Saturday, August 27, 2005

Words, Words, Words

I just got done perusing the Iraqi draft constitution. Man, they really spelled it out, but that doesn't matter. Basically, unlike the American Constitution, they went into some real detail over what the government can and cannot do. Of course, that doesn't matter at all. Most of us here in the Land o' Freedom don't have a clue what the law really says, and that makes sense because no law "abridging the freedom of speech" isn't the most in depth discussion of speech rights. No, we got two hundred years of case law, and even more centuries of tradition coming from across the pond--that's where you find the real freedom of speech. The Iraqi Constitution says Iraqis have the "freedom" of speech unless it violates "public order or morality." Of course, alarm bells probably go off for some of you! What's a violation of public order or morality? Seems like that could be twisted, huh? Well, that's pretty much what the case law says in America, too. You think we rolled out of the Revolutionary War with people reading Playboy on the street?

It's going to be rough going in Iraq. Their constitution is just words, it going to be the meaning that people will have to fight for--and in their case literally fight for. The weird part is that the draft has all these leftist rights: right to health care, right to social insurance, right to a clean environment, right to work, but, then again it does have spelled-out something our constitution only implies: the right to property. All in all, its a boring but enlightening read, and when you finish you realize that almost no wording would rule out failure--just as no words can insure freedom. Commitment, ya know?


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