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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Founders and technocrats

Interesting: "The Political Debate We Need to Have," by Bruce Thornton. With this tagline: "Today, we treat politics as a sport, but it's really a conflict between federalists and technocrats." (Found via Instapundit.) I'm broadly in concordance with this piece from the Hoover Institution, but what I find particularly interesting is that it characterizes the federalists, exemplified by Hamilton, as opponents of technocracy and big government. That's quite different, and I think vastly more accurate, than claims that Hamilton was some kind of authoritarian exemplar of technocracy and big government.

 On a related note: Myron Magnet's new book The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817 (I mentioned requesting a review copy here) is a very thoughtful guide to the lives of the founding fathers, including some discussion of their homes and what those tell us about their lives and thinking. The book has, to my mind, a favorable presentation of the federalist side of the 18th century political divide, with Hamilton and John Jay both presented positively while Jefferson and Madison are given a more mixed treatment, although one that in no way denies their genius. I recommend this book and see it as another sign (with the Thornton piece) of a salutary trend away from antigovernment purism in conservative thinking about the founders and what they founded.

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