Blogs > Cliopatria > All or Nothing? Wine and Justice

Jan 2, 2005 8:33 am

All or Nothing? Wine and Justice

I am struck by the way in which reasonably functional but non-static systems are cast in discourse as"death struggles" between components of the system which could, in fact, coexist perfectly well if they stopped to think just a bit. Politics is like that. So is wine, as a new documentary has brought to the fore contrasts between 'artisanal' and 'global' winemaking. One thing which is distinctly lacking in the movie, at least as reviewed here, is the issue of consumption. Yes, that would complicate things, but since you're talking about markets, particularly markets for a food product, it seems like a bit of a hole. It is silly, it seems to me, to talk about production principles if you don't have a clear idea what the actual final product is supposed to achieve. The approach of the movie seems tautologically circular: artisanal, small-scale winemaking is better because it is artisanal and small-scale. Of course, the other side of the debate is at least as illogical, but that's an exercise for the reader.

I am also struck at the contortions people will go through to fix something, but without actually admitting that something is wrong or bearing the consequences of the fix themselves. Corporate consultants are like that. So is Supreme Court Reform [via the ad at Volokh Conspiracy], at least this version thereof. These folks want to switch Supreme Court tenure to an eighteen year term -- this has the advantage of being both the current average for tenure and allows for replacing one judge every two years -- after which appointees would devolve back to Appeal Circuit duties. This would give all presidents a fair shot at naming people to the court (which seems reasonable) but keep Justices from overstaying their usefulness (which is highly questionable). Of course, to be fair to the current seat-holders, this won't kick in until they leave (how you get them to leave at two-year intervals escapes me), whether or not their usefulness has been overstayed. It could be interesting, having a discussion which matters about the Supreme Court on a biannual basis instead of the crapshoot we've got now. Would it depoliticize the process by routinizing it, or would it draw it more firmly into the partisan fray by making it an issue every Congressional term? This particular proposal probably won't make much of a splash before it sinks (they can't even figure out if a consitutional amendment would be necessary), but the proponents have a whole campaign of discussions and scholarship planned, so expect to be hearing about it for a while. But remember, you heard it hear first (unless you didn't, of course).

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