an unanticipated consequence of
Jack M. Balkin
Jack Balkin: jackbalkin at yahoo.com
Bruce Ackerman bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
Ian Ayres ian.ayres at yale.edu
Mary Dudziak mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
Joey Fishkin joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Abbe Gluck abbe.gluck at yale.edu
Mark Graber mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
Stephen Griffin sgriffin at tulane.edu
Bernard Harcourt harcourt at uchicago.edu
Scott Horton shorto at law.columbia.edu
Andrew Koppelman akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
Marty Lederman msl46 at law.georgetown.edu
Sanford Levinson slevinson at law.utexas.edu
David Luban david.luban at gmail.com
Gerard Magliocca gmaglioc at iupui.edu
Jason Mazzone mazzonej at illinois.edu
Linda McClain lmcclain at bu.edu
John Mikhail mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
Frank Pasquale pasquale.frank at gmail.com
Nate Persily npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
Deborah Pearlstein dpearlst at princeton.edu
Rick Pildes rick.pildes at nyu.edu
Richard Primus raprimus at umich.edu
K. Sabeel Rahmansabeel.rahman at brooklaw.edu
Alice Ristroph alice.ristroph at shu.edu
Neil Siegel siegel at law.duke.edu
Brian Tamanaha btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
Mark Tushnet mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
Adam Winkler winkler at ucla.edu
I have been thinking of declaring myself a candidate for the
Republican Party nomination for President of the United States. The centerpiece of my campaign will be
opposition to the Pythagorean Theorem.
This has got to be a winner in Republican circles, where candidates are judged by their capacity to challenge basic science. Besides something called the Pythagorean
Theorem is clearly foreign inspired and un-American. Unsurprisingly, my fellow red-staters, liberals in the universities brook no dissent
on that matter.
In order to demonstrate my credentials as a true
contemporary Republican and improve my chances, I must narrow the
electorate and refashion an America in my image. My idea is that we should
require all voters to take an oath that a) they believe in a religion that
promises virtuous people the good place in the hereafter (can we really trust
any one who does not believe) and b) that under no conditions does their
religion ever command them to break the laws of the nation (can we really trust
anyone who has a religious belief that might cause them to violate American
law). It is probably a good idea to
apply the same policy to immigration.
And given that we do not want to take any chances with the wrong people
in our country, the policy should be retroactive to, say, 1492. The United States has done more than its fair
share taking in refugees. It is about
time other countries took in the American refugees that do not meet my
retroactive immigration standards. It's time Switzerland and Nepal stepped up.
While we are on the subject of attacking universities, I
think my campaign will seek laws forbidding colleges from memorializing any person who held the prejudices of their time. This will, of course, get rid of Woodrow
Wilson and John C. Calhoun, but also such figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton
(see her comments on immigrants and persons of color) and Frederick Douglass
(see his post-Civil War comments on gender).
At one point I thought that these standards will still permit us to memorialize John Smith and Mary Jones and other stillborn children, but then
I realized that this might trigger traumatic responses from women and men who
have had stillborn children. No doubt
lots of statues and paintings will have to be removed, but like most true
blooded Americans, I prefer football to art.
Of course, to retain college football, we have to retain colleges and
teach something and inevitably that raises disturbing questions (has anyone noted how both modern social science and fraternities both privilege the Greek alphabet). I will create a task
force to figure this one out.
I think we also need to ban Christianity and related
religions, with a possible Unitarian exception.
If we are truly committed to equal human dignity, we cannot have people
speaking or even thinking that God will reward the religiously faithful more
than those who practice some other religion or do not practice religion at
all. Consider in this vein the trauma
non-Christians, many of whom had ancestors oppressed by Christians, must feel
every time they witness a cross or similar garb. Of course, we want people to be free to speak and believe what they believe to be true. But we need to be sensitive on sensitive subjects and the mere fact that no person in the history of the world has ever exhibited the requisite level of sensitivity is no reason to lower our standards. That would be un-American.
Of course, if these proposals are adopted, there will be
very few living people left in the United States and those people will not be
able to think or say much. On the other
hand, if our present politics continue, we are likely to experience an
environmental or nuclear disaster that will also reduce dramatically the number
of living people in the United States and their capacity to say much. At least, my campaign promises a
self-conscious effort to reach that dystopia.