More on the Constitution Fetish

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Some of you probably saw Dahlia Lithwick on Rachel Maddow’s show last night, but if you didn’t, here it is.

Lithwick points out that the Constitution fetishists so dearly want to believe the Constitution is clear and simple and absolute in every way, when it’s actually vague and very open-ended on many points, not to mention infused with 18th-century legalisms that one can’t possibly understand correctly without some knowledge of English common law of the time. As I said in the earlier post, I sincerely believe that most teabaggers and their leaders — Palin, Beck et al. — would flunk a quiz on basic constitutional facts.

BTW, please suggest questions for a quiz — I may create one.

Anyway, it strikes me that this is so much in keeping with authoritarian personality types, who famously have a low tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity. As Bob Altemeyer points out (page 122), this is one of the reasons they don’t “get” science. Science never declares any understanding of anything to be the absolute and final truth, and authoritarians can’t deal with that. Once science has been shown to be mistaken about something, then it’s all invalid, in their minds.

This also means that authoritarians/conservatives/teabaggers are forever and always at odds with human civilization unless they can control it and stamp out all the parts that confuse them. They do this in the name of liberty, of course.

Update: Big, honking, neon-lit proof of the authoritarian nature of conservatism — some blogger thinks my remarks about constitutional fetishism are treason.

Believe me, if teabaggers ever get unchecked power, the U.S. will become a totalitarian nightmare even Orwell could not have imagined.