Posted by: George | April 2, 2018

Lessons from the Federalist Papers, No. 22

Hence it is that history furnishes us with so many mortifying examples of the prevalency of foreign corruption in republican governments. How much this contributed to the ruin of the ancient commonwealths has been already delineated. It is well known that the deputies of the United Providences have, in various instances, been purchased by the emissaries of the neighboring kingdoms.
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22

Numbers 21 and 22 of the Federalist Papers catalog “other defects” of the “present Confederation.” In the middle of No. 22, in the middle of a paragraph, almost hidden, Hamilton expresses his concern that other governments might “purchase” influence with our government, especially with “persons elevated from the mass of the community.”

While this is included in “other defects,” both Hamilton and Madison have already written about their fear of foreign influence. Repeatedly. Here, in Number 22, Hamilton could not avoid returning to this theme, even in an essay that is meant to be a bit of a waste bin, a place to throw the bits and pieces of arguments that didn’t quite deserve the weight and scope of an entire essay.

So, Hamilton returns to the core theme of the papers. History shows us that human beings are easily corrupted. They give way to their own egos and greed and petty revenge. They focus on what is expedient in the short run. They ignore the commonwealth, the collective good of the people and the nation. Only checks and balances will prevent a corrupt individual or privileged group from destroying the republic.

And now, it is accepted as fact by anyone who is capable of sorting fake news from real news that the Russians tried their best to swing the election to Trump or, failing that, create enough discord to render Hillary Clinton ineffective. And now we are learning that Cambridge Analytica stole personal information from Facebook so that it could be used in the Trump campaign.

Not surprisingly, Trump seems to have no interest in insuring a fair and just midterm election in 2018, and he even congratulated Putin on his reelection, which was never in doubt.

And now, the Sinclair Group has made reporters at every one of its 190 some stations read the same script claiming that real news is actually fake news and this is not good for our democracy. Local reporters were forced to read the script in what could be described as the first appearance of state television in our country. While there might not be a smoking gun, smoke is drifting from Russia to Trump to the Sinclair Group.

And now, our country has progressed from appearing to be Orwellian to being Orwellian. When I read Animal Farm in high school, I knew it was a tale of what was happening in Russia. That is what happens over there, I thought. It could not happen here.

And now, it is here.

Consult http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org for background and texts relating to The Federalist Papers.

I also invite your to read Homo Academicus, my serial novel, which is being published at http://www.homoacademicus.us.

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