Sandusky High School graduate attending Ashland University
To be a faction a group must be actuated by an impulse that is contrary "to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community"
James Madison, Federalist 10
This column is in direct response to a comment about my last column.
The topic was about the Tea Party movement being a faction of the kind James Madison warned about in Federalist 10 of the Federalist Papers.
First we have to remember the context which this was written. Madison was arguing for the creation of a centralized government, over a small, more direct, democracy. Obviously history shows us that Madison and the Federalist Party won this debate, and the creation of the government as we know it was the result. Federalist 10 tells us that factions in a democracy are much more dangerous than in a republic, because they have more power to impose their will on the minority.
Now we have to address the issue of whether the Tea Party movement is even a faction to begin with.
As Madison said, a faction has to work against the rights of other citizens. From what I can tell, this is not the Tea Party movement at all. They are making a call for government to return to what they believe are constitutional principles: More representation from elected officials, a smaller more principled government, better management of tax money. These principles seem far from contrary "to the rights of other citizens."
So, if what the Tea Party movement stands for is perfectly acceptable, and if America governed by a republican form of government, then it is laughable to consider the Tea Party as a dangerous faction able to impose its will on the minority. What seems even more interesting is how much resistance there is to this movement from the Democratic Party. It seems to me that what the Tea Party has been preaching is applicable to both parties.
Both parties need to take a look at their heritage and realize that these messages are not so crazy after all. With a government that is spending an unprecedented amount, maybe a message asking for fiscal responsibility is not so bad. With elected officials making decisions on how much money they can get for voting for a bill, maybe a message asking for elected officials to listen to their constituents more is not so bad. With the government looking to control more and more of our lives in ways that have previously been used by Marxist societies, maybe a message asking for a limited principled government is not so bad.
Years ago, people had a vision of a nation where citizens did not have to be concerned with the government interfering with their lives. They fought and died for the liberties we have today. Great men like James Madison fought for the creation of a government where groups could come together in like interest and voice their opinions.
Men like Madison, Hamilton and Washington all believed a republic would allow for groups to voice their concerns about government, but not allow for overwhelming strength in numbers.
Whether you agree with what the Tea Party movement says or not, does not matter. The fact is our Founders set up our government so that they might voice their opinions. The next time you hear about this movement on the news, or read about it in the paper, just be thankful our government was created the way it was, and be thankful that we have the rights we do.