Quote of the day—David B. Kopel

The Japanese Constitution, in stronger terms than its American counterpart, guarantees, social equality for women, creates a right to counsel, prohibits prolonged detention, outlaws courtroom use of confessions extracted under duress, and bars convictions based solely on confession. Today, every one of these provisions is routinely violated; action in accordance with those constitutional commands is the exception rather than the rule.

David B. Kopel
The Samurai, the Mountie and the Cowboy
[This reinforces a lesson I have learned many times in other domains and contexts. If you don’t have the means to enforce a contract the contract can and will be violated. The Japanese peasantry were long forbidden to own weapons. Any constitutional “guarantee” in such an environment is laughable. And even in our political environment only a tiny shadow of the constitutional limitations of government are enforced. But one can imagine how, with the right to keep and bear arms, it could be enforced and the limits to government restored.—Joe]


9 thoughts on “Quote of the day—David B. Kopel

  1. Perhaps we should write the constitution as requiring the government to do exactly the opposite of what we really want.

    • Unfortunately, this has already been tried. Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” as a sarcastic diatribe against a ruler who took power, and all that has happened since, was that rulers have taken the book to be a user’s manual.

      The pattern seems to be: politician reads something, and asks, “Will this give me more power?” If yes, the politician uses it as a manual. If no, the politician uses it as a quasi-opposite-day-thesaurus for implementing the other user’s manuals….

  2. I just recently read the book for the first time. It is a must if anything just for the part about the Japanese culture the Anti crowd loves to keep displaying.

  3. Translation: You only have the rights you are willing to fight for, KILL FOR and DIE FOR.

  4. And only the Left seems willing to fight. We just bitch on the net. Not sure that will change our situation much.

  5. If you really want some fun, take a look at the 1936 Soviet Constitution (aka Stalin’s Constitution). It had an absolutely exhaustive list of rights that were guaranteed by the benevolent Communist Party.

  6. Pingback: Quote of the day—1936 CONSTITUTION OF THE USSR | The View From North Central Idaho

  7. I like to point people at the Dutch “constitution”. I put that in quotes because of its article 120: “The court shall not judge the constitutionality of any law or treaty”.
    In other words, ignore everything in this piece of paper, because none of it is enforceable.

    • I have had friends and family members who have complained about Maybury vs Madison, because the Constitution does not give a mechanism for declaring laws unConstitutional….and my mind boggles. If a law is unConstitutional, how is it enforceable? Judges are supposed to read the law, and make judgements according to the law, and the Constitution is supposed to be the Supreme Law of the Land.

      The problem isn’t with this decision, so much as the willingness of judges to declare that which is Constitutional as unConstitutional, and that which is unConstitutional as Constitutional, thereby rendering the Constitution meaningless. When judges do that, though, there’s no limit that can constrain them.

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