Pipe-Dream Legislation

Glossophile

New Member
As a major American election fast approaches in these politically frustrating and worrying times, I thought it might be worthwhile sharing an old post of mine from the Atheist Discussion Forum (formerly the Thinking Atheist forum) with a new audience (though I would not be surprised to see some partial overlap). When there is so much that discourages us, this sort of fantasizing can at the very least help us cope, and it may even inspire us to take more positive action. If you like what you read, stay tuned, as I'll likely be expanding on my hypothetical platform with new developments in my thinking and focus (universal healthcare being one such point of renewed attention).

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While I would never seriously advocate for even a temporary dictatorship, I think it can sometimes be cathartic to fantasize about what you would do if you were suddenly given either official autocratic rule or magical influence over an ostensibly still democratic government. I call this a "Cincinnatan fantasy," after the legendary Roman citizen Cincinnatus, who assumed temporary rule over Rome in a time of crisis and stepped down peacefully after his term was up and his work was done. And yes, I'm pretty sure the city of Cincinnati was also named after this guy.

Anyway, here are a couple of the first things I would implement if I were suddenly thrust into the role of a modern-day Cincinnatus. If you need to vent about politics, you might try making up your own platform or policy recommendations. What would you do if it was you?

SECULAR GOVERNANCE REAFFIRMATION ACT

Be it enacted that, while the freedom of religious belief and affiliation guaranteed by the Constitution is hereby reaffirmed, so too is the separation of church and state which was the principal intent of the First Amendment. No religious belief or affiliation, however sincere, shall ever be construed as a granting an exemption from any secular law, either in an official or de facto capacity. Conversely, again as per the First Amendment, no legislature at any level shall make any law of which the primary intent or effect is to either privilege or penalize (a) certain religion(s) over any other(s).


I'm a bit torn between two possible versions of this next one.

SEPARATION OF PURSE AND STATE ACT

Be it enacted that all private financial contributions to any campaign for public office or trust at the federal, state, or local level are henceforth unlawful. In lieu of such participation, each candidate shall be allotted an equal amount of public funds to use as desired for their campaign. Personal support for a particular candidate or party may take any other hitherto legal form, mainly via the spoken or written exercise of the freedoms of speech and the press.


...or alternatively...

Be it enacted that a carefully calculated limit on private political donations shall take the form of a maximum percentage of personal income legally expendable on political contributions. Further, this maximum shall vary inversely with income bracket, so that overall, no socio-economic class has either more or less financial sway than any other.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE ABOLITION ACT

Be it enacted that all elections shall henceforth be decided by popular vote.


Heck, if I could do nothing else in my Cincinnatan fantasy, just these three things would likely be enough for me to feel like my work was done, and I would happily cede power right then and there spend the rest of my term ruling as democratically as possible.
 

BoganUSAFFLClerk

Active Member
SECULAR GOVERNANCE REAFFIRMATION ACT

Be it enacted that, while the freedom of religious belief and affiliation guaranteed by the Constitution is hereby reaffirmed, so too is the separation of church and state which was the principal intent of the First Amendment. No religious belief or affiliation, however sincere, shall ever be construed as a granting an exemption from any secular law, either in an official or de facto capacity. Conversely, again as per the First Amendment, no legislature at any level shall make any law of which the primary intent or effect is to either privilege or penalize (a) certain religion(s) over any other(s).
As written this can be used in order to circumvent the law as religious belief do sometimes come into conflict with secular governmental law and exemptions are made to benefit those under those religious views. So either you have a conflict where you cannot penalize and yet you cannot grant their religious beliefs violating the 1st amendment. Rock and a hardplace.
ELECTORAL COLLEGE ABOLITION ACT

Be it enacted that all elections shall henceforth be decided by popular vote.
If this was done then the country's affairs would be determined entirely by the most populace states. Totally disagree with this. It would only seek to drive the country under the tyrants of NY, DC and CA.
 

Dragan Glas

Well-Known Member
Greetings,

As written this can be used in order to circumvent the law as religious belief do sometimes come into conflict with secular governmental law and exemptions are made to benefit those under those religious views. So either you have a conflict where you cannot penalize and yet you cannot grant their religious beliefs violating the 1st amendment. Rock and a hardplace.
I don't see an issue here.

The group takes precedence over the individual, even in Western societies where they attempt to grant as much freedom to individuals.

As long as a law applies to all regardless, there's no conflict of interest.

Personally., I don't agree with the religious exemptions laws In America.

The primary purpose of government is to make decisions in the best interests of the community whether local, county, state and/or national. The guiding principle behind that is "public health and safety". You can't have any sub-group exempting themselves where it places the group's health and safety at risk: case in point, vaccinations.

If this was done then the country's affairs would be determined entirely by the most populace states. Totally disagree with this. It would only seek to drive the country under the tyrants of NY, DC and CA.
More to the point, it would break the US as a republic - the whole point of which was to protect against the vagaries of (pure) democracy, where populism results in a mob mentality and decisions being changed from one day to the next. [1]

Kindest regards,

James
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
As written this can be used in order to circumvent the law as religious belief do sometimes come into conflict with secular governmental law and exemptions are made to benefit those under those religious views

As written, it clearly doesn't.

No religious belief or affiliation, however sincere, shall ever be construed as a granting an exemption from any secular law, either in an official or de facto capacity.
 

BoganUSAFFLClerk

Active Member
The group takes precedence over the individual, even in Western societies where they attempt to grant as much freedom to individuals.
The founding of America and the continuing principles here are based on the individual being the priority over the group. We are not like other countries that consider needs of many over needs of the few. That is totally backward of what American ideals are.
As long as a law applies to all regardless, there's no conflict of interest.
I never argued conflict of interest I am arguing conflict of rights. You cannot both protect law and protect enumerated rights that are conflicting.
Personally., I don't agree with the religious exemptions laws In America.
Because they are individualistic which is the founding principles and continuing principles of the U.S. not like the U.K. or France.
The primary purpose of government is to make decisions in the best interests of the community whether local, county, state and/or national. The guiding principle behind that is "public health and safety". You can't have any sub-group exempting themselves where it places the group's health and safety at risk: case in point, vaccinations.
That is precisely why the government isn't legally allowed to prevent people from accessing things even without a vaccination. People are free to choose to accept more risk or not. We are not going to generally go into lockdown to protect over a slightly dangerous illness like Covid assuming you are not among the people that are defined as being more at risk like Obesity or old.
More to the point, it would break the US as a republic - the whole point of which was to protect against the vagaries of (pure) democracy, where populism results in a mob mentality and decisions being changed from one day to the next.
But pure democracy seems to favor group over the individual we are a Republic.
 

Dragan Glas

Well-Known Member
Greetings,

The founding of America and the continuing principles here are based on the individual being the priority over the group. We are not like other countries that consider needs of many over needs of the few. That is totally backward of what American ideals are.
Try driving up and down the street where you live playing loud music and see what happens.

Your individual right to do what you please runs into everyone else's right to have peace and quiet.

The rights of others trumps yours - the group takes precedence over the individual.

I never argued conflict of interest I am arguing conflict of rights. You cannot both protect law and protect enumerated rights that are conflicting.
Since the group takes precedence, there's no conflict.

Because they are individualistic which is the founding principles and continuing principles of the U.S. not like the U.K. or France.
Again, not applicable.

If someone's right to do what they want endangers others - thus very much infringing on their rights - then the group takes precedence.

That is precisely why the government isn't legally allowed to prevent people from accessing things even without a vaccination. People are free to choose to accept more risk or not. We are not going to generally go into lockdown to protect over a slightly dangerous illness like Covid assuming you are not among the people that are defined as being more at risk like Obesity or old.
If someone who's infected comes into your store, how would you feel?

Even if you're vaccinated, they're still a danger to your colleagues and customers.

And CoViD-19 doesn't just kill obese or old people - it's killing all sorts: young, old, healthy, sick.

"Long" CoViD is due to the virus causes changes in blood cells, so that they're less able to carry oxygen. These changes can be permanent.

And this is just the current variants - wait until we get variants that are both highly contagious and lethal.

All because people claim exceptions because they don't want to get vaccinated. Or their children.

Unvaccinated people are a breeding ground for new mutations leading to new - potentially more deadly - variants.

"The needs of the many" are very much in play here.

But pure democracy seems to favor group over the individual we are a Republic.
A republic is intended to counter the worst aspects of a (pure) democracy - as the cited article notes - it's not to prevent majority rule.

Kindest regards,

James
 

n0b0dy 0f n0te

Well-Known Member
I've not talked a massive amount about COVID here, but I've been deep diving and staying on top of every new paper that hits any of the major research networking groups so I can keep the piece I've done on the blog up to date and as accurate as possible. The biggest concern I've had is emerging evidence if viral neurotropism.

This isn't a small thing. The correlation was serendipitous, arising from a couple of comparisons in a smattering of patients leading to a more organised study. It showed fairly strong correlation between first-wave infection and a reduction in brain mass. It wasn't enormous, but it was significant.

There are literally no data on young people. The scans this study was done on are held by a medical data storage company, who had 40,000 scans on file from outpatients prior to the pandemic. No doubt there are scans of young people, but not sufficient infections to be able to do anything with them.

ANY impact on developing brains is a matter of massive concern. We are now proposing to let a virus loose in the one portion of our population that isn't in a position to keep themselves safe.

Utterly criminal.

The effects of long COVID on children are also of huge concern. Changes in blood morphology are a potentially enormous problem. Think sickle cell anaemia, because that's the closest clear analogue.
 

BoganUSAFFLClerk

Active Member
Try driving up and down the street where you live playing loud music and see what happens.

Your individual right to do what you please runs into everyone else's right to have peace and quiet.

The rights of others trumps yours - the group takes precedence over the individual.
That isn't true. Nothing is going to happen to you if you play loud music during the day. Look up statutes and tell me where the law says you are not allowed to do this. The exception obviously being hours of the night when you should be able to get decent sleep without being woken up by loud music or things that are presumably preventable and optional.
Since the group takes precedence, there's no conflict.
Ok so if there is a religion in existence that say codifies the religious right to carry weapons into court that conflicts between religious protections, the second amendment and regular law. You cannot carry firearms being involved in a trial. They are in direct conflict with the 2nd and the 1st and established statute.
Again, not applicable.

If someone's right to do what they want endangers others - thus very much infringing on their rights - then the group takes precedence.
Not really you would have to be continually dangerous in order to have your driver's license pulled. Normally the police don't even radar for speeds anymore. Vehicular fatalities outpace so called the epidemic of gun violence yet the individual is still highly protected in revoking a PRIVILEGE to drive. So even in the standards of privileges compared to rights the individual is still allowed to be dangerous at the expense of others.
If someone who's infected comes into your store, how would you feel?

Even if you're vaccinated, they're still a danger to your colleagues and customers.
I'm not vaccinated and I still don't care. The odds of Corona virus killing me is about the same as the flu considering other conditions of how the illness generally attacks people. I am relatively young NOT among the age group at risk generally. I don't have any preexisting condition that would make the effects of Corona virus grant more odds in killing me. The government allows this because you can freely choose to associate and forcing vaccinations against will would be considered tyrannical and is technically illegal in the states.
And CoViD-19 doesn't just kill obese or old people - it's killing all sorts: young, old, healthy, sick.
I never argued this. I literally argued about likelihoods young = less old = more probable to be killed involving Corona.
All because people claim exceptions because they don't want to get vaccinated. Or their children.
Yes because American law protects that ability. If we didn't have such protections then mandatory vaccinations would likely be seen. China did it and they have no protections for the individual or very few. They literally welded people into their homes. Not the case in the U.S..
Unvaccinated people are a breeding ground for new mutations leading to new - potentially more deadly - variants.
Ok? Still shows that you can legally do this in the U.S. because it is protected to have your will considered as being part of American ideals where the individual is important over the group generally.
"The needs of the many" are very much in play here.
that isn't the case in the U.S.. Maskers argue this and yet in most places other than tyrannical nanny states like say CA or NY you can't force people to wear masks it is literally unconstitutional and goes against the paradigm of the group over the individual even if you assume that Corona is massive problem which I don't think it is given young people demographics and who generally falls to Corona virus.
A republic is intended to counter the worst aspects of a (pure) democracy - as the cited article notes - it's not to prevent majority rule.
Sure that is not in contention here. A majority of a Minority is basically what a Republic is. Most people don't vote and likely wouldn't vote even if pure democracy.
 

he_who_is_nobody

Well-Known Member
I'm not vaccinated and I still don't care. The odds of Corona virus killing me is about the same as the flu considering other conditions of how the illness generally attacks people. I am relatively young NOT among the age group at risk generally. I don't have any preexisting condition that would make the effects of Corona virus grant more odds in killing me.
You are not concerned that you could pass it on to other (immunocompromised or elderly) people?
 

n0b0dy 0f n0te

Well-Known Member
if you assume that Corona is massive problem which I don't think it is given young people demographics and who generally falls to Corona virus.
I don't have to assume. Dunno where you are, but ICUs are filling up with unvaccinated young people here AND there. Unless you live somewhere isolated and you aren't mixing a huge amount, the likelihood of infection is high, and the long-term effects aren't yet known.

Deaths aren't the only factor. Especially somewhere like the US, where healthcare is prime business. We have cases of long Covid here lasting fifteen months. Some of what underpins that is known, but not all of it. What is known isn't good.

And then there are the fitness gradients. Those are the biggest problem of all, because they drive evolution in the direction of fitness, functionally increasing the rate of evolution in that direction. The more fitness gradients, the faster it evolves. It's like an arms race to become the most dominant. Each ne evolution takes it closer to vaccine escape.

We won't talk about what happens if we get a new strain, which is certainly possible in the case of some of the gradients in the current population, especially since we're already seeing mutations on the spike protein.
 

Greg the Grouper

Active Member
Proper analogy is like going to a smoking section and think others are concerned about second hand smoke.

Don't want to take the extra risk? Don't go there.
That isn't even close to a proper analogy. Covid is a virus. It has the ability to evolve, and to spread. It isn't immediately obvious in the same way that smoking is, either. All of society is Covid's 'smoking section', and the second hand smoke is contagious.

Short of living alone in the woods and living off the land, complete isolation is effectively impossible, especially since most people can't work from home.
 

n0b0dy 0f n0te

Well-Known Member
Proper analogy is like going to a smoking section and think others are concerned about second hand smoke.

Don't want to take the extra risk? Don't go there.
And this is why I'd never let you anywhere near something sharp, let alone a firearm.

A sense of personal responsibility would be my first legal requirement.

To be fair, that wouldn't be the only requirement you'd fail enormously on.
 

BoganUSAFFLClerk

Active Member
That isn't even close to a proper analogy. Covid is a virus. It has the ability to evolve, and to spread. It isn't immediately obvious in the same way that smoking is, either. All of society is Covid's 'smoking section', and the second hand smoke is contagious.

Short of living alone in the woods and living off the land, complete isolation is effectively impossible, especially since most people can't work from home.
No analogy is perfect and in terms of tobacco deaths vs Corona deaths it isn't even close even without having viral vectors. There are pockets of relative safety with smoking and non smoking sections and you can and cannot choose to take more or less risk.

Yes there is a limit to how much risk one can minimize or take more of in society. Ultimately you take on more risks in some ways than others when you are part of society that you cannot get rid of entirely such as the crime rate or how poorly people drive during rush hour.
 

Greg the Grouper

Active Member
No analogy is perfect
No, it's not, for the aforementioned reasons.

EDIT: I guess you meant that you're never gonna have a 1 to 1 comparison with no differences? But the differences here are substantial to the point where these two situations simply cannot be regarded in the same manner.
in terms of tobacco deaths vs Corona deaths it isn't even close even without having viral vectors.
Tobacco deaths don't have the potential for exponential growth, nor do they have the potential to grow worse on a case by case basis through evolutionary means, for the aforementioned reasons.
There are pockets of relative safety with smoking and non smoking sections and you can and cannot choose to take more or less risk.
A sentiment that doesn't hold true for Covid, for the aforementioned reasons.
Yes there is a limit to how much risk one can minimize or take more of in society. Ultimately you take on more risks in some ways than others when you are part of society that you cannot get rid of entirely such as the crime rate or how poorly people drive during rush hour.
You say this as if it isn't possible for you to get a free vaccine and wear a mask in public. I can't mitigate the risks involved in dealing with crime, because that would require massive infrastructure change by government that would take years or even decades to accomplish, and in the meantime I still need to go to work. You could get over yourself and wear a mask, and just like that the risk posed to other people who need to do things decreases.
 
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