Monday, August 03, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Did Hamilton and Madison
Mislead Us?

August 15, 2013 --

Republicans are busy tearing themselves other apart whether to keep opposing the looming implementatioin of Obamacare. Some Republicans call for simply not funding Obamacare, while funding everything else.

The GOP establishment argues that it is folly to shutdown the government. (By making this argument, the GOP establishment indicates that it is influenced by leftist demagoguery.) But what if Republicans turned for advice to Federalist Paper No. 26, attributed to Hamilton, and Federalist Paper No. 46, attributed to Madison?

These documents suggests that the power of the federal government can be countered by the power of the people, by means of a general combination of the states against the federal government. LPR wonders if the observations of Hamilton and Madison, on the power of the combined effort to the states to resist the federal government, remain viable -- or were they made obsolete with the end of the Civil War.

Hamilton, in Federalist No. 26, assured us that "the state legislatures...will always not be only vigilant, but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens, against encroachments from the federal government, will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rulers, and will be ready enough, if any thing improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people, and not only to be the VOICE, but if necessary, the ARM of their discontent."

Madison, in Federalist No. 46 accepted as proven "that the members of the federal will be more dependent on the members of the state governments, than the latter will be on the former."

Madison went on to assert, in No. 46, that even if the federal government were "to extend its power beyond the due limits," a "general alarm" would be signaled throughout the states: "Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combination, in short, would result from an apprehension of the federal, as was produced by the dread of a foreign yoke...."

Madison then inquired: "But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity?" At the end of No. 46, Madison suggested that the state governments, backed by the people, would "easily" defeat the federal government's "schemes of usurpation."

But then, Madison, assured us, in the concluding paragraph of No. 46 that the powers of the federal government "are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual states, as they are necessary to accomplish the purposes of the union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the state governments, must, on the most favourable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them."

Those fears, as LPR sees them, are not quite as chimerical as they might have seemed to Madison, in 1788. Perhaps the current answer to the problem of federal abuse of power was provided by Madison in Federalist No. 41: "A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself." Obamacare, as LPR regards it, reduces medical care to a matter of commerce -- of dollars and cents.

And so, for LPR, the proponents of Obamacare are just the latest in the parade of "experts" who know the price of everything -- and the value of nothing. A very bad cause, indeed.