Diary

What we are fighting for: Lessons from Federalist #1

In my opinion, one of the best arguments to help us understand what is going on in this government comes from the very first paragraph of the very first Federalist Paper, Federalist #1, written by Alexander Hamilton. Replace the phrase “a new Constitution for” with “the future of” (that and emphasis mine):

AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on (a new Constitution for) [the future of] the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.

Hamilton was trying to convince New Yorkers that the Articles of Confederation were not sufficient and that the Constitution needed to be adopted as a total replacement.  He begins by stating the claim that the existing government does not work, but he offers no support for this claim because he takes for granted that the people know it’s true; in this economy, and with such across-the-board desire to “throw the bums out”, I make the same claim of general understanding that our current government is a failure.  Then, specifically in the emphasized section, he was trying convince the public how to fix such problems by appealing to the true focus of the American Experiment- self government by choice, not big government of force.

Of course you can probably already see where I am going with this as it relates to the parallels today, but I will “remark” on it anyway. The current government under President Obama has passed financial regulations, stimulus bills, and healthcare mandates as the most obvious examples of trying to make us “forever destined to depend for [our] political constitution on … force.”  And let’s not forget the ‘czars’ who are clearly not appointed by the public’s “reflection and choice”.  Moves such as these are those that reek of a purposeful power shift from the people to the government, whereby we become dependent on the latter to tell us how to bank, from where to fund our own states’ budgets, and to whom we should turn for personal heath care.  But perhaps most important is the mounting frustration that forms from the statements of what we cannot do as a result of these regulations and ‘czars’, noting for sure that regulation by definition is the opposite of choice.  Finally, Hamilton lays out the charge that if the principals of self-governance based on “reflection and choice” are refused by the people, then it will be a catastrophe on a most historic level: “the general misfortune of mankind.”

But could it really be that bad if we don’t defend these Constitutional ideals?  Hamilton says “yes”  in the third paragraph of Federalist #1 (emphasis mine):

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; andthe perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.

In the emboldened statement, we see that even two centuries ago, the Founders understood that power can be grabbed during chaos, and that chaos can be brought upon by division. Yes, he was specifically referring to having separate sovereign governments instead of separate domestic groups, but his point holds.  Today, we have a president talking to a specific group (in this case Latinos but it doesn’t really matter which group) about “punishing our enemies”, those “enemies” being domestic and political, not foreign and warring with us! His political party constantly tells minorities that they are oppressed by the whites, tells the poor that they are oppressed by the corporations, and tells women that they are oppressed by the men. Why do they do this? Because they know, as Hamilton knew, that it’s easier to grab and keep power in chaos, that chaos is caused by division, and that it’s a lot easier to divide people when you restrict their freedoms and choices through things like regulation, not to mention when you use language such as “enemies” to describe political opponents.

For contrast, I suggest looking to Abraham Lincoln, who actually did have domestic enemies who literally warred with him and the government. Instead of using the existing chaotic division to seize power and regulate an entire half of the country that was in open and armed rebellion, instead of “aggrandizing [himself] by the confusions of the country,” instead of “flatter[ing] [himself] with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government,” Lincoln said we should all act “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”  Wow, what a difference between that and a man who tells a domestic minority group that others are their “enemies” to be “punish[ed]”.

Through this analysis, I say it is clear that the Obama administration and those who side with it are attempting to create chaos through division in order to seize and hold power that they plan to retain through regulation and force; this is not to say that I think Obama wishes to remain as President indefinitely past eight years, but rather that his group, best commonly identified as the Progressive Left, on the whole and the individuals of the group wish to remain in power indefinitely through these methods.

What is the best way to stop this? At least for now, we can still vote for freedom, we can still vote for “establishing good government from reflection and choice,” we can still vote for candidates who believe in the core focus of the American Experiment and the Constitution, and we can oust those who agree with Obama’s force and regulation; but if we don’t do it now, then we may never have the opportunity with such a slate of candidates again.

I believe that even 223 years after the Constitution was written, not only is this the “most interesting” country on earth, as Hamilton put it, but, as Ronald Reagan said, it is still “the last stand on earth.”  Therefore, with this government in in the White House, we are at a “crisis” and we must “decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”  Or, as Lincoln put it, in an echo of Hamilton’s words, we must “resolve … that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Get out and vote. Get out and vote! GET OUT AND VOTE!