Troubleshooting the Constitution
Even after doing three separate shows on rewriting the U.S. Constitution from three different perspectives (Libertarian, Progressive and Conservative), I’m still hungry for more insights on how to think about designing the ideal constitution.
I found aspects of each team’s revisions attractive, but if I could push a button to make one the law of the land, would I? Even if I thought that the original could be improved, what unintended consequences might there be from dismantling the document that has worked at least reasonably well for almost 250 years?
Professor Michael Munger returned to the show to elaborate on a topic [he recently discussed with Russ Roberts on the always-interested EconTalk podcast](https://www.econtalk.org/michael-munger-on-constitutions/#audio-highlights). They delved into the work of public choice economics like James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, who concerned themselves with the nature of constitutions – rules about rules – and how groups can balance their collective interests against individual liberties.
We discussed the challenge of improving a constitutional order, when the document in question is the result of an evolutionary process. The American Constitution, for all of its faults, is the oldest document of its kind in the entire world. Does that mean we’re stuck with what we’ve got, whether we like it or not? Or could we possibly do better?