Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Defense of the Constitution II

The following is my response to Frank Warner’s charge that the Electoral College is an affront to justice and common sense:

Change is built into the Constitution. There is no guarantee that every amendment will be redolent with the wisdom of the ages, but it is suitably hard to make an amendment. Prohibition was a terrible mistake, just as the drug laws are today. Slavery was also a terrible mistake, but freeing the slaves would have been impossible until Lincoln's time. Aspects of the Constitution aren't necessarily "correct", but they do represent consensus.

If you believe Lincoln, consensus is more important than correctness. Civilization and prosperity are rare and precious, not to mention Freedom. There was never a guarantee that the US could have become a good place. The first Emperor, Aaron Burr, could have started the downward spiral. There are some who would dispute that the US is a good place at all, but the downward potential is, and always has been, far greater than imagination can be persuaded to accept.

The centralizing power of the Electoral College comes, not during the tabulation of the votes, but before. It forces each Party to find a position that will be tolerable to enough people in the Center in each and every locale of the US. This is why we are so quick to shout hypocrisy when the message sent to Texans is different from that presented in New York. Tailored messages allow them to elude the EC's power.

I believe that we do gradually find ways to improve ourselves, and there are ways to improve the Electoral College. But those improvements would accentuate its pre-election impact rather than eliminating it.

5/11/2005 12:16 PM

See also: Defense of the Constitution
See also: Fairness of the Electoral College

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