We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Among our link dump Friday morning was a piece on a Cyberspace Bill of Rights.
We need no "rights." We are a free people. Our own Bill of Rights was an unfortunate (if politically necessary) error of the time. Why an error? An error because it made it appear that only the listed "rights" were the rights of citizens.
In the USA, it is the government which has (or had) strictly circumscribed powers. The rest are ours alone - our individual powers - not our "rights." Americans do not have circumscribed "rights." We are not supposed to need them.
i think the biggest mistake was not remembering to prevent the senate and house from changing their own rules so easily (and whimsically, per legislation on the docket) thru no more than a rules committee. pelosi has made a horror list of new precedents, house rules now in the decadent phase.
I have sympathies to both sides of the "Bill of Rights" argument, but in my opinion, it has been a powerful tool to preserve our rights in the past. Unfortunately, it isn't being taught in schools (or doesn't appear to be) so it's influence seems to be waning. Nobody seems to understand how are government is fundamentally different from all those of the rest of the world and how and why we all benefited from that difference. We can start our finger pointing at the teachers unions, but it doesn't stop there - and probably shouldn't start there.
I'm glad I lived in the 50s and early 60s. Except for brief respites and progress in particular issues (e.g. civil rights), I can see from looking back our experiment has been a downhill journey since then.
Franklin was right about the fragility of a democratic republic. As hard as they tried to codify freedom in our founding documents, in the end, it is up to all of us to preserve our freedoms. At the moment, it is looking like the lifespan of a republic is a law of nature that we haven't been able to break.
The way the federal constitution was written practically required a Bill of Rights. Though it was claimed by the federalists that the Congress had only the powers enumerated in Article 1 Section 8, three arguments militated against that interpretation.
1. The constitution did not explicitly say Congress would have only the powers listed, though the Articles of Confederation were explicit about that (Article II).
2. The necessary and proper clause could be open to very wide interpretation; such as, What if the Congress thought it necessary and proper to abridge the freedom of the press, or the right to keep and bear arms, in fulfillment of one of the enumerated powers?
3. Article 1 Section 9 enumerates powers denied to the Congress, such as the granting of a title of nobility. If the Congress has only the powers enumerated in Section 8, why did anything need to be prohibited in S9? (My own thinking is that the probhibitions in S9 counterbalance the necessary and proper clause; that is, none of the things prohibited in S9 can ever be argued as being necessary and proper).
Amendments 9 and 10 made the federal limitations explicit. However, all three branches of the federal government now operate as if the Ninth and Tenth amendments do not exist and, practically, as if the interstate commerce clause authorizes any and every action the Congress wants to take.
As it is, the "separation of powers" that our Founders strove to establish is all gone now. Harry Reid is in bed with Nancy Pelosi and they are both in bed with Mr. Obama -- who is in bed with his teleprompter.