Looking back at Mr. Blunt and Cranky’s multiple careers and jobs over the course of his adult life, the hands-down favorite would have to be teaching. He loves pontificating, debating, and (most of all) helping others to avoid doing some of the amazingly stupid things that he has done in his own life. 

One skill that almost all experienced teachers possess is that of knowing when the audience is paying attention. Here is a tip for all students, readers, respondents, etc: you are so amazingly easy for us to read. We know when you are passing notes, texting under your desk, daydreaming, applying a mental filter to what is being presented, scanning instead of reading and all the other tricks that lazy students use. Easy stuff to see, really, and not all that difficult if you’ve taught for any length of time.

Case in point: the responses to yesterday’s Constitution post. The usual intro – “I agree” – immediately contradicted by the playing of the oh-so-predictable 10th Amendment card (this is frequently used by Righties to tacitly argue that most later amendments are invalid and should be ignored, if not thrown out).  So the “student” in this case either did not read the material (which said that the Constitution must be taken as a whole), or if they did, applied a mental filter that substituted the contents of their own heads for what the “teacher” presented. 

In actuality, the 10th amendment (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”) is not a blanket prohibition against Federal influence, as can be seen by more than a few of the later Amendments ( http://www.ushistory.org/documents/amendments.htm ), and it does not negate the Supremacy clause (“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding”). It simply says that if the Feds aren’t in charge of something, the States or individual Americans pick up the slack. Nothing more, nothing less.

People who use the 10th Amendment as their touchstone frequently laud the Articles of Confederation, conveniently forgetting that inter-colonial management from 1777 to 1789 was an unwieldy mess. They also haven’t looked at the EU lately, which is a great example of how screwed up a state-centric model can get. Nor have they read the Federalist Papers, in which Hamilton and Madison pointed out the need for a strong central government.  The “Tenthers” are contradicting not only their own words but also the facts of the matter, which is why they are treated as the nutcase wingnut minority that they are.

Returning to the classroom analogy, these people would flunk my class. Teachers may or may not be smarter than their students, but we know when we’re being played, and we treat the offending students accordingly.


Mr. B & C