Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

History

We the People ... Continued

A young researcher in Philadelphia's "Historical Society of Pennsylvania" has reassembled an early draft of the U.S. Constitution penned by James Wilson in 1787.

I fully concur with the assessment of the find as the discovery of a national treasure, but more endearing still is the wonderful nerdiness of the researchers at the unfolding of the discovery: "This was national scripture, a piece of our Constitution's history. It was difficult to keep my hands from trembling." As other researchers "realized what was happening, there was a sort of hushed awe that settled over the reading room. One of them said the hair on her arms stood on end." Bless their little patriotic socks.

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Discussions - 12 Comments

Deeply appreciating a significant, historical artifact is not "nerdiness."

Dan -- precisely. It would call it "maturity," not nerdiness.

Yes, true patriotism is a kind of maturity. But it may be a better and fuller kind of maturity to develop the healthy sense of humor about oneself and one's intellectual inclinations that Mr. Paulette here demonstrates (he DID call it a "wonderful" kind of nerdiness). If one can't recognize the sense in which there is a certain amount of nerdiness among folks like us who study and think about America and American politics, the resulting patriotism can (and will) too often be mistaken for a kind of insufferable sense of superiority. Without that sense of humor about oneself and one's efforts, I further wonder if it is even possible to enjoy the innocent and delightful kind of chills that Mr. Paulette so admired in these young researchers. Without humor, there is no real understanding of tragedy. And without that, there is no real understanding of greatness.

VERY well said, Julie. To rise from humor....to tragedy.....to understanding greatness. No mean feat. -Happy Amateur

Modernity's anti-patriotism is a tragedy. Given the senseless modern sensibilities about patriotism, the chills described bring new meaning to cultural sophistication. When "everyone" who is anyone has forgotten to rejoice in American ideals and we are not allowed to consider America exceptional, and our schools teach that to our innocents as good civics, then "everyone" is innocent of understanding. Anyway, I am nerdy enough to wish I had been there with those happy researchers who had the sense to know what they had in hand.

Despite Julie's humorless lecture on humor, it still seems to me that the cringing, self-abasing noun, "nerdiness," in Paulette's post speaks more memorably than the wispy, vague adjectives he tacks onto it. It is an unnecessary concession to the zeitgeist -- as what passes for conservative good humor often is.
Let's be good humored and keep our arrogance in check, by all means. But let's not let either liberals or barbarians set the standards of taste. Even if such concessions are easily taken for good humor.

The term "nerdiness" was a concession, an unconscious one, and an unnecessary one at that. When Paulette availed himself of the descriptive "nerdiness," he gave evidence of a typical Conservative's defensive cringe before a host of modern attitudes. And despite his attempt to back away from that by his choice of adjective, that defensive cringe can nonetheless be discerned.

Therefore the objection is sustained, {despite the intellectual agility Julie displays in his defense}.

Much ado about nothing . . .

No one is willing to admit that there is a certain nerdiness to this debate over nerdiness?

Dan and David Frisk seem to be writting briefs..."the cringing, self-abasing noun, "nerdiness," in Paulette's post speaks more memorably than the wispy, vague adjectives he tacks onto it."

Well once you put it that way... Of course "cringing" and "self-abasing noun" do much to modify nerdiness.

It is as if there is a battle over the wording of a jury instruction.

Then you have Dan..."Therefore the objection is sustained, {despite the intellectual agility Julie displays in his defense}."

Might as well conclude thusly:

We therefore reverse the judgment of Julie Ponzi+Justin Paulette in the Comments section (Court of Appeals) and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Notice that Justin Paulette was simply concurring..."I fully concur with the assesment." Typically concurrences are written when a justice wants to add a few observations.

While often judges write dissents, I have yet to see a judge writting for the majority, tack unto the end of the case a dissent on a concurence. This is to say, we don't agree with your extra reasons or insights that lead you to agree with us...quit your abominable concurence writting and join the majority already!

After all this concurence is "an unnecessary concession to the zeitgeist"!

Some troublesome language: "bless their little patriotic socks." becomes "the find was so great it knocked their socks off!"(or perhaps they removed shoes and socks a la moses) Also suggesting that the researchers were wonderfully nerdy implies that the material wasn't great enough on its own to impose the same awe upon jaded criminals. If we want to step it up some...every knee bowed, every toungue tried to confess...."This was national scripture, a piece of our Constitution's history. It was difficult to keep my hands from trembling." Get a deposition from a death row muderer who upon hearing of people who had seen this decided to forgo his appeals process and face the electric chair because he knew that justice required it.

Words are crucial and always worth arguing over. They are the primary medium in which political warfare and cultural warfare are conducted.

Don't you guys follow style at all? Tina Fey, Harry Potter, Steve Carrell--"nerdiness" has become tres chic.

Of course, not being hip enough to recognize that nerdiness is chic is a reflection of a certain kind of nerdiness in itself.

I sometimes call myself a "history geek."

Argue away!

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