Statists Verse Libertists
Throughout the history of America, two political and economic philosophies have competed for control of America. They are the philosophies of the statist party or Hamiltonians and the libertist party or Jeffersonians. Today, the statist party has clearly won the contest. A third but insignificant philosophy, anarchism, also exists.
Below is a description of the statist party, the libertist party, and the anarchist party and a comparison of the philosophies of the Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians.
The statist party is the party of the pietists (remaking man in the image of the pietist: hence, public schooling, anti-drug and anti-smoking laws, prohibition [ever lowering of driving under the influence standard], democratizing the world, etc.); the progressive (remaking man in the image of the progressive: hence public schooling, welfare state, governmentally provided healthcare, democratization of the world, globalism, foreign interventionism, etc.); Hamiltonians (protection and promotion of big business: hence, mercantilism, commercialism, central banking, protective tariffs and import quotas, fair trade, managed trade, globalism, extensive regulation of manufacturing and commerce, agribusiness, warfare state, etc.), hence:
‒ adherents and advocates of ever growing government,
‒ concentration and centralization of political power,
‒ welfare-warfare state,
‒ military industrial complex,
‒ large standing armed force,
‒ socialism, state capitalism, corporatism, fascism,
‒ empire building, imperialism, globalism,
‒ fiat money,
‒ civil rights movement,
‒ parental government,
‒ false diversity and amalgamation,
‒ rule of man although statutes and regulations abound, etc.
Statists trust politicians and bureaucrats and distrust the people.
It is the party of mainline Republicans, Democrats, progressives, populists, modern liberals, New Left, neo-conservatives, living constitutionalists, socialists, fascists, communists, authoritarians, totalitarians, Zionists, etc.
Government is the answer: What is the problem?
The libertist party is the party of the Jeffersonians (agrarianism, local business, artisanism, decentralized banking, voluntary markets [free enterprise, free markets, free trade], limited government, etc.), hence:
‒ adherents and advocates of small government (government restricted to the protection of life, liberty, and property from theft, fraud and trespass; remaking man is not a proper function of government),
‒ dispersal and decentralization of political power (states’ rights),
‒ personal liberty (but not libertinism) and freedom,
‒ personal responsibility,
‒ home and private schooling,
‒ commodity money,
‒ laissez-faire economics,
‒ nationalism, localism,
‒ noninterventionist foreign policy,
‒ small standing armed force with well armed local militias,
‒ true diversity and preservation,
‒ rule of law although statute and regulations are sparse, etc.
Libertists trust the people and distrust politicians and bureaucrats.
It is the party of paleo-conservatives, Old Right, classical liberals, strict constitutionalists, libertarians, etc.
Freedom is the answer: What is the problem?.
The anarchist party adheres to and advocates the abolition of all governments and governmental authority, such being replaced by voluntary cooperation among individuals and groups and ranges from extreme individualism (adherents of economic freedom) to collectivism (rejecters of economic freedom). Anarchism is highly unstable, which has seldom existed. It generally and quickly degenerates into some form of statism imposed by the stronger internal factions or by external conquering powers.
Hamiltonians Verse Jeffersonians
Hamilton was a statist. Jefferson was a libertist. Since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, two philosophies, that of Hamilton and that of Jefferson, have competed to control the political and economic views and policies of America. The following compare the philosophy of the Hamiltonians and the Jeffersonians.
Hamiltonians trust politicians and bureaucrats and believe that:
‒ government should be highly centralized and unlimited and unrestrained;
‒ the best government is that which governs most;
‒ the purpose of government is national greatness;
‒ citizens are servants of the government; the government is master of the people;
‒ taxes should be high with an abusive and arbitrary tax collection system and a standing army of tax collectors; taxes should be pervasive and confiscatory;
‒ governmental debt should be large;
‒ executive power should dominate;
‒ judicial activists should centralize all power into the U.S. government and then into the imperial president.
Jeffersonians trust the people and believe that:
‒ government should be limited, restrained, and decentralized;
‒ the best government is that which governs the least;
‒ the purpose of government is to protect the lives, liberties, and property of its citizens;
‒ citizens of the States are the masters of the government; the government is the servant of the people;
‒ taxes should be minimal, and tax collection minimized with the least intrusion possible;
‒ government should be frugal and debt-free;
‒ the executive power should not dominate; the branches of government should be equal with the legislative branch being first among equals;
‒ judges apply the law instead of making it and ensure that laws comply with the Constitution interpreted as it is written, strictly and expressly.
Hamiltonians believe that:
‒ the Constitution is living, dynamic, and flexible;
‒ the Constitution is a grant of power;
‒ the Constitution grants the U.S. government implied powers;
‒ original sovereignty is in the nation and not the States; the U.S. government is sovereign;
‒ the “general welfare” clause authorizes the U.S. government to enact whatever it wants if it claims that it is for the general welfare; Congress may spend money on anything that it declares to be for the general welfare;
‒ the interstate commerce clause authorizes the U.S. government to regulate anything that it deems may affect commerce including intrastate commerce and allows the U.S. government planning of every economic enterprise;
‒ the U.S. Supreme Court decides what the Constitution means; it is the final arbitrator of the constitutionality of a law;
‒ no State may leave the union; any that attempt to must be forced back in.
Jeffersonians believe that:
‒ the Constitution is to be construed strictly;
‒ the Constitution is a restrain on the powers of the U.S. government;
‒ Constitution does not grant the U.S. implied powers; it only grants specific and expressly delegated powers;
‒ original sovereignty resides in the States; the people as States are sovereign; the U.S. government has only delegated sovereign powers;
‒ the “general welfare” clause grants no powers; it authorizes Congress to spend money on the enumerated powers and only if it is for the general welfare as opposed for the benefit of a specific group or region;
‒ the interstate commerce clause authorizes the U.S. government to regulate interstate commerce to promote free trade among the States and to prevent States from enforcing protective policies;
‒ the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion does not decide the meaning of the Constitution; the President, Congress, and States are equal to the Supreme Court in deciding the meaning to the Constitution; the people themselves, usually but not necessarily acting through their respective States, are the final arbitrator of the constitutionality of a law;
‒ States may peacefully leave the union.
Hamiltonians oppose real federalism and believe in:
‒ nationalism with the U.S. government being supreme;
‒ opposition to states’ rights;
‒ the U.S. government being the master of subordinate puppet States;
‒ the States being administrative units of the U.S. government;
‒ the consolidation of political power;
‒ the people being citizens of and owing their allegiance to the United States.
Jeffersonians support real federalism and believe in:
‒ State governments being as strong as if not stronger than the central government;
‒ supporting states’ rights;
‒ the States keeping the U.S. government from exceeding its bound;
‒ the States being free and independent sovereigns;
‒ dispersal of political power;
‒ the people being citizens of and owing their allegiance to their respective States.
Hamiltonians lack confidence in the market economy and believe in:
‒ subsidizing business in general and the affluent in particular;
‒ corporate welfare; mercantilism; fascism; business-government partnership;
‒ governmental (centralized) economic planning;
‒ protective tariffs;
‒ centralized and highly regulated banking; banking and government partnership;
‒ politically controlled money supply; politics driving monetary growth;
‒ the government and central bank manipulating the economy, thus creating the boom-bust cycle;
‒ government being the best judge of excellence in manufacturing.
Jeffersonians have confidence in the market economy and believe in:
‒ laissez-faire economics without subsidies or centralized planning;
‒ government and business remaining separate with government functioning as an umpire to ensure all follow the same rules; no corporate welfare or subsidies;
‒ free trade;
‒ decentralized banking with minimal regulation; separation of banking and government;
‒ market controlled money supply; economics driving monetary growth;
‒ the consumer being the best judge of excellence in manufacturing.
‒ interventionism and imperialism;
‒ a mercantilist empire;
‒ a foreign policy that advances the interest of the politically powerful and politically connected, i.e., multinational corporation and international financiers;
‒ a large standing army;
‒ foreign military alliances;
‒ foreign aid to buy and control foreign governments.
‒ nonintervention (do not interfere in the affairs of other countries);
‒ no empire building;
‒ a foreign policy that defends America;
‒ no standing army;
‒ no foreign military alliances;
‒ no foreign aid.
Hamiltonians believe in:
‒ the government granting, permitting, and limiting freedom;
‒ the welfare state, i.e., making as many people as possible dependent on the government.
Jeffersonians believe in:
‒ the government guaranteeing and protecting freedom;
‒ the separation of charity and state; making as many people as possible independent of the government.
Copyright © 2011 by Thomas Coley Allen.
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