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The researchers write, “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

…and no libertarians were surprised.

Notes: Federalist Paper #5

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Title: The Same Subject Continued (Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence)
Author: John Jay (Publius)
Date: November 10, 1787

Volume: 1 - The Union
General topic: The Importance of unity to security
Specific Topic: The vulnerability of remaining separate

Paraphrased outline:

  • Queen Anne wrote that England and Scotland united would be “enabled to resist all enemies” which would “use their utmost endeavors to prevent or delay this union.”
  • As I wrote before, remaining divided will invite foreign hostility, but uniting will protect us from it.
  • We can learn from Britain’s mistakes. Rather that uniting as one Island nation, they have historically been three contentious nations - and it hasn’t benefitted them.
  • The same would happen here. Rather than pursuing our common interests together, separate confederacies would only pursue their own interests.
  • Even if we initially made all the confederacies equal, their different resources and leadership would quickly make some more powerful than others. And their different levels of power would only lead them to distrust each other.
  • For an example, the stronger northern confederacies might seek to manipulate or exploit the weaker—but better resourced—southern confederacies. (Something like this happened in Europe.)
  • History has shown that separate nations tend to be hostile to each other - and surrounding nations like to keep them that way.
  • Given all this, it’s not realistic to expect separate confederacies to support and defend each other.
  • Separate confederacies would eventually become distinct nations. And they would have distinct - and even contrary - economic, political and military interests.
  • In Europe, each nation’s most immediate threat is the nation closest to it. Likewise, separate confederacies would become each other’s most immediate threats in America.
  • Separate confederacies would also be exposed to the political influence of other nations and, therefore, vulnerable to them. (This is how Rome conquered many of its allies.)

Big Idea:

  • We should be united because history shows that separation leads to distrust rather than support.

Favorite lines:

  • “Divisions at home would invite dangers from abroad.”
  • “We may profit by their experience without paying the price which it cost them.”
  • “Distrust naturally creates distrust.”

Personal thoughts:

  • After explaining the benefits of union, Jay now explains the dangers of division, completing his argument for union nicely.
  • And again, Jay provides historical examples to support his claims (Queen Anne’s letter, the northern-to-southern and neighbor-to-neighbor hostilities of Europe and the conquest-through-influence of other nations by Rome).
  • I hadn’t considered how union might prevent hostility between the states. Jay explains that possibility well, and it’s worth considering.
  • But is a federal government really the only way to achieve union among the states? If free citizens can maintain their autonomy while cooperating with common laws, why couldn’t free states maintain their autonomy while cooperating with a confederation?
  • Also… Did Jay predict the Civil War?

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[Source]

  1. Both support endless wars.

  2. Both engage in out-of-control spending.

  3. Both ignore our most basic rights.

  4. Both have no respect for the rule of law.

  5. Both are bought and paid for by big business.

  6. Both care most about their own power.

  7. Both have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Once again, Bonnie is on point.

Notes: Federalist Paper #4

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Title: The Same Subject Continued (Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence)
Author: John Jay (Publius)
Date: November 7, 1787

Volume: 1 - The Union
General topic: The Importance of unity to security
Specific Topic: The military strength of a federal government

Paraphrased outline:

  • My last paper explained how a federal government is less likely than separate confederacies to find just causes for war. But sometimes, wars are started for unjust causes.
  • Nations often go to war whenever they think they might get something out of it. And monarchs will even go to war for personal reasons that don’t benefit their people at all.
  • We compete in trade with Britain and France when it comes to fishing, navigation and transporting. We are a new challenge to trade monopolies held by China and India. And we are already blocked by Spain on the Mississippi to the west and by Britain on the Lawrence to the north.
  • Any of these economic tensions could tempt these countries to initiate to war with us. But a federal government’s military would discourage these inclinations.
  • There are several reasons a federal government’s military is better:
    - It can draw from the ablest men across the union rather than from a single state’s population.
    - It can create a consistent military policy across the states.
    - It can consider the interests of all the states before taking action.
    - It can provide the power of a whole union when any state is in legitimate need.
    - It can provide efficient leadership under one “Chief Magistrate”.
  • Imagine how strong the militias of England, Scotland and Wales would be if they operated under a single British government. They would be as strong as the British naval fleet already is. And imagine how much weaker the British fleet would be if it were divided into four separate navies.
  • Now consider how weak our defense will be if we remain separate confederacies. What’s to stop one from betraying the others if they were bribed? It’s what happened in the history of Greece and other countries.
  • It is possible the separate confederacies would be willing to support and protect each other. But how would their separate powers cooperate? A single government would be more efficient.
  • If other nations see us powerful, prosperous and united under one government, they will want our friendship. But if they see us as fragmented, disorganized and conflicted, we will become their target.

Big Idea:

  • A federal government will present a stronger military to the world and discourage other countries from starting unjust wars.

Favorite lines:

  • “It need not be observed that there are pretended as well as just causes of war.”
  • “Nations in general make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it.”
  • “The safety of the whole is the interest of the whole.”
  • “Although such conduct would not be wise, it would, nevertheless, be natural.”
  • “When a people of family so divide, it never fails to be against themselves.”

Personal thoughts:

  • I appreciate Jay’s observation that governments often go to war for unjust causes.
  • He makes a good point that the U.S.’s economic position could make it the target of unjust wars, and he gives specific examples of countries that might be so tempted (Britain, France, Spain, China and India).
  • Jay’s argument for the strength of the military under a single government is also a good one. He gives several reasons to support this idea and even contrasts Britain’s weak militias with its strong fleet as an example.
  • I also appreciate that Jay acknowledges the possibility of confederacies supporting each other. And his reference to Greece is a pretty good rebuttal.
  • So he makes a great argument for how united military strength would discourage unjust wars initiated by other countries.
  • But wouldn’t united military strength also tempt the U.S. to initiate wars of self-interest? History has shown it would and does. It’s a relevant point and Jay fails to address it at all.

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Preach.

Preach.

The United states is now surpassed by 45 other countries when it comes to Freedom of the Press.

In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1787 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.
There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms. While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 2013 will be remember for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.

The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.

The United states is now surpassed by 45 other countries when it comes to Freedom of the Press.

In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1787 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.

There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms. While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 2013 will be remember for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.

The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.

Notes: Federalist Paper #3

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Title: The Same Subject Continued (Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence)
Author: John Jay (aka Publius)
Date: November 3, 1787

Volume: 1 - The Union
General topic: The Importance of unity to security
Specific Topic: The peace-ability of a federal government

Paraphrased outline:

  • Intelligent people tend to act in their own best interests. And a strong, central government is in America’s best interest.
  • Safety is our first interest. And safety means protecting against violence initiated by other nations and violence initiated by our own.
  • The Union is our best defense against international hostility.
  • A federal government will have fewer instances of treaty violation or direct violence and, therefore, fewer causes for going to war. 
  • A federal government will have an easier time following “the laws of nations” than multiple confederacies would.
  • A federal government will be made up of more credible men than the state governments, because a federal government can draw from the populations of all the states while each state can only draw from its own population
  • A federal government can give a more consistent voice to foreign relations than multiple confederacies could.
  • A federal government can hold states accountable to “good faith and justice” better than multiple confederacies could. (The refusal of many states to comply with the Treaty of Paris is a good example of this.) And a federal government would be more willing and able to punish dissent than state governments would.
  • A federal government is simply less likely to violate international relations than multiple confederacies would.
  • A federal government is also less likely to want war than a single state government would be. War with the Indians is often started by state governments, but hasn’t been started by the Union.
  • A federal government will keep a cooler head over international tensions than the border states would.
  • A federal government will have more leverage for negotiating peace than individual states would. For example, Louis XIV wouldn’t have humiliated Genoa during peace negotiations if it had been a stronger country.

Big Idea:

  • A federal government is less likely to violate treaties or pursue violence than multiple confederacies would be.

Favorite lines:

  • “It is not a new observation that the people of any country (if, like the Americans, intelligent and well-informed) seldom adopt and steadily persevere for many years in an erroneous opinion respecting their interests.”
  • “I mean only to consider [safety] as it respects security for the preservation of peace and tranquility, as well as against dangers from foreign arms and influence, as from dangers of the like kind arising from domestic causes.”
  • “Violences are more frequently occasioned by the passions and interests of a part than of the whole.”
  • "The pride of states, as well as of men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses.”

Personal thoughts:

  • I appreciate that Jay defines his idea of “safety” for the reader. And I also appreciate that this definition includes keeping the U.S. from initiating unnecessary violence.
  • But I wish he would define “violations of treaties” and “the laws of nations”, because the meanings of those phrases are important too.
  • Jay does a good job supporting his ideas with specific reasons and even examples (the Treaty of Paris, the Indian wars and LouisXIV vs. Genoa.)
  • I agree with Jay’s summation of human nature - that we tend to be more passionate than reasonable and we ultimately act in our own best interests. This is self-evident.
  • But then he says that, “The best men in the country will not only consent to serve [in the government], but also will generally be appointed to manage it.” Why doesn’t Jays’ summation of human nature extend to the government as well, which is made up of those same passionate, self-interested humans? History has shown that power has always attracted scoundrels.
  • Jay says that “the prospect of loss or advantage” may tempt some states to be uncooperative, and that a federal government would prevent this. But should it be prevented? Why should any state be forced to act against its own best interests?
  • It makes sense that a federal government is more likely to think calmly about border tensions than the border states would, which is helpful. But I can also see how its distance from the situation could make it callous to some legitimate concerns of those states.
  • Most of all, I appreciate Jay’s attitude toward foreign policy. His emphasis on avoiding unnecessary offense, restraining the use of force and maintaining diplomatic leverage is an example I wish our current politicians would follow.

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