events. The logical consequence ofnthis is that the individual is not primarilynresponsible for his actions, or, toncite an example given by Waugh, itnmakes sense for a judge to awardn$45,750 to a convicted rapist against andrunken driver from whom he hadnaccepted a ride on the grounds that thenman only started committing rape as anresult of his injuries.nWaugh sees the fundamental problemnof British society as a surfeit ofnguilt, which paradoxically stems fromnlosing one’s sense of individual responsibility.nEveryone is at fault in somenway because ultimately no one personnis at fault. This misplaced guilt createsnan attitude towards oneself and othersnthat Waugh calls “wetness,” whichnmight be defined as, I must be nice tonall these miserable creatures because itnis my fault that they are such nastynbrutes. Waugh’s slashing style is itself andirect attack upon wetness. The ultimatenin wetness is to imagine that thenwhole structure of society, rather thannany individual, is to blame. The solutionnis consequently to turn our problemsnand our liberties over to a cadrenof “experts,” who claim that they willnradically reorganize society for thenbenefit of all but in reality are thosenwith the strongest urge to power andnwith a psychological need to rule.nThis new humility actually degradesnman. True humility exalts the individualnby making him answerable directlynto God and hence more significantnthan any socialist aggregate. In “ThenFolly of God,” Waugh puts joking atnthe heart of his theology: “God hasncreated the world purely to amusenHimself.” The universe, includingnman, is gratuitous. The wonder of itnall is that the plaything and creaturencalled man is also like unto God. Thenjoke, for that is what it is, reaches itsngreat punch line when God Himselfnbecomes a man. In the Incarnationnwe see the hilarious paradox of Godnsucking at his mother’s breast, beingnburped, and falling on His face as hentries to walk. Christian humility doesnteach men to weep because they arenmiserable sinners, but more fundamentallynit teaches them to laugh becausenthey are an absurd combinationnof flesh and spirit. Humility exaltsnbecause only man can see the joke atnthe center of the universe.nYet it is the seriousness of this in­nsight which reveals the chief failure innthis collection. G.K. Chesterton oncenwrote that there are four types of satirists:nthose, like Rabelais, who lovenlife’s absurdities and laugh at themnwith joy; those, like Swift, who hatenthe evil that men do and use their witnto attack all mankind; those, like Popenin “Atticus,” who can pity the sinnernand respect the man even while satirizingnboth; and those, like Whistier,nwho mock men because they despisenthem. Given Waugh’s belief in thenfolly of God, he really should laughnlike Rabelais, although in these darkndays there is probably good cause to benangry like Swift and forgiving likenPope. Apparentiy, Waugh prefers tonsneer like Whistier.nWilliam Isley Jr. writes from Indianapolis.nIn the Beginningnby Clyde WilsonnNovus Ordo Seclorum: The IntellectualnOrigins of the Constitution bynForrest McDonald, Lawrence: UniversitynPress of Ivansas.nIf it is true that the Constitution of thenUnited States is to be construed by itsnintent rather than by mysterious andnhighly malleable forces of “evolution,”nthen recovery of the intellectual eontextnout of which it arose is of thenhighest priority. However, the discoverynof intent is primarily a question ofnhistorical understanding rather than anmatter of the sort of legal sophistriesnused by 19th-century nationalists whonrationalized what was established as anFederal republic into a consolidatedncommercial democracy. Nor is intentna matter of the speculative inquiriesninto various abstract symbols such asn”democracy,” “equality,” “liberty,”nengaged in by all 20th-century liberalsnand most 20th-century conservatives.nFor these reasons, the vigorous,nconvention-busting work of ForrestnMcDonald, a historian steeped as anhistorian should be—in the primaryndocuments of the Founding era—is ancontribution to constitutional governmentnthat can not easily be overestimated.nNothing finer, perhaps, hasnbeen written in brief and lucid com­nnnpass than McDonald’s four chaptersnon the intellectual context of thenFounders, both as to the implicit andnoften unelaborated assumptions whichnall held in common and as to thenpoints of difference among them.n”The Rights of Englishmen” setsnforth the legal heritage of the Americanncolonists with a specificity thatncorrects innumerable liberal and libertariannmisreadings. “Systems of PoliticalnTheory” illuminates the Americannfix on the European and English heritagenof political thought, reducingnsome of the usually emphasized thinkersnto their proper lesser role andnhighlighting others that were importantnbut have been less noticed. “Systemsnof Political Economy” does thensame for economics, which was annemerging category of systematicnthought just at the time of the Founding.n”The Lessons of Experience,n1776-1787″ reviews what had beennlearned from the Revolution and thenmaking of the state constitutions. Allnthis is expounded with a deep thoughnuncluttered and practical learning thatnis reminiscent of the Founding generationnitself. The chapters which discussnthe personnel and proceedings of thenPhiladelphia Convention, groundnwhich McDonald has covered extensivelynelsewhere, are less successful,nthough they do serve the purpose ofnmaking a connection between thenConvention and the ideas described innearlier chapters.nThere is one quite serious lack innthe work. There ought to have been anchapter dealing with the debates of thenstate conventions which ratified thenConstitution. For the Constitution, asnit came from Philadelphia, was nothingnmore than a draft, a committeenreport. It gathered its validity entirely,nand therefore in the final analysis itsnintent, from its adoption by the peoplenof the states. That ratification embodiedna significant further elucidationnand amendment of the terms by whichnit was to be understood. But Mc­nDonald is a conservative of the Federalistnpersuasion whose hero is AlexandernHamilton. From that standpoint,nas from the standpoint of 19th-centurynnationalists and 20th-century liberals,nit is unseemly to dwell upon the factnthat it was ratification by the states andnnot drafting by the Convention whichngave the Constitution its validity.nMARCH 1987 / 33n