Friday, May 20, 2022

1004: Adding a Constitution....

The previous lecture on Tuesday may have left behind some question marks regarding the danger of a majority vote. That seems to result in a dictatorship of the majority.


However, one major matter was not mentioned: a matter because of which England was admired and regarded as a good example.


How do you protect the individual citizen and his freedom against a fickle majority? You do what the Founding Fathers did in America: you draft a constitution.


England had its Magna Carta. It was issued in June 1215 and was the first document to put into writing the principle 


that the king and his government were not above the law. It sought to prevent the king from exploiting his power and placed limits of royal authority by establishing law as a power in itself.


The Founding Fathers,  who did not have to protect against an absolutist king, focused on the individual and his natural rights..


The same happened in a number of European countries after 1815 during the so-called Restauration.


In the Netherlands, we had Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (1798 – 1872). He was a Dutch liberal statesman, one of the most important Dutch politicians of the 19th century. 


In 1848, he headed the commission that drafted the revision of the Constitution of the Netherlands, giving less power to the king 


and more to the States-General (parliament), and guaranteeing more religious, personal, and political freedom to the people.


So, this became the basic governmental organization in America and most European countries: 


first of all, you have a constitution, which has a kind of absolute power. Nobody is above the law. In a monarchy, this constitution restricts the power of a king


and puts the main legislative power in the hands of a parliament. And from then on, say.... 1850, the debate was about the question: who should become a member of parliament and how?


A second feature was the Two Chambers system, in all kinds of variations a system where most of the time nobility and aristocracy (a Senate) kept an eye on a chamber filled with elected people.


I don't know the details of the parliamentary history of all countries, but I guess the main debate became eventually universal suffrage.


Let's continue our journey. Sudden democratization, and expanded suffrage, in France and Britain rekindled liberal fears of democratic rule, 


especially as democratization seemed to go hand in hand with the rise of 'collectivism' as many called it. 


In the 1880s, governments in several European countries began enacting legislation to protect workers, reduce the risk of a financial crisis and insure citizens against illness and old age. 


The motivations behind the emergence of these embryonic welfare states varied. European governments began to worry about the poor health of their male residents, which reduced their ability to work and fight. 


Religious concerns also played a role, along with fears about wildcat strikes and other forms of workers' resistance. 


But to liberal opponents, the rise of collectivism seemed first and foremost a by-product of the increasing influence of the masses over politics.


It is interesting how history repeats itself. More than a hundred years ago right-wing politicians called social care like healthcare for all 'collectivism'.


The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels dates from 1848, so the terms 'socialism' and 'communism' were still in the making.


And what do we see in the USA? The moment things like an Affordable Healthcare Act is introduced, right-wing politicians again begin to yell "socialism.....communism!!!


Some things apparently never change....Thank you for your attention.

nm vv  

Main Sources:

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

TABLE OF CONTENT -----------------------------------------------------------------  

  1 - 100 Philosophers                         9 May 2009  Start of

  2 - 25+ Women Philosophers                       10 May 2009  this blog

  3 - 25 Adventures in Thinking                       10 May 2009

  4 - Modern Theories of Ethics                       29 Oct  2009

  5 - The Ideal State                                               24 Febr 2010   /   234

  6 - The Mystery of the Brain                                  3 Sept 2010   /   266

  7 - The Utopia of the Free Market                       16 Febr 2012    /   383

  8. - The Aftermath of Neo-liberalism                      5 Sept 2012   /   413

  9. - The Art Not to Be an Egoist                             6 Nov  2012   /   426                        

10  - Non-Western Philosophy                               29 May 2013    /   477

11  -  Why Science is Right                                      2 Sept 2014   /   534      

12  - A Philosopher looks at Atheism                        1 Jan  2015   /   557

13  - EVIL, a philosophical investigation                 17 Apr  2015   /   580                

14  - Existentialism and Free Will                             2 Sept 2015   /   586         

15 - Spinoza                                                             2 Sept 2016   /   615

16 - The Meaning of Life                                        13 Febr 2017   /   637

17 - In Search of  my Self                                        6 Sept 2017   /   670

18 - The 20th Century Revisited                              3 Apr  2018    /   706

19 - The Pessimist                                                  11 Jan 2020    /   819

20 - The Optimist                                                     9 Febr 2020   /   824

21 - Awakening from a Neoliberal Dream                8 Oct  2020   /   872

22 - A World Full of Patterns                                    1 Apr 2021    /   912

23 - The Concept of Freedom                                  8 Jan 2022    /   965

The Discussion

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess this is because the rich refuse to share, MINE MINE ONLY MINE

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): always have been like that

[13:14] herman Bergson: It is  remarkable that there always seems to be a group in society that wants to keep everything for themselves and another group that wants to share

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sss

[13:14] herman Bergson: yes  Bejiita...something like that

[13:15] herman Bergson: and another funny thing is that collectivism, socialism and communism seem to be some dangerous things.....the highway to hell or something like that

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like scrooge mc duck swimming in his coun pile

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): coin

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like its something terrible and they equals it with Russian way of doing things = communism

[13:16] herman Bergson: But what you see today is how the parliamentary system eventually was invented....

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to make it appear bad

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): something like that i guess is at play

[13:17] herman Bergson: It was meant to protect the freedom of everyone...

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but then turned into a big mess to gain the elite

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like MrT

[13:18] herman Bergson: Due to the Cold War socialism and communism have gotten a bad name indeed...

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:18] herman Bergson: But what is overlooked is the basic social ideas in those ideologies

[13:19] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the main idea behind communism as i get it was good

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but

[13:19] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is offline.

[13:19] herman Bergson: Well...that has to be seen yet bejiita.....

[13:20] herman Bergson: Because communism attacks a thing that is seen as a basic natural human right: private property

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well well see

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well see

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats one detail i think

[13:21] herman Bergson: We discussed it before...for instance the  option of setting a limit to how much an individual may own as private property

[13:21] herman Bergson: against the Besosses, Gateses Murdoches etc

[13:22] herman Bergson: As we also have noticed...that the US isn't a democracy but a plutocracy in fact

[13:23] herman Bergson: Well a plutocracy with some democratic traits :-)

[13:23] herman Bergson: It is not always the money that wins there

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a moneycrazy with tone on CRAZY

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well some other things too

[13:24] Ciska Riverstone is online.

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but indeed there are issues with the system

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that needs to be resolved and changed

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): big issues

[13:24] herman Bergson: Anyway...what we see is, that Europe is configuring a social system that protects a lot of freedom of the individual

[13:25] herman Bergson: freedom of speech and religion, right to private property become parts of a constitution

[13:25] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is online.

[13:26] herman Bergson: the cute paradox is owever that this constitution has to be approved by majority vote :-)

[13:26] herman Bergson: But in general  in this case...changing a constitution needs mor than 50% + 1 votes

[13:27] AndrewEagle01: Whisper: Hello Everyone

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi Andrew

[13:28] herman Bergson: Another positive observation may be that homo sapiens has agreed  to subject himself to the law...nobody is above the law

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least most of us have

[13:28] AndrewEagle01: Whisper: Bejita

[13:28] herman Bergson: In fact a major achievement....

[13:29] herman Bergson: this is not worldwide the case, as we know...but homo sapiens CAN do it, if he is willing to

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:29] herman Bergson: It offers protection for everyone in such a situation

[13:30] herman Bergson: Unless you have a partial supreme  Court :-P

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Order!!!!!!... Order!! ... Order!! ...Order, Order!!! Order! Order!!! .... Order  

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats what we need indeed

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): too much chaos now everywhere

[13:32] herman Bergson: Is there?

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well like Putins war.. More totalitarian states Trkey, Poland Hungary ect going in wrond girection

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): wrong

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Turkey

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): away from democracy

[13:34] herman Bergson: Guess we covered everything for today :-)

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i guess

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): soem important statements

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have to go...i'm sorry

[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope to have more energy Tuesday if i can come

[13:34] herman Bergson: Time to relaxed in an orderly fashion :-)

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and i hope in the end all will somehow sort out

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥

[13:35] bergfrau Apfelbaum: * houdoe Beertje *

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true Herman

[13:35] herman Bergson: I still believe it will Bejiita

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the only thing that should be chaos is my code

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol

[13:36] bergfrau Apfelbaum: tyyy Herman and class!

[13:36] herman Bergson: that we know already Bejiita :-)))

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i sorted the bug out in the end

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now that part also works

[13:36] herman Bergson: Ok...then

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok so what now?

[13:36] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...:-)

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye

[13:36] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye Gemma! and all the best for the fast hip:-))

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hugs gemma