July 12 in the Constitutional Convention: The South Throws Down the Gauntlet

It’s hard to tell on the basis of Madison’s Notes alone but one gets the sense from the text that tensions had grown high between the North and the South on this day. The Southern representatives continue to insist on a principle of representation that counts “both the white and the black people.” Insofar as “the black people” were essentially all slaves, this meant the Southern states were demanding a principle of full “representation” for their non-voting slaves; they were demanding that their votes count for more than their Northern compatriots. William Davies from North Carolina gives what one can … Continue reading July 12 in the Constitutional Convention: The South Throws Down the Gauntlet

July 10 in the Constitutional Convention: The North/South Divide

In light of the subsequent history of the Union, July 10 is important insofar as it continues to indicate the key fault line that will divide the Union through the Civil War and even beyond. Much of the debate about representation in the legislature up to this point had concentrated on the apparent friction between the large and small states. The small states were worried that the large states would dominate the national government at their expense. Rufus King argues on this day, however, that this isn’t the true source of the tension. He say that he “was fully convinced … Continue reading July 10 in the Constitutional Convention: The North/South Divide

The Dilemma of State Representation

As though he too, were also studying the Constitutional Convention’s debates as my colleague, Greg Weiner, did today, Noah Millman has an interesting article in the New York Times calling for America to break up its biggest states. Given that this is the very same day, July 7th, that the Constitutional Convention took up in earnest the question of state representation, Millman’s article is especially interesting. Millman is trying to find a way to represent the political diversity within the large states that is not currently represented. For instance, in the state of New York, neither New York City, nor … Continue reading The Dilemma of State Representation

GAR: Against the “Lost Cause” and in Favor of Holding Traitors Responsible

This is a a fascinating article mostly focusing on the GAR (The Grand Army of the Republic), a Civil War veterans’ organization that focused a great deal of energy on arguing and lobbying against the post-Civil War attempt by the South to change the narrative of the Civil War so as to include themselves in the memorials to it. About this attempt, the Department Commander for the Indiana GAR wrote in 1914: “While I have long since forgiven my ex-Confederate brother for the terrible mistake he made in trying to destroy this Union of ours…you should remember and never forget … Continue reading GAR: Against the “Lost Cause” and in Favor of Holding Traitors Responsible

The Problem with Symbolic Legislation

This essay by Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr. makes the relatively uncontroversial point that the laws recently passed in Idaho and Oklahoma banning the teaching of critical race theory in public colleges and universities are unconstitutional. Both a veritable mountain of Supreme Court precedent along with constitutional common sense suggest that this would be the case. A serious commitment to public education is simply incompatible with legislation that directs what can and cannot be taught. Although Krotoszynski cites a long history of Supreme Court precedent suggesting that’s the case, I think most of us would know this simply by consulting our … Continue reading The Problem with Symbolic Legislation

Science, Trump, and the Culture War

David Frum has an article in The Atlantic examining what he calls the “pro-Trump culture war on American scientists.” As he notes, Anthony Fauci has become the object of hate by pro-Trump supporters even more than any Democratic politicians. Underlying Frum’s article seems to be the assumption that scientists are merely scientists and that the pro-Trump contingent has wrongly focused their blame on them. Moreover, although Frum recognizes that the Chinese lab-origin story turns out to have more truth than anti-Trumpers want to admit, Frum suggests that we should focus less on that and more on Trump’s mishandling of the … Continue reading Science, Trump, and the Culture War

The Illiberalism of Speech Apologies

Matthew J. Mayhew recently posted this essay in Inside Higher Ed. It is an earnest and exceedingly odd sequel to his first essay, “Why America Needs College Football.” He has learned that there was an implicit racism in his initial essay that has “deepened the pain experienced by my ignorance related to Black male athletes and the Black community.” He has learned his lesson and the sequel apologizes for the “hurt, sadness, frustration, fatigue, exhaustion and pain this article has caused anyone.” He expresses so much contrition about the “deep ache for the damage I have done” that it feels … Continue reading The Illiberalism of Speech Apologies

The Stupidity of the Johnson & Johnson Pause

Update: Although not definitive, this study would seem to supply some evidence for my claim. The pause on J&J shots because of an astronomically low risk rate is, I think, remarkably stupid. The chances of getting hit by lightning or winning the lottery are higher than the chance of a blood clot. Medicine always carries risks. The risks are typically much higher than 6 in one million. Although the American public might overrate such risks (they actually think the next ticket is the one that wins them the lottery), the “scientists” at the CDC should know better. Apparently, the people … Continue reading The Stupidity of the Johnson & Johnson Pause