Saturday, January 23, 2010

What would Alexander Hamilton do?

Tonight, after listening to the President's roaring new populist tone, I began to think that perhaps asking, "What would Karl Marx do?" or "What would Hugo Chavez do?" or perhaps "What would Che Guevara do?" may not be correct approach to fixing American economic problems.  Perhaps we need to go back to the fundamental notions of our founding fathers to understand what "American economic health and society" is destined to look like.  And so I asked myself: "What would Alexander Hamilton do?"

Asking  what any of the founding fathers would do in contemporary times is always a dangerous question.  First, all these men lived literally within inches or minutes of being hanged for treason. Second, the intelligence and education of many of the founding fathers were abnormally significant. The founding fathers were not "media creations" - they wrote important works, spoke multiple languages, and in the face of crisis, they invented new infrastructure. They invented a new form of government. They invented a new form of insurgency. They invented American diplomacy. Hamilton invented a national bank to pay off our revolutionary war debts.

But before I could finish asking myself "What would Alexander Hamilton do?", I realized I had an advantage over the colonists of early America:  I can simply download the Mobipocket version of the Federalist Papers from the Gutenburg Project, and read what Hamilton wrote some 225  or so years ago on my Blackberry Storm at my leisure.   Reading the Federalist Papers is an instructive act.  They are still a primary source for the interpretation of the constitution both for scholars and the judiciary.  Literally, they are still the guidebook for the law of the land. There is far too much "propaganda" in the world of our media.  The original source and the discussion of the events surrounding the publication of the Federalist Papers is immediately instructive if not to simply remember that we are not the first group of Americans to live in "interesting times". 

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