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Linz's New Book
Who Should Be the Republican Nominee?
Total votes: 8
Putting Freedom beyond the Vote
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Mon, 2006-02-27 09:59
There are some things that are so important they should be put beyond the vote. That's the proposition I want to offer you this morning.
Consider this for example: Western countries around the world express concern at how waves of Islamic immigration could put at risk the freedoms we take for granted -- or at least the freedoms that some of you take for granted, such as the right to free speech, the separation of church and state, and the blessings of secure property rights.
As long as there was widespread understanding of and support for these important bulwarks of liberty, the secure retention of them was relatively assured; but as ignorance overtakes knowledge and the population changes any of these things of importance can be easily taken away by citizens'-initiated referenda, government vote-buying, or the easy, knee-jerk clamour of populism.
There are some things that are so important that they need to be beyond the vote. You might disagree with me on what exactly those things should be, but I invite you to consider that some are so important that they simply must be. The only secure way to put things beyond the vote is with a Bill of Rights that defines those rights to be protected, and a written constitution that enshrines their permanence, and their superiority to all other law. New Zealand's present unwritten constitution and our toothless Bill of Rights offer insufficient protection from the venality of vote-buying and the turbulence of the modern world.
Some things are just so important that they need to be put beyond the vote. A written constitution is how you put them there.
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