Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gordon Wood

I saw Gordon Wood speak last night, and I asked him a question about Niebuhr's criticism of classical liberal philosophers - namely that they are too naive when it comes to the power of self-interest.

Wood said that Madison thought he had that covered when he wrote Federalist 10 and 51.  Madison thought states were too self-interested, but a larger republic could be more disinterested.  When Hamilton showed him how active and involved a national government could be, Madison tilted back towards the states.

That explains how the collaborators on the Federalist papers could wind up so far apart politically just a few years later.

I thought it was interesting.

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