Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Jeff/Ham: The Trick Is Finding the Balance

Walter Mead condenses (carefully) the whole discussion into "Hamilton v. Jefferson" and notes:

The long Hamiltonian ascendancy in the United States has brought many benefits.  It is in my judgment neither possible nor desirable to go back to the weak farmer’s republic that Thomas Jefferson thought he was building in the 1790s.  At home and abroad a healthy Hamiltonianism is an essential building block of American prosperity and security.

But there is also no doubt that the Hamiltonian-social democratic synthesis of the twentieth century is not adequate for the times in which we live.  Corporatism has bred the kind of cronyism and corruption Jeffersonians have always feared.  The alliance of the wealthy and the elite with strong state power is creating class divisions and class conflict.  The remoteness of the federal government from popular control (to be one of 300 million citizens is to have no effective control over the governing power) threatens to hollow out Americans’ sense of self reliance and independence while keeping most people at a great remove from any real exercise of political power.

The real question:  what to dismantle?  Or, perhaps, how MUCH to dismantle?

HT:  Grim

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