Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quote of the day

The contemporary Right can trace its roots to the original American mistrust of the people, particularly seen in the frequent invocation of the wisdom of the Founders. The Framers were just as afraid of popular discontents and governance as the elites on the contemporary Left. The Federalist Papers - the official document that describes and defends the Constitutional order - is rife with condemnations of popular rule, particularly "democracy" that was pervasive in ancient settings. The Framers held the view that human irrationality came to the fore in group or crowd settings. As Madison argued in Federalist 55, "Had every Athenian been a Socrates, the Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." That is, even if every citizen of Athens had been a reasonable and philosophic soul, the fact that they came together in a crowd would naturally lead to the overcoming of reason in favor of irrational mob mentality. The Constitutional order aims to circumvent the creation of a widespread popular will.

FLG pulled this out mostly because he's always loved that quotation from Federalist 55, but the whole post is worth a read. Although, FLG would like to add that Matthew Continetti as a voice for conservatism makes him extremely uneasy.

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