I should be excited about this government's announcement of a "wide-ranging constitutional review."
It should be a great opportunity.
We need governments like we need a guard dog: to protect our rights from those who might do us over.
And we need a written constitution for the same reason we need a leash on our guard dogs: to chain the bastards up. To make sure they do that job of protecting us, instead of getting off the leash and doing us over.
The record of the American constitution shows that a properly-written constitution can do that job--and we can learn from the flaws of the American constitution to write for ourselves a colour-blind constitution that does it even better (which is precisely what this one is designed to do).
Except we won't be writing that sort of constitution, will we.
Not at a constitutional convention promoted, organised and hosted by this government.
The fear, after seeing two years of this big-government-loving government in action--of Steven Joyce's nannying; of Simon Power-Lust annulling one-by-one our long-held legal protections; of John Key with his hand out to the Maori Party, and his hands in his ears over protests about smacking; of them all reintroducing the very Electoral Finance Outrage they campaigned so hard against—is that instead of promoting a constitution to tie them up, what will emerge instead will be one designed to tie us up.
That's certainly my fear.
Am I wrong?
Constitutional law is superior to every other law. This superiority is both a good thing and a bad thing. What’s good is that once a watertight constitution properly protecting individual rights is in place, it acts to chain up the guard dog and to keep it on its leash for good. What’s bad is that once in place, a poor or anti-freedom constitution is very difficult to get rid of.
As history demonstrates -- and the constitutional conference of 2000 and the 2005 Select Committee review of NZ’s constitutional arrangements foreshadow – a bad constitution poorly written can give the erstwhile guard dog control of the back yard and the house, and rather than protecting us it then has no impediment to doing us over.
Liberty, as Thomas Jefferson suggested, requires eternal vigilance.
So too will this government’s "wide-ranging constitutional review."
- Cue Card Libertarianism:Constitution - Not PC
- What is Objective Law? - Harry Binswanger, T A F O
- Superseding the Treaty with something objective called "good law"– N O T P C
- A beer and a Constitution, please – N O T P C
- A Constitution for New Freeland – T H E F R E E R A D I C A L
- Cue Card Libertarianism: Individualism - Not PC
- Cue Card Libertarianism: Rights - Not PC
- Cue Card Libertarianism: Ethnicity - Not PC
- Cue Card Libertarianism: Government - Not PC