(Notion: Constitutional Originalism as the socialized sublimation of the individual’s compulsion to re-experience the emptiness that lies between the end of erotic or eroticized violence and the beginning of order, and that remains internal to order as the potential for violence.)
The challenge to and arising from American Constitutional Originalism is not an abstraction, does not rest on historicity alone, on the impossibility of transferring understandings from an 18th Century interpretive context to the present day. Nor does it rest on the related limitations of language itself, on the inalienable fact that an original intent can be expressed only in terms that depend on other terms for definition. The problem that matters is that an attempted return to the originary moment is a search for a primordial “constituting power” that does not arise in Eden or the Promised Land, but somewhere in the wastes, somewhere outside, before, or after, in flight, catastrophe, violence, and despair, in facticities not yet mythologized, and in sacrifices not yet known. There could be no authentic return to a founder’s idea that did not also return to, confront -- re-stage and re-initiate -- what concretely compelled the declaration, foundation, and constitution of new order, and the dangers to it, and the tasks before it, and the corpses to be buried beneath it.