The UNITED States of America


To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.

My RBG story.

In March 1993, two months before she was nominated to the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the Madison Lecture at the NYU law school. I was a baby prof in the Poli Sci department at the time, and a buddy of mine was clerking for RBG, so I went over to the law school to hear the speech out of some combination of professional obligation and wanting to hang out with a friend after we got the speech out of the way. Honestly, I had never heard of Ginsburg other than through my friend’s clerkship, and I had no intrinsic interest in hearing her talk, which I figured would be something about women’s rights, blah blah blah.

27 years later, and I still remember that speech – “Speaking in a Judicial Voice” – like it was yesterday.

RBG wasn’t about “women’s rights”.

RBG was all about EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL citizens. RBG was all about EQUAL TREATMENT UNDER LAW for ALL citizens.

That’s it. It’s really as simple (and as difficult) as that.

In particular, I remember that RBG had zero use for theoretical or symbolic notions of equal rights, what today we’d call virtue signaling. She was all about the real world. To RBG, the core issue of equal rights in the real world was WORK. Are you doing the work? Then dammit, you should get paid for doing the work!

Again, it’s as simple (and as difficult) as that.

Equal rights and equal protection under the law for ALL citizens. An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work for ALL citizens. Liberty and justice for ALL.

Imagine that.

If you want to know what RBG was all about …

If you want to know why RBG’s death is such a loss for the UNITED States of America …

Please read her speech – “Speaking in a Judicial Voice” – which you can download as a PDF here.


To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You'll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever. It's our effort to spread the word about what we're doing, and allow you to read more Epsilon Theory!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 months ago

Did RBG support equal treatment for the unborn?

Did she support the freedom of speech (equal treatment) of ALL speakers in Citizens United?

Was her job as a justice to decide cases on the basis of her interpretation of “equal treatment,” or was it to decide cases based on the legislature’s interpretation of “equal treatment”?

Last edited 5 months ago by jb00212000
Victor K
5 months ago

But the too soon or too late (tsotl) conundrum applies yet again. All of us have to confront the tsotl eventually. Highly confident/successful individuals tend to be too late; it is exactly their success that makes them vulnerable to too late. RBG’s attempt to outlive the moment is admirable for her perseverance, but now her too late will likely prove to be a too soon or too late disaster.

5 months ago

Sounds like RBG could have been founding pack member of #BITFD, except as she mentioned “the framers armed the court with no swords to carry out its pronouncements”. I guess I’ve never really considered that the 3rd branch is nothing without enforcement. Especially considering the war over the next days and months appointing her successor. That Andrew Jackson quote “the Chief Justice has made his decision, now let him enforce it” feels like a given for the last 2 decades on Wall Street. Going to have to look around for an audio file, be interesting to hear it in her own words. Also, funny to see a document that was typed and still had typos. 🙂

Rob H.
5 months ago

Unfortunately due to the Widening Gyre and the switch to non-cooperative game theory in Washington, I see the following outcome likely if there is a D sweep in November. R’s jam through a SCJ confirmation before the inauguration. D’s then use that as a justification to (1) eliminate Senate fillibuster, (2) expand the court (to right the wrongs of the R’s “stealing” two seats on the Court) and (3) quickly vote on Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, adding 4 permanent D Senate seats, all in the name of preserving the legitimacy of the Court. Whatever (little) remaining bi-partisanship there was will be gone as the Gyre will widen further. Lord help us if the R’s can’t keep the Senate.

Trevor Curwin
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob H.

I think it would be instructive for Americans to consider other countries (e.g Apartheid South Africa) when thinking about the “noisy minority.” Mitt Romney’s decision to back replacing RBG ASAP today is understandable to me, despite the fact I don’t agree with his politics; Trump’s nominee will likely be the kind of judge he’d vote for at any other time. But in his press conf explanation – that America is a “center-right country” and that, to him and his fellow social conservatives, this will correct a left-leaning court that doesn’t reflect America – makes a dangerous point. In various societies, it feels like there must be a percentage tipping point (30%? 40%?) where a minority convinces itself it’s a majority (And today’s polarized media world helps that too), and thus deserving of the correction of an outrage. I believe Nate Silver’s Voter Power Index points out how far from the mean this thinking is in the US; a rural vote (more likely White, Christian and socially conservative) is worth up to 2.5x an urban vote, with White America looking like 68% of the population when they’re only 60%. I say none of this to pick on any group, but at some point a noisy minority with outsized power and influence hits a wall. This is common across civilizations in history and it has a tendency to end in unrest, state breakdown, violence and sadly, atrocities. So when you worry about what scorched earth tactics the “other side” will use to… Read more »

5 months ago

My very conservative, Trump-voting mother lamented the death of RBG this weekend. Her sentiment was simple: anyone who was good enough to be the closest, dearest friend of Antonin Scalia must have been an extraordinary person worthy of the utmost respect.

The Daily Zeitgeist

A Change in the Water

By Ben Hunt | March 3, 2021 | 1 Comment

Increasingly, the common knowledge of our investment world – what everyone knows that everyone knows – is that inflation is a problem and you should be focused on it.

Read more

Danish Food-Safety Expertise for the Win

By Ben Hunt | February 10, 2021 | 20 Comments

WHO leadership continues to be necessary part of the Chinese narrative machine.

It’s more than a disgrace. It’s more than a humiliation of the people who do good and important work through WHO.

It’s a betrayal of the entire world.

Read more

Hammers and Nails

By Rusty Guinn | February 8, 2021 | 16 Comments

When we talk about bias, we usually think about a political bias. But the world of 2021 now supports persistent idiosyncratic biases and frames through which information is passed. How do we ensure that our information consumption habits account for this?

Read more

For Leon Black is an Honorable Man

By Ben Hunt | January 26, 2021 | 6 Comments

O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with the American dream that once was,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Read more

A Different Game

By Rusty Guinn | January 21, 2021 | 5 Comments

The light research poured into sentiment analysis misses one rather important fact: that’s the game we used to play. Today’s Fiat News is a different game altogether.

Read more

“Suicide Bomber” vs suicide bomber

By Ben Hunt | December 29, 2020 | 19 Comments

On Christmas Day, Nashville was attacked by a suicide bomber terrorist. But not by a “Suicide Bomber”. Not by a “Terrorist”.

Why not? Because his terrorist goals didn’t fit neatly into a useful political narrative like “Antifa!” or “Proud Boys!”

Here’s what this looks like in the Narrative Machine.

Read more


This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market with certainty or guarantee future investment performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Statements in this communication are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and other views expressed herein are as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements, and there is no guarantee that any predictions will come to pass. The views expressed herein are subject to change at any time, due to numerous market and other factors. Epsilon Theory disclaims any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or views expressed herein. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. This commentary has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Epsilon Theory recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.