[ExI] you'll never see this again

SR Ballard sen.otaku at gmail.com
Sun Jul 5 00:08:39 UTC 2020

> Can you think of any other country with a constitution that went
> totalitarianism?

Would you consider modern Russia to be totalitarian? They have a constitution.

There was that pesky constitution that the Nazis managed to sidestep in Germany. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic

Here’s a bit for you: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism

Constitutions in authoritarian regimes
Authoritarian regimes often adopt "the institutional trappings" of democracies, such as constitutions.[17] Constitutions in authoritarian states may serve a variety of roles, including "operating manual" (describing how the government is to function); "billboard" (signal of regime's intent), "blueprint" (outline of future regime plans), and "window dressing" (material designed to obfuscate, such as provisions setting forth freedoms that are not honored in practice).[18] Authoritarian constitutions may help legitimize, strengthen, and consolidate regimes.[19] For example, an authoritarian constitution "that successfully coordinates government action and defines popular expectations can also help consolidate the regime's grip on power by inhibiting re coordination on a different set of arrangements."[20] Unlike democratic constitutions, authoritarian constitutions do not set direct limits on executive authority; however, in some cases such documents may function as ways for elites to protect their own property rights or constrain autocrats' behavior.[21]

“The concept of "authoritarian constitutionalism" has been developed by legal scholar Mark Tushnet.[22] Tushnet distinguishes authoritarian constitutionalist regimes from "liberal constitutionalist" regimes ("the sort familiar in the modern West, with core commitments to human rights and self-governance implemented by means of varying institutional devices") and from purely authoritarian regimes (which reject the idea of human rights or constraints on leaders' power).[22] He describes authoritarian constitutionalist regimes as (1) authoritarian dominant-party states that (2) impose sanctions (such as libel judgments) against, but do not arbitrarily arrest, political dissidents; (3) permits "reasonably open discussion and criticism of its policies"; (4) hold "reasonably free and fair elections," without systemic intimidation, but "with close attention to such matters as the drawing of election districts and the creation of party lists to ensure as best it can that it will prevail—and by a substantial margin"; (4) reflect at least occasional responsiveness to public opinion; and (5) create "mechanisms to ensure that the amount of dissent does not exceed the level it regards as desirable."[22] Tushnet cites Singapore as an example of an authoritarian constitutionalist state, and connects the concept to that of hybrid regimes.[22]”

Do we want to go by the “democracy index”? Anything below a 4 on their 10 point scale is considered Authoritarian. A rank #1 would be most democratic and rank #167 would be least democratic (most authoritarian).

#167 North Korea — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_North_Korea

#166 Democratic Republic of the Congo — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo#Current_Constitution

#165 Central African Republic — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Central_African_Republic

#164 Syria — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Syria 

#163 Chad — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Chad

#162 Türkmenistan— https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Turkmenistan

#161 Equitorial Guinea — https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Equatorial_Guinea_2012.pdf?lang=en

#159A Tajikistan — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Tajikistan

#159B Saudi Arabia — MONARCHY

#158 Yemen — it had a constitution which was suspended during the civil war and has been delayed indefinitely to keep the “president” in power, as long as he pleases — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Yemen

So, best 8/10? 

A constitution is a piece of paper unless people consider it to be important. I think your statement needs nuance, at least a little bit.

Finally, per the Freedom Index, the US isn’t doing too hot. #25, we USians are classified as living in a flawed democracy. 

“Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honoured but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics). These nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.[6]”


“An illiberal democracy, also called a partial democracy, flawed democracy, low intensity democracy, empty democracy or guided democracy,[1] is a governing system in which although elections take place, citizens are cut off from knowledge about the activities of those who exercise real power because of the lack of civil liberties; thus it is not an "open society". There are many countries "that are categorized as neither 'free' nor 'not free', but as 'probably free', falling somewhere between democratic and nondemocratic regimes".[2]This may be because a constitution limiting government powers exists, but those in power ignore its liberties, or because an adequate legal constitutional framework of liberties does not exist.”

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