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What Would Gouverneur Morris Think?

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benfranklinvskoolaidUnlike Burt Pretlusky, he’d probably be pretty happy with contemporary establishment clause jurisprudence, actually.

If the authors of the Constitution had ever, in their worst nightmares, envisioned a group as vile as the ACLU, I feel certain that they would have rephrased the First Amendment to read: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  Period!  And we’re not kidding, so help us God!”

There’s not even an up-to-date news item that sets Pretlusky off; it’s just the same War-on-Christmas silliness.  I understand that appeals to tradition and authority are important facets of the conservative ethos, but the constant appeal to the Founders has always confused me.  It’s always capital-F, and it always assumes a more or less monolithic group.

I use the example of Gouverneur Morris flippantly, but purposefully.  Dude wrote large chunks of the Constitution, had some seriously weird ideas about religion, and speechified nonstop in favor of fringe religious expression.  He would’ve been the first one in line to “go to the mat to safeguard a Muslim’s right to wear a disguise on her driver’s license,” as Pretlusky puts it.

More to the point, though, if you could actually go back and ask THE FRAMERS about today’s issues, their response would more likely be along the lines of

a) “America is still around in 2009?  I don’t think any of us saw that one coming.”

b) “2009 and no robot butlers?  What a shitty future.”

c) “Why the fuck are you asking us what we think?”

The dudes went to great lengths to set up a clear system for the people of any era to govern themselves, within the constraints of a few simple small-r republican principles.  They did this precisely so we wouldn’t have to be wondering what the hell they were thinking all the time.


Written by dieblucasdie

April 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm

6 Responses

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  1. hey blucs just wanted 2 say that picture of wolferines and jean gray is way hot and i want to drive a stake thru it if u kno what i mean

    secret livejuornaler

    April 30, 2009 at 7:29 pm

  2. wait this coment is on the wrong psot this is a confusing site

    secret livejuornaler

    April 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

  3. why the comments are at the top what sense does that make
    that would be like if faith turned out to be a were-pantjher in the lsat epidose
    i would be like what thats crazy

    secret livejuornaler

    April 30, 2009 at 7:51 pm

  4. Her secret name is just between us


    April 30, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  5. And, it’s worth noting, the vagueness of the Constitution was a clever trick to get everyone to agree on some basic ideas and punt the detail work to future generations.


    April 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm

  6. Yeah, the comments *are* at the bottom if you actually click on the post heading. The problem is that I don’t ever use the “jump” feature.

    Antero, yeah, that was more or less what I was getting at; I don’t really see why we should care about what The Framers thought, because 1) Why? It’s 2009, 2) Such a thing isn’t really even possible, given what a ragtag group they were, and 3) To the extent that you *can* suss something out, it’s “Let future generations figure out their own problems” anyhow.


    May 1, 2009 at 6:09 pm

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