Replication errors–how to prevent and correct them

I received the following story from an email list I subscribe to. It’s just a funny story but I do sometimes wonder if this sort of thing might have contributed to our current political mess. Politicians, and the people that elected them, ignore and deliberately bend the first principles of our Constitution and even the philosophical underpinning (yes, Ayn Rand’s book Philosophy: Who Needs It has made big impact on me) of how we determine truth from falsity and right from wrong. Little by little the nature of our government morphs into something completely unrecognizable and unrestrained by the founding document.

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He notices, however, that they are copying from copies, not the original manuscripts. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

The head monk says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original. Hours go by and nobody sees him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying.

He asks the old monk what’s wrong, and in a choked voice comes the reply…”The word is ‘celebrate.'”

Even in the simple story above it would be tough to change. All those centuries of tradition and the hundreds of collaborating volumes by “great teachers” who based their scholarly works on simple clerical errors. Who would be willing to say their greatest leaders through the ages were mistaken and totally wrong?

So, what was the fatal error or errors of our founding documents that allowed the replication errors to be introduced and never corrected? It’s not as if we were actually making copies of the copies. The original documents are available and other than perhaps the question of a comma or two no one questions the integrity of copies.

I believe there is a single flaw that allowed this to happen. This fatal flaw permeates our state constitutions as well as our U.S. Constitution. That flaw is that there is no punishment for those that violate the Constitution. If a politician votes for a law, another signs the law, the judges, the police, and the prosecutors enforce the law. If it is later declared to be unconstitutional the very worst that happens to all of the people involved is they say, “Whoops.” Hence there is nothing to lose for them when they engage in illegal activities. How can you expect any other outcome than what we have today? Imagine how your children, your employees, employer, your local merchants, your banker, your neighbors, etc. would behave if they could cheat, steal, lie, and injury people and the worst that would happen to them is they had to say, “Whoops, I’m sorry.” That is what has happened to our governments.

I keep wondering how to restore our Constitutions (yes, I remember Jack Anderson’s quote–I deal with him in that post). There needs to be some punishment for those who violated the constitution. But the same judges, prosecutors, and police who violated the constitution would be reluctant to convict themselves. One thing that might work is a separate branch of government whose sole task is to prosecute violators of the constitution. But at this point I don’t think our government needs to get any bigger. I have a better plan. This plan will not only eliminate the problem of unconstitutional laws being passed and enforced it will also reduce the size of government.

Joe’s Enforcement of Enumerated Powers (JEEP) would be implemented as follows:

  • Whosoever shall identify a government employee who is acting under the color of law but outside constitutional boundaries shall post said transgression on a special Internet website.
  • The identified government employee will have seven days to constitutionally justify their actions on the same website, correct their error, or remove themselves from government employment for life.
  • If, after the seven days have elapsed, anyone who does not believe the constitutional justification or correction of the error was adequate may remove said government employee from the gene pool. This shall also apply to anyone that attempts to prevent him from said gene pool cleaning.
  • After successfully cleaning the gene pool the pool cleaner(s) must identify themselves and may post information on the same website to support their actions.
  • After successfully removing the pond scum from the gene pool said pool cleaner(s) will stand trial via a popular election in the jurisdiction of the government employee. Hence in the case of a city mayor being removed from the gene pool the pool cleaner(s) will be judged by the voters of the city. A U.S. Senator would require a state election. A President would require a national election.
  • The criteria for finding the pool cleaner(s) not guilty of murder will be that if 10% or more of the voters, having read the web postings and tested to make sure they actually did read the postings, believe the pool cleaners had probable cause to engage in said pool cleaning the pool cleaners will be declared to have engaged in praiseworthy homicide. Note that is “Probable Cause”, not “Preponderance of Evidence” or “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”.
  • If the pool cleaner(s) are found NOT guilty of murder they will receive all of the material assets of the pond scum which they removed from the gene pool.
  • If the pool cleaner(s) are found guilty of murder they will be punished as any other murderer.

Expect a rapid and dramatic reduction in the size of government and strict adherence to the enumerated powers.

See, that wasn’t so tough was it?

Promote JEEP, it’s the for the good of our children.


6 thoughts on “Replication errors–how to prevent and correct them

  1. Problem – this just creates another authority chain/loop/tree of some sort.

    Also note that in many cases it could be argued that people would have to leave government because their job is not constitutional.
    Oh… wait… you clever bastard…

    The real problem is that the voters have to know and believe in the Constitution.

    Without the assent of the governed to the truth and the value of the Constitution, it is nothing more than an expensively stored piece of paper (parchment?).

    Bottom line? We The People are too busy watching the TeeVee and the like to care.

    Feh.. Clever though, finding a way to unwind the government.

    I was looking for a pithy Will Rogers quote that I could apply to this, but I guess I will have to settle for a pissy one instead:

    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
    -Will Rogers

  2. Sounds like H. Beam Piper’s Lone Star Planet …

    Any political assassination is automatically legal, regardless of reason for such.

  3. This is an age-old problem of course. My brother and I, quite independently, came up with the idea that political assassination should be legal if the killing followed something like the criteria for lethal self-defense: If a “reasonable and prudent person” would think himself in danger of death or serious injury, then lethal response is indicated. Likewise, if a reasonable and prudent person would believe that the actions of any public employee were in violation of the Constitution, or that the ‘pool cleaner’ could demonstrate the he believed at the moment that the Constitution was being violated, then the homicide would be justified.

    This would of course require actual knowledge of the Constitution– something that is gennerally lacking.

  4. If the pool cleaner(s) are found NOT guilty of murder they will receive all of the material assets of the pond scum which they removed from the gene pool.

    That would sure solve my retirement fund problems right quickly. This might be one of those things where it really pays to be an “early adopter”.

    I’d be willing to bet that very large numbers of government “workers” would not show up for work the day this became effective.

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