“Reflection and Choice or Accident and Force”
Corbin and Parks return to the Federalist Papers
At a time when politics in America is struggling with deadlock and dysfunction, Professors David Corbin and Matthew Parks are investigating and applying the principles of the Federalist Papers to contemporary politics in a series of essays on The Blaze. The first essay, titled “Reflection and Choice or Accident and Force,” compares the political approach of the Founders to the politics of today.
At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the framers devised a new approach to government that would test the ability of men to govern themselves. The authors of the Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay), “recognized that the debate was not just about whether the United States would adopt the Constitution or even whether the union of the states would continue, but also, and most fundamentally, whether ‘societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.’”
The Framers intended a republic of reflection and choice. But today, Corbin and Parks observe, “we hand over more and more power to a ruling class that considers itself too sophisticated to talk about ‘good’ government, a quaint or perhaps nefarious notion from a bygone age.” Questions of morality and virtue have taken back seat to “fact checkers” who see politics as “artfully applying intellectual force against those who still believe that their reflection and choice is a matter of consequence.”
To return to a republic of reflection and choice, Corbin and Parks conclude, Americans must again recognize the force of the argument made in the first chapter of the Federalist Papers.
Click here to read the full article on The Blaze.
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