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November 23, 2007


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You know that I'm in. Dare we hope for a non-partisan resurgence of the supremacy of the Constitution?

Are there any organizations at all that work this space? I suppose all of them are considered partisan by one side or the other, but there still has to be a way for many of them to find common cause in the Rule of Law. It sounds like Cuomo is ready to lead such a charge, how hard can it be to gather some resources around his call?


If some favor the rule of law, others the rule of their own man, then to favor the rule of law will be billed as partisan. In Eurpose between the wars were three main political strands, democratic liberalism, facism, and communism. After the war many of the intellectuals from all three tradition emigrated to the US. We now have a stewpot of ideas from all these traditions simmering in postmodernism. The Constitution is the purest product of classical liberalism, along with English parliamentary monarchy. The Constitution is easily deconstructed with the tools developed by better minds than Stanley Fish, but popularized by him. The defense is hard since the Constitution and Bill of Rights is so confident of its "glassy essences," like rights and happiness, and the Creator. The pull of the Machiavellian, the Platonic, via Strauss is strong. The contempt for bourgeois liberalism is strong from Marxist sources and from the tradition of Nietzsche and Heidegger. Zizek is not defender of Locke. In other words, the intellectual tradition of which the Constitution is the supreme expression is half-asleep. That has been my sorrow and consternation since grad school. Satire was my way of reawakening in myself the "old school" of Augustan thought, the tradition of Hobbes, Hume, and Locke and their literary contemporaries and forbears among the Hellenic philosophers.

Whether Cuomo can lead a Constitutional resurgence, who knows. At least he is talking it up. I am afraid we will soon have a Constitution as England has a Queen, for ceremonial purposes only.

JJ Commoner

Are there any organizations at all that work this space?

I think it depends upon what you mean by "organization", Gerry. Some of the communities created by a centrifugal force emanating from the work of several group blogs seem, to me, to be carrying out an awful lot of organized and focused activities such as letter-writing and email campaigns, Spotlighting key blog posts, raising funds for candidates, examining candidate stances and records quite closely in public, leading group excursion to representatives' or Senators' offices, holding Q & A salons on and off the blog, sending groups to live-blog House investigation committee hearings, using video clips, YouTube and other means to highlight and distribute information that would not usually be available, forming "teams" of interested and engaged people to go through documentation when released by the White House in order to better inform other members of that community, the readers of the blog and to better inform ensuing analysis.

I have watched several of those "organizations" take shape over the last two or three years .. and I believe you will probably have seen some of that too.

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