Posts Tagged ‘empirical data’

The U.S. Census

As a general rule, the Founding Fathers get way too much credit. The Declaration of Independence was basically plagiarized from John Locke; a lot of the Constitution is downright awful, either from a moral standpoint or a procedural one. Let’s not even get started on the Bill of Rights…

One thing the Founders do not get enough credit for, though, is the Census. In Clause 3 of Article I the Constitution mandates: “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

It’s not flashy or glamorous, but it’s hard to understate its importance. People so often recall the grand philosophical ideas espoused by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al., and as a result we tend to think of them more as political philosophers than as actual policy makers. This is understandable, but not really accurate. What the Founders were doing, after all, was establishing a country. So while Josh may be thrilled that the Founders decided to prohibit government regulation of speech, I’m more impressed by whomever stood up and said, “It would probably be really helpful if we counted each other every ten years or so.” Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while looking for a more suitable sponsor…

  • We almost always recommend something from it, but consider reading this week’s NY Times Magazine cover to cover: It’s the 9th Annual Year in Ideas Issue and it features an interview with eminent University of Chicago Philosopher Martha Nussbaum.
  • When we read Russian lit–and you know we do–we do our best to procure the translation by the husband and wife team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. The Millions recently did an interview with the pair about their methods, philosophies, and future projects.