Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

European Constitution Making

The Economist runs a critical piece on what is happening at the "European constitutional convention:" Not much, and they get everything important wrong. And here The Economist offers more of a description than a criticism. Both pieces are worth a read.

But, as I am sitting here listening to Gordon Lloyd go through the American Constitutional Convention (he is in the second day of a week-long seminar for high school teachers which he is conducting with Christopher Flannery), it occurs to me that there cannot be a comparison, it is not possible. The American exercise in deliberation and choice is extraordinary, is serious, meaningful, and prudent. There are no Madisons or Hamiltons or Morrises or Dickinsons, never mind a Washington, in the European effort. Here is insight, erudition, and logic, from a senior European delegate: “It was the Bill of Rights that created American identity. They were Americans and so they had rights. It will be the same with Europeans.” Yup, you’re a smart guy, thanks. I remember back in 1982 having a conversation with the editor (not a subaltern) of one of the major London papers. He argued that the American Revolution was an imitation of the French, after all the French Revolution was not only the real revolution, but also the one that come first. I tried to talk him out of this silly opinion. I failed then, and I would fail now if I tried it. Too bad.

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