On The Upcoming Discussion of a Constitutional Convention

Announcements of activities and events in CDS.

Moderator: SC Moderators

Post Reply
Rudy Ruml
Casual contributor
Casual contributor
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:27 am

On The Upcoming Discussion of a Constitutional Convention

Post by Rudy Ruml »

I have scheduled this discussion for 1pm, SL time, on Sunday 9/24.
This is a very imporant meeting, but I fear some of the central political figures in Neufreistadt may not be able to make it. Nothing should be decided or voted on unless there is a sizable group and the city's movers and shakers are there or can make their views known. So, I suggest that if you cannot make the meeting, that you give your proxi to someone you know can. In a city our size trust is important, so no signatures or validation of proxis required. If you wish to give me your proxis, just send me a IM, and I will record it.

The proxi should simply say yes or no on a constitutional convention, and if that passes, who you would suggest chair the Convention (other than me--I have strong views about changes to be made in the Constitution).

If there is disagreement over the possibillity of a proxi, please reply to this post or let me know.

User avatar
Ashcroft Burnham
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

What exactly would be the agenda for such a convention? What do you hope that its outcome(s) would be?

(Actually, it should probably be called a "symposium", since the phrase "constitutional convention" implies "something that is conventionally done with respect to the constitution", such as the convention that the Queen always give royal assent to Acts of Parliament.)

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
User avatar
Chicago Kipling
Passionate Protagonist
Passionate Protagonist
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:07 pm

Post by Chicago Kipling »

I have been perhaps too absent from things, but I'm a bit unclear myself on what this event will entail and what the outcomes could be. It would be great if there was an agenda somewhere that I could look up. Perhaps I just missed it.

A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent. ~ Eugene Atget
Claude Desmoulins
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 9:28 am

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

Rudy,

With due respect, I think you're getting ahead of yourself. The issue of scrapping the constitution has come up before, and a sort of consensus that emerged at the time was that change should be within the system-- evolution as opposed to revolution.

If you wish there to be a constitutional convention, the first step would be to amend the present constitution via the existing methods to create a mechanism by which one could be called. Only after such an amendment was in place would one begin the process of actually calling such a convention.

On a more pragmatic front....

1. What specific failings of the existing constitution do you seek to ameliorate?

2. Why does the current mechanism (after all, any citizen can propose an amendment) not suffice to address these failings?

3. Given the difficulties of scheduling in world meetings, how does rewriting of the constitution by whomever shows up constitute a more democratic solution than the current system?

User avatar
Ashcroft Burnham
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

Was a "constitutional convention (symposium)" not supposed to be an academic exploration and analysis of our constitution? I know that Rudy has some suggestions about how things should be done, but, whether we want to change anything or not, if what we are doing is having an in-depth, structured, intellectual look at the way that we are run, then we might all learn something. That is why I was asking about the agenda :-)

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
Claude Desmoulins
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 9:28 am

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

That's a valid question. Rudy, could you clarify as to whether your proposed convention is as Ashcroft described or whether it's a meeting with the mandate to alter the constitution , possibly rewriting it from scratch, such as is described in Article V of the US Constitution (this was my presumption).

Rudy Ruml
Casual contributor
Casual contributor
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:27 am

Post by Rudy Ruml »

The agenda, which I've published with the time of the meeting before, is simple.

Should there be a constitutional convention?

Discussion and a vote on that.

If it passed, then a nomination/second of who will chair it.
And a vote on that.

Some of you are already involved in what should be the debate if we have a contitutional convention. But, first lets decide if we want one.

Cheers.

User avatar
Chicago Kipling
Passionate Protagonist
Passionate Protagonist
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:07 pm

Post by Chicago Kipling »

It seems the question is "Want one what?" The words you say are simple enough, but they lack clear definition in this context.

A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent. ~ Eugene Atget
User avatar
Aliasi Stonebender
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 12:58 pm

Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

[quote="Rudy Ruml":15c6gq70]The agenda, which I've published with the time of the meeting before, is simple.

Should there be a constitutional convention?

Discussion and a vote on that.

If it passed, then a nomination/second of who will chair it.
And a vote on that.

Some of you are already involved in what should be the debate if we have a contitutional convention. But, first lets decide if we want one.

Cheers.[/quote:15c6gq70]

One thing, though, Rudy - please keep in mind your vote is not binding.

This in no way alters my statements in our conversation in-world, and I'm anxious to see how many people feel that revision is needed, as I do. But you then [i:15c6gq70]also[/i:15c6gq70] know I consider NFS/the CDS to be an explicit social contract; you come here freely, of your own will, and agree to abide by the rules. One of those rules is we have a Representative Assembly to vote on matters of law-making. We have held town halls where a vote of all citizens present was taken; the idea of a referendum to be voted on over a week as we vote for our Assembly reps has also been floated.

So, while I fully encourage you to do this, and to write up a potential new constitution if your vote seems promising, I wish to note that "Rudy gets a bunch of people together who decide revision is needed" does not equal "revision will be done". For that, you'll need to submit whatever you come up with to the RA.

Rudy Ruml
Casual contributor
Casual contributor
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:27 am

This must be done constitutionally

Post by Rudy Ruml »

Thank you Aliasi. You make clear what I thought was taken for granted. I am not proposing a revolution. As a raving democratic activist, I would hardly call for a revolution against a functioning democratic constitution. If there is a constitutional convention, which is allowed by the city's constitution, then what ever is decided in the convention by way of changes in the constitution, would have to be submitted to the RA as an amendment package, and must be approved by a 2/3rd vote.

Claude Desmoulins
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 9:28 am

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

Thanks for the clarification. Since there's no constitutional provision for a convention, essentially what you're proposing is to get a significant number of people together and work on submitting a package of proposed constitutional amendments to the RA with, as it were, a large number of citizen coauthors. In that case I have no problem at all with it.

User avatar
Patroklus Murakami
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:54 pm

I hope to attend the meeting

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Rudy, I hope to attend the meeting on Sunday. I hope that either at the meeting (or preferably on these forums beforehand) you will set out a case for a constitutional convention.

There has been some discussion of why we might want to hold a constitutional convention, I have to say that I find the reasons presented so far to be unconvincing. I think I'm likely to come out against this proposal. Here's why:

[list:1wopwt2v]I think our government system is complex and probably more than is needed for our current size of territory and population. But the founding fathers (and mothers!) were very wise in developing institutions that are eminently scaleable. Our institutions work reasonably well for us now (and I'm much more hopeful now that we have an Executive and a capable new Chancellor). They will work even better when we have two, five or ten sims and a population of 100-500 citizens. With many more citizens it will be much more easy to ensure that RA meetings are regular and quorate. The SC will also work better when we have enough citizens to fill all of the seats and when there are enough builders, thinkers, town planners, merchants etc to allow the SC members (and RA members) to focus fully on their government tasks. I think there will be a need for a constitutional convention when we make the step change from 10 to 100 sims but that will be to handle the added complexity :)

This convention you propose will take up a significant portion of our intellectual resources for months. I'm guessing that at least a dozen or more people will be debating this to the exclusion of pretty much everything else for at least three (probably six) months. I see this as a major diversion from our real priorities - expansion to Colonia Nova and developing our 'civil society'. Now don't get me wrong, I love constitutional debate as much as the next geek! (In fact, it was a constitutional debate that got me interested and involved in Neufreistadt in the first place). But we cannot afford to waste time on an unnecessary distraction when we have far more pressing matters to attend to.[/list:u:1wopwt2v]

I could go along with this proposal if it were being made two years ago. But we are where we are now and I see no good reason to go back to the drawing board.

User avatar
Pelanor Eldrich
Veteran debater
Veteran debater
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 10:07 am

Did the convention occur.

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

If not, is there any interest in holding one this weekend as a purely academic excercise? Perhaps final product language could be submitted to the RA for consideration as constitutional amendments?

Pelanor Eldrich
Principal - Eldrich Financial
Post Reply

Return to “Events in CDS”