The People Do Not Have the Power
Just a quick burst of outrage that I can’t contain here upon reading that the California Supreme Court may not overturn Proposition 8. This was the referendum question, you’ll remember, in the recent US election posed to Califronians about wether marriage should be defined explicitely as between a man and woman even though men had been marrying men and women marrying women for months in response to a previous Supreme court decision. Now Ken Star, (yep, him), is arguing the case for not overing this vaunted choice by the majority of Californians to enshrine inequality in their consitution. And it sounds like he’s being effective at convincing the justices. A sample: When questioned, Starr conceded that his view of the state constitution would permit a simple majority of the voters to repeal any right enshrined in the state constitution, including the right to free speech or a prohibition against racial discrimination. “While it is unthinkable,” he said, “… the people do have the raw power” to make whatever changes they desire, so long as they do not alter the basic structure of government. – Kenneth Star I would respectfully (although honestly, not all that respectfully) disaggree. Democracy is fine and everything, but people are dumb, greedy and easy to manipulate. Just look at all the coca-cola we drink and American Idol we watch, we’re just drones sometimes. The choice of an informed electorate is the bedrock of any democracy. But human rights are fundamental and a democracy of 50%+1 can quickly become a tyrrany of the majority. If 49% of people have blond hair can the brown haired people vote a consitutional amendment to imprison blond haired people or refuse them entry into university? ‘Well thats just silly, we’d never do that.’ you say. It is silly but thats not the point. The point is can you do it? Is it allowed? If your answer if ‘yes technically its valid but it will never happen’ you have problems. Your system is flawed. All you need is for people to have a proposal that the majority think is reasonable and its law. There must be a concept of universal rights and morality. These principles, such as your Bill of Rights or Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, cannot be altered by the simple whims of the majority. They need a supermajority, lots of discussion, years of debate and compromise. If we allow the pure majority of 50%+1 to make any change they see fit then you will soon have anarchy. If this proposition stands, in contradiction to everything America and its Bill of Rights stand for then it will be a victory for people afraid of change. And it will be a single to those with other ideas to start their work. Anyone with an idea that they think they can convince 50%+1 of the people to sign on to will be open game and the court will have told us it doesn’t matter if its Right or Wrong because those words don’t have any meaning. The people have the power. You’ll see what power they have if this kind of consitutional amendment becomes the norm. At some point, they just won’t listen anymore. I propose a Proposition for referendum in the next election. I’m not Californian or even American but I throw it out there. “Be it resolved that people with a natural hair colour of blond (definition of this to be determined precisely on pigment levels) are barred from attending State funded post-secondary instutions in the State of California” Nothing against blond people, they’re just the minority and we need to free up space in schools somehow. We don’t even need a justification. And I would encourage people to vote for it as well, that’s give the court something to chew on.