The State of the Union

The moral seemed to be: constitution-making requires chatter. A chattering class, a chattering medium (coffee houses or blogs) and substantial time for the chattering to take hold. And the Europeans didn’t seem to have a high enough chattering quotient, or to bring their constitutional conversation out of the elite and government-professional circles. The more perplexing and depressing picture we got only obliquely tonight was the spectacle in Iraq today of conceiving a constitution inside the Green Zone, when it’s the Green Zone encasing the US occupation forces that so outrages many Iraqis’ sense of sovereignty. I like the thought posted on our blog tonight: maybe Wikipedia is the model for constitution writers. Call it a Wikitution.

Szymon Czaban

contractor, Polish Contracting

[over phone from London]

Ruth Oldenziel

professor of American history and technology studies in Europe at the Technical University Eindhoven and University of Amsterdam, regular contributor in Dutch media

[by phone from Amsterdam]

Matthias Scherwenikas

actor; he joins us from a payphone in the basement of a theater in Frankfurt, where he is performing in “The Taming of the Shrew.”

[by phone from Frankfurt]

Patrick Muelemeester

investment broker

[by phone from Theil-sur-Vanne, France]

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