Comments: We Are Not Amused

I can't wait to hear your comments on your readings. It'll be nice to hear the Federalist Papers discussed by someone who isn't an anti-federal libertarian....

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at July 15, 2004 03:07 PM

Good news, a number of blogs have mentioned that the right-wing meme about the Spanish elections is bullshit. Missed you, Anne - welcome back!

Posted by Elayne Riggs at July 15, 2004 03:20 PM

Thanks, Elayne. :) If I hadn't come back to 100 degree temperatures, I'd be happier about being back myself!

Jonathan - Like most of my political 'positions' I imagine I'll wind up somewhere just left of center, once I finish reading both arguments. I think that the modern interpretation of "Federalism" is deeply flawed and that's pretty much my starting point.

Posted by Anne at July 15, 2004 03:48 PM

I don't think the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate maps out to any current political constellation. Who are the modern Anti-Federalists? The Anti-Federalists were the key people who insisted and fought for a Bill Of Rights. They were also opposed to any consolidation of power in Washington. That puts them where in current political lingo? We associate comfort with big government with the Democrats, we also associate a passionate and expansive defense of the Bill Of Rights with the Democrats. So, clearly, there is no clear connection between the political alliances of the 1780s and now. It's a different era.

Still, I think everyone should read the Anti-Federalists, at least in part because history has been unkind to their reputation. Although later on the term "States-Rights" was hijacked by the southern states to defend racism, in the 1780s there were clearly many northern liberals who joined the Anti-Federalist camp, and their concerns revolved around the dangers of the government getting too much power. There is a lot of intelligence in the writings of the Anti-Federalists, and they deserve a hearing.

Posted by Lawrence Krubner at July 18, 2004 11:45 AM

Lawrence - I don't, of course, anticipate finding anything that correlates one-to-one with any contemporary USofA political parties or positions.

Still, when I'm considering how my own beliefs fit into today's political landscape, I think a review of the history of our country's politics, no matter how brief, is of value. It has less to do with what was said than with the consequences of belief, if that makes sense.

It would be impossible to map "Federalist" or "Anti-Federalist" onto the contemporary landscape. In fact, it would be hard to map it onto any landscape* after the Constitutional debate was ended.

( * The South may have given lip service to the concept of "defending states' rights" when faced with war over slavery, but since they abandoned the idea long before the end of the war, I find it hard to view that as a serious defense of the concept.)

Posted by Anne at July 18, 2004 09:13 PM