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“It is increasingly difficult for Americans to imagine a common future or a common way of governing themselves or being governed” - pointed out Charles Kesler, Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University, in a conversation with Stephen Sholl, Visiting Fellow of MCC and Lénárd Sándor, head of the Center for International Law at MCC as part of MCC’s Budapest Lectures.
The Budapest Lecture provided an insight into two competing visions of the U.S. Constitution of the United States. As the world-renowned professor pointed out, the divide is between the partisans of two increasingly different ways of life as they imagine two different purposes for government and two very different rules of justice that government should observe.
One of these sides follows the so-called “Founders’ Constitution” which comes out of the Declaration of Independence and follows a natural rights and natural law view of governance. The other side follows a second constitution which is the liberal or the progressive constitution which became politically viable as a project or program in the Progressive Era and enjoyed important moments of political triumph in the 1930s and 1960s. The professor emphasized that the ‘long 60s’ is still ongoing since most of the issues of contemporary American politics are repetitions or intensifications of the questions the 60s posed to the country.
The conversation also addressed the origin and consequences of the ‘woke’ movement on the one hand and the watershed moment of originalism and originalist constitutional interpretation and the national conservative movement in the United States. Dr. Kesler also made several analyses, predictions, and suggestions towards how these discussions effect ongoing debates and conversations about federalism in Europe.