RULES1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.2 - I will respond; I’ll ask you five questions.3 - You’ll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.4 - You’ll include this explanation.5 - You’ll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.INTERVIEW(courtesy of byzantinespy )
1) The United States government collapses. You're a political leader, and the people ask you to draft a new constitution. What are some notable aspects of the plans you draft?
Wow that's a difficult one, and the answer’s going to be long, but I’m game.
I think the first question one would have to ask in this situation is whether or not to keep the federal system. I would keep it because it’s customary at this point, it allows for a distribution of political power vs. consolidating it all in one place, and it also serves as something of a protection against pure majority rule. I would also keep the three-branch nature of the government but would make some changes to how it is executed. I would leave a divided legislature but I would tie congressional representation to a set population size, probably one that would produce roughly 500 congress people to begin with but naturally that number would expand over time. The reason for this is that the larger a congressional district the harder it is for there to be true representation of said district and the greater the tendency of the representative to be purely defensive in his or her stances and actions. I would return responsibility for electing senators to the state legislatures, for a variety of reasons that I can go into in more depth if anyone wants me to. In terms of the judiciary I would take away confirmation power from the Senate for the Supreme Court and the circuit courts. Instead I would have the President nominate and popular election in the effected areas decide tenure. This would politicize the court to a greater degree than it already is, but I would retain lifetime appointment and I think that this would help reduce some of the game playing in the nomination process. Court position campaigns would be federally funded but I would leave other campaigns as they are just because I think it’s too messy to do otherwise.
I would deny women the vote (just kidding sort of.)
I would integrate most of the rights guaranteed by the bill of rights and subsequent amendments into the new constitution, although with more specificity. I would certainly clarify the whole right to bear arms thing, which would take some very clear language. Ultimately I would leave that right in but delegate more responsibility for its interpretation to the States, especially insofar as how new technology would be distributed. I’d clean up the post civil war amendments and make the government explicitly race and gender blind in terms of awarding moneys or contracts, but would allow the states to institute their own racial policies. I would ban arbitrary discrimination on the basis of things like sexual orientation in all federal and state programs, though this might not prevent the banning of gay marriage or homosexual participation in the military since such bans are not necessarily entirely arbitrary.
I would put in strong anti-corruption language and probably set up a specific branch of civil service specially charged with investigating it and passing on suggested sentences which would then be dealt with in the house of representatives serving as the only judging body.
I’d put anti-war language into the constitution declaring that we could only use military force in another country if we were directly attacked, if an ally was directly attacked, or if the United Nations determined that there was some sort of genocidal activity going along. I would also ban the draft except in times of declared war.
I would allow free immigration but allow states to deny certain services to immigrants (not education or healthcare) and do away with dual citizenship.
Ultimately I think what would be most important in drafting this kind of constitution is comprehensiveness combined with simplicity. The constitution we have now is well thought out in many ways but it becomes problematic in places where it is unclear or overly vague. The founders generally erred on the side of simplicity for a variety of good reasons but a consittution for a country as large as the current U.S. needs to be more comprehensive than one that did function for the original 13 colonies and 4 odd million people who lived in them.
2. What are most important to you (this is not a typo, it’s just the most open ended question ever, so open ended it doesn’t require a noun!)
Oh man. I don’t even have an inkling of an idea as to how to answer this. It’d be easy if I was religious or whatever, but I don’t have a concept of the meaning of life. I guess I’ll just rattle off a short list of things I care deeply about with a bit of explanation
1) Humanity - This is a broad answer for a broad topic, but I am at heart a humanist. I don’t have any supernatural or religious beliefs, I am interested in science but not so much as I am in human endeavors and I want to improve the world for people in some small way if possible.
2) Art - I’m not just talking fancy schmancy museum stuff here but everything from music and literature to movies and architecture. I guess this fits in well with humanism but I consider it different from humanity because Art exists outside the artist and the perceiver.
3) Sensation - This covers everything from polishing off a plate of ribs to polishing the bishop. Sensation is how we know we’re alive and it’s incredible. Of course cutting out so much food recently I need to look for new sensations, but sometimes I just stop and drink in whatever I’m looking at, the color, the vibrancy of shapes and shadows, and it’s overwhelming.
4) Government - This is an instrument of and for humanity, and it’s abused and misused by the ruthless and the stupid. I want that to change.
5) Money - In every way you can care about it, but not that much. Money is important to me in that I like being comfortable, but also in that I think it needs to be more evenly distributed BUT capitalism is the best system that’s been created so far.
3. How has LiveJournal impacted your life? :-P
It has given me a place to vent and has inspired me to keep writing. Other than that it hasn’t affected me in many ways. I’ve made some decent long distance friends via it, but I’ve done that on other Internet forums as well. It’s helped me waste a lot of time too, especially when I was active in Debate.
4. What do you normally do on a given weekend? I'm looking for a kind of "a weekend in the life of Socratic" scheme.
God this is a humiliating one. The short answer is, not a heck of a lot. Most weekends I stay home and play videogames or watch DVDs (or Football if it’s that season) a decent amount of the day. When I do go out it’s usually either just to eat or to go to the movies with a friend (or alone.) I try to do at least some homework but really don’t achieve that a lot unless it’s something I am required to turn in, in which case Sunday will often be spent in a tizzy. I do exercise on Saturday mornings fairly often, which is a good thing. Very occasionally I go to my country house and spend some time there but that’s not really possible anymore since my mom goes there to tryst with her boyfriend. Weekends are difficult for me because they were so associated, even dominated, with/by my father back when he was alive. When I’m a little fitter I go bike riding and I keep meaning to take up a martial art (should have done that by now.) I don’t club or party ever (I’ve never been to either a club or a traditional young person’s party in my entire life) and I don’t date so that doesn’t take up my time. I guess I do sometimes go to a museum or a play of some sort.
5. I noticed once that you listed "celibacy" in your user info. What's up with that? :-P
That’s complicated is what it is. At the time when I added it, it was for multiple reasons. 1) I have always been celibate (not entirely by choice of course)
2) I think it is an interesting topic. All life has the ultimate goal of reproduction, otherwise it would go extinct, and while the mechanisms for this goal can misfire (as in homosexuality, which I’m not saying is an aberration but is certainly maladaptive for evolutionary purposes except perhaps as a population control) or be tricked into providing pleasure sans babies (via birth control) the absolute denial of these urges is in my opinion psychologically fascinating. I also wonder how lifelong celibacy would affect one’s views and opinions of sex and whether it would become devalued as a defense mechanism or reified as decades of fantasy.
3) I do believe in at least a greater amount of celibacy than exists today. I don’t think that sex is consequence free and I do think it is taken too lightly in this age. These views are admittedly by third party observation only, but a lot of opinions are.
I guess it’s also a way of indicating an interest in sex without doing so in a way that implies that sex is a hobby or is being sought out in particular.
And that’s the only way to get out of there alive. I hope you remember that when the time comes.