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26 Aug 2004
Indian Constitution

Their equal rights clause does not prohibit the state from making special provisions for women and children. It also allows provisions for advancing backwards classes. Otherwise, equal treatment for everyone.

Reading other rights, there are frequently clauses in them that permit the State to make laws that would otherwise be exceptions to those rights. I suppose they learned a bit from seeing the US constitution in action...

Their religious freedom guidelines are very carefully spelled out. For the separation of church and state, "No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination." But for you folks interested in school prayer, try the next article: "(1) No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds. (2) Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution. (3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto."

Now, that's something I could wrap my Libertarian brain around. State funds supporting (subsidizing) private schools. Religious instruction is allowed, but not compulsory unless your parents said you had to go! Now why can't we got something like that in the US constitution?

Now, I don't like the provisions in their constitution that essentially promote economic backwardness, but there's still a few ideas in there worth cherry-picking.

by Dean Webb

23 Aug 2004
The Confederate Constitution

Interesting comparison to the US one...


We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity -- invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God -- do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.


They were copy & paste before copy & paste was cool... Anyway, they did forbid the importation of slaves, which suited the interests of states that had sufficient slave population to be net exporters of slaves. Innnnnteresting...
by Dean Webb

22 Aug 2004
Swiss Constitution

Getting ready for my government class, I was reading a book on the Constitution. Then it got me to reading the Articles of Confederation. They didn't seem all *that* bad, but I thought I'd read up on their history. BAM in the first paragraph is a bit on how no confederation ever lasted.

I thought Switzerland was a confederation, but, nope, it's a federation as of 1874. And so, I went to this page I found with Google to read the Swiss constitution and WOW. This is a very impressive document. I'm liking it. There are LOTS of freedoms there that I wish were guaranteed in my US constitution. They're spelled out explicitly and while a lawyer anywhere could try and twist them, the specificity of the these freedoms would reduce available wiggle room.

OK, so I don't necessarily like building in welfare provisions into a constitution, but, then again, it is not the only state with a charge to "promote the general welfare". But I scroll down to the budget section and WOW! A maximum 11.5% income tax? 6.5% VAT maximum? Is that too good to be true? Are there exemptions for dependents and mortgages in Switzerland?

And there's the Jeffersonian bit about the people being able to completely revise the constitution built right into it. Built-in term limits on the presidency, which, like the Articles of Confederation president, serves for one year and consecutive terms are forbidden.

The transitory provisions were a bit impenetrable on a quick browse, but WOW! What a constitution the Swiss have got!

Good job, Switzerland! If I ever have to flee the US, I'll keep you guys in mind.

by Dean Webb

19 Aug 2004

People need to quit using "Pagan" to lump together any non-Christian system of belief. OK, so Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Chinese religions, Shinto, Buddhism, and Hinduism tend to get off OK, but there were so many systems that got lumped up as "Pagan", it's not even funny.

Are you Celtic Pagan? Greek Philosopher Pagan? Mithraic Pagan? Elusinain Pagan? Demeteric Pagan? Egyptian Pagan? African Tribal Pagan? (If so, please specify tribal affiliation.) Germanic Pagan? Lapplander Pagan? Lithuanian Pagan? Russian Pagan? Greek Mythos Syncretic Pagan? Micronesian Pagan? Melanesian Pagan? Australian Pagan? Polynesian Pagan? Filipino Pagan? Manichiean? Cathar? Bogomil?

The list goes on, and I haven't even gotten to the Americas...

Let's be specific, because one Pagan ain't necessarily the same as the next. I would hate to make the mistake of assuming you're a Nordic/Germanic devotee of Tyr and make a present of a fine sword, only to discover to my

shame and embarassment you're active in your local Dionysian cult and have no use for a sword. Heck, had I known, I would have made a gift of a golden chalice for your ceremonies...

The word pagan itself used to be highly offensive, and the Greek philosophers who practiced a monotheism based on the teachings of Plato and other mental heavyweights objected to the derogatory nature of the term. Is it a word some believers decided to "take back" and make their own? Is it something outsiders are forbidden to use, but they can call each other? Like, "Wassup, pagan?" or "Dude, that pagan was chillin' like a villain on penicillin..." I'm a Latter-Day Saint, so getting hit with "Mormon" by outsiders is sometimes hostile, frequently neutral, but insiders use the term as a badge of honor, so I know something of the patois of a religious outsider. But I need to know how to navigate this set of circumstances. I'm without a guide, here...
by Dean Webb

10 Aug 2004
Thoughts on WW2...

Well, I finished off John Ellis' study, "Brute Force", and it's a very well-done book.

The most underrated and underused weapon of the Second World War: the submarine. Germany didn't build enough of them before the war started to make them a decisive weapon and the US didn't use them properly against Japan until 1944, when oil tankers were given top priority among targets.

The worst-used weapon: British tanks. They were Light Brigades with armor plate. French cavalry at Agincourt, all over again. In Tunisia and Italy, terrain totally unsuitable for armored action, they were poured into narrow ravines on winding roads and picked off or causing terrific traffic jams. American tanks weren't much better off, unless Patton was on hand. He was the best traffic cop, bar none. When he attacked, though, he fell into the "blast it all with artillery and make a frontal assault" school, right along with Montgomery, Alexander, and Field Marshall Haig. Nowhere did the Allies ever try to bypass a strongpoint to cut off its communications. They just shot it up with 155mm and 105mm rounds, then in with the tanks and infantry! Casualty rates among the infantry were analagous with WW1 doughboys, meaning our tactics did not truly save lives.

Worst of all, though, was the two-axis approach to beating Japan. The JCS was behind MacArthur's idea of taking out the Solomons, New Guinea, and thence on to the Philippines to cut Japan off from its strategic resources in SE Asia. The Navy, having been humbled at Pearl Harbor, did not want a second fiddle role in the war, and insisted on having their own action with the Marines. They plowed through the Gilberts, Carolines, and Marianas, every one of those island chains economically worthless.

Had the Allies sent subs after Japanese tankers on day one, then concentrated all their efforts on the southern axis from bases much closer to the action in Australia, they could have saved time in beating Japan and not wasted lives in desperate island-clearing actions. True, the capture of the Marianas gave us bomber bases to pummel the Japanese heartland, but those bombers weren't needed to destroy the factories: our submarines had already starved them of raw materials.

To be sure, MacArthur had just the one brilliant idea. Time and again, his subordinates, equals, and superior officers had to holler at him to NOT try and clear out every last Japanese soldier from every last island in his path of advance, but to BYPASS those garrisons once they had been strategically isolated.

Anyway, Nimitz' axis was totally useless from a strategic point of view. It did nothing at all to bring the war to a faster finish. It wasted only money, material, and men's lives. Never mind the acts of bravery and cowardice, the horror and blood, for all that meant nothing in the ultimate, strategic end. They were simply expended so the Navy would have a role of its own in the Pacific and not have to bow down to the orders of some Army general.

This leads me now into another question: why did the USA allow itself to attempt the utter destruction of Japan? The submarines were powerful enough in destroying the Japanese economy and bringing them to starvation. Why did we need to launch the strategic bombing campaign? Why did we need to drop atomic weapons on them? Strategically, they did not end the war. They killed Japanese by the hundred thousands, possibly millions. Why?

I hypothesize the answer lies in American racism. Not the overt, cross-burning rage and hatred of the KKK in its heyday, nor the sullen, envious white trash growling at blacks who "didn't know their place." This is the unconscious feeling of self-superiority that goes with most elites in America. Other races can be tolerated with an academic distance, but when they show up next door, the white (and whitened) elites try and knock them out like roaches or head for the hills, gated communities, and sunnier school districts if there's too many of them. I hypothesize the same country that had segregationist laws, anti-Asian immigration statutes, and that ordered the internment of Japanese-American citizens... the same country that refused entry to Jewish refugees from Germany... this same country would likely treat the Japanese as a different race. It didn't matter if they were subhuman or equally clever as the Northern Europeans, they were *different*, and that justified *different* treatment.
by Dean Webb

Posted at:10 Jan 2009 06:21:22 PM

No Words portraits and romantic illustrations.

What's there to say?

I got words and pictures.

I got a message board.

Like I said, what's there to say?