My brother bought me a copy of the Federalist papers tonight. It was a bargain value at Barnes and Noble for $10! If you're politically minded, run down to your local B&N and see if they have the same deal.
For those of you who don't live in this country and might not know, the Federalist papers were a series of editorials published in New York newspapers (or just one paper?) by some of the U.S. founders advocating the new U.S. Constitution after it was written but before it was ratified. It's one of the best commentaries on what the Constitution intended. It's also a great exposition of the advantages of the system.
So, I'm wondering: will this book propel me further into my libertarian leanings, or draw me back? I've heard the Federalist papers cited to justify just about everyone's points of view as "what the founders intended."
I really fear that I've lost a lot of my intelligence in the last two years or so. The language is high, archaic, and formal, but in the past that wouldn't have caused me as much of a problem as it seems to be causing now. They say brain cells are never replaced after they die, you know.
I've always had a penchant for dead political arguments. While the issues in the Federalist are still very much alive and well today, I was always the one in high school history class trying to argue for one of the points of view (usually one that was long since rejected by "everyone."). Hamilton and the Federal Bank; Jefferson and "strict constructionism"; all these things meant a whole lot more to me than any of the other kids in my high school history classes.
It'll probably take me awhile before I begin to scratch the surface of this treasure, but I'm looking forward into the insights it provides. People always say things like, "I love my country but hate my government," which hurts me deeply. It's a beautiful system, and while I haven't always believed in everyone in charge, each peaceful transition of power, every liberty I enjoy, and each wonderful check and balance testify to what a great situation we have. Lately I've particularly begun to appreciate the absolute freedom of speech guarantees, something I didn't realize weren't present in every democracy. Of course, they're not as "absolute" as I would like, but it's still a good deal.
"Our federal union: it must and shall be preserved." My favorite quote from Andrew Jackson, when Southerners were trying to provoke him into making a statement of disunity.
Great quote from Federalist #1: "So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy." Great point from Hamilton, the man on the $10US bill; still very relevant today.