Ways in Which I Depend upon Humanity

In light of the perpetual insistence of American conservatives that everyone must take personal responsibility for oneself, and furthermore that one succeeds or fails entirely by his/herself, I have decided to start a list of ways in which I depend upon humanity. It’s an excellent exercise, I highly recommend it.

out of many, one

  1. to have been spawned by a pair of humans
  2. a house to live in
  3. objects of comfort; furniture, entertainment, etc.
  4. roads to walk on
  5. food to eat
  6. be free of serious or common threats to my physical security
  7. entertainment- television, music, art, books
  8. tools to use
    1. cooking
    2. gardening
    3. hardware
    4. computers
    5. mobile devices
    6. writing instruments
    7. grooming tools and solutions
    8. glasses/contact lenses
    9. first aid materials
    10. drugs
    11. software
    12. art 
  1. means of transit
  2. an office to work in
  3. a school to attend
  4. a field of study in which to participate
  5. a degree to be recognized internationally
  6. people to have taught me
  7. people to have written materials from which I’ve gained insight
  8. a common language to speak and write
  9. values in which to subscribe
  10. a culture in which to participate and gain insight into the nature, meaning, and destiny of humanity
  11. social etiquette and manners facilitating interaction with other humans
  12. clothing to have been designed, manufactured, and sold
  13. recreational objects
  14. literally billions of fellow species members, most of whom will provide assistance if needed, some of whom with the capacity to entertain and provide some degree of validation of my own existence
  15. the design, manufacture, and sale of things I have used to express myself: clothing and accessories, cosmetics, perfume, creative instruments and supplies
  16. various fashion, technological, intellectual, and other trends influencing how I present and understand myself
  17. individuals through which I understand reality
  18. those who have tended to my physical appearance and health
  19. artists to have inspired me
  20. those who inspired the artists I have enjoyed or from whose work I have benefited
  21. farmers of all kinds
  22. those who design(ed) and innovate(d) various advances in modern agriculture
  23. people to have bred the plants I enjoy aesthetically or culinarily
  24. people to have done the research that permitted various technological advances
  25. a (stable, valuable) currency to earn and use to obtain objects of necessity or recreation
  26. a number to call to receive assistance if I am having an emergency beyond my control with regard to my health or another human or other animal
  27. the history and development of modern science, including medicine and psychiatry, botany, technology, biology, engineering, and physics
  28. the invention and employment of electricity
  29. sources of energy to be harvested and employed
  30. modern plumbing
  31. means and regulation of the control, cleaning, enrichment, and delivery of water
  32. the internet and those involved in the maintenance of every website I’ve ever used
  33. political movements to become involved in
  34. means to understand and contextualize the experience of being alive
  35. the existence of foreign and domestic governments to ensure a similar level of security and convenience in many other places on earth
  36. political liberty
  37. physical liberty
  38. architecture and infrastructure
  39. postal services
  40. the existence of businesses and conditions conducive to doing business such that I may readily obtain goods and services to facilitate various activities of necessity or recreation
  41. the regulation and quality control of various goods and services upon which I depend
  42. a justice system through which I may be able to guarantee my rights or correct injustices done to me
Constitutional Originalism: The American Religion

by Heather L Stephens

Next week, I will wake up in Europe and start a new life as an American expatriate. As one who was once a loyal defender of the American experiment, and in the wake of today’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, I am moved to reflect a bit on the US Constitution. A number of Americans, including several Supreme Court justices and a not-insignificant portion of elected officials, identify as strict constitutional originalists, meaning they believe we should adhere to the Constitution exactly as it was conceived by its original authors. It might be worth noting at the outset that many of the framers themselves didn’t even fully comprehend the meaning of all elements of the Constitution, and so to claim that there is some universal constitutional truth is a bit disingenuous. That is not my main quarrel with this philosophy, however.

National Archives - Constitution

To start, if one claims that Congress’s powers are solely limited to those outlined in Section 8, then why did the Framers include clauses such as this one?

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

You see that phrase, “all other powers vested by this constitution”? That encompasses practically everything relevant to participating in a human society, because it also includes the Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This is in essence our government’s mission statement. This might be the most important part of the whole document. At its core, the Constitution describes a structure. It does not prescribe a final product; it is not teleological; it is open-ended, and that is among its foremost strengths. It provides an objective and a set of tools. So the question becomes, who exactly decides how to manipulate these tools (pun intended) in pursuit of a more perfect union? Well, we all do, really. Our evolving value systems influence the formation of public policy, insofar they are able with the tools we have chosen to use.

So then, can it be “unconstitutional,” as Ron Paul claims, to establish a department of education? What an absurd question: that’s like trying to learn how to compose music from a book describing the mechanics of a piano. If the founders had any wisdom, and I believe they did, it was to avoid policy suggestions in a manual meant to sketch merely the constitution of the government (get it?), not its substance. Indeed, the specific provisions that are offered in the constitution are sort of nonsensical in modern society. Cases exceeding $20? Blacks are 3/5 of a person? Two senators for every state?

National Archives - external

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