Diary

Harvard Faculty: "Roll" The Constitution and "Smoke It"

At a Harvard symposium held on Constitution Day, left wing Harvard Professor Michael Klarman launched into a “rousing 12-minute diatribe against the Constitution’s failings”. The criticisms were so harsh that fellow left wing Harvard Professor Alexander Keyssar joked that the audience might as well take the Constitution and “role it and smoke it”.

Ha. Ha. Ha. Hilarity in the hallowed halls of Harvard.

Since I don’t expect much from Harvard, it takes a lot to disappoint me. I’m not much of an echo chamber cheerleader. I respect healthy debate. I understand that an institution of higher learning is a place to question assumptions, engage in analytical thinking and challenge the status quo.

When I read that Harvard was holding a symposium on Constitution Day entitled “The U.S. Constitution: What Should We Celebrate and What Should We Criticize?” I knew there would be much more criticizing than celebrating. But the insulting and sophmoric dialogue that occurred was pathetic even for Harvard.

Klarman and Keyssar were joined on the symposium by fellow lefties Mark Tushnet, Noah Feldman and Sanford Levinson. David Souter also attended. And I guess Charlie Fried was supposed to be the token conservative. This is the esteemed group that brought forth the following banal criticisms:

On the separation of powers:

But the HLS professor [Fried] also noted that structural issues, like the separation of powers and the bicameral nature of the legislature, make it “very difficult for the government that [the Constitution] established to actually do anything.”

On the Electoral College:

Another failing, many noted, is the Constitution’s creation of the Electoral College — the system that allows popularly elected electors from each state to in turn officially vote for the president of the United States. The section of the document that deals with elections and voting rights was “very badly crafted,” said Alex Keyssar.

On the amendment clause:

Tushnet called the Constitution’s Article V, which is an amendment clause, its most “anti-democratic feature,” noting that the article makes it “functionally impossible to amend the Constitution with regard to anything of significance.”

On civil rights:

“We are responsible for our own fate,” Klarman said, refusing to give the original framers of the Constitution or the Supreme Court credit for the “many things about our political culture we can take pride in,” primarily civil rights protection. “To delude ourselves from thinking otherwise is a mistake, and a potentially dangerous one.”

Are you overwhelmed by their penetrating insights yet? I might break down their lame remarksif I thought the average age of redstate readers was sixteen. But I think most literate conservatives can critique those comments on their own. There was some praise for the constitution. Perhaps the most eloquent praise was offered by former Reagan Solicitor General Charlie Fried who praised its size:

Though the criticisms were in greater supply, there were a handful of compliments for the text from the five-member panel. Charlie Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, said the document’s brief length is one of its most impressive features. Its small size was to be admired said Fried, who noted that educated and literate statesmen “schooled in the sense of style” were responsible for its crisp language.

Who knew? The constitution’s “brief length is one of its most impressive features”. And all along I thought the most impressive features might be the first amendment, perhaps the separation of powers, maybe the due process clause. On Constitution Day, of all things to celebrate, Harvard celebrated the size of the constitution. This is what the next generation of governors, senators and presidents will take away from their Harvard experience; The constitution was brilliant because it was brief and accessible. Did you hear that left wing soldiers of Massachusetts Avenue? When you write your neo-marxist tracts make sure they too are brief and accessible.

It’s amazing to witness how far Harvard has fallen. As an American, it’s actually sad to witness the demise of such a great institution. But it is beyond repair now.

As long as the disease is free is contaminate, mopping up the symptoms will always be a frustrating exercise in futility. For the first time in my life, it seems like conservatives are fighting the real enemy and we must not relent