Re: Notes from the Bill Joy radio talk

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Apr 05 2001 - 23:38:29 MDT

Spike Jones wrote:
> Perhaps some of those who have been in the military will comment
> on this. The way I understood the constitution, the Bill of Rights
> cannot be abrogated, now or in the future, thus the name Rights.
> Those who serve in the military take an oath to defend not the
> government, but to defend the constitution. The way I read that,
> should any future U.S. government attempt to repeal any of the
> Bill of Rights, then that constitutes an attack on the constitution,
> making that government invalid, so the military is obligated to
> reestablish a government that is based on the constitution. The
> government has not the authority to repeal the first amendment,
> or the second, or any of the Bill of Rights. Right?

I don't believe the military is trained to believe it has the
responsibility of deciding when the Constitution has been violated.
Enforcing the Constitution is a job that has currently been taken over by
the Supreme Court. I get the impression that if the U.S. turns into a
dictatorship, it is not the military's job to stop it - which is the way
things should be, if you ask me. I suppose that if an individual
President went bughouse and tried to establish a dictatorship the military
might feel that they were obliged to disobey orders until Congress and the
Vice-President declare him incompetent, but I get the impression that's
around it - i.e., that the responsibility to defend the Constitution is
limited to respecting the Constitutional distribution of military
authority, rather than defending the Bill of Rights.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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