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Publishing Company Puts Warning Label on Constitution

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the inappropriate-founding-fathers dept.

United States 676

Wilder Publication is under fire for putting warning labels on copies of historical US documents, including the Constitution. The label warns "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today." From the article: "The disclaimer goes on to tell parents that they 'might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.'"

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Copyright (3, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538900)

Damned right, if it was written today no one would be able to read it without paying some exorbitant price, and you better not expect to share the document with anyone else!

Re:Copyright (1, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539250)

> if it was written today no one would be able to read it without paying some exorbitant price

Of course it would be expensive! After all. go look at the EU Constitutionfor an example of what modern Progressive politicians would write. They gotta kill a lot of trees to print a copy of that f**ker. Of course that is the beauty of ours, it is short enough EVERY person should be expected to demonstrate not just a basic knowledge of it, they should demonstrate mastery of it before being given a ballot. No Progressive would ever be elected again, which is of course why they spent the last century on a project to push it down the memory hole. First they pushed for government schools and then undermined the curriculum to remove all study of the Constitution beyond the Preamble. Beyond that the texts tell the kids what it 'says' without studying the actual text.

Re:Copyright (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539350)

If it was written today, it would be a lot shorter.

Re:Copyright (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539452)

No way. It would be about 20 times longer. See today, they hand it off to interns to write. The goal is to write everything so thick and deep, that NOBODY could credibly claim to have read it.

Now, maybe you mean "it would mean less and contain less protections". Thats absolutely true. As far as I can tell, the people in charge today would junk the entire bill of rights, from freedom of the press and right to bear arms, all the way down through.

I would be absolutely shocked if you retained any rights other than to vote in the already rigged voting system, and would probably gain a few pointless ones like an inalienable right to pay taxes.

-Steve

Re:Copyright (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539474)

If it was written today, it would be a lot shorter.

Not true, if I were to go by what people seem to think the role of government should be, it would be a HUGE document detailing every single thing that you are allowed to do, and there would be a LOT that you are allowed to do. Every freedom that you now enjoy would likely be included in the document.

And hopefully you understand why that would be a terrifying prospect.

Re:Copyright (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539642)

plus there would be a couple thousand riders paperclipped to it

Re:Copyright (4, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539618)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, but Corporations are more equal than others. That products are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Patentability, Copyright and the pursuit of Profit. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from the payment of the governing. That whenever any Form of Behavior becomes destructive to the maximization of profits, it is the Right of the Corporate to alter or to abolish it.

Re:Copyright (3, Informative)

heruvian (1816212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539668)

Thats the declaration of independence.

Warning (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538910)

Warning, this constitution is of its time, its views might not reflect the actions of those sworn to protect it and uphold it or the courts sworn to interpret it correctly.

Warning Unnecessary (4, Insightful)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539356)

No one actually reads the Constitution anyway. They just tell you what it says.

Interpret it correctly (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539410)

The problem with interpretation is that it's subjective and changes over time. Also, human language is vague.

When you hear people claim they're for strict interpretation, that's a somewhat dishonest shorthand for favoring someone who reads the constitution to suit their specific needs and prejudices.

Re:Interpret it correctly (5, Insightful)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539534)

no, actually, when i say it I mean that no one section should hold primacy over the rest. So for example, Bush had legitimate Article II power to run the military and defend the country but he overreached when he claimed it enabled him to annul Habeas and the 4th amendment. See how that works there? Each part of the constitution is as important as each other part.

Re:Interpret it correctly (4, Insightful)

2names (531755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539558)

Also, human language is vague.

****A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.****

How the fuck is that vague? What part of SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED do people not understand?!?!?!

Re:Warning (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539560)

Well said.

Also what's the deal with calling the Constitution "classic"? It is a PRESENT document that still have the full force of law.

Inb4... (2, Insightful)

Taevin (850923) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538912)

In before the trolls!

*reads article*

Oh...

A Better Target (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538952)

I think the Bible would be a better book to slap that kind of a warning on.

Re:A Better Target (2, Interesting)

tao (10867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538992)

Re:A Better Target (5, Insightful)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539462)

Pol pot, Mao, and Stalin certainly didn't need any stinkin' bible to commit genocide. Plain human greed and sociopathy work just fine on their own. One might even reasonably think that hatred of religion qua religion is a red herring.

Re:A Better Target (1, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539030)

But there are constitutional fundamentalists just like there are biblical ones. The only difference is how out of date their holy scriptures are.

Re:A Better Target (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539102)

No, the difference is: there's a process to change the Constitution if you think it's outdated. The process is not "just ignore what you have sworn to uphold and defend". It requires a supermajority for a reason.

Without constitutional fundamentalism we have raw democracy: the tyranny of the majority writ large. It's not a good thing.

Re:A Better Target (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539638)

Ramen. I think you must take the Constitution quite literally, as the primary purpose of the document is to LIMIT GOVERNMENTAL POWERS. That is the point most people miss. The whole idea of the Amendments was to insure that the minority wasn't oppressed by the majority.

Re:A Better Target (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539146)

So which parts of the constitution do you find is "out of date"? Is it that it protects the rights of citizens and requires a warrant for you to be searched according to it? Or is it that you don't like freedom of speech? Or is it that you don't believe we should have the right to legally bear arms to defend ourselves against criminals or, should it become a form of tyranny, the government? Or is it that you don't believe in the right to a trial by jury?

All of the things in the constitution are great guiding points, with the exception of the amendment allowing the income tax, and the (thankfully repealed) amendment allowing the prohibition of alcohol.

3/5ths compromise (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539312)

You forgot one:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (Art. 1, Sec. 2, Para. 3)

Re:3/5ths compromise (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539372)

But if an Indian pays taxes, then he counts as a whole free person?

Re:3/5ths compromise (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539518)

You forgot one:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (Art. 1, Sec. 2, Para. 3)

Which ironically, isn't a problem any more since we have decided that all people are free persons.

Re:3/5ths compromise (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539584)

and that was amended out. it's kept in the text for context. you know kinda like a changelog from svn. it helps you not repeat mistakes. something about learning the lessons of history. i forget.

Re:3/5ths compromise (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539616)

That section was amended implicitly when slavery was banned, by making everyone "free Persons".

In other words, you are correct in that the section you quote is not a great guiding point, but that's irrelevant, because we changed it over a hundred years ago.

In other words, the system works as intended, so it's silly to put warning labels on it.

Re:A Better Target (1)

Taevin (850923) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539318)

See, you prove Hognoxious' point: The only difference is how out of date the holy scriptures are.

All of the things in the constitution are great guiding points, with the exception

Just like the bible thumpers. It's all Good! Except for those parts we don't like.

Re:A Better Target (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539400)

No, the difference is we can amend the constitution to repeal it. The problem is, such a thing wouldn't be ratified by the states because the states enjoy levying a blatantly constitutional tax.

To put it in a biblical context it would be a bit like the pope contradicting scripture and reverting back to the scripture.

Re:A Better Target (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539364)

So which parts of the constitution do you find is "out of date"? Is it that it protects the rights of citizens and requires a warrant for you to be searched according to it? Or is it that you don't like freedom of speech? Or is it that you don't believe we should have the right to legally bear arms to defend ourselves against criminals or, should it become a form of tyranny, the government? Or is it that you don't believe in the right to a trial by jury?

All of the things in the constitution are great guiding points, with the exception of the amendment allowing the income tax, and the (thankfully repealed) amendment allowing the prohibition of alcohol.

I like to take this time to point out the hypocrisy of the supreme courts rulings on the constitutionality of drug prohibition.

Re:A Better Target (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539630)

/agree. totally. just like the declaration of war on terrorism. an amendment i'd like to see would prohibit declaring war on nouns.

Re:A Better Target (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539396)

So which parts of the constitution do you find is "out of date"? Is it that it protects the rights of citizens and requires a warrant for you to be searched according to it? Or is it that you don't like freedom of speech? Or is it that you don't believe we should have the right to legally bear arms to defend ourselves against criminals or, should it become a form of tyranny, the government? Or is it that you don't believe in the right to a trial by jury?

Most of those things are in fact out of date. That is, they don't describe our current government in the slightest.

Re:A Better Target (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539420)

The bit about a "Well regulated militia", for one. Do you really think them thar injuns are going to attack?

The real point is that there are those who think if it isn't mentioned in the constitution it isn't allowed (usually comes up with regard to drunk driving not being illegal, for some reason). Odd thing is the constitution doesn't say anything about cars at all - or airports, or television, or intarwebs...

Also remember where it says "all men" it meant not women and not blacks.

Re:A Better Target (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539432)

Oh no, not those. None of those things are true anymore.

WARNING (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539070)

WARNING: This book is fiction, any relationship to people living or dead is purely co-incidintal?

Re:WARNING (2, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539184)

WARNING: This book is allegory, any relationship to beings or places, real or imaginary is purely co-incidental.

Re:A Better Target (2, Interesting)

paulsnx2 (453081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539168)

There is no doubt that the Bible relates a number of very scary concepts (The story of Lot, restricting warfare to damages no greater than inflicted upon your tribe (that eye for an eye thing), or even its revision by Jesus, i.e. Love for one's enemies and do good to those that hate you).

But the real question is why many people equate the Constitution to a Holy book. The Constitution does discuss slavery as if it were a reasonable institution, and that can be hard for children to deal with.

Does this require a warning label? I don't think so, but giving it one doesn't bother me given some of its historical contents.

Re:A Better Target (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539680)

>>>The Constitution does discuss slavery as if it were a reasonable institution

Woah, hold on there. The Southern delegates wanted the slaves counted as full persons, even though they were not treated as persons. The Northern delegates said the southern delegates were being hypocritical, treating their slaves as both property and persons at the same. The Abolitionists and the Plantationists were butting heads and threatening to tear apart this just-born country.

The Constitution does Not treat slavery as reasonable. It treats it as Unreasonable which is why there's the illogic of counting slaves as 3/5 people. Rather than create a civil war in 1786, a compromise was reached. Else there'd be no United States today.

I think the Founders made the wise decision of letting the U.S. exist, and fix the imperfections later. Which is what we eventually did

Re:A Better Target (2, Insightful)

thewiz (24994) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539262)

How about slapping the same warning on all political commentary, books, papers, laws, bills, etc? At the beginning of political "news" shows?
Just because a document is hundreds of years old does NOT mean the truths and wisdom contained within are irrelevant due to the current point-of-view.

It's morons like this.. (1, Insightful)

vinn (4370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538960)

It's morons like this that give the morons I hate on the right ammunition.

Re:It's morons like this.. (0, Troll)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539546)

“insulting,” “sickening” and “frankly, horrifying.”

Yep the fake outrage from the right-wingers is happening just as you'd expect.

Teabaggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538964)

Nope, the constitution is valid for all time. Bring back slavery! No votes for bitches!

Re:Teabaggers (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539004)

What a failed troll...since both of those were fixed with Amendments. That's how it's done, you know...

Re:Teabaggers (3, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539114)

So was income tax, but I've heard quite a few Tea Party folks claiming it's unconstitutional.

Re:Teabaggers (0, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539148)

Exactly his point. The teabaggers think the constitution is not a living document. Even though anyone actually reading it's history and the federalist papers knows for a fact is WAS designed as a living document.

Most of these idiots also think the new testament was written by people who knew Jesus. Idiots and morons.

Re:Teabaggers (2)

AhabTheArab (798575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539526)

Exactly his point. The teabaggers

OK, stop there. You know damn well they're not called the "teabaggers". What is up with people calling them that? Are they trying to be funny? trying to sound smart? Grow the fuck up.

Re:Teabaggers (3, Informative)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539658)

Yes, and anyone who read the Federalist Papers would also understand that the general welfare clause was not in itself a grant of power to the federal government, but rather discussing why the federal government was granted the powers it was given.

Likewise, many writings by the Founders, as well as definitions of the time, suggest that the commerce clause would not apply the manufacture of goods, but rather the exchange or transport of goods.

Re:Teabaggers (2, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539076)

I would direct you to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which are part of the constitution and kindly ask that you STFU.

Re:Teabaggers (3, Funny)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539328)

I would direct you to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which are part of the constitution and kindly ask that you STFU.

I would direct you to the 1st Amendment and kindly request that you not ask others to STFU ;)

Re:Teabaggers (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539496)

Oh, come on mods. . . that was funny.

Re:Teabaggers (2, Funny)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539586)

I would direct you to the 1st Amendment which grants the GP the right to kindly ask others to STFU and gives you the right to kindly request that the GP not ask others to STFU ;)

Re:Teabaggers (1)

psmears (629712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539580)

I would direct you to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which are part of the constitution and kindly ask that you STFU.

Women's votes not important to you then? They had to wait for the 19th to guarantee that!

"Political" correctness much? (1)

Shadmere (1158007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538978)

That's probably the most blatant example of overzealous PC CYA I've ever seen. Maybe it's a mistake? That's just bizarre.

Re:"Political" correctness much? (2, Informative)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539080)

Nothing new. The same types of warnings are also being applied to the early episodes of Sesame Street.

So.... what's the outrage again? (5, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538980)

I'm mystified. Why is somebody unhappy about having advice to take historical context in mind when reading the constitution, which in its original doesn't reflect (for example) voting rights for women and former slaves?

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (1)

bangin (1545657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539006)

And look at where those concepts have gotten us. Just joking.

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (2, Interesting)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539048)

Rights for slaves were outlined in documents after the civil war, and rights for women were outlined at the Seneca Falls convention. Wilder is trying to put a "warning" on all of those documents, the documents that still hold true and found our country (I'll be it, corruptly) to this very day.

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539384)

I'll be it

I think the word you were looking for was "albeit"

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539068)

Probably the fact that it was and is the supreme law of the United States.

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539188)

Well, for one thing, it has been properly amended to cover those situations. Unlike much stuff from FDR onward, which was just magically assumed to fall under the propriety of the government's reach without amendment. If society changes, you change the Constitution, which has a built-in, slow, deliberative, supermajority process. If it's that good an idea, most should want it, and still want it 5 or 10 years down the road. If that is not the case, you have no business passing such laws in the first place.

If anything, there should be a warning on that warning. "The above warning is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as if it were written back then. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how memes espoused by the power hungry have bypassed the amendment process by declarative fiat."

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539602)

I don't totally agree with you, but I like your response (especially the meta-warning bit.) Thanks for the thoughts.

However, I think you're conflating the context of passing legislation with amendment of the Constitution. Federal legislation which may effect enforcement or regulation of concepts in the Constitution is not meant to be a slow, supermajority process.

As I think you suggest, it's the society (through votes and elected representatives) that defines the Constitution. It's not the Constitution that defines society.

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539234)

Because when you take something in "historical context" you can easily reason away all of the rights it gave us. For example:

In the 1700s, there were no terrorists flying planes into buildings. Therefore, your right to not be searched unreasonably needs to be removed because if the founding fathers had this "threat" they would have taken it into consideration.

In the 1700s, there were no computers, so this means that your rights don't extend to your own computer when it comes to being searched.

In the 1700s, there was no internet, so this means that internet is not covered under free speech, petition or assembly.

Putting something into "historical context" usually almost always gives someone less rights than guaranteed by law.

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (5, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539376)

The overt argument that you should NOT consider historical context when reading the constitution (which appears to be what you're saying) doesn't follow.

It is true that people can draw ridiculous conclusions of relevance or irrelevance based on historical context, but they can draw equally ridiculous conclusions without any historical context.

Re:So.... what's the outrage again? (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539634)

Because it's good for rousing the idiot reactionaries. Why does Fox News publish any story (not counting the celebrity gossip pieces)?

Worrying trend (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539018)

This is a very worrying trend, parents should not "wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work" because otherwise that leaves things into interpretation and prevents people from forming their own opinion.

The constitution wasn't written with symbolism and to make it be hard to read. No. The constitution and other works of that time period dealing with politics were made for the every day voter and the vocabulary, though slightly archaic is a whole lot easier than that of, say, Shakespeare and lacks the annoying, long, wordiness of later authors like Dickens making it very accessible.

What is next? The banning of all primary source materials in school textbooks because they are old?

Re:Worrying trend (5, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539174)

What is next? The banning of all primary source materials in school textbooks because they are old?

Except this isn't banning anything. Great slippery slope fallacy though!

Re:Worrying trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539196)


This is a very worrying trend, parents should not "wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work" because otherwise that leaves things into interpretation and prevents people from forming their own opinion.

Did you just say that parents should *not* discuss things (History, the US Constitution, how things have changed) with their children, because this would prevent "people from forming their own opinion"? What should we do, leave the kids to absorb the noise that the world throws at us every day?

Do you think that children are incapable of forming their own opinion simply because parents speak to them about things?

Re:Worrying trend (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539366)

No, you have them read the document and form their own opinion based on that

When parents lead their children to believing something, we have the delusional masses on both the left and right who vote without question for the Republicans or Democrats without thinking about what they stand for just because their parents voted that way and when you have that, democracy doesn't work.

Re:Worrying trend (2, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539208)

It's simple political correctness: the Constitution mentions slavery, and so must be flagged as "racist". There are a lot of old pop-culture works with racial stereotypes for which this sort of warning is approriate, and I suspect some simple keyword trigger here. It shows how lame their classification system must be, but I doubt they were making a complicated political statement.

Re:Worrying trend (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539298)

Banning? nice leap, dickhead.

The constitution isn't some document whose writting may appear to change meaing do to social schanges.
It is a well written doument, and it's not too vague. But it isn't perfect.

http://www.usconstitution.net/constmiss.html [usconstitution.net]

Warning Labels OK for Evolution, not for Slavery? (3, Interesting)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539020)

What's amusing about the flap is that I'd be willing to bet that at least some, if not many, of the people upset by this have no problem at all with warning labels on biology textbooks.

Re:Warning Labels OK for Evolution, not for Slaver (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539154)

Warning: This book may contain facts that are incompatible with the superstitious fairy tales that your parents ignorantly used to scare you into being a good boy.

Re:Warning Labels OK for Evolution, not for Slaver (1)

wholestrawpenny (1809456) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539562)

The difference is that the Constitution is one of the principle defining documents of this country (there is obvious proof it exists), and a biology textbook is usually what the author(s) believe to be true in a particular field of research. I don't see how they compare.

"Copyright 2007" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539022)

The warning itself says "Copyright 2007". Why is FoxNews complaining about this now, 3 years later? I'm sure they'll try to blame this on Obama, the people who support him, and their 'attack on America' somehow.

And why is Slashdot acting as a frontman for FoxNews?

In keeping with tradition, really (5, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539058)

The US Constitution itself is a politically correct document. Look how it dances around the issue of slavery: "Person held to Service or Labour" and "three fifths of all other Persons" are the really egregious ones. Everyone knew who these "other Persons" were, but nobody wanted to say it. It wasn't until 1865, almost 80 years later, that the word "slavery" appeared in the 13th amendment, when it was safely in the past tense -- and then in 1870, when the mealy-mouthed Southern gentry, who had been willing to fight a war on behalf of slavery but could never talk about it when Yankees were about, were back in Congress, the 15th gently whispers about "previous condition of servitude."

So for those who think PC is some new an unique blight on our language, sorry, it's pretty much part of our national DNA.

There are other instances which still cause trouble today. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" means that it's illegal for the government to give money to churches just as much as "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" means that it's illegal for for the government to ban them. And "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" is explanatory, not prescriptive; "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" is the part that has the force of law, and all they really needed to write. But there's been enough wiggle room in the phrasing for the enemies of liberty to exploit for the last 220+ years.

Re:In keeping with tradition, really (1, Informative)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539310)

Dvorkin says, The US Constitution itself is a politically correct document. Look how it dances around the issue of slavery: "Person held to Service or Labour"

Like most people who focus on the issue of slavery, you're forgetting the practices of indentured servitude, which was probably more widespread at time than was slavery.

And the South didn't fight over slavery; that issue didn't enter the war til later, and Lincoln was only bent on hurting the south, not helping the slaves -- read his own words about it. The war was about states' rights, and against crushing economic pressure brought by northern industrialists.

This is his standard disclaimer guys (5, Insightful)

neltana (795825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539074)

Hate to break up of the controversy with facts, but this disclaimer is just boilerplate the distributor puts on all of his products. He publishes lots of public domain works and he got sick an tired of people complaining about the language or mores.

You can get the full story on his blog: http://warrenlapine.livejournal.com/ [livejournal.com]

I've known Warren for years. If he had been trying to make a point, he would flat out say that was what he was doing.

well, it is true. (4, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539078)

``This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today.'' Uh, yeah.

The "disclaimer" is not only mere boilerplate for all their historical documents, but a value neutral and true observation. The trolling comes from pure speculation.

And it gets better: `By putting on the warning, you’re making controversial something that’s not controversial: our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence.'' Right. I seem to recall W saying that it was just a "goddam piece of paper." Nothing controversial there.

The fact that we've already amended the Constitution 27 times suggests fairly strongly that the disclaimer is true as stated.

Re:well, it is true. (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539608)

The fact that we've already amended the Constitution 27 times suggests fairly strongly that the disclaimer is true as stated.

10 of which were immediately passed and almost understood to be part of the original document. The passing and the repeal of prohibition are two other amendments that don't really seem to fall into the 'revision' category.

Actually there was one thing I liked about the prohibition amendment. It demonstrated that there was a time when the Federal Government actually followed the Constitution and didn't claim the Commerce Clause gave it ultimate power over everything.

wow, what an overreaction (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539086)

terminology changes. There just trying to get people to think realize that.

An example I use is from H.G> Wells War of the Worlds:
"His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating. "

It involves some papers that will use terms to have a different meaning at the time or context.

Good thing we have the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539100)

So there's nobody who can tell them "you're not allowed to do this".

Yes (3, Insightful)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539124)

Because it's still perfectly acceptable to consider a black person as only 3/5 of a person, and it's perfectly acceptable to refer to native Americans as 'savages' (as in the Declaration of Independence).

Re:Yes (4, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539442)

It said nothing about black people. It referred to persons bound to labor, which SURPRISINGLY ENOUGH included a large number of white indentured servants (and IIRC some outright slaves.) Nice try though.

Re:Yes (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539666)

Because it's still perfectly acceptable to consider a black person as only 3/5 of a person, and it's perfectly acceptable to refer to native Americans as 'savages' (as in the Declaration of Independence).

You've never been to /b/ then ?

sound and fury, anyone? (1)

lapsed (1610061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539126)

The US constitution does say something about slaves being 3/5 people (correct me if I'm wrong -- I'm not an American). Having said that, it looks like a boilerplate warning that that the publisher would attach to reprinted historical documents that some people might find offensive and that might require a bit of historical context to fully understand. And who's linking to Fox for this story? Is anyone other than Fox and Conservapedia [conservapedia.com] upset?

Re:sound and fury, anyone? (2, Interesting)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539516)

The 3/5 compromise was for voting purposes, but it has been changed with the 14th amendment, which should be included in any publication of the constitution, along with the other amendments.

Re:sound and fury, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539682)

The 3/5 compromise was for voting purposes, but it has been changed with the 14th amendment,

Sounds like views on race and ethnicity have changed since the Constitution was originally written. That's something I will discuss with my children.

Voting (for the eligible white voters. Slaves were counted, but couldn't vote), distribution of taxes, how many representatives your state receives in Congress, how many people are in your Congressional district, and probably other things. This affects many (most?) areas of governance at that time, and is a pretty big deal.

Good. (1)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539132)

Any production of the Constitution should have warning labels all over it. Almost every detail of government, technology, and daily life has changed since it was written. Two hugely important entities that didn't exist at the time: our all-or-nothing 2-party nonsense, and Corporations (big C).

Literal interpretations and "government can only do what is written here" is nonsense. For instance: the constitution does not give the Congress the right to establish a national Air Force. Because of the 10th amendment, each state should have sovereignty over issues not directly stated by the constitution, each state should logically have its own Air Force. Infallibility of 200+ year-old documents is BS.

Oh noes! Teabaggers are outraged! (0, Troll)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539138)

I'm guessing they put this on every "classic" work of literature they publish. You know, the ones busybodies are always trying to censor for the bad words, but really because they portray slavery and racism realistically.

Re:Oh noes! Teabaggers are outraged! (2, Insightful)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539368)

Mark Twain really pisses people off... If he were pissing people off for something other than the use of the word "nigger" then I think he would be proud. I wonder what he would have to say about the uproar over things like this...

From the article (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539190)

From TFA:

"Any idea that's 100 years old will probably offend someone or other,"

Any idea no matter where/when/who it comes from will certainly offend someone or other.

These warnings were probably a reactionary measure taken after angry parents called in asking why they publish Huckleberry Finn when it has so many instances of the N word in it. A disclaimer isn't going to satisfy these people. We, as a society, should instead simply buckle down and accept that some people say/said things we don't like.

New for nerds. (1)

Phoenixlol (1549649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539206)

Stuff that matters?

Warning! This document dangerous to government. (1, Insightful)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539224)

I think the title describes the only warning the Constitution requires.

hmmm... (0, Offtopic)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539330)

Comment'); DROP TABLE Comments; --I wonder if you sanitize your inputs on comments?

Re:hmmm... (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539382)

errr... wrong story

The works of ancient Greek philosophers. (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539394)

Really should get this sort of warning...people need to stop thinking that they were the best and the brightest of human civilization, since they made shit up that impeeded alot of human scientific endevours.

You're linking a FoxNew site...? (0)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539438)

You must be joking? Why are we now linking to a Fox new site?

Regardless, if this book was intended for children then it absolutely makes sense to have a warning label. If you cannot understand why then I would suggest that you brush up on your history. I'm not even referring exclusively to slave era history. Have a look at the filth that was published during McCarthyism's reign. Simply because the Constitution happens to be nested within the same book does not mean that ideals of justice, liberty, etc. are being claimed to be relics from a bygone era. It means that the dehumanization of non-European peoples, subservience of women, etc. are notions to be found within the documents contained in this book. They are cautioning the parent of this and advising them that they should discuss this with their children.

Maybe it's just me but... (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539570)

The warning label seems oddly appropriate to me.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

And I'll take this opportunity to really piss some people off by mentioning the fact that the Electoral College was part of the same slavery compromise. Between the 3/5ths counting of slaves in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College there was a carefully counted balance reached for pro-slavery power and for pro-slavery votes.

-

Disclaimer (2, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539600)

Slashdot is a product of its time and may not reflect the opinions of the modders who read your posts ten seconds from the moment they were written.
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