April 11, 2014
Caught Between Rhetoric and Reality
Meta-discussions about the U.S. Constitution can be problematic. It seems to me that the rhetorical values we use in talking about the Constitution are almost perfectly contradicted by the rules laid out in the document itself, or rules we have subsequently dreamt up and improperly ascribe to it. Most complicated! But meta-discussions, I think, always deserve the benefit of the doubt. Besides, how else would we analyze the Constitution as a quasi-religious text? But that would take us past the limits of this show. Here, I talk with gifted rhetorician and constitutional law scholar Robert L. Tsai, author most recently of America's Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions of Power and Community (Harvard University Press, just published this Monday). Thanks, Robert, for your historical insight! Total runtime forty four minutes. Cōnsēnsus facit lēgem.