Bill of Rights monuments for everyone.
April 14, 2006 9:08 AM   Subscribe

MyBillOfRights.org. Project to post a Bill of Rights monument in every state capitol of the U.S. Sounds like a retaliation to the posting of the 10 Commandments, right? Wrong. It's a rally to organize and unite all Americans who believe this country was founded on one amazing document, this we refer to constantly as the guidelines to our freedom.
posted by daq (85 comments total)
 
Finally a monument I can get behind.
posted by illovich at 9:10 AM on April 14, 2006


Everyone had heard about the Chris Bliss viral video that went around the internet a few months ago (and even had a FPP on it) and of course, then there was the Jason Garfield "slam" where he did 5 balls at once to show how mediocre Chris Bliss was (which even Bliss will admit to). Well, something most people aren't aware of is Chris Bliss' involvement in a movement to post the Bill of Rights in every state capitol in the nation (and anywhere else people want to organize to do this).
Penn Jillette interviewed Chris Bliss on his radio show on Wendesday this week (you can get the podcasts from iTunes, or download the mp3 here. It's an amazing interview and a must listen to anyone who is angered/outraged/upset over the direction our country is headed.
Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Communist, hippy, patriot, whatever you label yourself, this should be something all of us should and can support. It's not a f*** you to the religiously misguided in our country, it's a call to action for those who would not see our rights destroyed by politicians grasping for more power.
There's also one amazing detail about the project. Donations are limited to $250 per individual. This is to be a massive group effort, no single individual can pay for the whole thing outright. It's a statement of intent to make this project mean something more than just another peice of art in public. It can and will show that people still understand what this country means and why we have the freedoms we have today.
Plus it's a great discussion starter.
posted by daq at 9:14 AM on April 14, 2006


To post a Bill of Rights monument in every state capitol of the U.S. It's a rally to organize and unite all Americans who believe this country was founded on one amazing document
posted by daq


Yes. One amazing document, which, of course, didn't include the Bill of Rights.
posted by dios at 9:20 AM on April 14, 2006


Dios, suck it. I'm sorry, but you need to click the freaking link and then you'd know that the Bill of Rights are the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution, which is the document in which the United States of America were founded.

But you're just being an troll, so I'll forgive you this time, sweetcheeks.
posted by daq at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2006


As a member of a state where displays of the Ten Commandments were recently ruled constitutional, I would like to send a "f*** you to the religiously misguided in our country." Sorry.
posted by youarenothere at 9:26 AM on April 14, 2006


I like this a lot. Just because it's reactionary doesn't mean it's not a good idea.
posted by gurple at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2006


I'm sorry, but you need to click the freaking link and then you'd know that the Bill of Rights are the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution, which is the document in which the United States of America were founded.
posted by daq at 11:24 AM CST on April 14


Were you under the impression that I did not know this?

I was merely point it out for you that the Bill of Rights were not part of the document that this nation was founded upon. They were added later. (*hint, hint* amendments)

There are all kinds of reasons why that distinction is interesting and important, but, I guess it would be trolling to discuss those.
posted by dios at 9:31 AM on April 14, 2006


daq-

dios is being trollish, but he is technically correct. The founding document, the Constitution, was ratified in 1789, while the Bill of Rights were ratified and appended in 1781. Regardless, they are part of the Constitution and one would have to be insane, or trollish, to pretend that they did not help define the earliest intentions for America. I still marvel at the Bill of Rights as an amazing document, that through time has become a powerful source of rights. This is a great project, as the Constitution and its amendments are a source of American law much, much more than the 10 Commandments, to which only a tenuous connection can be drawn. I wish all Americans were forced to memorize the Constitution and its amendments in grade school.
posted by Falconetti at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2006


There are all kinds of reasons why that distinction is interesting and important, but, I guess it would be trolling to discuss those.

Not necessarily trolling, but possibly off-topic. I haven't read the linked site in detail, but my impression is that *they* are not claiming that the country was "founded on" the bill of rights. Just that the bill of rights is really cool and is something we can pretty much all get behind, unlike the Decalogue.
posted by gurple at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2006


Were you under the impression that I did not know this?

Did you really think anyone else didn't know that as well as you?

You knew what the poster meant. If you have something interesting to say about the distinction, say it, don't just nitpick and then get pissy.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:37 AM on April 14, 2006


Wow, I just realized that I capitalized Decalogue and not bill of rights. I feel a bit ill, but then again that may be because breakfast was a mocha and a slice of cake.
posted by gurple at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2006


dios - 1; typos - 0
posted by odinsdream at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2006


On-topic: I have no idea what the image under "Conceptual imagery to spark public dialogue" is supposed to be. It looks like some kind of overhead plan, then some kind of swinging paper pendulum... pointing at.. a slab of... realignment?

Why not just a good old slab of carved marble?
posted by odinsdream at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2006


Dictionary definition of PEDANTIC = Dios.

Thanks. Now either support the movement to place the monuments in the state capitols or explain to me why your snark has anything to do with either support for or against the idea.

Oh, and I guess the 37 states that weren't part of the original Constitutional Congress just get to swing in the wind because they weren't there when the original document was written. Maybe we should just cut them off, since they didn't ratify the Constitution or any of the early amendements.

Oh, and this part in the Bill of Rights kind of spells it out for you;
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution.

That last part there, the line "part of the said Constitution". That kind of says it all, doesn't it?
posted by daq at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2006


Oh, for Christ's sake. He wasn't "trolling." He pointed out a very, very common misconception in order to correct it — and in a community that bursts into flames any time someone uses the phrase "begs the question," I'd wager that anyone but Dios could have made that observation without attracting torches and pitchforks. So grow up.

Sounds like a retaliation to the posting of the 10 Commandments, right? Wrong.

I don't see how your post, or the linked website, refutes the notion that this is a stunt coordinated in reaction to the 10 Commandments brouhaha. (Hey, you're the one who said it.)
posted by cribcage at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2006


Why does the Bill of Rights hate freedom?
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:50 AM on April 14, 2006


Love the idea. And I still like Bliss's juggling.

But what we don't need is yet another imaginatively named Project Phoenix.
posted by Sk4n at 10:00 AM on April 14, 2006


I think every state capitol should post a copy of the recipe for Nieman Marcus cookies.
posted by jefbla at 10:05 AM on April 14, 2006


I agree with Cribcage. Dios wasn't trolling (the first time I've ever said that, and almost certainly the last...) although the way he pointed out the diff was his usual unhelpful self.

I'm a Brit, and only vaguely aware of the relationship between the constitution and the Bill Of Rights (frex, I knew it was the first x amendments but not the first ten, I knew it was created after the constitution but not soon after, etc) so when I see mybillofrights.com and 'unite all Americans who believe this country was founded on one amazing document' I immediately thought 'Uh, wasn't that the constitution?'
posted by kaemaril at 10:05 AM on April 14, 2006


Congress considered twelve amendments. The Congressional Apportionment Amendment is technically still pending and could become an amendment if 27 more states ratify it. Amendment XXVII was proposed with the Bill of Rights and was ratified in 1992.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:05 AM on April 14, 2006


drat, hit Post instead of Preview, here's the bit I meant to add:

... or even the Declaration of Independence?
posted by kaemaril at 10:07 AM on April 14, 2006


the way he pointed out the diff was his usual unhelpful self

I'd say being pedantic is often a form of trolling. It's a fabulous way to inflame people for no good reason.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2006


The U.S. could really use something like this. Thanks for posting it, daq. Ignore dios until he offers anything substantive. Really. Just. Ignore. He smells more like the Turd every day.
posted by squirrel at 10:14 AM on April 14, 2006


And I'd say labelling people a troll when they weren't is also a form of trolling, as that also tends to inflame people for no good reason.

Guess some people's idea of trolling differs, huh?
posted by kaemaril at 10:15 AM on April 14, 2006


and was ratified in 1992

I knew I felt my freshman year in college was an important one.
posted by NationalKato at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2006


And I'd say labelling people a troll when they weren't is also a form of trolling

Good thing I didn't do that, then!
posted by rxrfrx at 10:21 AM on April 14, 2006


cribcage, reading is fundamental.

My statement to to try and cut short any trolling about how it was just a reactionary stunt. That's why is immediately negated the question "Sound like a..." with the word, "wrong" right after it. This is a debate tool to put forth an opponents argument in the form of a strawman, and then torching it yourself before they get to use it as a talking point. It also makes it easier to try and subdue the urges of other opponents to try and put a false face on the act, by trumpeting it as a f*** you to people who have put up religious monuments on public property. I was attempting to point out that the originators of the idea are trying to do something positive, patriotic, and in general, something all Americans should be in favor of. They are also doing it in a manner which makes it a community effort, and not some vanity project for some uber-rich conglomeration to do.

And dios' point about the Constitution is a misdirection, overly technical, and does not further the discussion about the content of the post, it merely tries to tear down his intended target by putting into question their intelligence and/or trivial knowledge. I feel fully justified in flaming him simply for the fact that his smug arrogance is a great sounding board for the rest of Mefi to come in and make this thread as long as possible, and something as many people as possible will read, and hopefully talk about at home, among friends, and even be interested in furthering.

*puts on asbestos suit*
*lights flamethrower pilot light*


*smiles*
posted by daq at 10:22 AM on April 14, 2006


I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah!
posted by dios at 9:20 AM PST on April 14

posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:24 AM on April 14, 2006


Good thing I didn't do that, then!
posted by rxrfrx at 6:21 PM GMT on April 14

Indeed.
posted by kaemaril at 10:27 AM on April 14, 2006


I knew it was the first x amendments but not the first ten
That's the funniest thing I've read all day, from a latin numbers versus latin letters standpoint (yeah, yeah to really work it would say "the first X amendments").

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2006


That's really ugly conceptual art on the site, btw. WTH is the 'Path to realignment' all about?
posted by kaemaril at 10:32 AM on April 14, 2006


PinkStainlessTail : I was gonna say "X amendments" but then:
a) Had the same thought you did
b) Worried Apple might sue me :)
posted by kaemaril at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2006


My statement to to try and cut short any trolling about how it was just a reactionary stunt.

Wait, I'm confused... in what way is this not a reactionary stunt? Like I said, I think this is a great idea anyway -- hell, maybe you could convince some folks who want the 10 commandments put up to get behind this instead, and take some wind out of the commandment folks' sails. But this is clearly reactionary.

Just because Mr. Bliss doesn't say on his site "this idea is a reaction to the whole decalogue thing" doesn't mean it isn't. Hell, he preemptively defends himself against those accusations, because he knows they're coming, because it IS a reaction to the god-in-the-courts folks.
posted by gurple at 10:36 AM on April 14, 2006


After this incident becomes widely publicized, giant question-mark boxes will become the best place to hide explosives.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:40 AM on April 14, 2006


Of course, that was intended for the other thread. hope me, etc.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:43 AM on April 14, 2006


If you're going to be a totally obtuse stickler for detail, the country wasn't founded on the Constitution but on the Articles of Confederation. You can probably even go back further to the Declaration of Independence and some of the enlightenment literature or even back further to the Magna Carta or even early Greek and Roman writings, so the fact that the Bill of Rights came a VERY short time after ratification of the Constitution is fairly meaningless.

The fact is that to me at least the constitution is just a procedural framework. it's the Bill of Rights and later amendments that are really original and impressive because they serve to limit what powers the state can strip away from the people. That's a fairly unique perspective even still and a lot of people still mistakenly believe that rights to the people flow out of the document rather than restrictions on government, so it's good to remind the people and the government of the actual relationship at every opportunity.
posted by willnot at 11:01 AM on April 14, 2006


I use to love this country, have pride in it, but over the last year, I have nothing but a growing contempt for its criminalized behavior towards men, and squashing of our rights.

I always thought you work hard, take care of your family, life should be pretty much ok. Working 60 hour weeks to give my kids a better life and buy a home was a dream come true.

This was true until I found my wife having an affair. In court she lied about rape to get instant custody, control of the house, and 1/2 of my income.

So, I went from having a family and house, to living in apartment, limited access to my children, 1/2 of every check given to this leech who spends it on herself. I dont get to deduct child support even though my income just dropped by 1/2, I dont get the interest on the house to deduct, my tax now trippled. Sad that she works, but her income isnt included in childsupport calculations.

The children I love and raised for years are growing up without me, every other weekend doesnt make up the lack of envolvement in their daily lives. 4 days a month of contact, no help with homework, no school activities, no seeing your child grow.

Litteraly went from middle class to going to food banks so I could eat, sharing an apartment with my father so I can make rent. Trying to buy clothes for your kids, because the child support isnt being used for them.

I learned I had no rights, My rights where written out by addmendments to the state constitution. Entire legislation was written against men for child support, visitation, even loop-holes for contempt to put men in prison. The laws reference "he" as men are the guilty.

My rights, I've broken no law, but I'm treated like a criminal, my rights stripped, my liberties removed, rights removed by illegal gender biased legislation.

So for everyone who thinks rights are meaningless, wait until you loose them. It's damn hard to fight for them when they have been removed.

In the end, do you fight for your right by gun or pen? If they remove your gun by legislation and pen by fortune, where does the fight come from.
posted by IronWolve at 11:11 AM on April 14, 2006


This should have already been in every courthouse, school, and public building and public space in the country--it's a great idea tho.

(i'd be pushing for a federal law that mandates it being visible in all public spaces so that everyone will know them--many don't)
posted by amberglow at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2006


dios, cribcage, etc:

Sorry to rain on the rar-rar parade, but the Constitution was basically ratified contingent on the idea that the Bill of Rights would be passed as well. Massachusetts Compromise. They can be considered a package deal.
posted by soma lkzx at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2006


Egads. Dios was sharing a laugh.

If someone made some puffed up statement about "Canada being founded on the Charter" I might or might not do the same. Partly because I'm tired of this unending warfare on the English language that words mean whatever I want them to mean to suit whatever political message I'm shouting (even if I happen to agree with the sentiment behind it). I mean sheesh. You can say the Bill of Rights is America's most important document. That it represents what America does -- or should -- stand for. That it is the core of what other nations admire about America. All of that would be true. Saying instead that America was "founded" on this document is as wrong as saying that America was founded "under God", and we all know how much we like to jump all over that one.

Now. Can we put a copy of Origin of Species at every school? Scientific method may not be founded on it, but it would make great strides toward demonstrating that your country is not slipping into the abyss.
posted by dreamsign at 11:19 AM on April 14, 2006


I feel fully justified in flaming him...

Yeah, I think you've represented yourself well. Thanks for helping to maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing your comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand — not at other members of the site.
posted by cribcage at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2006


FYI, contributions to this organization are not tax-deductible.
posted by brain_drain at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2006


Another "funny" thing to check out, in case you feel those around you aren't aware enough of the Bill of Rights:
Security Edition.
A peice of metal card stock, with your rights printed on them. Of course, you don't _have_ to do the performance art thing if you are afraid of being arrested, but still, it's something nice and kitchy you can get.
Yes, I'm plugging other peoples products. I actually think they are worthwhile ideas, because they represent things that most people take for granted.

And yes, I listen to Penn's radio show every day. The monkey and the midget story is the best.
posted by daq at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2006


Thanks. Now either support the movement to place the monuments in the state capitols or explain to me why your snark has anything to do with either support for or against the idea.

Oh, spare me. When I read "founded on one amazing document", that's the first thing I thought too.

Anyway, as much as I'm aghast at this administration's trampling of the fourth amendment, and their preliminary efforts to trample over the sixth (via the Jose Padilla case), I kinda wonder if this is actually a good idea. Americans worship the founders and the constitution way too much. I'd prefer to encourage Americans to think for themselves, and come up with their own opinions about how people should be governed, rather than just kicking the can over to the founders whenever possible and refusing to take any responsibility for our own country. No doubt, they felt that their document was timeless, and it is, but its timeless primarily because it includes an amendment mechanism.

For example, its friggin ridiculous that elections are still held on Tuesdays (which was market day, back then). In addition, I'd argue that the switch to popular election of Senators in the fourteenth amendment made a lot of sense after the Civil War, but now has destroyed the need for anyone to pay attention to state government. The second amendment is also now plainly incapable of fulfilling its original purpose in any way whatsoever, and now is used to as a bludgeon for a completely unrelated cause.

Worship of the past strikes me as a sign of a society thats lost the ability to come up with ideas of its own. The founders weren't gods. Abraham Lincoln wasn't a god, despite the similarities of his monument to the Parthenon. Thomas Jefferson's forehead probably wasn't as dashingly prominent as his statues now make it. Movies aren't real, and the founders aren't movie heros. This is probably the single, unifying reason why I'm pessimistic about this country's future.
posted by gsteff at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2006


If you're going to be a totally obtuse stickler for detail, the country wasn't founded on the Constitution but on the Articles of Confederation.

IANAL, but I know that I've claims by people who are that on a technical level, the Articles of Confederation founded a different country.
posted by gsteff at 11:30 AM on April 14, 2006


Americans worship the founders and the constitution way too much.

Do they really worship these things, or have these things merely become the prosaic scenery of our culture? I think if people really took the time to examine what the founders and the constitution stand for (in the idealized sense, not the "founders were syphilitic slavemasters" sense), they'd appreciate the country a lot more, and work harder to defend it against government abuse.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:41 AM on April 14, 2006


dreamsign:
Note, that in fact you have implied that I was referring to the Bill of Rights as the founding document of the US, when in fact, my statement was meant to refer to the Constitution, which the Bill of Rights are a part of. I will admit to hastily wording the post, however, the implication of "founded on one amazing document" was meant as a reference to the Constitution in it's entirety, not simply the Bill of Rights, being an excerpt of the Constitution, comprised of the first ten Amendments.
Grammar Nazi's make the baby Jesus cry.

And yes, the country is founded on the Constitution. The original Articles of Confederation are not used, since they were replaced by the Constitution when it was ratified by the states in 1791, which included the Bill of Rights. So yes, I would love to have this discussion about how what I said was so egregiously wrong, but I think many scholars have many papers which kind of say I'm right.
posted by daq at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2006


gsteff, when millions have no clue about most or any of them, something should be done to educate. You don't need to worship them or even venerate them, but you need to know them--you absolutely need to. Too many don't. If education is a public good which benefits us all, consider this just one small part of that.

Another poll has confirmed that most Americans are constitutionally without a clue. Americans' political illiteracy is good news for Washington politicians hungry to seize more power. But this ignorance is one of the most perilous elements of attention deficit democracy.

The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum poll, released last month, found that barely a quarter of Americans could name more than one of the fundamental freedoms recognized in the First Amendment. Far more Americans could name the characters on The Simpsons than could recall the provisions of the First Amendment. Three-fourths of Americans recognized two of the product brands connected to five popular ad slogans, while only 28 percent could name two or more freedoms cited in the First Amendment.

Delusions on the First Amendment were more appalling than the raw ignorance. Almost one-fourth of Americans believe that "the First Amendment granted them the right to own and raise pets." Thirty-six percent believed the First Amendment gave women the right to vote--which would have been a surprise to the suffragettes of the early 20th century.
...

posted by amberglow at 11:50 AM on April 14, 2006


i should have put this in too--it's been true for a long while: ...A 1979 Gallup poll found that 70 percent of respondents did not know what the First Amendment was or what it dealt with. A 1991 American Bar Association poll found that only 33 percent of Americans surveyed knew what the Bill of Rights was. A 1987 survey found that 45 percent of adult respondents believed that Karl Marx's communist principle "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" was in the U.S. Constitution. ...
posted by amberglow at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2006


gsteff -

In many ways I agree with you. There are definitely ways in which parts of the system have either lost relevance or are actually broken. What's the Electoral College still doing hanging around? Why is it impossible to start a serious discussion of instant runoff voting? Etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand ... I do think reasonable arguments can be made on the side of proceeding slowly and ploddingly, as well. Reasonable arguments can also be made *against* this, especially on specific issues which can be life-or-death to certain people, but ... if it were easier to change things around, I suspect we wouldn't see sweeping changes to reform the system so much as a series of shortsighted politically motivated asinine amendments. What's been proposed in recent years? Anti-flag burning. Anti-gay marriage. Even ones that might perhaps bear a more serious look, like Balanced Budget or Term Limits, I don't think have been carefully thought through and were more flavor-of-the-month proposals which could have disastrous consequences as well.

And, sure, it'd be presumably easier to *undo* them as well, but it's often easier to pass a law than to get rid of it, just because of sheer inertia.
posted by kyrademon at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2006


gsteff, new ideas are great and all, but it's also a good idea to learn the ideas that other people already had, and maybe they were good ideas to begin with, and should be supported as such. I do not want to portray my support for this as a foaming at the mouth screach of "Thomas Jefferson ist krieg!!one1!!!eleventybillion!!!". It is the idea that is of value and should be addressed, not the man who put pen to paper to document it as a foundation for individual liberty. I'm sure if you were to gather 100 high school drop outs in a conference and ask for new ideas, you'd have a great list of inanity suitable for posting on Fark, however 99% of those ideas would probably be a rehashing of things that people have known for eons. This idea of liberty for the individual is one of the most powerful, and most unprecedented ideas in known history (though, it is most assuredly based on the workings and thoughts of many, many, many great thinkers and philosophers through the centures), as a statement of inalienable rights of a member of the species.
Before this, you were subject to the whims of a ruling class, or the whims of the mob. No justice could be metted with reason because of the very nature of Man as a god damned monkey. It still haunts us today. We deny or relation to nature, yet we still behave as lesser primates. We throw our alliegence to leaders, to parties, to clans, to tribes, yet we say we are not apes. We buy into superstition and trickery instead of using our biologically enhanced gifts of thought and reason. Reason to analyze, reason to weigh the merit and value of an intangible thing, this word we call Liberty, this ether we call Freedom.

And now that I'm done blowing hot air, I'll give all the haters a chance to pick apart my opinions and observations (and I am well aware that I may be factually incorrect on many of my statements). But you know what, here in America, I am free to be as stupid as I want to be. So, nyah.
posted by daq at 11:55 AM on April 14, 2006


willnot writes: The fact is that to me at least the constitution is just a procedural framework. it's the Bill of Rights and later amendments that are really original and impressive because they serve to limit what powers the state can strip away from the people.

Quoted for truth. And what soma lkzx said. The Constitution is a wonderfuly elaborate and bloated legal document that was passed on the understanding that some sort of guarantee of individual liberties would be added eventually, especially in light of the fact that Virginia had a Bill of Rights already.

It's a great idea. Of course, it would be nice if public schools did the job already. When I taught high school American history, I used to make my students memorize the Bill of Rights, although even I have a hard time keeping 9 and 10 straight.

So, a healthy FU to the usual suspects who tried to derail this thread.
posted by bardic at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2006


Nice post daq.
posted by bardic at 12:06 PM on April 14, 2006


And dios' point about the Constitution is a misdirection, overly technical...

Overly technical? That was overly technical? What do you want, "Constitutation am good thing" scrawled in crayon?

And daq, keep on being as stupid as you want to be. Just try not to do it out loud so much—it's a bit grating.
posted by cortex at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2006


It's a rally to organize and unite all Americans who believe this country was founded on one amazing document

It was derailed by the poster. Don't blame dios for having a laugh at it.

Ok, intent noted daq -- my mistake for thinking it political gloss when it was really carelessness and humourlessness intertwined.

Good initiative. Bad post.
posted by dreamsign at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2006


Take it to metatalk or go away.
posted by bardic at 12:39 PM on April 14, 2006



posted by brain_drain at 12:40 PM on April 14, 2006


cortex - yes, and brain_drain has put so perfectly, crayon scrawls actually communicate the simplicity quite well.

Passion is never funny. It's sloppy, and messy, and sometimes wet. But it is human.
posted by daq at 12:44 PM on April 14, 2006


I extend my FU to those who are still trying to derail this thread.
posted by bardic at 12:49 PM on April 14, 2006


I extend my FU to those who are not commenting in this thread about how totally awesome this idea is and don't immediately post replies about how totally awesome this idea is because they are stupidheads if they don't think this idea is not the most awesome-est thing on the planet right this very minute.

Or is it just a matter of the one idea that is so 'meh' that no-one really gives a crap anymore?

I blame George W. Bush.
posted by daq at 12:52 PM on April 14, 2006


This is the second momument related story I read about in as many days. Yesterday I read about the Georgia Guide Stones. I guess the purpose of having ideas "set in stone" is so they last for a long time. Ideas written into stone probably last longer than the same ideas written in paper.
posted by chowder at 12:56 PM on April 14, 2006


IT'S A GREAT IDEA.

Wow, how insecure can you be?

IT IS IT IS IT IS a great idea. The real problem I think is probably not rights education, at least in the U.S., but respect for rights, as opposed to something that could or should be subjugated at any time to the will of the state. This is a step in the right direction, though.

That being said, you are a stupidhead.
posted by dreamsign at 12:59 PM on April 14, 2006


I feel that one of the founding beliefs of the United States is that people have natural rights, which do not come from the government, and "...among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." "Among these" clearly implies other "unalienable rights." The Bill of Rights is not a list of rights that have been granted by the government, it's a list of the rights that the founders thought were most crucial to protect. If a specific right, like the right to privacy, isn't explicitly mentioned, I believe the presumption is that we do have that right, not that we don't.

Some people were opposed to the Bill of Rights because they thought it would be misconstrued as a list of government-granted rights, or because they felt it wasn't necessary. John Hancock argued in Federallst #84 that a bill of rights wasn't necessary because "the people surrender nothing, and as they retain every thing, they have no need of particular reservations."

James Madison addressed this when he introduced the first 12 amendments:
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. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.
Madison was referring to what became the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The Ninth Amendment says:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The Supreme Court cited the Ninth Amendment in finding a constitutional right to maritial privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut. The Ninth Amendment still gets debated, and Robert Bork compared it to an "ink blot" during his confirmation hearings.

In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice Marshall said, "It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect; and, therefore, such a construction is inadmissible, unless the words require it."

claims by people who are that on a technical level, the Articles of Confederation founded a different country

Which is why George Washington, not Samuel Huntington, is the first president. Huntingon was the first "President of the United States" (in Congress Assembled). Same title, but very different offices. The POTUSCA was just the presiding officer of Congress.

There are three other pending amendments: the Titles of Nobility Amendment (1810), the Corwin Amendment (1861), and the Child Labor Amendment (1924).

There's a town called Griswold, Connecticut.

posted by kirkaracha at 1:04 PM on April 14, 2006


I extend my FU to those who are still trying to derail this thread.

There were only two comments between that comment and your previous one. One of them was by daq. You may want to lay off the throttle a bit.
posted by cortex at 1:04 PM on April 14, 2006


Nice summary, kirkaracha. Thanks.
posted by cortex at 1:06 PM on April 14, 2006


Given the doormat treatment that the Bill of Rights has been given by the current posers in charge, does anybody else feel like this might be more of a tomb than a shrine?
posted by doctor_negative at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2006


Would those be the lefty, I hate America poseurs, or the wingnut Jeebus poseurs?

It would be a symbolic gesture at best, but as far as symbolic gestures go I can think of much worse (and much more expensive). I've heard of various state capitols where copies of the Big 3 (Dec, Con, BoR) are available--now there's a plan. Maybe around the 4th of July copies could be made available at all county seats, courthouses, etc.

Or maybe just a centralized PDF. (Although as a read, the Constitution certainly lacks the brevity and punch of the first or third.)
posted by bardic at 1:15 PM on April 14, 2006


Nuh-uh, you're the stupidhead, dreamsign.

Respect for rights comes after education of rights, wouldn't you think? I mean, you have to know that you have the rights first before you can exercise them, don't you?

I think the idea that the rights are non-negotiable, inherent to all people, and something that should never be taken away, even in times of "crisis", is what you are keying in on.

I'm also in favor of protecting others rights, namely because if I stand up for your rights, maybe, sometime, down the line you might be more inclined to return the favor, should the need arise.
Call it selfish (which it so totally is), but mutually beneficial societies generally tend to last longer and to be more peaceful than ones that favor a small cadre of elites over the populus.

But I'm being unfair to all those who think they can do everything themselves and don't want any help from the rest of us.
posted by daq at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2006


Call it selfish (which it so totally is)

No, no! Call it enlightened self-interest!
posted by cortex at 1:22 PM on April 14, 2006


amberglow writes "The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum poll, released last month, found that barely a quarter of Americans could name more than one of the fundamental freedoms recognized in the First Amendment. Far more Americans could name the characters on The Simpsons than could recall the provisions of the First Amendment. "

Here's some great analysis of those survey results, revelaling them to be carefully polished bullshit.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:50 PM on April 14, 2006


Oh, and quick: what are the five freedoms guarenteed by the First Amendment? No Googling!
posted by mr_roboto at 1:51 PM on April 14, 2006


daq, seriously, quit while you're ahead. you made a common error in yr post, which someone (with specialist training) corrected, and then you responded in a condescending manner as if he had no idea about the very basics of his profession. it's not a big deal, but by going on about it you're making yourself look like a 14-yr old.

the idea is fine, though I too don't undersand why it isn't openly in response to the 10 commandments. I think we should focus more on education to make sure people are fully aware of the bill of rights rather than erecting public statues, but if someone wants to put up a statue of the 10 commandments, I think it should immediately be countered with an offer to put up the bill of rights instead. I don't see how anyone could argue that the biblical stuff is more relevant.

those poll numbers are pretty worrying. I'd have thought the large majority would get 1, 2 & 5, just by references in the media and entertainment, and due to their generally more exciting subject matter. I'd have thought a good percentage would be able to come up with 4, 6 & 8, or at least, would recognize them, or know they were rights without knowing which amendments, etc. 3, 9 & 10 I'd expect few people would remember, 3 b/c it's hardly relevant now, and 9 & 10 for being more abstract & related to the constitution as a whole, rather than about personal rights. Hmm, I'm missing one... #7... well, hopefully it's one I won't be embarrassed to have forgot - will go look it up now.
posted by mdn at 1:52 PM on April 14, 2006


mdn, thank you, I can do an 8 year old just as well. Occasionally I can do an 68 year old with arthritis, but that's only after a good party (and stay off my lawn, dammit).

You seem to have missed to point about what I'm trying to say with the whole 10 commandments thing. See, you would have them put up a Bill of Rights monument in place of the 10 commandments, but if you look at the reprocussions of that action, you end up alienating the wierdos that want the 10 commandments monument and that just perpetuates the whole crapola all over again. You cannot defeat faith. So, the proposal is that instead of "replacing" the 10 commandments monument, you let them do it, because it can be seen as a case of Free Speech (yes kids, even religious speech is covered under that whole Free Speech thing), and then you put up a Bill of Rights monument, right next to it. Then let the people decide. Let them comparrison shop (I'm stealing the words from Chris Bliss here now). To me, it would be a no brainer (as it would to a lot of people). "Let's see, hmmm. Document stating all these rights and freedoms I have versus document stating what I can't do. Hrm. Which one appeals to me more. Which one is going to make it more likely for me to be happy with my country and not fighting all the time"... I hope you can see where that can lead.
You also seem to be trying to jump in with the haters, which I can forgive for only so long. And no, dios was not correct, however I was also in error by not clearly stating that my statement was in reference to the Constitution, in it's fully ratified form, not in it's orginating document. Geez, clues, all over the place, and no one bothers to look at them.

See, debate can be fun.
posted by daq at 2:04 PM on April 14, 2006


I hate it when people who are not good at articulating viewpoints I agree with put forth viewpoints I agree with and thereby appear to represent me.

[glares at daq]

(Except for the putting-up-the-Decalogue-too thing; I don't agree with that. Putting up the Decalogue in and around government buildings runs afoul of the Establishment clause and is just tacky)
posted by gurple at 2:20 PM on April 14, 2006


gurple: you didn't say it, so you have to live with me saying it, m'kay? Or rather, try expounding on the idea. I do not posses a writers touch of prose and fancy crafting of phrases. I do posses a keen intent to make my arguments and clarify my statements.

As for the Decalogue thing, it kind of goes to the whole respect for the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, one being, the Freedom on Speech. In fact, the idea, to me at least, would be to put up all sorts of monuments to many different writings. Put up a monument to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. Put up a monument to Einstein's theory of relativity. Put up a monument with the C programming language on it. Just put it up. Get the good stuff up there. The Decalogue is only nasty if you single it out as the Truth. There are many, many truths. Not murdering each other happens to be a good one, and it's not in the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution for that matter. Theft isn't covered either. Now some things I too could do without, but the general gist of the thing ain't all hokey religion and gospel madness.

It comes down to the (forgive me, I know of no better phrase for it) "marketplace of ideas". The more ideas you put out there, the more people have the chance to pick and choose, to be enlightened by the flow and exchange of ideas, to make up their own minds. By their works you will know them.

Your fear (and what I believe earns religion so much ire) is the intrusion of the fundamentalist belief system into government. My point is that our shield from the fundamentalist is the Constitution. Adhering to it's principals, and enforcing those principals through our actions and our votes will make the Decalogue a "quaint" irony, which so many appear to wish for.

I know, I know, you would argue that this stance simply panders to the Religious Right and allows them to preach more and more from the statehouse, and my answer is no, it gives those of us who realize that the charlatans and hucksters are mearly scared and frightened men, wanting to understand and grasping at simple answers in an uncertain world. They would replace life with rules. I would rather use rules to keep life going so all of us can see tomorrow.

And you can all glare at me all you want. I like the attention. I'm a slut like that.
posted by daq at 2:37 PM on April 14, 2006


Geez, clues, all over the place, and no one bothers to look at them.

You're out of your depth.

You seem like an okay guy from your posting history, and, as gurple suggested above, your heart seems generally to be in the right place, but you are representing your views so poorly that it is embarassing.

Do not act like an ass and then whine about "the haters" as if these other folks are reacting to some invented behavior of which you are not guilty.
posted by cortex at 2:39 PM on April 14, 2006


Respect for rights comes after education of rights, wouldn't you think?

Just speaking from MOE as a human rights lawyer. There's plenty of education and little respect. We live in the days of rights-as-privelege, to be distributed or withheld as we see fit. I have rarely met a human being who believes in human rights. We have lots of lawyers and wanna-be-lawyers, though, who are ready to insist on any "right" they've ever heard anyone espouse, and that does help to water down the whole notion. So as I said, a step in the right direction in both senses. Largely symbolic, but so much attention and respect involves symbolism these days, and much of that in the opposite direction (pledge of allegiance, flag worship, etc).

But I wouldn't have had a problem with your post if "one amazing document" had at least been a link to the one you meant, since it wasn't the one referenced in the same sentence. I didn't call you on it. Someone else did. And they got shit for it, largely because of who it was, and yes that's stupid. Carry on.
posted by dreamsign at 2:57 PM on April 14, 2006


I think dreamsign points to a major problem, the state takes away rights without thought or by bad legislation.

People deserve to be with family, hold a job, earn income, vote, own a gun, speak out on issues. But many of these are thrown in the trash with poorly thought out and/or self interest lobby groups wants.

Symbolism is about the only thing people understand, wave a flag and people seem to notice.
posted by IronWolve at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2006


Putting up the Decalogue in and around government buildings runs afoul of the Establishment clause and is just tacky.

Just surround it with secular symbols so the Reindeer Rule applies (doesn't get rid of the tackiness though unfortunately).

I sort of like the idea of putting up the 10 Commandments and the Bill of Rights next to one another and implying people can choose which one they prefer (and the marketplace of ideas metaphor is apt, despite its hackneyed-ness). I think it would still probably run afoul of the Establishment Clause, but even there one could make a (weak) case that the government is not preferring the secular over the sectarian, as both are being offered up (this would ignore the complaints of all those who don't believe in the traditions that include the Decalogue).

Even better, have a 10-hour film loop of Klieslowski's Dekalog projected on the side of public buildings.
posted by Falconetti at 3:38 PM on April 14, 2006


mr roboto, i knew it was a flawed survey--that's why i linked to an article that mentioned the past polls, all of which were worded more cleanly and showed the same ignorance about our Bill of Rights and Constitution and rights in general, and the effect that has on our country and the freedom politicians feel to do whatever they want.
posted by amberglow at 3:48 PM on April 14, 2006


...See, you would have them put up a Bill of Rights monument in place of the 10 commandments, but if you look at the reprocussions of that action, you end up alienating the wierdos that want the 10 commandments monument and that just perpetuates the whole crapola all over again. You cannot defeat faith. ..So, the proposal is that instead of "replacing" the 10 commandments monument, you let them do it, and then you put up a Bill of Rights monument, right next to it. Then let the people decide. Let them comparrison shop

I thought you said "you cannot defeat faith"? how are you going to defeat their impenetrable faith by implicitly suggesting the 10 commandments are equally important to the bill of rights?

To me, it would be a no brainer (as it would to a lot of people). "Let's see, hmmm. Document stating all these rights and freedoms I have versus document stating what I can't do. Hrm. Which one appeals to me more. Which one is going to make it more likely for me to be happy with my country and not fighting all the time"... I hope you can see where that can lead.

or - let's see, documents stating all those moral laws other people must follow vs one which states that they can go crazy & do lots of stuff & maybe get off scot-free on a technicality - which one makes me feel more secure & self-righteous? which one is more likely to keep all those mofos in line? (Plus, which one was handed down by godalmighty?) If people are impressed by the 10 commandments to start with, I don't think putting them next to the bill of rights will change things much.

because it can be seen as a case of Free Speech (yes kids, even religious speech is covered under that whole Free Speech thing),

you are perfectly welcome to put up a 10 commandments statue on your lawn, but that doesn't mean a gov building should endorse a particular religion. NYC has a nice courthouse thingy that has sort of a roundtable of different lawgivers thru the centuries, including solon, moses, hammurabi, confucius, etc... that is fine because it does not infringe on anyone's freedom of religion by implying that the state prefers any one over another. But endorsing a copy of the 10 commandments as worthy of being displayed side by side with the bill of rights seems to go overboard.

You also seem to be trying to jump in with the haters, which I can forgive for only so long. And no, dios was not correct, however I was also in error by not clearly stating that my statement was in reference to the Constitution, in it's fully ratified form, not in it's orginating document.

The constitution is what constitutes our government, that is, the makeup of checks and balances that form the body which secures these rights. It's a powerful & important document pre-amendments, and evidence that our freedom is not based merely on defining the "guidelines of our freedom" but on working out an actual system which can reliably check the practically (well, historically, anyway) inevitable slide toward tyranny that is the death of most democracies. Having a foundational structure like this was revolutionary and as important as laying out the specific rights.

anyway - it was mostly your reaction to dios that made you sound silly. his comment was perfectly reasonable, whatever you think of his opinions in other contexts.
posted by mdn at 4:59 PM on April 14, 2006


There's at least one huge flaw with the project (aside from the indecipherable graphics)—why stop at the first ten amendments? The fourteenth does more to secure individual liberties than the ninth or tenth, the thirteenth put an end to the slavery that was explicitly allowed under the original consitution (see Art. I Sec. 9), and the nineteenth extended the franchise to nearly half the population that was without a vote under the original constitution (er, at least once poll taxes were eliminated by the twenty-fourth). I might also question whether erecting monuments helps to educate anyone...

daq: "But you know what, here in America, I am free to be as stupid as I want to be. So, nyah."

I do not think that particular liberty is secured by the Bill of Rights. Many states have compulsory education laws, you know. But perhaps more importantly: though one may have a right guaranteed by the government, wisdom, prudence and decency may urge that it not be exercised...

BTW, the issue with the 10 Commandments monuments has never been free speech. The problem arises when they are placed on state grounds, or are otherwise sponsored by a state. [On preview: what mdn said.] The Supreme Court held that this violates the Establishment Clause when done in Kentucky, but not when done in Texas.
posted by dilettanti at 5:17 PM on April 14, 2006


What ever happened to the Liberty Bill?
posted by rxreed at 7:33 PM on April 14, 2006


This whole enterprise seems like it would be a massive waste of taxpayer money to no real purpose. (Just like the Ten Commandments monuments.)

I'd prefer they take that money and invest it into the schools so maybe the kids will be, you know, familiar with the Bill of Rights rather than having a neat little plaque of them outside their courthouse.
posted by Target Practice at 7:35 AM on April 15, 2006


country was founded on one amazing document

This is, in fact true. The "founding" of the United States was an evolving process that took decades. At the minimum the "founding" lasted until 1803 - incorporating both the reformation of the presidential election process and the self-elevation of the judicial branch by John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison. I'd argue that the "founding" wasn't really complete until 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment redefined American federalism and in many respects rewrote the Constitution from the ground up.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:16 PM on April 15, 2006


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