Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Moore constitution, fewer bananas

Once again former Prime Minister Mike Moore is successful in provoking Herald readers towards a better New Zealand, this time towards rejecting the monarchy and creating a constitutional republic.  New Zealand's implicit constitutional arrangements have been broken, he says -- broken by the Clark Government -- and it's essential to get the explicit chains of a written constitution around the bastards before it's too late.  We're living in a banana republic, writes Moore (echoing Darnton), but without even the benefit of bananas:

"I once opposed having a constitution because of our European traditions and enlightenment values, which we reject at our peril."  He's right there, but now he's now all for change because these age-old principles and values are being eroded before our eyes.  The electoral system has been changed to the Mickey Mouse Politics of MMP -- and we never got the promised referendum on MMP's future.  Rights to appeal to the Privy Council have been peremptorily removed.  Retrospective legislation was passed to give Clark and her cronies a Get Out of Jail card after stealing your money to steal the last election.  New laws have been passed to help them steal this one, abandoning the 'gentleman's agreement that such changes are only brought about by multi-party consensus.

"The present direction is visionless, dangerously ad hoc, short term and confusing," he says.  Accurately. "Democracy is about who runs the country. A constitution is about the limits of government."  So it is.  When a governments acts as it should, it's like a guard dog that protects your individual rights.  But when they're not properly chained up, we can be badly savaged and our rights abused -- more than we would have been without the dog, or the government.  The means of tying up a government is a proper written constitution that puts such chains on governments, confining them only to their proper role -- that is, to the protection of individual rights.

A proper written constitution is our check on our government. [See the Cue Card on this.]

The very best historical example of such a constitution is the US example, which helped to tie the bastards up for nearly a hundred-and-fifty years before they chewed off the  lead and got away again.  Written back in 1998, Libertarianz' Constitution for New Freeland is explicitly intended to fix the flaws that allowed the bastards to escape their chains.  I commend it to your attention.

1 comment:

  1. I used to think the same thing about writing a constitution, PC. But any constitution today would not look like the US version. Instead it would include references to green values and collective prosperity and maybe even say health and education are inviolable human rights. These provisions would not protect property rights, they do the opposite. The fundamental problem is not the lack of a constitution, it is a failure among the electorate to demand protection of property rights. Given that, it should not be possible to get a constitution written, or indeed any other mechanism that would protect property rights.

    There are two ways out of the conundrum, I guess. One is creating demand for protection of property rights by getting people to understand their importance. The other way what happened with Magna Carta, which is to have a government that is so bad at violating them that the electorate demands permanent protection from future violation. Unfortunately, it appears things will have to become quite a lot worse on that front before that happens in this great country. :-(


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