Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Principles, Agents, and Bacon's Rebellion

OK - so my recent post on Tim Kaine and Obama got me feeling like I should re-emerse myself in Virginia state politics after somewhat of a hiatus, so I looked up some Virginia policy blogs and added one - "Bacon's Rebellion" - to my list...

... and I'm already frustrated with one of the posts.

James Bowden had a post on a court decision on public prayer. It's a pretty mundane argument on his part - standard church/state stuff - except for the principle/agent dimension of the court decision that I think he's ignoring. Plus he's doing this and trying to hold himself up as a "strict constructionist" at the same time. He promotes strict constructionism in a way that distorts what most constructionists actually believe. Anyway - weel free to read my comments. I come away from this experience with two insights:

1. Every intelligent person should have an understanding of contracts and the concept of principles and agents, and

2. So-called "strict constructionists" need to understand that just because you don't come up with a phrase in your keyword search of the Constitution doesn't mean that it's unconstitutional or inconsistent with the intent of the founders. Even a restrictive, Jeffersonian interpretation of the Constitution is viable without assuming that.


Evan said...

Alas, you have the last word at this point. I can't wait for someone else to post... maybe I'll go in anonymously and say something provocative.

Or you could get the guy that posted on my discussion about America being a Republic (dammit!) not a Democracy.


dkuehn said...

what scares me is that if it weren't for taking econ, I would probably be bombastic like that too. I was in high school.

econ made me think more analytically and in terms of what was provable. Its just really sad dialogue sometime...

what do you think of my underlying argument, though? I'm not saying anybody that disagrees with me isn't analytical - I'm just saying they're all approaching it very badly (ie - "DARN that o'connor - making up words like 'government speech'")