lewis’ speech about amateurs/professionals that is my primary (albeit ulterior...although not anymore with this parenthetical) point).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:37 PM on September 13, 2007


Median household income in 2004 was $44,000. You do the math.

According to the exit polls, 45% of voters had incomes under 50k. 44% of them voted for Bush. So roughly a quarter of the entire vote was people earning less than 50k voting for Bush.

Certainly you can't lay the blame on the richer voters, because their vote is almost a given; they'll vote Republican because Republicans protect their interests. It's the misguided (boneheaded) working class who drink the koolaid that the Republicans give two shits about them that swung the election.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:45 PM on September 13, 2007


It is really silly to argue that the right to privacy is entirely manufactured by some activist judiciary when it has been established form the get-go.

I agree completely. Isn't the Fourth Amendment all about privacy?

I submit the right to privacy exists much more explicitly than executive privilege does.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:01 PM on September 13, 2007


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