Friday, May 04, 2007

Proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The following interchange, as recorded in The New York Times transcript, took place during the so-called debate between ten Republican contenders for the United States presidency:

MR. VANDEHEI (a questioner): Senator McCain, this comes from a reader and was among the top vote-getters in our early rounds. They want a yes or no. Do you believe in evolution?


MR. VANDEHEI: I’m curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree — believe in evolution?

(Senator Brownback, Mr. Huckabee, Representative Tancredo raise their hands.)

Given that response to Vandehei’s question, I would therefore like to propose the following Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Anti-Ignorance Amendment
No person whose religious beliefs alone prevent him or her from accepting an overwhelming expert consensus relating to facts and data of science and/or history shall be eligible to the office of president.
What do you think, folks? Shall we start a grass-roots effort to get this adopted?


Anonymous said...

No. I for one am pretty happy with the current "no religious test" clause. In the end, whether they want to vote for an idiot is a decision that has to be left to the voters.

Anonymous said...

Just as you can't legislate morality, you can't legislate against willful ignorance. So I'd be against amending the Constitution for this purpose. Much as we'd like to try and as much as the future of mankind depends on it, we have to leave decisions regarding the electorate to the people. No matter how much they treasure their willful ignorance.

vjack said...

Sounds good to me, but I do worry what will happen when every school in America bears Pat Robertson's name.

The Exterminator said...

My proposed amendment is tongue-in-cheek, folks, but I'll answer the comments anyway.

Yes, the Constitution argues against a religious test. But I'm not proposing one; the president should be free to practice whatever religion he or she chooses, as long as the Constitution is not endangered by his or her religious observance. (Remember: the oath of office requires the president to swear or affirm that he or she will "to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.") My proposal is for an intelligence test, which establishes a bare minimum capability for effectively doing what the president must swear to do. The founding fathers worried about a mob-ocracy, and put certain checks and balances -- like the Bill of Rights -- in place to keep a potentially ignorant majority from running the country. If the Constitution can insist that the president be a certain age--presumably to ensure maturity--there's no reason that it can't insist on some minimal intellectual standard.

Why can't you legislate against willful ignorance? Don't we require citizens to to take tests for driver's licenses, to fill out income tax forms correctly, to obey the laws whether or not they know what those laws are? Ignorance is not legal in many situations. Why can't we insist, constitutionally, that our president not be an ignoramus?

Not every school in America will bear Pat Robertson's name. Some will bear Jerry Falwell's name.

Rhology said...

Why can't we insist, constitutionally, that our president not be an ignoramus?

Why not advocate, then, an amendment requiring the President understand the theory?
And why not give him an IQ test and set up a minimum standard score?
And a minimum GPA for university?

These are not rhetorical questions, just so you know. :-)


The Exterminator said...


All your suggestions sound great to me. I would add the further requirement that a president be able to string two comprehensible English sentences together.

By the way, peace sounds great to me, too. Do you think our current president has the intelligence to promote it?