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The Next Amendment to the Bill of Rights

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3/15/09
Frank Rich's column today in the NY Times gave me an idea.
He wrote about the end of culture wars over stem cells and gays in the military, and fundamentalist ayatollahs of intolerance and intrusion losing their audience.
He wrote about the emergence of ideas of economic and social justice replacing creationism in the 1930's, as Roosevelt took office and brought an end to Prohibition.
After this stormy Republican eight years when we went from peace and prosperity to war and debt, and saw most of the Bill of Rights thrown out by the Patriot Act,  I wonder if we're ready for a new assertion and reinforcement of our rights.

Specifically, a new amendment to the Bill of Rights.

American citizens are supposed to be protected by their government from tyranny. Yet we labor all our lives under many different dictators. An amendment guaranteeing economic and social justice is what is lacking.

The right to be free of economic exploitation, slavery and subjugation.

The right to fight being designated as "cheap labor".

The end of government intrusion into our private lives-- the end of this new Prohibition.
A guarantee in law of the right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness".

America has boundless strength as a free society. Our genius is truly in government "by the consent of the governed". Closed societies, as we have seen in ancient and recent history, squelch their peoples' productivity. Police states, walls, fundamentalist dictates-- all stifle and stunt creative social activity.

North Korea is a good example.
They could be like their southern twin, selling more Hyundais than GM sells Chevrolets.
Instead they are in a famine, all their wealth and energy wasted in maintaining a police state.
Were America to enshrine Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in law, protect its citizens from economic exploitation and the intrusion of the state in our private lives, as Frederick Allen wrote, new and abundant energies would be applied to the well-being of the people.

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The rule of capital over us would be limited. Bankers and corporations could be reined in as the parasites they have shown themselves to be.

Life, itself, would have standing in the Supreme Court, rather than being patented by Monsanto and exploited as free labor. Consumer goods would
replace prisons as profit centers. Economic rights would rise to the level of civil rights, health care would become humane in the absence of exploitive insurance companies, and social justice would rule over corporate manipulations of wealth that inflate, deflate and steal our wealth from us.

In a free society, the Muslim world prospered and set new standards in the arts and sciences.
As the repressive fundamentalist governments of recent Muslim history have shown us, creativity and innovation are stifled, and prosperity exists only for a few.
Of those who talk the talk, let us require they walk the walk of respecting inalienable rights as innate to human nature and not to be repressed in some scheme of puritan ethics.

Amend the Bill of Rights to establish economic as well as social justice, economic as well as civil rights,
and end the imposition of cultural tyrannies on individual choices.

Allow not just Americans, but humanity to live and prosper free of military force and economic subjugation.

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Controlling people will never be as profitable as enabling people.

--
love holds the stars in their courses-- Maya Angelou

 

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The Next Amendment to the Bill of Rights

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