Monday, May 19, 2003

A few things. Atrios refers to the Hitler miniseries is 'important.' I hope not.
Last night I was flipping the channels at my ex-girfriend's apartment in Brighton Beach. For a few minutes we watched Mr Smith Goes to Washigton, the scene where Jimmy Stewart gives his awed little monologue of his first visions of the Capital dome and the Lincoln Memorial. It's "Capra corn" at its worst: every moment choreographed to produce the appropriate response; the audience and the cynical secretary won over by the earnest naivete of the newby senator. I cringed and begged to switch the channel. We ended up with "Hitler:The Rise of Evil", but it was the same thing: the audience being told what emotions to feel, whom to love and whom to hate. Once again, it's us versus them. But history is never us versus them, it's us versus us. To claim otherwise is fall into the trap of political kitsch, of which fascism is the first example. It helps no one, and should not be defended, especially those whose of us who are aware of the stakes.

Jack Balkin is still arguing with Larry Solum on the subject of Constitutional change.
Solum refers to himself as a "neoformalist" and lays out some principles as to what that description means. That's all well and good, but he's talking to others who are not neoformalists. And there are plenty of others of various other persuasions who are involved in debates on the same subject. In this case a neoformalist is debating a hybrid historicist textualist social constructivist liberal. Never mind how change should happen, how does it happen? What are the terms of the debate they are already having? We need a little less theorizing and a little more sociological observation. Balkin understands this; after all I think it fits in with his philosophy, but Solum seems not to, and is simply trying to invent ways to justify his moral conservatism with a veneer of logic. But if history is anything other than repitition, it's dialectics. As a simple matter of fact, Solum's ideals, even if they come and go in popularity, simply fail as a description of why they do so.

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