Everything old is new again

July 27th, 2014

And some things never change.

4. In drawing all bills, resolutions, and reports, keep constantly in view that the limitations in the Constitution are ultimately to be explained away. Precedents and phrases may thus be shuffled in, without being adverted to by candid or weak people, of which good use may afterward be made.

5. As the novelty and bustle of inaugurating the government will for some time keep the public mind in a heedless and unsettled state, let the press during this period be busy in propagating the doctrines of monarchy and aristocracy. For this purpose it will be particular useful to confound a mobbish democracy with a representative republic, that by exhibiting all the turbulent examples and enormities of the former, an odium may be thrown on the character of the latter. Review all the civil contests, convulsions, factions, broils, squabbles, bickering, black eyes, and bloody noses of ancient, middle, and modern ages; caricature them into the most frightful forms and colors that can be imagined, and unfold one scene of horrible tragedy after another till the people be made, if possible, to tremble at their own shadows. Let the discourses on Davila then contrast with these pictures of terror the quiet hereditary succession, the reverence claimed by birth and nobility, and the fascinating influence of stars, and ribands, and garters, cautiously suppressing all the bloody tragedies and unceasing oppressions which form the history of this species of government. No pains should be spared in this part of the undertaking, for the greatest will be wanted, it being extremely difficult, especially when a people have been taught to reason and feel their rights, to convince them that a king, who is always an enemy to the people, and a nobility, who are perhaps still more so, will take better care of the people than the people will take of themselves.

6. But the grand nostrum will be a public debt, provided enough of it can be got and it be medicated with the proper ingredients. If by good fortune a debt be ready at hand, the most is to be made of it. Stretch it and swell it to the utmost the items will bear. Allow as many extra claims as decency will permit. Assume all the debts of your neighbors – in a word, get as much debt as can be raked and scraped together, and when you have got all you can, “advertise” for more, and have the debt made as big as possible. This object being accomplished, the next will be to make it as perpetual as possible; and the next to that, to get it into as few hands as possible. The more effectually to bring this about, modify the debt, complicate it, divide it, subdivide it, subtract it, postpone it, let there be one-third of two-thirds, and two-thirds of one-third, and two-thirds of two-thirds; let there be 3 percents, and 4 percents, and 6 percents, and present 6 percents, and future 6 percents. To be brief, let the whole be such a mystery that a few only can understand it; and let all possible opportunities and informations fall in the way of these few to cinch their advantages over the many.

7. It must not be forgotten that the members of the legislative body are to have a deep stake in the game. This is an essential point, and happily is attended with no difficulty.

I grow more and more amused by the tired old “How could they have foreseen…?” argument against any part of the Constitution that stands in the way of the liberal-fascist agenda. Just from perusing this, it’s all too obvious that they foresaw everydamnedthing. In fact, the Founders were almost perfectly clairvoyant, which isn’t really too surprising, having already had much bitter, direct experience with the machinations of a despot themselves. You really must read all of it; other than the florid 18th century writing, it’s as fresh and relevant as tomorrow’s news.

(Via WRSA)

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  1. July 27th, 2014 at 11:06 | #1
    Take a look at the Anti-Federalist Papers some time. Yup, they foresaw a awful lot of the awful government we now have.

    I hadn't even heard of the Anti-Federalist Papers until maybe a year ago. Amazing but true, the Federalist Papers are mentioned in American History classes covering that period and they were part of the Great Conversation, but the A-FP aren't part of that conversation.

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