Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Our Misguided Tendency to Blindly Worship the Constitution"

"Pennsylvania physician Benjamin Rush was less diplomatic. 'What is the present moral character of the citizens of the United States?' he asked during the ratification controversy. 'I need not describe it…. Nothing but a vigorous and efficient government can prevent their degenerating into savages.' 'Democracy,' he insisted, 'is the devil's own government.' By the late-1780s it had become conventional wisdom among political elites that, as Elbridge Gerry put it, 'the evils we experience flow from an excess of democracy.' The Constitution was designed to reverse the democratic trajectory of American politics.
"The problem with the economic interpretation, however, is that it tends to conflate elitism with selfishness."

Matthew C. Simpson at The New Republic reviews Michael J. Klarman's The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.

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