Should we abolish the Constitution?

Louis Michael Seidman, a Georgetown professor of Constitutional Law, no less, argues in the New York Times that we should do away with the Constitution.

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination? . . .

This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.

Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants. Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states. There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.

What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy. The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief. Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.

The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, the failure of the Congress and the White House to agree has already destabilized the country. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have systems of parliamentary supremacy and no written constitution, but are held together by longstanding traditions, accepted modes of procedure and engaged citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.

What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences.

via Let’s Give Up on the Constitution – NYTimes.com.

But why would we even have a Congress, a Senate, a President, and a Supreme Court and how would we know how long their terms are without a foundational, authoritative plan of government?  How would we protect free speech without some kind of supreme law?  Which would be a constitution?  Yes, Great Britain and members of the Commonwealth do without a written constitution, instead following an unwritten collection of traditional principles.  But for that to work, you would need to have a respect for tradition, which Prof. Steidman, with its dismissal of the “white propertied men” of the 18th century, is hardly encouraging.

Besides, as pointed out by David T. Koyzis (to whom I tip my hat for putting me onto this piece) respect for the Constitution and the consequent rule of law that it makes possible is one of the “enduring traditions and habits of thought” that Seidman wants to replace it with.  (First Thoughts of December 31 has posted three critiques of Seidman’s column.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    The Constitution is a moneymaker for America’s lawyers, so it ain’t goin’ nowhere, ever. But a constitutional convention to make changes is a possibility, and I bet we have one before the end of this century.

  • Tom Hering

    The Constitution is a moneymaker for America’s lawyers, so it ain’t goin’ nowhere, ever. But a constitutional convention to make changes is a possibility, and I bet we have one before the end of this century.

  • James Sarver

    “Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action.”

    Never mind whether their ideas were good. Those were bad guys. Toss out everything they ever did.

    Typical liberal claptrap.

  • James Sarver

    “Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action.”

    Never mind whether their ideas were good. Those were bad guys. Toss out everything they ever did.

    Typical liberal claptrap.

  • Tom Hering

    James @ 2, I think “white/propertied/men” was a reference to who could and couldn’t vote back then, and so an indication that some of the thinking that went into the Constitution, back then, might need revisiting.

  • Tom Hering

    James @ 2, I think “white/propertied/men” was a reference to who could and couldn’t vote back then, and so an indication that some of the thinking that went into the Constitution, back then, might need revisiting.

  • Trey

    The questions are the truths they codified still true? Given the Marxists around us (including Mr. Hering;see comment about profiting and the Constitution), the answer is yes. Without it, we are headed toward tyranny, this is most evident by our current president who tried to skirt it as much as any in recent history.

  • Trey

    The questions are the truths they codified still true? Given the Marxists around us (including Mr. Hering;see comment about profiting and the Constitution), the answer is yes. Without it, we are headed toward tyranny, this is most evident by our current president who tried to skirt it as much as any in recent history.

  • James Sarver

    “Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”

    Yeah, King George should have respected those requirements too. Too bad those evil dead white guys had to obligate us to them. What a drag to have them tell us what to do.

    Liberal claptrap.

  • James Sarver

    “Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”

    Yeah, King George should have respected those requirements too. Too bad those evil dead white guys had to obligate us to them. What a drag to have them tell us what to do.

    Liberal claptrap.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure Seidman has thought through all the implications of his Constitutional critique. He seems to assume that if you give up the Constitution, you still have a United States. He implies that we’d simply all continue along as before; maybe, but what he’s actually calling for in a roundabout way is the full and complete dissolution of the United States. Yet, I think he thinks that we’d all still hang out together and just enjoy the benefits of a complete absence of guiding principles for the rule of law. When Seidman advocates for setting aside the Constitution he’s doing it so that he can shill for greater dictatorial powers for the central state; he doesn’t realize that setting aside the Constitution eliminates the central state and maybe not everyone will want to join up with the new one he is pushing for. Unless, like most so-called “liberals,” he really just wants to compel everybody else to do what he wants using armed force.

    So, yeah, let’s bring on the Constitutional Convention Tom asks for @ 1. Then we can officially get rid of the United States and let everyone go whichever way they so choose. Maybe back to the Articles, or into separate smaller nations. In the meantime, we can just muddle along continuing to ignore the very Constitution that Seidman says we pay to much obeisance to.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure Seidman has thought through all the implications of his Constitutional critique. He seems to assume that if you give up the Constitution, you still have a United States. He implies that we’d simply all continue along as before; maybe, but what he’s actually calling for in a roundabout way is the full and complete dissolution of the United States. Yet, I think he thinks that we’d all still hang out together and just enjoy the benefits of a complete absence of guiding principles for the rule of law. When Seidman advocates for setting aside the Constitution he’s doing it so that he can shill for greater dictatorial powers for the central state; he doesn’t realize that setting aside the Constitution eliminates the central state and maybe not everyone will want to join up with the new one he is pushing for. Unless, like most so-called “liberals,” he really just wants to compel everybody else to do what he wants using armed force.

    So, yeah, let’s bring on the Constitutional Convention Tom asks for @ 1. Then we can officially get rid of the United States and let everyone go whichever way they so choose. Maybe back to the Articles, or into separate smaller nations. In the meantime, we can just muddle along continuing to ignore the very Constitution that Seidman says we pay to much obeisance to.

  • Tom Hering

    Trey @ 4, how’d you know I’m a fan of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo?

  • Tom Hering

    Trey @ 4, how’d you know I’m a fan of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo?

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 6, the aim of a constitutional convention isn’t to get rid of the Constitution. But you knew that.

  • Tom Hering

    SK @ 6, the aim of a constitutional convention isn’t to get rid of the Constitution. But you knew that.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 8 – Any thing can happen at a Constitutional Convention, and if Seidman’s idea were advocated, then the entire document would be voided. It is what happened when the Articles were summarily set aside and the current Constitution was adopted. Seidman, inadvertently I believe, is asking for the same such result. The kicker is that in the absence of a Constitution, states may decide to leave. A Convention could also be a ratification of secession for many states, unless there is the direct threat of physical violence to be unleashed upon those states that would choose not to sign on to the outcome or decided to go their own way.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 8 – Any thing can happen at a Constitutional Convention, and if Seidman’s idea were advocated, then the entire document would be voided. It is what happened when the Articles were summarily set aside and the current Constitution was adopted. Seidman, inadvertently I believe, is asking for the same such result. The kicker is that in the absence of a Constitution, states may decide to leave. A Convention could also be a ratification of secession for many states, unless there is the direct threat of physical violence to be unleashed upon those states that would choose not to sign on to the outcome or decided to go their own way.

  • Tom Hering

    So what’s the worst that could happen? We lose Texas. Then again, by the time a constitutional convention could realistically be expected to take place, Texas will have a Latino majority, and maybe (maybe) lean Democratic. So Texas would probably not be lost, as secessionists tend to be Republican/Libertarian.

  • Tom Hering

    So what’s the worst that could happen? We lose Texas. Then again, by the time a constitutional convention could realistically be expected to take place, Texas will have a Latino majority, and maybe (maybe) lean Democratic. So Texas would probably not be lost, as secessionists tend to be Republican/Libertarian.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Without the Constitution, states could secede.

    Just saying.

    Everything would be on the table.

    Everything.

    There is no way this country could ratify a new constitution.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Without the Constitution, states could secede.

    Just saying.

    Everything would be on the table.

    Everything.

    There is no way this country could ratify a new constitution.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Any state not ratifying the new constitution would automatically be out.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Any state not ratifying the new constitution would automatically be out.

  • rlewer

    The Constitution is a system of checks and balances to avoid both the tyranny of the powerful and the tyranny of mob.

    It provides for amendments which we have passed in the past and can in the future if we need to.

    Sounds like a man who is impatient that he did not get his own way fast enough.

  • rlewer

    The Constitution is a system of checks and balances to avoid both the tyranny of the powerful and the tyranny of mob.

    It provides for amendments which we have passed in the past and can in the future if we need to.

    Sounds like a man who is impatient that he did not get his own way fast enough.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    He doesn’t seem to realize he’s just saying to throw out the parts he doesn’t like. And, of course, he wants to just throw them out — why bother with amending the thing when we can pick and choose?

    What he doesn’t seem to understand is that once we’ve decided it’s ok to throw out the second amendment, there’s nothing stopping someone from coming along in five years and throwing out the first or the fifth.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    He doesn’t seem to realize he’s just saying to throw out the parts he doesn’t like. And, of course, he wants to just throw them out — why bother with amending the thing when we can pick and choose?

    What he doesn’t seem to understand is that once we’ve decided it’s ok to throw out the second amendment, there’s nothing stopping someone from coming along in five years and throwing out the first or the fifth.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Our obsession with the Constitution …”

    Sigh. That darn ol’ pesky Constitution.
    If only there were a way to amend it to our liking…..

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Our obsession with the Constitution …”

    Sigh. That darn ol’ pesky Constitution.
    If only there were a way to amend it to our liking…..

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    As a fellow pastor once said, “Never follow a rule that doesn’t like rules”

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    As a fellow pastor once said, “Never follow a rule that doesn’t like rules”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sigh. That darn ol’ pesky Constitution.
    If only there were a way to amend it to our liking…..

    Exactly. This is the heart of the matter. Seidman wants a way for a tiny group of folks to usurp the power from the people. He about says as much in the conclusion of his NYTimes article:

    If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.

    The US Constitution is the most liberal document ever written. Anyone wishing to abolish it is no liberal, rather the opposite. Seidman is a will-to-power nietzschean hiding behind the respectable liberal label. He is no liberal.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sigh. That darn ol’ pesky Constitution.
    If only there were a way to amend it to our liking…..

    Exactly. This is the heart of the matter. Seidman wants a way for a tiny group of folks to usurp the power from the people. He about says as much in the conclusion of his NYTimes article:

    If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.

    The US Constitution is the most liberal document ever written. Anyone wishing to abolish it is no liberal, rather the opposite. Seidman is a will-to-power nietzschean hiding behind the respectable liberal label. He is no liberal.

  • Tom Hering

    ChrisB @ 14, there’s nothing stopping anyone from throwing out the first and the fifth before they throw out the second. The second doesn’t guarantee you liberty, unless you believe in the fantasy that all the guns in your home, or all the guns in your community, would make it possible for you to resist police and military forces with lots of manpower, lots of of firepower, and lots of advanced technology. When Seal Team Six rappels from a helicopter (black) onto your patio, knocks over your BBQ, and tosses flashbangs through your patio doors, the fantasy will be over. In other words, if the government can defeat armies, criminals, and terrorists, it can defeat you – whether there’s a second amendment or not. Heck, a dispersal of nerve agent is all it would really take.

    But seriously, the first and the fifth aren’t going to be eliminated by the states in convention, because they’re much more widely valued than the second.

  • Tom Hering

    ChrisB @ 14, there’s nothing stopping anyone from throwing out the first and the fifth before they throw out the second. The second doesn’t guarantee you liberty, unless you believe in the fantasy that all the guns in your home, or all the guns in your community, would make it possible for you to resist police and military forces with lots of manpower, lots of of firepower, and lots of advanced technology. When Seal Team Six rappels from a helicopter (black) onto your patio, knocks over your BBQ, and tosses flashbangs through your patio doors, the fantasy will be over. In other words, if the government can defeat armies, criminals, and terrorists, it can defeat you – whether there’s a second amendment or not. Heck, a dispersal of nerve agent is all it would really take.

    But seriously, the first and the fifth aren’t going to be eliminated by the states in convention, because they’re much more widely valued than the second.

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 17, seems to me the quote is saying that the people ought NOT to give up self-government.

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 17, seems to me the quote is saying that the people ought NOT to give up self-government.

  • MarkB

    Just more antinomian reasoning in an era of disdain for the rule of law or of any fixed truth.

  • MarkB

    Just more antinomian reasoning in an era of disdain for the rule of law or of any fixed truth.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Constitutional protections against government tyranny is Slavery.

    Double plus ungood.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Constitutional protections against government tyranny is Slavery.

    Double plus ungood.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate.

    How can you have mature and tolerant debate when so many contentious issues have been declared not debatable?

    Women’s suffrage, debatable?

    Social welfare programs, debatable?

    Heck, even the healthcare act wasn’t debated. It wasn’t even read by most of those who should have debated it. Nothing is debatable, it seems. We are paralyzed by this phony non-discussion of anything unpleasant because if we did discuss our real problems our weak and tenuous social cohesion would completely dissolve. We can’t have a debate on debt or currency or state sovereignty or entitlements or any of it because the salient information that would inform the discussion is taboo.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate.

    How can you have mature and tolerant debate when so many contentious issues have been declared not debatable?

    Women’s suffrage, debatable?

    Social welfare programs, debatable?

    Heck, even the healthcare act wasn’t debated. It wasn’t even read by most of those who should have debated it. Nothing is debatable, it seems. We are paralyzed by this phony non-discussion of anything unpleasant because if we did discuss our real problems our weak and tenuous social cohesion would completely dissolve. We can’t have a debate on debt or currency or state sovereignty or entitlements or any of it because the salient information that would inform the discussion is taboo.

  • fjsteve

    It’s astonishing that someone so credentialed could be so utterly clueless about history and human nature. It seems that, as all Utopians, he’s fallen into Lewis’ “chronological snobbery” whereby he assumes that we have come to this point in our history through our evolution into “good and decent people” rather than through our adherence to a document that assumes that even the best of us is not always good and decent (and who better to know that than great men who had fallen the great evil of their time). In fact, for this reason, his argument seems self-refuting on its face.

  • fjsteve

    It’s astonishing that someone so credentialed could be so utterly clueless about history and human nature. It seems that, as all Utopians, he’s fallen into Lewis’ “chronological snobbery” whereby he assumes that we have come to this point in our history through our evolution into “good and decent people” rather than through our adherence to a document that assumes that even the best of us is not always good and decent (and who better to know that than great men who had fallen the great evil of their time). In fact, for this reason, his argument seems self-refuting on its face.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    James @ 2, I think “white/propertied/men” was a reference to who could and couldn’t vote back then, and so an indication that some of the thinking that went into the Constitution, back then, might need revisiting.

    Can we just be honest?

    The franchise was limited to male property owners, 21 and over.

    If you could meet that, you could vote. Blacks could vote if they could meet that requirement. Whites who could not meet it also could not vote. Life, Liberty and Property.

    Document 3: Excerpt of New York State Constitution, 1777, outlining the property ownership requirements for men who wish to vote. (Transcript of 1777 Constitution excerpt)
    Series A1802-78, First constitution of the State of New York, 1777, New York State Department of State.
    To read the 1777 Constitution in its entirety, please see the full document in our Digital Collections.

    Document 4: New York State Constitution, Article II, 1821, maintaining property requirements for African American men who wish to vote. (Transcript of 1821 law excerpt)
    Series A1804-78, Second constitution of the State of New York, 1821, New York State Department of State.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    James @ 2, I think “white/propertied/men” was a reference to who could and couldn’t vote back then, and so an indication that some of the thinking that went into the Constitution, back then, might need revisiting.

    Can we just be honest?

    The franchise was limited to male property owners, 21 and over.

    If you could meet that, you could vote. Blacks could vote if they could meet that requirement. Whites who could not meet it also could not vote. Life, Liberty and Property.

    Document 3: Excerpt of New York State Constitution, 1777, outlining the property ownership requirements for men who wish to vote. (Transcript of 1777 Constitution excerpt)
    Series A1802-78, First constitution of the State of New York, 1777, New York State Department of State.
    To read the 1777 Constitution in its entirety, please see the full document in our Digital Collections.

    Document 4: New York State Constitution, Article II, 1821, maintaining property requirements for African American men who wish to vote. (Transcript of 1821 law excerpt)
    Series A1804-78, Second constitution of the State of New York, 1821, New York State Department of State.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • fjsteve

    Mark,

    “Rule of law” and “fixed truth” are outmoded ideas in a technocracy. We are to be bound only by science and pragmatism.

  • fjsteve

    Mark,

    “Rule of law” and “fixed truth” are outmoded ideas in a technocracy. We are to be bound only by science and pragmatism.

  • http://twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt aletheist

    I have always found it curious that, when establishing governments in other nations, the United States has almost always gone with a parliamentary system, rather than its own unique model of three distinct branches with separation of powers, checks and balances, etc. It is surprising to me that history’s most successful template for organizing a new republic has so rarely been imitated elsewhere, although I suppose that the many and various compromises in the negotiations that produced the Constitution were quite peculiar to their time and place.

    On the other hand, the current extreme polarization of our politics appears to be threatening the continued success of that system in its country of origin. There used to be a continuum of ideology, with plenty of overlap between the two principal parties, which facilitated rational debate and reasonable compromise; now there is increasing uniformity on both sides of the aisle, with a considerable gulf between them. As a result, there is such sharp disagreement even over what constitutes “the general welfare”–let alone how to promote it–that it is hard to be hopeful for real consensus anytime soon. Instead, each side tries to impose its will unilaterally, as soon as the opportunity presents itself in the wake of the latest election results.

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum used an interesting shorthand when talking about the nation’s founding documents during his campaign. He said that the Constitution is the “how” of America, but the Declaration of Independence is the “why” of America. I would like to think that common ground can eventually be reestablished on the fundamental principles expressed in the latter, but the question is whether we as a people really still “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Of course, another problem is that most fail to recognize that what Jefferson meant by “Happiness” is not the shallow emotion of “well-feeling” that is typically associated with that word today. Instead, it signifies the much deeper notion of genuine well-being, or human flourishing, which can be achieved only by cultivating wisdom and virtue; an end in itself whose pursuit is not an individual endeavor, but rather a collective one.

  • http://twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt aletheist

    I have always found it curious that, when establishing governments in other nations, the United States has almost always gone with a parliamentary system, rather than its own unique model of three distinct branches with separation of powers, checks and balances, etc. It is surprising to me that history’s most successful template for organizing a new republic has so rarely been imitated elsewhere, although I suppose that the many and various compromises in the negotiations that produced the Constitution were quite peculiar to their time and place.

    On the other hand, the current extreme polarization of our politics appears to be threatening the continued success of that system in its country of origin. There used to be a continuum of ideology, with plenty of overlap between the two principal parties, which facilitated rational debate and reasonable compromise; now there is increasing uniformity on both sides of the aisle, with a considerable gulf between them. As a result, there is such sharp disagreement even over what constitutes “the general welfare”–let alone how to promote it–that it is hard to be hopeful for real consensus anytime soon. Instead, each side tries to impose its will unilaterally, as soon as the opportunity presents itself in the wake of the latest election results.

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum used an interesting shorthand when talking about the nation’s founding documents during his campaign. He said that the Constitution is the “how” of America, but the Declaration of Independence is the “why” of America. I would like to think that common ground can eventually be reestablished on the fundamental principles expressed in the latter, but the question is whether we as a people really still “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Of course, another problem is that most fail to recognize that what Jefferson meant by “Happiness” is not the shallow emotion of “well-feeling” that is typically associated with that word today. Instead, it signifies the much deeper notion of genuine well-being, or human flourishing, which can be achieved only by cultivating wisdom and virtue; an end in itself whose pursuit is not an individual endeavor, but rather a collective one.

  • Random Lutheran

    #27 — there are self-interested, pragmatic reasons for a more powerful nation to urge one form of government over another on other, less-powerful nations. Handing out potential backbones isn’t good policy, you know.

  • Random Lutheran

    #27 — there are self-interested, pragmatic reasons for a more powerful nation to urge one form of government over another on other, less-powerful nations. Handing out potential backbones isn’t good policy, you know.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    And exactly WHAT would replace the Constitution?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    And exactly WHAT would replace the Constitution?

  • Joe

    The Articles of Confederation if we’re lucky …

  • Joe

    The Articles of Confederation if we’re lucky …

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If we can’t pass the amendments that Seidman would like, we surely won’t be able to ratify a whole new constitution.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If we can’t pass the amendments that Seidman would like, we surely won’t be able to ratify a whole new constitution.

  • Grace

    As someone stated earlier this is nothing but “claptrap” – It’s also a super-sillious liberal blowing off, so called legal huff and puff.

    Just because the guy is a professor of Constitutional Law, means nothing. There are thousands of professor know-it-alls.

  • Grace

    As someone stated earlier this is nothing but “claptrap” – It’s also a super-sillious liberal blowing off, so called legal huff and puff.

    Just because the guy is a professor of Constitutional Law, means nothing. There are thousands of professor know-it-alls.

  • fjsteve

    #29, the Constitution will be replaced with consensus. In a land of 300 million people, that can’t be too difficult can it?

  • fjsteve

    #29, the Constitution will be replaced with consensus. In a land of 300 million people, that can’t be too difficult can it?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Consensus = Mob Rule.
    Kinda like what the Jews did to Jesus.

    Yes, that’s what we want.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Consensus = Mob Rule.
    Kinda like what the Jews did to Jesus.

    Yes, that’s what we want.

  • Grace

    When the question is brought up, to abolish the Constitution, no matter that an individual pontificates as a professor, teaching Constitutional Law for forty years, is not a medal moment, nor is his NEW FOUND thought. Then making a statement – - “As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is.” – -

    I find it “BIZARRE” someone has chosen to do a whirly on their professorship after 40 years, thinking they had it all together, and NOW, sees how long he was wrong.

    Throwing the British and slavery into the mix doesn’t make a good argument. We are not Britain, we fought and won the Civil War. Both points are ‘moot, they are flash for those who don’t understand history, or who are impressed with degrees, and length of years- both of which liberal academia have foisted on anyone who would listen, for years.

  • Grace

    When the question is brought up, to abolish the Constitution, no matter that an individual pontificates as a professor, teaching Constitutional Law for forty years, is not a medal moment, nor is his NEW FOUND thought. Then making a statement – - “As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is.” – -

    I find it “BIZARRE” someone has chosen to do a whirly on their professorship after 40 years, thinking they had it all together, and NOW, sees how long he was wrong.

    Throwing the British and slavery into the mix doesn’t make a good argument. We are not Britain, we fought and won the Civil War. Both points are ‘moot, they are flash for those who don’t understand history, or who are impressed with degrees, and length of years- both of which liberal academia have foisted on anyone who would listen, for years.

  • Grace

    Mike

    The Jews didn’t kill Jesus, our sin was the reason HE died on the cross – it was foretold long before Christ was born –

    Jesus told us to love one another. It was jealous man who killed the Jews.

    Christ’s death was foretold in Isaiah 53

    1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    8
    He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    12
    Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
    Isaiah 53

  • Grace

    Mike

    The Jews didn’t kill Jesus, our sin was the reason HE died on the cross – it was foretold long before Christ was born –

    Jesus told us to love one another. It was jealous man who killed the Jews.

    Christ’s death was foretold in Isaiah 53

    1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    8
    He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    12
    Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
    Isaiah 53

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just because the guy is a professor of Constitutional Law, means nothing. There are thousands of professor know-it-alls.

    and

    The Jews didn’t kill Jesus, our sin was the reason HE died on the cross – it was foretold long before Christ was born –

    Bravo

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just because the guy is a professor of Constitutional Law, means nothing. There are thousands of professor know-it-alls.

    and

    The Jews didn’t kill Jesus, our sin was the reason HE died on the cross – it was foretold long before Christ was born –

    Bravo

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    But mob rule instead of the rule of law was the means by which it happened.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    But mob rule instead of the rule of law was the means by which it happened.

  • Grace

    Mike,

    There can always be “mob rule” it happens all the time, such as gangs, large gangs that have many members, not just in their own area, but other areas as well – and other groups –

    You’re trying to make a case you don’t have.

  • Grace

    Mike,

    There can always be “mob rule” it happens all the time, such as gangs, large gangs that have many members, not just in their own area, but other areas as well – and other groups –

    You’re trying to make a case you don’t have.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 38

    yeah, it’s almost like God knows our weaknesses. :D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 38

    yeah, it’s almost like God knows our weaknesses. :D

  • DonS

    The only thing protecting we the people from the politicians who just gave us the “fiscal cliff” and its absurd resolution is the Constitution. Let’s toss it, and put ourselves completely at their mercy, without recourse.

    Brilliant lefty thinking, as usual. But then, on the other hand, when they don’t get their way politically they run to court to attempt to do so using the very same Constitution they so despise.

  • DonS

    The only thing protecting we the people from the politicians who just gave us the “fiscal cliff” and its absurd resolution is the Constitution. Let’s toss it, and put ourselves completely at their mercy, without recourse.

    Brilliant lefty thinking, as usual. But then, on the other hand, when they don’t get their way politically they run to court to attempt to do so using the very same Constitution they so despise.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I gave an oath of loyalty to the US Constitution. It is all that protects us from oppression from those in control of the government.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I gave an oath of loyalty to the US Constitution. It is all that protects us from oppression from those in control of the government.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    “[The US Constitution] is all that protects us from oppression from those in control of the government.”

    Hey, you forgot assault rifles!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    “[The US Constitution] is all that protects us from oppression from those in control of the government.”

    Hey, you forgot assault rifles!

  • kerner

    ok. those too.

  • kerner

    ok. those too.

  • kerner

    Has anybody considered abolishing Georgetown University? Talk about a bunch of irrelavant, white, propertied old men having an undue influence on how the rest of us have to live our lives… :D

  • kerner

    Has anybody considered abolishing Georgetown University? Talk about a bunch of irrelavant, white, propertied old men having an undue influence on how the rest of us have to live our lives… :D

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 45 “Has anybody considered abolishing Georgetown University? Talk about a bunch of irrelavant, white, propertied old men having an undue influence on how the rest of us have to live our lives”

    1. Just throw away the entire university, because of a few?
    2. Is “white” the issue here?
    3. “Propertied” ? what makes you think they all own land, or securities? Even if they do, what does that have to do with “abolishing the Constitution.

    If your foray into the discussion was to hit an irrelevant note, you succeeded. If it was ‘humor, it was clearly a thud.

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 45 “Has anybody considered abolishing Georgetown University? Talk about a bunch of irrelavant, white, propertied old men having an undue influence on how the rest of us have to live our lives”

    1. Just throw away the entire university, because of a few?
    2. Is “white” the issue here?
    3. “Propertied” ? what makes you think they all own land, or securities? Even if they do, what does that have to do with “abolishing the Constitution.

    If your foray into the discussion was to hit an irrelevant note, you succeeded. If it was ‘humor, it was clearly a thud.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 46: Kerner was engaging the age-old tool of sarcasm to gently remind those on the other side of the absurdity of some of their arguments. I thought it was effective, and humorous. I trust that we don’t need to explain why.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 46: Kerner was engaging the age-old tool of sarcasm to gently remind those on the other side of the absurdity of some of their arguments. I thought it was effective, and humorous. I trust that we don’t need to explain why.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    It appears your tiffed off because the ‘cheese heads lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl? That was a great game. The cheese hats however, have become outdated. :lol:

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    It appears your tiffed off because the ‘cheese heads lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl? That was a great game. The cheese hats however, have become outdated. :lol:

  • Grace

    DEAR Don,
    “Kerner was engaging the age-old tool of sarcasm to gently remind those on the other side of the absurdity of some of their arguments. I thought it was effective, and humorous. I trust that we don’t need to explain why.

    Swooping right in to protect a fellow attorney? It wasn’t effective, it wasn’t humorous, it flopped – especially the “white” remark!
    :roll:

  • Grace

    DEAR Don,
    “Kerner was engaging the age-old tool of sarcasm to gently remind those on the other side of the absurdity of some of their arguments. I thought it was effective, and humorous. I trust that we don’t need to explain why.

    Swooping right in to protect a fellow attorney? It wasn’t effective, it wasn’t humorous, it flopped – especially the “white” remark!
    :roll:

  • DonS

    Well, Grace @ 49, maybe we DO need to explain it. Why don’t you read Professor Seidman’s essay, which is the subject of this post, concerning his view of “white propertied men” of the 18th Century and his dim view of them, which leads to his dim view of the U.S. Constitution.

  • DonS

    Well, Grace @ 49, maybe we DO need to explain it. Why don’t you read Professor Seidman’s essay, which is the subject of this post, concerning his view of “white propertied men” of the 18th Century and his dim view of them, which leads to his dim view of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Grace

    DEAR DEAR Don,

    Because I don’t agree with you, and your fellow attorney pal, doesn’t mean I don’t understand “it” –

    Reading over his (Seidmans) sad review doesn’t shed new light. The “white” remark is evidence that the state of many in this country, hasn’t changed, ie; the remark made by Kerner as in puppeteering the remark.

  • Grace

    DEAR DEAR Don,

    Because I don’t agree with you, and your fellow attorney pal, doesn’t mean I don’t understand “it” –

    Reading over his (Seidmans) sad review doesn’t shed new light. The “white” remark is evidence that the state of many in this country, hasn’t changed, ie; the remark made by Kerner as in puppeteering the remark.

  • kerner

    Sigh…Well, it is true that a joke is not funny if you have to explain it. So, for Grace, my joke @45 clearly wasn’t funny.

    However, for clarity’s sake, I noted the criteria Prof. Seidman applied to declare US Constitution outdated, and to declare the conclusions of its authors (eg. James Madison) irrelevant, were that the authors were white and propertied and old and men.

    It seemed ironic to me that Prof. Seidman is:

    1. a man
    2. white
    3. If his grey hair is any indication, getting old, and
    4. If my experience with professors at major universities holds true, doing well for himself financially.

    Hence my attempt at humor by suggesting that Georgetown, Prof. Seidman’s employer, be abolished. In addidition, I find Georgetown, and other liberal Roman Catholic universities (including my undergrad alma mater, Marquette) to be of much less use to American culture at large than the Constitution, and it offends me a little that their faculties should suggest that they are so much smarter than, say, James Madison. But that’s just my opinion.

    And what does any of this have to do with the Rose Bowl? Until 2 days ago I had nothing against California NCAA football teams. Aaron Rodgers went to U. Cal., for goodness sake.

  • kerner

    Sigh…Well, it is true that a joke is not funny if you have to explain it. So, for Grace, my joke @45 clearly wasn’t funny.

    However, for clarity’s sake, I noted the criteria Prof. Seidman applied to declare US Constitution outdated, and to declare the conclusions of its authors (eg. James Madison) irrelevant, were that the authors were white and propertied and old and men.

    It seemed ironic to me that Prof. Seidman is:

    1. a man
    2. white
    3. If his grey hair is any indication, getting old, and
    4. If my experience with professors at major universities holds true, doing well for himself financially.

    Hence my attempt at humor by suggesting that Georgetown, Prof. Seidman’s employer, be abolished. In addidition, I find Georgetown, and other liberal Roman Catholic universities (including my undergrad alma mater, Marquette) to be of much less use to American culture at large than the Constitution, and it offends me a little that their faculties should suggest that they are so much smarter than, say, James Madison. But that’s just my opinion.

    And what does any of this have to do with the Rose Bowl? Until 2 days ago I had nothing against California NCAA football teams. Aaron Rodgers went to U. Cal., for goodness sake.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    “Sigh” ? – it must be difficult for you. LOL

    Stating: “Has anybody considered abolishing Georgetown University?” isn’t all that brilliant. “Roman Catholic” doesn’t have much to do with it. Most all universities today are liberal.

    Its become a ‘given on this blog, that if one posts something that isn’t to clever, and another calls them on it – it then becomes humour or satire, take your pick.

  • Grace

    Kerner,

    “Sigh” ? – it must be difficult for you. LOL

    Stating: “Has anybody considered abolishing Georgetown University?” isn’t all that brilliant. “Roman Catholic” doesn’t have much to do with it. Most all universities today are liberal.

    Its become a ‘given on this blog, that if one posts something that isn’t to clever, and another calls them on it – it then becomes humour or satire, take your pick.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, Grace (@53), apparently it’s everybody else here who has issues, and not you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, Grace (@53), apparently it’s everybody else here who has issues, and not you.

  • Grace

    “ISSUES” ? – POOR tODD

  • Grace

    “ISSUES” ? – POOR tODD

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well that (@55) wasn’t entirely predictable.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well that (@55) wasn’t entirely predictable.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace, what exactly are you arguing? All of your comments are oblique, even orthogonal, to the question at hand. Rather than address the issue at hand, you perform some sort of erratic, rhetorical drive-by where you criticize the statements of the other commenters. Do you agree with Seidman, or not? Do you find his criticisms of the Constitution as being the intellectual product of white, propertied men ironic given Seidman’s own status as a white, propertied man? Do you think that replacement of the Constitution might not be a prelude toward mob rule sans a respect for the rule of law, or not? Do you think that the evidence within Scripture of the Roman authorities caving to the mob and thereby sending Jesus to the place of execution is lacking? Do you think that the arguments and statements being made regarding the status of the Constitution are affected by the NCAA football bowl game outcomes? Are you saying that kerner has a skewed sense of humor that is better kept at home rather than employed to devastating effect in this forum?

  • SKPeterson

    Grace, what exactly are you arguing? All of your comments are oblique, even orthogonal, to the question at hand. Rather than address the issue at hand, you perform some sort of erratic, rhetorical drive-by where you criticize the statements of the other commenters. Do you agree with Seidman, or not? Do you find his criticisms of the Constitution as being the intellectual product of white, propertied men ironic given Seidman’s own status as a white, propertied man? Do you think that replacement of the Constitution might not be a prelude toward mob rule sans a respect for the rule of law, or not? Do you think that the evidence within Scripture of the Roman authorities caving to the mob and thereby sending Jesus to the place of execution is lacking? Do you think that the arguments and statements being made regarding the status of the Constitution are affected by the NCAA football bowl game outcomes? Are you saying that kerner has a skewed sense of humor that is better kept at home rather than employed to devastating effect in this forum?

  • Grace

    SKP @ 57

    I have stated my beliefs, if you still have problems with my comments, read your post 57 over. Your sophomoric questions are typical when you have nothing to complain about.

    Your use of the word “orthogonal” is unlearned, it is not applicable. You have misused the word, perhaps believing it was impressive. Below is the definition:

    orthogonal – definition
    1. Relating to or composed of right angles.
    2. Mathematics
    a. Of or relating to a matrix whose transpose equals its inverse.
    b. Of or relating to a linear transformation that preserves the length of vectors.

    This also would be a good LINK for you to check out.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthogonality

  • Grace

    SKP @ 57

    I have stated my beliefs, if you still have problems with my comments, read your post 57 over. Your sophomoric questions are typical when you have nothing to complain about.

    Your use of the word “orthogonal” is unlearned, it is not applicable. You have misused the word, perhaps believing it was impressive. Below is the definition:

    orthogonal – definition
    1. Relating to or composed of right angles.
    2. Mathematics
    a. Of or relating to a matrix whose transpose equals its inverse.
    b. Of or relating to a linear transformation that preserves the length of vectors.

    This also would be a good LINK for you to check out.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthogonality

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Orthogonal” means “has no bearing upon.”

    Two issues that are orthogonal to each other have no influence on each other.

    And yes, it is extended from the mathematical use of the word.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Orthogonal” means “has no bearing upon.”

    Two issues that are orthogonal to each other have no influence on each other.

    And yes, it is extended from the mathematical use of the word.

  • Grace

    Mike,

    One can take a word and:
      S   T   R   E   T   C   H  
    it, but that doesn’t mean it fits. :razz:

  • Grace

    Mike,

    One can take a word and:
      S   T   R   E   T   C   H  
    it, but that doesn’t mean it fits. :razz:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@58), now this is getting funny.

    Your use of the word “orthogonal” is unlearned, it is not applicable. You have misused the word, perhaps believing it was impressive.

    Translation: I don’t know what that word means, I’ve never heard it before, and I just looked it up in the online dictionary. I assume that no one else knows what the word means, either, so I will pretend to educate everyone else, since I assume they all know less than I do and so will not see through my bluffing. I have also looked up the topic on Wikipedia, but didn’t understand enough from that article to even quote a section of it.

    I mean, come on. Is there anybody (besides Grace, of course) who isn’t aware that this is Grace’s M.O.? Whenever she says something like “your use of that is unlearned” or “you’re making a point you don’t even have” or whatever barely-coherent gibberish she cobbles together, it just means, “I don’t understand what you just said, but I know I disagree with you.”

    Mike (@59), orthogonality is mathematical, yes, but I think the sense of “irrelevant” stems more from physics, in which a force in the X direction that is “normal”, or “orthogonal”, to a force in the Y direction has no bearing on that Y force. You can compute them independently. The X force matters, it has an effect, but its effect is not in conjunction with the Y force. Thus, SK’s use.

    In Grace’s defense (not as to her tactics, but in defense of her ignorance), that particular use does not seem to have fully propagated to the dictionaries — even the OED. The best definition from the OED was the third one: “statistically independent”. But their most recent citation (from 1991) does more or less overlap with SK’s gist:

    Each additional new variable accounts for the largest amount of remaining variation such that it is independent of (orthogonal to) the previously derived principal components.

    And, for word nerds, there is this somewhat-fabled Supreme Court exchange.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@58), now this is getting funny.

    Your use of the word “orthogonal” is unlearned, it is not applicable. You have misused the word, perhaps believing it was impressive.

    Translation: I don’t know what that word means, I’ve never heard it before, and I just looked it up in the online dictionary. I assume that no one else knows what the word means, either, so I will pretend to educate everyone else, since I assume they all know less than I do and so will not see through my bluffing. I have also looked up the topic on Wikipedia, but didn’t understand enough from that article to even quote a section of it.

    I mean, come on. Is there anybody (besides Grace, of course) who isn’t aware that this is Grace’s M.O.? Whenever she says something like “your use of that is unlearned” or “you’re making a point you don’t even have” or whatever barely-coherent gibberish she cobbles together, it just means, “I don’t understand what you just said, but I know I disagree with you.”

    Mike (@59), orthogonality is mathematical, yes, but I think the sense of “irrelevant” stems more from physics, in which a force in the X direction that is “normal”, or “orthogonal”, to a force in the Y direction has no bearing on that Y force. You can compute them independently. The X force matters, it has an effect, but its effect is not in conjunction with the Y force. Thus, SK’s use.

    In Grace’s defense (not as to her tactics, but in defense of her ignorance), that particular use does not seem to have fully propagated to the dictionaries — even the OED. The best definition from the OED was the third one: “statistically independent”. But their most recent citation (from 1991) does more or less overlap with SK’s gist:

    Each additional new variable accounts for the largest amount of remaining variation such that it is independent of (orthogonal to) the previously derived principal components.

    And, for word nerds, there is this somewhat-fabled Supreme Court exchange.

  • Grace

    POOR tODD

  • Grace

    POOR tODD

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C’mon, Grace (@62). You’re not even trying anymore.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    C’mon, Grace (@62). You’re not even trying anymore.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace – now you’re just being willfully ignorant. ‘Orthogonal’ can be used to describe two things in just the manner that Mike describes @ 59. In fact, ‘oblique’ is a mathematical term used in geometry as well; however, it is perfectly applicable to describe ideas or thoughts that are at odds, or are not directly on topic. Regarding my use of ‘orthogonal’ it is taxonomic, a definition that can actually be found right on the wiki page you reference:

    In taxonomy, an orthogonal classification is one in which no item is a member of more than one group, that is, the classifications are mutually exclusive.

    In this regard, I am saying your comments are conceptually unrelated to the topic at hand. Further, my use is supported in arguments before the Supreme Court: http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/01/at-the-supreme-court-life-is-one-big-vocabulary-lesson.html

    Your answer @ 58 indicates that you have not actually read the article under discussion or bothered to read it closely, but it would be a response indicative of a person who has made an uninformed series of comments about an article which they have not read and is now trying to change the point of the conversation. I understand that to you they form a perfectly cogent line of reasoning but they appear disjointed and immaterial to the question at hand.

    I am also asking because I know you can formulate fairly rational arguments vis-vis public policy issues. I’m just asking that you do so in this case without resorting to off-topic quips about how someone else’s quip is off topic when their comments are actually germane to the subject. And I thought kerner’s bit of satire was both on target, topical, and funny.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace – now you’re just being willfully ignorant. ‘Orthogonal’ can be used to describe two things in just the manner that Mike describes @ 59. In fact, ‘oblique’ is a mathematical term used in geometry as well; however, it is perfectly applicable to describe ideas or thoughts that are at odds, or are not directly on topic. Regarding my use of ‘orthogonal’ it is taxonomic, a definition that can actually be found right on the wiki page you reference:

    In taxonomy, an orthogonal classification is one in which no item is a member of more than one group, that is, the classifications are mutually exclusive.

    In this regard, I am saying your comments are conceptually unrelated to the topic at hand. Further, my use is supported in arguments before the Supreme Court: http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/01/at-the-supreme-court-life-is-one-big-vocabulary-lesson.html

    Your answer @ 58 indicates that you have not actually read the article under discussion or bothered to read it closely, but it would be a response indicative of a person who has made an uninformed series of comments about an article which they have not read and is now trying to change the point of the conversation. I understand that to you they form a perfectly cogent line of reasoning but they appear disjointed and immaterial to the question at hand.

    I am also asking because I know you can formulate fairly rational arguments vis-vis public policy issues. I’m just asking that you do so in this case without resorting to off-topic quips about how someone else’s quip is off topic when their comments are actually germane to the subject. And I thought kerner’s bit of satire was both on target, topical, and funny.

  • Grace

    SKP “now you’re just being willfully ignorant”

    No SKP, I’m not – but I can see clearly how you would wish to argue in order to make right, your misuse of words, trailed, walking lock-step by your pals.

    I don’t have time, nor will I make time, for the questions you asked, and the way in which you tried to make an argument against what I previously posted, that SKP is IGNORANT – your ego might need a lift, but I have other things to do.

  • Grace

    SKP “now you’re just being willfully ignorant”

    No SKP, I’m not – but I can see clearly how you would wish to argue in order to make right, your misuse of words, trailed, walking lock-step by your pals.

    I don’t have time, nor will I make time, for the questions you asked, and the way in which you tried to make an argument against what I previously posted, that SKP is IGNORANT – your ego might need a lift, but I have other things to do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Translation (@65): I still don’t understand what you’re saying, or what that word means, but I’ve decided to act both offended and suddenly busy, as a last-ditch tactic.

    Oh, and, yes, I know. “Poor tODD”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Translation (@65): I still don’t understand what you’re saying, or what that word means, but I’ve decided to act both offended and suddenly busy, as a last-ditch tactic.

    Oh, and, yes, I know. “Poor tODD”.

  • Randy

    Many of you are naive to think the constitution will be abolished easily. If it comes to a fight it won’t be against lone individuals against an army unit. There will be units under the command of experienced military officers and non-coms all over the country. Remember the Civil War; although the South lost it didn’t exactly go down easily. I am an old broken down man who took an oath to protect the constitution many years ago. I promise I will still fight to the death if it comes to it. I could easily be taken, but I also promise you I won’t be alone. Many ex-soldiers as well as soldiers still enlisted will take this seriously and this group together will be much more at home on a battlefield than those of you who want to do away with the Constitution can even contemplate. The Consitution is what holds this country together. To abolish it will definitely bring about results that none of us wants. I advise the left-wing to think for a change.

  • Randy

    Many of you are naive to think the constitution will be abolished easily. If it comes to a fight it won’t be against lone individuals against an army unit. There will be units under the command of experienced military officers and non-coms all over the country. Remember the Civil War; although the South lost it didn’t exactly go down easily. I am an old broken down man who took an oath to protect the constitution many years ago. I promise I will still fight to the death if it comes to it. I could easily be taken, but I also promise you I won’t be alone. Many ex-soldiers as well as soldiers still enlisted will take this seriously and this group together will be much more at home on a battlefield than those of you who want to do away with the Constitution can even contemplate. The Consitution is what holds this country together. To abolish it will definitely bring about results that none of us wants. I advise the left-wing to think for a change.

  • Grace

    Randy

    YOU WROTE: I advise the left-wing to think for a change.

    What would they think with? ;)

  • Grace

    Randy

    YOU WROTE: I advise the left-wing to think for a change.

    What would they think with? ;)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ‘Orthogonal’ can be used to describe two things in just the manner that Mike describes @ 59. In fact, ‘oblique’ is a mathematical term used in geometry as well; however, it is perfectly applicable to describe ideas or thoughts that are at odds, or are not directly on topic.”

    Hey, also from geometry and applicable to some comments on this thread: obtuse.

    SKP is IGNORANT

    LOL, as if. Hilariously ironic.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ‘Orthogonal’ can be used to describe two things in just the manner that Mike describes @ 59. In fact, ‘oblique’ is a mathematical term used in geometry as well; however, it is perfectly applicable to describe ideas or thoughts that are at odds, or are not directly on topic.”

    Hey, also from geometry and applicable to some comments on this thread: obtuse.

    SKP is IGNORANT

    LOL, as if. Hilariously ironic.

  • Dave

    I welcome the abolishment of the Constitution. In its place should be a note that reads: “The law is whatever the progressive establishment says it is.”

    The benefit being that the Constitution would once again be a useful document, in the sense that it would accurately describe the distribution of government power.


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