I N T R O D U C T I O N
The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a
slow extinction from apathy, indi√erence, and undernourishment.—Robert Maynard
Hutchins (1954)
Inconsistencies of opinion arising from changing circumstances are often justifiable.
—Daniel Webster (1846)
The premise of this book is that teachers and critics (primarily journalists
and academics outside law school) are unreflectively and mistakenly de-
voted to a complex group of intellectual and political ideas about constitu-
tional and legal commentary that needs to be challenged. I refer specifically
to their self-image as civic educators in an interpretive community and their
ideas about the law’s formalisms (i.e., the law’s argumentative rules and
structures, principles, concepts, and doctrines), the Constitution as a text,
the reasoning and arguments of litigators and adjudicators, philosophical
theories, and the role of courts in liberal-democratic politics. Unreflective
devotion to their current self-image and their ideas, which I refer to as
‘‘the ideology of involvement’’ and ‘‘intellectual jurisprudence’’ respectively,
is a mistake because it exacts too high a cost in constitutional and legal
commentary.
Specifically, the ideology of involvement leads teachers and critics to pre-
sume that they are more e≈cacious as civic educators than they actually are
or can be. It therefore assists in repressing their awareness of how di≈cult it
is to make a more democratic contribution to commentary about law and
policies that breaks with intellectual jurisprudence. Intellectual jurispru-
dence leads teachers and critics, and therefore their audiences as well, to
Previous Page Next Page