I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We've Been Here Before

The early history of the United States is represented by the philosophies of two men, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. They had very different views of what the new country - the United States of America should be. Alexander Hamilton represented the Federalists who believed in a strong executive officer leading a strong central government. Thomas Jefferson on the other hand believed in a Republic with a weak central government and a weak executive - what has recently been called "State's Rights". The Hamiltonian's control should sound familiar. They were pushing for a war with France and brought us the Alien and Sedition act. John Adams was a one term president as a result and the Federalists were cast aside when Jefferson was elected as the third president of the US. But they don't die. The Federalist ideology has been used by both the left and the right and it's supporters cross political lines. The resurrection of the Federalist ideals has been brought to front and center by the Bush/Cheney regime. Thomas J. DiLorenzo says It’s Time To End Hamilton’s Curse
Hamilton worshipped government power for its own sake, and sought a government that would seek "imperial glory" (his words). He disrespected people like Jefferson who believed the primary purpose of government should be the protection of natural rights to life, liberty and property. He frequently complained of "an excessive concern for liberty in public men" and called for a government of "more energy." As Clinton Rossiter wrote in Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution, "Hamilton . . . had perhaps the highest respect for government of any important American political thinker who ever lived." His "overriding purpose" was "to build the foundations of a new empire" that could "reach out forcefully and benevolently to every person." (Forcefully, yes; but government is never "benevolent.")

Hamilton was the founder of the American nationalist tradition. As Clyde Wilson has pointed out, there is a sharp difference between nationalism and patriotism. Patriotism is "the wholesome love of one’s land and people," says Professor Wilson. Nationalism, on the other hand, is an "unhealthy love of one’s government, accompanied by the aggressive desire to put down others – which becomes in deracinated modern men a substitute for religious faith." Patriotism is necessary for people who wish to preserve their freedom; nationalism is not. In fact, it is always a great enemy of freedom. There is little wonder why so many contemporary statists, from "liberal" historians to the neocon establishment, idolize Alexander Hamilton.
Yes, both the left and the right idolize Hamilton when a powerful central government is a way to bring their ideology to fruition. As a "lefty" I am guilty - I supported the civil right act and Roe V Wade. I support tax policy for social engineering. The Religious worships Hamilton as a means to demonize gays and overturn a woman's right to chose. The neocons think of Hamilton as a path to never ending war and hegemony. The recent resurgence of Federalist ideology is more disturbing however. For the first time in a long time there are some who are advocating the imperial presidency. Hamilton himself advocated not an elected president but a King for life. The first president of the US refused to take the title or power of a king. The current president/vice president and many of those seeking the office lust after it.

It is indeed time to end the curse of Hamilton before it's too late.

1 comment:

  1. A certain duel probably served this nation much better than either participant would've thought possible.


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