Sunday, February 11, 2007

Schrödinger's Veep

Apparently, Dick Cheney's lawyers are actually trying to invoke in court this batshit insane doctrine they seem to have cooked up, that claims that Cheney is both part of the Executive and the Legislature, and that therefore he answers to neither.

That's just head-spinningly weird. They are arguing, in a sense, that a sort of legal version of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle applies to the Vice-Presidency. As in a particular kind of diode, where the quantum uncertainty whether an electron is at one end of the component or the other means that it appears to travel faster than light, Cheney could either be President of the Senate or Vice-President of the United States at any one moment, and no-one can say which he is. Or rather, observing him would cause the implied wave function to collapse into one state or the other, which would obviously force any judge in the case to recuse themselves on conflict-of-interest grounds. Therefore, neither branch can call him to account. It's brilliant - Schrödinger's cat applied to politics!

That implies a further layer of weirdness-if this is true, then the Vice-President has far greater powers than the President! But I think I see a flaw. If Cheney can be either part of the executive or the legislature, and this cannot be determined by empirical observation, we are entitled to ask the question: how can we be sure that Dick Cheney exists? In fact, we could go further, and take action: why not just assume he doesn't?

Now, you may wonder about the pseudo-theoretical physics in this post. But it's there for a reason - postmodernists of the high period famously loved half-baked quantum mechanics, see Alain Sokal for details. But the modern global Right has operationalised postmodernism as a system of power.

Drive-by quantum mechanics, ideological critique, constitutional law, and logical philosophy - all in one convenient blogpost!

1 comment:

A.E. said...

Bush has what you could consider the ideal postmodern presidency---it's entirely devoid of substance of any sort and all media charade.

Interestingly enough, there's some 4GW parallels to cultural postmodernism. I have a post on it.

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