Friday, November 6, 2020

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS PROJECT - A Commitment to Critical Thinking About Political Origins in the Presence of Specious Argument (Paper No. 17)


With the 2020 Federal election still not called, and the integrity of the electoral process challenged by the incumbent president, not for a legal reason but because he cannot stand losing, I see nothing to do but soldier on with Alexander Hamilton's arguments for principled and practical government.  Read along here: Project Gutenberg's free source edition of The Federalist Papers.

Hamilton continues to argue against confederacy and for union in Paper No.17, claiming that the federal government could not likely be bothered to usurp the state, it would contribute nothing to the dignity, to the importance, or to the splendour of the national government.

Wow, is that how they did things then? President Trump made such a persuasive case last night for the dignity and splendour of government! Apparently Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas was absent for the class on Paper No. 17 as he claimed just this morning that the federal government should determine what Pennsylvania does in choosing its electorates. Hamilton continues, 

But let it be admitted for argument sake, that mere wantonness and lust of domination would be sufficient to beget that disposition, still it may be safely affirmed, that the sense of the constituent body of the national representatives, or in other words of the people of the several States would controul the indulgence of so extravagant an appetite. 

"Just for argument sake," Hamilton writes, because even this extraordinarily prescient framer of our Constitution and champion of its principles, could not begin to envision such "lust for domination" as we witnessed last evening, and have over the last four years. What did he envision would be the check? National representatives, who would reign in such profligacy instead of enabling it so that they might accomplish their own ends. 

Even if Trump loses this race, as Biden's 4 million vote lead strongly suggests he will, it is clear that our national representatives can no longer be trusted to be the guarantors against despotism as envisioned by our Constitution's framers.

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