What's My Line?

Some may be old enough to remember this TV game show in the 1950’s. The panel would be blindfolded as the mystery celebrity appeared on the show. Listening to him they would try to figure out who he was. Instead of listening you can read and try to figure out who this person is.

I was born on an island, and my parentage, as others have sneered was irregular. After my birth my ne’er-do-well father deserted me. In my early teens my mother was lost to me too. It was left up to others to give me an opportunity to receive a good education, and I was able to continue my studies on the mainland at a prominent university in the northeast.

There is no doubting that I was serious about college, and I was ambitious and impatient to make my way in the world. It is this manipulative ability, this capacity to use people as a means to what I conceive to be a higher end, that describes me best. This higher end or purpose of mine in the years from, say ’77 to ’01, was the construction of my own political utopia in America.

I searched for ways to remedy the defects of the union by strengthening the central government at the expense of the states.

To my acquaintances I proposed my own system of government which, while not ideal since the people, I believed, were agog with republicanism and incapable of political realism-came closest to the limited monarchy I secretly preferred. The chief executive and senators should hold office for life, subject only to good behavior. The president must have a veto over all Federal and state laws, he held, in order to balance a democratic lower house against the propertied interest of the senate. And, finally, governors of the states-mere administrative units in my conception-should be appointed by the president, whose only check would be from congress and a Federal judiciary empowered to declare laws unconstitutional.

Consider one of the republicans who came over to my position, I revolutionized his mind. I always pride myself on having my way with people. In boldly arguing this scheme of government I am likewise trying to manipulate other highly influential men, national opinion-makers, into a favorable attitude towards what I consider a more realistic plan of government which I know to be too advanced for them to accept.

I now am bending this nation more and more to my will by defeating the strong, resisting forces of localism and tradition.The empire of my vision is the modern, totalitarian state. I see the only hope for passion-driven man in the absolute security of the Leviathan state. There are no exemption from the imperfections, the weaknesses, and the evils incident to society in every shape. Not the protection of their natural rights to life, liberty, and property, but the lust for power, is the motive of men in political associations.

This pessimism about man left to himself, this fear of man’s arbitrariness, is what motivates me to seek more and more centralization of government so as to save men from themselves. I am prepared to choose security as against liberty if the choice must be made. But in my mind, it is not really security but the “general good” that must be served. Interspersed among my writings is this phrase and many other terms like “the public safety,” “the public interest,” and even “the general will,” all vaguely describing what I view as that transcending, ultimate end to which politics is only a means. The first thing in all great operations of such a government as ours is to secure the opinion of the people. Public opinion is “the governing principle of human affairs,” and I have no doubt that it can be conditioned to accept the totalitarian state that alone could prevent the abuse of human liberty. How can I save other men from their own destructive, selfish passions except by rendering them impotent as moral agents before the ethical state.

They are vicious, their passions may be operated upon. Take mankind as they are, and what are they governed by? Their passions. There may be in every government a few choice spirits, who may act from more worthy motives. One great error is that we suppose mankind more honest than they are. Our prevailing passions are ambition and interest; and it will ever be the duty of a wise government to avail itself of the passions, in order to make them subservient to the public good, for these ever induce us to action.

My critics have no theory, no general principles. Can that man be a systematic or able statesman who has none? I believe not. No general principles will hardly work much better than erroneous ones. I, in my utopian scheme for a great Federal power, am prepared to use immoral means, and, I never subscribed to the Declaration of Independence with its doctrine of the natural rights of the person.

I never understood the Western concept of the individual and his inalienable rights. I justify coercion of the individual in order to achieve the perfect society of my dream. Freedom is a great treasure, but it must be organized against abuse. Unrestrained man’s freedom degenerates into license and anarchy.

I do not realize that society, the state, or any organization exists for the good of the individual and not vice versa. I reject the principle that man must be free to use his faculties, to act on his own initiative, employing his own means towards the end that he has chosen, without the regimentation of the state. As a social engineer who finds man depraved and unpredictable, I’m committed to “liberating” man from himself by trying to force him into static political and financial classes and structures which can then be absorbed by the total state into a transcendent unanimity. I am not preoccupied with man, but his social relations. Factionalism must be prevented, even if it means the sacrifice of personal liberty. Ideological consensus would make factionalism unnecessary, since factionalism is a kind of alienation which must disappear once men come to realize where their real interest lay and praxis is at last achieved.

Government, the Declaration notwithstanding, is not based upon some fabled consent in the past, but upon accepted conventions. Its validity is not to be found in natural law and its self-evident truths of reason but in utility, There are, hence, no rationally discoverable absolute truths and values to limit the modern state in its self-aggrandizement.

The preamble of the Federal Constitution, lodging all power and initiative in We The People, is enough to mar the charter in my estimation; for how could the impure, the non-chosen organize a true common-wealth? My basic premise is that of all utopians, religious and secular: man’s corrupted nature, issuing in license rather than freedom, must be restrained by government, which can only be organized by the chosen. Only in this way can man be made to overcome his selfishness and live in the ideal society where his own good is transcended by the public good. To this end, the realization of the secular, where public virtue will replace private greed, the Federal government must have much more power than the Constitution provides. This means attacking the principle of subsidiarity in the Constitution where the rights of persons and states are protected against the encroachment of the central government.

Republicans recognition, in varying degrees, is that justice, and ultimately charity, alone binds the good society together. My philosophy of man and society is mechanistic and cold, legalistic in the extreme.

My motivation for the nation’s economy is not moral but political, reminiscent of the old mercantilists and appropriation of government for their own economic purposes. In principle, treating man as a means rather than an end; and while this politicized economy at first serves my centralistic purpose by wedding the money interest to the national state, it has led to cartels and other international combinations which dominate states rather than serve them. Corporate systems, with incomes greater than some modern states, are creating a new kind of internationalism. This is the paradox. Only the small entrepreneur and the small holder of property, marginal in my theory of the state, remain in the low condition to which I relegate them and continue to decrease in number as huge, international corporations multiply. Special interests, not the “common good,” prevail and tyrannize over nations and their people.

I am Alexander Hamilton

I was in a philosophical kind of mood on this Sunday, and I used my hand dandy GOP.com search engine with the key words – Alexander Hamilton ruling class that brought me to this web article – Alexander Hamilton: From Caesar to Christ

To be fair to Alexander Hamilton, in the final tragic years of his life he became a Christian, and he sincerely repented of his past sins. An excerpt:

This dilemma of choosing between Caesar and Christ in the most personal, existential sense could be resolved in only one way. In his final letter to Eliza, written at 10:00 P.M. the eve of the fatal interview, Hamilton described what he would do:

The scruples of a Christian have determined me to expose my own life to any extent rather than subject myself to the guilt of taking the life of another. This much increases my hazards, and redoubles my pangs for you. But you had rather I should die innocent than live guilty. Heaven can preserve me, and I humbly hope will; but in the contrary event I charge you to remember that you are a Christian. God’s will be done! The will of a merciful God must be good.

Then, in a tender gesture of love for his dead son, Philip, and all his children, Hamilton lay down next to twelve-year-old John and recited with him the Lord’s prayer.

The next morning, July 11, 1804, Hamilton was mortally wounded by Aaron Burr as they faced each other, nationalist and disunionist’, or the last time on the banks of the Hudson. The evil passions of man, which Hamilton had sought futilely to transcend mechanically in some visionary social and political system, were now overcome and transcended spiritually in Hamilton himself by an act of love for his fellow man in Christ. As he had said he would, in his letter to Eliza and in a memorandum discovered after his death, Hamilton had reserved and thrown away his first fire, even his second.

As he lay dying in the bosom of his loving family, one thing alone remained for Hamilton. He sent for Bishop Richard Moore, Episcopalian bishop of New York, and begged to be united to the church by receiving Holy Communion. “Do you sincerely repent of your sins past? Have you a lively faith in God’s mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ? And are you disposed to live in love and, charity with all men?” Yes, yes, yes. “I have no ill-will against Colonel Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm. I forgive all that happened.”