The recent report on the findings of climatic research into the causes and probable evolution of climate change – a more accurate term than “global warming” – prompted me to consider a possible answer to Enrico Fermi’s classic question “Where is everybody?” Multiple generations of science fiction writers have projected a future in which the Milky Way Galaxy fairly teems with life, rather like Times Square on New Year’s Eve or the tavern in the first Star Wars movie – so much so that the late Prof. Stephen Hawking has publicly counseled SETI investigators to – not literally STFU – but certainly to exercise due caution in broadcasting the existence of intelligent life on earth to every corner of the Galaxy. (Not that we have a choice by now: earth’s electromagnetic emissions by now com
In 2007, Harvard University Press published a remarkable book by Yale professor Bruce Ackerman, The Failure of the Founding Fathers (hereafter Failure). Best I remember, I read the book because I was startled by the sacrilegiousness of the title: Ackerman was violating the cultural canons mandating unqualified awe of the Founders and Framers by suggesting that, in writing the Constitution, they had failed in some way. (To say that the Framers failed because they compromised with the slave States to get the Constitution ratified is a truism. Ackerman had something else in mind, however.) He convinced me, though I persist in believing that the “perfect storm” of synergistic malfunctions that very nearly deadlocked the election of 1800, and that almost led to the dissolution of the Union
The second Pillar of the First Amendment’s temple is …
o The “free exercise” clause
… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …
Compared to both the linguistic subtleties of the “free exercise” clause and the consequent intricacies of the corresponding case law, the language of the “establishment clause” is as transparently simple as “Row, row, row your boat”. This exponential increase in complexity and subtlety is due to the fact that, whereas the “establishment” clause pertains only to government action vis a vis religious institutions, teachings, and doctrine, the “free exercise” clause pertains to the myriad ways in which the exercise of religion impinges, not only upon prerogatives of the government, but also upon those of individuals and groups.