Debunking the Constitutional Accountability CenterSubmitted by Galileo on Sun, 07/25/2010 - 21:26
Debunking the Constitutional Accountability Center
“Far from being ‘very afraid’ of federal government, the Founders were quite concerned with protecting the United States from invading foreign armies and trusted the federal government to protect the citizenry against the evils of ‘factions,’ as famously elaborated by James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 10” (p. 4)
In other words, the CAC is, among other things, suggesting that in Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison suggested that the federal government would protect the citizenry from the evils of factions.
First, in Federalist Paper No. 10, Madison explains what a faction is in the following way:
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
According to the definition that Madison sets out, the federal government itself could be a faction. Therefore, it is nonsensical to suggest that the federal government was the go-to entity to protect citizens against the evils of factions since it could be the entity producing those very evils.
Second, the ways that Madison actually proposed to fight the evils of factions are the following:
Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time, must be prevented; or the majority, having such co-existent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression.
To guard against the same passion or interest in a majority at the same, the nation must have a large enough citizenry such that its members and its members’ views become heterogeneous. To guard against a majority that does have a co-existent passion, the nation must have a large enough territory such that they will be spread out and unable to act in concert. These are the lessons from Madison and Federalist No. 10 on how to combat the evils of faction; the answer is clearly not to rely on the federal government, which could very well be a faction itself.