Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Constitution’s Report Card

How would you evaluate the Constitution since its inception, based on the intentions and goals of the Founding Fathers and the Federalists? Also, based on your own political and moral values and expectations, how would you evaluate the Constitution?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Constitution or Articles of Confederation—which is better?

If you were taken back in time to argue for one of the two documents, and if your vote was the tie-breaker, which document would you support: the Articles of Confederation or the United States Constitution? The framers of the Constitution meant for it to be an upgrade from the Articles of Confederation. However, the anti-federalists disliked the Constitution because they thought it provided the opportunity for a few people to exploit a concentration of power in a federal government. On October 5, 1787, an anti-federalist known as "Centinel" commented on the proposed Constitution after inspecting it. Here is a quote from his comment: “From this investigation into the organization of this government, it appears that it is devoid of all responsibility or accountability to the great body of the people, and that so far from being a regular balanced government, it would be in practice a permanent ARISTOCRACY.” On the other hand, supporters of a federal government asserted that loosely combined states are vulnerable to a more sinister threat—the lost of unity provoked by petty ambitions among separate states and the lack of harmonious action due to a lack of centralized authority. Here is a quote from Federalist No. 10, by Madison. “Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are most favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal . . .”----links to the referenced documents: “Centinel” No. 1 (, Federalist No. 10 (

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thomas Paine and his Common Sense

In the previous discussion regarding the Declaration of Independence two ideas surfaced—“self-ownership” and “private property.” It is clear those ideals are important to Americans and citizens of nations around the world. (If you don’t believe me, try to steal someone’s personal belonging. Before you are arrested or beaten up, return the item and mention that you were performing a sociological experiment for this blog.) Exactly how “self-ownership” and “private property” should be attained and guaranteed is a big debate. Some say by means of a government, and among them there is a quarrel about which kind of government. Others warn that governments get in the way of fulfilling “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But, before we entertain the means to “self-ownership,” “private property” or, as the Declaration says, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” let’s take a step back and talk about Thomas Paine’s understanding of government. Although an Englishman, Paine supported British America’s fight for independence from the British Crown. Thomas Paine published Common Sense a few months before the Declaration. In his work, Paine explains the “origin and rise of government.” Do you agree with his explanation? Also, he seems to suggest that his idea is simple and was derived from common sense. Paine says, “I draw my idea of government from a principle in nature.” Do you see Paine’s idea of government in nature? Here is a link to Common Sense: .....P. S. The sociological experiment was a joke. Please do not steal!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Declaration of Independence

Let’s read and discuss the Declaration of Independence together. I cannot help but notice that while it is not a legislative document like the Constitution, it continuously affects our thoughts and actions—our presidents, legislators, and judges repeatedly refer to it. What is the life force of the Declaration? Is it the fact that it says, “all men are created equal”? What do you think it did or says to sustain its relevance in modern-day America? On the other hand, do you even think the Declaration is still relevant? Is it no longer an important document for Americans to read and understand?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The American Agora

The purpose of the American Book Club is to provide a forum for American Citizens (and citizens of the world) to discuss those books and ideas that have influenced and defined the United States of America. Here, American citizens of all political parties are invited to converse and argue respectfully about what it means to be an American and to cooperate with each other in laying down the tracks for America’s majestic future. Conflict will inevitably arise in such talks, regarding what is best for America. But there is much to gain if we communicate with each other as if our lives depended on it. As some siblings often do, Americans have teased, tormented, and terrorized each other. Let us now confess and apologize to one another and strengthen our relationship as American brothers and sisters. Let us show the "Cains" of our country that we are each other’s keepers. I believe that America can change for the better when American citizens change for the better. The change I am speaking about is one that happens within a person’s mind. Our government needs our participation and guidance. Here, we can grow in knowledge and understanding in order to participate and guide with love and wisdom. America, let us indulge our history; let us reflect on our human natures to better understand our individual and collective vices and virtues; let’s see what we can do for our country. What is your vision of a successful America?