"Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor."
Consensus on the benign motives of our Founding Fathers and the nature of the Constitution that had persisted through the 19th century began to crack at the beginning of the 20th under assaults from the Progressives. It has disintegrated at an accelerating rate since, so that today we, as a people, are uncertain of our legacy. In this work, addressed to the "common reader," Russell Kirk does not settle any of the controversies that have given rise to this disintegration. Nor does he appreciably advance our understanding of the subtle disputes over the nature of our founding that have emerged in recent decades. But he does make some interesting points that are bound to add fuel to the fires.
The Conservative Constitution consists of lectures that have been spliced together into 15 chapters, only loosely connected with each other by their focus on some aspect of our constitutional order and certain problems surrounding its meaning and operations. The first six chapters, in one fashion or another, deal with the Framers, their goals, and the influences on their thinking; the remaining chapters with disparate matters such as pornography, the differences between our Bill of Rights and the French version of the "rights of man," the controversy over "original intent," the...