Thursday, May 29, 2003

GOEDEL'S LAST THEOREM UPDATE

Timothy Sandefur offers a new suggestion regarding the mystery of Goedel's Last Theorem, which has been an issue of longstanding interest to the Circuit. Sandefur suggests that Goedel may have been revisiting Alexis de Tocqueville's famous concerns about the possibility of a "tyranny of the majority." Sandefur observes that despite the elaborate checks and balances of our constitutional system, in the end "[n]othing can save us from ourselves." This is undoubtedly correct. But it is highly unlikely that this was the animating concern behind Goedel's purported discovery. Far from expressing any concern about a majority trampling the rights of minorities, Goedel professed to have discovered a constitutional mechanism by which the majority could be stripped of power altogether, and a single dictator could lawfully attain control of the United States government. Nonetheless, we appreciate the suggestion and renew our call for additional thoughts on this problem.

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