The Basis for a Constitution

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By Alison Wakelin

Alison WakelinNew times require new thought.

Western Unificationists cannot simply offer the U.S. Constitution as a model constitution for Cheon Il Guk because it is based on a worldview that increasingly reflects the way Americans used to think, not the way we would like to think in the future. It defines life in terms of ownership of material resources and the overarching need to escape the oppression of authoritarian leadership. More human rights-based thinking crept in over the years, but was relegated to the Bill of Rights that is supplementary to the Constitution itself.

The proper order for a healthy society is the reverse. The original purpose of life and identity of a human being should be the primary thrust of a constitution, while the regrettable need for some governmental authority and control should become secondary.

It could be argued that the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights are so obvious they don’t need verbal expression. To young people they probably are.

However, we see much evidence in today’s society that competing in the marketplace and living subject to the many and proliferating instruments of governmental regulation and control has produced a population that lives defensively. Society is finding self-preservation so burdensome that there is little room to care actively for human rights on a larger scale. Those who have been successful in the financial world tend to speak of their own rights much more than of the needs of others, and tend to see poverty as a sign of failure more than anything else.

Constitutional rights have become legal rights, and the legal world dominates modern economic life. Without a wide, encompassing basis for a constitution, it is inevitable that the restrictions will eventually become part of everyday life via a system of laws and societal institutions.

Therefore, it is essential to broaden the Constitution to embrace growth and the freedoms commensurate with our much greater technological and scientific knowledge.

We find ourselves in a society where so much is based on laws and the legal system, yet the quality of legal help is circumscribed by access, typically confined to the wealthy. How burdensome it must be to a corporation to have to keep a team of lawyers, at huge expense, to manage their existence. What a waste of productive energy and creativity that could have been applied to research into better products or services! In a world where we are largely beyond the need to labor constantly to produce goods and services, a corporation can be more financially successful by judiciously managing its relationship to government and the banks than by producing more and better goods. The Founding Fathers could not have foreseen such a development.

The U.S. Constitution, so essential for the creation of a society with basic freedoms, nonetheless now leaves us powerless to manifest the deep desire of the population to overcome the widening economic inequality and deepening poverty (in a nation that has dominated the world economically for decades), unprecedented government surveillance of its own people, overflowing jails filled with the mentally ill as well as our disenfranchised youth, etc. The real issue is that what is only part of life has been taken too often to be the whole, even to the extent of the Founders permitting slavery because it fit within their worldview that overemphasized the importance of property.

However, there is nothing wrong with the values expressed in our Constitution that reprioritizing cannot put right. We want the future to be one of trust and cooperation, but there is still a need to keep watch on governments in case individuals with power complexes start to take over. We would like equality and general empowerment rather than a competition for survival, but we know that taking from the rich to give to the poor is a recipe for resentment and blame.

We require a new relationship with the natural world and with each other that guides us towards stewardship and sustainability, and yet still enables personal growth, freedom and adventure in life. This cannot be found within the current Constitution, due primarily to the overriding necessity the Founding Fathers felt to define a realm of freedom in a world where it was almost universally denied. Now, however, we cannot hope to have freedom without universal economic freedom and universal human rights.

The time is right for us to enter a process that leads us eventually to a definition of life as a basis for a new constitution.

For a Unificationist, this step should not be too challenging, since we have already seen the transformational power of a statement of a new, greater identity within our lives. Human beings have the capacity to grow into the highest vision of their identity of which they can conceive by making appropriate choices. And we are now at that point where we need to make a transition to a united whole, as evidenced by the efforts to arrive at a constitution for the Cheon Il Guk era.

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A panel session from the “Public Hearing on the Cheon Il Guk Constitution” held on July 23-24, 2013 at the Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology in Korea.

We need a constitution that emphasizes what it means to be a post-Foundation Day human being, not one that preserves the old approach of defining property relations and stating the chain of command. Mature adults should make decisions for themselves rather than look to an outside authority. If we cannot claim that we now have the right to be regarded as trusted adults, then we will never have that right.

Of course not everyone is mature, and we cannot simply abandon the necessity for a judicial system. But we can put these things into their proper place, not as a rule of law by which we should forever remain dominated and restricted.

Therefore, I offer eight points which I believe are a starting point for the primary definition of a society which manifests a post-Foundation Day Cheon Il Guk, and which will also apply to the larger world in which Cheon Il Guk will play a part.

Eight fundamental areas to be addressed in a healthy society are:

  1. All people at birth inherit the right to receive parental love and nurturing, leading to growth and development towards self-actualization. In this process, responsibility is gradually transferred from the parent to the child.
  1. All people at birth inherit the right to ownership of enough of the created world to guarantee survival; all people also inherit the responsibility to guarantee this same right to all other people.
  1. All people at birth inherit the right to education to the level at which they will be able to continue to pursue their own education as they choose, be able to fulfill their role as citizens of the world, and participate in all decisions pertaining to the society in which they live.
  1. Society functions to support the creative endeavors of all adults, in the context of their fulfilling their basic responsibilities to the whole, facilitating, not hindering, people’s innovative ideas and entrepreneurship so they can be co-creators.
  1. A justice system is focused on rehabilitation and reconciliation, not punishment for its own sake.
  1. Leadership is a position of service towards the whole. A true leader is the one who creates the most leaders, and who creates the most opportunities for growth and fulfillment for all people.
  1. All people are born with the right to live within a clean and healthy environment, and have an equal responsibility for preservation of the planet for future generations.
  1. A happy society encourages healthy relationships, with particular emphasis on marriage practices. Heart will rule all relationships.

Rights cannot be claimed without responsibility for their fulfillment being assigned, but in the case of a defining constitution, acceptance of such rights assumes that responsibility lies with the whole. These questions can arise in designing the constitution. There are clearly many ways in which such basic rights can be assured by community-level agreement, and the least restrictive terms should be used within a constitutional document to allow for individual creativity and insight in its implementation.

Once a society has covered every facet of human life by a system of rules, it is most likely time to start over on a new constitution. Such is the nature of human beings.♦

Alison Wakelin (UTS Class of 1989) has a M.A. in Astrophysics from Princeton University, and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy at Widener University in Chester, PA. Previously, she lived and worked in Korea for ten years.

10 thoughts on “The Basis for a Constitution

  1. As soon as the author of this piece wrote in the opening paragraph, “…not the way we would like to think in the future,” I found myself compelled to ask: “Just how are we all supposed to think in the future?” Are we really creating a brave new world where everyone will all think the same way? What a scary thought that is. Then I looked at the photo provided of the Public Hearing on the Cheon Il Guk Constitution, which showed a governing panel of six Korean men; not a single woman, Korean or otherwise, or even someone international. I guess such homogeneous CIG leadership goes a long way in promoting the concept that everyone should think the same in the future world. If so, what an interesting place that will be.

  2. I wonder whose thoughts and ideas are even considered in creating and designing the constitution. Furthermore, once things are decided, who will be willing to submit themselves to being accountable to it and what would that process of being held accountable look like? Would there be room for change as we progress and evolve as people? What would be the enrollment process and experience for those who haven’t heard about the constitution? Where in the existing world could this constitution be upheld and implemented? Who would govern over it? How would it be enforced and by who?

  3. One of the most important points to glean from this essay is that modern societies are complex and that many forces are at work that must be harmonized: freedom, the need for family, leadership that is responsible, the sustainability of the environment, etc. Some of these points, the more unchanging ones, should be in a constitution, and others are more appropriate to an ongoing body of legislation. It is not good to put actual legislation into a constitution, but the constitution should structure the flow of power, embody core principles, and guarantee basic rights.

    Things begin to break down when one principle of governance gets pushed to the exclusion of others — you get reductionism. Political systems based on reductionism (like Marxism) end up killing lots of people because the existing system is based on a complex array of principles that evolved over a long period of time. This is why each country should begin a transformation from where it is, gradually aligning its present system with good principles of governance.

    In most cases a new constitution can be a modification of the existing one, to eliminate areas where corruption and abuse of power occurs systemically. Then individual laws should be passed to check specific forms of corruption — e.g., Medicare fraud. And, the thousands of laws that cause corruption (and in the case of the U.S. Constitution, the Amendments that cause corruption) should be repealed one by one. This transformative approach enables life to get better than what it is each day without causing a systemic collapse in which masses of people may die or are killed.

  4. I will comment directly on the eight points. The words “the right” run throughout these points. As I reflect on the phrasing and usage, it comes across to me as a demand, rather than a statement of being. When you start with demands it is only a short step to imposing your will and viewpoint on others.

    Still these points have merit in that people do realize the world is not ideal and needs related to these eight points must be met or solved for an ideal world to manifest itself. I will take point one as an example of what I see as missing. It states:

    “All people at birth inherit the right to receive parental love and nurturing, leading to growth and development towards self-actualization. In this process, responsibility is gradually transferred from the parent to the child.”

    This is only true if born of God’s lineage and ideal. Otherwise, there is no right. This is a consequence of the fall of man. For this point to be met you absolutely need ideal (True) parents. Now if you have ideal parents, what need is there to state this in a ‘constitution’ as this would live and be expressed in the actions and heart of the parents.

    Fundamentally, you can say nearly the same for the rest of the points. These premises only stand if there are ideal parents and the desire to fulfill God’s three blessings. This is accomplished through families. This is the reason Satan (enemy of God) has sought to destroy the family since the time of the fall of man. I see the focus on the CIG constitution (or any constitution) as something that consumes the energies, time, and hearts of people, distracting them from the real focal point of God’s ideal, the family. There will never be a document that can express or realize the ideal world better then a family that lives, breathes, and functions to fulfill the three blessings and return joy to God.

    Without God’s lineage there is no foundation for love. Without God’s love, there is no chance for peace in the heart. Without peace in the heart, it is impossible to create an ideal world. The “Kingdom of God” comes without signs to be observed, since it comes from within, not from without.

  5. Normally a nation comes first, then the founding fathers (let’s include founding mothers too) start a government. Then a constitution is produced after long discussion among all the parties involved.

    The U.S. Constitution was largely based on the Bible, but was corrupted over many years, but still is a must foundation to start on if done correctly. A constitution should be undertaken thoughtfully over time and be something that serves all equally, not something that has a short-term time limit, now everybody step in line. But, we are missing the first step: a nation. We are engaging in an interesting thought process, but there is a saying about not putting the cart before the horse.

  6. Reflecting on Alison’s essay on the whole, I was particularly focused on where she defined the legal system as it is today in the US. The system of justice in the US, for example, operates on concept of “punishment” rather than rehabilitation. Punishment is akin to Old Testament “eye for an eye” philosophy, which is an underlying principle of a corrupted legal system operating in the US. Many in education circles and think tanks suspect this is a complicated result of politicians usurping public moneys to build jails and prisons in their constituents’ districts, resulting in jobs and money flowing to businesses/vendors supporting these institutions.

    US Code actually defines the purpose of prison by codifying the “punishment rather than rehabilitation” philosophy. Punishment is written into law. Civil lawsuits follow this philosophy and have resulted in huge compensatory and punitive damage awards to people undeserving of the disparity of the reward vs. the wrong. Civil rights have been twisted into the rights of those who scream the loudest, rather than equalizing rights for all. We all must accept the invasion of one’s personal opinions upon our own life so this person’s feelings will not be hurt (prayer in school for example). Alison’s analysis of the legal system is correct, and this topic is being debated now in legal and social circles as whether the US has been dealing fairly with those deemed “errants”. Certain arrests and prosecutions in the US system of justice, according to the FBI, have increased by more than 2,500% since 1999. There is room for miles of improvements not only in the legal/justice system, but in each and every aspect of this society.

    So, how will the Constitution of Cheon Il Guk address the disparity of justice, both criminal and civil? Obviously, public safety is the number one concern, the number one priority that drives the way that the legal and justice system will be structured and operate, and this will evolve in a positive direction as humanity’s spiritual senses begin to heal and rejuvenate/regenerate. Once the masses, in a higher relationship with God and the Universe in coming generations, realize that the primitive system of justice operating in all societies today is not only obsolete but destructive to social growth, then it will move toward a system that values restoration, rehabilitation, and reasonable compensation for injury (unlike jackpot jury awards) based on making the injured whole. The crime rate in the US has been slowly dropping for the past 10 or so years, and some argue that the lawbreakers have been put away for good: a sentence of decades for simple drug possession charges, for instance. In Cheon Il Guk, can people of conscience throw away a human being because of disgust with that person’s imperfections?

    The points made are ripe for debate and discussion. My argument here covers only one topic, yet as we move toward perfecting a Constitution based on Rev. Dr. Moon’s direct guidance on how the Constitution should be framed and written, the public debate and input will add to the sacred value of an instrument that should be derived from Heaven.

    • I think what we see in the justice system today is a clear manifestation of the archangelic aspects of the American/Western character.

      I like the passage from F. David Peat’s essay, “Blackfoot Physics and European Minds“:

      “Take as an example, Blackfoot justice. What we would term a crime is, to many indigenous people, a disruption of the harmonious working of their society. Rather than approaching this disorder in terms of adversarial trial, proof, guilt and punishment, a circle of elders meet with the aggrieved party and perpetrator. Discussion within this circle is not so much designed to establish the factuality of what has occurred but rather it seeks a way of restoring balance. Thus the perpetrator may be asked to suggest some action that would satisfy all parties. Finally, when everyone is again in a balanced relationship the decision is made public.”

      The early settlers in this country buried this model, but the thinking of indigenous peoples is undergoing a renaissance these days. I foresee something healthy emerging from embracing both models. I would like to see the involvement of community elders, both men and women, in creating a justice system that works in their community based on the principles of restoration, reconciliation and rehabilitation.

  7. I am glad to see original thinking injected into the debate. I think a constitution describes a healthy political body, just as a medical book describes a healthy physical body.

    In a family, the rights Alison describes are assumed; food, clothing and shelter and some education are given to all, regardless of ability. Some families fail to manage the gradual transition from a child who receives to an adult who takes responsibility, and they end up with a 30 year old in the basement. To Robert’s point, only True People can write a True Constitution (I use True as Rev. Moon did — correct angle, vertical).

    It seems to me that a constitution needs a bill of responsibilities to complement the Bill of Rights. If we add that, we can evolve our culture toward CIG. I would not object to a constitution that guaranteed minimal food, clothing and shelter to all if it was accompanied by an enforceable expectation of responsibility.

    • John,

      I really like your example of a medical book describing a healthy body. This goes to the point that the governments and founding documents are merely reflections (results) of God’s ideal, which starts and exists in true families. Those documents and institutions merely clearly describe the ideal. They do not create it. The family is the fundamental basis for God’s ideal and power.

  8. Several points caught my attention. For one, justice is not the highest mode of conflict resolution or restitution — true love is. Justice is important but not the ultimate solution because not everyone wins before the law. There are winners and losers in any litigation. Gordon Anderson pointed to the issue of complexity in our modern world. Indeed, Adam Smith, F.A. Hayek, Thomas Sowell and others posit that in a world of 7 billion people and multiple cultural spheres and customs, there is too much diversity of circumstances to find a single remedy that can cure all of our ills in one fell swoop without a huge cost. Historically, when that has been attempted in Russia, China, Cuba, and N. Korea, the cost has been the loss of freedom and the implementation of totalitarianism.

    Without first establishing a successful model that others would want to emulate and adopt, the dream of an ideal world will remain a hope more than the realization of that hope. In the peace messages that Father left us, he spoke of “creating the conditions for natural surrender.” This remains a central issue and why “Applied Unificationism” is, and should be, a significant aspect of our work, whether in education, economics, culture (three topics that Dr. Mose Durst has written insightful books about), media, politics, environment, etc. Triumphalism based on any religious precept (only we have the way!) will never get us to the point of “natural surrender” with those who we hope will come around to understanding that “our way” has tremendous value in the pursuit of a culture of peace.

    Freedom of choice is no small matter because as DP clearly states, without freedom we never get to the point where we can achieve the three blessings and become co-creators.

    I agree with Alison that contemporary society’s preoccupation with the marketplace (Marx and Adorno called it “a commodity fetish”) is a huge problem that mitigates attempts to bring spirituality into the equation via the actualization of true love. In my work in the arts, almost all of my successes in the past decade (in Europe, Asia, Israel, South America, at the UN, with orchestras in the U.S, “Saturday Night Live,” the History Channel, TV spots for NY State) have been the result of having served the musicians and producers I’ve become acquainted with and then served or assisted their needs. I dare say that in our own sphere this needs to be more evident. Only then will others want to become associated with us and have there own epiphanies about “our way.”

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