A new Bill of Rights
Our Constitution and its Bill of Rights seems to have served us fairly well over the years, but even in the Declaration of Independence, we secured for ourselves the right (and even duty) to change our form of government should we ever see fit to do so.

This is the last place you will ever read a call for a revolution. I am more in the restoration camp and seek to return to a more traditional, uniquely American, view of the relationship between the individual and the state.

But now and again, there are more dramatic calls for change within our government than naturally occurs in our system, leading me often to wonder what our Constitution would look like if we attempted to draft it today. Joseph C. Coates, president of Consulting Futurist, Inc., gives us a glimpse through his proposed Bill of Rights for 21st Century America:
Amendment I, Family Structure and Composition, affirms "that all citizens have the right to enjoy the public and private benefits that society provides to the nuclear family, not reduced or impeded by alternative forms of long term commitments to companionate relationships, the exercise of specific sexual proclivities, or the bearing and raising of children."

Amendment II, Assured Employment, The key point in assured employment is "every American citizen is entitled to employment up to age 70, commensurate with his or her physical, mental and educational status.

"Where the market economy cannot supply that employment, the government will."

Amendment III, Useful Education, says that "every citizen and resident, without a prohibiting physical, emotional or intellectual deficiency, is entitled to an education commensurate with his or her abilities that will provide the competence and skills for employment for a reasonable fraction of his or her work life."

Amendment VI, The Equality of Voters, is based on the observation that the Electoral College process, good in the Colonial period, now distorts the time, attention, resources and scope of discussion by presidential candidates in far-too-long campaigns.

Other proposed amendments deal with privacy in the information technology age, unimpeded international travel, open government so that we know what government is doing, universal health care and freedom from torture.

Note the difference between these proposals and what we originally claimed as rights. Our Bill of Rights contends that we have certain unalienable rights which cannot be infringed upon. The state cannot restrict our speech or our press, cannot impose a state religion, cannot search or seize our property without cause, cannot infringe on our right to bear arms, will not quarter soldiers in our homes in times of peace, etc.

Nothing is guaranteed us except security in what we already possess: our life, liberty and property.

What Mr. Coates proposes is a redefinition of what a right is: something transient, artificial, and gifted by the benevolent state to a complacent populace "disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable."

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