Friday Roundup, June 1

  • Austerity in Spain, they say, has led that nation to the brink of disaster. But what is the truth? Juan Carlos Hidalgo at Cato@Liberty looks at the data and argues otherwise.

Political constitutionalism consists of the public presentation of views of what is (or is not) constitutional policy, not just in a legal sense, but in a way that looks to the goals the Constitution was meant to promote and the kind of government it was designed to create. Political constitutionalism was once a concept widely understood. Virtually no one before the 1960s would ever have thought that courts should—or could—be tasked with resolving all, or even most, constitutional issues. Very few would have thought that the Constitution was exclusively or primarily a matter for determination by legal experts operating in a judicial setting. Instead, most would have expected something as fundamental as the Constitution to be defended by political means in a political context. Political constitutionalism, a concept that had no name because it was so much a part of the nation’s thinking, would have been seen as the main “instrument,” aided by judicial interpretation, separation of powers, and federalism, in maintaining the Constitution.

  • Russ Roberts writes about the misery of debt at Cafe Hayek with a wise quotation from Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, “What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”