Anti-Constitutional MomentsExpressO (2014)
AbstractMy previous paper “Gödel’s Loophole,” 41 Cap. U. L. Rev. 637 (2013) -- which has been downloaded over 3000 times on SSRN and has been featured on such websites as io9 and Hacker News -- has generated extensive commentary from academics and laypersons alike. Because of the interest in the subject matter of my previous paper on “Gödel’s Loophole,” I have written a new paper titled “Anti-Constitutional Moments” in which I combine legal history and constitutional theory in order to explore in detail an intriguing idea I first put forth in my previous work. In summary, previously I retold the story of Kurt Gödel’s remarkable discovery in late 1947 of a deep logical contradiction in the United States Constitution. At the time, however, and for many years thereafter, this purported discovery was discounted as nonsense or as highly improbable. Yet this assessment ignores Gödel’s background and expertise in logic, his Central European background, and the dramatic constitutional histories of many Central European states during the interbellum period. Specifically, during his years at the University Vienna (1924-1940)--first as a student and then as a lecturer--Gödel would have noticed that every constitutional democracy in Central Europe ended in dictatorship. In this paper, then, I survey the series of “anti-constitutional moments” unfolding in interbellum Europe in order to shed some light on Gödel’s later discovery of a logical contradiction in the U.S. Constitution. Simply stated, Gödel’s main concern was the theoretical possibility of a “constitutional dictatorship.” But how likely was this possibility as a practical matter? It turns out, very likely, if the constitutional history of interbellum Europe is any guide.
Publication DateNovember 14, 2014
Citation InformationF.E. Guerra-Pujol. "Anti-Constitutional Moments" ExpressO (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/fe_guerra-pujol/1/