Thursday, October 27, 2005

differentiating part 2, a work in progress

Whether describing the approach of a judge who feels originalism or textualism* is the only way to construe the constitution, an Iranian Ayatollah who wants a political party like its 1399 or an American Ayatollah who thinks taking the bible literally will save us, [those of us elected by god or otherwise deserving of salvation] may not get too far by means of logic. This is an attempt to discern the mechanism of faith. This is an effort to find out why some of us would rather shore up our own authority by claiming to possess a code of perfection than to do the uncertain but profitable tasks that begin when you admit nothing from the hand of man is more than a work in progress.

How they can presume to know the minds of the writers hundreds or thousands of years after the writing has never been demonstrated to my satisfaction.

The claim that nothing material to the interpretations has changed for world views frozen on a page centuries ago defies common sense for a liberal and defines it for a conservative.

* One very authoritative book on the errors of thinking one could know just what the drafters of the constitution had in mind is Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution, written by Justice Breyer. [thanks, Mumon]

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