Constitutional Asymmetry

Jean Chretien’s code term for “Distinct Society”. Not that anyone can completely penetrate this kind of constitutional mumbo-jumbo, but it seems to mean, with due apologies to George Orwell, that all pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others. Is it wise to build cultural inequality into a democratic constitution? Well, the answer is that you can, for a while. But any constitution that has it won’t work for much longer than the 1973 Yugoslav constitution did. Constitutional Asymmetry is not to be confused with the issue of democratic asymmetry, which can be a civilized response to physical conditions, e.g. giving people with children more tax breaks than workers without children, giving mothers maternity leave, etc.

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