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A Permaculture Constitution

 
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I haven't made any posts in the recent past. That's due to working 70+ hours a week at a day job, homeschooling a child and also trying to juggle my writing. I'm not making excuses, but instead just noting why you may not have seen anything from me for a while.

As to this post, I have been working on a side project in my writing. It's nothing happening right away, though, so it seemed prudent to take my time and get other opinions. The idea is for a novel (after I finish the current two) where North America has divided out into multiple smaller nations at some point in the future.

The focus of the story would be about a thriving nation as seen through the eyes of an advanced scout who is assessing both the value and the ease with which it could be overtaken. At this stage, I only know that I would like to have this nation using permaculture principles as part of their basic constitution. I expect that their constitution will have heavy leanings to take queues from the US constitution for obvious reasons, but also several other sources.



I have spent my entire life in the US.  Whatever a person might like to think, we all have our bias'. I know that people from around the world are on permies, so I am curious to get your ideas as well. I have some basic questions:

1. What are the constitutional laws in your country that you feel work amazingly well?
2. Which aspects of your constitution do you feel fail to properly help?
3. What sorts of laws exist in your country that have a permaculture leanings? (Such as the French law about stores donating unused produce)
4. What do you see as being central to a permaculture-based constitution? (beyond the basics of fair share, earth care, etc. I mean more specifically or more deeply explored ideas.)
 
D. Logan
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Well, this has certainly been a deep rabbit hole. Pouring over existing constitutions, both past and present, has led to the fact that so many are utterly different in how they approach even the simplest things. Just for example, Articles vs Chapters. Still, I have pages upon pages of notes and have managed to construct a second draft outline. Along the way, I decided it made a lot of sense that some future country that spawned from the US would use a Declaration of Sovereignty, not unlike the Declaration of Independence. Preambles are generally kept short, so adding that additional document goes a long way to explaining the intent of the country's formation. Anyway, know that I am still working on developing this and when I have the outline fleshed into a first draft, it will possibly be appearing here in parts. Possibly annotated.
 
D. Logan
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Just an update so people know I am still working on this between other things. The initial outlines are all done and the first draft of the document is ongoing. I'm about a third to half done and currently have 29 handwritten pages finished. I've gained a new respect for those who try to do this on the fly amid a revolution. Weaving together viewpoints and trying to integrate what you think is important without creating loopholes that will be exploited is no small task. I'm sure there are going to be a few. Figure I can run it past others and just create amendments based out of what is found.
 
D. Logan
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Oh my that wasn't a small task. I am waiting for some feedback from a second set of eyes, then I will be putting the first draft here. I am not sure what I was expecting when I started this, but it has proven interesting. I had to do a lot of research, digging, and world building. The finished first draft clocks in at just over 14,000 words. Obviously a lot of it isn't about permaculture directly, but I did weave aspects of the permaculture process into the document.

Once I post it, I look forward to seeing what insights people have or thoughts are expressed. Just be aware that I know full well that not every aspect will please everyone. I also wrote it from the standpoint that it was a collaborative effort. No doubt the framers had lively debates about what to include, exclude, and emphasize. I'm posting here specifically for the focus of this forum, permaculture. I'm not against opinions outside of that, but I would also like to stay civil if possible.
 
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Ooh, I can't wait! 14,000 words, though? I'm glad I didn't start writing a first draft. Yours would look concise by comparison.

Including amendments, the US constitution is 7,591 words, and they were using some florid prose, as compared to today's parlance. I would love to take a gander, but I hope you're amenable to some editing for brevity (which is hilarious, if you happen to know my writing and speaking habits).

But good job. I look forward to reading your work.

-CK
 
D. Logan
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Chris Kott wrote:Ooh, I can't wait! 14,000 words, though? I'm glad I didn't start writing a first draft. Yours would look concise by comparison.

Including amendments, the US constitution is 7,591 words, and they were using some florid prose, as compared to today's parlance. I would love to take a gander, but I hope you're amenable to some editing for brevity (which is hilarious, if you happen to know my writing and speaking habits).

But good job. I look forward to reading your work.

-CK



It's pretty big. On the up side, it's a fair bit smaller than the one in India. As I recall, that one is over 146,000 words. I'm more than happy to hear input and suggestions. I found it was pretty hard to try being both clear and brief. Several times when I looked at the wordings, I realized there was some odd way someone could interpret it to change the meaning entirely of a passage. Heh.
 
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D. Logan wrote:

Several times when I looked at the wordings, I realized there was some odd way someone could interpret it to change the meaning entirely of a passage. Heh.



Lol. Sounds like what we have now. Make sure you have a supreme court.
 
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I am really excited about reading.
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:

D. Logan wrote:

Several times when I looked at the wordings, I realized there was some odd way someone could interpret it to change the meaning entirely of a passage. Heh.



Lol. Sounds like what we have now. Make sure you have a supreme court.



A daunting task, Logan.
There will always be loopholes.
That's human nature.

Even the Supreme Court can't protect against the inexorable force of societal change.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending
with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . .
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.
It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”


--John Adams

John understood that the Constitution is totally powerless to govern people who don't govern themselves,
and he explained the reason why the Constitution is now being reinterpreted to change the meaning.
The original intent no longer fits how the majority of people live
so it will need to be altered and made more complex until it does.



 
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Since you asked for other constitutions, I am quoting an interesting part of the Abkhazian Constitution:

ARTICLE 5. In the Republic of Abkhazia the land and other natural resources are the property of the people and shall be used and protected as a basis for life and activity of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia.


The whole text in english
original on the government site (also attached in case it goes down again)
Filename: -2017-.pdf
Description: Abkhazian Constitution
File size: 802 Kbytes
 
Greg Mamishian
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Sebastian Köln wrote:Since you asked for other constitutions, I am quoting an interesting part of the Abkhazian Constitution:

ARTICLE 5. In the Republic of Abkhazia the land and other natural resources are the property of the people and shall be used and protected as a basis for life and activity of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia.


The whole text in english
original on the government site (also attached in case it goes down again)



Does this mean land can be bought sold and owned privately by individuals,
or does it mean that the land is publicly owned?
 
S Bengi
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I think it means:
There will be land not owned by private citizens/entities.
Such lands will be default be owned by the "federal government" for the people.
The federal gov might lease the mineral rights to help raise funds to help "the people"
Local government or state government can't just claim it, they will have to buy it.
Likewise private citizens/entities would have to buy it too.

It could also mean that any "non-private", is open free parkland/rangeland. Open equally for anyone to use "hunting/camping/kayaking/etc" with no expectation of exclusive rights or that someone can't move your property or pick from whatever fruit tree that you might have planted.
 
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Greg Mamishian wrote:

The original intent no longer fits how the majority of people live
so it will need to be altered and made more complex until it does.

Not only do Constitutions need to have the flexibility to grow with the huge changes happening around us, but also the changes that happen to language itself. For example, as a child "gay" meant "happy", but that is no longer the case. There are plenty of historical situations of functional societies falling into ruin and of politicians trying to turn back the clock when they could be looking for real solutions to the hole their society has dug for itself.  
 
Sebastian Köln
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Greg Mamishian wrote:Does this mean land can be bought sold and owned privately by individuals,
or does it mean that the land is publicly owned?


Yes. You cannot legally own land. You can however own a house with some land around it. But I don't know the details yet.
 
S Bengi
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On a different note, I didn't see anything that said,
Government lands need to managed in a way that feed the soil/ecology. e.g Earthworks, poly culture, soil life, diversity, carbon, mineral, etc
ARTICLE 32. Everyone shall respect and protect the environment.
That just seems extra weak, we all have to cut down trees to build house and use the environment. needed something a bit more concrete at least on the government side in addition to the people side

I was looking for at least something like this:  
ARTICLE XXXX, The Republic of Abkhazia shall guarantee its citizens that it will protect and rejuvenate the soil, water and environment in general as a whole. even beyond the frontier at times.

 
Sebastian Köln
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Yes, there are many problems. But this is a cultural problem, rather than a legislative one. Luckily most "economy" happens at the coast, so the water supply is not threatened.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Jay Angler wrote:Greg Mamishian wrote:

The original intent no longer fits how the majority of people live
so it will need to be altered and made more complex until it does.

Not only do Constitutions need to have the flexibility to grow with the huge changes happening around us, but also the changes that happen to language itself. For example, as a child "gay" meant "happy", but that is no longer the case. There are plenty of historical situations of functional societies falling into ruin and of politicians trying to turn back the clock when they could be looking for real solutions to the hole their society has dug for itself.  



Jay, I sure wouldn't hold my breath for politicians to solve problems! (lol)

I think they tend to be more individual than political
as the quality of a nation is determined by the quality of the lives of its citizens.
John Adams knew what the Constitution could and could not do, and in my opinion he was correct.
 
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Sebastion, found it.

ARTICLE 13. Inalienable human rights and freedoms are the right to life, freedom, immunity and to ownership of private property.

Your Constitution has some nice parallels with ours. One example is three branches of government. Listing ownership of private property as an inalienable right is actually better than our Constiution!

 
D. Logan
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Sorry for the long delay. Here is the first draft document. Be aware of a few things:
This isn't a finished document.
This is meant to represent a series of compromises between very different people.
It isn't meant to be perfect, just solid.
A lot of what is here is entirely unrelated to Permaculture in the traditional sense.

I welcome all thoughts, most especially on those sections where it pertains to permaculture methods being applied to a national constitution.

The RTF Document
 
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D. Logan wrote:Sorry for the long delay. Here is the first draft document. Be aware of a few things:
This isn't a finished document.
This is meant to represent a series of compromises between very different people.
It isn't meant to be perfect, just solid.
A lot of what is here is entirely unrelated to Permaculture in the traditional sense.

I welcome all thoughts, most especially on those sections where it pertains to permaculture methods being applied to a national constitution.

The RTF Document




I skimmed it.

A few things.  

1) "will extend countless generations" ,  try "sustainable infidelity until the stars go cold and beyond" .
2) "sustainale" or words like it only show up 6 times in the doc, that seems.  "Perm" as in permaculture,   only show up 3 times.
3) A healthy dose of Roberts Rules of Order might be required.
 3.1)  One of the reasons the US constitution is so popular and copied from is that it's so short, bland, and generic.    e.g. 'all men created equal',    To fixup the laws you just need to change the definitions of words.  Which over time happens.
4) include a dictionary for all terms so that we don't need to have discussions later about them.
5) There is a difference between country and nation.   People can be parts of several nations.  
6) Don't limit yourself to a geographic location.
7) define people very clearly.   I would suggest getting in front of the AI reovluation and just use the generic 'mind'.  and define a threshold clearly.   E.g. mice don't get direct votes.  Niether do humans who do not yet have volintary motor control. etc.



... more later maybe.  

good luck with it.
 
Tom Rutledge
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Tom Rutledge wrote:

D. Logan wrote:Sorry for the long delay. Here is the first draft document. Be aware of a few things:



...
more later maybe.  

good luck with it.



It's later!

0) a permiculture based docment would include the three permicutlure ethics.

8) Citizen ship,  How does one get to be one?   What is allowed to proclude or exclude a citizen?  Can citizenship be stripped?  Can i t be renounced, and what happens to the apostate?
9) Who or what gets to make binding contracts / treties with the nation, or sub organizational units?   Who can sign up the nation to the new United Nations?  or sign up as a colony of china?
10) One really awesome thing about the 10 commandments or the 11 general orders is that they fit easily insides peoples heads, and can be read and understood simply.  It would be awesome if there was a one page / memorizable by a 3rd grader version of the deal that this document provides.
11) RFC language.  'must' vs 'should'.    To a modern reading, everything with "should" next to it can be ignored.   I presume that's not the intent.
12) 'science'  is not in the document.
13) a governmental body expressly built to advocate for the future and those without voice would probably be a good thing.   Embody the whole 7 generations thing.  
14) of there's going to be mandatory military training at 16, maybe there should be mandatory sustainability training and ability by age 12, and before full citizenship is attained.


Why is this all part of the permaculture part, because people are part of the system.  





Good luck!
 
D. Logan
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Tom Rutledge wrote:

Tom Rutledge wrote:

D. Logan wrote:Sorry for the long delay. Here is the first draft document. Be aware of a few things:



...
more later maybe.  

good luck with it.



It's later!

0) a permiculture based docment would include the three permicutlure ethics.

8) Citizen ship,  How does one get to be one?   What is allowed to proclude or exclude a citizen?  Can citizenship be stripped?  Can i t be renounced, and what happens to the apostate?
9) Who or what gets to make binding contracts / treties with the nation, or sub organizational units?   Who can sign up the nation to the new United Nations?  or sign up as a colony of china?
10) One really awesome thing about the 10 commandments or the 11 general orders is that they fit easily insides peoples heads, and can be read and understood simply.  It would be awesome if there was a one page / memorizable by a 3rd grader version of the deal that this document provides.
11) RFC language.  'must' vs 'should'.    To a modern reading, everything with "should" next to it can be ignored.   I presume that's not the intent.
12) 'science'  is not in the document.
13) a governmental body expressly built to advocate for the future and those without voice would probably be a good thing.   Embody the whole 7 generations thing.  
14) of there's going to be mandatory military training at 16, maybe there should be mandatory sustainability training and ability by age 12, and before full citizenship is attained.


Why is this all part of the permaculture part, because people are part of the system.



Thanks for all the input and insight. I appreciate the effort you took to go over things in depth and offer up your thoughts. I'll take time and comb over the document with each of these notations in mind. Some things likely skewed from the huge amount of time and close proximity to the text that was involved. Others, such as point 0, originate in the initial choice to obfuscate aspects so that they were meant to appear within without being outright stated. I know it ended up longer than I wanted as I tried to incorporate different things into it that got clarified as amendments in the US Constitution or which remain currently in doubt. Hopefully I'll be able to make some clean improvements on draft two using your thoughts to help refine my own.

Again, thank you for taking the time to go over it and offer your thoughts. I know this document was no small task to review.
 
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